Saturday, February 21, 2009

The People

The people of Ocean View come from a history of rejection and homelessness. (is that a word?) Back in the sixty's when America was coming out segregation, South Africa was entering in.

Simon's Town is a beautiful area right on the coast, full of beautiful homes and quaint shops. It used to be the home of many of the older residents of Ocean View, that is until the Government moved them out and declared Simon's Town a "white only" area. There are still people living in OV who are waiting for a home, promised to them by the government, almost forty years ago.

South Africa has since seen the errors of it's ways and integrated the people, however there are still deep roots of anger and bitterness. So many people need the healing touch of Jesus.

This group of girls was one of our simple churches that we helped establish. Ruby, Ceene, Daniella, Mina, Latonya, and Esmeralda. Summer (in the middle) was the one who took the lead, and really encouraged them that they could meet with out us and learn on their own. It was so much fun watch them grow in the few short weeks that we were there.

We had the honor of baptizing most -if not all of these girls in the ocean. Those times were a wonderful time of celebration full of singing and dancing!! For the first celebration we joined up with several other All Nations churches, and had a fun time.
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Later on in the trip we had a second baptism. During the second celebration we baptized THREE generations of of new believers. Elizabeth, Loraine and Josie all decided to follow Jesus while we were there in OV. Elizabeth's story is powerful and amazing. I will try and do it justice in my next post.

The Ministry

"As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received now freely give."
Matthew 10:7&8

We spent four months, before our trip, studying this verse and many others that showed how Jesus shared, and how he instructed the disciples to minister. Is seems simple, but it was our plan. Before we left Ocean View, our prayer was to see three simple churches started, like in Acts 2:42-47 (or life groups, house churches etc.. ) We wanted to make them disciples, teaching them how to obey and baptizing them, Matt 28:18-20. We wanted to cast a vision for growth and multiplication. (Jesus first sent out the 12, then it was 70)

AND THAT IS WHAT WE DID!

Our first weeks were spent walking the streets looking for people of peace, people who were open to the Gospel, who would be the "soft soil". Everyone we met, we would share the Gospel with and ask if we could pray for them for anything. When we prayed we saw miracles take place.

People lame with arthritis....... walking!
People suffering from asthma........ breathing!
People burdened with unemployment....... working!!
People blind ..... seeing!!!

Over and over again we saw God move in mighty ways!! In one meeting, a man needed a job. So our team prayed, not 5 minuets after they finished praying..... the phone rang. It was the man's former employer, giving him his job back!!

Belinda - had suffered from arthritis for years, it was a long painful process to stand up and walk. She spent most of her time on her front porch because it took to long to walk anywhere else. We prayed, and God healed. We immediately encouraged her to find someone else who needed prayer. (Freely you have received now freely give) Her husband's eyes had been injured in an accident years ago, they were in constant pain. We guided her through praying for her husband, and HE was healed. So we asked for more... Her neighbor had horrible asthma problems, it would take him 30+ minutes to walk up a single flight of stairs because he had to stop and rest every other step. So we encouraged BELINDA to pray for him, she did and he was healed. When he left, it only took him 5 minuets to walk up the stairs to get home!!!

Over and over we saw God move. These "power encounters" opened up the door to share God's love and mercy. Not every one accepted. Several times we would have to remind ourselves of
the parable of the soils, our job is not to make them grow, but to sow the seeds broadly!

As the trip went on, we began moving from seed sowing to discipling. We would meet with those who were hungry for more of Jesus. We would walk them through, bible studies and teach them how to share how they had become new creations.

As they began to share their faith and as we continued to share as well, we started forming groups that would meet together for prayer, worship and study. We were seeing our goals met!! It was amazing!

This trip has given us more clarity as to what our roll in Uganda will be. We are filled with more passion to see a Church Planting Movement take place. To raise up local believers and teach them how to be disciples, and watch them catch the vision of taking the name of Jesus through out the region.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Simon's Town

Simon's Town's history is closely tied to OV's, but I will save that story for later. Simon's Town is now known for it's quaint shops and great dining, not to mention the Naval base.

We thought that while the boys were out having an adventure, we would have one too. A quick relaxing trip in to town, via the train, for lunch and shopping, would be perfect. Our journey began in Capri at the top of a LONG, STEEP hill where the house was. Traveling that day were Linda (the team mama), Summer, Carrie and her two boys, plus the girls and myself.

In order to get to ST we had to take the train. In order to get to the train, we had to take a taxi. In order to catch a taxi, we had to hike down the hill. So that is what we did.

We walked dooooown the hill with 6 kids, and two strollers, crossed the street and then waited for the taxi. When it finally arrived, we piled on board and asked the driver to take us to the Fishoek Train station. When we inquired about him taking us all the way to ST, he said that it would be 150 Rand and a 7 min drive, or we could take the train for R5 and have a 15 min ride. We opted to stick to our original plan and take the train.

We bought out tickets and waited for the train to arrive. And we waited, and waited, and waited. When the train finally arrived, we all hopped on and began to enjoy the ride. While riding I started a conversation with the lady next to me that went something like this:

ME : What is the next stop?

Lady: Kalk Bay. Where are you going?

ME: Simon's Town

Lady: OHHHH your on the wrong train!!!

ME: Girls..... get your stuff, we're on the wrong train!

Yes we never even considered that there might be another train, and that we might want to go the other direction. So we once again had to wait, and wait, and wait. When we finally made it on the right train.... the view was amazing!!

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By this point, our fifteen minuet ride had become and hour and a half journey. But we pressed on, the our growling stomachs leading the way. In ST there aren't near as many taxis as other areas, so in order to get to all the shops we had to walk. Once again we tackled a hill only this we walked up.

We ate at a nice restaurant/pizza place. In stead of giving the kids coloring sheets while they wait, they bring out trays with pizza dough, rollers and cookie cutters, too FUN! I'm sure there are restaurants in the states that do that too, but I have never been to one. The kids enjoyed the rest and the play time, while the women decided that shopping with 6 kids might not be a good idea, so we came up with a plan "B".

Penguins! Seeing penguins would be a much kid friendly alternative to shopping, right?

In most situations the answer would be YES, but considering the fact that there were no taxis in ST, we would have to walk. (and walk and walk and walk.....) After lunch we continued our journey up the hill toward the penguins.

I realize that this is getting very long and drawn out, but I want you to get the full effect of how the day went. Never mind.... I'll try and wrap it up. We had to ask several people if we were headed in the right direction, and they all said "yes, just a little further." When we finally saw the sign we were elated, by that point I think we had walked almost 3 miles, all up hill.

We turned, and some where in the midst of the HUNDREDS of people trying to squeeze in one more weekend at the beach before their Holiday was over, we missed the next turn. So we had to back track a ways and try again.

We eventually made it, and 6 long hours (or more) later, we were desperately trying to get a hold of our dear husbands, so that they could rescue us from having to endure the journey home. OH and BTW once we were in a car...... it really only took 7 minuets to get from ST back home ;)

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The Hike at Silvermine

Because we landed in Cape Town later in the week, we only had one day of ministry before the weekend. And because we had just arrived in Africa we hit the ground running. Looking back, we did WAY too much at first, but we had a blast doing it.Saturday we hiked in Silvermine. It was COLD and WINDY!! The area were we were staying gets blown away by the cold Atlantic wind, The girls were troopers. Sarah walked most of the way..... she had help occasionally ;)
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As you can see by the viedo I think I need to find a better word to describe how windy it was. One of the best parts of the trip was having built in aunts and uncles that helped out ALL the time. "Uncle" Nate helped Sarah up and down the mountain while Kent and I traded off carrying Emma. We didn't make it all the way to the top, mainly because after a certain elevation, you couldn't see much anyway because of the clouds.

Here we are after the adventure. We went back to Fishoek for dinner that night. Our group at right on the beach.... we even had a "guest" in the restaurant. There was a pigeon that always cleans up crumbs in on the floor, I guess he is now a permanent fixture in the establishment. ( I forgot to take a picture :(

The First Ocean....

I am debating on whether I should share all the cool ministry stories first, or go in order chronologically.......... I think for the purpose of my blurb book later I will go in order.

One evening we made a quick trip to Fishoek (pronounced : Fish Hook). Fishoek is on the bay side so the water is supposed to be warmer, but maybe that is during the day because the water was freezing!! This was the girls first trip to an ocean!! We had lots of fun freezing our toes and starting our shell collection.


Let the Stories begin.......

Ocean View is one of many townships nestled around the Mountains. The majority of the townships are defined strictly by economic level and skin color. Masipumelele was the roughest that we saw, and Ocean View was a close second. The strangest thing was that one minuet we were in a nice "white" township and then a few moments down the road you would be in a poverty stricken "colored" or "black" township. Drive a little further and you were in a nice "white" neighborhood again.This is a view of the area from one of the mountains. Because the area we were in was infested with drugs and alcohol we were advised not to take cameras while we were out sharing the gospel. Towards the end of the trip we felt comfortable enough to take pictures of the people that we had established good relationships with.

These pictures were taken at Elizabeth's house. We spent a very gusty day cleaning up her yard and helping her get rid of A LOT of junk. (Above) this is the front of her house. There was a large mixture of homes in OV, ranging from one room (total) shacks to larger two & three room homes. And occasionally you would go into a home that was completely out of place and extremely nicer than the average.
The rent "house" behind of Elizabeth's
This is the view from Elizabeth's house..... hence the name of the Township. The box looking thing..... the future bathroom.
A view of some of the neighboring houses.
This is a bathroom in a different home..... it is nicer than most. Cedric and Silvia work faithfully serving the Lord through All Nations and the home that these pictures are of was given to them..... God is Good. even in Ocean View.

Views of their kitchen.... Silvia came and cooked for our team four days a week. It was a huge blessing to come home and not have to cook for 21 people!
Now a clip showing the view from the deck at our first house....... Right around that mountain on the left was OV. This is the Capri house where we stayed all of January.
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I had a hard time letting people know where we were staying..... some how I left guilty staying in a large nice house while we were ministering to the poor in OV. The house was great, for the most part everyone had their own room, except the only single on the team, Blaise got to sleep in the Living room. Our room had two sets of bunk beds that the girls slept on, and Kent and I slept on two twins pushed together...... one big happy family!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

We are Home!!!!

OK - -- I know that most of you feel like we fell off the planet..... but we are back now and we have a lot of great stories/pictures to share.

We have been home for two hours now.... It took us more than 30 hours to get home. We actually spent almost 20 hours in one plane - 8+ hr flight from Cape Town to Dakar, then a 2 hr Layover IN THE PLANE, then another 9 hr flight from Dakar to NY. After we arrived State side we flew NY to Atlanta and then Atlanta to Dallas, THEN we had a 2 hr drive!!!

Needless to say everyone, but myself went straight to bed EXHAUSTED!! I on the other hand had to check out all the wonderful things that were done while I was gone!! My wonderful mother-in-law and sister-in-law came to my house last weekend and cleaned, washed sheets, did laundry, filled the pantry and even cooked a few meals and put them in the freezer. Plus the girls all had cute Valentines on their pillows. WE are SOOOOOOOOOOO spoiled!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!

Currently, I am trying to fight jet lag by staying up..... My body feels like it is one or two in the AM, I am shocked when I look at the clock and it is only 9:00PM.

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GOD's BLESSING!!

Thinking about how spoiled I am reminded me of a recent discovery that I made.

In preparing our taxes for 2008, I went through all of our bank statements for the year. I added up all the deposits that were from Kent working and then I added up all the deposits that were gifts and blessings from our friends and family who are supporting us. What we "made" and what we were blessed with were almost the same. The difference was only $2000!!! But then I started to think about it....... and the total of what we were blessed with didn't include $ from my mom and grandmother or all the walmart cards that Kent's mom gave us!!

When you add that in...... the amount surpasses what we were able to earn on our own.

AND...... that doesn't include anything that was contributed to our trip(s) through the church!

My only purpose in stating any of this is to bring HIM glory! (and to say thank you to all those who allow God to use you in our lives!!!)

You would think that by now I would be used to God's faithfulness and provision, but it still blows me away at times when I think about ALL He has done in the last two years!!

HE IS A GOOD FATHER WHO IS ABLE TO IMMEASURABLY MORE THAN WE COULD ASK OR IMAGINE!!!