Saturday, August 14, 2010

New friends, new country-part 2

Texans are probably some of my favorite people. Kacy's team from BACC was here for about 10 days to love on Kacy, experience Africa & get their hearts broken. I had the pleasure of helping with their team. Great bunch of people!

We did tell them at orientation that our prayer was for God to break their hearts for the things that break His. I'm not sure it's what they bargained for, but our prayers were answered. Time after time, they saw God in the people of South Africa. They experienced being the hands & feet of Christ, while seeing how heart-broken God is for his children here. And they truly showed what the Body of Christ is all about. As they ministered to the children & volunteers in each community, they brought so much hope & joy. And left with tears in their eyes. And seeking more.

On Monday, we went to Kabokweni for the feeding. I took the team on to see the new Care Center that is being built, one of the volunteers homes & to see one of the homes we built in the community for a gogo & 6 grandchildren. As we got to Khatiwe's house, Pastor Steven just broke down crying. Her home is nothing more than a small metal shed. No windows, dirt floor, one room. We wouldn't even use it to store our lawn tools in. I told him that when Khatiwe first got the house, she was so proud that she finally had a place of her own. A few weeks later, she had a snake come in her house & was then very scared to have her 2 small children there. I took a visiting team down & we circled the house & prayed over it. I told him how I believed that the snake was just satan's way of trying to steal her joy. Seeing the house & hearing the story absolutely wrecked Steven. As a father to 2 young girls, he couldn't stop crying over Khatiwe's story.

On Tuesday John took Steven & Carly to Mbonisweni. The team had been out the week before to the feeding at Pastor Sthembiso's church, but we wanted to show them a few homes & share the dreams of a safe house in Mbonisweni. As John started telling them of the riots, fires, circumcision camps & other things that we had experienced over the past year, Carly got very quiet. And upset. And mad. She had already experienced the kids & how heart-breaking, but rewarding that is. But to see the other side, the side that most people don't experience, the side that is a spiritual battle, well, let's just say she was a little mad at John for wrecking her for Africa. She already feels like God is calling her to do more here. Not sure what that looks like yet. Her souvenir was a tattoo of Africa with the quote "If I don't...who will?"

Needless to say, our time with them was too short, but long-lasting. They experienced all God had for them & are seeking more. At our debrief, after everything was talked about, Steven asked his team, "So, now that you know, you are responsible. What will you do?"
Hmmm, I think I will use that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

New friends, new country

This past week I had the opportunity to go to Swaziland for the first time. A friend of mine, Kacy, had to renew her visa & since Swazi is only about 90 minutes away, we decided to go across the border for the night. I had heard how beautiful the country is & wanted to experience it myself.

Swaziland is the last remaining kingdom on the continent of Africa. The king has about 13 wives & marries from different tribes to ensure that there is no tribal wars. I would think that would create wars, not prevent them! Anyways, the drive was stunning. Mountains & views like you wouldn't believe. The first town across the border is Bulembu, which is an abandoned mining town. Asbestos was mined there & you can still see where they have cut into the mountains as well as the cable cars for transporting the asbestos. After the mining companies pulled out, the town was pretty devastated. In addition to the lack of jobs, AIDS/HIV are very high in the area. The town was left with orphans & people with no opportunities. A mission organization came in & bought the town. They now run the town as a tourist destination with all proceeds going towards orphan care. The goal is for the town to be completely self-sufficient by 2020. Care-givers & job training have been set up, homes converted to hotels, a honey plant started for jobs & a wonderful restaurant serves the tourist & brings in much needed jobs. All in all, it's a wonderful town with a future that seemed hopeless before.

And the best part of the trip was spending time with my friends Kacy & a team from her home church, Bay Area Community Church. You'll have to read the next blog for more about them!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

House update

I'm sure you have all been wondering how our house is coming along. We were able to get the foundation all bricked in and it looks great! The back-filling took a little time, since we were able to use the workers from the base instead of hiring outside help. But they worked on it when they didn't have other projects to do, so it was a little slow. The electric lines have been run down to the house & now we are almost ready to pour the slab. The workers have been on break for the last 2 weeks, so I'm sure it will be a few more weeks before they are able to get back on our house.

The next phase will be a bit more expensive & time-consuming. It will be the bricklaying part. But not only do we need all the brick, cement, labor & supplies for that, but we also have to have the doors & windows purchased as well so that the frames can be bricked in. It will be the expensive stage! But, it will really be the major part of the building. Please be praying for us, that God would provide all that we need in His time! Blessings!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things are just a little different in South Africa

Instead of graduation, they have Matric. Instead of Senior prom, they have Matric dance. And there sure aren't a lot of dresses to choose from! What they do have is either old looking or a little too risque, and very expensive. Most girls here have them made instead. One of our friends in the states mailed Rae 2 dresses, but do to the wonderful customs here, we weren't able to get them in time. Instead, we had our friend, Anneke, make her one. They had a great time designing & sewing it. I had the wonderful ideal of the boots! We really went with the 80's Madonna look. And it came out great, don't you think?

The after party was at the Botanical Gardens. John was the good dad & picked her up at 3am. Because here, you can't drive until you are 18...which is great when your daughter goes out to a dance! But, look real close on the ticket to the after party...caution, roaming hippos!!! See, I told you thing were just a little different here!