Tuesday, September 28, 2010

VBS Day 2

Hello, Casey here again.

Today was another great day. Much like last year I feel like I get more out of this than the kids or the LSEs do. Desmond, one of the LSEs at Masi, led our devotion for the morning & he rocked my face off. Seriously, he challenged us all. He talked about why we follow Jesus and how sometimes we can have the wrong motives. All of these LSEs have such deep knowledge and love for the Word that is so refreshing. Most of them are in their early twenties but far surpass most Christians their age in the spiritual depth.

I have also been so impressed with one of our BBC team members, Jonah Reels. He is only 14 years old and I have to be honest when I heard he was going, I couldn't imagine that was a good idea. I was so wrong. In our debriefing he told a story of how he connected with one of the kids who told him that his father had died. Jonah said one of the most profound things I've ever heard especially from a 14 year old. In telling of his response to the child, he said that he didn't want to feel sorry for the kid. He then said, "I figure these kids have enough people feeling sorry for them." I wanted to shout "praise the Lord" at the top of my lungs. He touched on a huge problem within missions. These kids do not need to be pitied. They just need you to listen and show them the love of God. So, Jonah did just that. How impressive and what a lesson I learned.

We have been so blessed to have such a great team unity. Everyone is getting along so well and new frienships are blossoming. We had such a great team last year and so I was concerned that this year couldn't live up to last years team. The teams are totally different but both have been so wonderful.

Taylor, the Children's Worship Coordinator, decided to take an adventure at the beach. He ventured out on rocks out in the middle of the water where large waves break. Well, he got swept away twice and he (as well as everyone else) thought he was gonna die. He cut his arm open & hurt his foot as well. I cannot do the story justice & will be posting the video of the whole ordeal later. It's highly entertaining so you'll want to come back and watch it.

Tomorrow is the day where we talk about how to become a Christian, so we could use extra prayers. Of all the days Satan tries to attack, this is the one that he attacks the most. Please pray for our attitudes and that we would be especially attentive to the children. Also pray that we would get out of the way and let God do His work. Pray that authentic decisions would be made tomorrow that will transform the townships because it will be relationships with Christ that will redeem each township. The people of these communities don't need things. They don't need clothes, food, money, etc. They need God and all of those other things will be taken care of. Pray that we show them God
The girls at the beach

Rocks at the beach much like the ones that Taylor fell off.


Preschool kids at Masiphumelele

Leia Mais…

Monday, September 27, 2010

First Day of VBS

Hello everyone! Casey writing here.

So, today was our first day of VBS or Holiday Club, as they call it here, and everyone had such a great time. I'm in the township called Masiphumelele and it was so great seeing some of the faces I saw last year. The team debriefed after dinner and one of my favorite stories came from Matthew who was at Oceanview. One of the LSEs (Life Skills Educators), Meagan, was telling the story of creation and she held up a mirror in front of the children. She asked them what they saw and told them that no matter what they say or who their parents were or where they came from that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. She then presented the plan of salvation right there. How awesome. The same LSE broke into a small group with the girls and asked them to write on a piece of paper what they wanted to change about themselves & then throw the paper in a pile on the floor. The girls had the same responses that any woman or girl would have in America. They wanted to change their figures, hair, eyes, etc. Meagan then put the Bible on top of the pile and told them that it changed everything. Wow! What a powerful word to hear for girls.

Hearing those stories makes it nearly impossible to deny God's presence here which may sound odd because we are in the midst of pain, poverty, and heartache. However, in the midst of all of that, the people of these townships still glorify God with their words and actions. What becomes evident to me when I here the stories of the people here (especially John & Avril Thomas who started Living Hope) , is that I don't give God enough space to work miracles. The people here have way less and seem to be more content. What an example of faith & trust in God.

Please be praying that the children will continue to come to Holiday Club and that they would have open hearts and minds. Pray that the BBC team would also have open hearts and minds and that we would be a great & effective support system to the LSEs. Pray that our team would continue to have unity. May the Lord decrease and make Himself greater in all of us. May our love for Him and for all people grow deeper & stronger. May we be completely selfless and always take the extra mile to make a difference. Mostly pray that God's name would be glorified in everything that we do and say.

Thank you for your support of our team and for your prayers!!

Leia Mais…

Sunday, September 26, 2010


More greetings from the South Africa team! The last few days we have been fortunate to have seen more of this beautiful country.

Sunday, we were able to visit Pastor John Thomas' church King of Kings (formerly Fish Hoek Baptist Church). It was a wonderful service and believe me, we all needed it!

Yesterday and today we visited the 5 townships we will be working in this week. For most of us, this was unlike anything we had ever encountered before. The mood of our team was at best somber. There are really no words to describe the extreme poverty these people live in. You absolutely cannot see what we have seen and not be changed.

Tomorrow starts our week of VBS (or holiday club as it's called here) which is what we are here to do. We ask that you continue in your prayers for us this week. Here are a few ways you can pray specifically:

  • The children and families of the 5 townships: Masi, Capricorn, Ocean View, Overcome Heights and Red Hill. Pray for the children to come and for them to be receptive to the Word we are going to deliver.
  • Peace for our team: We have experienced so much already. We are nervous, anxious, excited and sometimes fearful. Pray for us to feels God's peace over us as we serve Him.
  • The Life Skills Educators (LSEs) we will be assisting: These folks have given their lives to serve before we came and will continue to do so after we leave. Pray for them as they give unselfishly to God and the sweet children in their townships.
  • Good weather: I know this might seem like an unusual request, but bad weather hinders so much here. If it's rainy and/or cold (like it was today), the children won't come and those that do will be in a very cramped inside space. Pray that the weather will be beautiful so the kids can spend some time outside.

On behalf of each member of this team, I thank you for you continued prayer support. It is much needed and truly felt by every one of us.

Leia Mais…

Saturday, September 25, 2010

South Africa 2010!

Hello from South Africa!
Our team arrived in Cape Town safely late Thursday night. It was a long, but uneventful trip (for some of us!) but we were very glad to get off that plane!
There are 17 of us on this trip and each of us wants to thank those of you who have been praying for us. This journey is just beginning, so keep those prayers coming!
After our arrival and getting just a few hours of sleep, the team spend the day Friday preparing for VBS with the Life Skills Educators at Living Hope. These LSEs commit their days to teaching the children in the townships life skills. The reason we are here is to introduce the children to Saddle Ridge Ranch and God!
Our training session started with a beautiful time of worship. Words can't describe the sound of the South African and American voices raised together to praise the God of the universe. It was a truly emotional experience for several of us. I kept imagining how God must love to hear the praise of His people.

Taylor playing the guitar for our time of worship

There was fun to be had as well. There was an icebreaking activity. I know it looks like they are all hypeventilating, but they were really clearing away the "hay" in their bags to get to the memory verse at the bottom (those familiar with Saddle Ridge Ranch will understand this reference).

After the games and training, we had a wonderful braai (National Braai Day is September 24 in South Africa) for lunch and then broke up into our groups to prepare for VBS on Monday.

Sarah with two OceanView LSEs

After a long day of training, the team arrived back at The Team House to do a little sightseeing right in our own backyard. South Africa is a beautiful place. God really outdid Himself, don't yout think?

Matthew "on top of the world!"

Saturday will be spent getting familiar with the rest of South Africa including a few of the townships we will be working in during the week.

L-R front: Sandra, Melanie, Jaina, Donna, Casey, Jennie, Jennifer, L-R back: Sandra, Beth, Joy, Elaine, AmyL-R: Matthew, Dustin, Jonah

As a team, we covet your prayers. We all miss our friends and families but we know God has a job for us to do here. Continue to pray for us as we are obedient to what God has called us here to do.


PS. Please excuse the horrible spacing. Blogger has a mind of it's own!

Leia Mais…