Thursday, October 13, 2011

South Africa Wrap-Up

We are all back in the States now, but I wanted to take a few moments to reflect on what happened the last two weeks...

First, after we finished the Holiday Clubs on Friday we still weren't finished. On Saturday, part of our team headed back to the U.S. But the other half stayed for a few days to do more things in Cape Town. We spent Saturday morning and lunch with the Life Skills Educators and local volunteers who worked at each of the locations during the week. We all played paintball. It was so much fun! It was my first time (and may other's as well) to play paintball. Our BBC friend, Joey Lankford also played with us and was ruthless! I have bruises to prove it!
Despite the pain it was a blast of a way to end the time with the folks who work year-round with Living Hope. We had lunch together and spend more time visiting together.

Then the 10 of us who stayed the extra time were able to other things throughout the weekend to see more of South Africa. David and Jaina were able to do separate overnight stays in one of the townships. I know that was a neat experience for them to hang out with families who live in the communities in which we worked all week.

In looking back over this mission journey, I continue to be amazed at what God does when people make themselves available to be used by Him. Our team of 19 was a mixture of folks from different life stages, backgrounds and careers. Some had traveled extensively and for some this was the first time out of the country. Yet, God used each one in a unique way to build His Kingdom.
I am very thankful for the servant attitude by the team members. We really had no issues with personality conflicts, complaining, someone not doing their part and some of the other issues that can happen when you have this many people serving and living together for two weeks. Also, I feel they really served the Life Skills Educators in each community. Our team's role in the setting with Living Hope is not to go in an "run the show." Rather it is to come in with resources and support to help the folks who work there all year do the job. This was done well by each team and I hope that lasting relationships were formed between our folks and the Life Skills Educators.
We know of at least 8 children and teens who professed Christ as Lord and Savior during the week. Please pray that more come to know Him in the weeks to follow as the Life Skills Educators resume regular Kid's Clubs each week and follow up on the Holiday Club experience.
I am grateful for being able to be in South Africa for a fourth time and to be a part of God's work there. This year one of the main things that I learned is the value of commitment and consistency in relationships. It takes time to establish trust with folks (especially when you only show up 1-2 weeks a year). There are pretty distinct racial lines in South Africa--even with apartheid gone. For four years I have worked in a "black" Xhosa-speaking community. This white girl is about as far from a black Xhosa person as there can be. : ) But somewhere along the four years of our teams being there, God has done something. On Thursday night we had "family night" in our community where the children shared with their family members what they learned during the week. At one point, the Living Hope team leader shared a word of thanks to our team for being their for the week. She told the congreation (all Xhosa folks) about our BBC team and said, "they are white but they understand us." It was at that moment that I better realized that God had broken through racial and cultural lines and used two very different groups of Christ-followers to proclaim His message of truth and salvation to this community!

Praise God for all that He did during October Holiday Club in 2011!


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