Category Archives: Adventures in South Africa

Why I Loved South Africa Today

Photo: Sullivan Photography

It’s alive today. Not in a perfect way. In a broken, hurting, raging way, for a pile of different reasons. Standing in the middle of Main Road, a chain of people line the sidewalks and streets in a nationwide protest against the current president, Jacob Zuma.  Car horns are sounding, flags are waving and there is something alive in the air. I am standing mostly beside elderly white people holding South African flags almost too big for their frail bodies. The wind whips and twirls the flag but these old ladies can hold their own against great white sharks during a morning swim. A rambunctious flag is no problem.

It’s not perfect, this protest. It should’ve happened sooner, for more humane causes. It should’ve been easier to call these voices to action when injustice sneered but people couldn’t be bothered.

But, there is today. Today, I saw a glimpse of the spirit of the nation-the nation that I read about in newspapers 23 years ago-I saw it, first hand in all of its colorful glory.

It’s unlike anything I can describe to you, this presence, this moment. It’s bulky and awkward and moves like a lumbering monster on a crowded street, appendages flailing, causing collateral damage in its wake. But moving it is. Rising it is. Roaring it is. The spirit of South Africa and her people, all their glorious diversity and rainbow nation-ness. This young republic, cumbersome with pain from the past, daring to wrestle with its future.

Photo: Sullivan Photography

I see different people groups standing together. I see each one, balancing both their wounds and their rage, each riddled with injustice or exhausted from fear.

I see the toyi-toying rhythms and hear the deep, low chanting. It gives me shivers and brings tears to my eyes. People born to sing and dance, well-practiced in the language of resistance. Their dancing and chanting need no instructor or guide. Each one innately knows the dance, learned from a small age. This is who we are. Powerful. Beautiful. A call to action that resonates from the soil itself.

I see the posters and cardboard signs outside the Coloured community, reminding passerby’s that they are there, right where the government left them 50 years ago. They are there, a community born to celebrate and laugh, burdened with violence and invisibility. But they are there, standing proud, taking their turn in the protest, voices heard, faces seen. They are aching and beautiful. They hold the healing answers. They are all of us.

I see the red, blue, green and white colors of the flag waving, just a baby in the life of this new South Africa. There, under the shadow of Nelson Mandela’s mosaic, stand the crowd of thousands reminding themselves that it was here, in this space, where the nation learned the power of a unified voice. Today, I saw a nation rise, lumbering and shaky, sore from the sitting. Together, the rainbow nation made a collective statement. This nation is more important than an empire, the people more valuable than a demagogue.

Today, I felt an electric jolt of hope that whispered of possibility as it winged its way through town.

And I marvel at how much this struggling nation will teach the struggling world.

 

*video Michael Bullock

 

THE BIG ASK NEWS!

Our new friend Sara inspired us to ASK BIG! So here it is!

OPERATION HOPE: As we have sought God’s heart, we find it more vast and more expansive than we ever dreamed. The depth of His love of us is without equal and without limit. He has big plans for His people and we are thrilled to be a part of it. We believe He has placed us here in Cape Town, the Mother City, to be a part of Him birthing something new into the earth. He is always doing a new thing.

 

WHO: We believe the first nation people of southern Africa, the Khoisan, to be a key component in God’s new thing. (Some believe they are the first nation people of the whole earth.) They are gate-keepers to the land, to the soil. As God draws us close to show us who we really are, we find that He is telling us we are both fully physical, people formed from the dust, and fully spiritual, made in the image and likeness of God. These gate keepers have a deeply spiritual way about them. Continue reading THE BIG ASK NEWS!

God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous

Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the Grade R (kindergarten) at the Ocean View Care Centre. I had no idea until I arrived. The excitement was abundant because it was truly a day to celebrate plus, God had provided a free trip to the circus for the school as a birthday present! Two years of miracles are certainly worthy of celebration.

The story is remarkable. The school was born in pain. The founder lost his young son to cancer at the end of 2014. He decided that he was not going to allow the children of Ocean View to be lost through lack of academic preparation. He couldn’t change what happened to his boy, but he could change the paths of the children of Ocean View who seemed to be falling through the cracks because they were on the streets when they should have been in a Grade R preschool.

The school was started with a simple decision. We will do it and God will provide. There was no building and no budget. These children’s families could not pay for this school and yet these children needed nutrition if they were going to learn. He found a retired teacher to do the teaching, and they rounded up about 20 kids who were Grade R age but were playing in the streets during school days. On February 10, 2015, the school started outside in the corner of a building. It rained that day while kids sat huddled in a corner of an abandoned building.

The school started to grow. More children came and so did more volunteer teachers. In April, the school and Ocean View Care Centre received 16 used shipping containers and were allowed to put them on a plot of council land. Now the school has its own classrooms and kitchen. Playground equipment was donated and a small support staff feed and care for the students.

Every day is a miracle here. Everyone is a volunteer. There are no salaries. When they come to serve, it is a miracle. The children are fed breakfast, lunch and a snack every day with no budget. Miracle. 85 children completed the first year. There was a total of 98 who came at some point during that year. Miracle. That was overwhelming so they capped enrollment at 55 the second year with a smaller staff. Miracle. This year they have about 40 students. Miracle. Almost 200 children’s lives have been impacted over this two years. Miraculous.

During our morning prayer meeting, I found myself praising the “God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous.” He has made a school out of shipping containers and a vacant lot. He has fed and taught almost 200 children and prepared them for a better future. He has changed the lives of countless parents, observers, and volunteers who He has touched as we watched Him work with willing hearts and no budget.

The crazy thing is this is only the beginning of the impossible and preposterous things we expect God to do in Ocean View, in the Fish Hoek Valley, in Cape Town, in South Africa, across the African continent, and around the world. Get ready to participate with the God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous.

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One of “Those” Weeks

IMG_0227Sunday: We dropped Dylan off at  Cape Town International airport to begin his six month study in Amsterdam. He’s pursuing God and running after adventure, which we fully embrace and applaud. It doesn’t make it any easier watching our blond-haired surfer walk through international security all by himself.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.26.53 PMMonday: Our oldest, Jackson, turned 21 years old. Quite a significant milestone. Too bad we are 10,000 miles apart and were only able to celebrate with him over Skype. It’s not the first time we’ve been apart for his birthday, but the day still feels vacant. Screenshots don’t make the most attractive pictures.

IMG_0234Also on Monday: After three years of homeschooling, Ethan and Hudson begin their first day of high school in South Africa. We are super excited  they will be going to school yet…the unknowns create anxiety in this mom’s heart. Yes, today I spent most of the day worried that I’ve either thrown them to the wolves or given them wings to fly. *Yes, there is a height differential, even though they’re twins. Puberty is cruel and unjust. Continue reading One of “Those” Weeks

How About Uganda and South Sudan?

10904632_10205689556820494_4025586220081130125_oYes, how about a trip to Africa?  Yes, I know we are in Africa, but this is a different part of Africa.  If you haven’t heard, Jackson has joined the staff of YWAM Muizenberg. He’s now staffing a DTS which means he will be leading an outreach team of his own. It’s just been announced that he and his co-leader Elisabeth will be spending 10 weeks in Uganda and South Sudan! Continue reading How About Uganda and South Sudan?

In Jackson’s Words…

DSC_0526Below is a guest post from our son Jackson, who recently completed a Discipleship Training School outreach. We are super proud of him!

 

The main reason I wanted to do a YWAM DTS (Discipleship Training School) was to find my purpose and calling. I mean, I am fresh out of high school, I live in South Africa and I have not even applied to a single college. You have no idea how many times I have been asked, “What are you doing next?” I was stressed out from the pressure because dude, I really like surfing.* Continue reading In Jackson’s Words…