On June 28 we will have our five year anniversary in South Africa. With less than a month to go now, I feel I should do a little series of what God has shown us as we have journeyed with Him these five years. He has called us and He keeps opening our eyes to His plans and purposes. When Christina’s parents were here last month, we talked quite a bit about defining vision, mission and purpose, giving words to the things we feel in our spirits. Continue reading Why are we here?
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. Continue reading Why I Loved South Africa Today
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!
A friend of mine in South Africa posted this video on Facebook. It is an animated, abridged version of a TED talk given by author Johann Hari. He wrote a book about substance abuse called Chasing the Scream. He realized he had a number of addicts in his life and didn’t know how to help them. He went on a journey to find answers and wrote about it. I haven’t read the book, yet, (I have started.) but I think his findings are worth considering.
Addiction is a major factor in our community. (Today I was praying with two young moms whose own mothers are addicted to crystal meth. These mothers no longer have relationships with their children or grandchildren.) In many cases, the shame and isolation method of treatment isn’t working. It is making it worse. This author postulates that love and community may be much more effective tools in setting people free, which resonates with where we see God leading us.
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.
Let’s take a look back at the best of our car stories, shall we? :
10. Circus clowns. Upon arriving in South Africa and not having enough money to buy a car, we rented what we could afford: A purple Ford Fiesta named Jasmine. All seven of us would cram in that thing, all folded over on top of each other. When we got out it was like crescent rolls in a Pillsbury can.
9. Grand Theft Auto. Four months into our life in South Africa we learned just how easy it is to have a car stolen. From the front of your house. While you’re home. In broad daylight. If you’re naive, like we were, you’ll leave a bunch of treasured possessions in the car too. Dude, Where’s My Car?!
8. The Swaggon. We loved our 1989 VW Microbus. Often mistaken for a taxi, we cruised through town with style, sometimes surfboards in tow. Sometimes it ran. We had the engine rebuilt… twice. It had no less than 17 major repairs. Still, even though she said she would stay loyal, she quit often. We have pushed her out of parking garages, up hills and through town. She was a moody one. However, one late night, Christina caught four guys trying to steal her, from right in front of our house. Unfortunately, they had already started dismantling the whatchamacallit, making it impossible to drive. After neighborhood watch caught the guys, Christina marched herself into the police station to identify the thieves but also to suggest that since they were doing nothing but sitting in jail, that they come repair the work they had done. The police refused. We had to pay for it. It broke down again shortly after that. We decided it was time to break off this co-dependent relationship.
7. The Phantom. We found this beauty for sale on a used car site from a nice Christian man we met before. Perfect! We mentioned it on social media and the next thing you know, there’s a gofundme and money is coming in faster than a televangelist during the hour of power. Friends and family are super excited for us and we are thrilled to have a car that seems so nice! It has been four long years of waiting and praying and enduring car problems. Finally, it’s over! Everything is awesome.
Until there was that dreadful noise….TWO DAYS LATER. Oh, the mechanic says, (our trusty mechanic) the engine needs to be rebuilt. He can do it but it requires a deposit, a large one. And then later he needs more money because he needs to rebuild the rebuild. Then the mechanic is crying in our living room because his life has no purpose.
Three months later we discover our car in his garage but he is nowhere to be found. The engine is there, in parts. All over the place like a neurotic jigsaw puzzle. The mechanic is nowhere. He just disappeared, like a phantom. We tried to file a police report for a stolen car. Fat chance said the officer. You gave him your keys. Well, when you put it that way…No money, no car. No hope for humanity.
6. We borrowed a friend’s van while they were in the US. Thieves broke the side window and stole a shoe. A child’s shoe. Not both shoes. One shoe-the left one to be exact. Amount owed: one window and a pair of shoes.
5. Borrowed a friend’s car… (When will we learn to NOT do this)? Hear a strange noise. Mechanic says the entire car is not roadworthy. Advises us to only drive if we are done with living. Odd business style but alright.
4. Borrowed a friend’s car…breaks down. Find a different mechanic. Should have had a clue when this mechanic doesn’t own a car of his own and must walk to our house everyday carrying his set of tools. R5500 worth of repair plus petrol expenses. Ours, not his.
3. Have pumpkin pie, will travel. Thanksgiving week. On our way to Thanksgiving dinner, the car slowly grinds to an involuntary halt. Pumpkin pies on our laps, we are forced to yet again call a friend to come pick us up from the side of the road. The car is towed and fixed. Or so we thought.
That same week…we are on our way to take all the kittens to the vet. Driving along a very busy road we hear a terrible noise. The car rumbles out of control and we pull over to the side to discover that metal shavings all over the road and the tire is shot. One of our friends, Marti, shows up to direct traffic away from Kevin who is sprawled underneath the car. The kittens are meowing. A tow truck driver arrives, another friend arrives for moral support. One drives by and honks, no doubt laughing at us. Marti is wearing an authoritative safety vest and scolds speeding taxis while standing guard over Kevin’s head. I guard the box of cats wishing I had pumpkin pie to eat right there on the curb.
2. Hello from the other side. This is way too long a story but it begins with us borrowing a friend’s van which breaks down in the middle of forsaken land in Illinois. The story culminates with a kindly man picking us up off the side of the interstate and taking all 7 of us to his house to stay until the van can be fixed which turns out to be 7 days. You really have to read it to believe it.
And the TOP CAR STORY is…Last week, my friend calls me all excited and mysterious like, talking of God-things. Their family is moving back to America from South Africa .
Over the phone, I hear, “We are giving you our car. We feel like that is what God wants us to do.”
They could have sold it and used the money for moving expenses or for anything, but they gave us their Toyota Condor which is in phenomenal condition and runs like a charm. It has air conditioning, a CD player, power windows and locks and most importantly, an alarm system, which I think God finds hilarious. It’s also made in this century, unlike any of our previous cars.
I often look outside to make sure it’s still in front of our house and I’m not dreaming.
“That is not a massage. No, it’s not a massage. I was telling my neighbor, what happens is… healing. Three other people this week say the same thing. It’s healing, that’s what it is.“-Aunty Eliza
It seems unlikely, I’ll admit. This is the last place you’d visit for a spa experience, with these sun-faded sheets and shattered windows. I’m the last person you’d want give you a massage. I don’t even like feet.
I don’t know exactly when the idea took root. It swirled around in my head after I was given a massage with essential oils by my friend Ginger over three years ago. It was glorious, relaxing, calming and undoing. Continue reading Why Essential Oil Massages in Ocean View?
Please read this article. Please pray for Ocean View.
On the evening of Jacobs’s funeral on Tuesday, her family pointed to some young juveniles called “bokkies” who they said helped kill her, but would not speak to the police because they were afraid they would be next on their hit list.
Residents say the child hitmen, recruited to commit murders, are feared even though they are as young as nine.
“I am heartsore about Linkie’s death, about the messy way she was killed. She did not deserve it. Everyone knows who killed her, but no one will talk. If you lived here and have seen people drop like flies for even speaking to police, you will understand the fear,” a family member said.
Here’s what we’ve learned about racial reconciliation since living in post-apartheid South Africa: