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.
The first reason Father has called us here is we needed South Africa. This was something Holy Spirit began showing us early, even before coming. When we first felt the call, we were full of expectations of all the great things we could do, how much help we could bring, how great the needs were and that we were an answer to those needs. Then we began look at some of the deeply harmful things that well intentioned people do to those they endeavor to help. This led us to reevaluate how we saw ourselves and the South Africans we were coming to be with.
Just a few months into our time here, Christina had a conversation with an elderly Afrikaner gentleman who was rather upset by the notion that we had come from the USA to serve here. His opinion was that we had enough problems that needed addressed in our home country. Christina’s response was that we needed South Africa more than it needed us.
I still think this is true. South Africa doesn’t need us. God has always been at work here and it will continue after we are gone. Yet, it is obvious that He wants us here. Part of our story intertwines with the story of South Africa. He is weaving a tapestry here that we are a part of now. He has woven us together with Living Hope and Masiphumelele for a season and now is weaving us with YWAM and Ocean View. Our relationships with people here have changed us. We have been impacted and enriched by all of them. Even when the interaction was negative to begin with, God brings good out of it and makes us better.
A huge part of what we needed was to leave our comfort zones. There are certainly a myriad of ways to leave your comfort zone, but moving half way around the world was what God asked us to do. Through it all we have learned to trust Him in ways that we couldn’t before. We have grown in intimacy with Father, Son and Spirit. Our mindsets have been shattered. Our eyes have been opened. We are being transformed and living in South Africa has played an intricate role in all of it.
Something that we have been exploring lately is redemptive gifts and the design of the Creator. Every person, family, community, city, state, nation, continent, etc., carries gifts that benefit the whole. We have been enriched by walking this land, living among its people, engaging in its culture. The gifts here have become a part of us and are helping bring us to fullness.
Interestingly enough, looking at gifts and community and design helps us realize that this is not a one way relationship. God wanted us to bring our gifts here for the betterment of this place and its people. We are enriching this place and its people by walking the land, living among its people and engaging in its culture. Now we realize we didn’t come here for what we could do. It is for who we are, what we carry, what God has done in our lives.
This brings us full circle, back to where we started but at a deeper level. We are here in a mutually beneficial relationship with the people, community and land. We are all being transformed into our intended design. We are all wealthier because we are together. Considering how foreigners have ravaged the wealth of this nation and continent, it is much healthier that the relationship is mutual and not just receiving.
There will be more to come.