South Africa: Week 2

Sunday – July 24, 2016

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On our final Sunday there, we split into two groups and went to two separate churches. My group went to Lawley Family Fellowship in the Lawley township. The church building almost looked abandoned from the outside. The building was missing windows, doors, and even the roof in some areas. After everyone arrived, we went inside of the church to get started. They have to set up chairs every time for church because they’ve had so many robberies. They have had chairs and windows stolen from them before.

The service was amazing! The pastor started by reading scripture and then the congregation sang a few songs led by an amazing woman sitting on the front row. No PowerPoint song lyrics or fancy praise band performance… just powerful voices being raised to an Almighty God. It was in that moment that I began to break. Then, a few people from our team got up and shared their testimonies with the congregation. The pastor introduced a special, unplanned item from the “church sisters”. The ladies got up and started singing on the way up to the stage. These four ladies sang so passionately and loudly, that I can began to sob. The presence of the Holy Spirit in that place… I cannot describe it to you. They sang a few songs and I was overwhelmed by how amazing God is. I was also challenged because often I go to church not in the right attitude. I’m there because thats the thing to do on Sundays or I go looking to see what I can get out of it. If I’m not entertained or satisfied, then I leave in a ‘bleh’ mood. These people were there to worship God to the fullest, even when it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t about them, it was about worshipping Him. After the service, some of the ladies prepared soup for us. They were so kind and giving. The whole day just completely wrecked my soul.

 

Monday – July 25, 2016

On Monday, we got up early and went to a Christian school chapel service at Graceview Christian School. First, we did an icebreaker song and then a few girls from our team shared their testimonies. After that the whole group sang a song for them and then some of us did a skit. The skit explained the Gospel very clearly and how we can get stuck in sin. Then one of our guys got up and explained the Gospel again and wrapped it up. We had to leave pretty quickly because their chapel service was short, but it was awesome being all together as one group.

That afternoon, we headed to Bosasa Youth Development Center to minister to those in the juvenile detention center. We were separated into different groups. There was a group for the female section, one for the males ages 13-18, and one for males ages 18-21. I was selected to be in the female group, which I was very happy about. To be honest, I was a little frightened to be in either of the male groups. When we got there, we went through security and then had to wait to head to our section. My group was told to follow the males (13-18) group and then we would split up from there. We were standing in the room waiting to go to our section, but we just never did. We still don’t know what happened, but we weren’t able to go to the female section. I was in a horrible mood because I felt like I was being useless just standing on the side. There was already way more of our team than there were guys, so with the girls team being in there too, the ratio was way off. Our team shared testimonies, did icebreakers, and gave the Gospel message. After this, we split up into small groups. As I mentioned before, I was NOT in a good mood. I was bummed because I felt like God was going to use me to bless others that day and here I was standing on the side doing nothing. I looked around the room to try to find a group to join. I finally settled on a group with one boy and two other female leaders. As I approached the group, I suddenly realized that this boy was quoting paragraphs of Scripture. Long story short, this boy had only been saved since May and was so into the Word of God that he knew it by heart. Every time we asked him any question, he would take it back to Scripture.There were a group of guys in the prison that were saved and witnessing to/discipling others. Here I was, pridefully expecting to bless others, when really I was the one who was tremendously blessed.  It was a very humbling experience.

Tuesday – July 26, 2016

Tuesday we went to marketplace to do some shopping. I thought I would be really good at the whole bargaining thing, but boy was I wrong. I was very overwhelmed at this place. I ended up getting stuff that I really wanted for my family and friends, but it was not my favorite experience.

That afternoon, we split into two groups. One group went out to a high school for ministry. My group stayed behind with the Mozambique team, who had just arrived the night before. We gathered around the fire and sang worship songs and talked about what God had done throughout the trip. It was a wonderful time of reflection, fellowship, and worship.

Wednesday – July 27, 2016

On this day, we got up and split off into our two groups for ministry. My group went back to Queens High School like we did the previous week. My bus got there late, so we missed some of the presentation. Testimonies were shared and the message was given. After that, we split into small groups. We went over the lesson and asked them a few questions. At the end of it, we gave them the Gospel of John to take with them.

That afternoon, my group did an Olympian day camp at the WOLZA property like we did the week before. We played games and sang songs with the kids when they got there. Again, the kids were split into two groups by age and I went with the older group. Our kids heard a lesson on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We then split into small groups. I had a group of two 9 year old girls and one 12 year old girl. I explained the Gospel to them and got to know them a little better. After the event, we were able to line the kids up and give them new clothes. This is an amazing ministry and I am so thankful they do this every week.

That night we went to a restaurant called Carnivore. It is kind of like a Brazilian steakhouse, but with exotic African meats. I tried everything on the menu besides the Crocodile because I had had that before and did not like it. The strangest thing I ate was Zebra, but it was actually quite delicious. I loved being able to experience this with our team. It was a very fun night!

Thursday – July 28, 2016

This morning we got up and headed off for our Safari. We were all SO excited!! We started off by going to an animal creche where we were able to pay to get in the pen with certain animals. I was able to hold baby white lions and play with Anabel the cheetah. She was playful like a dog and tackled me to the ground. I was really scared, but she was just playing. It was awesome being able to see these animals up close. As we drove through the park, I thought about how wonderful God is to create such amazing creatures in such beautiful places. I spent a lot of time in prayer just thanking Him for creation. This was one of the coolest experiences of my life.

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That afternoon, we went to Zandspruit again for the after school ministry. We sang, played, and loved on these kids for the second time. After the message, I had a small group of two girls and two boys, all in 3rd and 4th grade. They asked me a lot of questions about God and the Bible, and I was able to share the Gospel with them. It was really hard leaving these kids because they wanted us to come back the next week. This ministry goes on every week though, so those kids will continue to be loved on.

Since this was our last night there, we had a meeting where we sang worship songs and shared what all God had done over the past three weeks. We were all sad to be leaving the next day, but passionate about what God had done. After the meeting, we had a talent show. We had some great acts… some were heartfelt and some were hilarious. It was the perfect ending to our trip.

 

Friday – July 29, 2016  

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Our last day was spent packing, cleaning, and dreadfully saying goodbye to all the people we had served alongside of the past two weeks. We took pictures and hugged all of the wonderful people at WOLZA before getting on the buses and heading off to the airport. I was so sad to leave, but a part of me wanted to get back home. It strangely felt like we had been gone a year, but also that we had only been there for a few days. We had our last meal together (besides the airplane food) at the airport and then got on the plane for a 15 hour flight.

Saturday – July 30, 2016

When we got back to America, we had to split up and go into different places. We hurriedly said goodbye in the airport before catching our next flight. It felt rushed and incomplete. These people had become family in a matter of three weeks and now we had to head back to reality, all in different directions. There were a lot of emotions piled up and no time to deal with them. A group of us were flying to Charlotte next, so we headed to our gates.

Two flights later, we finally arrived back in Greensboro. We were welcomed by loving faces, homemade welcome signs, and thanks to my amazing Mom and Grandma, some sweet tea. Praise the Lord! And just like that, the trip was over.

To say my life has been forever changed would be an understatement. God worked is SO many ways throughout this trip and I am still seeing Him work because of it today. I learned so many lessons, felt His presence, and was impacted by every single person on our team.  I cannot wait to go on another missions trip in the future. He is so amazing and He gets all the glory from all that was accomplished on this trip. I will truly never be the same.

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