Monday, May 9, 2011

One thing I know is this

“I spent most of my life pretending I was somewhere else, off with you on one of your adventures. My own adventure turned out to be quite different.”(Frodo Baggins LOTR)
Well it is true; our adventures do often turn out to be different than what we expect. And my next one even has a purpose.

I find something that is jumping out at me from scripture is an idea. When God instructs the Hebrew people to tell their children all the things that the Lord their God has done for them He has a purpose. He wants the nation of Israel to know who they are. He wants them to remember where they come from.

Deuteronomy 4:9-10
9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. 10 Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

Well the next adventure does indeed include a bit about where I come from. If God wants us to know where we come from, if he feels that it’s important, then I wan tot know more about where I come from. So as a result I am going to go and wander through the places where my family is from: France, Belgium, Scotland, England and Ireland.
But take heart. “Not all those who wander are lost” (LOTR JRR Tolkien). I will be finding myself wandering around looking for something, not quite sure what it is. Heck I am not even sure where I’m going to find it. But “there is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after” (Also from LOTR)

And guess what, Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Doesn’t say anything about where to seek, nor does it describe exactly what you will find. Now since God is infinite, then there’s a whole lot of stuff that I could find eh?

So I have no idea what I am going to find, but I am excited for whatever it is. I’m going to go and wait for what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What makes an orphan?

What is an orphan? Well the answer to that can vary, and sometimes the specifics have to be talked about. During my time in South Africa I have come to see things a little bit differently than before and would like to share.

Single Orphan: A child who has lost one parent
Double Orphan: a Child who has lost both parents

In some cultures, especially those we came across in South Africa, the orphans will be taken in by family members, often aunts or uncles, or move around between different aunt’s and uncle’s houses.

Or they may be a
Child headed household: a home where no parents are present, due to death or living in the city in order to have work and make money.

Or a child in a household where there parents don’t care for them at all.

What do orphans need? Well the Ministry of Ten Thousand Homes believes that God’s heart is to build homes and not just houses. Building relationships, creating a place of safety, demonstrating family and providing for needs is how they share the person of God with the people in the local communities.

So, by partnering with them, our team was also able to show these orphans what love can look like: someone to kick around a soccer-ball with, a person to cuddle with, a hug, an encourager, someone who will come back when they say that they will, a person who builds a house, or all of the above.

We even got a chance to share with the boys and girls about who they are. In these communities almost everyone has heard of Jesus and many are christians. So we shared about how when God is our Father that we are princes and princesses of the most High King. How much do young boys dream of being the knight prince in shining armor, and the girls of being the beautiful princess, and they long for that because it’s a small piece of their identity. A piece of identity that has gone missing, so we got a chance to instill it back into them.

We met them as orphans, and said fair well to royalty.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Switzerland yet again

How bitter sweet it is to be in Switzerland once again. A strange sentiment to begin a blog post I know so I’ll take a few steps back and mention the finale of my time in South Africa.

The final location that we travelled to was in the North East of the country near the town of White River. A ministry to build homes and not just houses. This location is the greatest importance to me, a place full of friendship, a place that I have been before. Last year our team got to help with the construction projects in the area. This year, I got to enjoy the fruits of relationship. I had the opportunity to pick up where I left off last year and wow, I tell you what WOW!

It was a blessing to hang out with the guys from the local church. To chat, and laugh, to dance and sing. I even got to learn from them a few phrases in saswati. Definitely a place that I would love to return to. Relationships, the key to impacting people, and truly, I tell you I was impacted.

In a place where the people have next to nothing by a ‘western’ standard, here is a group of young men who give their days to volunteering as construction workers to build a house for a family of orphaned boys, or to cook for children who don’t always have enough food. And on top of that, have a heart to take what they do have and give to those who have even less in neighboring nations like Mozambique.

When one leaves a place like that and returns to a nation of wealth like Switzerland, and you’re in for a little bit of that bitter sweet flavor I mentioned earlier. It’s not a reverse culture shock for me, not this time. I knew where I was going, and what awaited me there.

No, for me it’s different. It’s coming back to a place that I know and love, and yet do not have the same desire to be here that I used to. I have changed, I have grown, and now I am at a place where I don’t fit here any longer. I simply feel unsettled, as if things don’t fit.

But that’s okay, a new direction is a new adventure.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Contrast of sorts

Time and time again God takes you for a walk of incredible beauty. My friend calls them BP&J dates, because it often turns out that she‘s got a penut butter and jam sandwich for to eat while God shows her some breathtaking view and sits quietly beside her to watch.

Here in South Africa the beauty is in the sunset, the sun rise, the mountain, the clouds rolling off the mountains, the rivers, the ravines, and the beaches.

Literally placed right beside, under or on those same amazing features will often sit on of gut wrenching saddness. entire towns of small shaks cobbled together out of whatever material can be found. Slums stretching for kilometers beside the highway or climbing halfway up a mountain side.

Then, something that can be even more troubling is what sits, at times, only a few hundered meters from those slums. That is mansions or wealthy districts of houses and even gated communities.

I see these things and think to myself, “I don‘t understand. I don‘t get it. What‘s going on God?“

I still don‘t know. I still don‘t understand it all, but I feel like the answer is something like this. “This is a result. A result of things people did and even continue to do. As soon as they stop doing those things and turn to Me, then I will show them the change they so desire.“

I don‘t know what part I can play in that story as it unfolds, but if you‘ll joing me in praying for change, then together we can believe for change.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Summary...not too many exciting stories

Hey hey,

Hanging out in South Africa.

It's been three weeks now in Capetown. And here's the sumarry.

Week 1 Taking Care of Sick people

Yes, the team got sick in the first week in South Africa. But that's a good thing. Now that the sickness has gone around we're safe for the rest of the trip right? Well, not 100% safe from sickness but for sure it's ou of the way now.

Week 2 Track and Field

Yeah, we spent the week at a primary school helping to get the students ready for their track meet. I got to coach those learning Shot put, you know, because I have extensive experience in my one time ever of doing shot put at my track meet in grade 7 eh?
Also I got to teach and select the long jump team for the school A very difficult process as there was only 2 spots per age group and often four or five very good jumpers.

Week 3 Track and classroom

Now at another school, now working with sprinters. Heh heh...I got to make kids run all day. It was like punishing them, but they wanted to do it.
Oh, and if anyone doubt my organizational ability (not willingness) then go check out te library at St. Paul's Primary School. Yeah, helped set that thing up heaps good.

This goes out to all primary school teachers, especially my primary school teachers...Thank you for your patience and your perseverance with children day in and day out. The amount of fortitude that it must take to do the job day in and out is incredible. You are amazing!