Monday, July 21, 2014

Looking back and Looking forward

Looking back-
In the last few weeks we have been blessed to be a part of some pretty amazing things.  We were invited to be a part of a community “Sod turning” ceremony for the buildings that we will be working on in Hazyview with the Idaho Falls Work and Witness team and then next year with the Canada Central District.  Some of the people who will be a part of the team from Canada Central were in Swaziland on another trip and were able to come down and be a part of the ceremony.  There were lots of people from the community there, teachers from the surrounding schools, other pastors from the district, as well representatives from the Mayors office, and the Chief from that Village.   It was a privilege to be a part and to see and feel the excitement of what is going to take place and is already taking place in the community.  The Good Hope Church of the Nazarene has already done a lot to prepare for the team that is coming this week and we are excited to work alongside them and continue to work with them.  

The following week we were able to make a trip to Swaziland and meet some amazing brothers and sisters in Christ.  I am still processing everything I saw and heard and was a part of there.  The Church of the Nazarene is a part of some pretty amazing things in Swaziland from helping to care for those with AIDS/HIV; helping to prevent the spread of AIDS/HIV; elementary, high school, college, pastoral/theological and agricultural training/education.   All of this is in addition to the normal events of the local and district activities and outreaches.  It was a great week and a great time spent with some amazing people from Swaziland, South Africa, the US and Canada. 

Looking forward-

Our first Work and Witness Team arrives tomorrow evening.  We will head to the town of Hazyview South Africa until August 4th.  During our time with the team we will be working on building 4 classrooms, which will be used to train young people who have graduated high school but are not able to find jobs.  One of the classrooms will be a computer lab and the others will be used for other types of training that will help the youth find jobs.  We will also be holding a Vacation Bible School on three different afternoon/evenings.  But over and above all the tasks we want to complete is the call to love those we are serving alongside of and to love the people of the community we are going to be a part for the next two weeks.  A part of our role here in South Africa is to coordinate Work & Witness teams, but over and above those responsibilities, there is our responsibility and call to help connect people and help to build and strengthen relationships between different people but more importantly between people and God.  We are excited about the weeks to come.  Join us in prayer for the team and for the relationships that will be built and the lives that will be changed by the outreach and vision of Good Hope Church of the Nazarene. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014


When you move to a new place there are lots of questions.  Where is…; How do you…; Why is….; What about…?  But the questions that are filling my mind these days are not questions about the details of living life in South Africa; the questions that are filling my mind are questions about the stories of the people around me.  There are lots of stories that come with living in a new place.  The stories of the people you meet; the stories of how things developed and came to be.  Right now as we are driving in the rural part of South Africa, my head is filled with questions and stories. 

We have been in South Africa for a week today.  During that week we have gotten settled into our home, unpacked our suitcases, we have bought a car and a variety of other things we needed for our home.  We had the privilege to have the Maluleka’s in our home for breakfast and a time of sharing about the vision for the Africa South Field.  We felt the hospitality of missionary friends and colleagues through meals, trips shopping, advice, and other acts of friendship..  We were also able to go to the Africa Regional Office and see and hear about what God is doing there. 

We also had the privilege to meet so many South African’s who are being faithful to the ministry God is calling them too.  We took a trip on Thursday and Friday to Hazyview South Africa.  Which is the site where the upcoming Work & Witness team will be working.  While we were there we were honored to be able to stay in Pastor Robert’s home and meet his wife and son.  We were also able to see several of the other area churches and hear and see the ways that God is working through people who are willing to be used by him. 

One of the churches that we visited started under a tree.  Soon they out grew the space that the tree shaded so they built a church that could seat 60 – 80 people.  Then they out grew that space so they tore that down and built a space that would hold more.  When they out grew that space they built again.  They are currently working a church building that will be to seat 2000 people.  It started under a tree with a few people being faithful to what God called them to.  And now they are continuing to be faithful to what God is calling them to.   To steal the words of Rev Mashangu (Field Strategy Coordinator for the Africa South Field and our boss) “If trees could talk this tree would tell the story of the first pastor who preached here, the story of the first soul that was saved here…” It would tell the story of the conversations and dreams about building a church building, and then the conversations and dreams to continue to grow. 

The questions that we sometimes wonder when it comes to ministry are things like can God use me, will He use me, etc.

But I am beginning to see:

The question is not can God use you?  He created you in His image Of course He can use you. 

The question is not will God use you?  Look around at the hurting people around you and the various needs in your community.  Of course He will use you. 

The question is: are you willing? 

The question is not: who you are or what you have.  The question is are you willing to be faithful with what God has given you and how He has gifted and graced you.  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, it doesn’t matter what you have or what you don’t have.  The question is, are you willing to be faithful. 

The location that you are in is not important; whether you are in a small town or village, whether you are in a large city, whether you are in your birth country or not.  The question remains the same; are you willing? 

If you are answer is yes, then the question will become, I wonder what God is going to do next?

Until next time; remembering to keep asking questions and keep telling the stories of God’s faithfulness.