A blog about the adventures we can have in our every day lives if we are willing to follow God's lead. Whether you are walking, running, or stumbling, after Christ, I invite you to join me as I do the same. Following Christ is the best adventure you will ever step out on, but if you never put one foot in front of the other following in His steps you may miss the greatest adventures and blessings of your life while here on earth. Are you ready? Let's go!
“I was 19. At
the time I was attending a small church. Tiny would be more accurate. It was at
a time when I was rethinking my life’s plans, and offering them to the Lord for
His revision. That Sunday it was a powerful worship service. I was Praising God
with my heart and soul and asking Him to tell me what He wanted from me and then
a vision came to me. I could see these magnificent mountains. They were unlike
any I had seen before. They were beautiful. I heard the Lord impress upon me,
“Go to _______.” But the song was wrapping up. I couldn’t quite understand what
the last part was. The vision of those mountains was permanently pressed in my
brain. The name of the location was not. It was something around 3 syllables it
started with an A. I was still excited. This had never happened before. After
the service I raced home to search through our encyclopedias. (This was before
the internet was so widely available.) The closest thing I could find as I
poured through it page by page was a picture of some similar mountains near
something called the Gulf of Aqabah. It was similar. I left it at that and then
prayed for the Lord to prepare the way for when I would go. Fast forward 13
years. I am now 32 years old. I have since married, had 3 kids, served with the
youth for over ten years now and still am yearning to go on an international
Missions Trip. Through the years of studying people groups in College and doing
30 hour famines with teenagers in our church discovered I have a very deep
seated yearning for Africa. I don’t share that with everyone, but my dear
husband knows it.
I am 32 years
old, it’s December and our Pastor after some time in prayer, reveals to us that
the Lord has placed it on his heart to send 2 adults and 4 teens to Africa. My
husband turns to me and says, “Well that’s you. This one is yours.” I was dumbstruck.
I was scared, elated, nervous, and confused. Why now? I have 3 young children
at home. I cannot imagine leaving them for 2 weeks. How in the world will we
afford this? And yet all the while my soul is stirring. I can feel this thrill
from 13 years of longing to go somewhere internationally for the Lord. I can
hardly believe it.
Now fast forward to the morning of our
arrival in George, South Africa.
We have only one calling card to our name
that our dear Missionary host, Jeff Holder, has purchased for us. We needed it
to let our families know that we had arrived safely in South Africa. We were
the only crew who did not have an International Cell Phone. We were just happy
we made it there. At about 10am Uncle Jeff, as the South Africans call him loads
us into his truck to take us up the mountain to a retreat center that has a
phone that we can use our calling card on. Elizabeth and I hopped into the
truck and with great anticipation we watched as we began the bumpy winding ride
up the two track to the retreat center. As we reached the top I could not
figure out which direction to look first. There was the ocean views across the
mountain tops, there were the beautiful flowers that were blooming despite the
cold weather. It was amazing. In the parking lot of the retreat center, as the
haze of the morning was clearing, I looked the other direction. The landscape flattened
out. It stretched beautifully in shades of browns and greens. Rolling up slowly
into hills and then there they were, the mountains from my vision.
that has not left my mind for the last 13 years. One that I had begun to doubt
it would ever come to pass. That perhaps I had misjudged what the Lord was
telling me then. I mean 13 years had
passed, but I had continued to pray for the Lord to prepare me. And there they
were. I didn’t know what to say at first. I think I just stared. I couldn’t
soak them in enough in those few moments. I was so excited and giddy. I was in shock
realizing that it had finally happened. I had arrived at a destination God had
for ordained for me and revealed to me at the age of 19. That it wasn’t
“Aqabah” that I was to go to it was “Africa”. I wanted to cry. It all became clear then. At first, I didn’t say anything to anyone
about it. I found myself just teary eyed in general. Anything could set me off
because I was just so overjoyed with praises and wonder for my Lord and His
care for detail. I was in awe that he chose me to come here. And now thrilled
to see what else might possibly be in store for all of us in South Africa. And
the Lord as usual blew us away. Every day our team would drive past the OuteniquaMountains and I would thank the Lord for what He has done for
my life through the years. And for what He wanted to do that day in my mission
Our little team from Michigan.
The Most beautiful people I have ever met.
of colors and shapes was breath taking. People spoke of being color blind on
this trip. I understood what they were trying to say, but deep down I felt they
were minimalizing the wonders and beauties of God’s creative hands. Here we
were 60 of us or so. All the shades of the rainbow. It was beautiful. Within
only a few hours time we were sharing deep pains, great joys, lifting each other
up in prayer. We called each other family, but even there it didn’t describe
what the Holy Spirit was doing in that room. It was so much more. At least from
the broken and dysfunctional families most came from family did not describe
what was happening. This was an act of the Lord. Born out of His design and the
flames fanned by the prayers laid out ahead of this trip. His beautiful
creation was meeting together in harmony. I was in absolute awe. I would sit
back and watch them, these teens and twenty some things from all different
backgrounds, and ethnicities from across the world and wonder was this what the
best days of the early church were like? Where each soul was loved, where if
one had a need, the others jumped forward to care for it. I am so grateful to
have experienced a beautiful glimpse of heaven, where every color and every
shape will worship as one. Giving glory to the one, who is worthy of honor, glory,
and power for all eternity.
A Divine Appointment.
It was dark
out. The scent of wood fires burning as they gave the streets a soft glow. I was walking with 2 of our students trying to
round up and invite more teens to the youth rally that would be beginning
within the hour in Mossel Baai.We would
walk while singing and praising the Lord. Monre was with us and if you have ever met him
you know that he never ever stops praising the Lord. He gives new meaning to
“Let every breath praise the Lord.”Sometimes the doors remained closed and sometimes they would open for us,
as we wandered the tiered streets in the community we had labored in all week.
It was a Saturday night and we could see the evidence of the drugs and alcohol
running rampant with the youth. As we rounded another corner we came upon
another group of young women gathered around a bonfire drinking. While Adam and
I watched and prayed Monre spoke to them in both English and Afrikaans inviting
them to the rally. While the girls laughed at the invite I noticed another
young lady. She was standing back from the rest of the crew. She was very
pregnant. Monre turned his attention to her and invited her to join us. She
looked at her belly. She shook her head and laughed a bit. I am not sure what
was going through her mind, but it seemed like she was saying, “Do you not see
I am pregnant here? You don’t want me there.” He tried one more time and she
reacted the same. I could not take my eyes from her. As the group turned to go
I felt God nudge me forward and he gave me the impression he was not done
here. I was to go and speak with her. So I walked over hoping she would
understand me. “Hallo,” I said “Are you sure you do not want to go to the
rally? It will be great!” She chuckled and again looked at her belly. She
stepped back while looking away and then her eyes again rested on her belly. She
gave me a timid smile and shook her head. I then realized what I was to talk to
her about. We began discussing her pregnancy and how far a long she was.
Whether she had names picked out for her baby and so on. As the conversation started to run
dry I again invited her to the rally. Again she responded the same as before.
This time though I asked her if there was anything I could pray for.
She then changed her stance. She quickly glanced to the other girls around the
fire drinking and told me, “Ja, but you must come in.” I was so in shock that
as she turned to go I just stared at the gate in front of me. You see all of
the homes are surrounded by fences, sometimes barbed or razor wire. No one had
ever let me past the gates of these fences. She turned when she realized I was
pretty clumsily fiddling with it, still in shock at the invite. Finally, I was
in and followed her into the home. She quickly took me to a side room and that
was when I noticed that I had some support. Vanessa, another Leader, had come
up during our conversation outside and been praying. I turned to the young lady
and asked her what I could be in prayer for? She then began to explain the
complications that had occurred with her first birth. All problems I had
experienced during the birth of my first child as well. We shared back and
forth and I was able to tell her of what the Lord had done with my second
birth. How different it had been. We then prayed for her, for her baby, and the
birth itself. One last time I asked her to come to the rally and she shyly
looked down and shook her head. I asked if I could give her a hug and then we
parted. God kept her close to my heart the rest of the evening.
evening the rally had been going for about a half an hour. I was standing out in
the chilly night with a teen who was trying to sober up from getting drunk
earlier. We were discussing some of her hurts and pains in her home life.
People had been going in and out of the rally all evening so I had quit paying
attention to who was coming up to the church. This time I felt the Lord nudge
me to look up. And there she was. The girl I had prayed with earlier. I quickly
gave her a hug and thanked her for coming. Later at the closing of the Rally
there was a flood at the altar as the people and teens there came forward in
mass with God’s call upon their hearts. Praise God. It was an amazing evening
to see Him at work. It was a privilege to be used by Him. God has these apointments scheduled for all of us, if we will only be ready and listen.
The Blessings in being robbed….
from our bank account is gone.” Those were jarring words that both Elizabeth, a
parent volunteer and chaperone for this trip, and I received one morning on
this trip. The words were passed to us through other teams on this trip that
had internet access or texting. We did not have any of these things and now it
seemed so daunting to learn that we had had our bank accounts completely wiped
out and we had little to no access to communicate with the outside world.
scanners have become the new tool for thieves these days. We had only really
made a couple of purchases the night we arrived. We arrived so late in Cape
Town that the currency exchange was already closed. We were then hurried along
to the food court for a couple of our teens were very hungry. Elizabeth and I
purchased a hamburger for each teen using our bank cards. Our bank cards were
handed back to us. The teens ate and off we went on our 5 ½ hour bus ride to
our camp in George.
We had an
amazing week serving with the South Africans and other teams from across the U.S.It was an amazing week of seeing God move. Of
watching our teams be pushed out of their comfort zones to be all things to all
people so that some might know Christ Jesus as their savior. Then suddenly our
lives came to a halting stop.
from our bank account is gone.” The attacks from satan so far on this trip had been through; record cold
temps, tons of rain, our buses getting stuck in the mud, illnesses and more,
but this, this was so personal.
families on tight budgets at home had no money for groceries or gas. We had no
money except the cash we brought with us to provide for our team for the last
few days there in S.A. and the plane
layovers on the 2 day trek home. And as silly as this may sound, we were all a
bit depressed at not being able to buy the different souvenirs we had planned to
for family or friends, or even ourselves. In particular, we had decided as a
group that we really wanted one of the painted Ostrich eggs that Shane our trip
coordinator had posted photos of on face book. These last concerns over
frivolous items were silly I know, but there is a reason I mention them.
You see our entire
I.W.C. team/family was amazing. They rallied and let us use their International
cell phones to get messages back to our families in the States. To contact our
banks and have them shut down the accounts. Our team gave us hugs and prayers.
And we began to pray. That night was to be a rally in Mossel Baai. Elizabeth
and I stopped and discussed it. This was an attack of the enemy, to get us to
lose our focus on God’s plan and purpose for this mission. We began to pray, “Greater
things are yet to come tonight Lord!” And they did!Elizabeth shared with me something beautiful that came to her as she sat
in the mass of people and teenagers packed into the El Shaddai Baptist Church
in Mossel Baai. As she watched almost every single one in the room go forward
during the invitation at the end of the Rally in a flood towards the alter she
said. “Jesus, if this is what it takes. Then you can take my money. Just take
it.”God moved in abundance that night.
There is more to the story, but his outpouring did not just remain within the
walls of the church. As on other nights He moved outside in the parking lots
and streets of our Rally locations.
though we were robbed, what an amazing peace we had. God would take care of the
details. Our Michigan team pooled our money together and we could tell that we
would have enough to buy the necessary meals for the rest of the trip. The
Alabama team offered to help us wherever we might come up short as well. We
were in God’s family and things were fine. And then the Lord did the amazing.
Remember those ostrich eggs that our team wanted to purchase so badly. The last
day, we were all gathered together, and Shane, one our project coordinators,
reveals to everyone this beautiful Ostrich Egg. It was black with gold flecks.
It had a beautiful map of the U.S.A. on one side and on the other of fantastic
map of Africa. At the top was the I.W.C. logo compass. He then told us that
each one of us would receive one as a gift. I will admit it. I cried. God our
father is so caring. He knows the desires of our hearts and He made our team’s
day that we were being given a very special and beautiful ostrich egg free as a
gift from the I.W.C. God is so amazing. Anything can happen when you follow
Him. I guarantee you, it will never be boring. It will push you out of your
comfort zone. It will be exciting. It will be hard at times. He will meet your
every need. He will never let you down. He will guide you and protect you. He
will do the impossible. The enemy will try and attack you, but it is nothing in
comparison with our Lord and His ways. And He takes care of His children, even
blessing them in ways they don’t always expect.
How did it
all turn out?
Our money has since been returned. The criminal apprehended. And the praise
reports have continued to roll in even two months later of the work being
continued in South Africa. What else would you expect from such an awesome God