Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Preping for Outreach to Western Kenya...

Hamjambo watu wangu (Greetings my people)...

Esh, it feels good to get back to speaking the East African language of Kiswahili (a trade language that formed from the Arabs mixing with the local Bantu dialects). Though Thandi and I didn't really see it coming, we are seeing God challenging us to take a team to a nation that has become apart of me in many ways.

Thandi and I are growing increasingly excited/expectant about leading one of the four 10-week outreaches our school will be taking. The locations we settled upon after much group prayer and then prayer together as leaders are Thailand, India, Kenya and South Africa/Swaziland. We will be leading the Kenya team after feeling a call to that country because of increased contacts with some brothers in the refugee camps near the Somali border. However, we have since found out that that region is still very insecure at this time, especially for a team of foreigners to go in, largely because the Somali jihadist group known as al-Shabbab (‘the youth’ in Arabic) have been known to cross the border to recruit and have also kidnapped/killed Westerners. I have long known the danger for Westerners in and around southern Somalia, but still believe there will be a time God calls us to go there and pray over the land and people.

For outreach, we are planning to target Kakamega first (just north of Kisimu), and then up past Lodwar and maybe to Loki:


Our team makeup is one American (me), one German, one Swede, one Kenyan and three South Africans, thus 7 in total. While there is still some time before we head off (around Christmastime), we shall have many times to intentionally meet and wait on God to see that His heart purpose is accomplished for us as a team. We are particularly praying into the possibility of travelling up the western edge of Kenya and up to the border of Sudan, maybe even working in another major refugee camp called Kakuma, where many of the Sudanese Lost Boys found refuge in before being placed in the USA and other countries. We will keep you posted on what God speaks to us as a team about this, and the reality is likely that we will have to gauge where we are at in the battle once in Kenya.

This past week has been some amazing teaching on God’s grace that is so much bigger than any effort man can make on his own strength to live a righteous life. What really stuck out for me was the costliness of sin and that sin is the most powerful force in this world either than the incarnate Christ. The reality is the believer is declared righteous (Romans 4:24) upon placing their faith in Christ, and this will always be the case. We will be overwhelmed by sin (destructive habits) unless we place our trust in the Lord who created us for life in Him, for there is no other.
This coming week everyone is excited to be travelling to another YWAM campus in the Eastern Cape province, about an 8-hour drive east along the coast in a small surfing town called Jeffrey’s Bay. The reason for going is to join with several other DTSs and missionaries to celebrate God’s heart for the nations in an annual event called Nations 2 Nations (n2n.org), which seeks to celebrate nations and how God redeems elements of every tribe and people group to worship Him in our diversity. Thandi has been to one of these events before, but I am not sure what to fully expect. I do know we are sleeping in tents, and will have plenty of time for fellowship around volleyball, food and cultural expressions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

September Muizenberg DTS Well Under Way...

A rough glance at the students and classroom:


We are now on our 3rd week of the Discipleship Training School (DTS) here at our home base in South Africa, discussing all about relationships. This is a topic that digs up a lot of things in people's past and makes students aware of areas that still need healing before they can move on in their journey with Christ Jesus. We are 28 students and 3 full-time staff from 11 different nations.

Two of our students, Jo from Switzerland and Mashadi from South Africa, were baptized in the 2nd week of school in the nearby Atlantic Ocean:


Meditated on John 6 this morning, after assigning the students their first memory verse, but God led me in worship to meditate specifically on Hebrews 9:14; this was after a theme of unworthiness was coming through in the class… “how much more will the blood of Christ…purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God”… It is when I am seeking to live rightly on my own strength and I fail that I believe in the lie that I am unworthy to be called God’s child (John 1:12). What makes me worthy is that faith in Christ, who alone holds the authority to make His followers worthy of God’s grace and favor. We are free from dead works therefore…
If we do not believe God has made us new, how can we have any authority or persevering passion to make His character and redemptive work known to others?

Thandi and I have been privileged to lead one of the small groups with two other newly-married couples, and it has been completely new for me. Just speaking for myself as a new husband, this group has aided me in changing my way of thinking about life together with my wife, altering my mindset to look to the interests of my wife before my own. It is no longer just me following hard after Christ’s heart for the tribes, but God, in His overriding wisdom, has seen fit to unite me wholeheartedly to another human being whom He has designed to fulfill me and His calling on my life. And the same, I know, goes for Thandeka. I know that our union will at least double my effectiveness in long-term missions building and discipling believers in South Sudan and beyond.

In other news, we found out that our DRC (Congolese) neighbor we had just met a few days prior (when he came by to check on our place after I had severely burned some popcorn--I used the wrong oil) had his wife in the hospital after a C-section was performed on her to deliver the baby girl. While the baby was healthy, the wife got a bad infection and had been in the hospital for nearly two weeks.
We have since visited them and helped out with supper to see the mother and baby back home and healthy. What an answer to prayer! I hope to get a photo of this family soon enough. They are quite literally the only other tenants in our building we have met that are under 50 years old.