March 1 – 11:30 PM South African time at 34,806 feet 8 hours out from Joberg.
I will bless the Lord at all times for his mercy endures forever. We are on our journey to South Africa with a team of 14 people included Pastor Terry Gullage of New Orleans LA, Pastor Keith Pelzer of Philadelphia, Pastor Jerry Bryant of Manassas VA, Pastor Larry Branch of Richmond VA, also lay persons from the Philadelphia area including Jason Doctor, Eve Young, Patricia Alexander, Yasmine Shaffee, Heather Harris, Francoise Clauna, Kenneth Ragins, Sebron Danoy, & Valarie Parrish.
First rules of my blog. I am not the greatest editor in the world so anything can happen as I write. I write out of my heart and not my head so this will be uncut and in the raw. The 3 C’s of missions is do not Criticize, do not Complain, do not Condemn so I pass this on because this is a blog and not an article to move you in any direction, but simply telling the story of our Journey.
Before I start I want to recognize a few folks. First hats off to all our South African partners who await us both in Pretoria, Joberg, and Pt. Elizabeth. I count it joy to return to you again and come with expectations for God to do something amazing. I have longed for your presence again and look forward to your songs Ma Li Bongwe Igama Lin Xiosi. Special thanks for the 1st Baptist Church of Crestmont for providing transportation to JFK, our supporters all around the world for supporting our work.
More than 100,000 meals are going throughout the Philadelphia region each year in Center City, Philadelphia, west Philadelphia and Pottstown. More than 25,000 lbs of food are going around the world each month in Guyana, Jamaica, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Liberia, and the USA. We also just welcomed our 8th country Uganda and had had sample distribution last week. Hats off to my new friend Pastor Sutton in Philadelphia. We look forward to your partnership to provide food to the folks you served there and commend the Caanon Baptist Church for making the connection.
I do have to say ZION you rock, I came to the airport with 6 suitcases having to pass of some to the other folks traveling with me because of the abundance of supplies you provided. Our prayers are with Pastor Gerald Chapman for a speedy recovery.
Thank all the folks who are part of Chosen 300 and all that you do make this ministry what it is. I am humbled that God would use someone like me to serve, knowing I am nothing of myself but it is all him. To Christ be the Glory, honor, and power for ever AMEN.
Now to the trip. I will talk about our goals in a little bit but right now I want to talk about this guy sitting next to me. JD. All I have to say I see God doing something wonderful in his life. It is with great expectation that God is going to use him. He never preached before but this week he is preaching 4 services. I know he can do it, but hold him up. Also SD he teaches at his church but he will preach for the first time as well. I believe that God will stretch all of us including me during this trip.
About an hour ago about 9 hours away from the destination I felt the presence of God fall on me. I know my family in South Africa is praying. The other day I felt them praying so strong. Ok stop thinking that this is a twilight zone experience. Doo doo doo doo doo doo… LOL. But I remember 2 years ago I was at about this spot flying past the west coast of Africa and God’s presence fell on me, tears came to my eyes and I could not help but put up my hands. It was as if the Glory of God visited me at 34,000 feet.
All I have to say is I know God is about to move. When we get to Port Elizabeth God has chosen a hard word for me to share at the Holy Convocation with the 7 churches. “Can you Sing now” from Ps. 137. I shared this text only once before and it is one the most depressing sermons for the first 4 points but there is victory in the 5th. I admit, I am like God – for real, out of 66 books this is what you want me to share, but I been down this road before. 2011 I had to share a message to open the revival that you did not get what you deserve from Lamentations 3. So I know God knows what he is doing so let’s just wait and see. I am glad you are all on this Journey with me.
By the way. Saturday March 9 be sure to tune in to at 9:00 AM on WNAP 1110 am on Gospel Hwy 11 where will be broadcasting live from South Africa. If you are out of the Philadelphia area you can log on to www.wnap1110am.com and listen live or your android phone download the “Tune in Radio App” you can access the station on your phone. I hope u join us.
So here is our plan. Our goal first of all is not to Ride in our great white horse like the long ranger or even tonto to save South Africa, if anything they will save us. Now for you spiritually stuck folk, salvation is a process. We are saved through being justified, but our process of sanctification we are continuing to be saved as Paul said pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. We are not perfect in our ways yet have received righteousness through his blood. We shall be saved when we are glorified, but till that point God is still working on you and GOD knows he is still working on me. So through learning is the first goal. How can we strengthen ourselves in our own faith by walking along side of others who share our faith?
Our goal is to establish healthy partnerships and walk along side of those we serve. I have to give a shout out to our friends from Lott Carey Foreign Mission lead by Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley who took the time to invest in us back in 2003 and paid my first year Salary at Chosen 300 of $25,000 but also invested in Pastors and leaders to take missionary journeys to expose them to different context. 3 of the 8 countries we now operate in as a ministry were countries they introduced us to. I also have adopted some of the practices of Lott Carey but this is one of them to walk along side as partners and friends learning from one another working together to reach people for the cause of Christ and meet the needs of people.
So we will land in about 6 and half hours from now and head to the guest house and the first day we have the ministry of sleeping. I only had 7 hours in the last 2 days playing paperwork catch up. How many know you never really catch up, but at least I can see the breaking of day knowing a big cloud is waiting when I return. Well it is part of the work but it is nothing like serving people. Hey shout out to Dexter Scott and his family. His mom just went home to be with the Lord and our prayers are with you brother. Praying at 34K, guess I am a little closer to God right now LOL.
Sunday we will break out to several churches in and around Pretoria and Joberg. Monday is a Historical day we will get the chance to stand inside Mandela’s house visit a couple museums to learn the history of the struggle of the people. Those who don’t know South Africa is about 17 years out of Apartied (ok can’t spell it right now and not close enough for spell check.) I don’t have the anointing for spelling. Math yes. Anyway it is important to learn about the people and what they have gone through realizing it has not been that long. Yet one thing I applaud SA for is their period of Amnesty. It may have not changed everyone, but it brought great healing to the land. To repent and ask for forgiveness and have that forgiveness extended it what brings healing. I am not going to pretend that everything is perfect now but one thing that never occurred in the US was a governmental mandate to repent for the sins of this country. Don’t get me wrong I love being a US citizen and I am glad I was born there but our country can only begin to heal when forgiveness is requested and extended. Ok had my Martin Luther King Moment, or in this case Mandela. Ok just thought about this, City of Philadelphia has props in SA. Hats off to the late Dr. Leon Sullivan for his leadership in the sanctions of South Africa to help end the laws of Apartheid – Yeh got it. But you know I am not going back to change it. LOL. Live with this it is Raw and uncut.
Ok now that I got everything out for now. I have to give a shout out to Shandai, David & Jonathan. Shan hold down the fort for me and work hard to finish this semester, you can do it. David & Jonathan make sure you set your alarm clock for school, get up and get your bath without mom telling you and be sure to listen to your mother and be good at school. You know how this works and you know Dad will hook you up when I get back.
To all our teams from our last journeys, to all our partners, family and friends we carry you with you on this Journey. Enjoy the journey.
Talk to you soon.
PS. I will try to load up each day, but it is based on internet availability and also time but keep checking in.
Don’t for get to go on line and register for the Walk against Homelessness. April 20 2013 in Ft. Washington. Registration is on the web at www.chosen300.org where you can also print of pledge forms.
Blessings to you all
Sat. March 2, 2013 – Pretoria South Africa
We made it through the flight. It seems during the second half the temperature rose in the cabin and we started to get a little hot. Well with heat comes sweat, and sweat comes funk. And all I know is that my destination was to a shower or bath and thing that consist of water followed by a bed.
Getting through the passport check was a bit long but we had free entertainment from the Rugby team that was on the incoming flight right behind us. They turned on their boom box and started singing and dancing in between the turnstiles. They even grabbed a girl and spun her around and her father encouraged her to go ahead and dance. Ok this would never happen in the US going through customs. I mean phones out cameras iPad everything enjoying the entertainment. If it was in the US at the first sign of a change in noise volume they would be on top of them, but I will say without the entertainment that half hour wait would have been brutal.
We continued toward getting our bags and could not find the turnstile right away. I finally located it and yelled across the airport to Larry, And then the whole rugby team yelled right after me with a cheer celebrating the team found each other. So we are now trying to leave out and it seems that part of the team was just enjoying the fun with the rugby team so, you know the old saying if you can’t beat them join them. Now the team was from another country, different culture yet they sang and danced. You know sometimes in life we forget to take the time just to sing and dance and enjoy life. Screw the man made rules take time out to enjoy what is around you. Take a spin and twirl and even if you can’t sing do it anyway in that horrible voice you have the loudest you can. Oh I was talking about me with the bad voice.
We located our transport and headed to the lodge. We were running a little behind so the assistant pastor was very helpful in picking up cash from the bank and I admit I am glad he did because I had no more energy.
Once all the luggage got situated (look like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America) that’s how many bags we had. We grabbed a snack at the lodge and walked to the market to get some bottled water and a few items.
We asked the lodge staff which direction was the market and they said “right over there pointing to the right) ok we were told earlier right across the street, then it turned to right down there. So we asked was it walking distance, they said sure you could walk there. Ok I had to clarify the question, was it American walking distance of African walking distance, and the response was repeated you can walk there. I was saying to myself there is a difference between the distance they could probably walk and not feel it and the distance I can.
Ok going there was not too bad, it was all downhill. Ok you know what happened next. On the way back it was like climbing the Manayunk Wall. You have to be from Philly to know what I am talking about but it was at least a 40% incline. I felt like the little engine that could.. I think I can, I think I can ……
Well we made it back and I went to my room took a bath. I called myself going to write a little. I did open the laptop but that is all that I remember. I woke up about 4 and got ready for dinner.
We had dinner here at the lodge and afterwards we had a process group. Note process groups are confidential so can share any particulars but we did have a great devotional message by LB. We then had a discussion about the text dealing with power of the Holy Spirit and allowing the spirit to engage you. I can share my own thoughts; I look at missions as no longer an option for the Christian but a must. Dr. Alyn Waller shared a few weeks ago at Tues Bible study in CC about being faithful unto death and the difference of being faithful until death. Often times we live out our Christianity with an “until” mentality. We will serve him UNTIL, it gets uncomfortable, until it gets difficult, until we can’t financially afford it, until it gets uncomfortable, and yes even until the point of death. But we should not serve until but UNTO that even when these situations or even potential situations come we must still continue to serve through these things. If we are faithful UNTO death then he will give us a crown of life.
Another powerful point that came out, that God has gifts, ministries and purpose for ministry in our lives and we often have these things put on a shelf, but God is now activating them to be used for his purpose. I have this imagery of Iron Man who outside of the suit he is just a smart guy, and the suit cannot perform its task until the man gets inside of it. God has placed a gift in you, a role he wants you to carry out for the kingdom. The gift and role is for you but it cannot do anything by itself but you the man or women of God must step into the Gift, step into the role so God can fulfill the purpose in your life he has for you.
We then shifted the session to introduce ourselves since this was the first formal session we had and each of us shared one of the most embarrassing moments in our lives. Sorry cant share, but all I can say Is, hilarious.
Some serious ones, but mostly we were cracking up. For those on the team I am just going to say one word. SLIPPED. I know everyone else does not have a clue but our team does so they will get the laugh here. I gave the pastors a challenge to use Sipped in their sermon tomorrow and see if the US lay persons can keep a straight face. OK we have to have a little fun. Tomorrow is Sunday and we head out to our first set of churches in the Pretoria area. Keep all of our team in prayer.
See you tomorrow. Note we are 7 hours ahead of NY time so it may seem we are writing ahead.
If I can just get to sleep. That would be great.
Monday, March 4, 2013 4:30 PM South African Time – Soweto
I am back and I have to catch up so much has happened in last two days so I want to work backwards. First of I all I cannot tell how wonderful my team is. They rock; everyone is working so well together and being flexible. Let’s start with today and then I will talk about yesterday. Today was our historical tour. We got a late start due to some traffic that the driver had, but last night I had one of those sleepless nights. I got a little nap in but only about three and a half hours. My body has not yet adjusted and I find myself nodding off during the day and wide awake looking at the ceiling; counting to 3, ready set go sleep. NOT HAPPENING. On the way to Soweto we got stuck in traffic but the amazing thing no one was bothered actually gave us a time to catch up on sleep. We arrived at Mbuyisa (Hector) another young boy carrying him as his body left limp dead.
There was nothing that they had done but a museum was named after him and he became nationally recognized as one of the symbols of the struggle. We walked through the museum shedding tears and having a better understanding of the struggle. I admit, I became angry for while at how the whites of South Africa oppressed the blacks in such a horrible way. I often talk to pastors here to encourage them to forgive but also embrace those that oppressed them to destroy the wall, but having a glance of the struggle, the death, persecution, I can understand how they would be hesitant. We went to Mendela’s house which is now a museum and saw the marks of burn how his house was bombed and even after 27 years of imprisonment he still found room to forgive. His life is a testament and probably is what has brought South Africa to peace to a great degree, but the suffering, the poverty still exist.
Yesterday after service we had the opportunity to go to the home of the assistant pastor’s house in Pretoria. He and his family is very successful and the church I was at service was held in a community center. We were picked up in a BMW 4X4 and the house we stayed at was WOW. Ok I had a bad thought that I should have brought them some envelopes to give. They even had a pool and I took the net cleaned out the leaves and a couple bugs and then I dove in to refresh from the service. A thought might come well what does this have to do with missions. It is the opportunity to learn that everyone in South Africa is not poor, some have made it out of the results of partied, and it is learning from them and also seeing the potential that others have gives you the drive to keep helping. As we rode through the townships surrounded by Mandela’s home and we also went by the home of Winnie Mandela who still lives among the poor, we went by the home of Bishop Desmond Tutu where he use to live. All within the townships. It shows that out of the township, out of poverty, out of where ever we are in life God can raise us out of it (What ever it is).
I need to go back to something. Their struggle is not over, the people are still at large plagued with an economic racism, stuck in a pattern of perpetual poverty struggling and hoping to find their way out.
Well let’s go to yesterday. Church was amazing. Pastor Paul was not there, but he actually flew out to the US a couple days before but he left his assistant Collin who was an outstanding host there to take care of us.
I have spoken in foreign context before but this was the first time I had to use an interpreter. It was pretty cool and funny as well. It helped me understand how much needed to be interpreted and how many words that I needed to clarify. But by the time I was mid way I was on a role. Oh funny. I told you I was speaking on “This is how we do it” When I said it and then sang first part of the chorus they fired it right back. I was wondering if they would know the song or not.
Yasmine & Valarie were great supports and I stretched them both a bit.
When I was about to go up to the pulpit they had a young man guide me. He would not even let me carry my bible. I felt like one of them bishop dudes (woops). You guys know how I am I still have my title issues but I respect those who chose to use them but I feel a little weird for someone carrying my bible but for a moment, kind of enjoyed it.
The spirit of the people where great and Paul has 3 sons but one of them is a spitting image of him.
I got a chance to skpe yesterday. First time I am a rooky but had a chance to see David, Jonathan and Shandai. David & Jon was so amazed they could see me from South Africa.
Oh funny, Sun Morning they woke me up at 6am to go and walk run. First of all we have a triathlon girl on our team. Those are the one that do the 1 mile swim, 25.5 bike, 6.2 run. She was leading the exercise; well let’s just say she was far ahead till she turned around to come back. You will get that next week. But she blew past us on the way back. I now realize how out of shape I am. Well the funny part is when they woke me up knocking on my front door to my cabin. I moved the curtain back and held up 2 fingers indicating 2 minutes. But one of my fingers was behind the wood of the frame in the window and it looks like I had my middle finger up; (there is a pick to your right on this.) Yeh someone took a picture and said they would use it as blackmail. I reminded them I had pics too.
Oh yeh remember Sippage - That is the code word here but I shared in my Sunday morning sermon but everyone one else punked out. LOL.
We had a great dinner this afternoon at the restaurant, and the food was wonderful but the fellowship was even better. I believe that everyone is enjoying the trip and they are applauding how well Chosen 300 put it together. Little do they know there are a lot of grey areas and the Lord puts it together so there is a lot of uncertainty, but God always fills in the gaps.
At the end of the tour we stopped at the Baptist convention where the bible school is in Sowetto. Yvonne Best Motuung who traveled with Larry, Jerry and I in 2008 fell in love and married a guy from South Africa and today she provides leadership at the bible school. There is much repair that is needed there so I am praying what the Lord will have us to do.
We are driving back to the guest house to prepare for tomorrows departure.
I will check in again tomorrow.
I thought I was done but I was just looking at pictures and saw a few things. Just to be able to stand inside of Mandela’s house next to the bed where he slept was an amazing experience. There was a trash can lid sitting by the back door and most would over looked it, but earlier at the museum there was one there with a caption on it. The medal can lids were the only defense sometimes against the gun fire that would come to their homes. Then they started making the lids out of rubber.
March 7, 2013 – 6:40 AM – Port Elizabeth South Africa
It has been a few days since I have been able to write so I have a lot of catching up to do. First of all, I got a few questions that were fired back to me about the trash can. When we were at Mandela’s house there were bullets still lodged into the wall from the gun fire of police and I mentioned the bricks still stained from soot from the bombings of his home. On display, there was a trash can lid. Now these were the old trash cans that had substantial thickness to it. You could actually stand on top of it as a step stool and it would not collapse. The lid of the trash can was often used as a shield by the African Black people to block the bullets. The tour guide at Mandela’s house did not mention this but it was one of the displays at the museum that explained how the children would hold up the trash can as their only defense from their oppressors.
Monday evening as we returned from the Historical tour, we met with Pastor Collin who is Paul’s assistant to get some feedback. I encourage our South African Host to provide constructive criticism and feedback on things that we may have done that were not suited for the context so we continue to learn how to better operate in their context as well as positive feedback.
One of the things is sensitivity to male and female roles. In the South African church, the women sit on one side and the men sit on the other. And a younger person should not look an older person in the eyes when talking to them as it is a sign of disrespect.
There is also a respect to the elders that is critical, particularly the men who have gone up to the mountain to be circumcised verse the men who “chickened out” and went to the hospital. The men that went up to the mountain earn a greater amount of respect.
Now I am sitting here typing this and I am trying to figure out how I am supposed to know who went up to the mountain and who went to the hospital. I can imagine two guys sitting there discussing who is the bigger man and one guy whipping out his snake saying, “I went up to the mountain.” Go ahead, crack up. I know you want to. It’s kinda like when we just pull our snow blowers out when it snows and see who has the biggest tools.
I remember years ago I had a real annoying neighbor who blew his leaves back on my property because it came from our tree. Yes there are some petty people out there. Shandai gave him a nice earful. I remember that day, I told her, “be nice but in the back of my mind I was saying go get him honey.” But I had a better way to get back at him. When the snow came, we had a good 2 footer and the plow truck had already came. Well I looked out the window and he was struggling with his 5 horse power snow blower. I hurried up and put on my snow gear. Went to the garage and started up my big 10 horse power 26 inch path blower and headed down the drive way preceded down the sidewalk towards his house. He was really struggling so I waived my hand as to say, “little man move aside, let big daddy come through.” Sorry I loved every minute of it. Did not have to say a word but my kindness was like hot coals on his head. Ok maybe it was not complete kindness….
Anyway back to Africa, Pastor Collin also mentioned about something I did that I had no thought that I was doing anything amazing but to them it was. I mentioned earlier that the house that pastors inlaws had was OFF THE CHAIN and it also had a pool. Well, I informed the US team of the dress code for church and the adjustments we can make for dinner with our host pastors. I did not know they had a pool but for some reason, I am going to give it to the guidance of the Holy Spirit that I packed a pair of shorts just in case. Well when I got there and saw the pool. I was hot, funky from preaching and it looked like a great opportunity. They asked do I want to go in, I was a little reluctant at first but I also realized that it was important to receive when engaging in missions, (ok great excuse). I saw one of the young kids beginning to move the net so I just naturally started helping, I did not think it was a big deal. Afterward we had to get the net to get the leaves that had blown on the top so I helped out. And then it was on. I dove in and it was the most refreshing moment. Just imagine sweat all over your body, pick some places I cannot mention, and you are really not that comfortable to ask for a time to shower.
The amazing point about this was the opportunity for me to minister to the South African Pastors in unique way. He mentioned that many times when people from the US come they come with this idea they are more superior and come to be served and also come to “teach them how to do it.” Pastor Collin mentioned that the idea that everyone watched me as I removed the net and cleaned the pool it showed we were not superior but friends walking with them on a journey.
I never knew that there was ministry in taking a swim but the Holy Spirit can take something so simple and bind a relationship.
Pastor Collin was also amazed that Heather had some food she had gotten from the store and when we got in the car she asked was it ok to eat in the car, it seems like the normal thing to do for us, but to them it was a sign that we were not there to take over but to learn and to walk along side of them in partnership.
At this point we were now 3 days in the trip and besides the one day of service in Pretoria the group did not feel that we had done missions yet, but there is a structure to the program that has been designed over time that we have perfected and Port Elizabeth was coming where most of our work was.
Most people think that missions is about the people; and it is, but the other part of the mission projects is to transform ourselves to equip us better for our assignment that God has given us in our own context while establishing healthy partnerships, and seeing how we can provide long term impactful support. A lot of mission trips are designed to go help people for a week, give them food and supplies for a week, and then next week the people are in the same condition as they were before. Our goal is to walk with them and the real work starts when we leave.
The first part of this trip was to educate ourselves on the struggle of the people we were serving and give the team a chance to build relationships within themselves, so they could work more effectively together. I must say that this is one of the best teams I have worked with. I don’t have one person complaining, causing a problem or just being a pain in the __________ (you fill in the blank). Yes, they have questions and that is fine, but they are going along with the program.
Anyway, off to Port Elizabeth we go. We arrived in PE about 12:00 noon and although we had company transportation, the pastors from PE met us at the airport and then followed us to the hotel. I initially was just going to have a meeting with the US team but it turned out to be a huge opening fellowship among our team and their pastors and leaders.
I will tell you, we did our homework in putting this trip together, but the Holy Spirit really filled in all the gaps because there are more times than I can mention that our plans were shifted and it just fit exactly right.
Well after our meeting, we had about 4 hours to go and get necessity things for our trip like cell phones bottled water…. etc.
Jason and I went to lunch. Now mind you, we just came 2 days ago from the Hector Peterson museum, and as focused I am on inter-racial unity and I know there are some good people among all races but there are also some butt heads and we were about to meet one of them.
As we entered the back deck of the restaurant to eat outside, there was a sign posted “Right Of Admission Reserved.” It might as well have said “Whites only” Colored Possibly, and blacks “Hell No”
Just so you know, here I am colored as I am mixed and as long as you are not real black then you are like the middle class citizen here but definitely not superior to whites. Ok this is making me a little mad writing it but I have to continue with the journey. I ordered a cheese burger and when it came out it had onions on it. Now I am allergic to onions and I told the waitress who was colored that I was allergic, but asked her was it just on top because I could move them off and she said yes. Well I bit into the sandwich and it had onions in it and quickly spit it out. I called her back and told her and asked could I just have a chicken sandwich instead. Well the owner came out, she said we can make you something else but you are going to have to pay for it. Ok I in complete shock this point, but I explained what happened and the reason I bit into it was because the waitress said there was not any onions in it. She checked the story out but what I saw next ripped my heart. This white women just humiliating this color girl in front of everyone and then told her the cheese burger is coming out of her check. Now these folks don’t make that much money as it is. I was not going to let that happen so I told her I will just pay for it but I was not coming back. Well while we’re paying the bill, two of my team members came in and the owner asked them would they like a seat. So I said, “No they don’t they work for me and they are not eating here and neither are the other 14 people that are with me.” You just blew your opportunity for an entire week. Well then she called security and told them we were not customers yet we were standing there trying to pay our bill. The black security guard came in and he just kind of stood there and as she said I want these people out. I could read his mind so clear, I am just standing here because it is my job, but I could really care less and I am not going to force these people to go anywhere. We left all the food on the table in protest and even the white people at the restaurant were appalled at the owner’s actions and a few voiced their opinions to her.
I know it is challenging to read about racial prejudice, and I talked earlier about there has been much healing on both sides, but there is a long way to go here, and I have just gained a greater sensitivity for their struggle. Sure apartheid is over, but the remnants of bigotry still exist.
The first place we stayed at the lodge was very welcoming and was sincere in their kindness. So if you are ever in Pretoria I recommend the Catwalk. But when we got to PE and we pulled up as we were welcomed by guest house, you know when you get that look like, “OMG where did all these black folk come from?” I have a proper voice when I talk on the phone. I am a half breed AKA an Oreo cookie (Creamy middle chocolate sensation). I remember one time when I worked at Prudential a guy was calling our unit and said the person he spoke with was black. So the phone call was being transferred around so he could figure out who he was talking to. So he got to me and said, Sorry, I have the wrong extension.
Anyway, we seemed to warm up to the staff and they realized that we were not so bad after all. I think some people are just bitter and mean and some people are affected by their environment. I can work with those folks, but those mean people like the lady in that restaurant, I was so tempted to rent a bus and bring all the people from the township to have a good old fashion sit in.
Well back to the journey. We got ready for the evening service. Mind you, I am still worked up about the events of the day and teaching on the Babylonian exile, ok I slipped up in the sermon when talking about when the Babylonians asked Israel Sing us one of the songs of Zion and I said and the Afrikaans (the whites who don’t want to be called African, because they don’t want to associate with blacks) said to the children of, I meant the Babylonians …… LOL.
But understanding their struggle has helped me understand things from a different perspective. We are able to do some great work in the area of interracial unity in the US but the walls are so thick here but yet there is hope and I will get to that in a moment.
Oh when we were headed to the lodge we saw the ocean and the beaches and the team was excited they were amazed of how beautiful South Africa was but now we are headed into the township where the work is. As we drove up to the church and pulled into the dirt and scattered pebbles I saw a tent that held about 200 people. We had tried to get a big tent, but when the company found out where the tent was going they pulled out on us. They said they don’t bring their tents to the townships.
So we were able to get one. I was kind of expecting more people but I did not see everything. The tent was for the people did not make it inside the building. It is what we would call the overflow. Service had just started and when we walked in the church it was JAMMED pack. Where the isle used to be, it was no more and people were sitting and standing everywhere they could all the way out the back door. The tent was on the side of the building with speakers outside so they could hear and I was so amazed that they did not even care that they could not see only that they could hear and they participated as if they were inside. I went outside a few times just to hug up on some people but even now tears are coming to my eyes. The moment we started approaching the songs were penetrating my heart. As I rose to the pulpit with my team the people shouted with joy. Even as we drove in, there was a crowd of people standing by the gate cheering for our arrival. The pastors said in our meeting they do that when the president comes, but today they were doing it because God was revisiting his people. I am so humbled that God would use me in this way. There were pastors and bishops from all over the region and by the time we got good into the service, I would go outside periodically and the tent was beyond capacity the building was beyond capacity people were standing all around the church, sitting on the wall and anywhere they could to just hear a word from God.
When they called for me to introduce the US team I broke down like I am right now and having a tough time seeing the screen because my eyes are filled with tears so really can’t see the words I am typing. I opened up and just let them know I was just humbled by their presence. We were able to do something amazing in South Africa. Not just provide food every month for the last 5 years, but to be able to bring churches together that would never fellowship together. It was truly a Holy convocation and God was revisiting the metro. This was their words that they put on the banners that were all over town.
I admit I was a little nervous, which I always am because of my assignment, the word of God is so precious and I want to make sure people are receiving an accurate and clear message, but Tues night, God did something amazing through me, it was truly a prophetic word for his people in a time of struggle and uncertainty.
Well we stood in awe of God, I have had a opportunity to speak at churches all over the country and all over the world but this hands down was the best ministry moment of my life. I cannot explain in words of what I saw and what I experienced. All I can say is, I stand in awe of you God.
On Wednesday morning we had a fellowship breakfast with all the pastors. We are served in a total of 14 churches this week. Seven in Pretoria, Joberg and sevin in Port Elizabeth. We met with the pastors in PE for breakfast and shared our experience from the night before, we all were overwhelmed by what we experienced and there was not a dry eye in the room.
The team then headed out for the mission assignments for the day. Some of the team went to the schools others to the youth detention center. Terry shared his story how an 11 year old boy was in there for murder, but there were 5 guys that were trying to beat him up to take 20 rand which is about $2.20 US. But the 11 year old boy lived in the bush by himself with no parents and no one to care for him. That 20 rand that he earned was money for bread so he could survive for about 4 days. When they attacked him, he stabbed one of them and of course without representation there was no self-defense claim.
Well my mind right now is going back to some experiences so I want to share them. I mentioned about the bigotry of some but I also got some real shockers that I needed to put things into perspective, because if I can be honest even I can fall into a trap when hatred comes your way, but God gave us what we needed.
We were headed back from the store on Wed Morning and there was an old white lady rolling up in a wheel chair. So I said good morning as she passed and gave the most friendliest smile and asked where we were from. The discussion continued to her asking were we here on vacation, and I explained about our work in the townships and her reply was “thank you for helping our people” she identified herself as being one with them because of their nationality not her skin color. One of our team members was a little quiet and so the old lady moved her head around and said high honey bun and her kindness broke through the hurt we had experienced earlier and it was just what we needed to bring us back to where we need to be.
I even met another girl later that day who said she was proud to be African, which is rare for someone who is white here to say that they often want to be Afrikaan, but this one even spoke XIOSA, which is the language of blacks in the townships and she did the click too. You would understand if you heard them speak. Of course I invited her to Church.
Well last night I spoke back at bethel and the service was great. I admit I did know what I was going to speak till I got there and then I thought I had a message and then just felt to go back to giving the people hope. It is different this time than others. The people here although they worship with gladness of heart they seem to be struggling even more than they were before. You can see the uncertainty in their eyes that how we are going to make it. The pastor I am working with said the church has lost a lot of revenues and his salary is down to 300 rand a month.
I don’t know what else I can do. You ever feel like at the point that there is not much you can do to help. I know our food program is working and he even shared yesterday that government officials (similar to our social security administration) are coming on Saturday to witness the food distribution and they are going to see our process to determine if they can route more food on top of what we are already doing as a vehicle to get more food to the people - God I thank you. Our accountability system is tight, so others are noticing us and want to use us as the conduit to get food to the people, because the government has even seen where their food has been stolen and sold.
Well last night when we got back from Church we started sorting out the 5 suitcases of tooth brushes, tooth paste and toiletries to get ready for distribution today at several schools and also through the community. We are getting ready for breakfast so I am going to sign out now. I will check back later.
Don’t for get to check us out live on WNAP Gospel Hwy 11 Saturday at 9:00 AM on your AM dial.