Heartbreak. {The God Kind}

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

Have you ever sat with the Lord and all of the sudden had an urgency, a pull towards a certain direction?

Tonight, God pulled my heart strings more than he did even for this missions trip. While this is just a starting point, I want to treat it like this is my last decision. If you made choices with the mentality that this would be the last impression you made on others, the last choice other’s who may not have even known you hear of, would that change what you say or do?

This trip is coming to a close, but I’m leaving South Africa changed. It has challenged the way I view the Word and the way I view myself.

1} It’s opened my eyes to how much I do know of the gospel and that I have the ability to share it.

2} I’ve realized how little I know of the Word.

3} I value the Word higher than I ever have before. Not everybody has access to the Living Word that feeds truth, God’s very breath.

4} I can’t have my own agenda. I’m a vessel, everything I say is God-purposed. Not a single breath should be wasted.

5} No vessel is too small for God to use.

6} While God works on others through you, He works on you, too.

7} I have such a heart for these kids in the schools. They will soon be raising a baby drop-box as well and I’m 100% behind that.

Everything on this trip has showed me how God has prepared me for this next step. It’s time to stir a seek after God like never before. When people told me I would come back changed, I never anticipated this much. God has rocked my world, flipped it entirely over, and set it in a completely different universe. This new realm of God can’t be blown out because it’s been engraved in me. Time to take the next step of faith in furthering the Kingdom.

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Ashley<3

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Surprise!

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

We went back to Kya Sands today since we had discipleship with everyone there! Just like last week, we visited the clinic in the morning and then took a break for lunch, going back out on the streets afterwards.

This morning I met a sweet lady named Prudence, who was waiting for family planning (birth control) with her daughter Privilege. Aren’t those awesome names?! One thing that is amazing about the African culture is that every name has a specific meaning behind it. We talked for over an hour, sharing stories of America and South Africa, how she became saved. I learned she was traveling 5 miles with her four month old in order to have a few minutes with the doctor. He never showed and as we headed out to minister at discipleship I saw her leaving.

Discipleship was awesome, we talked about the Tower of Babel and how we all have “towers” in our own lives. What’s a place of pride that can be a stumbling block for you?

Today what impacted me the most was a conversation I had with someone who works with Impact Kids. We were talking about a girl in the program who was a little rough around the edges. As I was teasing her today, she told me, “F*** you.” Multiple times. At first I chuckled out of shock but then explained that’s not what we say. They (the person who works at I.K.) explained she didn’t have a good home life. “That little girl was raped this year by her eleven year old neighbor.” They tell me. I’m shocked. “Her father isn’t in the picture either. Mom is just around the corner to giving her life to God. We are praying for her continually.” They tell me. I’m floored. Things like this happen all the time. Babies are found in dumpsters. It’s never okay, but it’s become a normal thing around here. Women take their children to Sangomas [our equivalent to witch doctors] who put strings around them to ensure health, inevitably bringing curses on them.

Impact Africa is starting a baby drop box, hopefully this year. To prevent mothers from tossing these babies into dumpsters, setting them in the pit of port-a-potties, or putting them in the middle of streets. They hope to eventually take the house in Diepsloot and make it a house for the babies to live while waiting to be adopted. For now half of the house will be dedicated to the babies as just a holding home while they are waiting to be put into the system. The biggest thing I.A. needs right now is favor with the government and wisdom on what choices to make. They need this because they want to purchase more land in order to expand their ministries in the squatter camps. Right now, both facilities are at full compacity! Please partner in prayer for them in that!

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Blessed Mouths, Mighty Works.

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

Today was another awesome day! I just wanted to take a moment though and thank all my supporters who helped send me here. Words cannot express my gratitude and I am so excited to see all the blessings God does in your life because of the great seed you sowed!

Once again in Diepsloot, we headed out early this morning, around 10ish. (This would be 3 a.m. your time.) Our group leader, Lynae informed me I would be the one choosing who to talk to and have most of the conversation time. After a day like yesterday, I was so fired up, I became even more excited! God was going to give me an awesome opportunity to lead someone to the Lord today and sow into their life. After walking for a minute we saw a shack where a woman was strumming the guitar. Intrigued by the music drifting through the air, we approached the shack to say hello. We asked if they were busy and they invited us in their one room shack, welcoming us into their small home. As we exchanged names we discovered there were three brother and three sisters all living in this one room shack. They came from Zimbabwe to find work and talked about how the conditions in Diepsloot highly contrasted the conditions in homeland. “The shack we live in would be for chickens,” They tell us, “It’s much cleaner in Zimbab, here people walk outside and throw sh*** in the streets.” We listen, intrigued to hear someone tell the truth so vividly. We exchange more, them asking us how America is different (most conversation include this question), what do we like here, etc. As the conversation lulled, I asked them if I could tell them a story. They nod their heads and even the brother, who seems to be somewhat of a jokester, turns and begins to pay attention. I tell them of the story of Joseph and the trials he faced.

As I open the story, I tell them of how this man had eleven older brothers. He was his father’s favorite, and his brother despised him because of that. Joseph had a dream that he told his brothers, telling them, “I dreamed that you will bow down to me!” They began to hate him even more saying, “Are you going to reign over us or are you going to have us as slaves and work us hard?” But Joseph told them another dream later, jealous and envy began to build inside of them. Joseph’s father sent him to take care of his brothers one day and when they saw him coming from far off they came together and created a plan. “Let’s kill him and throw him in the well, tell Father a wild ferocious animal devoured him, how then will his dreams come true?” An older brother stopped them and pleaded for his life. As he explained that they should not touch him, he secretly wanted to save his brother. Once Joseph approached the group, they stripped him of his coat and threw him into the well, sitting down to lunch. A caravan of sellers passed as they were eating and they decided to sell Joseph because there was no gain in killing him, but it would be more profitable to sell him. They took Joseph’s long coat after he was gone and killed a young goat, spilling it’s blood on it. Sending it back to their father they said, “Is this not your son’s coat?” The caravaners sold Joseph to Potiphar, the man in charge of overseeing executions for Pharoah.

Potiphar saw that the Lord was with Joseph and put him in charge of everything over his own house, even though Joseph was just a slave. His wife began to long for Joseph and would call after him to be with her. But Joseph fled and refused to listen. When he ran, she grabbed his coat and lied to husband, telling him, “He tried to be with me!” Potiphar was furious and threw him into prison. But God was continually with him and gave him favor, the prison guard promoted Joseph to be in charge of the prison and all that was done there. Two men were in the prison with dreams, but they were sad because they had no one to interpret it. As Joseph saw their long faces, he asked what was wrong and they told him their situation. One man told Joseph his dream and he interpreted it saying, “In three days you will be restored to your position with Pharoah, but do not forget me when you do.” The next man’s dream interpreted that he too would be reinstated with the Pharoah, but would die after three days. Even after interpreting the dreams, these men did not remember Joseph. Two years passed and Pharoah had a dream with no one to interpret. The man remembered him and they sent word to bring him out of the dungeon, and as Pharoah requested an interpretation Joseph replied, “It’s not in me but God will give you a favorable answer of peace.”

Joseph gives Pharoah the things he needs to do to prayer for a famine, exactly what his dreams call for. He tells him to find a man wise and proficient, even describing the containers needed and portions. Pharoah asks his advisers, “Is there anyone like him that we could find that match his character?” To Joseph he says, “Your God has shown you all this, there is nobody as intelligent and discreet and understanding and wise as you are. You will be in charge of my house and you will govern everyone.” Joseph prepared for the famine and once it hit, he distributed the food to everyone. Joseph’s father sent his brother to find the food in Egypt –The sister cut me off and finished the story with a smile, explaining she had forgotten the story but remembered it from 1st grade. (If you want to finish the story it goes all the way to chapter: link) They told us how they went to Salvation Army church in Zimbabwe. As we continued to share, the brother (who once had been a little smart-mouthed with us earlier) began to pour questions.

“It says in John 3 we are to be born again of water and spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Does that mean I have to get baptized in order to go to heaven?” We explained to him that “of water” is of physical birth, spiritual birth the second. Baptism is a public declaration of your relationship with God and laying your old self dead to sin, waking up a new person in Christ. It was such a divine appointment, God destined us to be there today, I know it. Sorry, no pictures for you guys today! Hope you enjoyed the update, “see” you guys tomorrow! Have a blessed rest of your day!

Don’t Give Up.

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

Today we visited a squatter camp called Diepsloot. There are over 200,000 people that live in the length of just three miles. Although the shacks are nicer, it’s also more expensive than Kya Sands.

As we started out our morning, we were full of hope. The first two groups of people we talked to didn’t really connect with us. I left feeling so discouraged and disappointed, I wanted to leave right then and go home. –But that would have been just what the enemy would have wanted, wouldn’t you say?

We took a lunch break and hung out with the rest of the group, sharing our own testimonies and encouraging one another. Having the personal time helped. As our team headed back out to talk to more people, I was a little more hopeful. We met up with a large group of people from Zimbabwe and began to learn more about them. They were all brother and sisters, coming from a family of 16 children. The brother moved to this camp in ’99, the others later followed in order to find work. One of the sisters we met was the eldest and I related to her that I was, too. We continued conversation and the brother, Thunga, recognized our Bibles and asked why we had them. We began to share why and he continued asking questions. “Why does it cost money to buy a Bible when God gave it to us?”, “Why are there people who read the Bible and still commit crimes?”, “Do soldiers kill because it is their job or because they believe in God?” I jumped right in without hesitation. “Does food cost money?” I ask him. “Yes.” He replies. “But you need that food to eat, right?” He nods. “The Bible is the same way. It feeds our spirit, and we need it to grow and stay healthy. But it’s a sacrifice, it cost something.” He nods excitedly, he understands. Then he asks the next question, in response I say, “People are born with evil in their hearts. Some go to church for the wrong reasons and don’t have a relationship with God. They do the actions but don’t talk to Him. Without a relationship with God, He can’t keep cleaning our hearts when we mess up. People are like that in America, too.” I explain, “They think if they do good then they will go to heaven, but God says in His word that people will come to Him declaring all the good things they did for Him but He will say “go away, I don’t know you.” That is why it is so important to have a relationship with God and talk to Him. That is key.” Thunga nods his head and proceeds to the next question. Neil speaks up and explains, it’s their job, it’s not right to kill others unless we’re defending our country. We continue our conversation and feed Him verse after verse, at one point Thunga jumps from his seat and runs to go get his Bible. He was welcomed into the kingdom of God today and I am so excited for him! Our interpreters will continue to follow up on them and minister to him.

Don’t despise the little things and don’t get discouraged when things look rough!!! Persist and push through opposition, God has a plan for your day today and an amazing destiny set before you!

 

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Last Day in Kya Sands

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

God moved today! We had such a great time ministering in the squatter camps. The day started off well and as we were finishing our first trip of the day to Kya Sands, we greeted a young lady. We had an obvious language barrier and decided to pray with her and then be on our way. But the Lord had other plans.

When we ask her if we can pray for her and safe travels as she visits her sons, she just keeps repeating, “Mozambique”, and we’re unsure were to go. She motions to her neighbor who steps up to translate for us [a literal God-send]. We pray for her and turn to the translator to thank her. She nods and just as we are about to ask her if we can pray for her, she points to herself and says, “pray for me.” Beaming with pride. We agree and she invites us in her shack. She tells us how her sband died two years ago and her sons live in another city. She wants them to be blessed and wants Jesus to bless her as well.We grew concerned because the premises for the prayer request is a little off. “Melta” continues to rattle off personal prayer requests about being blessed and forgiving others, sounding spiritual but really having a personal agenda behind it all. Deciding to be late for lunch, we sit down to explain who God really is. As we ask questions we realize she really does want to learn more. I began to explain how it would be hard for her to forgive someone who hurt her family, right? She nods her head and I continue, “what if in order for that person who hurt your family to live, you gave up your son so that they could live with his heart? You see, that’s what God did for us. Even though we hurt Him, He forgave us. And sent His son to die, a part of Him that he treasured, so that He could have a relationship with us. It’s because he forgave us that we can easily forgive others. His grace and mercy gives me strength when I’m upset because I turn it over to Him. He takes my frustration and my worry, and gives me peace. Does that seem like a good trade?” She nods, acting surprised that someone would do this for her. She continues to listen and asks the question of how she can talk to God. “It’s just like you and I are talking. You can tell him what frustrates you or what makes you happy. You can go to Him and tell Him anything.” “oh.” Her eyes get wide. She says the salvation prayer and we celebrate with her. After praying for her, we give her a few verses and head out the door for lunch.

After lunch we did discipleship with a group of people and then visited a young lady who just had a baby three months ago. The baby was certainly full term at ten months. She had gone to a “sangoma” [witch doctor] and he gave her special bracelets to put on the baby and herself in order to “ensure” a healthy life. A week or so later, she had a stroke. [Several women in the camp have had a stroke, we’ve encountered at least 1 in the camp every day since we’ve been here.] We prayed with her and the baby, and as we walked home we talked about how most women at the camps go to sangomas to ensure a healthy life for their child. One woman didn’t go to the sangoma and lost her baby at two years old. After she had another child, she insisted on going to the sangoma and now proudly brags how her child is so healthy.

 

Prayer is definitely needed in these camps. Although the soil is rich here, there is so much false doctrine that misleads them. Pray for truth to be exposed and for a hunger to rise to seek the Lord. Thank you guys for continually following, I look forward to seeing you when I’m back in the states!

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The Conclusion of My First Week in S.A.

Life updates, Missions

Today has seemed to be three days all in one. And so was yesterday! We’ve done so much and I’ve been too exhausted to write about it. [So please forgive me on that note :)]

Yesterday we visited an African church, which was so amazing. The completely different culture was quite a contrast to what I’m used to, but I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, it was so amazing. They were dancing and just praising God. For people who live in extreme poverty, they sure do have an abundance of joy. We also went shopping to an outdoor mall and just enjoyed spending time together as a group.

Today we got up early and had team devotions before breakfast and after we ate we drove right to Kya Sands to start the day. The medical clinic was open today and we ministered to the people waiting to see the doctor. One of the interns, Sarah, told a story about the the woman at the well to them and afterwards we went around to meet the people, get to know them, and minister. This one lady, sitting off on her own, had caught my eye from the beginning. I was a little nervous to approach her but I did anyway. As I said hello, I realized I needed a translator. When I went to get one, he talked to her and told me there was a language barrier still.

This was a discouraging moment. I felt like someone had told me I couldn’t have kids. I was n’t discouraged or heavy-hearted, I just went to seek out another solution.

Right as we couldn’t find anyone else to help us, a woman entered the clinic who speaks the exact language this woman does, an answered un-spoken prayer. I learned that she had only caught a short part of the story because it was all she could understand. As I finished the story for her, I asked her what her favorite part was. She responded telling how she loved how Jesus told this woman everything she had done and how he forgave her. We continued to talk and prayed together, signing her up for discipleship which we help her grow even stronger!!

After lunch and taking some time to play with the kids, we went out into Kya Sands and did a kids ministry. It was so awesome! The kids jumped right in and partnered with it so well! I have a ton of pictures for you guys today. So enjoy them and I’ll see you tomorrow! We’re back to shack to shack tomorrow with discipleship in the afternoon; I’m so excited!

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