Jeremiah 9:12 “…Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?”

Challenge & Revelation, Life updates, Missions

Hi partners, family, and friends! Hope you are all doing well and God is moving in your lives!

This past week has been the last bit of training sessions, and we finished the week off with a trip to Diepsloot and Kya Sands for kids ministry! It was an awesome time of loving on kids and teaching them about their wonderful Creator. Earlier that week we also went on a trip to Soweto where Nelson Mandela grew up as well as Reverend Desmond Tutu. We learned a lot about the uprising that influenced the end of apartheid and visited many historical spots. It was mindboggling to think it was only 25 years ago when everything changed. Nelson Mandela is still alive today. Most of the time in America, monuments are not resurrected until the death of someone who did something. It did open my eyes that the violence, drinking, and drug addiction that is prevalent here, is not the only idol.

As I was seeking the Lord on verses to pray over the nation, He opened my eyes to so many other things and I would love to share them with you!

{Just as a preface: Monday we went out into the squatter camps to share the gospel with the people who live in the shacks, for many of the interns first time. I was so excited to read these verses that I pray they opened eyes to see all the Lord has promised them and the lies that have been told – and see the real truth!!}

Malachi 3:2

“But who will be able to endure it when he comes? Who will be able to stand and face him when he appears? For he will be like a blazing fire that refines metal, or like a strong soap that bleaches clothes.”

One of the ways we relate to the people is while they’re doing laundry. So commonly you can strike a conversation up with a woman cleaning laundry, learn more about her and her family and begin to make connections. One of the ways you can bring the Lord into the conversation is by contrasting how the soap that cleans the laundry is just like how God cleans our hearts. This verse is so true – no one can endure till the rapture occurs and certainly face God with a clear conscience.

V13-15

“You have said terrible things about me”, says the Lord. But you say, “What do you mean? What have we said against you?” You have said, “What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.”

Many of the African people seek a tangible God. They want something to show up right now, they want to hear, see, and hold God. So many cult churches offer a tangible power, but it’s not the truth. I have encountered people who question Christians and the church. “Some men create churches just for the tithes and offerings, preach and drive from church to church all day Sunday, and collect tithes and offerings for themselves.” We have learned from the Africans and many are upset by that. “Does God allow that? And if so, why? Wouldn’t it just be better to do our own thing than sacrifice our hard earned money for something fake?”

This is where I find my answer:

Deuteronomy 7:5b-6

“…You must break down their pagan altars..burn their idols. For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on the earth; The Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure!”

His own special treasure…wow. I am called to tear down those strongholds that hold the people of God back from Him.

For that reason I find this scripture so special:

Jeremiah 9:12

“Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?”

Psalm 49:6-9

“Let the praises of Go be int heir mouths and a sharo sword in their hands. To execute vengeance on the nations,.bind their legs with shackles…this is the glorious priviledge of his faithful ones.”

Psalm 21:6

“You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you…”Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never 12 For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them.”

What a verse of edification! {encouragement, declaration} I just felt God pouring into me that nothing was impossible through Him. He can do anything through me – I am a vessel in His hands. While the enemy may try to attack me with physical, emotional, and mental pain or scramble my WiFi so that I am unable to communicate with my family for a week, he can’t knock me down because God is my comforter. God’s word and blessing on my life gives me power to resist the enemy in all of his attacks – be it having communication problems with my roommate or a discouraging day on the mission field. Being a missionary is not just when I am out in the shacks talking to people – I am just as much, if not more, of a missionary in my own home.

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Sweet, South Africa

Challenge & Revelation, Life updates, Missions

Ladies and gentlemen, I have arrived and am so excited to be here!

I was unsure of what to expect housing wise but when we arrived at our home for the next 11 months, I was in awe. Nice rooms with their own bathroom and a pool in the backyard. We don’t have everything set up yet (we gather groceries on our own for the first time this Sunday!) but it is coming together really nicely. All the interns are getting along and enjoying the company of everyone. Last night we hit the sack early, about 10:45pm and yet I woke up at four in the morning! The mornings are gorgeous here, though (as is most of the weather because it’s summer currently!) Sitting outside and watching the sunrise while spending time in the Word felt so refreshing.

Maybe it was the peacefulness, maybe it was the early hour of the morning, or maybe it was the full-hearted pursuit of God and completing His will – but I had an amazing devos this morning!! As I opened various devotionals, God began to speak to me about praise. Praising God can move mountains – even city walls! {Joshua 6:1-5; 20-21} “And I will give them one heart and one purpose: to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants.” {Jeremiah 32:39} Praise creates hope. Psalm 145 (and the last couple of chapters) brags on God and revives your spirit. “But joyful are those who the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord God.” {Psalm 146:5} “The Lord’s delight is in..those who put their hope in His unfailing love!” {Psalm 147:11} Praise generates peace (Psalm 147) and it also reminds us of His goodness things you’ve come through –He brought you out of- (Psalm 103:2). My favorite is one later on: “Violence will disappear in your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there.” {Isaiah 60:18} Praise opens the gates to the kingdom of God – in church, in your home, in your car, and yes, even in another country. How awesome that we can praise God and exalt and He will open doors and grace us with His mercy every morning. Hallelujah!

Since the trip down here can be so strenuous, Impact Africa is breaking us in slowly with briefing and allowing us to gradually take everything in and adjust to life as an intern in South Africa. They took the interns to the first (of many) malls in South Africa and we purchased our phone with air time as well as participated in the third annual Pick N’ Pay Scavenger hunt! {Pick N’ Pay is the equivalent of our Walmart}. I didn’t win…but it was still rewarding to find a few different things that sound like one thing but are actually completely different! “Baby marrow” isn’t what you think it is…it’s actually zucchini!

Pick N' Pay Scavenger Hunt!

Wouldn’t be a trip to South Africa without chicken feet! Notice my grossed out grimace.. and yes this color is just from being in the sun during the morning. It’s so intense!!

Yesterday was our first full day of training which included going to the communities walking through the creshes (daycare) and learning more about the Baby Safe (which I was SO excited about from the beginning!) The more I learn about the programs Impact Africa has, the more I partner with them. Impact Kids is set up so strategically by Michelle Franzen. Based on the statistics in South Africa, she has orchestrated a very effective system. South Africa estimates that 4.7 million of its people are totally illiterate and another 4.9 are functionally illitierate (meaning adults who left school before grade seven.) Three million households, almost eighteen million people live below the poverty line (set at an income of only $35 a month!) Research shows that up to half of an individuals capacity to learn has been established by the age of four. With that mindset, Impact Africa opened up a preschool from ages 2-6. Most African parents send their children off to first grade without any training beforehand. They don’t know how to sit still, their attention span is short, and they lack the motor skills to excel. Impact Kids is well rounded with separate classrooms for the 2-3 year olds, 4-5, and 6 (sometimes 7 depending upon their educational development.) From 8-1 they are being taught with play breaks and gym in between lessons, after 1 they have free time and the cresh turns into more of an afterschool care, making the most of their attention span. Every lesson incorporates Christian values, scripture memorization, bible stories, songs, etc. They go above and beyond the requirements of the Gauteng (how-tang) school system. The school has really taken off and even in the beginning of the year (most of the parents wait to send their children to school till the beginning of February) the creshes are almost at capacity!

Some of the gals and I have shared stories and already encouraged and challenged each other in our faith. We’re enjoying each other’s company. The second evening before dinner we all stood in a circle hitting the volleyball back and forth. There is such peace in the household and we all are meshing so well. After dinner my roommate and I spent some time together and prayed for each other as we begin to settle into our new home here in South Africa. Last night we went to a braai (barbeque) with the Impact Africa founders, Rich and Michelle Franzen. We played games, swam, and at the very end were able to Skype with our families! It was so nice to be able to talk to everyone! Once we arrived back at our home all the interns gathered to pray together for our ministry and unity as a team. All in all, I’m enjoying my time here (you know, in the two days that I’ve been living in South Africa.) I will update you soon on more things that we are doing and how we all grow, as well as stories of ministry (which are in the weeks to come!!) Thank you all for your support and prayers, they are much appreciated and they have (and continue to) made a difference!

A Heart For the Lost, A Vision to Deliver

Life updates, Missions

Africa has really been on my heart (more than normal) this past month. I will be going on a long-term missions trip to South Africa in January to intern with Impact Africa for a year. I am so stoked!

When I visited a few months ago, the ministry time that I was involved in was more than I had had in my entire lifetime! We ministered to the people living in dilapidated shacks, walking on beaten paths with broken glass scattered along the dirt floor. These one-bedroom shacks were usually made out of tin, sometimes wood, mostly any scraps that could be found. They paid to live there. They would walk for miles to find a job so that they could eat that day. Yet in a place were tomorrow wasn’t guaranteed, they had such joy.

We ministered to the children living in the camps as well. Just being able to love on these kids and play with them was a tremendous blessing. These camps aren’t always safe, though. Many children who wander around the camp during the day are in danger of being assaulted, like one little girl I met while in South Africa. Her eleven year old neighbor had raped her and she was only 9 years old. One teen girl I talked with while in the camps was finishing high school and was the only one of her many friends that was not sexually active. “I don’t have a lot of friends anymore,” She tells me, “most of them just want to spend time with their boyfriends or are taking care of their children.” I nod as I listen to her. “I want to finish school and do something with my life.” She says. I immediately connect with her, Finally someone with a vision!

In the two weeks I spent there, I have enough stories to write for hours and tell you them all, and I wish I could! But what I’m writing about to you today is much bigger.

We all have places we want to go in life. Plans or dreams that inspire us to keep growing in our walk with God, motivation for the future. I have a dream. A vision God has put on my heart. I want to make an impact on South Africa. I want to spread the Love of God like a wildfire, I want to deliver these people from the cultural lies, dream killing situations, and destiny blocking mentalities. God has put this passion so deep into my heart, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Why I am I telling you this?

Because I need you to partner with this vision. It cost 16,000 dollars for a one-year internship. Many of the interns embarking on this trip have had a year to raise the funds, I only have a few short months! The funds will go toward housing, air fare, visa, and living expenses. Without partners who whole-heartedly believe in this mission and the people willing to support in prayer, this trip would be impossible. I believe prayer is the most influential asset in this ministry and I encourage you to be in prayer for salvations, miracles, and healings. Please also intercede that the Lord gives me words of wisdom, favor, protection, and to be in the right place at the right time.

In addition to accepting one-time donations, I’m also looking for monthly partners. Your gift(s) will be tax deductible, IF checks are written to Impact Africa. My name cannot be ANYWHERE on the check if you desire to receive tax credit. I will collect the checks and then send them to Impact Africa.

As a partner, I would like to offer you the opportunity to join with me in this ministry adventure. On the last trip, I wrote every day, sharing my favorite part of ministry, and pictures from that day. These will still be posted on here as well!! I had so many people telling me how the posts affected them and moved them, why not sow a seed into reaching the people of God that you may not necessarily be able to?! Your support in these last couple of months mean so much and I am absolutely psyched to be able to partner with you in this upcoming year, what a great way to start 2013!!

To mail checks send them to:

Impact Africa
PO Box 702511

Saint Cloud, FL 34770

**Include a slip of paper with the ID#IMEAB102 (this will notify them your funds will go to support my account for the internship)**

To give monthly:

-Go to the Impact Africa website

-Select Reoccurring Monthly Donation

-Write my name in the notes to specify your monthly support

If you need any more information, PLEASE email me at ashleybbridges(at)gmail.com . I look forward to hearing from you!

BIG Update!

Challenge & Revelation, Missions

It’s been a while since I’ve written to you all. My apologies, settling back into a life with two jobs and no spare time can be a little hectic.

The organization, Impact Africa, whom I ministered with while on my missions trip, has accepted me into their one-year internship program. I am so ecstatic!! I will be dedicating one year of my life to touching these people’s lives and changing the nation of Africa.

I have wanted to do this for over a year now and sitting here writing to you, my spirit soars. I will be ministering to the kids from the “homeless” camps, loving on them, teaching them, sowing into their lives and futures! I will be sharing the love of Christ with the men and women, moms and dads, in these camps.

While I was out ministering to these people, many of their questions were so deep. They cling to the Word of God and are hungry for answers! One man asked, “In the story of Moses and the burning bush, was God telling him to take off his shoes because the ground really was holy or was He talking about the hardness of his heart?”

WOW.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought about that while reading the story of Moses.

With less than three short months to raise $16000 for this trip, I need your help! You’ve seen and heard what is happening in this country, they so badly need the Love of God to be evident. I not only need one-time donors, but also monthly supporters who will largely fuel this expedition to touch the lives of those who have been abandoned by so many.

If you are interested in more information on how to partner with me, comment below and I will send you the information.

Thank you for believing in me and supporting me!

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

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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