Almost There!

Life updates, Uncategorized

Just a couple of weeks till I leave for the internship in South Africa!

I am so excited to begin this next chapter of awesome ministry and growth!!

In the past two months, I’ve already raised 4,805 dollars. WOW –  thank you to all my awesome supporters!

(if you have not sent your pledges yet, please send them so that I may effectively calculate how much more support I need)

However, I still need $11,195!!!

Some of you may not know about the internship, so here are the most commonly asked questions I receive:

What exactly will you be doing down there?

So many things!! The purpose of the internship is to learn how to more effectively minister and spread the gospel cross-culturally. Just as I did on my last missions trip, I will be going to the communities and sharing God’s love with them. So many churches and ministries have a script that you read to people and at the end, they receive the Lord. It’s not very effective, and while it may push you out of your comfort zone, it’s not equipping them for the journey of a lifetime.

With Impact Africa we create relationships. Instead of preaching at someone telling them they’re going to hell, we sit down and take the time to get to know them. The purpose is to create disciples and world changers instead of “converting” someone and leaving them to figure out their faith alone. As interns we will also train other groups (like they did with me last time) to effectively share the Word of God. Impact Africa also has daycare centers in the communities (both Kya Sands and Diepsloot) that I will also be helping with. They have a kids outreach in each community once a week where we get to share the Love of God and love on the kids.

Where will you be staying?

All of the interns will have houses to stay in 11 girl interns in one and between 5-6 (i can’t remember how many) guys in another house.

What do all of the finances cover?

The funds will go toward housing, air fare, visa, food and living expenses, as well as international health insurance and any unplanned needs that may occur.

How can I help?

Please prayerfully consider partnering with the Lord’s vision by enabling me to carry out His work. You can do a one time gift (if writing a check please write it to Impact Africa) or even sponsor monthly (by clicking here , reoccurring donation, using paypal and typing my name in the notes). If you have any other questions I would love to answer!! Email me: ashleybbridges(at)gmail.com

You guys have seen the change and growth that was implemented in the last trip and I would love to partner with you in this awesome ministry opportunity!

God bless and happy New Year!

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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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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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