According to everyone in my class, our trip to Berakah went fantastically!
The response from my peers to the trip was incredible, and more than one person said that they would like to go back again someday. The boys helped Glenton in the garden for their work project (they said that they enjoyed this a lot and learned from the experience) while the girls were put on the spot and had an opportunity to sing, tell stories, and decorate cookies with the kids. Everyone embraced the experience and served with joy! It was great to see their reactions to the township, as some (if not most) of them had never been before, and it was a life changing adventure! Many people brought donations, including First Aid supplies, cans of food, and hundreds and hundreds of cookies to decorate.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for us on our trip! God’s presence was with us and we are sure we did His will on this trip. I am sure that this will not be the end of our relationship with Berakah, and I am looking forward to many more visits in the future!
It was hot. The 330 ml can was already refreshing, its cool surface soothing my sweaty hand.
I wedged my fingertips under the dusty tab and peeled it back. The familiar "ksshhh-POP!" made my mouth water in anticipation. Ahh, the sweet sound of Coke, I thought, it's the same everywhere.
Which made me wonder, sipping a Coke on a hot, dusty afternoon in Kananga, what else has sounded the same everywhere I've gone. In our broken world, if one listens long enough one can discover the beauty we all have in common.
Like the sound of laughter. Or the joy of praise. The cacophony and stench of poverty, overcome by the fragrant offering of worship.
Friendly smiles. The scent of hard work. Curious children, and the sweet "aha!" of discovery.
"Whitey" sounds the same everywhere, whether it's lekgoa, gringo, huero, mzungu, mulungu, matoke (which means "squashed banana"!) or something else, but the embrace of the body of Christ is unmistakable.
Above all, there is the undeniable presence of God.
This is my Father's world!
Oh, let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet!
On 14 June, my grade (grade 8) will be going on a field trip to Berakah, and we will be observing urbanization (which is when extreme amounts of people move to the city at the same time, which is one of the reasons for informal settlements) and its effects, and then become part of the solution. The boys will be doing a work project and the girls will play and do craft with the kids.
It's great to see how excited everyone is! The girls have already been brainstorming about what to bring, and everyone is so ready to get involved! Please pray that the trip will go safely and that we won't run into any trouble while we travel, and also for a great desire to continue making a difference in our community! It is amazing to see how inspired my school is!
Today we sat with pastors and leaders in Kinshasa, DRC and discussed a personal and congregational discipleship model called hearts, minds, and hands.
A disciple needs a heart that is given to Jesus, devoted to the Father, healed, and whole. A disciple's mind must see the world the way God does, growing in understanding and revelation, and processing information and the world around him in an accurate and healthy manner. And his hands must be trainable and capable of the tasks at hand so that his work brings glory to God.
We are working to build healthy church leaders, who are touched in their hearts, renewed in their minds, and skilled to train and disciple the church to build it up for good works.
We believe God is touching hearts, transforming minds, and enlarging capacities in the DRC! Will you believe with us?
We also pray for God to minister to your heart and mind and enlarge your capacity! How can we pray with you?
In August 2013 we traveled with Johan and Electa Potgieter, who lead the Africa Forum, to host a pastor's conference in Buea, Cameroon. Late in 2015 we again traveled with the Potgieters to Swaziland, where we hosted about twenty Mozambican pastors and church leaders (pictured above) in one module of the Africa Forum's Church Development Plan.
And now, we are headed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to do the same.
The Church Development Plan is a strategy to foster kingdom advance by developing strong leaders and healthy churches. The next two weeks in three cities in DRC will feature the first module of Life Training School (LTS), the Father-heart of God. We trust that they will encounter Father and all misconceptions about Him and His ultimate intentions will be made right. Then we trust they will be empowered to bring His Father-heart to their congregations. Forgiveness will be another hot topic that we trust will bring healing and freedom. They will also receive ministry to their marriages as well as practical training in church leadership and governance.
Additionally, Chandra is leading a workshop for Christian primary school educators, and Mike is facilitating workshops for lead worshipers and musicians.
While we are in the Congo, Charis and Russell are staying home in Pretoria, continuing in school and their normal activities, and a young ministry couple from the local church is staying with them.
Please pray for the ministry in the DRC, that God profoundly touches these leaders and that in turn their churches are blessed: that central Africa discovers God is a good, good Father! Also pray for travel logistics, provision and safety, and for the kids while we are away.