We arrived yesterday a.m. in Atlanta. All 14 team members and all baggage.
I regret that this blog was not able to keep you as up to date as we had planned. The internet issues made it difficult to make any posts.
So if you are reading this, I hate that your eagerness to find out what happened was hampered. You were wanting to see what God was doing or know how to pray – and hear about results! Well do not fear, God was working and all your prayers were answered!!!!!
We started the trip with a broken window. Theifs tried to steal our joy, like satan tries to steal ours! We would not let that joy be squashed or discouragement to set in.
To tell you all the stories would take more than a blog entry, but here are a few:
1. The Jesus Film – on a very cold Sunday night, many came out to watch and listen about Christ. In the front row, a group of young male teens were extrememly attentive – even telling everyone to “Shhhhh” at points so they could hear. At the end, they prayed to receive Christ. To some, this may not seem like much – but to those familiar with this region of Africa, seeing men step up and show interest in Christianity is HUGE!
2. A discipleship program that started on Monday with only a few, grew to 5 on Monday and then peaked at 16. These numbers don’t seem staggering by anymeans, but for us, it was INCREDIBLE. Nothing like this has ever been done! They returned, learned, and grew in their faith! With God’s divine hand, we met members of Youth for Christ who will now take over the discipleship!!!!
3. Mama Maria!!! This women we shared with last year and she accepted Christ and within 4 days, shut down her bar and began proclaiming Christ to her community. The former bar owner gave up her entire way of life for a new life in Christ. She has turned the former bar to the church – which is now “My Father’s House Baptist Church.” We met there! She opened her home to the Bible study! Her face beamed of joy. Those of us on the trip have seen a life transformed! She has taken up the call – and is now serving. She even joined the discipleship program – and knew many of the answers. What a blessing to see this sweat lady!
4. A little boy with a deformity of his arms. There is a little boy I have seen and talked with for the past 3 years. He captured my heart 3 years ago, and now he has captured another team members, Penny’s. On one of our field days, she saw him crying on the sidelines. After asking him what was wrong, he could only point. He led her to a group of boys who were playing ball. These boys rejected him and said, “But he has no arms – he can not play!” Penny’s “mama bear” came out and she defended the helpless! She played baseball with him – and each time he hit the ball – a smile of joy was on his face. They played and played and played – bringing in some other children who would accept his disability. She taught him to throw a frisbee. She fed him his lunch. She gave him his drink. What was that boy thinking? We may never really know – but I am sure he saw the compassion and carring nature of Christ in Penny’s service to him.
5. A little chubby toddler came one day, Joey’s little friend. Joey played with him and then helped him with lunch. His mother was their, watching Joey, and smiling. When the day ended she picked up her child and headed home. I ran over and gave her a children’s Xhosa Bible and and adult Xhosa Bible and invited them back. They showed up the next morning! Not just for the games and lunch, but the mom for Bible study – and that day she prayed to receive Christ!!! Joey showed compassion on that little boy and the mom saw something different about us and came back to learn more – and left with Jesus!
6. The last soccer outreach, when all ended, we could see on a the front stoop of a dark wooden shack a mom and son. He was sitting next to her closely, like any boy would to get close to his mama. As they were snuggling on the front porch, she was reading him his Afrikaan’s children’s Bible – and she was smiling. I walked up and asked if I could please get a picture. She said yes, and went back to reading the Bible – realizing, without words, that the picture I wanted was that mom and son reading the Bible, not their faces. She realized that a picture like that would be proof to what we are doing is not in vain – but impacting people. The Word of God is active and moving in that community. All those copies are now in the hands of whom He desired to have them!
7. Selfishly, I had the joy of watching my 10 year old son. I loved seeing him run and play with the children. His willingness to find the one’s that had no one to play with and start kicking a soccer ball, invite into the ruby game, hand over a kite to fly, toss a frisbee, or play cricket! Then, to watch him stand up and share the Gospel! He did it with boldness, confidence, and articulated it clearly! The lesson’s he learned were priceless – no school could ever teach. Our conversations of what he learned are rich! I will forgo listing these, are those are his words and still being refined in his mind. But please pray for him that these lessons will never be forgotten!
8. They got it! The children got it! After day 4, this group of unchurched children learned the material – they could recite the 7 days of creation, knew God made us, understood the reality of sin, the need for a Savior, what it meant to be “saved” by confession and belief, us being made clean through the blood of Christ, the restoration of our relationship with God, and the promise of Heaven. They got it! We even started hearing the children sharing with each other, and us, the Gospel bracelets. We were making fishermen! Pray that what they learned will continue to be shared in the township.
So, these are 8 stories – a very few number, but will wet your appetite to grab one of us when you see us to ask, “Tell me more.” Many always ask me to give them statistics: how many attended, how many prayed to receive Christ, what was the growth . . . . and I can not answer you. To be honest, this trip has always been about evangelism and relationships. We were busy doing what called asked us to do: Go, Tell, and Disciple – that numbers was not our focus. The impact of this trip will only be known on the other side of this life. When we get to eternity I know I will hear stories about what happened in Knysna with the 2013 Team.
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your interest.