Blessings Upon Blessings
I realized recently that I haven't updated you all on life here in South Africa in a few weeks. My apologies. School started back a few weeks ago, and I hit the ground running. Let me see if I can give you an overview of everything that's happened since I last updated:
Little Blue: First, a huge answered prayer!! Do you see that cute little, albeit beat-up, car in the picture of this post? That car has been nick-named "Little Blue" and is a huge blessing in my world! A missionary family I've befriended here in South Africa (originally from Atlanta, GA) has agreed to share this little car with me and Jordan 3.5 days a week. Currently, that means we get the car sometime Saturday night and return it to them mid-day Wednesday of each week. This gives me transportation to the townships and to church 3 and a half days a week!! And it's an automatic so I can drive it on my own! Thank You, Lord!!! This does mean a bit more expense in my already thin monthly budget to pay for petrol, but I will make the sacrifices to be able to get to more ministries. I've been able to use this car for the past three weeks and it's opened so many doors already for me to be able to serve God more and make more and more relationships/connections with the people in the various townships.
I can't thank God enough for this blessing!! He is amazing! Please join me in praising God for this great gift, praying special blessings on the Grant family for their willingness to share this car with us, and that this car may be used for God's glory in many more ways than we can picture.
Shine Literacy: Because of the blessing of Little Blue I am now back serving with the Shine Literacy program once a week. Currently I work with them, double-shift, on Monday mornings. This means I get to work with 4 groups of kids, 1-2 kids per group, teaching English as a second language. Currently I have three groups of students who are advancing quickly, meaning they are reading harder books and working on writing full sentences. And, I have one group of beginners, meaning we work on letter recognition, basic vocabulary, and reading very basic books. I thoroughly enjoy all the kids and I'm quickly forming a bond with them by being available on the same day each week.
Please join me in praying for moments of God-opportunity while I'm teaching these students. I pray for moments where I can shine Jesus's love into their lives, even being able to speak about Him to them, as I teach them what they need to know in the classroom as well.
Plett Christian School Tutoring: Another opportunity that has been presented to me since getting access to Little Blue is helping at the Christian School. This is a small school here in Plett that is sponsored by our church, Plett Community Church. They currently have several sponsorship children from the nearby township, most of which are orphans, who attend their school. Several of these sponsored children struggle to get caught up in their learning gaps with their peers. I have been blessed to come by the school once or twice a week to work one-on-one with a few of these kids, one in particular who needs the most help. I fully enjoy working with these kids and watching them grow quickly in their knowledge just by having encouragement spoken over them and personal interaction.
Please join me in praying for this sweet school that is making a big impact on kids' lives. And pray for these special students as they carry with them burdens most of us can't imagine. I know God sees them and loves them. I pray they grow to know and understand that as well.
Hope Centre: I continue to serve at the Hope Pregnancy Centre two days a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. This does not require Little Blue as it's just a few blocks away from our flat. I currently serve as a counselor but also help with admin work, sorting and cleaning donations, putting together packages for moms in need, visiting local clinics to keep relationships open, and anything else I can help with. I have also been blessed to be able to come by the Centre after hours to pray for the Centre, the staff/volunteers, and the women coming to the local clinics and our center in search of help and answers. These prayer times have been so sweet and more passionate than I think I've ever experienced. I know God is setting the stage for an amazing change in this community through this center. And I am honored to be able to watch it all unfold.
Another huge blessing that I'm excited to share with you has to do with the Hope Centre, as well. Last year, Jordan was trained in a program called Undiluted. This program is designed to allow counselors into the local secondary/high schools to teach a form of sex-education that is focused on making wise choices in life and to encourage students that they have value and a hope for a future better than they currently know. Jordan has trained me in this program and we have gone to several of the school to meet with the headmasters over the past few months in hopes of presenting this program to their students. We recently were granted permission to come into one of the schools, Wittedrift (pronounce the W as a V) High School.
We just had our first day of teaching last Friday and it was amazing! We meet with grade 8 girls, in three classes to get to them all, for the full term (7 weeks). Our first classes were excited and eager to learn and we were thrilled to see them all participate in the games and even feel comfortable enough to ask us questions. It was amazing! We were privileged to see these girls actually learn right in front of our eyes what the value of life is. We discussed the basics of child development in the womb, as well as abortion law here in South Africa as it relates to the development stage of the baby. We left them with the question, "When, in your mind, is it considered a person?" Many of them were shocked that the embryo was so developed by the time you were legally allowed to have an abortion. We even had a few comments of "But that's already a baby." and "Isn't that like killing it? Like murder?"
I honestly believe God used us to open their minds to things they culturally have never discussed or have been aware of before. And I can see God planting some big seeds in these young girls' minds and hearts. We are going to continue with these girls on a 6-day cycle for the full term. So our next visit will be this coming Tuesday, where we'll discuss options if you find yourself pregnant and many other topics related to this difficult position. Please join us in prayers for these girls to continue to be open to what we have to teach them, for God to move mightily, for God to speak through us as we teach, and for more open doors into the other secondary/high schools, as well.
Sozo Ministry Since I last updated you all, I've been privileged to help as a 2nd chair for 4 children's Sozos. I LOVE the Sozo ministry. It has helped me personally in so many ways and really opened my mind and heart to a more intimate relationship with God. So to be able to pass this blessing, these tools, along to a younger generation is so exciting for me! If they can learn these skills early it can keep them from falling into the same pits I have found myself in along this journey of life, or help them avoid the land-minds I've already stepped on. I am beyond honored to be able to sit with these children, hear their hearts, learn their stories, and walk beside them to bring their concerns to the Lord. And to be able to watch the Spirit move in such a powerful way is amazing! I look forward to what God has in store for me in this ministry next.
Please join me in praying for these children and their families, that God will move in a mighty way to draw them all closer to Him. Pray for the children still waiting for their Sozos and those coming in the future. Pray for the other Sozo volunteers and those currently in training as volunteers. Pray that God surrounds us all as we humble ourselves to serve Him in this mighty prayer ministry. Pray that we all keep our eyes on Him and keep our hearts open to the work and words He wants to do through this ministry.
Plett Community Church This church is such a huge blessing to me! Sometimes I wonder if God led me here to Plettenberg Bay just so I could be a part of this church. They have embraced me in so many ways and I am constantly praising God for the blessing of these people. Through this church I have found myself in a weekly Connect Group of other single-adults, a weekly Bible Study group of women (mostly older) who pour into my life, and a monthly mentor-ship group; not to mention the twice weekly amazing church services and the one-on-one mentorship with a special lady who has taken me under her wing. And those are just the ways they pour into me.
I also get to serve the Lord alongside these people through the Sozo ministry, the Christian School, the Kidzblock (preschool) Sunday morning program (once a month), and recently I've been helping behind-the-scenes to update some of their music lyric slides (praying into this possibly being a more regular service for me). This church has also been the open door to so many training opportunities for me. I have learned so much in the time I've been a part of this church that I think it would take me a year to share it all with you. LOL! This place is definitely a place of hope and healing and I'm beyond honored to be a part of it.
Please join me in praying for this church, for the leadership of this church, to keep grounded in the truths of who they are in God's eyes. Pray that they continue to keep themselves humbled to Him and open to how He moves. Pray for this church to continue to reach the community with the message of grace, hope, and love. And pray that the members continue to hunger after God in a way they never have before.
As you can tell, things have gotten very busy for me. But I am so incredibly blessed by it all. Everyday I see God's heart and character more clearly than the day before. And everyday I learn more about who I am in His eyes. Everyday I learn to trust Him more and more and rely on His understanding more than my own. And every single day I learn just how much He loves us all!
I am beyond blessed in this life and I will be forever in your debt, my readers, supporters, and encouragers, for helping me to walk this road. It's not an easy road by any means - it's not meant to be. But with God on my side, and His amazing generosity in the form of each of you, I know I can make a difference for His glory. I know I am being changed personally for His glory. And I know we, all of us, are getting to be a part of the greatest story ever told. Thank you!!