27 July 2007

balance//week 11

Well my itching spots have moved out and managed to leave minimal damage. I have a few endearing scars to remind me of the “consequences” of loving on children with no inhibitions but no shingles or pneumonia to report so I am grateful for all the prayers and a quick recovery.

This weekend I enjoyed a visit from Chiraphone, APU’s Director of World Missions. She was here in South Africa, where she lived for two and a half years as a Peace Corps volunteer, and was able to stop by Paarl for two nights. It was such a blessing to see a familiar face, as well as to be able to share my new life with someone from home. We had a great time together. She showed me up with her ability to communicate fluently to all my black friends in their language. But it’s all the more reason to practice! It was certainly a refreshing time for me. And it’s great to know that I have yet another friend waiting for me at home that now understand a bit of this wonderful life I’m living.

And it was good to be back with the visiting team from Orange County for their last week here in Paarl. They spent their time sharing in elementary schools in Paarl East & visiting our small groups in Mbewkeni. While I’m not always participating in what they are doing, I am blessed by hearing their stories. Certain things that I overlook touch them deeply. Things I’ve begun to accept outrage them. It’s this reason that I enjoy working with the short-term teams; they bring a fresh set of eyes to the things I encounter daily. And I’m challenged, once again, to find a balance between understanding and questioning. I want to understand that because of our own sinfulness, this world will never be sorrow-free but I hope I never stop questioning why there are children going to bed hungry in a town where men drive Mercedes and golf on the weekends. It’s a never-ending balancing act of coping with the daily heartbreak and maintaining an aggressive compassion for justice.

As the weeks continue to fly by, I find myself constantly thanking God for each moment and asking for a few more. It’s a balance of contentment and yearning. And I guess that’s what I’m learning this week: balance.

20 July 2007


Well God sure does have a sense of humor. Loving on all my precious children has given me, for the first time in my life, the lovely childhood disease, chicken pox. And it came at a time when I really needed to take a break from the craziness of ministry. However, God knows only he could stop me. And he did.

And what a time of spiritual retreat it has been. I spent time dwelling on the word of the Lord. And listening to his whisperings. Many intimate conversations were had. And I returning to ministry feeling replenished. Our God is the ultimate healer.

I cannot believe week 10 is coming to an end. I get teary eyed every time I think about leaving this place. It truly has become home. It is my prayer that God prepares my heart to leave or opens up an opportunity to stay. Because at this point, I am not ready to leave.

And since my week was spent on bed rest to avoid any serious complications to the chicken pox, there is not much more to report. But I thank you all for the prayers. My recovery was quick and complications-free. So praise God!

14 July 2007


The joy of a child is most definitely contagious. This week I was basked in that joy as I danced and jumped and laughed with the precious children of Magnolia Primary in Paarl East, the colored community we work in. MCM has had a continued involvement with Magnolia Primary for the past 3 years. It was the first school I ever taught in and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

We currently have a team here from the States who are putting on a vacation Bible school at the elementary school. Every day this week we have put on Bible skits, played games, sang songs and fed soup to over 300 children. Their giggles and smiles were the most precious thank you-s I’ve ever received.

One day, one of my little friends, Helen, tugged on my jacket and pulled me aside. With tears in her eyes she told me, “I just wanted to thank you for coming. Kids make fun of me for going to school at Magnolia because it’s so dirty but when you guys come and clean up I don’t feel so embarrassed. And thank you for telling us about Jesus.”

That’s what this is all about; making children feel treasured. Because that is what Jesus would do if he was here. The children were always a priority for him. And I’m reminded that of once again this week. And I think I will keep it as simple as that.

07 July 2007

glorious// week8

This week was glorious. There’s no better adjective to describe it. Glorious means, “beautiful in a way that inspires wonder or joy.” The beauty of the week started with God’s creation. Finally, the sun has come out to play. I was able to leave the uggs and coat at home. When the sun shines in the valley it casts a heavenly light upon the mountains and reflects a majestic glow upon the faces of our children. The warmth brings a joyful aura to the streets of Mbekweni. Dogs and children romp at will. And I stand in wonder of God’s attention to detail. It truly is glorious.

Wednesday was America’s independence day. However what was glorious to me this year was not the freedom I have found from governments but rather freedom from Christ. The freedom of realizing my Jesus is not American but rather international. The freedom of serving alongside my friends, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. As you may recall, this week our youth outreach took place. Under the banner of Christ, we came together- black, white, colored, American, South African- to love our neighbors as Christ has loved us. I don’t think any one of us reached out without being touched ourselves. Through the means of sports and creative arts, four different cultures came together to share. We shared our food, our languages, our stories and our time, which I think all translated into sharing a love that reflected something beyond human goodwill. The joy of that those two days was nothing short of wonderful.

The rest of my week was mark by small, glorious moments. One afternoon after serving soup to the children I decide to pull out my camera. As I was taking some pictures the boys, as always, were shaping their fingers to resemble guns. They’re always “shooting” each other when the camera comes out. So I told them that we needed to come up with some better signs. And thus I showed them signs for peace and love. They were thrilled to learn something new and began begging me to takes pictures of them with their new signs. It was a small, but glorious moment for me.

Moments like that continue to follow me as if God is telling me, “it’s doesn’t take much to glorify my name. But when you do, it’s beautiful.” And it certainly is.