Monday, July 28, 2008

African Spirituals in an African Prison

God is still showing me just how big He really is. In my last update I talked about my realization of Jesus being universal and international. He has expanded that for me to see His name being praised and taught in a prison. This was definitely a new experience for me. I have never been inside a prison until this past Saturday. I went with a local church here in Port Elizabeth to help them out with their monthly outreach at this prison. We were deep inside the prison, so deep that if a situation broke out we would have been in big trouble. As we walked through the halls to the room where we would be having church we could here singing echoing down the hall. The singing was A cappella, beautiful and had smooth harmony. The prisoners were waiting for us to come but had already started the time of worship. It was very neat. One of the locals in our group brought a message and then we had the chance to pray with those who had prayer request and then we handed out several Bibles and other spiritual literature to all those who wanted it. Even among the criminals our God’s praises are being sung.

Over the past two weeks I have been pretty busy. Last week we went on a vision trip to some areas about 3 hours away from here. I have never seen an area more beautiful than the places we went. At no point in the 3 hour drive did we ever get out of sight from the mountains. In fact we would driving and get on a bridge that went over huge deep canyons. So I have no clue if we were by or in the mountains. The majority of the time you could look out of the opposite window from the mountains and see the Indian Ocean! We were at the mountains and the beach at the same time, it was AWESOME!

  I am learning more and more each day about the tribal culture and about South Africa in general. South Africa is a country with a lot of hurting, much more than what I thought. It is the top 2nd or 3rd country in Africa infected with AIDS. They said about 1 in 3 have AIDS and over the next several years there will be a large reduction in the population because many currently have HIV and will soon develop AIDS. It’s extremely sad.

In and around every city in South Africa are townships. Most of these are metal and cardboard shacks; we would consider them homeless. What is happening is Black and Coloured Africans are leaving their communities and villages in search for jobs and money. The sad thing is when they get to the cities they realize that there are no jobs for them, so they find some land and make a house. If one of them does find a job the rest of their family will get word and then move to the city as well. So usually if someone does have a job they are supporting several more people than the pay will allow.

Be in prayer for this country and these people, unfortunately I believe that there are much harder times ahead for South Africa.

 On a personal note I am doing just fine and really enjoying my time here! I will be leaving here Sunday so please be in prayer for all of my flights! I absolutely HATE flying. Feel free to contact me if you would like any more details or information on what has been going on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sweet Tea and Salvation

“I’m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my pain” this song is over played and to be frank has become a bit cheesy. However, when hearing this sung at church on Sunday morning it brought about a new meaning to me. This song was the first song sung in my first out-of-America worship service. I attended a service at a “Coloured” church, not a racist term but a politically correct term here. 

Over the years I have had the opportunity to attend church with people of other color and other denominations. This time it was different, I realized that my Jesus in the US and Bama, was the same Jesus in Africa and the rest of the world. We as Americans tend to think that Jesus is only worshiped in the US and that we are the only people civilized enough to understand who Jesus is. This thought is immensely wrong! We, humans, all know the meaning of pain and hurt; we know what those things feel like. Jesus came to bring us joy and hope! His blood means the same and His grace works the same no matter who you are or what country you’re from! We essentially are all the same. And God loves us all, the same.  

    “For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only son that whoever believes in Him will never die spiritually but will live forever” –John3:16  

   Hello everyone! I have been having a great time here in South Africa, thank you all so much for the prayers and support. I have had the chance to experience some things that I will probably never get to experience again in my life. I have gotten to play with, hold and pet lion cubs! I have gotten to pet a full grown cheetah(the fastest land animal). I got to attend the Billabong Pro surfing competition at Jeffery’s Bay and I got to see Kelly Slater, the great USA surfer, surf an amazing heat! Also today I had the chance to co-lead 5 teenagers to the Lord! That is where the title of these came from. There were 5 salvations today and then I had some sweet tea for dinner tonight…God is good!

    I have been working in the missionaries’ office on most days helping them make some new websites for their ministries. There are certain people groups in S.A. and Namibia that have little to no Christian contact. I am compiling the information that they have gathered and prepared and I am placing it on the website so that people can learn about these people groups and start to pray for them and possibly plan a trip to visit them. Once a week I have been going to a very poor community and doing door-to-door ministries. I also have a prison ministry coming up. On Friday and Sunday nights I have been hanging out with a local youth group here. That in a nutshell is what I have been up to!