Saturday, October 18, 2008
lived in a mud house
slept on the ground
ate traditional food
attended a traditional funeral
experienced traditional life in Zulu land
learned much about the culture
ate more food
preached to a church
shared the Gospel of Jesus to non-believers
took many, many pictures
learned more of the Zulu language
ate still more food
hiked on the hills and in the valleys
observed how a Zulu fishes
rock-hopped across a river
walked across a legit swinging bridge that people use daily
took more pictures
groaned with the discomfort from eating too much
played soccer barefoot
encountered and battled ancestor worship first hand
spoke boldly against it
prayed over people who were oppressed by demons
and ate more food.
There is much more, but i cannot remember it all. I was quite blessed to have that week. God knew i really needed to get away from civilization for a bit, and He took care of me. It was nice also as I have been reading so much over the past two months, and last week was the time where i was to speak the things i had learned. That was nice.
One of the biggest accomplishments of the week was simply the fact that Josh and i lived with blacks. Since South Africa is still so segregated, it was a huge deal that two white guys would actually want to go and live with the black people. They were so honored to have us there and they felt very blessed. i felt equally blessed to be a part of tearing down the ridiculous dividing walls of racism and segregation. The Zulu are beautiful people and i really enjoyed living with them in their traditional environment. Yes, i actually miss that small village a lot. It was very hard to leave that beautiful place with such hospitable people. I do hope God allows me the opportunity to set my eyes on that village again, with its rolling hills and steep valleys! I did take many pictures, and i hope to get a couple up soon.
Monday, October 6, 2008
In 1 Thes. 4 i found something very interesting. Paul is writing to the gathering of believers in Jesus in Thessalonica. In chapter 4 he instructs them in how to live holy lives so that God will be glorified. The only instruction that he gave them in this is that they should completely avoid sexual immorality and lust. That's it. There is no more instruction besides this. Of all the things that Paul could have instructed them in, he chose that one. Why? Why does he see that as the most important or critical thing? Maybe it is that important to God!
If you find yourself in sexual sin (and you can find a definition of this in the Bible) while at the same time claim to be a follower of Jesus, maybe you should rethink something... or everything. Maybe God is really serious about keeping your body clean. If you have received salvation through Jesus Christ, then your body is the place where God resides. If you involve your body in a sexual or lustful act, they you are inevitably involving God your Creator in that very act. Not only does He see it, but you actually involve Him in that act. If you find this offensive, you may want to consider 1 Cor. 6:15-20. If you find yourself offended, then you are offended by the Word of God. If you feel convicted, you are convicted by the Spirit of God who lives in you.
Please, whore God out no longer. Please, rape God no more!
God did not save us so that we may continue to sin. He saved us so that we would no longer do the things that kill us and displease Him. I hope this post finds you clear of any unrepentant sexual offense before God... because He is that serious about it, as you too should be.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
the ceremony took place deep in the village and we were the only white people there. this is quite revolutionary here in South Africa since there is still so much racial segregation in the rural areas. it was actually a great honor for the bride's family to have some white people in attendance. they were all eager to talk to us despite the language barrier... which made for some fun interactions.
something else that has been very interesting and has brought a lot of adventure and excitement to our lives are the forest fires. over the past week i bet i have seen at least 10 fires of the large nature. there have been two that have encroached on the property that we are living on, one of which we had to fight at about 9 pm on friday night. five of us put it out in about a half hour. after this josh and i chased the fire the other way with our cameras. we ran through a field with grass that was as tall as i so that we could get good pictures. i found out later that the field we ran through likely has a few cobras living in it. glad we didn't encounter any on our crazy trek!
apparently august is the windy month here and also one of the driest times too. often the small cooking fires in the villages can get away in the wind or a cigarette butt can land in the wrong place or "controlled" burns become uncontrollable. in any case, they create a lot of smoke and a nice orange glow at night. don't worry, i've been taking pictures of this too!! just last night i actually saw a large fire in town that had caught a big pine tree on fire. it was quite a sight, but i didn't have my camera at the time.
so, i've been fully immersed in the South African culture... and if it continues like this, i may never come back... haha. if i don't die that is.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Other than the language, i believe i'm adjusting well. I'm learning to pray like my life depended on it... and it might, you never know. I've met some cool people. One of the natives that i work with has invited me to work out with him at night. We go behind his house and lift "weights." These weights are iron bars with concrete-filled paint buckets on the ends. It is so great and a great way to build relationships with the guy i work with and with the security guard. The security guard is also a native who is bashful to use the little english that he knows. You can pray for me as i get to know him. I do not think that he knows the truth of Jesus, and i believe that i will be able to share with him before i leave.
One thing that i have noticed since i have been here is that people are flat out eager to hear the truth concerning Jesus! i have never seen anything like it! people will ask many questions and listen without argument to what is being said. In western culture, people find it offensive to have the gospel "imposed" on them, but here people are often excited to hear something new and radical.
While i have seen some exciting things, i have seen some hard things as well. HIV is digging new graves everyday. Every week i get to hangout with 15-20 HIV positive orphans all under age 7. They are precious little guys and gals! Although these are cared for, there are hundreds more that have not been helped. This is truly heartbreaking! I have already seen huts run by children due to all relatives dying from HIV. What is worse is that the community doesn't surround them and help them, they surround them to rob them and rape them. It makes my blood boil. Pray for these kids and that we can bring them hope, the Hope of Glory.
each week i hang with many kids, which excites me. when i first came i thought i would be helping with a church plant and adult Bible studies, but i have found that i will be working a lot with kids. while this was not my first choice, the all knowing One planned for this and has blessed me with some wisdom and understanding from His Word concerning His righteous judgement in accordance with His grace. God has showed me through His word that the children are the opportunity for change in this community. i know this sounds cliche, but it is so true!! these kids have a very hard road ahead of them with or without the hope of Jesus, but if there is to be a change in the community, and if the HIV pandemic is to be halted, these kids need to be rescued from the lies that the culture is living by. God clearly showed me by His spirit this weekend that this is the message that we need to speak to these children. This is only a quick recap of some very deep stuff, and i hope to write more in depth later on since i believe it is something we all can consider no matter what culture we live in.
i ask that you pray that i will be given an outlet to teach the children this message in it's fullness and that i can do so with boldness and without fear of those in the community who hold to evil very tightly. This seems to me to be the only hope that can be offered to these kids. i hope to share the scripture passages with you later on when i have my Bible handy. i am very excited to see how God uses this, even if it is years after i leave and i never know about it.
The landscape is amazing here!! Tall, rolling hills and deep valleys are all i can see in any direction! You know i enjoy that! Mountains and the beach are both within a 2 hour drive too. Zulu means "heaven" and now i see why they call this the land of heaven. It really is nice here.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
there are two songs that stand above all other melodies that i have heard sung: the anguished song of the oppressed, and the jubilant song of restoration. i have heard the song of Jesus and could not escape the truth of the love that he offers, and i have heard the cry of the hopeless, the unloved and the oppressed. i have come to understand that there is no solution, no help and no hope for these other than the love and rescue that Jesus sings over them, and over us all. Jesus seeks after those who are hopeless, misguided, confused, beaten, cast aside and unloved. It is to them that the song of restoration is directed. i will join in singing the song of restoration to those who need to hear it, for it was once sung to me and continues to echo in my ears.