Culture.

photo collageRecently, I was having a conversation with someone about culture. Making the statement that we should allow for and differentiate a person’s spiritual life based on the culture they are a part of. This statement has been challenging me multiple times over many weeks, and I’m finally putting my thoughts out in writing.

Everything is spiritual. Every breath we breathe is a gift by His spirit. The way we act, the choices we make, the priorities we have, the focus we choose everyday – these choices should be a result of the Spirit. If we live by His Spirit, we keep in step with the Spirit. If ANY culture calls themselves Jesus followers they ought to begin by recognizing their existence and very lives as being spiritual! Therefore we are now new creations! Our culture is gone! Because we belong to a spiritual culture. An upside down kingdom! This is not how the world lives. This is how Jesus lives. This is a Jesus culture! And it doesn’t make sense. It’s not popular. It’s not a culture of becoming like the world to relate to the world. NO. The call to advance the Kingdom is being against the grain. To go against the odds. To sail against the wind, and all the while, resting, in the consistent nature of our outrageously good God!

My vision is not to change a culture, to make African culture be more like American or to make American be more African or European or liberal or conservative or more self-confident or more educated or more politically free, more aware of color or less aware of color. My vision is to be like Jesus. To love His righteousness more than my own. To hate my own ‘self-righteousness’ so that I can receive His.

I want to be transformed by His presence and motivated by His heart. An ambassador for Christ as though God were pleading through me, Come closer to Him! Come to him and find his righteous heart of love. He made himself who is completely pure to be sin on my behalf! That I might become like Him in his perfection.

‘He sees you as perfect for Him. And He wants to make you perfect in His nature. Stamping the image of Jesus on you. And he will not rest himself until you have this revelation of what He is really, really like for yourself.’

I’ve had many friends comment, ‘Kaysha, when you are around, there is so much peace, it’s like I am a better version of myself.’ I am not sharing this to make myself sound amazing…Do you know? This isn’t me! This is Christ in me – the HOPE of glory. I don’t love myself. I love HIM. He is the ONLY perfect one. Looking for His integrity. That is my joy. Looking for His consistency. Looking for His sincerity. When He proves himself to you, which He will, you can’t help but follow after Him into craziness. And live in Him and move in Him. And represent Him. And count everything else as loss for the sake of knowing Him and growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him- a joy unequaled.

Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christ-like] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.

Brothers and sisters, together follow my example and observe those who live by the pattern we gave you. For there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things. – Phil. 3:12-19

But we are different, because our citizenship is in heaven.

Dare to be of a different culture. Dare to not only be a Christ follower, dare to bend. To be humbled. To become less you, in order to become Christ-like in nature, for then, and only then, will we see Heaven on earth.

12 Love Letters | Father’s House 7

Love, is a winding road. Older than old.

Love, is a mystery. It’s got a hold on me and I just can’t shake it.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetThrough these 7 weeks I see 12 Love letters from Christ delivered to the world. That the world will know Him. Not written with ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of the human heart.IMG_0530Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe transition into a ‘school co-leading role’ included many firsts for me that were not always easy. Yet here, in my weakness, He is the strongest, and the most magnified and the most glorified! The testimonies that were shared in this school were unbelievable. Our Father God’s redemptive work in the lives of His children never ceases to amaze me.

Such is our reliance on Him- not a confidence that comes from ourselves, but all power and ability and SUFFICIENCY are from God. It is HE who qualifies us- making us fit and worthy and sufficient as ministers and dispensers of this Love message of salvation through Jesus! – II Cor. 3:2-6IMG_0888I am without words to describe the joy..as well as the growth in what we experience these days, therefore I’ll let the photos speak for themselves and highlight a few unique moments during our discipleship school, Father’s House 7.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetP1100767Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetIMG_6153DSCN0211IMG_0975DSCN0180During the second week of the school we experienced a forest fire that was quite close to home. The fire started on the neighboring farm because of the drought and after a week of fighting it, the fire was finally extinguished. It wasn’t an easy week for the community, but together we saw the power of unity in prayer and God’s loving protection through it all.

I will not fear for You are with me! // He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in ALL your ways. You will not fear sudden disaster, for it won’t come near your tent. – Ps. 91 IMG_8714DSCN0176IMG_0891DSCN0219Processed with VSCO with a6 presetDuring week four, we traveled on three-day outreach to a township outside of Cape Town called Mannenburg. Over the years this specific area has become overcrowded with high incidences of crime and gang activity emerging. While working with several local ministries, our students joined to offer prayer and encouragement for local kids and families desperately seeking the hope and the love of Jesus in a dark place. God’s presence was tangibly felt with healing and salvation happening all around.IMG_0704Processed with VSCO with a6 presetIMG_0702Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe last week of FH7 before graduation, our fearless leaders, Johan and Marie had the wild idea of taking our students on a 14hr train trip to a massive prayer gathering in Bloemfontain, located centrally in the Free State province of South Africa. You may have heard about this national gathering for prayer on the news, as 1.7 million South Africans gathered before God to pray for the nation politically, economically, spiritually and relationally in unity as a people. It was a huge privilege to be a part of something so radical and I believe as so many gather with one focus, we will see change and God’s love emerging at the center of a once broken nation.P1100981Processed with VSCOP1110012DSCN0282IMG_1225VCSI2520The gift of being a part of these 12 stories for 7 weeks is a privilege I cannot put into words. To see each student fall in love with Him, to blossom and flourish in family, to be willing to be broken and willing to be healed. To forgive, to cheer each other on, to fight for love- this is the vision. This is why we do what we do. That the world will KNOW Him.

All of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Jesus. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are His ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Jesus when we cry, ‘Come back to God!’ For God made Jesus, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Him. – II Cor. 5:18-20

Love is a dangerous word to those who fear losing control.

Love is a wild wind and no one knows which way it goes.

Love, it’s a dangerous word.

Following these seven weeks we continue with a two week extended outreach to three locations in the Western Cape. If you are interested in photos from our outreach work, I’ve shared them here: That the World will Know Him.

If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.

 

 

 

That the World will Know Him.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him.  II Cor. 2:14Processed with VSCO with b5 preset

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Witsand // Slangrivier, South Africa

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Swellendam // Railton, South Africa

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Montague // Ashbury, South Africa

IMG_0952IMG_0694IMG_0747IMG_0773IMG_0751IMG_0943IMG_1412IMG_0761IMG_0762IMG_1022IMG_0703IMG_0712IMG_1023The ‘mission’ can be seen in a myriad of ways in which the kingdom of God expresses itself– highly varied and always redemptive!

God the Father sent Jesus in grace to remove shame and distance that we created between us and Him. To draw us unto Himself from being orphaned in sin to being adopted as His own. Not because of anything we have done or deserve, but because of his great expansive Love.

That we might know Him.

If you would like to learn more about our discipleship school please visit our website. Applications are now open for October.

 

 

 

Hope is Rising.

I’d like to walk you through a picture-story of our time in Europe to express an experience that I can hardly put into words. Through these photos I hope to share what God did, the beauty we encountered, as well as what was in my heart…europe map

1. The Netherlands / ZandaamIMG_6940We stayed with friends of ours- Hein and Elise who are like family to us by now! It was a huge blessing to enjoy their home and also learn from them as they share about married life, work, and being God’s Love in their community.

One morning we were invited to share at a small gathering where many Iranian refugees were attending to find a sense of community and faith as well as prayer. Most of them were praying for their wives and children still beyond borders. It really moved my heart to think of myself in their shoes. Completely helpless to connect with those you love most. The situation forces complete reliance on God and His heart to prove good beyond disaster and disconnect we experience in this world. His desire is to not only to unite family, but to unite nations!IMG_6958All of this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. – 2 Cor. 5:18-19IMG_6985IMG_6983IMG_7002
IMG_7059IMG_7025IMG_7044While in Zandaam we also shared the pleasure of exploring Hollands quaint history and beauty in it’s gardens, waterways, windmills and windy days! We also celebrated Barbara’s birthday with brunch in Hein and Elise’s beautiful backyard garden.

See what great Love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children in the family of God! – 1 John 3:1

2. The Netherlands / Riiland

In the following days we drove from Zaandam to Riiland, Holland- packed in our tiny car with matching bags as if we are a traveling soccer team. =)IMG_7058IMG_7055We arrived and were welcomed by The Lighthouse family to share and do life with their team. It was a special weekend of connection, learning, and worship together.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure. 1 John 3:2IMG_7083IMG_7065IMG_7063One of my favorite memories was running with Barbara through the wheat fields to the top of the dam. It’s a mystery to see the ground beneath my feet that is, in fact, below sea level!…and I remain confused.

The misty skies and mysterious sea level remind me of what it means to run in this life by faith alone.IMG_7071Hope in His Love. The world does not know us..and we ourselves don’t know what we will yet be…but we know that we will be like Him – who is Love- so we hope for that!  – 1 John 3:3

And this hope will not disappoint us, because God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been freely given to us. – Romans 5:5

3. Germany / Starbach / Dresden

Meeting Barbara’s family was refreshing, and a bit like living in a story book. We learned about the grain business from her dad, while enjoying the tastiness of her mom’s delicious cooking and being spoiled by their delightful hospitality. IMG_7169IMG_7170IMG_7098IMG_7111IMG_7161IMG_7276IMG_7356One afternoon, we all jumped in the back of her dad’s 1958 truck for a rainy, and bumpy drive over hills of green farm land, to her dad’s favorite lookout spot.

Here, he prays for their community, for the local famers, for the government, and for his country. It was a privilege to be there agreeing with that prayer.

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. – Hebrews 6:10,11IMG_7357IMG_7254IMG_7257IMG_7355IMG_7275IMG_7273Meeting this family, I am reminded of Gods delight in the details, in excellence in design, in hard work, in pioneering and praying through intense and even politically hard years, yet raising beautiful children with shining souls and bright futures.

Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of HIMSELF very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of this hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. – Hebrews 6:17-18

4. Czech Republic / Prague

Our first train in Prague I felt a surprising contrast between delight and despair. I was meant to be taking in the romantic beauty of the city, yet there was a stirring in my heart for the Czech people to be free from a heaviness still stifling personality and true joy.

I was encouraged by the simple curiosity of a child still untainted by a culture that was created in the era that went before her.IMG_7302IMG_7325When I went on a walk with our host Lily, she explained that during Communist control, even previous apartment buildings were designed in a way that prevented people from living in community.

I thought about the impact that a design like this can have on people. Over time, isolation and lack of community slowly breaks humanity down into lifeless beings with no freedom to share and celebrate and have joy-filled connections. Without connection we lose motivation and hope. We need each other. IMG_7360IMG_7402IMG_7408God was so good to allow us to stay with Lily- she invited us to her dad’s birthday party where we experienced a family full of love and affection for each other.

At their church we were able to share our story of full-time missions and encourage their community to be reminded of God’s passion for his Body across the globe. The people were really touched and received prayer before leaving to carry the gospel to Estonia.

And so….after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. He received his inheritance…JESUS. The only firm and secure hope for all his kingdom descendants- to enter Gods presence and receive eternal salvation. – Hebrews 6:15IMG_7335IMG_7721IMG_7417IMG_7432IMG_7434So let hope rise. And darkness tremble in your holy light, that every eye will see JESUS– Our God! Great and mighty to be praised!

God of all days, glorious in all of your ways- Your majesty, and wonder and grace are in the light of your Name! Let hope rise.

6. Poland / Swidnica

In Poland we met with a young mother named Paulina. She welcomed us into her home, fed us at her table, and shared with us all that God is doing in her small town of Swidnica. We were amazed at this connection we could not have planned ourselves. Paulina was full of expectation with our arrival, and we had barely been in Poland a few hours.IMG_7631IMG_7608IMG_7609IMG_7612IMG_7622IMG_7623Later that evening we went with Paulina and her family to the ‘Resting Place’ – basically a central space where they meet weekly to seek God, to pray and worship in their small community.

We were amazed at their hunger. They don’t have much in the eyes of the world- but a genuine, simple and bold way of worshipping the King of Kings! They looked at us with eyes full of expectancy and love, waiting to hear a word from the Lord. They came one by one, full of faith, ready in prayer, and in a moment were touched by His Spirit. Their hearts soft and ready to receive Him.IMG_7634We have this hope. JESUS. As an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:26,33

5. Germany / Berlin

Driving into the city I immediately felt a next level German efficiency and rigor! We toured Berlin with our friend Marvin, who took us by U-Bahn through the city center, to the Berlin Memorial, as well as the Holocaust Memorial. IMG_7563IMG_7531IMG_7537IMG_7897IMG_7550IMG_7558IMG_7904IMG_7568In the midst of the tour we were feeling strung-out and strange with the intensity of the city. We decided to re-connect with each other at the house of prayer at Marvin’s church.

There we soaked in the moment and gathered together to pray for Berlin and for revival in Germany. I was completely overwhelmed by God’s Spirit and could only feel His heart for the people- for the pain of the past- for the oppression caused by communism and control. I felt the intense heaviness of the burden and God’s heart just pouring out His love for His people, that they would reach out and find Him as He truly is. That they would allow His love and grace to banish every darkness and find hope arising there.

As we left the house of prayer to make the walking journey back to our hostel, I couldn’t shake what the Spirit was doing. I wept uncontrollably.IMG_7573IMG_7582We descended the stairs to the underground subway where young people were gathering and partying, it was all I could do to not start bursting out the name of Jesus! For in His mercy to save them from their aimless goals and dead end pursuits…from their obvious cries for attention, seeking worth and beauty and lusting for food that will numb but not satisfy.

And I wept. My spirit groaned deep within me.

For the very dream of God is for all to come to Him; full of hope and expectation. He IS who He says He is! He is the best friend who knows you. He says you’re never alone because you are His! Because He died for you! He satisfies every distant dream and longing, with HIMSELF. He IS the very food we crave. He IS the bread of life. He IS the Father to the fatherless. IMG_7600IMG_7601IMG_7604We get it all wrong. We think hope is having expectation that our worldly circumstances will change, and if and when they do, then it’s all worth it. No. Hope in God! HE alone is worth it. This life is temporary! Hope in what the world offers and you’ll end up with depression, anxiety, fear, hunger for power and control, temporary highs, restlessness, loneliness, temporary relationships and torn families.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. Oh my soul, put your hope in the Lord, for with Jehovah is unfailing Love and with Him is full restoration. – Psalm 130:5-7

7. The Netherlands / Amsterdam

Our second time back in the Netherlands offered one cloudy day to explore the city. It was rainy in Amsterdam, but the city provoked my curiosity.

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you restless within me? Hope you in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who IS the health of my countenance, my God, my Creator, the Maker of the heavens and the earth.- Psalm 42:5 IMG_7701IMG_7694IMG_7685Hoping for different, ideal, or secure circumstances is a temporary satisfaction and a weak foothold. Hope in God is secure.

Hope in His Love- His never changing nature is a solid foundation for living this life as it is, not as we wish it to be.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Give up your vain pursuit of self, give hope to the poor in spirit. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” – Luke 12:32-33 IMG_7703IMG_7705IMG_7678For all goodness, and every perfect gift is from above; it simply comes from the Father of Lights -the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens- in whom there is no variation…no rising or setting or shadow cast by His turning like the moon in an eclipse. For He is perfect and never changes! – James 1:17

When nations choose JESUS alone- Hope in him will bring justice where there is injustice, peace where there is anxiety, unity where there is division. We need you, God of Love. God of Mercy. Show us how to love. Make us more like Jesus.

For every tribe and people and nation…

May the God of peace- who brought up Jesus from the dead, giving us an eternal covenant with His blood- May He equip you with hope and all that you need for doing His will.
May he produce His Love in you, through the power of Jesus, and every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory going to Him forever and ever. – Hebrews 13:20-21

It is Him, I hope to give you. Go and change the world!

The Father’s Heart.

“In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” – Jesus

Jesus said that I know the way to where he is? That he has prepared a place for me to be in his family? To have the same Father with him? What does it mean to be fully adopted by God, that I can not only pray to Him, but I can know and call Him Father?

This is the foundation of everything we are doing here in South Africa. The Father’s House is not simply a Bible school– this is family.IMG_6797
In Matthew, Jesus said that it is better for someone to tie an enormous rock around your neck, kick you into the deepest part of the ocean, and let you sink, rather than allow you to cause a child to stumble. Protecting the trust of the vulnerable is a big deal to Jesus—and for a good reason! We were designed to live out of trust.*

This hunger for deep trust can only be satisfied through a relational connection with God the Father.

Often, how we view our earthly father is how we perceive God to be. Yet, no matter the actions of our birth fathers, Jesus’ words in scripture reveal a defending and protective love of the Father for His lost children– this includes all of us!

Jesus died on the cross so that you could have an eternal Father. Regardless of your relationship with your earthly father, He is a ‘Father to the fatherless’ and He yearns to settle the lonely into a home. – ps. 68:5,6IMG_6937
I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:18

It is his desire to be called Abba- which means ‘to be carried’. He wants to take us into His loving arms…to trust in His comfort, to lean against His chest. It is His will that we know we are loved by a perfect Father. It was by design that we are created to live in the fullness of a Father’s love. IMG_8864IMG_6694IMG_8877IMG_6737The Lord, Jehovah, is the merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, maintaining this love to thousands and forgiving of iniquity, rebellion, and sin. – Exodus 34:6

Jesus went to the Cross to avenge the stolen innocence and broken trust we all inherited after the Fall. When he declared that we all had to be ‘born again’, He was saying, “We’re going to start this trust thing over again. I’m placing you in the Father’s arms, where you will experience unconditional love, acceptance, and care.”*IMG_6657IMG_6663IMG_6667IMG_6669IMG_6648This is the heart of Scripture! Everything in the history of creation points to His passionate Love for us- isn’t this truly amazing news?!

He will meet your needs when you cry out to Him- especially your need to be loved. Through this Love, we learn how to trust again, to build relationship with Him and with one another- relationships in which your heart is truly satisfied.*
IMG_7154 (1)IMG_9286IMG_6910IMG_6904IMG_6746His desire has always been for a family. God is love. If you know your Father, you start to mimic Him. You start to love like He loves!

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be a Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God– and can know and rely on the love that God has for him. – 1 John 4:12-16creche 1IMG_6764IMG_7412IMG_7446IMG_7462IMG_7065outreach 1IMG_7088IMG_9395IMG_7047 (1)IMG_7063 (1)IMG_7586IMG_7579
When the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full right of sonship. Because you are sons and daughters, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father! So you can no longer carry the identity of a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you an heir. – Galatians 4:4-6

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—he has died as a ransom to set us free from our sin committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:15IMG_7146IMG_7014For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. Seeing us in love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will- to the praise of His glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. – Ephesians 1: 4-6 

*Photos:

  1. Our Family. A group photo representing leaders, staff and students from the most recent Father’s House school. I cannot begin to put into words all that God’s Spirit does in and through each of us as we gather in the ‘upper room’.
  2. Our Home. Set in the beautiful Langeberg Mountains, an original 1860’s home where we live and learn in ‘class’ every day.
  3. Harvesting. Some of our practical missionary work is to bless our farm, Le Roux & Fourie Vignerons, where we live as well as neighboring farms by doing grape and pomegranate harvesting depending on the season. Along with the harvesting we are always learning about the vines and symbology of Jesus being the true Vine in John 15.
  4. Village Immersion. We visit local township communities to meet and talk with people on the street, playing with children, and asking them if they’ve heard about the love of Jesus, if they need physical healing, and praying with them. Almost every village immersion, several people come to know Jesus for the first time as their Savior. One of my favorite days of the week.
  5. Creche. [Kindergarten in English]. We visit the Creche once a week to play with and love on the farm children that are babies to pre-school age. Very poor and very under-cared for. They have runny noses and dirt from head to foot- not getting the attention that children so desperately need. So we go and play with them and love on them, clean them, change their diapers, pray over them. Whenever we leave, they are always asking in Afrikaans when we are coming back. It’s a very simple ‘mission of love’ but such a precious opportunity to carry the Father’s heart to them as many of them have absent or somewhat abusive earthly fathers.
  6. Kids Club. Wednesday evenings we gather all the farm children from primary school age to teenagers to play outside, feed them dinner, and then pray with them and do a little Bible lesson. The kids REALLY look forward to this every week, and it has a huge impact on their lives and calling them higher to believe that their dreams for a better future are not far off, but that God really sees them and is there to meet their hearts desires.
  7. Hospital/ Outreach. Weekly, we go out specifically to pray for the sick and believe for healing along with sharing the gospel and connecting deeply in prayer for emotional and physical needs. During our two week extended outreach we were praying with a man named David in a wheelchair who’s back was healed and was able to walk again!
  8. Table Mountain. Every school we take the students for a weekend in Cape Town and one of the highlights is climbing the famous Table Mountain and praying there together for the nation of South Africa. The climb is not only exhilarating, but symbolic of our walk of faith in Jesus, enjoying each other’s company and encouraging one another on to the finish! The breathtaking views from the top are worth the climb!
  9. Baptism. As a family, we spend a time of fellowship on the Western Cape coast where students have a choice to be baptized in the Indian Ocean. Together we celebrate changed hearts, redeemed life in Jesus, and the significance of living in the knowledge of being fully adopted by the Father.

 

*Quoted: Keep Your Love On. by Danny Silk

 

Living in the Wineland, South Africa

“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” – John 12:24-25

I am here getting settled at my new home in South Africa and the first few weeks have already been full of adventures!

Our discipleship school will begin next week, so in the meantime, I have been exploring and having some fun with the team I am living with here on the farm.

One day last week, two of the girls and I hiked one of the nearby mountains for a full view of the vineyards. The valley is so incredibly beautiful and I am filled with awe and thankfulness to be here and excited for all that God has in store.IMG_6550IMG_6553IMG_6555There is always a lot of activity on the farm where I live. With it being harvest season in the winelands, I was able to join the workers in the vineyard for harvesting early one morning and also stopped in the wine cellar to  learn a bit about how the grapes are fermented and bit of the winemaking process. IMG_6592IMG_6595IMG_6591IMG_6603IMG_6602IMG_6597IMG_6606 Also last week, my housemate Barbara and I visited the little farm Kindergarten down the road. The farm workers take their small children here to be cared for during the day while they are away working in the vineyards.

The Creche is simple, and the children do not have an environment that really fosters learning or even playtime. The little ones were so happy to see us come to give them some attention, and I really look forward to spending more time here, loving on them and speaking life into their little hearts and minds. IMG_6509IMG_6513IMG_6530IMG_6526My life here is very simple and all about family. Even when the day is busy, we take time to prepare meals together and our table is surrounded with loads of joy and laughter. I am so thankful for this season and also full of expectation for the coming weeks as we will be leading students during the Father’s House discipleship school.

In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine, and the hills will flow with milk. Water will fill the streambeds of Judah, and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord’s House, watering the arid valley of acacias. – Joel 3:18

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What does love look like? // South Africa

After my previous 10 weeks in Mozambique, I arrived here, the Western Cape of South Africa.

What does it sound like, when we sing heaven’s song? What does it feel like when heaven comes down? What does it look like, when God is all around?

These are the questions I had running through my head when I flew into this beautiful land.IMG_3185IMG_3272IMG_3276
The first day out, our team visited local townships outside of the city and helped to host an evening for the children to have a warm meal as well as a time of singing and sharing Jesus’ love for them. We were able to pray with many of the children and some of their families.IMG_3263IMG_8127IMG_8136IMG_8130IMG_8125IMG_8129IMG_8141What does love look like for these families? What does it look like for His love to be all around?

Jesus said, ‘Blessed, spiritually prosperous, happy, and to be admired are the poor in spirit– those void of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven, both now and forever.’ Mt. 5:7

What do I know of this love? That the poor can be filled, blessed, and satisfied in it? Theirs is the kingdom of heaven?

When I come and quiet my soul, Jesus show me this love. Show me what your kind of love looks like. There is no care in the world when I am trusting you completely. IMG_3456Another day, we spent quality time with children at a local orphanage. Even though I don’t speak the Afrikaans language, it seems that nothing translates better than the language of love. To these children, love looks like play, love looks like hugs, and chasing and falling on the ground with them in laughter.IMG_8172IMG_8158IMG_8156IMG_8152IMG_8146IMG_8189IMG_8188IMG_8185For He promises to turn our mourning into dancing, our tears into songs of joy.

He is a Father to the fatherless. He sets the lonely in families.

His love never fails.IMG_3454In the fertile Robertson Valley, fruit farming is one of the area’s prominent industries. Still, many families live in humble conditions, and their children are left to take care of themselves. Our team was able be a part of a weekly kids club for the farm children– playing games, offering a warm meal, and having a time of singing, and prayer for them. IMG_8210IMG_8239IMG_8221IMG_8213IMG_8233IMG_8215IMG_8244IMG_8240IMG_8242While there, I was gripped by the weariness of the children in the poor communities. Their dreams seeming so far and out of reach, they question if there is any reason to hope or dream at all.

I would love to give my time to the young as well as the old who carry this deep longing for hope. No matter the age we all need to learn to dream again with our Father.IMG_3267This spring I will join the team in South Africa full time— And of course, welcome this invitation with great joy!

I will continue working with the local poor in townships adjacent to Cape Town and will also be staffing the Iris Global Missions School called ‘The Father’s House‘.

The purpose is to equip and train students to be fearless, passionate disciples of Jesus, to know His love that surpasses knowledge, and to be sent out to influence the nations.

What does His love look like?

His love is fierce. His love is wild. It is unyielding as the grave. His love stops at nothing— it sweeps everything before it. Flood waters cannot drown it, torrents of rain can’t put it out. Love can’t be bought, love can’t be sold— it’s not to be found in the marketplace.

Once you get a taste of His extravagant love for you. There is no turning back. IMG_3645I am the True Vine.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.

-Jesus

 

 

Into the Bush. // Mozambique, Africa

IMG_3094Today was incredible. After driving out to the rural bush village of Impiri, and camping overnight, I woke to Mozambicans singing and thanking God for the day ahead.  The whole morning was spent in worship, prayer and dancing with the village mamas and children. It was such a beautiful time of community that I never wanted to end! It was very important to spend this time soaking in the presence of God as He had much in store for the day ahead.

Even if you don’t believe in the spiritual world, in Jesus, or the Devil, what happened next is powerful and I’d love to share this video with you to convey the background story and atmosphere in which I was immersed. Witch Doctor Testimony

I met the witch doctor and his girlfriend– Their lives are so completely transformed I would never have guessed who they were if I had not held the woman’s hands that were eaten away from her previous leprosy. They were filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit and so pleased with their own transformation from their new life in Jesus!   ‘He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!’ – 2 Corinthians 5:15, 17 

I watched as they burned all of their witchcraft fetiches in a big pit as God had prompted them to clean out their home. This man was the witch doctor for all provinces in northern Mozambique. Burning these things in front of the village was a very significant sign to the people living there of a choice to leave darkness to live a life of light.    ‘God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.’ – 1 John 1:5-7 

Following this we went out into the village in groups of four to talk and pray with people. I was with a group of three other girls from my school and one Mozambican Bible School Student who is learning to be a Pastor.

As we went out we walked past a few houses until a lady greeted us and invited us to talk with her. Selama! Mohavo? Kihavo?

While we spoke with her, another lady laid out on a daybed nearby raised her head from under a sweaty capalana.  

This woman was obviously ill and we asked if we could pray for her. We listened to her story as we prayed for Holy Spirit to come and bring healing. She began to feel somewhat better! She said she had tried to go to the hospital but there was no room. She had been sick and laying there on the daybed for two months! Unable to go to the church, she would pray for Jesus to help her and she cried as she realized he had answered her prayer by sending us. We prayed a second time and she sat upright completely healed, saying that she would like to try to eat some food! Praise Jesus! Next she asked if we would cast all the demons out of her house! We went inside and prayed. We explained to her that she had full authority in Jesus name to tell them to leave. As she prayed we could feel the spiritual atmosphere shift dramatically. I offered to anoint the doors and windows with oil but she didn’t have any oil. I used water from my water bottle instead, and the girl next to the door felt the water turn to oil! Can you imagine? I couldnt believe the heaviness of the presence of God there. He really is so tangible!

‘Let all who are helpless take heart. I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!’ – Psalm 34:1-2, 4-5, 8

We then walked out of the house, not quite sure what to do next. In that moment, the cutest little old lady teetered up to us and we saw that her eyes were clouded with cataracts that caused blindness. She asked us to pray for her, and as we did, nothing changed. We asked if she knew Jesus as her Savior, but she responded no. Suddenly, the woman who had just received healing ran forward. She began excitedly sharing her testimony of how she had received healing just minutes before. All of a sudden the old woman exclaimed, ‘I can see!! I can see!!’ She looked into my eyes with joy and the biggest toothless smile on her face. The cloudy cataracts had disappeared and her blue eyes were glistening!     She announced desperately, ‘I want this healing power you have so I can heal other people in my village!’ We explained to her this power comes from knowing the love God offers us all through believing in His Son Jesus.

“For God so greatly loved the world that He even gave up His only Son, so that whoever believes, trusts, clings to, and relies on Him shall not be lost but have eternal everlasting life.” – John 3:16

She responded excitedly, ‘Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord!’

We spoke about the significance of her decision as she had previously been a Muslim. We explained that a water baptism would symbolize her new life with Jesus. She wanted this now, so I again used my water bottle, with water in my hands and baptized her in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

‘If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.’ – Romans 10:9-10

How amazing is His grace! How unfailing is His love!

What other King leaves his throne? What King leaves his glory to die?

That He would lay down his life, that I could be set free?

It is for freedom, that I have been set free.    ‘God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.’ 1 John 4:9-10

Zura

My first morning in Pemba, I was In the hammock reading quietly and enjoying the sunrise when a parade of beautiful Mozambican mamas came and sat on the edge of my porch.  I greeted them in my limited Emakua. ‘Selama! Mohavo? Kihavo!’ One of the ladies rushed to my side, put her arm around my shoulder and asked my name in Emakua. She smiled, ‘Kaysha y Zura, amigas!’  I don’t know why this made us instant friends, but I was thankful for the quick acceptance as her amiga.

Zura is one of 12 ladies at our base hired to do laundry for the staff here. This is an amazing opportunity for these women to have jobs as it is extremely difficult for Mozambican women who don’t speak English to find work in the city.    They meet at my porch every morning to gather the laundry and wash and sing, a true highlight to my day as I’m journaling and reading above.

Every chance she could get, Zura would come to my side and chat in mixed Emakua and Portugese even though I could not understand most of what she was saying, I felt her hunger to understand and relate. I would read verses from the Bible to her in English as well, knowing she couldn’t understand. But it didn’t matter. We were amigas.

One day we happened to cross paths outside the gate. Yay! It was her day off from work! She grabbed my hand and took off for the village. I assumed she wanted me to meet her family she had described to me briefly.

Approaching her house she was greeted by three beautiful daughters. Gloria, Narzesa, and Jesuina. Zura spread a mat outside in the dirt and motioned for me to sit.

The girls scrambled on top of me, touching my face, stroking my hair, stealing my sunglasses and laughing at everything I said.  Before I knew it I had braids in my hair and the little one had adopted my Portugese dictionary as her own picture book.      My heart was completely undone as Zura indicated that she was a single mother providing for these babies on her own the best she could. Her middle child, Narzesa, had a concerning laceration on her foot that was sticky and muddy with flies landing around the cut. I helped her wash the foot, and put clean band-aids over it that I had with me.  I felt the smallness of what I had to offer against so much need.

That week someone left a Portugese Bible at our house accidentally. I snatched it up and began journaling verses to Zura.

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” – John 6:33, 35

She loved the Word. She was glowing with a new brightness in her eyes. So much so, that we began writing notes back and forth in the journal every morning.      Then this message broke my heart. She asked if there was any way I could help her family with my two hands. She barely makes enough income in a day to bring home food, much less to pay her rent and clothe her children adequately.

I knew this was coming. If it was myself in her shoes as a mother, how could I not ask for help?

I prayed desperately for a way to answer her. I continued to give her verses and promised I would ask God to give me wisdom as I am very small on my own.

The next morning I felt God gave me a picture that He wanted to heal Narzesa’s foot. He wanted to affirm and assure Zura and her family to know Him as their protector and provider and that they can run to Him to meet ALL their needs. He is such a good, good Father.

I held the word in my heart and prayed about who I could ask to go to her home and join me with great faith in prayer for this healing that would be a new sign of love and his goodness.

I felt God highlight Leo and the boys. It was part of His plan for them to pray for their own neighbor. I asked the boys the next day and they readily agreed to meet the following evening to go to Zuras house.

I wish I could describe the power of prayer in her home that night. The presence of God was overwhelming as Leo prayed. I was expectant to see radical healing, still the cut appeared the same to me. Leo confidently told me we were done and that it would be healed.

Before leaving, we washed Zura’s feet to honor her in her home. She received all of this in honest humility and with light, grateful tears.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:31-32

The next morning I gathered my housemates to visit Zura. We brought bread and peanut butter and I also brought her a Portugese Bible I was able to get my hands on.

As soon as we rounded the corner of the path to her house the girls came out running! I scooped them up in my arms, trying to catch Narseza long enough to look at her foot.    If only I had a photo to show the extent of the injury before– her foot was completely healed and the wound covered with new skin!!

Wow! Thank you Jesus our Healer! Zura pulled out the welcome mat and we praised God together! All of us laughing and hugging and talking over one another.             Every day since, Zura is praising God. Their circumstances haven’t changed, but their spirits are full of hope and their eyes filled with joy.

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – Jesus

 

A day in Mozambique

What does a day hold at the Village of Joy? What possibilities are held waiting within today?

5:30 am // Morning light.I wake to my screened view of the sunrise. With twelve girls stacked snug in bunks around me I creep out of my mosquito net to make a coffee and wrap myself in a cozy hammock on the porch for a morning chat with Jesus. My King. This time with Him is priceless. Vision for today.

6:30am// Daily Bread.      The breakfast bell rings to gather twelve bread rolls at ‘The Bread Tree’ for my housemates.    We break bread, scrambling around for peanut butter, hair-brushes, water bottles, sunscreen, toothbrushes, tea. We tie capalanas while braiding hair, laughing, scratching bug bites and cracking jokes about our weird sleep patterns. Once a week each of us has an assigned laundry day. It’s best to get your laundry on the line first thing before the washline is filled to capacity.

 8:00 am // Harvest School Hut      Here we worship, here we grow. We are hungry to praise, we are hungry to be watered by our faithful leaders. Our attention never wanders. It is an honor to be taught in this place by planet shakers from across the world.

1:30 pm // Rice and Beans     The lunch line gets kind of crazy! But it is a time I won’t forget, socializing and laughing and trying to communicate in Portuguese. Sometimes the line takes over an hour for a bowl of rice and beans, but it never tasted so good. I am so excited when I get it! I think God made my stomach for this food 🙂

3:00 pm // Town Run // Back Porches   In the afternoons we have the opportunity to hear from special guest teachers on optional classes we call ‘back porch’. I have most enjoyed hearing from a visiting team from Scotland.         IMG_1629
If I am not in a back porch, we can go to town and get groceries at the local store or fruit and veg market. Apples and peanut butter are a treat and I make sure to get enough for the week.

4:00pm // Beaches IMG_2424
       Once or twice a week we have time to walk down to the beach. A walk in the beauty of the ungroomed sand is especially refreshing after working in the red dirt of the hot villages.

5:30 pm // Evening light      What a treat to see the sun rise and set everyday. The expanse and variety of the sky in Mozambique is one of my most favorite things I could write an entire post about. If I could only capture a photo of the night sky. I have never seen so many stars in such detail! The vastness of our Creators love for beauty is beyond my comprehension.

6:00 pm // Matapa vs. Fish Heads

You never can tell what you will find on your rice at dinner time. Hungrily making it to the end of the dinner line to face a blackened fish head was slightly not as satisfying as you might think. But the Mozambicans love it. So I embrace it. This is love.  If not fish, we are served a plant based sauce called Matapa. Matapa is basically ground up leaves cooked with some spices. It’s a bit gritty in texture because of the sand stuck to the leaves. Hopefully my intestines appreciate the scrubbing, my teeth are not as stoked.

9:00 pm // Bedtime! This bottom bunk has been my resting place the four weeks! With 12 girls in two bedrooms we have laughed and fought and cried and laughed some more. This is the place where true character is born. Sleeping here is not the most peaceful routine, with doors banging and shuffling and dropping stuff on eachother, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.