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