A Vision for our Children

Reynaud_MyMountainThe recent history of Rwanda since the genocide 25 years ago, simultaneously represents the worst and best of humanity.

This nation not only humbles me, but challenges and inspires me.

I don’t pretend to understand the full complexity of the history or her current journey, but when you want to really experience Rwanda and her story, I feel there is something very necessary about connecting with a living, breathing, healing, survivor’s story.FTAD4088IMG_8431Even as the genocide of 1994 may have now been pushed into the history books as the world experiences further tragedies and time heals, I believe there are timeless and important lessons in Rwanda’s story for all of us, if we listen. Reconciliation may not be fully complete, underlying fear and hurt may remain and the effects of the genocide are still very much being felt today. Despite this, I am sure of one thing; darkness never triumphs over light.IMG_8429Testimony

Below, you will read a glimpse of my husband, Alexis’ story. He is the visionary behind our ministry here in Rwanda. Sold out for Jesus, he is my fearless leader, coach, and the pioneer that makes our dreams come true.

For Alexis life has not come easy, yet his story with all of its set-backs, has built in him a resolve and a commitment to see change in East Africa, and a tenacity to prove that there is always hope for a bright future.IMG_8434In 1994 there was genocide against the Tutsi tribe in Rwanda. During this time Alexis lost most of his family members, leaving him orphaned at the age of 13. He himself survived at the mercy of one woman who kept him hidden in her home. The aftermath of these events was obviously devastating and was a turning point in his life. At the time, the loss, trauma and grief, affected Alexis to the point of drugging himself in order to sleep. Only under the influence of drugs could he sleep, but once sober again the difficult memories would always return. By the grace of God, he was found by a ‘Good Samaritan’, who took him from the street and returned him to school. His life and future was changed by the kindness of God through one person who stopped to take time for him. Since then, Alexis has given his life to the ministry of Jesus and wishes to see many nations being changed by the healing power of God through love, true Biblical teaching, strategic prayer and disciple-making of all ages.

When our children can understand the tangible love of Jesus, this revelation will lead them from a life of oppression, to a life filled with hope and change.– Pastor Alexis HakizimanaIMG_4172A Vision for Our Children

Our dream is for orphaned children who have experienced similar hardships and trauma to come into the healing reality of family. We also believe this reflects God’s heart for those who were once far off, to be healed through receiving a Spirit of adoption found in the person of Jesus. For these orphaned children, Jesus looks like someone who will stop, see, and offer open arms of safety.

‘When you create an atmosphere of vulnerability and trust, it’s powerful. Children can share, forgive, and feel safe enough to grow for the first time.’ – Kaysha Dawn

We believe in healing for the mind, body, soul and spirit. Our mission is to give our children individualized spiritual care as well as meeting their physical needs that will provide a self-sustaining future when they would otherwise be facing many challenges. This kind of healing will impact not only one life, but also future generations to come.

The stories of Rwandan survivors can become a testimony around the world for issues of peace and reconciliation. Because the people have gone through terrible things– they can teach nations.’ – Josephine MunyeliNTAWE8614Making a House a Home

When Alexis and I met we toured a home for boys outside of Kigali. We walked the premises in quiet expectation knowing that our hearts were saying the same thing. ‘One day we will build a home like this.’IMG_4148IMG_4175Fast forward to January 2019 on one of our casual evening walks, we found an abandoned residence on a beautiful property overlooking the valley. We both lit up and our spirits danced with the thought of our dream coming alive, ‘Maybe this house is it?!’IMG_8425IMG_8405A phone call was made. We found the owner was, herself, a survivor of genocide living in Belgium. She had inherited the house at a young age upon her father’s death after the war. The house was left unfinished and uninhabited since that time.IMG_8433IMG_8973This war-torn house is five minutes walking distance from our apartment and we have agreed with the landlord for renovation to use it as the Kigali Children Center! It has a solid structure and foundation and we are excited to make something beautiful out of the brokenness of the past.

Here, we plan to create a nurturing environment for vulnerable children to:

1.    Receive love and physical care
2.    Receive support and trauma specific counseling
3.    Learn empathy for others
4.    Learn responsibility
5.    Receive formal education and vocational trainingIMG_6093IMG_4261IMG_8405Would you join us in supporting this life giving home in Rwanda?

To help create this center for children, please click here to visit our support raising website or contact us directly if you are more comfortable to find out more about our tax deductible giving option. We love sharing the passion of our hearts and would enjoy the chance to talk with you more.

To see more about what we are doing in Rwanda, visit Into Faith We Go.

With love,

Alexis & Kaysha

Oh the possibilities, when God gives you a promise

…and a dream.

 What if this house was a home?

 …a safe place for children and broken families to find refuge?

What if we could love them back to life?

– whispers Jesus

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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

 

 

Constant Sun.

Lover of my soul.
Peeler of my layers.
Detangler of my depth, my unknown wells.
Stroke my head, brush aside any rusty strands.
Nourish my innermost being on Sunset.
In my dark tower.

Guide me in response to your love.
To your quiet pursuit.
Tend to the messes that are crumbly and dry.
Whisk the substance of my heart into more good, more overflow rising from within.
Surely you have your best written down.
Can I copy it word for word?

Tell me the secrets of the darkness,
Tell me why the temperature rises and drops leaving me without words on Sahara.

Even there your pursuit hems me in.
You gather my distant hope like crusts —
My mirage is your 3D.

You carry my weight, leaving me hanging.
So constantly.

How do I make sense of weightlessness?

Your nearness is my good.
Do what you will.

And I will sing. I will voice my weightless cry for depth in the desert.
You know my dance in the sand on Sundays.
Constant Sun.

Following a River. // Värmland, Sweden

You’re going to Sunnemo? Why?!IMG_9524

The Swedish police stopped us on the highway as we zoomed across the country in our Lilla Billen for a spontaneous road trip. He questioned why two young ladies would be heading that direction of all places, as the small town of Sunnemo in Värmland County is not typically known as a drawing destination to our generation.IMG_9533IMG_9522

Josefine explained that her family has a house there and we were going to enjoy it for the weekend. The officer let us move on with a confused and amused expression on his face.

Little did he know what adventurers he had happened upon!

Beauty seekers.Sweden Map_small

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bild-4Photo Credit: Josefine Frendin

Our first evening at the lake house we explored every nook and cranny. So much of Josefine’s childhood and family heritage has been safely kept in this place. Treasures! Kaysha Dawn loves a treasure hunt!

Upon finding the canoe, paddles, and life jackets [of course each was locked in a different out-building] we made our way to the river.IMG_9542

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Our mission? To find the beavers!

Small fact from Wikipedia: The beaver works as a keystone species in an ecosystem by creating wetlands that are used by many other species. Next to humans, no other animal appears to do more to shape its landscape. IMG_9624 IMG_9620

It was still slightly early in the evening for a beaver sighting, being somewhat nocturnal creatures-therefore, we had some time to paddle around, have a picnic dinner on the canoe, and silently follow the river through its windy passageways.10342416_10152065392960706_373325811736091103_n

Photo Credit: Josefine Frendin

As we floated on the stillness, munching our pizza picnic, our ears perked up when we caught the motion of a rustling in the reeds–

Beaver? No. _MG_3302

Photo Credit: Josefine Frendin

Out scurried a small bird running on the water full speed ahead!

Maybe I am very easily amused but this was HILARIOUS to us. So we decided to follow the little bird to see if we could get it to run again! We were giddy as children– Again, again! Dance birdie!_MG_3304

Photo Credit: Josefine FrendinIMG_9638

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Well that little bird did love to run! He led us out into the open water where the light was gleaming through the breaking clouds in the smoldering skies over us.

Gasp.

I didn’t ask for this. All I wanted to see was a brown, water rodent.

And here– in the middle of Värmland County, we saw Heaven.IMG_9636

In His goodness He brings us to life.

All that we seek after in this world is so small and brown compared to the vastness and the fullness of his HEART for us.

See maybe I’m too quiet for you– you’ve probably never noticed me–  But if you’re too big to follow rivers–

How you ever gonna find the sea?IMG_9653

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His fullness, His love is so deep that when we experience that love, we are never the same again!

If all you want are answers to your questions–  And you can’t seem to find love for free–

If you’re looking for the right direction–

Then darling look for me.bild-3

It’s a quiet love. His love. He moves in ways not seen. For His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, His ways higher than my ways.

See I can make the load much lighter; I just need you to confide in me–

But if you’re too proud to follow rivers, how you ever gonna find the sea?IMG_9660

“For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Even as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish—

So will My words go out in love toward you.”

“Yes you’ll go out in joy! — You’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade- bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause.”

–Isaiah 55: 8-12IMG_9643

 

Song Lyrics (c) Emeli Sande; River

 

You won’t lead me where You don’t go. // Tromsø, Norway

In the process. In the waiting. Your presence is a promise. For I am a pilgrim on a journey.

Today my feet found Tromsø, Norway.

The beauty all around is breathtaking.IMG_8295IMG_8313

Our first day in the thriving fishing city of Tromsø, was one of the most gorgeous I have ever experienced. We woke early with the exciting plans of having breakfast with Andreas and Elise Scagøy. Fredrik, Josefine and I followed their leading a little while away from town and ended on the shores of the sea near the mountains for a picnic breakfast.IMG_8345

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Photo credit: http://josefinephotography.com2669_n

Photo Credit: Josefine Frendin

Andreas quickly cooked up some whale steak for us on his camp stove while Elise spoke of her experience in making her first documentary exploring northern Norway about living fully awake to the beauty of nature. Seeing the film earlier this year, I was completely captivated by her story Out in Nature: The Spring of My Youth — You don’t have to understand the Norwegian language while watching, to grasp the depth of her sweet spirit and her gifting in teaching others to seek beauty.

Follow this incredible couple and their adventures pursuing outdoor living here:

Elise and Andreas Skagøy

IMG_8396Photo Credit: Josefine Frendin IMG_8398 IMG_8363

IMG_8368We spread the whale meat on bread smeared with cream cheese, along with fresh strawberries, which were followed by seagull eggs.

The thought of eating a seagull’s eggs has never, ever crossed my mind I can assure you. But that morning, nothing seemed more perfect.  The mountains rose over us, guarding majestically. The sea glistened and lapped the shore as the Scagoy’s pointer Tuva sniffed and explored every moss covered rock and cove within reach.10320466_10152041197475706_7497248214838531300_n

Photo Credit: Josefine FrendinIMG_8442

May we never lose our wonder. Wide-eyed and mystified.  May we awaken each day with the eyes of a child staring at the beauty of our world.

God’s nearness is our good. So good is the work of His hand presented through creation all around us. Are we are awake to see it?

Sense it fully. Breathe it in. He cares to fascinate us — fascinate us with His love. IMG_8403

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After saying a happy goodbye to the Scagoy’s we piled back into our van and took off for Sommerøya — The islands named for summer and the turquoise waters that capture them. IMG_8465IMG_8466IMG_8471IMG_6738

Have you ever felt as though you were walking in a dream? — Walking through someone else’s painting? — Walking through a work of art?IMG_8483

We traversed through a picture that afternoon. A sleepy town with not even  the movement of another human soul in sight, Sommerøya is a gem of a dream.

As we climbed higher up and still further above the village, I turned, exclaiming my soul was about to fall out of my chest in death by experiencing beauty.IMG_8532 IMG_8543
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You will lift my head above the mighty waves. You are able to keep me from stumbling. In my weakness you are the strength that comes from within.

Good shepherd of my soul. Take my hand and lead me on.IMG_1403

Photo Credit: Josefine FrendinIMG_6745

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The next morning came all too soon with adventures of it’s own. Fredrik promised to take us up the mountain by way of the cable car for an overall view of Tromsø while the skies were still holding the snow and rain at bay.IMG_8546

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We skipped up the mountain jerking and quickly taking speed. Before we knew it we were at the top, peering down over the railing of the lookout point. There, Fredrick challenged us on a hike to continue to even greater heights.photo.PNG
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Photo Credit: Josefine Frendin

Surrounded by white light and snow, I began to feel extremely small and at the same time I have never felt more known. Running blindly toward the whitest edge of the ridge not knowing what’s on the other side can only be described as truly alive.IMG_8528
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You make my footsteps and my path secure. Walking on water is just the beginning. You cause my face to arise, stand at attention. For you are calling me to greater things.

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places!

-Habakuk 3:19

The Vision

What’s the vision? What’s the big idea?

The vision is JESUS—obsessively, dangerously, undeniable Jesus.

The vision is an army of young people. You see bones? I see an army.

And they are FREE from materialism.

They laugh at 9-5 little prisons.

They could eat caviar on Monday and crusts on Tuesday.

They wouldn’t even notice.

They know the meaning of the Matrix, the way the West was won.

They are mobile like the wind, they belong to the nations. They need no passport. People write their addresses in pencil and wonder at their strange existence.

They are free yet they are slaves of the hurting and dirty and dying.

What is the vision?

The vision is holiness that hurts the eyes. It makes children laugh and adults angry. It gave up the game of minimum integrity long ago to reach for the stars. It scorns the good and strains for the best. It is dangerously pure.

Light flickers from every secret motive, every private conversation.

It loves people away from their suicide leaps, their Satan games.

This is an army that will lay down its life for the cause.

A million times a day its soldiers

choose to lose

that they might one day win

the great ‘Well done’ of faithful sons and daughters.

Such heroes are as radical on Monday morning as Sunday night.

They don’t need fame from names. Instead they grin quietly upwards and hear the crowds chanting again and again: ‘COME ON!’

And this is the sound of the underground

The whisper of history in the making

Foundations shaking

Revolutionaries dreaming once again

Mystery is scheming in whispers

Conspiracy is breathing…

This is the sound of the underground

And the army is discipl(in)ed.

Young people who beat their bodies into submission.

Every soldier would take a bullet for his comrade at arms.

The tattoo on their backs boasts ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.’

Sacrifce fuels the fire of victory in their upward eyes.

Winners.

Martyrs.

Who can stop them?

Can hormones hold them back?

Can failure succeed?

Can fear scare them or death kill them?

And the generation prays

like a dying man

with groans beyond talking,

with warrior cries, sulphuric tears and

with great barrow loads of laughter!

Waiting. Watching: 24-7-365.

Whatever it takes they will give:

Breaking the rules.

Shaking mediocrity from its cosy little hide.

Laying down their rights and their precious little wrongs,

laughing at labels, fasting essentials.

The advertisers cannot mold them.

Hollywood cannot hold them.

Peer-pressure is powerless to shake their resolve at late night parties

before the cockerel cries.

They are incredibly cool, dangerously attractive inside.

On the outside, They hardly care.

They wear clothes like costumes to communicate and celebrate but never to hide.

Would they surrender their image or their popularity?

They would lay down their very lives–swap seats with the man on death row–guilty as hell.

A throne for an electric chair.

With blood and sweat and many tears, with sleepless nights and fruitless days, they pray as if it all depends on God and live as if it all depends on them.

Their DNA chooses Jesus. (He breathes out, they breathe in.)

Their subconscious sings. They had a blood transfusion with Jesus.

Their words make demons scream in shopping centers.

Don’t you hear them coming?

Herald the weirdos!

Summon the losers and the freaks.

Here come the frightened and forgotten with fire in their eyes.

They walk tall and trees applaud, skyscrapers bow, mountains are dwarfed by these children of another dimension.

Their prayers summon the hounds of heaven and invoke the ancient dream of Eden.

And this vision will be. It will come to pass; it will come easily; it will come soon.

How do I know? Because this is the longing of creation itself, the groaning of the Spirit, the very dream of God.

My tomorrow is his today.

My distant hope is his 3-D.

And my feeble, whispered, faithless prayer invokes a thunderous, resounding, bone-shaking great “Amen!” from countless angels, from heroes of the faith, from Christ himself. And He is the original dreamer, the ultimate winner.

Guaranteed.

* Peter Greig, Red Moon Rising