SouthAfrica2005

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cough Medicine, Z-packs, and sleep....

Stubborn + Obstinate + Willful = Stupid. Okay... so I don't like medicines, but after three days of not sleeping because the rasping in my lungs kept me awake, I decided to use take a couple of teaspoons of Sarah Maskarinec's cough syrup. It worked, and I slept. The next morning, I decided to begin one of the Z-packs my doctor gave me before I left for Africa. I'm an idiot. I thought I was only supposed to use it if I had a sore throat, so it's been sitting on the shelf while I coughed my head off and struggled to breath... Turns out the Z-pack has really helped me feel a ton better.... Thanks for praying; obviously someone out there has been asking the Lord to increase my brain capacity...

Today is Day 2 of the Stanford Day Camp. Yesterday was hard and long (we began @8:45, and didn't leave until 4 p.m.), but still very good -- over 120 kids showed up! Today has been much, much better. Megan Amburn got the schedule organized, Craig Leach turned into Captain America and led all the kids through relay games on the play field, Katie Moore led songs, most everyone else (Sarah Maskarinec, Anna Giles, Ashley Hill, Chase Lyle, Matt Johnson, Kristen Webster, Diana Bundy) was involved in one of the fiercest games of "Duck-Duck-Goose" I've ever witnessed. Bryan Hill and Will Johnson spun little boys around and around and around and around. It was a good day.... The camp is being led by Henry Gibson, a lay minister in Stanford, who simply wants us to tell the children about Jesus. We're happy to oblige.

I've lost track of time, and it's hard to relate the date I see on a calendar with what I am used to understanding a particular month and date to look like. The computer screen says June 28, which has meant hot, humid, warm, sticky summer days. Yet, I sit here with an "Under Armour" T-shirt, a Patagonia fleece jacket, and a North Face down vest on. It's winter in South Africa. It's been cold, wet, rainy, sunny, windy, clear, but always beautiful.

I'm surrounded by stark evidences of God's creative power: the landscapes and vistas here are bold and big; the people are gracious, fun, beautiful; my friends make prove God's redeeming power is not just real, but really real....

When we pulled into the school yard this morning, the kids were waiting for us! They screamed! They waved! They stormed the bus! (Now we know what it's like to be a rock star! Bebo, we feel your pain!) Hugs were for everyone. Each of us had little friends waiting for us who clutched, grabbed, and gripped onto whatever piece of clothing or flesh they could touch. I saw each one of my friends mobbed by at least six little ones as they left the van. Bryan Hill sat on a wall and was covered with little boys -- ages 3 to 6 -- who were content to just sit and be held in some ways by his big arms. Anna Giles tried to figure out how to walk with her arms holding onto a group of about seven teen-aged girls. Kristen Webster couldn't move, so she simply stood in one place while her mob of what looked like eight-year olds squirmed closer and closer to her. Matt Johnson had to chase down an ornery seven-year old who was determined to steal one of his shoes... Those are just a few of the images which wallpaper my mind at this moment.

I stood with Will Johnson early in the day, and as we talked about "camp stuff," this small boy just came up and quietly held onto Will's leg. He didn't clamor for Will's attention, didn't ask to be lifted up or twirled around, didn't demand a "sweet," didn't say anything. He just stood. And softly held Will's leg. Will looked down at him, continued speaking with me, but lightly stroked the boy's head. I smiled, reached down, and also touched this small boy's wavy black hair. The smile was a reaction to two things: the simplicity of the moment and the reality of Jesus' words -- "whatever you do to the very least, you have done to Me." We simply provided a small bit of comfort to a small child. He is one of the very least of the least of camp at Stanford. He doesn't have any friends who want to play with him, he doesn't reach out to the other children. He's beautiful, quiet, has a face full of dimples, but doesn't seem to have an older brother/sister/friend/cousin around. I really don't know how he gets to camp, but he's been here two days in a row. He doesn't speak English. He's probably four or five-years old. He just wanted to hold onto a leg, so he did. He got a touch, a caress, a smile, a prayer. He brought us Jesus. We were blessed.

Again -- God proves to us that we aren' t here to prove anything, to do anything, to accomplish anything, to serve anyone, to bless anyone. We're here simply to realize God's strength, beauty, boldness, power, stature in the undemanding presence of a small boy with black, wavy hair.

He is the real One.

Amen

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Latest From Africa

It's day two for the Kayamandi friends to be at Wortlegat. It's good, it was a seamless introduction between us. God is like silk here. His touch is soft and comforting, luxurious. We're tired, but He is the smile we wear. His Spirit is drenching me, and I'm very thankful. Some of us are still pretty sick -- colds, coughs, sore throats, congestion, head aches, etc... None of us are needing serious medication or care. We'll just be glad to not have to rely on Kleenex throughout the day... Please keep praying Spirit-prayers....
He alone --
Adella

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

June 21, 2005 Internet Surfing from Hermanus...

Friends -- we had time to come into town today, so I quickly escaped to an internet cafe so I could sit, write, ponder, and think out loud with a keyboard. We're tired. Most of us are sick with either a cold, flu, or some kind of yuck that makes us cough. Please pray for healing and for bodies, lungs, nasal passages, throats to be healed. We're in a bit of a down period for now, which makes it an "okay" time to be sick. The camp at Wortlegat w/our friends from Kayamandi won't begin until Friday, so we've enjoyed these past couple of days of nothingness. Yesterday, we (some of us, that is) went cage diving w/great white sharks in a piece of water off the coast of Gansbaai known as "shark alley." It runs between an island covered with fur seals (aka "shark bait"), so our presence with buckets of chum was viewed as an open invitation for the sharks to come pay us a visit as we dangled overboard in our tin cage.... We had a great time -- especially when one savage beast decided to floss his teeth on the top of the cage... crazy stuff that is typical in shark alley.

We begin the hard work of planning and preparing for the Stanford Camp tomorrow and Thursday. (Thankfully, the weekend @Wortlegat is pretty much already planned. Our main purpose there will be to show up, serve, serve some more...) But for Stanford, we are really under a lot of pressure. Please pray for Will Johnson, who has spent a great deal of time working with a local guy by the name of Henry Gibson in planning this day camp. Nothing like this has ever been done before, so we are literally breaking new ground. It will be a pressure-packed learning experience for us -- most of the campers know English, but only as a second language, and Henry is depending on us (as in me and Will) to bring Bible lessons to them each day. We also must plan out each day's activities and fill the days with games and events which will challenge and encourage our Stanford friends. Please just pray... then pray some more...

God is rich and good and full and righteous. His ways are not my ways. He is before me and behind me and beside me, but He is oh so elusive and mysterious. Will I be okay if He's silent? (Job 34:29,30), or will I insist that He provide not only proof of His presence but also provide clear, concise, focused directions?

I'm in way over my head. I've never done anything like this before -- most of my traveling has been done either alone, or with a small group. I've never been responsible for a group like this before, never had people so excrutiatingly dependent upon me. (And, I'm not just talking about the ones traveling with me. I'm also talking about the parents, family members, friends, who are at home, but also relying on me... YIKES!)

Thankfully, I have been given great relief from the Lord God, from His Word, from His promises, and from His Spirit. He is all over me -- I've said this before: His Spirit is so heavy upon me that I have trouble breathing. I hope it gets harder and harder for me to breath with each and every moment of each and everyday.

I am thankful for the ways you are praying for me because I feel so tremendously sustained. He's using your prayers to pull me through the moments. He's using your prayers to give me His peace. He's using your prayers to give me His strength. He's using your prayers to give me understanding in the midst of the unknown which comes when He blinds me. I'm traveling fairly blind right now, but the blindness gives me great freedom, great peace, a bunch of calmness, a load of assurance, and a ton of incredible strength. (Ps. 92:10 - "But You've made me as strong as a charging bison.." The Message.) That's pretty incredible when you realize I'm not one to give up control, I've always been one to want to know everything before it happens... Right now, I don't know anything, and that's so beautifully okay. We are traveling together in mystery, freedom, stillness, and power.

God is good. Jesus is real. The Spirit lights.
Please keep praying... then pray some more...
Lovin' you -- Adella

Sunday, June 19, 2005

From Kayamandi to Hermanaus

It's Sunday, June 19. Father's Day. (They celebrate Father's Day in S. A. too!) We arrived here last night, and settled into Mosaic Farm with great ease. We left Kayamandi, thankful (for our time there), but uncomfortable (I think we've left part of ourselves in Kayamandi). God is good and rich and powerful. Abundant in mercy. Full of life. He doesn't explain Himself, nor does He offer easy solutions to why we have multitudes of material blessings, but our friends in Kayamandi don't know where their next meal will come from. Hmmm.... We saw more of God with each moment in Kayamandi, but yet He became more of a mystery. Crazy how He becomes more and more elusive the closer we get to Him...

I am so thankful for this time here. I've been gone two weeks. One moment, it feels like we've been gone a very long time, the next, it feels like we've just been gone a day. You can just pray that God would hold the clocks of my mind, and that I would pay attention to His directing and ignore dates on a calendar. I don't want to miss what He's telling me or trying to show me...

Kayamandi -- a township of 21,000+ people. A lot of shacks -- lots of dirt, mud, dust. Children everywhere. Laundry hanging everywhere. Dogs everywhere. Smiles everywhere. Go figure.

I stepped over the jawbone of a dog each day as I walked from the Ikaya Lethemba office to Strongyard Hall -- the gym we worked to repair and restore each day we were in Kayamandi. The bone once was part of the dog. I want to know what happened to the dog. My first thought was that it probably was hit by a car, killed by another dog, and just rotted there in the street. What was that like, to live with the stench of rotting flesh? Then I had a thought that the dog could very well have been someone's meal, and the bones were just thrown out and left in the gutter for me to walk over each day... Either thought stupifies me and leaves me numb.

I can't walk over the lives of the people of Kayamandi. Their eyes are clear, bright, open, welcome. Their hearts are happy. Their clothes are dirty, and their stomachs are hungry. They don't whine, complain, gripe, or grumble. They have every right to, but they don't. I'll think about that for a long time...

Keep praying for us.... Adella

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Day Two Kayamandi

Friends... Finally made it to an internet cafe w/highspeed access. We're tired, but good and tired. It's been cold and rainy here, but I'm oh so thankful for the people @Patagonia who created capilene underwear and for a good friend who told me how to wear it/layer it ("insulating layer, base layer, top layer; but don't tuck in the tops, otherwise the heat and moisture from your body can't escape." Who knew?) God's Spirit and hand are heavy upon me, and I'm so glad. His Word is deep, powerful, personal, intense, and oh so real, leaving me oh so thankful, silent, in awe... From Oswald Chambers: "Personal contact with Jesus alters everything. Be stupid enough to come and commit yourself to what He says..." (I am the Way... I came to give you life full and free... I didn't come to bring peace, but a sword... This is the way, walk in it... and on and on and on) We're listening and watching a Jesus we don't normally see in America. He's real, raw, brutal, merciful, humorous. We're away from the distractions which delude us and kill our souls. It's hard, but it's oh so good... We need prayers to surround us, so please do your best to fill your days and nights, your moments and seconds with powerful, intentional, Spirit-filled words. His Presence is here with us and throughout Kayamandi, a place where people have nothing but the air in their lungs and the clothes on their backs ... but what they do have is a huge Jesus who comes with a sword, gives life that is truly Life, knocks on doors expecting an answer, walks on water to get to our storm-tossed boats, spits in mud and gives sight where there was none before, tosses the manipulators from His temple, confronts a man filled with a legion of demons, senses when the threads of His robe are touched, defies death, walks out of tombs, leaves His blood on a Cross... that's the Jesus we're with in South Africa... Please keep praying...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Made it!

The group is safely off the long, long flight and in S. Africa! Thanks for all the prayers.. we still need them though don't forget! Thanks, thanks, thanks! They say the weather is great and they're having a blast. I'm catching up on Friday... Then we head to Kayamandi. (From Katie)

Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm retarded

OK, so everyone is on the plane right now headed to Atlanta, but oh wait a second, I forgot to renew my passport.. yes, that's right, my passport expired 2 days ago...I am in the hurried process right now of having my passport FedExed to me as quickly as possible in order to catch up to the rest of the group. I'm retarded... oh well, I'm thankful to have a God that knows all things and has successfully shown me once again that He's in control and all I can do is trust and obey.
-Katie

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Just some thoughts from May 18, 2005....

5/18/05 7:24 AM
"Moses said, 'If Your presence does’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that You’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are You traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and Your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?' God said to Moses, 'All right. Just as you say, this also I will do, for I know you well an dyou are special to me. I know you by name.'"(Ex. 33:15-17)

I will go where He leads.
I will breathe His breath.
I will soak in His presence.
I will devour His Word.
I will believe what He says.
I will listen for His whispers.
I will take His promises for my own.
I will let Him be God.
I will go in His Power.
I will rejoice in His mercy.
I will be thankful.
He is God.

Will I do this alone? Most likely/…
Will I be by myself? Not a chance…
Will I allow myself to be known? I can only hope…
Will I simply trust? Maybe… Maybe not…

Am I empty?
Blind?
Broken?
Dependent?
Offensive?
It’ll depend on my, my willingness to bow, to submit, to humble myself, to allow, to fall, to believe that He is simply Who He says He is… He is God… How beautiful is that?

"Is there anyway I can go to avoid Your Spirit?
To be out of Your sight?
If I climb to the sky, You’re there!
If I go underground, You’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
To the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute –
You’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, He even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to You;
Night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to You."
(Ps. 139:7-12/The Message)

There’s no place I can possibly go to avoid His Spirit… The Spirt who hovers (Gen. 1:2), the Spirit who comes with power (Acts 1:8), the Spirit of Truth (John 16)… There is no place I can go to avoid Truth, Power, and the Mess which comes from The Spirit… No place, nowhere, no how, no matter what… He is here, now… presently present, perfectly powerful, perfectly truthful, perfectly messy. Will I go on with Him? Will I go to Him? Will I call out to Him? Will I believe Him when He speaks Truth? Will I step out in the power which can only come from Him? Will I accept with gladness the mess His hovering will cause? Will I?

"Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon."
(Ps. 31:24/The Message)

...” we are here as men and women, not as half-fledged angels, to do the work of the world, and to do it with an infinitely greater power to stand the turmoil because we have been born from above.” (Oswald Chambers/My Utmost For His Highest)

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Stuff....

June 2, 2005

Stuff …. It's stuff that surrounds me, fills my life, clutters my mind, distracts my days. Stuff. It's stuff which I'll leave in less than a week from today. It's stuff that'll be waiting for me when I return six weeks later.

Stuff. Some of it's good, some of it stinks, some of it is beautiful, some of it I'll miss, some of it I won't remember, some I'll wish I could forget, some of it I'll pack in my bag.

In a few days, I'll be sitting on a plane with some of my dearest friends, and we'll be headed towards South Africa.

It's a journey some of us have talked about for over two years. It's not a mission trip. We aren't being called, we're being sent. We aren't going to plant a church. We aren't going to save souls. We aren't going to make a difference. We aren't going to lend our “American know-how.” We're pilgrims. Each of us is going for a different purpose and reason. Each of us is going in mystery and darkness. Each of us is going with our own stuff, but each of us is being led by the same Lord and Saviour, the same Counselor Spirit, the same Creator Father.

None of us know what will be waiting for us. None of us know who we'll meet. None of us know what we'll do. None of us know. None of us… We're going in mystery, which simply means that we don't really know what we'll be doing. We have a general idea, but from this side of the veil, I can only tell you what might happen.

We might help restore a building. We might paint a wall. We might feed a dying infant. We might hold a lonely hand. We might tutor a child. We might kick a ball. We might draw a picture. We might install a door. We might build a partition. We might sing a song. We might lead a Bible Study. We might share a prayer. We might pass a basketball. We might… we might… we might do a lot of this stuff and more… I won't speculate and tell you more than this because I truly don't know much more than this. One thing I do know: God is crazy, and I'm so glad. (Why else would he put me on a plane for 16 hours to be gone for six weeks with 12 other friends in a place 7,000 miles away?)

Yet, there are a few other things which might happen: our noses might be filled with smells which will hit us hard and turn our stomachs. Our eyes might see things which will tear our hearts and make us cry. Our eyes might see things which will tear our hearts and make us smile. Our ears might hear songs sung to different melodies and harmonies. Our hands will touch the flesh of the dying, the sick, the healthy, the happy. Our arms might embrace the lost and the found. Our hearts might be filled with guilt and remorse when we realize the waste in our lives and mentalities. Our hearts might be filled with thanksgiving when we realize how little we truly need, but yet how richly we've been given an abundance of material…stuff.

We're leaving stuff here only to walk into stuff there -- the stuff of God, the stuff of mystery, the stuff of madness, the stuff of glory, the stuff of gore, the stuff of a broken world, the stuff of a different culture -- stuff I long to wade through. It's the stuff of a journey.

The small amount we do know is very basic and rudimentary and could change if a flight is canceled, a suitcase is lost, or a car breaks down: We're flying into Johannesburg, where we'll be met by Bryan Hill and Will Johnson. From there, we'll go into Kruger National Park for three days of game viewing. We'll leave Kruger on Fri., 10 and fly from J'burg into Cape Town. The following Monday (June 13-17) we'll drive into Kayamandi and work for the rest of the week with the people living there (young children, AIDS orphans, teenagers, adults, single moms, the sick, the well, the broken, the lost, the needy, the hungry, the cold, the tired, the abandoned, the widowed, the rejected, the loved, the adored, the pursued, the found). The following week, (June 20-24) we'll travel to Wortelgat Outreach Camp, where we'll welcome a group of high-school-aged friends from Kayamandi. The next week (June 27-July 1) we'll head up the first-ever day camp for the children who live in the various informal developments (squatter camps) around the village of Stanford.

Half of our group returns July 4, the rest of us return July 15. Those are the basics, so it's easy to give you the dates of our travel. That's the only thing I know for certain right now.

So, my friends. . . I am leaving. I don't look forward to the flight. I don't look forward to packing. I don't like leaving my home, my family, my friends, my dog, my “routine.” I don't like the thought of being gone so long. I don't like thinking about all I'll miss back here - nephews' ballgames, meals with friends, looking out at the back fields of the farm, riding a four-wheeler at full throttle, driving on familiar streets with the windows rolled down and music blaring. But I don't like the thought of what I'll miss if I don't go, who I won't meet if I stay here, what I would never learn of God's love, mercy, power, and provision if the plane left without me. . . I would miss so much more, so very much more…

Forgive me for making this letter longer than you can bear. Here's what I wrote just a couple of weeks ago. I hope it conveys some of the depth of the mystery I'm in:
[(5/18/05 7:24 AM)
Moses said, “If Your presence doesn't take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that You're with me in this, with me and Your people? Are You traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we're special, I and Your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?” God said to Moses, “All right. Just as you say, this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.”(Ex. 33:15-17/The Message)

I will go where He leads.
I will breathe His breath.
I will soak in His presence.
I will devour His Word.
I will believe what He says.
I will listen for His whispers.
I will take His promises for my own.
I will let Him be God.
I will go in His Power.
I will rejoice in His mercy.
I will be thankful.
He is God.

Will I do this alone? Probably…
Will I be by myself? Not a chance…
Will I allow myself to be known? I can only hope…
Will I simply trust? Maybe… Maybe not…
Will I obey? Sadly, there's a good chance I won't…

Am I empty?
Blind?
Broken?
Dependent?
Offensive?
It'll depend on my, my willingness to bow, my desire to submit, my ability to humble myself, to abandon to Him, to allow Him to direct, to fall before and beneath Him, to believe that He is simply Who He says He is… He is God… How beautiful is that?

“Is there anyway I can go to avoid Your Spirit?
To be out of Your sight?
If I climb to the sky, You're there!
If I go underground, You're there!
If I flew on morning's wings
To the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute -
You're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, He even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!”
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to You;
Night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to You.”
(Ps. 139:7-12/The Message)

There's no place I can possibly go to avoid His Spirit… The Spirt who hovers (Gen. 1:2), the Spirit who comes with power (Acts 1:8), the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26)… There is no place I can go to avoid Truth, Power, and the mess which comes from The Spirit… No place, nowhere, no how, no matter what… He is here, now… perfectly present, perfectly powerful, perfectly truthful, perfectly messy, perfectly gory, perfectly glorious. Will I go on with Him? Will I go to Him? Will I call out to Him? Will I believe Him when He speaks Truth? Will I step out in the power which can only come from Him? Will I accept with gladness the mess His hovering will cause? Will I? (…I really want to…)

“Be brave. Be strong. Don't give up.
Expect God to get here soon.”
(Ps. 31:24/The Message)

...” we are here as men and women, not as half-fledged angels, to do the work of the world, and to do it with an infinitely greater power to stand the turmoil because we have been born from above.” (Oswald Chambers)]

I am His, and I'm going. I am His, and I'm leaving. I am His, and I'm taking these friends with me. Would you just pray for us? Simply pray. Pray Spirit-prayers over us, into us, through us. Please ask God to pour out His Spirit onto each of us. We cannot do this without His Spirit empowering us. We cannot. I am desperately begging for your prayers. I need them. I am thankful for them. I will thrive in them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I am lovin' you - Adella

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! 'For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to Him?' For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen!” (Romans 11:33-36/NKJV)


He alone... He alone... He alone…