I am back and returned from my '''mission trip'' to South Africa! If I could mush everything into one word (which i can't), i would say ''awesome''. but that doesn't even summarize it. if you ask me what my favorite part was... i really can't answer that. it was mostly all my favorite, and all awesome. i'm going to try my best and tell everything about everything. (with hoping not to ramble too much) ---
Our plane ride was approximately 14.5 hours. I only slept on and off (and not even much at that), and thought it would never end. It was boring, long, long, and more long. But I lived through it and knew i would be stepping on African soil soon enough. :)
and we of course had to get our airport coffee - and photograph it.
my adventure friend.
Our S Africa team split into two groups. The first week we did an after school program in a poorer area village. It had the set-up of a (VBS-like) program. We did this for 1-6 grades and then later on in the afternoon we did it for 9-12. We ran this Monday-Thursday, along with other ministries in the mornings and evenings. I think the kids may have been one of my most favorite parts. They are always so happy and joyous. They just love to be loved, and given some attention. They love to braid your hair, and either be on your back or shoulders. What I really ''learned'' from them was not only to be content with what you ''have''. Because many of them materialistically did have things. But more of to be aware who is around you and watching. Always be doing and ready to share the joy of Jesus. It spreads easy, is a huge impact, and a testimony to yourself and other Jesus followers. A lot of the time we tend to be unhappy when we seem to have everything. While others who may have barely anything are so content and happy. Inside and out.
This is Tumi - a precious, S African little girl we had the chance to share God's love with. Just the same, she brought us pure joy - smiles, hugs, and all. (and showed us up on hoola-hooping. ;)
the pure joy really does rub off and into your soul.
this is evelyn. she was very determined to spin that ball.
they did a lot of this.
it was so cool to look over the field and see this.
Monday mornings we did a school assembly, Sundays we led church services, and Friday we visited youth groups. Along with other ministry stuck in everywhere. We did another kid ministry program in a village one afternoon,where 24 children dedicated their lives to the Lord. God did a lot of amazing. Not looking at numbers, because really they don't mean very much.Just knowing that God ''did''. How He changed and challenged us more than anything.
i also got chased by a monkey with two of my friends. so now I can say: ''I got chased by a monkey in Africa.'' I also got to pet a baby lion. along with eating crocodile and zebra. we also went ice skating right before we headed out. those are a few of the other things we got to do and enjoy (outside of ministry).
these were our heat-less concrete huts. (rondavels)
God can stretch and use >>
The second week I was really stretched and pulled out of my ''comfort zone'', yet still some comfortable with sharing and actually talking out. Our second week of ministry we went to a youth detention center. To be honest I really didn't want to go. I was quite nervous and scared. I wasn't at all looking forward to it. So I decided to pray for peace and boldness, and opportunities to share and talk. The first day, there wasn't very many guys there so our plans didn't go ''as planned'', but that was okay. we did get to talk some and God had planned it out better than perfect. The second day was even better.They were many more guys to bring conversation with. I opened up and shared the gospel quite a few times that day and had just some general conversation. Plus a lot of questions about the states. The last day right before we left I got to share and help lead one of the guys to Christ. So that ended up being a super cool day. :) I had total peace that week and it wasn't at all, as scary as i thought. i absolutely think that God did answer my prayer.
6 am sunrises.
(in which I sent my camera with friends. I was not getting out of bed at that hour.)
We often take out salvation too much for granted. This is something else that spoke out to me. It's like the most important ''event''or ''thing'' that happens in your life. without our Savior or salvation we are nothing. People who aren't Jesus followers, a lot of the time don't understand how someone could love us that much - to take his life for us. This makes me realize how valuable and how much having salvation really means. The gospel is so simple, yet so complex.
I guess as I was going on this mission or just missions in general, I thought ''this is going to be hard''. I think that was part of my reason of going and doing this. to get over my fear - out of my ''comfort''spots. sharing the gospel and evangelizing is something (myself, many times included) a lot of us fear or find''hard''. once I got out there and did it, it was easy. ''like, that wasn't hard.'' it was easy. sometimes we need not to fear so much, but go and do. go as Jesus called you.
the airport window where we said our Africa goodbyes.
This mission has now come to an end. But really it hasn't - it's just starting.