April Update from South Africa
I start this email after a bit of a crazy week - the leaders of All Nations resigned, my car broke down, and I booked flights to the Middle East!
MIDDLE EAST TRIP
I will be leaving for the Middle East on 23rd April - a week today - to visit Jordan and then Lebanon. I will return on 28th May. I'm not sure what internet access will be like and it will be much more sensitive for me to send out prayer requests etc - I will just send out updates via whatsapp. If you would like to receive prayer points while I'm away for the 5 week period, please let me know, otherwise you will hear from me when I am back :)
I am very grateful that I have the finances I need from the flights from support from home (you guys!) and a donation from my All Nations house church here in Cape Town.
In Jordan I will be with a short term team from America doing 2 weeks of focused outreach with Muslim Syrian refugees in Mafraq. I will also spend some a week with the longterm team there. In Lebanon I will be working with Bedouin Gypsies and also Syrian refugees, shadowing the team that are out there and also spend some time serving them. Please pray for my trip! Some prayer points -
1. For safe travels - my travel itinerary to Mafraq after I land at the airport goes like this - one bus, one taxi, another bus, bus station, another bus, then a taxi - and many of these points being only Arabic speaking! Given that I get lost going to my corner shop here in Cape Town, I need prayers :)
2. For seeds to be sown during the 2 week outreach in Mafraq - that we would find people that are hungry for Jesus. That I would get on well with the short term team i will be joining from America - I've had no communication with them at all!
3. For me that I would discern any future involvement in Jordan / Lebanon or the Middle East. That I'd make wise use of my time in the Middle East, be able to have good conversations and meet the right people.
Our community got a bit of a surprise last week when our leaders, Neil and Mandi Hart, resigned, due to some differences with the international All Nations leaders. Please be praying for our community as we process this and for the transition ahead with finding new leaders. It won't affect my daily work here in Cape Town or my Middle Eastern plans but it's come as a bit of a shock to our community. Neil and Mandi were a big encouragement to me during my time here and helped me get settled and think about my future, so I'm sad they're no longer around. Our community are really focused on Psalm 46 which says 'Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations' - we know God is in control!
KIDS & TEENAGERS
We've carried on journeying with the young people. I received my first apology from one of the teenagers, who had stolen my shorts a few weeks back. She returned them without me saying anything and apologised for having them for so long. From a girl who said to me previously that 'she never apologised', this felt like a breakthrough! 4 of the teenagers celebrated Passover with me at our church which was really special.
Kids work continues - I feel like I only have photos of kids to attach to this newsletter! But they've been a big part of my time the last month as we've invested in building relationships and getting to know them - they have a place in my heart! The group grows every week - we need wisdom as to which kids we really focus on and how we can go deep in talking about faith often amidst chaos!
This week we looked at the story of feeding the 5000 - complete with smelly fish from the fishmongers - and when we chatted about what God could provide for us, the kids came up with trusting in God that with a little bit of rain, he could fill up the dams. I thought it was a great parallel to the fish and bread story!
Some of you have been updated via whatsapp, but she experienced what she described as a miraculous answer to prayer - one week we had prayed for restoration in her family. She hadn't seen her mum since she was small (her mum left her when she was 3 weeks old, although they've had contact since), and she'd never met her stepdad. When I last saw her she told me out of the blue she'd had message from her mum saying her stepdad wanted to meet her for the first time in 22 years! Sharon was really happy and attributed this to God. She went to spend Easter weekend with them.
I haven't seen Sharon since, but please keep praying for her and I hope to meet her this week before I go away.
Thanks as always for your prayers, time and finances!