This week we learned where we are going on outreach in January and I am overjoyed to announce that place is Capetown South Africa! I am going with Billie, Cassidy, April, Sam, Matt, Jay, Marin, Vania, Carissa, Amy, Amos, Ian, Kelly. This will be longest I have ever been out of the country and even more new, on a mission trip. So far what we have learned about Capetown is that it is a very dark place. There is poverty right outside the walls of riches with no middle class. We will be ministering to all kinds of people and have already begun praying for the softening of their hearts. We had a very targeted intercessory prayer time in which all our prayer groups got similar messages of oppression, the word of God being planted in homes as the center, and hope. coming to the darkest corners in a swift overtaking. That was exciting to get a glimpse of what God wants to do in South Africa already. It’s so wonderful to be apart of His adventurous plan for Capetown, still months out. It was an eventful week because in the same 24×7 time period we learned about our local outreaches. Lassete and Britt are leading my group to Baxter in downtown Louisville. This was exciting news because I have passed time and time again by these houses with a desire to minister the love of Jesus to them and now I have a group with some ideas to go with me (it’s pretty sketch). We got down there around 4:00 and immediately began going on a prayer walk around the housing area. Baxter is a black community of government housing and the families are big and the money is scarce. There is only one church within the area and we are not positive that they have a sunday service yet. I’m hoping to meet some people who want to go to church but don’t have one so I can help connect them with a community of believers. First we have to be welcomed into the community so we walk and pray that God would soften their hearts and that they would not see us as strange outsiders with an agenda but as friends who want to have a relationship with them. Our goal in talking with the families today was to get to know their kids by inviting them to play some games at the park. We were pleasantly surprised when we turned the corner to go down a street and a family called out, “Hey you all come over here. We know you want to talk to us and we won’t bite.” Wow, I thought, “God, you re making this a cake walk for us.” We told them that we were in the area to play some games at the park and invited the kids to join us. One of the little boys jumped for joy and screamed, “yay!” The mother asked us why we were in the area or more like what’s your agenda in playing with my kids. Brit spoke up and said that we are here to share the news of Jesus with them and she said something like, “amen” or “glory hallelujah” like preach it son! We ran into several other friendly faces and got several more kiddos to follow us. When we got back to the park, we got out the “box of fun” which contains all kinds of balls, chalk and games. The kids were ecstatic- especially about the chalk. They covered up every space on a sidewalk and used up just about our entire inventory. They were having fun and I was overjoyed to see that God was giving us such success on the first day. The kids getting off busses began to pour in to as I stood at the bus stop and invited them over. Finally we had enough for a game of kickball. As our time with them was drawing to an end we all sat around in a circle, Gabe brought out the drum box and Derek his guitar and we had a mini worship session out under the graffiti chalked walls. Some of the kids knew the songs as we went from “Glory to god” to “who’s the king of the jungle” As the guys were rocking it out, Liz, Emelie, Billie and I sat around and got their hair done- or more like yanked, by the little girls. It was hard to leave when they asked us to come back the next day but we left encouraged by the fun we had and felt like the kids had that day. We prayed on the way back for each little kid we could remember. I for one found it easier to remember their nicknames- Tigger, Muffie, Diamond and Peanut were the one’s that stuck out the most in my mind. We prayed that the kids would go home singing those songs and that they would come back next week for some more fun. We are hopeful that soon we will get to meet their families as well.
This week our speaker was Steve Sizemore. I was beyond blessed by his teaching, I was impacted. He started out our time together by explaining that our goal of the week was going to be understanding for the sake of application. He talked about the parable of the sower and how if we aren’t careful that “our soil” is teachable we could walk away with a few good truths logged away in our minds somewhere but with no heart change and God is in the business of changing hearts. He also talked about our values and how what we value we will invest in. I got uncomfortable in my chair when he described how many christians come to god asking what He wants from them when in realty God is so worthy of everything we shouldn’t hesitate. When we do the math of what we get and give in our relationship with God the solution is joy. He also talked about the way we view sin in our lives and how if we knew how dangerous it was we would stay far away but instead we “play” with it and pretend like it’s not that big of a deal. Finally we talked about how grace is not a quick and easy get out of jail free card but it is the power to overcome sin by repentance and change. I never thought of the gift of grace being a gift of power, but it is! I had such a wonderful time in class with Steve and around the lunch table talking about skating rinks. He was one cool dude and I think I might accept his friend request on facebook now 😉 The third week has now come to a close and as Amos reminded us we are a quarter of the way through DTS. Come on, Hilary, don’t blink.