Thank You

by on November 17, 2013

How to say Thank You.  It is hard to put my emotions into words.  I find it hard to express my deep appreciation for all your support, both financial and in prayer.  This trip was certainly life changing. Today, 2 weeks later, I am still grappling and struggling, full of questions for God, hard questions with no answers forthcoming.  I believe God and I will wrestle for some days to come as I seek answers and try to reconcile the trip to my life here in Algonquin. 
My trip though extremely joyful and filled with laughter, new found friends, and a deeper spiritual faith, has left me asking myself some tough questions.  What is God’s intention for my life? What will my next steps be? How can I better serve the Lord with my life? How would He have me share Jesus in my everyday life?
My experiences with those I served and those who serve in South Africa were so blessed, so eye opening, and so heartbreaking all at the same time.  I really admire those who serve day in and day out in those communities, sacrificing all, yet serving so deeply rooted in the Lord.  Their faith and dedication to God’s call is moving mountains in South Africa.
In the community where we served, AIDS is the prevailing force for destruction.  Taking lives too early, removing adults from communities, and exposing children to horrors they shouldn’t have to experience at such a young age. 80% of the people we encountered were infected/affected by HIV. Entire communities erased, children with no role models, no hope of emerging out of the chaos of rape, family abuse, drugs, no hope for school.  The community in Murchison is what Norwegian Settlers Church calls the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in South Africa.  Yet here I saw a light, a beacon of hope in the Murchison Community Centre.  Here Letitia and her staff, with the support of Genesis(a ministry of Norwegian Settlers Church), took a community with no hope, added a gym focused on Christ, and young men came.  They in turn brought their sisters, younger siblings and here they have a safe place.  A safe place to learn skills, to do homework, to learn music, to get a meal, and to hear the word of God. Everything that is done is done with Christ at the center. Since they opened their doors, crime is down, girls are learning that it is ok to say no, to resist and to tell.  Boys are learning values, to value women.  School is valued. Community is built.  There are learning about Christ, bringing friends, and turning their comity around for good.  This Centre is a shinning light, is Christ embodied in others during His work, truly His hands and feet. 
Hope! Hope breeds hope.  A ripple.  A giant ripple.  These children, the teenagers, they are the hope of South Africa.  For in them, God is working, directing, opening doors, changing lives and moving the mountain.  Hope is alive! God’s word is being shared and lives are being changed.  
One of the prayers I had asked for was that God would expand my vision of who he is and that was certainly answered. I experienced and saw God in ways I never imagined.  From the timing of conversations about Him, to the changes in our schedule that were for our good and His glory, to having just enough supplies for the number of children(130) who arrived for programs.  God is bigger, more powerful and more active than I ever imagined. Without your support, I never would have seen a new vision of God.  One that is far beyond what I had ever experienced before.
I am eternally grateful. Thank You!
Yours in Christ,
Julie


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