Monday, 8 July 2013

Outreach to Mashushu

Well, where do I start. One usually start at the beginning. It is just to define the beginning. Well as usual I was preparing myself, like many others, to go on outeach in Mozambique, to “my” village Panhame. Well then… plans had to be changed. Late in January the Limpopo river valley received basically their yearly rainfall in roughly about 4 days time. Remember the floods in January 2000. Yep, the same scenario replayed. (The border is still closed.) Ok , so a new plan had to be made. Samaria Mission identified a couple of villages in the Limpopo province for outreaches. We went to Mashushu. A small village situated in the mountains at the start of the Orrie Baragwanath pass. As you can imagine it is absolutely beautiful. It is just so sad that those who live there, don't see the beauty of it anymore. "Familiarity breeds contempt." And as a brother in the Lord who came with us on team, (who originally came from Zimbabwe) explained that those who are the poorest would usually be the ones who lived the highest up the mountain - so that had to walk furhter and further for water and firewood. In our point of view they would have the best views from up there but they don't see it anymore. In my lesson about creation they were almost laughing at me, when I said look around you and see, Who created these beautiful moutains and the stars in the nightskies. They were probably thinking what beautiful mountains is this paleface talking about?

Psalm 121: I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

A Sunset

 We came alongside the local church “Back to Jesus Baptist Church” with Pastor Lazarus Matlala and his wife, Rose. He is a graduate from Christ Seminary. The people in the area has heard a mixture of “gospels” from the ZCC to “give me your salary and then it will all go well with you and you will be wealthy”, and anything in between. Hence the name of the church – the area should turn back to Jesus. 

We went on house-house visitations in Mashushu and 3 other villages nearby. I went with Zachariah, Kate, Tracy, Mervyn, and two locals, Lydia a youngster and Noria a gogo. We were visiting in Mashushu. The first day, we visited about 6 homes, of which the last one was the local witchdoctor. The moment we sat down, Zachariah who sat next to me, said we are now at the witchdoctor’s house. I prepared myself to run if something happens or if we get chased away. None of those happened. We could talk to them for a good while. We can only trust God for the seed planted during this week.

The next day we went to several houses again. One of them was Mama Esther. On walking into her yard I said a quick quite prayer “Lord give me words to speak”. It was my turn to share. We all made turns to share and pray with Zachariah interpreting for us. We sat down.  She said that she is a born-again believer. Years ago she got burnt on her legs and it is still painful. Because of the pain in her legs she did not go to church anymore. (it is plus minus 1kms walk to the church from her house in a mountainous area.) I felt peace in my heart to be sharing encouraging words with her, and we prayed for her. We told her about our ministries and evening services that we had on in the afternoons and evenings but that we would understand if she would not come due to the pain in her legs. Well, she showed up the whole week at the ministries and evening services. It was a joy to see her at the ladies meetings, as her face lit up and she listened so attentively with a smile on her face to the teachings. 

On the other two days I went with other teams to the other villages. On Thursday I went with some of the Boksburg family. They went to a drop-in centre and gave Bibles to the ladies running the place as well as some beanies and blankets for the kids.  They then visited a home they visited the previous day. They promised her a bible and took it to her. She was so excited to receive one and read us Psalm 23 in Pedi (Sotho). The previous day they prayed for her, and for some terrible pains she had in her neck. She was overjoyed and excitedly told us that the pains in her neck is gone. We can only praise God and thank Him for taking the pains away! 

The lady with the Bible in her hands, and the orange & beige shawl on her head is the one we visited whose neck pains were healed. Praise God! 

On the Friday, a great deal of our team went to help the church set up things for a conference they had.
We had children’s; youth; and woman’s ministry. The men prepared for their teachings but no men showed up, so they had no men’s ministry. I was involved with the woman’s ministry. We had 9 ladies on our first day. We can pray that  the seed of what we taught them during these 4 days would grow. And that they would read their bibles, especially those whom we gave bibles to. The only lady, Monnya, hugged her bible when we gave it to her.

All in all, the week felt too short. For those who want to know, weatherwise, we had all kinds of weather in the week we were there. The days were mostly hot,  but as soon as the sun disappareared behind the mountain it was cold again. The nights were cold (but thankfully not freezing). On thursday it was quite overcast and cold and friday we had rain! The stars are breathtakingly beautiful and clear. Lots of fellowship times were had by the fireside which was next to the shower (because it's the donkey's fire that makes hot water for the great showers.) We had several donkeys (the animal kind) walking around and whose noise was echoing in the mountains.

This is the view from the church door. The cross some of the guys on team put up for the church, as there was no sign to mark it as a church.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

God makes His dwelling among us

Leviticus 26:11-12 “I will set my tabernacle among you……  v12 I will walk among you and be your God and you shall be my people.“

This was written for the Israelites while they were on their tour of the wilderness. Revelation also speaks about God dwelling among us. The word I’m picking on here now is tabernacle. It means God is pitching his tent among us. He lives next to us, walk among us. There is just something you learn about this, when you live with 30something other people for a week…. In tents. You get to know them on a more personal way. You know what their pyjamas look like, and those who are picky about the food they eat and those who wake up early and those who struggle to get up early. You will wake up grumpy because your brother’s snoring kept you awake. The list can go on and on and on.  God knows even the things about us that those who live close to us don’t know or don’t pick up.  He knows what makes us sad, happy, what we sacrifice and what we could do and blah blah blah. He knows everything. We should continue to pursue to get to know God more personally too. And allow Him to push our personal limits. To go beyond what we say I can do, I’m willing to do, our comfort zones, and do what He asks us to do. Do not only hear what He says to us, but do it.