BW's Closing Thoughts
I think I have recovered now from travel, jet lag, inability to focus, and general malaise following the trip to South Africa and then immediately to A-SUN meetings. Being at home all this week-end for the first time in about six weeks was a breath of fresh air! These are my closing written thoughts about our mission trip to Cape Town.
I must say this was a tough trip physically for all of us to make. The long flight was difficult. The weather (early winter) in Cape Town daily carried us through four different seasons – cold evenings/nights/mornings, rain, heavy winds, and some sun! Within any given hour during the day we might experience all four seasons. Of course, our ministry was outside and our team did a great job of coping with and adjusting to the weather. Layers were in order as we put on and took off and put on and took off.
Our experiences with the people in all the assigned communities were the highlight of the trip. Reaching out, loving, touching, hugging, playing with, and connecting with all the people made each day special. We never really knew what to expect from place to place or what we would be doing. Basketball and volleyball players adapted beautifully and became world class soccer players. They taught us games, games adapted to a small place without equipment, that we came to enjoy. Play is play regardless of where you are. It is the most natural state for kids, even us big kids, and crosses cultural barriers and brings people together. Play brought smiles and laughter and joy! Play connected us for an even greater purpose – a time to sit down and share Jesus Christ! We played and we shared. They played and they listened. No barriers of language, culture, race, or religion. It was all about relationship, with one another and with Christ. That was our ultimate connection.
We saw need. Need for the basics of food, clothing, shelter, and safe drinking water - the necessities of life. Need for education, health care, sex education, aids awareness and medicine and prevention. The need to be loved and valued and affirmed and cared for, the need for a greater meaning and purpose for life; ultimately, the need for a relationship with Jesus Christ and all that can mean in one’s life.
We were reminded of how blessed we really are! We have far more than we need. Maybe we discovered the difference in our wants and desires and our basic needs in life. Our priorities may have changed. We have far too many clothes in our closets, too many shoes to choose from, and too much food to eat. We don’t know what it means to be hungry, unloved, suffer from the elements due to lack of shelter, barefooted due to lack of shoes. But we saw happy people, content with circumstances in life, making do with what they have. We learned that we’re pretty spoiled, set in our ways, and we see things through rose colored glasses. We were humbled.
We witnessed true ministry, people giving their lives in service to others, like Nathan. His life revolves around kids in the community and his church and how he can minister to and serve them. The joy of his service shines bright day in and day out as he gives of himself for his people. There is Pam and Mike Talley from Brentwood Baptist Church who made a long-term commitment to Living Hope Ministries following a mission trip, leaving children and grandchildren to serve the people in and through King of Kings Baptist Church. Avril and John Thomas blew us away with their vision, passion, commitment, and service to their ministry. How can they do all that they do? God has his hand on all these people. We are fortunate to have served with all of them for a short period of time.
We were well fed by Nadine, housed comfortably at Team House, and transported by Gordon – all with great love, generosity, and gentle care. We lacked for nothing. We knew we were being bathed in prayer daily by so many. Only God knows the results. Seeds were planted, lives impacted, and many came into a relationship with Christ.
And, God provided the special night at the game reserve before leaving Johannesburg for home. Elephants, giraffes, rhinos, wild beasts, zebras, lions, monkeys, and on and on! What a way to end this trip.
Thank you, team, for all you did and the spirit in which you served. Thank you for saying “yes” to the call and being faithful in all aspects of the ministry. A special thank you to Tony for keeping us all connected through this journal and a forthcoming DVD. I believe God is smiling down and saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.” To Him Be All The Glory!