After close to 33 hours of travel, the team arrived safely back in the US! Thanks again for taking this journey with us! Since we were not able to post many pics during the week- we hope to post a few in the coming days for you to see.
Blessings to each of you!
Well- the wind is howling and it is pouring rain and we are doing final preparations for our departure in a few short hours! It is been an incredible experience here and we are all leaving changed people. For our final blog, we wanted to share with you a bit of how this experience has altered our view of ourselves, of God, of the world. We leave with sadness...hope...joy...and a desire to fully put into words what this experience has meant to us.
Thank you for journeying with us through this blog! Your prayers have been felt and are greatly appreciated!
There are several things I will take home however one is the extent to which God is at work here. He is at work here and all over the world before we get here, while we are here, and after we leave. Our five days working with the children was an awesome chance to get even a small glimpse of the amazing things God is doing here. I know I personally cannot wait to see what all God is going to do. I am along for the ride and to serve in any way possible.
Greetings from the team! So sorry about the absence the past few days...but we have been busy! Just a quick message to update you...
We finished our week at Holiday Club and found the whole experience to be fantastic. The team is still processing our time here and I have seen so many changes in each of us.
Today we are off to see the city before jumping on a plane tomorrow morning. Thanks for your continued prayers these past few days!
Please continue to pray as some on the team have gotten a little virus and the rest are just plan exhausted. We are all up and about this morning and looks like everyone is back to normal!
(sigh) Today was Day 3 of working in whats called a “township” here in Cape Town, South Africa known as OCEAN VIEW. Me and the Belmont team are working with a team from Vineyard Church in London, monthly volunteers from Living Hope, and volunteers that actually live in OCEAN VIEW. Instead of going through the specific logistics of how Monday, Tuesday, and today have been, I will describe the experience of what I’m going through and seeing with my heart.
OCEAN VIEW is a township of nearly 20,000 “coloured” people. We are putting on a Kids Club and a Teens Club at their Multi-Purpose center from 9am-12Pm, and Teens from 2pm-5Pm. We’ve been in contact with nearly 400 of the locals because of the Kids/Teens Club. The club is similar to what we know as Vacation Bible School in the states. It’s a place where the kids come to dance, sing, laugh, learn about the love, LIFE, and TRUTH of Jesus, and eat. Although we are only here for merely a week, I feel like this is a huge part of the kids’ “Holiday” (the 3 weeks of break before school starts back up). I also feel like it’s been a place where HOPE is taught and where the small amount of Hope that they currently have is rooted within them and multiplied.
Today. Wow. So much has gone on today. We started with Holiday Club. We had probably close to 200 different faces there. Some new some old. All were glad for the opportunity to have fun, to receive a meal, and to be lavished on with affection. So many are starved for affection. It breaks your heart.
I know personally today was awesome but quite different. It was wonderful being able to minister to the kids and to the teenagers. However, don't get me wrong, they ministered to us just as must as we ministered to them. The organization called Mocha club has a shirt that says "I need africa more than africa needs me." This is so true. They have a joy that we do not know. They lack material things but they are still smiling. What is it? The American Dream says we need money and things to be happy. This is not the Ocean View dream or the dream of any other township. Their dream is to survive, to not be another number, to have joy in the midst of poverty. There are many lessons we can learn from them.
Hey everybody, it's Noah. I'm going to be a sophomore at Belmont next fall and I'm from the small town of Sturgis, Kentucky. So it's another late night at the Team House and I'm sitting here blogging about the experience so far.
Coming to Africa has been the most unbelievable experience in my life so far and it has only been two full days! The words I have to say cannot even do justice for what we have already experienced. It's still hard to believe we are here and being able to experience all that this place has to offer. We often find ourselves asking, "Where are we?" and saying, "We're in Africa!" So needless to say God has truly blessed us in only the first couple of days of our trip.
We have just completed our first day of doing "Holiday Club" in Ocean View and our hearts have already been touched in beautiful ways while at the same time being broken. Before starting with the actual club activities our group of workers from all over the world (London, Nashville, Cape Town, and maybe more) had the opportunity to go out into the community and do a "call out" for all the children to come and have a fun day at Holiday Club. We were able to see firsthand the conditions that most of the children were living in and see a glimmer of how tough their lives may be. Despite these rough conditions when we made it back for the circle games all the children from these rough conditions were filled with so much excitement about everything that was in store for them.
Hello Friends! Greetings from the end of our first full day in South Africa. My name is Tim Wildsmith. I graduated from Belmont in 2005 and am currently living in Omaha, Nebraska.
This morning, my teammate Noah and I awoke to a breathtaking view outside our window. It was dark when we got in last night, so we headed outside to take it all in. We have mountains to our east, and the Atlantic Ocean to our west. I have honestly never been to a more beautiful place. The place we're staying at is called The Team House. Here's a link (don't get jealous): http://www.theteamhouse.com
After a wonderful breakfast we headed to King of Kings Baptist Church. We were greeted warmly; and experienced a service with heartfelt worship, great teaching, and a real sense of community.
We then headed to the township of Masiphumelele for another service. This was our first chance to see how the poor live in South Africa (later we drove through Ocean View, the township we will be working in this week). It was like we had crossed into a third world country, only blocks away from the suburban wealth and comfort. The church service there was incredible. Several woman led out in song from the congregation (the woman next to me actually startled me because she sang so loudly), and beautiful children ran around all over the place. I didn't understand a word we sang, but I felt a sheer sense of joy.
It's Cheryl! One of 5 members on the Belmont Mission trip in Capetown, South Africa. The plane has landed!!...along with all of our luggage. (wooh!) Let me just begin with thanking everyone for your support, whether it be financially, thoughtfully, or prayerfully. Thank you! This, I am sure, will be an experience that will wreck all 5 of us (for the better!). Again, thank you!
What a day it has been. We are now at The Team House where it is 1:15AM and 7:15PM back in Nashville. Traveling was as best as it could be. There were no conflicts with any of our flights...except that maybe my leg fell asleep during one of my many naps on the plane. Our longest flight today was roughly 16-18 hours and was broken up into 2 take-offs/landings. Our South African Airbus 600 stopped for an hour in Senegal to refuel so we could take on another 7 hours to Johannesburg. If you're like me, I don't know much about Senegal. From what I saw, there were many buildings/houses in the shapes of rectangles with square windows. Mostly the colors of white and burnt orange, and the town pretty bare. But beautiful in its own unique form.
It is hard to believe that we leave for Cape Town in three short days! We are thrilled to be serving with Living Hope in Cape Town. The mission of Living Hope is clear:
“To bring the hope and compassion of Jesus Christ to the chronically sick and dying in a holistic way and do everything possible to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS”
Our team will be doing a holiday club in the township of Ocean View. Our theme is “Heroes” and I hear through the grapevine that we may see some costumes throughout the week! You won’t want to miss these pictures…
Please be in prayer for the team as we travel and join what God is doing in Cape Town!