Well- I realize it has been a few days since we posted and you probably thought we were still stuck in London. The team made it home safe and sound on Saturday night. It was the end of a VERY long journey. Thanks to each of you who faithfully read about our daily lives in Cape Town.
We are honored and humbled by your prayers and support! We are hoping to post some pics and videos for you all to see so check back later.
Posted by Christy
Hey everyone...quick update. We're safely in London and awaiting our final 2 flights to Newark then Nashville. Can't wait to be home!
Well we're safely in Nairobi, Kenya and prepped to begin our 6 hour layover here. Fatigue is already knocking at the door for some of the team (we've already had 2 of our 5 flights today), so we're laying low for this layover. As always, Kellsi and Liz are chomping at the bit to get home and see their significant others (two weeks separated by an ocean is a long time), so that thought alone is helping them make it through. I'm just excited about sleeping in my bed tomorrow night.
God definitely was on our side this morning when the bus that was supposed to take us to the airport died outside our lodging. Thanks to a quick call to one of the Mikes of ACTS, Ruth got everything sorted. We had some security hang-ups, but everything worked out, and we made it to the plane.
I guess I'll sign off for now. Keep us in your prayers as we get ready for the longest flight we have (Nairobi to London). We'll try to shoot all of you an update in London. See you soon!!!
posted by Dan
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow morning we will be boarding a plane and heading home. A bittersweet atmosphere has surrounded the team all day. This morning Mike Talley took the team for a tour of all of the different ministries of Living Hope. It was amazing to see the miraculous ways that God is using this organization. It was great to see all the different facets of their ministry so that we know what to pray for as we arrive home. At the end of the tour he presented each team member with a hand-made and hand-painted candle to remember our work here. It was a wonderful moment and many of the team members had tears in their eyes.
I am quite sure that no one wants to leave. All of our lives have been changed here and we have each encountered God in a new and radical way. I am excited to take my experiences home and share them with those that I love. I pray that the fire for God that has been lit or rekindled inside each of us on this trip will not fade as we leave. May we not forget what we have seen here, who we have met, and what we have done. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to journey to South Africa and serve Him here. He truly put together an amazing team and He has used us in some mighty ways here!
This afternoon we will return to Red Hill for the last time to say good-bye to the children that have captured our hearts. I cannot imagine how hard it will be to leave them behind and head for America. Please continue to pray for the people of Red Hill and the volunteers working with ACTS. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers throughout this journey that our team has been on! We look forward to seeing all of you soon!
P.S. A little piece of excitement- J.J., Crystal, Liz, and I all rode camels yesterday afternoon! It was probably one of the most fun and adventurous things I have done on this trip (besides eating all of the strange food)!!
Posted by Kellsi
Well, this is our second to last day here in Cape Town South Africa, and as much as we love ya'll back home, we don't really want to leave.
Oh yeah, and our regular van has now been replaced by an older rental van which we have fondly named, “Death Bullet”. He’s a hard working little fella, but sometimes we just don’t know if he’s got the goods to make it up the hills.
Today our group split up for our morning work. Dan, JJ, Ruth and myself went to King of Kings church and put sod on bare patches in the yard. While we were doing this, Christy, Liz, Kellsi and Crystal hung curtains for patient rooms at Living Hope health clinic and helped draw out an emergency evacuation map.
Later this afternoon, we are going to one of the beaches to watch one of our fellow American volunteers, Melissa, get baptized. That’ll be cool.
Yesterday, the weather became very windy and rainy. As we drove along the coast we were struck by (no, not lightning) the awesome beauty of the ocean. As the waves rolled towards the beach the wind pushed against them causing the waves to turn into spectacular shapes. Lets just say it was incredible. Don’t worry, I took a few pictures =)
Anyway, we’ll see you people in few days.
Thanks for the thoughts and prayers!
P.S. Dan and I have teamed with our British friend, Rob, to form the 3 man vocal group, “Two Yanks and a Brit”. We start U.S. tour next summer. So be prepared.
Posted by: Austin
The team is working hard to make the most of the few short days we have left. Last night we hosted a spaghetti dinner at the volunteer house for all of those who have helped us while we have been here. It was a small way to say, "thank you" for all of the tremendous things that these people have done for us! Everyone worked fantastically as a team and the dinner was a complete success!! (Special thanks to Austin and his amazing alfredo sauce!)
Today we finished hanging the gutters at Living Hope. Though the job may not seem that important, we definitely felt the presence of God with us while we worked. They had been forecasting rain for the entire day! We all worked feverishly under the dark, heavy clouds and prayed that the rain would just wait until we were done! Well, God showed up yet again and held the rain until the job was almost completely finished! We had only one piece left to snap in when it started to sprinkle!!!
Being a leader on this trip has given me a completely different perspective! I am constantly impressed and inspired by the passion and devotion of our team! Even in the cold and rain, each member continues to work hard and no one ever complains! No matter the job, whether it is hanging gutters or playing with little kids, our team works at it with all of their hearts. I can truly see God in each and every one of them!!
Thank all of you for your prayers and support! This trip truly would not be possible without all of the encouragement from our family and friends! It is hard to believe that we will be home in just four days!
Posted by Kellsi
It is hard to believe that today is the start of our 2nd week here in Cape Town. Time sure is flying by. To give you all a quick update, this week we will sadly not be working with the Red Hill community anymore. However, we will be used for any odd jobs that may need to be done in this local area.
Today, we have been busy hanging gutters at Living Hope’s main office. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, which makes it the perfect day to work outside. We have had some set backs, though. We discovered that our brackets, which hold the gutters up, were too low for the gutters to clear various corners of the house. Hence, we had to go back and “better our craftsmanship”. We are currently working on finishing up this project. Our goal is to have the gutters hung by tomorrow. It is supposed to rain tomorrow in Cape Town so we would like to have them hung by then. Plus, we will be able to “test the waters” so to speak to make sure they are properly functioning. We have all been working hard to finish this project. We are excited about any other area that we may be able to serve in before we depart from Cape Town.
We thank you for your continued prayer support as we have reached the mid point of our journey.
Stay posted for more updates…. We hope you all are having a great day!
Posted by Liz
-The Secret Seven-
This is Cristo. He has been our driver and an unofficial member of The Secret 7 (as we have been named by the ACTS team). On Saturday after he dropped us off at Table Mountain, he was travelling home for a bit on his motorcycle and was hit by a truck. We were saddened by the accident but were grateful he had no broken bones and was not more seriously hurt. Due to his accident, we have not had the pleasure of seeing him every day.
Please pray for Cristo and for a speed recovery.
Posted by Christy
It’s definitely hard to believe that we only have three days left here. Sorry about the lack of blogs lately. It’s been really busy down here on the Western Cape.
Saturday night we had an amazing opportunity to eat at the restaurant Nyoni’s Kraal (pronounced Niowny’s Crawl). After Austin, Liz, Crystal, and our British friend Rob climbed Table Mountain, I was feeling like I wasn’t very adventurous. Until dinner that is. Of our team, I think I’ve been the most adventurous eater. I think the list of South African foods I’ve eaten goes something like this: kudu (antelope), springbok (another antelope and the national mascot), gemsbok (yet another antelope), ostrich, snoek (South African fish), koeksusters (pronounced Cook Sisters…basically God’s gift to the donut lover), mebos (dried fruit), appletizer (basically sparkling apple cider), and rusks (kind of like a biscotti).
Then dinner came around, and Austin and I decided to go out on a limb and try something new. They were out of fried mopane worms (but don’t worry, there’s still time left for those), so we went with a “smiley.” What, you ask, is a smiley? Why it’s half a sheep’s head. That’s right. Austin and I ate half a sheep’s head, much to the chagrin of our team and the shock of the restaurant staff. Surprisingly, it was actually delicious.
Sunday was a day full of God’s blessing. We were able to attend services at two South African churches. The first, King of Kings, is a church that our mission organization (ACTS) works closely with. The second church was in the township of Masiphumelele. It was the most beautiful outpouring of God I have experienced so far. No order of service. No instruments. No hymnals. No minister of music. It is the women of the community that lead the time of worship. One woman at a time would belt out a song of praise in Xhosa, and then everyone would join. At one point I realized that they were singing “When the Role is Called Up Yonder,” and I joined them in English. It was unbelievable.
Sunday afternoon saw us play tourists as we encountered the weekly market in the city center (downtown). It was interesting to walk around and see all the artist crafts and trinkets that were for sale. Austin and I both met a local artist who sold us two of is paintings for 200 Rand (about $27). We all had an incredible time.
If I had known that it was going to be so perfect here I probably wouldn’t have come. To look off Table Mountain with the wind whipping in your face is virtually indescribable. To hold the hand of a child who has nothing yet knows more joy than you can imagine is beyond words. Chris Dorsey, another Belmont student here in Africa working separately from our team (check out his blog here), put it perfectly: once you drink the water in South Africa you will never be satisfied until you drink it again. More and more I am seeing that is true. We all miss home, but I feel like we’ll be heartbroken when we have to leave. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and know that God is working in ways we could never imagine.
Posted by Dan
Well, it was an unbelievable week with the kids in Red Hill. On Friday we finished with holiday club and said goodbye to the kids… until our party next Thursday. The entire community sang to us, prayed for us and presented us with a certificate of appreciation for our work. As the team talked last night, we all agreed that we have learned more than we have taught…that we have seen more than we have shown…that we have received much more than we have given. The people of Red Hill have become part of us.
It is interesting to think that we could have anything in common with people in South Africa. As the club was ending, Zuleka ( the Red Hill resident who helps with the ongoing ministry with the kids) wanted to show me where she and her son, Iman, lived. As we walked through the community, she would say “my cousin lives here” and “my niece lives there”. As we entered into her one room home, I was honored and humbled to have been invited into her sacred space. I realized that Zuleka exercises the gift of hospitality as well as anyone I had ever known. She had shared her home, and herself with a stranger from across the world. My prayer is that I will allow myself to be more Zuleka…more welcoming…more open…more like Jesus.
Thank you for your prayers and your words of encouragement. We read them almost daily.
Posted by Christy