Day 5 from Cape Town, South Africa. God has blessed us today with sun and beautiful skies after 3 straight days of rain. Our trip this morning to Red Hill was very powerful. Dan, Kellsi, Austin, Liz, Crystal, Christy, and I told the lesson of Zacchaeus and how Jesus asked him to come down from the tree and join him. God is in all of us and Jesus loves everyone big and small including each of the many children we interacted with today. We helped the children make wind socks out of paper plates, streamers, and pipe cleaners. Of course, the children decided to wear them as hats (Kellsi guessed correctly!), but it was still a lot of fun. One of my favorite kids is Sanbisiwe, a 7-year old female who is Xhosa (pronounced kosuh, South African ethnicity). She is the sweetest thing and seems to not ever leave my side. I gave her and Bayanda, Assanda, Stantimba, and Buhle rides today on my shoulders. I am so impressed with how much love is here in Red Hill despite the obvious disadvantages the people face.
The past two days I have been blessed to play futbol (soccer) in Ocean View (Kommetjie area) with some of the children of the area. A former professional Cape Town futbol player does a Christian-based clinic there four afternoons a week. What a great way to talk to God and honor our body by participating in a fun activity. Yesterday, I got to coach about 7 kids (aged 8-11), take them through various drills, instruct them on passing and dribbling, and then we scrimmaged. I was so impressed with a young girl named Bianca. She was an outstanding player and out-hustled all of the boys she played with. Her technique was so impressive. Most of the kids in America try to play too much one-on-one. Bianca and others truly understood the game for their age and always tried to make the extra pass to set up teammates.
One of the things I will cherish from this adventure is the relationships I have made with volunteers who live in the Sundollar house. Some are from America. Some are from England and Scotland. Some are from Canada. We are all part of a team and larger purpose and try to support each other as we serve God by serving others. After we leave South Africa, please continue to pray for Staci, Kyndall, Melissa, Stephanie, Chrissie, Emily, Becky, Amanda, Julie, Kelly, Mandy, Jess, Rob, Jenkins, Ruth, Stanton, Danielle, and others. That’s it for now. More from the Secret Seven tomorrow!!!!
Posted by Jonathan (JJ)
Well friends, we are at the end of our fourth day in South Africa and God is continuing to show us His unfailing love and amazing grace! We spent the morning bonding together as a team, and praying for the families of Red Hill. We wanted to lift them up in prayer before we presented what God had placed on our hearts to share with them.
As we entered Red Hill this morning, I just felt like God was going to do some amazing things in that place today. Our team didn't want the focus to be on the activities that were planned, or the schedule, but we wanted God to be the focus. We wanted to make sure that we were imitating God's love for them in every form.
We have experienced so much and we have only been here for four days. I already want to adopt all of the children we work with. One little girl will not let go of my hand every time I enter the classroom. Her name is Aronke. She is eight years old. It's pronounced Aronkay. She is so sweet. These kids that we work with everyday are faced with many challenges. It's really sad to see but they are so proud of where they come from and who they are. It just taught me how to be joyful for the smallest things. These kids have nothing, and yet they are so hopeful, and so joyful! How amazing is that? These kids love easily. They didn't know us at all, but on the first day, they just ran up to us and loved on us anyway. Why is it so difficult for us to show that same love to others?
Well, this is our third day here in South Africa, and already we've had an absolutely amazing experience. Today, we went back to Red Hill and rejoined our awesome little friends. The joy and excitement these kids have for life in the midst of extreme poverty, is a truly inspiring to witness. They live with their families in shacks made from scraps of tin and wood, with no plumbing, electricity or hardly any convenience that would be "standard" in any first world country, yet they seem more content than many middle/upper class Americans. This is truly an experience that all of us can learn from.
After we worked in Red Hill, we had a picnic lunch off the side of the road on the coast. The cloudy weather, the crashing waves and the green mountains in the backdrop truly were an awe inspiring sight.
Later today (in about 30 minutes actually), we are going to play soccer with some of the kids. We cannot wait.
Well folks, hope all is going well back home. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
Posted by: Austin
The Secret Seven =)
Today was our first day of South African ministry and it was quite exciting. We are working in a township called Red Hill. Almost as soon as we arrived there this morning we found ourselves surrounded by about 50 South African children! We were all a little nervous about the language barrier and cultural differences but, wow, God showed us. The children immediately ran up to us and grabbed our hands! They begged us to hold them and absolutely loved it when Dan, J.J., or Austin would give them piggy-back rides! It was incredible to see. Stanton, the life skills educator in Red Hill (he’s the guy who usually does these clubs all by himself), had an amazing craft ready for the children. He taught them about how important it is to tell their friends and family about Jesus. Then he had each one write letters to someone they knew who needed to know about Jesus. We got to walk down the hill with the children to deliver these cards along with packages of soap and shampoo. It was amazing! Each member of the team was walking with three or four children just chatting away! It was quite amusing to listen to each team member try to pronounce the names of the children (the children seemed to think it was pretty funny as well).
On the way back up the hill I looked up only to see Crystal standing on the side of the road surrounded by 10 curious children and one worried looking ACTS volunteer. When I got up to her I realized that she was having a horrible nose bleed! Luckily, I had a first aid kit and we were able to put an ice pack on her head. The excitement was short-lived, though, because soon she was fine and back to dancing as usual. Before we knew it, it was time to leave. About five kids tried to hide in our van so they could go home with us. As we were pulling away they chased our van almost all the way to the street! We can’t wait to go back tomorrow and see them again!
We spent tonight at the mall before dinner. None of us realized how cold it was going to be so many of us bought new jackets! We also went to the grocery store, which was another adventure. The only items in the store that I recognized were Diet Coke, Oreos, and Acts popcorn. Everything else was pretty foreign to me. All in all it has been a very exciting and amazing day! God has obviously filled the hearts of our team members with an extraordinary love for the people of South Africa!
We’ve learned a new phrase since we’ve arrived here: “TIA” (which stands for “This Is Africa”). So if you’ve been wondering why we don’t have any pictures posted, it’s because “this is Africa.” The internet doesn’t always work and uploading pictures is a little more complicated than we had expected. Pictures are coming…we promise!!
Posted by Kellsi
It is official: we are in Cape Town (even though we traveled around the world to get here…at least that is what it feels like). =) Huge praise regarding our traveling: we successfully made it through customs without too much hassle in London and here. The Lord also watched over us as we went through security without a hitch. We definitely were blessed during that time. Thank you all so much for your prayers. In Johannesburg, we cut close corners with our connecting flight. We got in at approximately 11:30am local time. From Johannesburg, we had to grab our bags and re-check in to grab our connecting flight. During this time we discovered that Christy’s bags had been lost. As of right now, we still do not have word on her bags, but we have been in touch with the airline and are praying that her bags arrive soon. We did, however, make our connecting flight out of Johannesburg, which was scheduled to leave at 12:40. Praise the Lord for the flight delay that allowed us to make our connection.
We were greeted when we landed in Cape Town by Ruth, who works with ACTS ministries, the group we are partnering with while we are here. She is very helpful!!! In working with our flexibility, it ended up that we are not staying at the Team House, as originally thought. However, we have been graciously welcomed into the home of a local South African. This means that we have a house to ourselves with double rooms and shared bathrooms.
Tonight we were fed an amazing dinner by Sylvia, who will be our cook for the next two weeks. This meal was graciously welcomed by all since we were fed up with croissants and other airline food.
Please continue to pray for us as we will begin working in the Red Hill community tomorrow. Stay posted for more updates and pictures to come!!!
Posted by Liz
It's hard to believe we're sitting in Heathrow Airport right now waiting to board the next huge leg of our flight. It's 6pm here in London, and we've had a crazy day.
Our flight from Nashville to Houston took a little longer than expected, but it helped shorten our planned five hour layover in the Houston airport. We even ran into fellow Belmont student Brittany Bartley who was on her way to London for summer study abroad. She ended up sitting across the aisle from us on the plane to London. Our all-nighter flight was incredibly smooth, and it even included some pretty good food.
Today we got to spend some time exploring an area of London called Hammersmith. We even sampled the cliche Brittish delicacy fish-and-chips. After some shopping and a quadruple-shot of espresso (I was REALLY tired), we headed back to the airport.
We're all really ready to get to Africa, so when we set foot in Nairobi tomorrow morning at 6:30am (Kenya time) it will really feel like we've made it. So despite our crazy flight plan, we're in good spirits. I also promise that there is a whole team with me, and you will all be hearing from each of them a lot more. All we can say is, Cape Town, here we come!!!
I can’t believe that we leave tomorrow! Our team had its final meeting on Monday night where we finished preparing for our clubs we’ll be doing with the children of Red Hill (the township outside Cape Town we’ll be working with). We’re looking forward to doing everything from step-dancing to paper airplanes. While we’re aware of the crazy flight schedule we have ahead of us, we also know that we’ll be able to make it fun. I’ve stocked up on books and music to get me through the (grueling) flights.
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Please pray for little-to-no jet lag. We’ll be setting foot in London, Nairobi, and Johannesburg before we make it to Cape Town. So, naturally, our brains are going to be completely out of whack. But we have some tricks up our sleeves for getting through it. We don’t technically get to Cape Town until Monday (their time), but we’ll try to update you all along the way.
South Africa...Here we come!!!
We are going to Africa! We are so excited to be able to serve those in Cape Town this summer. We just completed our 3 day training retreat- led by our GO! Leaders: Dan Ritter and Kellsi Kermeen and are continuing with our preparation. Please pray for God’s provisions for the team, both financially and spiritually, as we prepare for what God has in store for us in July!