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Safely home!

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We have arrived back to the States! After 27 hours of travel, we are grateful to be back on American soil.

We experienced so much of Jesus. Our prayer is that we will never be the same! Thank you for journeying with us. 

Until next time! Our passports are already ready!  

Karla G  

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 

We heard this amazing poem at church while in South Africa. We wanted to share it with you: 

I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed."

The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.

My colors will be clear.

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The end draws nigh...

Our last day here is drawing to a close. We leave here in a couple hours to head to the airport. We’ve enjoyed church and lunch, grabbed some last minute items from the grocery, our stuff is packed and we are hanging out in our accommodation with the kiddos from VOH. 

The grace is shifting to help our hearts get set for coming back home. We can hardly wait to hug our framily...all of you. 

Our hearts have grown in love for Jesus, South Africa, one another, our precious In Focus Church and every single place our feet stepped to serve Thembalitsha.  

Pray us home, people! We are headed towards ya! 

Karla G 💚🇿🇦💚 

 

Photo speaks for itself :) 

Photo speaks for itself :) 

 

What a wonderful morning at ENSW! “We must not be consumed with the anticipation of Christ’s arrival but the thought of it should stir us to zeal and joy.” -Pierre Smith  

What a wonderful morning at ENSW! “We must not be consumed with the anticipation of Christ’s arrival but the thought of it should stir us to zeal and joy.” -Pierre Smith  

Encouraging and loving on our fellow EN pastors, Pierre and Helena Smith and their daughter, Alika.  

Encouraging and loving on our fellow EN pastors, Pierre and Helena Smith and their daughter, Alika.  

Friends across the ocean!  

Friends across the ocean!  

This amazing team loving on the kiddos and resting before we fly.  

This amazing team loving on the kiddos and resting before we fly.  

Chris and Katrina playing “Keep it in the Air” :) 

Chris and Katrina playing “Keep it in the Air” :) 

Dani lead a sing along for an hour and a half with aspiring stars!  

Dani lead a sing along for an hour and a half with aspiring stars!  

Again, “Keep it in the Air” lead by John and Alan.  

Again, “Keep it in the Air” lead by John and Alan.  

Ms. Irene resting up. She’s been such an amazing team mate and caregiver to all of us.  

Ms. Irene resting up. She’s been such an amazing team mate and caregiver to all of us.  

The whoopie cushion strikes again!  

The whoopie cushion strikes again!  

Barbara, long term VOH volunteer from England. We love her!!! 

Barbara, long term VOH volunteer from England. We love her!!! 

Quote of the day: “The trees look like some serious delicious broccoli.” -Amy Farina, Team Vegetarian  

Quote of the day: “The trees look like some serious delicious broccoli.” -Amy Farina, Team Vegetarian  

Bye bye SA. We adore everything about you.  

xxx

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A day on the other side...

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Family- 

Greetings from our last nite in South Africa! 

We woke today to beautiful weather and a fun day ahead. We traveled in to Cape Town and spent the day seeing sights and buying gifts for all of you! :) (You can “see the sights” along with us in the photos below!)

It was quite different to see this side of this nation after serving all week long. The wealth vs the poverty is, honestly, hard to justify in many of our minds. Yet, we are reminded that at the foot of the cross the ground is level. We are all completely broken and desperate without Him. And in Him, we are all found and fully redeemed. He is the answer to everything, EVERYTHING, we need. 

We love you all. See you soon! 

Karla G

Ps. We are TIRED and some of the photos show it 😂 enjoy!  

Red Bus Tour fun. We learned a lot about the history of South Africa 🇿🇦  

Red Bus Tour fun. We learned a lot about the history of South Africa 🇿🇦  

Red Bus Tour moments! 

Red Bus Tour moments! 

A stop at Table Mountain.  

A stop at Table Mountain.  

Oh, the sites!  

Oh, the sites!  

The Green Market and sites around town.  

The Green Market and sites around town.  

Sleepers caught on camera.    

Sleepers caught on camera.  

 

Church tomorrow morning and then an afternoon at Village of Hope! We fly out at 12:40am here/6:40pm Sunday evening. Pray for us!

💚 

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We are a grateful people!

Family— 

It has been a day for the books for all of us. All of the pieces and vision of this Thembalitsha “puzzle” have fallen in place today. ThembaCare, Educare, Village of Hope, School of Hope, MamaThemba, Themba Training— everything is connected and impacts the other projects. The vision to reach this nation through community development to restore people to a place of self reliance is seen so beautifully in the outworking of each project. 

We have had such a blessed journey here. We have participated in all Thembalitsha projects and we have loved it all.

 The joy of the Lord has literally been our strength. 

Today brings an end to our serving the Thembalitsha projects, for the most part. (Hanging out with the VOH kids is still a possibility this weekend!) Tomorrow will be a sight seeing and “get treats for our supporters/family/friends” day! We so enjoy just being together and bringing the gospel of peace to this nation. We can’t wait to see more. 

Enjoy the photos and comments! You can expect the “cheese cutter” to be revealed AND a couple precious videos. 

Lastly, please pray for us. Pray for our hearts. Pray for vision, wisdom and discernment. We have seen a lot. Our hearts long for home at the same time they are broken for this nation.  

We love you! 

Karla G

Graceland—there you are!!  

Graceland—there you are!!  

Americans being Americans 😂 and the precious kiddos of Graceland.  

Americans being Americans 😂 and the precious kiddos of Graceland.  

Elizabeth, Graceland principle, shares with the team.  

Elizabeth, Graceland principle, shares with the team.  

Graceland kids  

Graceland kids  

More of Graceland  

More of Graceland  

Graceland goodness  

Graceland goodness  

Mandy sacrificing her hair! 😂 

Mandy sacrificing her hair! 😂 

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Dena and Karla had the chance to go to ThembaCare today for a Hospice Open House. we enjoyed seeing the faces of many that we love. Only downside? Very windy and very cold for us!

Dena and Karla had the chance to go to ThembaCare today for a Hospice Open House. we enjoyed seeing the faces of many that we love. Only downside? Very windy and very cold for us!

School of Hope visit. Always such a powerful time to see what the kids do from learning to plant flowers, sport, academia, and more.  

School of Hope visit. Always such a powerful time to see what the kids do from learning to plant flowers, sport, academia, and more.  

A windy spot for a photo shoot! Did I mention it was windy?  

A windy spot for a photo shoot! Did I mention it was windy?  

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we are all feeling the love ❤️  

we are all feeling the love ❤️  

evening playtime with the VOH kids. Anyone spot a cutie baby who once lived in SA?! 😉 

evening playtime with the VOH kids. Anyone spot a cutie baby who once lived in SA?! 😉 

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Our thoughts for today:

Kayla- The hearts of the house moms and workers show me Jesus. It’s selfless service.

Dena- it’s been quite a long day :) my joy was connecting with an old friend and seeing God’s goodness in her life.

Irene- the nature and beauty here points to God. Yet it contrasts so much with the poverty it surrounds.

Joe- joy for me is Graceland! The junk is also Graceland in hearing the abuse many of those kids suffer through. I just love it there! I could have stayed a bit longer...like about 12 days! 

Amy- this team looks like James to me. And James looks like Jesus to me...because he takes care of me. Thank you for loving me and helping me through!

Dani- my joy was seeing the School of Hope. I look forward to seeing how I can go home and help out. My Jesus was seeing the principal today—his love for the kids is so moving. He’s such a father to them.

Stephen- I absolutely love Graceland! It’s been on my heart since the last time I left here!! I’m so glad we got to visit. Seeing all the guys play with the kiddos was awesome.

Mandy- my junk is my allergies! They need to calm down. My joy is the kids!!! Seeing them sing and behave and play and GO was so awesome.

Chastity- my joy was Graceland today! (School of Hope too!) Seeing the kids jump on the guys was a lot of fun for me. My Jesus moment has been the entire week!

Katrina- my junk is being so cold all week long! My joy and Jesus was being at Graceland today. Running and jumping with the kids...giving the kids a few hairstyles...and more! It was fun and so inspiring.

Chris- my joy was Graceland and School of Hope for sure. All of the Thembalitsha workers put so much in to their jobs and have a glow about them...the out their all in what they do. They are always smiling. I want to be like that. I want to live like that.

CJ- I opened a letter today from KK—and she is my joy :) So that was my joy and my Jesus! The fact that my children know Jesus is amazin’. Also, being with the kids at VOH tonight was awesome. There was one little boy I got to sit with after all the little ones went to bed. Just sitting and hanging out with him was so awesome.

Alan— my joy was Graceland. The kids wrapping their arms and legs and everything else around me was so awesome :) The kids looked happy! They are doing a good thing at Graceland. A real good thing.

John— my joy today was seeing how everyone is putting the pieces together. From MamaThemba to Village of Hope to Educare to ThembaCare to School of Hope...it is all connected and the vision is coming to fruition. My Jesus is seeing how everyone prefers each other. This team is just amazing.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 

And the culprit is??!! :) It’s what made it even more funny.  

And the culprit is??!! :) It’s what made it even more funny.  

:) we love y’all!!  

Until tomorrow... 

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Whew! Quite the busy day...

Family!! What. A. Day. So very special. We captured a lot of it in pictures for you. 

Jesus has been near to us...and we sense His presence with every step. 

I cant express how thankful we are to hear from you in the comments. We read them together in the evening...and as tears flow, we feel the bond across the ocean strengthen as we share this journey with you.  

There’s no place like home. USA and SA. We are forever changed and wrecked for this place. 

We love you! 

-KG

ps. The ladies were out all morning which left the guys to take photos themselves. Yeah. 

 

Our morning started early! A trip over the mountain to Somerset West.  

Our morning started early! A trip over the mountain to Somerset West.  

A reminder of God’s promises on the way in to town! 

A reminder of God’s promises on the way in to town! 

Time at MamaThemba for the ladies.  

Time at MamaThemba for the ladies.  

The ladies had the opportunity to serve MamaThemba this morning. A visit to the local hospital to pray for, love on and gift the mothers as they labored made a major impact on the ladies.  The doctor in charge of the unit had a powerful message to speak to us:  “We have the tendency to think that if we can’t see our impact that we have not done enough. However if you change the life of one person you’ve done enough.”

The ladies had the opportunity to serve MamaThemba this morning. A visit to the local hospital to pray for, love on and gift the mothers as they labored made a major impact on the ladies.  The doctor in charge of the unit had a powerful message to speak to us: 

“We have the tendency to think that if we can’t see our impact that we have not done enough. However if you change the life of one person you’ve done enough.”

Helping Lindy, project manager for MamaThemba, get the bags ready for next week!  

Helping Lindy, project manager for MamaThemba, get the bags ready for next week!  

Finishing up the paint projects at Educare!  

Finishing up the paint projects at Educare!  

Amy, Chas, Katrina and Karla channeling their inner child.  

Amy, Chas, Katrina and Karla channeling their inner child.  

It was windy and chilly...and then hot! But fun was had by all. :)

It was windy and chilly...and then hot! But fun was had by all. :)

Amy worked quite hard on this project! Sanding and painting...sanding and painting.  

Amy worked quite hard on this project! Sanding and painting...sanding and painting.  

Decorating the in patient unit at ThembaCare. Good job heading this up , Dani! 

Decorating the in patient unit at ThembaCare. Good job heading this up , Dani! 

Finishing up the painting at VOH! Go team go! 

Finishing up the painting at VOH! Go team go! 

Let there be light!! Giving this Educare electricity and shining the light of Jesus!  

Let there be light!! Giving this Educare electricity and shining the light of Jesus!  

Ministering a message to the kids about their identity in Christ...and then giving them a treat! (See video below)  

Ministering a message to the kids about their identity in Christ...and then giving them a treat! (See video below)  

Laundry is fun here! 

Laundry is fun here! 

Braii (SA word for BBQ/cookout) with the VOH family.  

Braii (SA word for BBQ/cookout) with the VOH family.  

Sharing our “highs and lows”  with the team from VOH. What a very special time! Here are some of our comments from the sharing: Building relationally with all that we have encountered. It’s important what thembalitsha is doing. You try to reach the kids when they’re little so they don’t end up with the struggle as an adult. Seeing they up front this week has been powerful.  It’s a miracle to be here. Being a part of this process has changed my perspective on a lot.  The light of Jesus is in these people. The only low right now is thinking of the ride to the airport two nights from now. Until then, I’m happy! This trip is like a European Buffett! All lush and delicious and full of the best items. It’s been an eye opening week. Seeing living conditions and such are a low. But seeing things like that help change your perspective. Thembalitsha is a high!!! It’s hard to put one high over another, but I can say this...there’s nothing that compares to Thembalitsha. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s beautiful to see how everyone works together here. This place has my heart. This experience has changed me.

Sharing our “highs and lows”  with the team from VOH. What a very special time! Here are some of our comments from the sharing:

Building relationally with all that we have encountered.

It’s important what thembalitsha is doing. You try to reach the kids when they’re little so they don’t end up with the struggle as an adult. Seeing they up front this week has been powerful. 

It’s a miracle to be here. Being a part of this process has changed my perspective on a lot. 

The light of Jesus is in these people.

The only low right now is thinking of the ride to the airport two nights from now. Until then, I’m happy!

This trip is like a European Buffett! All lush and delicious and full of the best items.

It’s been an eye opening week. Seeing living conditions and such are a low. But seeing things like that help change your perspective.

Thembalitsha is a high!!!

It’s hard to put one high over another, but I can say this...there’s nothing that compares to Thembalitsha. I’ve never seen anything like this.

It’s beautiful to see how everyone works together here.

This place has my heart. This experience has changed me.

Evening shenanigans! And Joe serving selflessly by cleaning the floor!   •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 

Evening shenanigans! And Joe serving selflessly by cleaning the floor!

 

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 

Can anyone guess what actually happened in the funny video from last night??!!  (Hint in the photo above.)

Can anyone guess what actually happened in the funny video from last night??!!  (Hint in the photo above.)

Hmmmmm.....answer revealed in tomorrow evenings blog post! 😜 

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And then there was Wednesday...

Greetings family! Another amazing day and this blog will bring you close to what’s happening here in South Africa.  Praying for you all as we are away. We love you! Oh, we are all fine and dandy!  Karla G 💚 

Greetings family! Another amazing day and this blog will bring you close to what’s happening here in South Africa.  Praying for you all as we are away. We love you! Oh, we are all fine and dandy! 

Karla G 💚 

Continued work at Educare!  

Continued work at Educare!  

The fence is built!  

The fence is built!  

ThembaCare service! Irene did an incredible job ministering to the ladies. We are so proud of her.  

ThembaCare service! Irene did an incredible job ministering to the ladies. We are so proud of her.  

Andiswa being her sweet self ☺️. Our team listening to Irene teach! Sister Thandi, project manager, and Sister Joyce (many of you know her) lead ThembaCare Grabouw. 

Andiswa being her sweet self ☺️. Our team listening to Irene teach! Sister Thandi, project manager, and Sister Joyce (many of you know her) lead ThembaCare Grabouw. 

We placed crowns on these ladies heads and reminded them they are loved and chosen and seen and valuable! It was a very special time.  

We placed crowns on these ladies heads and reminded them they are loved and chosen and seen and valuable! It was a very special time.  

Praying over the Angels.  

Praying over the Angels.  

💚 

💚 

What a moment! 

What a moment! 

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PreppIng some Christmas decorations for decorating the ThembaCare In Patient Unit.  •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 

PreppIng some Christmas decorations for decorating the ThembaCare In Patient Unit. 

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So many of us have the ThembaCare service from this afternoon as our Jesus moment. I have put all of our comments together for your reading enjoyment. :) :

“Hearing people worship and pray in their native tongue is amazing.”

“I loved seeing the angels worship and dance today.”

“The service was eye opening. These angels work 365 days a year, their faces speak volumes. Their smiles are amazing.”

“The holy ghost was so thick in that service. It was empowering! I love what Mrs Irene did.”

“Knowing that the angels do what they do all day everyday takes a piece of my soul. They’re so joyous and gracious. Worshipping with them was so JESUS!”

“Hearing the angels singing about the blessing of food on the table, shoes on their feet and clothes on their back.”

“Singing with the angels...agreeing with them in worship was special.”

“God was there. It was obvious. You can tell when someone is full of the spirit and someone like Cylvia (a ThembaCare Angel) definitely is.”

“Being able to watch the Angel that I walked around with receive from the Lord with such joy, it was special.”

“Getting to pray over my angel was so sweet.”

“The presence of God was so palpable. Every year I come to this service and I never leave dry eyed. Jesus is amazing and these angels are as well!”

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• 

Dena- My joy is being with everyone and laughing. I haven’t laughed like this in a long time. Juxtaposed is the junk of seeing all of this around us and all the need and poverty. It’s difficult.

Chastity- All of our personalities meshing and laughing together brings me so much joy.

Joe- my joy is always being at the worship service at ThembaCare. Thinking about what the angels walk through day after day yet seeing them worship like that is awesome.

Chris- My joy was working with the guys, getting the fence up and accomplishing our project to help keep the kids safe.

CJ- My junk was seeing the kids in the community today that are hungry. This 2 year old was obviously hungry. And I felt helpless. My joy though is this team!

Stephen- My joy was seeing the angels that I saw 2 years ago. They are still here doing what God has called them to do! Amazing. And I love seeing the new members of the team experience all of this!

Amy- It was a tough morning to get going but I didn’t quit. Even the wind and rain didn’t get me! I had a job to do and I did it. My joy is Mt Dew and Dena.

Kayla- Today was filled with joy. Breaking down walls and getting to know each other is so great! — It was tough seeing so much brokenness in the community. I had this picture of people “Rising Up” to encounter Jesus and the nation of SA changing.

Irene- I had a very happy day. After preparing to share with the angels today and it finally coming to to fruition was special.

Alan— my joy was working with the guys and getting the projects done. I get satisfaction and joy using the gifts God has given me for His glory. It may seem insignificant but it’s not. We can do something for the people here that they don’t have to do themselves.

Danielle- I enjoyed riding around with Karla today. It was my joy. I’m also excited to decorate the ThembaCare unit for Christmas! Making the snowflakes tonight was such a joy!

Katrina- The wind was rough today. It was hard to paint with the wind and rain. My Jesus moment was watching Irene do for the angels what she does for so many of us ladies. Irene has a way of speaking life in to people.

Mandy- It was special to see the angels receive their gifts and ministry today. My struggle was seeing the poverty and loss. So hard. I’ve seen the worst of the worst working in the medical field at home and experienced burnout —it was great to connect with Sister Joyce and share a common passion. They have a HARD job here and they just keep going.

John- God calls us to some crazy things and we must answer “Yes”! We will return home and be faced with all kinds of emotions, and let’s trust God to show us what He is calling us to. Trust God, it’s amazing where He can take you!

Karla G- what a day! What a team! I’m so, so proud of y’all. You’re shiny.

••••••••••••••••••••

This is a treat for those that read to the end!!!!! This next video below...that laughter? That’s been the sound of our team all week. Beautiful!  (this video comes to you thanks to Irene Niven. Yep. She’s a jokester!) 

You’re welcome. ☺️ 

 

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20 Comments

Terrific Tuesday!

Today brought more work at the same projects, time to grow together and with Jesus, and laughter. So much laughter.

Sooo....yesterday’s Photo Blog was such a loved success that we went this route again. The captions contain our stories! AND, the end of the blog will have the quotes from each person‘s reflection from their day...so special! 

Enjoy! What a journey we are all on...you included!! We love you! 

- KG  

Always an endless amount of painting. Very very tall ladders and goopy paint for the win! (Shhh! Don’t tell but I’ve been painting in these same pants for 10 years! 😬 They have paint from around the world all over them! -KG) 

Always an endless amount of painting. Very very tall ladders and goopy paint for the win! (Shhh! Don’t tell but I’ve been painting in these same pants for 10 years! 😬 They have paint from around the world all over them! -KG) 

Chris and Chastity went out in to the community today with the angels. Their hearts were shattered. Like, can’t speak about it without crying shattered. Oh, the loveliness of Christ.  

Chris and Chastity went out in to the community today with the angels. Their hearts were shattered. Like, can’t speak about it without crying shattered. Oh, the loveliness of Christ.  

Our angels join ThembaCare angel for the day :) 

Our angels join ThembaCare angel for the day :) 

Katrina checking blood pressure in the community. (KF ministered with power today alongside the angels! God preordained many, many single moms for her to pray for...it’s been overwhelming for her today. And it’s been beautiful!)  

Katrina checking blood pressure in the community. (KF ministered with power today alongside the angels! God preordained many, many single moms for her to pray for...it’s been overwhelming for her today. And it’s been beautiful!)  

Dani ministered strong in the community today!  

Dani ministered strong in the community today!  

Our faithful ladies loving on those that have stolen their hearts yet aren’t their own.  

Our faithful ladies loving on those that have stolen their hearts yet aren’t their own.  

This man never stops. What a hard worker! 

This man never stops. What a hard worker! 

A man and his toilet. 😂 All that fixing called for a nap!  

A man and his toilet. 😂 All that fixing called for a nap!  

Action shot of these amazing guys doin their thing!! Unity and preferring others is always their M.O. 

Action shot of these amazing guys doin their thing!! Unity and preferring others is always their M.O. 

Our dental hygienist at her finest. Nutella for the win!

Our dental hygienist at her finest. Nutella for the win!

Some late afternoon squeezes from kids and painting projects abound! 

Some late afternoon squeezes from kids and painting projects abound! 

Kayla with a pick ax, Mandy in her element, and the guys + Dena working that land! 

Kayla with a pick ax, Mandy in her element, and the guys + Dena working that land! 

The beauty of this land.  

The beauty of this land.  

Educare projects in full swing.  

Educare projects in full swing.  

Educare kids bring smiles...and horizontal contemplation. 😜

Educare kids bring smiles...and horizontal contemplation. 😜

Chas and Dani took a property walk with the VOH house mamas and kiddos.  

Chas and Dani took a property walk with the VOH house mamas and kiddos.  

Faces that wreck our hearts.  

Faces that wreck our hearts.  

Sandbox buildin’ and concrete pad pourin’ AND...just because it’s worth seeing again, Alan’s toilet fixin’  ☺️

Sandbox buildin’ and concrete pad pourin’ AND...just because it’s worth seeing again, Alan’s toilet fixin’  ☺️

Preparing the gifts for the Angels! We will be serving at the 2pm service tomorrow at the clinic. Irene is sharing :) Thanks for praying!!! 

Preparing the gifts for the Angels! We will be serving at the 2pm service tomorrow at the clinic. Irene is sharing :) Thanks for praying!!! 

All in for the prep!  

All in for the prep!  

Praying together to end our day. So special.  

Praying together to end our day. So special.  

Our thoughts from today: 

Amy- my joy was being with the kids today! My Jesus moment was being the people in the community at the Educare center. Taking the step to keep going today in spite of my physical pain was amazing—I’m so glad I didn’t stop!

 

Mandy- seeing the kids joy despite their circumstances...that’s MY joy today.  Knowing their future is secure in Jesus no matter where they are, it touches me.

 

Chris- my Jesus moment. Encountering the little boy in the township that hugged me like I’d know him forever. And Thandi, the project manager from the clinic, she’s a saint. In fact, all she’s missing is wings!

 

Alan- my joy today was this team...in particular the guys being together...it’s awesome fellowship and amazing to be together to work and cut up! My Jesus moment is being the these kids! They’re awesome!

 

Stephen- Everyone is working so hard. Everyone is showing up for every moment.  It’s awesome. My Jesus moment was seeing all the guys and ladies that got to walk with the ThembaCare angels...their reaction was special.

 

Dani- my joy today was visiting a patient in the community...it’s was her birthday this week and we sang to her. The smile on her face was moving...I can’t get it out of my mind. 

 

CJ- my joy is being with these kids...30 kids on a play set is awesome :) I’m particular, two boys I randomly hung out with together today were named Christopher and Joel — and my name is Christopher Joel??!! Thy watched us all day and there was no greater joy than being with them.

 

Katrina- today was tough for me. I was wrecked after being with the Thembacare angels and being in the community. My struggle today is knowing where we come from—we have so much—yet here, the kids have nothing and they’re happy.

 

Chastity- my joy, junk and Jesus are all wrapped up in my morning of being with the Angels in the community. How is it they these kids are so joyful yet they have nothing and walk barefoot in glass infested yards and such? It’s overwhelming.

 

Kayla- my joy today was connecting individually with different team mates. We gel as a team and have bonded but today I had the chance to have individual conversations and it was encouraging. Fellowshipping today has changed the atmosphere. :)

 

Joe- my junk is just not being 100% healthy. But it won’t stop me. My joy is being with different people and working on these projects together. My Jesus moment is getting to know teammates hearts and passions.

 

Irene- I loved being with the team today and painting. It’s nice to know the kids will have a pretty bedroom to sleep in tonight. I also had time today to spend in intercession for team members. It was a special time. (**Then Irene reminded us that God has placed us here and He has plans for us to minister “to the one”.)

 

Dena- seeing the Educare kids enjoy the swing, slide and sandbox we had just built was so great! It’s precious to see them so excited. Getting to see Zano’s “house mom” from VOH this evening was so moving. It’s not a job for them, these house moms love these kids. This house mom loves my nephew.

Karla- I had some time today alone when driving around Grabouw by myself—I chose to spend it in prayer to Jesus. Thanking Him for this team and His goodness. He’s so faithful. Outside of Jesus many of us would possibly never even cross paths, but in Him, we are family. This truth settled on me afresh today. I’m overjoyed. And boy, I love laughing with you folk.

John- We got a lot done today. It’s cool to see the teams joy and unity grow no matter what the circumstance...whether doing much or little. My Jesus today was Unatha, the Thembalitsha employee overseeing the Educare projects, is so inspiring. He’s patience and taking time to talk to me today was special.

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Monday captured!

Today was a day for the books! Because this amazing team accomplished SO MANY things today, this blog will come to you in captioned photos! Our projects are captured below and the captions will explain all our comings and goings!

P.s. I must say this to brag on this team—tonight we ended our day with an evening service at our Every Nation ZOLA church and these folks were AMAZING! 6 of our precious team members shared and they spoke with power, confidence, clarity and humility. The other 9 of us partook and cheered and cried and sat in awe. (See the posts below!) I’m a proud leader tonight and wanted y’all to know 😊 — KG 

our accommodations at Village of Hope. Guys above, girls below.  

our accommodations at Village of Hope. Guys above, girls below.  

Our cooks for the week! “If you cook, you don’t clean!” 

Our cooks for the week! “If you cook, you don’t clean!” 

Getting our orientation at Village of Hope from Barbara, long term VOH volunteer and friend 💚  And a snapshot of informal settlements in Grabouw.  

Getting our orientation at Village of Hope from Barbara, long term VOH volunteer and friend 💚 

And a snapshot of informal settlements in Grabouw.  

Each day 4 team members go out in to the community and walk with the “Angels” (Thembacare Clinic nurses). These Angels are selfless as they administer meds and care for patients struggling with HIV, TB and AIDS. Way more than nurses, they are aptly named. What an honor to walk with them.  

Each day 4 team members go out in to the community and walk with the “Angels” (Thembacare Clinic nurses). These Angels are selfless as they administer meds and care for patients struggling with HIV, TB and AIDS. Way more than nurses, they are aptly named. What an honor to walk with them.  

Educare! Crèches/preschools that serve hundreds of kids. 3 sites in this community. We are doing multiple projects at these locations this week - painting, building, repair, playing with kiddos, and MORE! 

Educare! Crèches/preschools that serve hundreds of kids. 3 sites in this community. We are doing multiple projects at these locations this week - painting, building, repair, playing with kiddos, and MORE! 

more at Educare! 

more at Educare! 

Village of Hope. This place has our hearts and has for years. We are painting bedrooms, repairing playground equipment, working on electrical needs, loving on the house moms and volunteers, and more! (Also...battling large and scary spiders is also on the docket.) 

Village of Hope. This place has our hearts and has for years. We are painting bedrooms, repairing playground equipment, working on electrical needs, loving on the house moms and volunteers, and more! (Also...battling large and scary spiders is also on the docket.) 

Tall, rickety ladders were on order. Yikes!  

Tall, rickety ladders were on order. Yikes!  

Village of Hope smiles :) 

Village of Hope smiles :) 

Busy at work and “play”!  

Busy at work and “play”!  

painting machines... 

painting machines... 

Shenanigans from the faithful 😆 

Shenanigans from the faithful 😆 

ENZola was amazing (videos below!!). Quotes from our speakers this evening:   Dena: What a joy to worship as His children- all nations together. We are family.  CJ:  Jesus takes us just as we are but loves us too much to leave us that way.   Katrina:  God is my Father and He is my children’s father! He has changed our life!   Joe:  Plant seeds for those you love. They will grow in God’s time.   Amy:  I have a promise that God will heal me. God is the only one who can keep a promise like that.   Alan:  I can’t imagine what my life would be without Christ! Nothing can separate us from his love.   

ENZola was amazing (videos below!!). Quotes from our speakers this evening:  

Dena: What a joy to worship as His children- all nations together. We are family. 

CJ:  Jesus takes us just as we are but loves us too much to leave us that way.  

Katrina:  God is my Father and He is my children’s father! He has changed our life!  

Joe:  Plant seeds for those you love. They will grow in God’s time.  

Amy:  I have a promise that God will heal me. God is the only one who can keep a promise like that.  

Alan:  I can’t imagine what my life would be without Christ! Nothing can separate us from his love.   

Faces from our time at church. We are in love! 

Faces from our time at church. We are in love! 

All smiles after church!  

All smiles after church!  

We end each day with a team meeting and WE LOVE IT! Sharing our experiences and insight is so powerful.    

We end each day with a team meeting and WE LOVE IT! Sharing our experiences and insight is so powerful.  

 

Until tomorrow... 

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Sunday in SA

What a day!

We woke early to get ready for church! After the ladies took freezing cold showers (the issue has since been remedied although Jesus used it to teach us how blessed we really are), we left for church at Every Nation Somerset West (ENSW). 

We enjoyed an amazing morning worshipping with our global family! It was a convicting and confirming message about obeying God to be all He called us to be. Powerful music and a time of bowing on our knees as a congregation rounded out our morning.  

After church we enjoyed lunch together, a quick drive over to the beach to snag a few shells and photos, and then on to the local market to get groceries for the week (always such an amazing experience)! 

We ended our day with a special time of sharing our “Joy, Junk and Jesus” with one another. This team is special and we are grateful...joy is marking our journey together.   

We love you, family!!! Keep praying for us. You are on this journey with us.  

xxx

•••••••••••• 

Funny quotes of the day: 

While readying the wood for our fire because it’s FREEZING— Irene: “Girl. I’m a single woman, I’ll chop my own wood!”  

Sleepiness is approaching— Chris says “I could sleep on an ant bed right now.”  

Worshipping with our ENSW family  

Worshipping with our ENSW family  

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Team photo post church! 

Team photo post church! 

“When you don’t wear shorts you make your own!” -Chris Suell’s thoughts on being hot on the coast of Southern Africa.  

“When you don’t wear shorts you make your own!” -Chris Suell’s thoughts on being hot on the coast of Southern Africa.  

At team meeting tonight: Brent’s recent sermon illustration of the isolated coal...in the flesh! This little coal popped out of the fire all by itself while Karla was talking about unity and joy :) This team is already doing amazing displaying both!!! Our fire won’t go out because we won’t find ourselves isolated!!! 

At team meeting tonight: Brent’s recent sermon illustration of the isolated coal...in the flesh! This little coal popped out of the fire all by itself while Karla was talking about unity and joy :) This team is already doing amazing displaying both!!! Our fire won’t go out because we won’t find ourselves isolated!!! 

•••••••••••••••••

Our team has learned much today. Here is a peak into what God is showing us:

Cj— sensed a heaviness this morning when entering church. But I had a major breakthrough in church this morning. I could sense His presence.

Mandy— such a great way to start the trip! Hearing about clothing yourself with clothes of righteousness.

Irene— riding with Barbara from VOH from the airport was so refreshing.  I’m excited about this week.

Chas— It’s beautiful here. Remembering Dr Blevins word about SA being “tragically beautiful” has come to light. I’m overwhelmed.

Kayla— it’s great to see familiar faces and reconnect with people.

Alan— the sermon today was awesome!! My 2 take aways: 1. What has God created me to do?” That’s a question I have to ask myself. I’m challenged. 2. And seeing my relationship with Christ as a marriage—that imagery touched me.

Amy— It was powerful to see a whole congregation go to a position of bowing the knee.

Katrina— today was when it got me that I was really in Africa. We take so much for granted. My perspective has been changed today.

Dena— Anytime I’m in another church around the world, I’m reminded what an awesome thing it is to be with our family to worship our Jesus...United with this nation...every tribe and tongue and nation.

Chris— we were so greatly accepted and greeted at church this morning. It’s like we have been here all our life. And bowing our knees this morning was overwhelming—God loves me, if He didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

Stephen— The picture of staying “oiled and filled” was powerful for me. To keep our lamp burning, we have to stay in step with God and His word.

Joe— My joy is Alan getting the lights in the bathroom working. :) As we serve people we have the chance to see the face of Jesus in each person while at the same time we have the chance to be His hands and feet to others.

John— it’s awesome to see our team bond in less than 48 hours. All the prep that goes in to getting here is like little bricks that come together to build a house. Connecting with the mission and with each other are what it’s about. For some of us our lives are about to change and it’s exciting. The trajectory of your life will change because you’re here.

Danielle— Being here is like being home. It doesn’t seem like I’m a foreigner at all. It’s like I’ve been here before.

Karla—this team is united in joy already. Laughter and unity prevail! Even with a large team with even larger personalities, we are preferring each other and it’s beautiful.  

 

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We’ve arrived!

After our 12 hour flight journey, we have arrived in Cape Town! All of our luggage arrived!!! Everyone is in good spirits! And we are heading to bed :)

 

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Amsterdam Pt2

Short update from the longest layover ever— 

We had a great day wandering around the city and doing our best to stay awake and switch our bodies to this time zone. :) Eating Dutch foods, walking in the cold rain, and avoiding getting hit by bikes — that was the MO for the day. (Side note: there are thousands of bikes in this city. Thousands! A few of us were up close and personal with some of them as we avoided near misses of being run over by speedy Dutch drivers!) 

We saw God’s favor as we obtained tickets to tour the Anne Frank Haus after being told it was sold out. We were so excited to experience this piece of history. What a humbling and sobering tour.  

We have an EARLY start tomorrow. Our flight for Cape Town leaves mid morning and it will take about 12 hours!  

Thanks for praying for us. We sense the nearness of Jesus. 

xxx

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Anne Frank Haus  

Anne Frank Haus  

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the most crowded shuttle bus thus far  

the most crowded shuttle bus thus far  

Kayla had to sit on the luggage rack

Kayla had to sit on the luggage rack

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Squishy squishy

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Safely to Amsterdam!

Our flight was uneventful! Probably the warmest international flight any of us have even flown...but only a couple nausea issues. Teehee.  

We are through customs, done with the hotel shuttle and waiting to check in to our home for the night. A good nights sleep is on the docket before a very early airport arrival tomorrow morning to get on to South Africa.  

We love you all! 

 

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And...we’re off!!

This team is rip roarin’ ready to go!!!

Family and friends gathered to love on us and pray. It was a special time. We all felt the support!

Next stop? Amsterdam for a 22 hour layover! Yep. You read that right. 22 hours! :)

We will keep you posted.

Sweet time of prayer.  

Sweet time of prayer.  

John Boudreaux, Karla Garrard, Kayla Prater, Dena Cason  

John Boudreaux, Karla Garrard, Kayla Prater, Dena Cason

 

Stephen Younker, Dani Younker, Mandy Lee, CJ Smith  

Stephen Younker, Dani Younker, Mandy Lee, CJ Smith

 

Chris Suell, Joe Tice, Katrina Flynn, Amy Farina    

Chris Suell, Joe Tice, Katrina Flynn, Amy Farina  

 

Alan Gay, Irene Niven, amazing cookie from a faithful friend to the team, Chastity Barton   

Alan Gay, Irene Niven, amazing cookie from a faithful friend to the team, Chastity Barton   

Love y’all!  

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Prayed up and ready!

We leave this week for South Africa...and we can hardly wait! Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we make final preparations. 

We were all very grateful to have our church pastors and elders pray for us last evening at our monthly corporate prayer meeting.   

We were all very grateful to have our church pastors and elders pray for us last evening at our monthly corporate prayer meeting.   

Next time you hear from us we will be on our way! 

 :)

 

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With Great Anticipation...

This team has been preparing for almost 9 months and in just 8 days, they will be heading to South Africa to minister with our friends from the Thembalitsha Foundation https://www.hope.org.za/.  The team will specifically be working with the Village of Hope, Thembacare Grabouw, and the Educare Centers (Preschools).  Keep up with the team here Oct. 19th-30th as they share stories of their time in the beautiful nation of South Africa. 

Please pray for our team as they make final preparations for departure on Oct. 19th.

Front Row LtoR: Chastity Barton, Danielle Younker, Kayla Prater, Dena Cason, Karla Garrard, Katrina Flynn, Amy Farina, Joe Tice Back Row LtoR:  Alan Gay, CJ Smith, Irene Niven, Mandy Lee, Stephen Younker, Chris Suell, John Boudreaux

Front Row LtoR: Chastity Barton, Danielle Younker, Kayla Prater, Dena Cason, Karla Garrard, Katrina Flynn, Amy Farina, Joe Tice
Back Row LtoR:  Alan Gay, CJ Smith, Irene Niven, Mandy Lee, Stephen Younker, Chris Suell, John Boudreaux

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