Friday, April 1, 2011


This represents the division amongst Cape Town. The poor and the wealthy. They are located within less than an hour of each other. Many times, literally, just across the street from one another.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A view of Manenberg

This is just a small glimpse of what Manenberg looks like.

These are houses that families live in. Many of them are built in the front and back yards of other famiy members. These houses may have up to 10 people living in them at one time.

As you walk the streets, you see many many children running around with no clothes or shoes on.

Their entertainment is all made up themselves. There are very few places for children to actually play safely. Actually, there are NO places for safe playing, due to the high rate of gang violence in Manenberg. At any point, gun fire may open up. Stats show that a very high number of deaths due to gang violence are those who are innocent young children, just caught in the middle.

God heals the broken hearted!

I realize it has been a little since I have blogged and I know some of you are probably going nuts because of that. I do apologize, but remember, I am in South Africa! AHH! Yes, it’s true I live in Africa! J Internet is a very privileged part of life here for many, including myself! J God has been doing amazing things though! That is an understatement actually. God is showing up in BIG ways! I have been recently challenged by a very close friend that we as Christians should be expected God to do BIG things and when we do that, we will not be surprised when He does show up; instead we will rejoice knowing that He was planning it the whole time! Let’s expect BIG things from the Creator of the universe, who loves us with a Father’s love.

Just to give you an idea of some of the things God is doing here in South Africa. I have been working with a girl who is recovering from a 7-8 year crystal meth addiction, was physically abused as a child by her father, quit school at grade 6, has been affiliated with gangs and many other struggles. Needless to say, this beautiful daughter created by God for a purpose has been through hell in her 20 years of living. Yes, some of the choices have been her responsibility but Satan has had a party with her up until now. She has recently surrendered her life to Christ and is being transformed! She has been clean now for about 3 months. At the time of our first meeting, there was no purpose in mind, there was no responsibilities that she was taking for herself, she was very selfish but God is breaking down those walls in her life. This past week, I have seen signs of the kingdom in this girl’s life! First of all, she and I have an incredible friendship building! She is very trusting with me. She is telling me stories now of her serving others around her. She is taking responsibility for things at home, like laundry and other things around the house. These are small things, but I am learning that they are huge and BIG God things! It is only through God’s grace that she is able to come out of the shell that she has been in for so long. It is because He loves unconditionally, no matter what we have done or will do. He and only HE can bind up the wounds and bring redemption to lives of devastation and hopelessness. Continue to pray for true redemption and restoration in this beautiful life.

So as good as the above situation is, God is doing SOO much in MY life! I haven’t really looked at my time here in South Africa as big of a learning curve for myself as it has been. I am seeing more and more reasons of why God brought me to South Africa for this point. I think one of the biggest reasons is yet to be completely unfolded. The healing process of my heart is beginning. I had the opportunity to share my testimony with about 25 colleagues this morning at the Warehouse. This is a group of people who genuinely care about those they work with and really love unconditionally. During my time of sharing I feel that God began for sure the healing process of my heart that He has been wanting to. I have some wounds and scars from my past and my upbringing that are not easy to deal with at times. God is teaching me how to love those who have never loved me. That’s not easy and I have to be honest that I haven’t always been up to letting him to that in my heart. Over the past two weeks, God has really began that process in my heart! It has been hard to open up and let God really pry and chisel away at the stones in my heart but I am seeing such peace and restoration in the moments that I allow that from Him. This morning was one of those moments. I feel while I was sharing parts of my story, God was healing my broken heart. I am so thankful for that truth and God’s faithfulness in His word in Ps 147:3- “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God is binding up my wounds and healing my broken heart. I think for the first time in my life, I am actually allowing myself to see the brokenness in my heart, which allows God to heal it. Until I realize it is there, I don’t realize the need to be healed. I am seeing that now, through sharing my story this morning. I was brought to tears as I was sharing and moved in my heart that I indeed was broken over the things that I have been through. For so many years, I have put them aside. I have “claimed” that I dealt with them. Really, I have just hardened my heart and ignored the fact that it hurt. The moment that I allowed myself to be vulnerable, God stepped in! WHOA!! How great is His love and comfort! So, I say all of this to you for this reason. Thank you for your prayers in the work that I am doing with the girls in Manenberg but I also ask that you would pray for me specifically. Pray that I would continue to be open to God’s healing power and love! Pray that I would not stop it but instead allow God to fully heal the broken pieces of my heart!

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen!”  

May GOD be glorified in YOU and in ME today! Expect BIG from God today!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What do you have in your hands now that God can use??

Satan has been trying to get to me believe his lies about not having anything to offer the people that I am working with here in Manenberg. It’s not easy to fight them off but God reminded me of some good stuff this morning at church.

If you think about the poverty and injustice in the world today, the church will ALWAYS be the “little boy with two small fish in front of a huge crowd.” It is a HUGE problem all across our world, even possibly next door to us. If we could have solved all the poverty and issues in our world, don’t you think it would have already been fixed? There is enough money and resources in the world today that could have been compiled together but it would not do anything but harm and produce dependency.

So…What is it going to take to alleviate the things going on in our world today? Drugs, gangs, violence, prostitution, poverty, unemployment, education, etc. When we start to look at all of the issues and the enormity of it, we can develop the attitude that “we can’t do anything to fix it.” We can just throw our hands up and ignore that they are real issues, which a lot of people do, or we can respond differently.

We can look at the issue and look at what we have and go from there. Listen to what John says in John 6, when one individual saw what he had and went from there. This is a very familiar story to us but read it, thinking about the question, What did the boy have?
     “ After this Jesus went away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias.  And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, “Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him,  “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?”  Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number.  Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted.  And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”  So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten.  When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!” John 6:1-14

So think about this story. 5000+ people are hungry, including Philip who has doubted that anything could be done. The only food that was available was 2 small fish and 5 loaves. You have probably 5000 families waiting to find food… This is enough food for maybe 2 families to share. This little boy could have taken the food and eaten it himself but instead, he gave what he had and let God do the rest! So often in our lives, including myself, we see that we only have very little so we just walk away thinking we can do nothing. I wonder what would happen if we would give that “little” to God. What would he do? This story is only mentioned in John’s gospel. It is told as a sign that God can do anything he wants to if we allow him. God wants to do miracles but I think a lot of times we don’t allow him to show up in our lives because we think we have to prepare first. Human effort gets us nowhere when it comes to things like this.

My prayer for you and for myself is that we would give the little and watch God do BIG things with it!! May we become confident in the power of God! Basically, let’s live a life that if God doesn’t show up and do something; we will look like a fool!!

I have been blown away in my time with some of the girls here in Manenberg when I have looked at the picture through the lens of God’s power rather than my own strength! I am seeing walls being broken down, hearts being healed of traumatic events in these girls lives, confidence being built, reconciliation being made. It’s such a beautiful picture, watching God put back together broken and torn hearts! J I am soo thankful that God decides to use me in the process!  

Continue to pray for these girls! May they see the true love of the Father! May they see the restoration and redemption that only He can bring and chase after it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just a small glimpse of reality.

This is a story that I found that was written by a former drug addict while in prison. This gives you a glimpset of what the people we are working with are facing among their communities. This drug, "TIK" is crystal meth. All the girls that we are working with either have previously been addicted or currently addicted. As tough as this is to hear, this is only ONE issue that they are facing. Here is a piece of reality.  TIK is the most common drug used in Manenberg.

My Name: "Is TIK "

I destroy homes, I tear families apart,
Take your children, and that's just the start.
I'm more costly than diamonds, more precious than gold,
The sorrow I bring is a sight to behold.

If you need me, remember! I'm easily found,
I live all around you - in schools and in town.
I live with the rich; I live with the poor,
I live down the street, and maybe next door.

I'm made in a lab, but not like you think,
I can be made under the kitchen sink.
In your child's closet, and even in the woods,
If this scares you to death, well it certainly should.

I have many names, but there's one you know best,
I'm sure you've heard of me, my name is crystal meth.
My power is awesome; try me you'll see,
But if you do, you may never break free.

Just try me once and I might let you go,
But try me twice, and I'll own your soul.
When I possess you, you'll steal and you'll lie,
You do what you have to -- just to get high.

The crimes you'll commit for my narcotic charms
Will be worth the pleasure you'll feel in your arms, (your lungs, and your nose).
You'll lie to your mother; you'll steal from your dad,
When you see their tears, you should feel sad.

But you'll forget your morals and how you were raised,
I'll be your conscience, I'll teach you my ways.
I take kids from parents, and parents from kids,
I turn people from God, and separate friends.

I'll take everything from you, your looks and your pride,
I'll be with you always -- right by your side.
You'll give up everything - your family, your home,
Your friends, your money, and then you'll be alone.

I'll take and take, till you have nothing more to give,
When I'm finished with you, you'll be lucky to live.
If you try me be warned - this is no game,
If given the chance, I'll drive you insane.

I'll ravish your body, I'll control your mind,
I'll own you completely, your soul will be mine.
The nightmares I'll give you while lying in bed,
The voices you'll hear, from inside your head.

The sweats, the shakes, the visions you'll see,
I want you to know, these are all gifts from me.
But then it's too late, and you'll know in your heart,
That you are mine, and we shall not part.

You'll regret that you tried me, they always do,
But you came to me, not I to you.
You knew this would happen, many times you were told,
But you challenged my power, and chose to be bold.

You could have said no, and just walked away,
If you could live that day over, now what would you say?
I'll be your master, you will be my slave,
I'll even go with you, when you go to your grave.

Now that you have met me, what will you do?
Will you try me or not? It's all up to you.
I can bring you more misery than words can tell,
Come take my hand, let me lead you to hell.

As difficult as this is to read, we proclaim that God the Father has the power to completely transform the lives who are in the midst of the evil thing. We are seeing it happen right in front of us. Continue to pray that God would break the chains of bondage and provide a glimpse of His glory to this community and these individuals.

"Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen." - Eph 3:20-21

Friday, February 18, 2011

You know you are in Cape Town when...

1. Someone whistling doesn't make you turn and look.
2. Crossing the street without getting hit makes you happy!
3. Another car pulls out in front of you doesn't make you mad.
4. Walking 20-25 minutes to get to church is actually not too bad.
5. You climb mountains to see beautiful ocean scenary on a regular basis.
6. You have to make sure you ask for "tap" waTer or you will get a bottle of sparkling water.
7. Fish that are about 2-3 feet long are sold out of the back of a pick up truck.
8. A person doesn't wait for someone else to turn, they just go off the road to go around them.
9. You are going to see Jackass penguins.
10. It is no longer politically correct to say "African American."

:) These are just a few of the interesting adjustments that I have made!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Swing batter batter, SWING!!

That's right! I am getting into a full swing here in Cape Town! This week at the Warehouse has been crazy! I have been here in a meeting and here in another one and then turning around and it is time to go to Manenberg or time for a session with my girls or I am writing up reports.. You name it! It's been crazy but I do have to say that it is better than just sitting here with nothing to do. God has been doing great things in Manenberg and it's so great to see! We are seeing girls desiring to change their lifestyles from drug addictions and gangs to relationships with God and better parenting. It's really cool to see because there is no other explanation but God!  My goal each week as far as my clients go will be to meet with 2 different girls once a week for about an hour. It's not a lot of time but other engagements and requirement for school take up alot of time. So most likely I will be meeting with them on Tuesday and Friday and also co-leading a girls group on Tuesday evenings. So, if you could be praying specifically for those days, it would be great!! I have begun to realize that 3 months is really a very short amount of time to be here and really be able to do anything. Therefore, God has given me a clear picture that more than anything, these girls just need to be loved and cared for. That is my plan! Pray that God would allow his love to pour out of me. These girls have never had someone just sit and listen to them talk. They have never had any consistency in their lives. They have never seen what a healthy relationship looks like. They have never had the luxury of being loved and told that they are beautiful just the way they are. Here in Manenberg, females are seen as objects. They are taken advantage of. They are expected to do whatever they are told. Even from their parents- they see no love and compassion. It is heart-breaking to know this but at the same time, how GREAT it is to know that God has given me the opportunity to show these girls that life is not supposed to be this way. That there is a God that loves them no matter what and that they have a purpose- and it's not to just sell drugs and give sex- but it is much more glorious and much more abundant! Pray for these girls! Pray for restoration and redemption in their lives. Many of them have never see love in the way that it is supposed to be. They see love and giving whatever is asked- they see love as giving themselves away- they see love as smoking drugs with their parents- they have never seen love in any other format- it is time that that chain is broken and GOD's LOVE is shown! We MUST stand up for the sake of the Kingdom and stand up against Satan and his lies! WE MUST!!! Pray that these girls feel more loved than they can even imagine! Pray that they understand the power of God's love and the abundance of it! It's never ending!! It's satisfying! I was talking to a girl the other day and she said, "Drugs are only satisfying for just a moment and then you are down in the dumps again, so you have to smoke again to get any pleasure at all."- it's just a cycle for them. Pray that God would reveal to them that His love NEVER FAILS!!!

Ok Ok! I know this post is really random and full of all kinds of stuff but there ya go! You see my heart!