The team has arrived back after their brief visit to their third community. Can you believe they have been to THREE communities already and that the Journey in Africa is almost halfway through?! Time truly does fly, and we are thankful for every second of it. Please pray for the team as the settle into some intentional rest and reflection time. It is during this time that we welcome the brokenness of flesh and claim the victory of the work of the Spirit. We will hear more from the team over the next week but for now, here are some more thoughts from the interns.
KADIE HAASE | I have to start this by saying that God is so good, and I am so thankful to be back in Africa. My first three weeks can be summed up by a phrase commonly used by my journey family, “Jesus is still Jesus”. These past three weeks have been filled with me learning a lot about myself, and a whole lot more about God, and His faithfulness in my life. My journey began with a sprained ankle at Camp Highland. The Lord quickly taught me that there’s nothing I can do on my own. He continued to teach me this as I inched myself up a thirty foot pole on the high ropes course (Don’t worry Mom, I was harnessed in). While making my way up the pamper pole, my team encouraged me with the Truth that, even when things are difficult, and out of our comfort zone, The Lord is still near. While in the classrooms this week, I found myself losing patience at times. However, in the back of my mind the Lord continued to remind me, Jesus is still Jesus. In this simple statement, I have found so much Truth. Constantly in my life I run into speed bumps, and my plans get changed. The beauty of this is that the Lord is faithful and sovereign in every situation. I am so thankful for the time that I’ve gotten to spend with my journey family, and even more thankful to have the opportunity to spend two months in this beautiful country.
ERIKA LOVINGOOD | Wow. I am so blessed. This whole trip has been a whirlwind of emotions and just the sense of being overwhelmed even from the beginning. God orchestrated my being apart of this “Journey” before time began. Ephesians 1:5 says that He chose me before the foundation of the world. I can’t even wrap my mind around that. God began revealing big things to me even as we began this summer at Camp Highland. I learned that when all is stripped away, God remains, even in all the beauty and nature we see around us. I feel like I gained so many new brothers and sisters that I will have deep, meaningful relationships with for many years to come.
Mom and Dad, just to ease your minds, flying and traveling alone was no where near as scary as I had thought it would be and it was a great learning experience. It was strange to me that as I was flying I was not only thinking and praying for you at home but for my team. Feeling separated from them for the first time proved to me that God had ordained this team and that we had become each other’s family.
It feels so wonderful to be back in Africa. God placed a fire in my heart for the people of East Africa many years ago and I love being here and resting in the truth that God has purposed that I am to be here in this place this summer.
In our first trip to the communities I was able to experience God in a new way. God really began to wrestle me for control of anxiety that has held a part of my captive since I was a little girl. And there was a time last week when we were in a school of about 1.200 children and I was standing in the school yard with about eight children hanging on each arm asking me my name and I just looked up and took a deep breath and began to love those children with God’s love. Everything inside of me wanted to run away because that is what I have always done but I know that battle is already won and Jesus has conquered all and because of that I can die to my flesh and live and walk in the grace and love of Christ in me. (Psalm 94:18-19)
One thing that has been a theme for me and keeps coming up even as I read Oswald each day is that it is God who engineers our circumstances. He is intimate and intentional with each one of us. It continues to amaze me that we, as a team of about 30, can be in the same place doing the same task and all walk away with something different. I am so excited that God is here and walking with me individually. He is also walking with the 252 team in each community, with the children here that I now know by name, with the pastors of the churches we have visited and with you at home in America. We all have just as much God today as we do when we are in the valley or on the mountain.
Friends and family at home (I can’t name you by name because I only have so much room and there are so many of you) but please know that I am thinking of you and praying for you daily. Thank you for supporting me and for believing that God has bigger plans for me than I have for myself. I know God is the protector and we will see each other soon. I miss you so much and I can’t wait to see the mountains “just like I like them.” Here are some verses I want to leave you with. Join with me in reading these each day and resting in God’s lap. Psalm 56, 113, 139, Romans 15, Ephesians 4:1-6. One last thing, please know that our God is not in the business of making bad people good or good people better, but He is in the business of making dead people alive! And today I know that I am fully alive in Christ Jesus.
JAKEB STUNTZ | It has truly been so great being back in Africa for my third time, and for 8 weeks?! With as much as God showed me before, it has almost been overwhelming the amount God is showing me in this season of my life spent here.
The first trip to Ngaamba revealed to me that God was going to use the relationships I built to shape what He needed me to understand or take away from this summer. As we began Rejoice Project in the schools, this proved difficult because we visited 4 or 5 different schools and only spent a matter of hours there. God has taught me how to be intentional with this time and to allow myself to give complete control to Him in the times He needs to speak through me. This lesson took shape as we went into the second community because I was apart of a team that was going to teach Rejoice Project in a school of 1000+ children. I’ve never had to trust God in the community around me or God in me so much as then; and those moments have transformed who I am.
Whether it be teaching the Word of God in a barn filled with hay to 30-40 African brothers and sisters, building relationships with the leaders of 410 Bridge in each community, seeing the passion in the eyes of the established and up-and-coming 252 Teams, being chased by an entire school only to sit down and ask them if they know who Jesus is, or simply sitting in the middle of Africa with a cup of Chai Tea gazing at the silhouetted mountains and crystal clear stars... God is so present in what we are doing here. Not only through what He is teaching me but through what He is doing through this divinely hand-picked team.
I miss my family (in Singapore and Texas) as well as my friends at Texas Tech and all over the world, but I love how God is teaching me that He has me in Africa for a purpose... and through that purpose to glorify the name of Jesus Christ. I can’t wait to see what the next 5 or so weeks have in store if the first 30 days of this trip have been this solid! ~ Hebrews 12:1-2 ~