Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Restoring Hope - The journey home home, physically and spiritually.

It is easy to get lost in the immediate needs of our daily lives.  We forget the most important thing to do is to remain in communion with our Lord Jesus Christ and with each other.  Choosing to step out of our comfort zones to fly across the world and meet the people Victory is reaching through our global missions has brought home the truth of God's plan.  God's work on earth is accomplished  only through His followers.  We are forever blessed by the people we have come to love in South Africa. 

   "For I know the plans I have for you." declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give  you a hope and a future. " Jeremiah 29:11

The biggest surprise.... we received more hope than we gave when we saw with our own eyes, just how much God's love has accomplished in Dihatswane.   

The thing that touched us the most... the hope the villagers had by knowing we cared.  

The Journey Home 

Our final days in South Africa are days of travel and time to process our last week.   Just about half way between Dihatshwane and Johannesburg, we stopped at, Kwa Maritane, a resort that is located in the middle of a game preserve.  

 Can you see the lion??

The animals that are preyed upon, often stay close together. We saw zebra, giraffe and warthogs in one area.

The game drive was an experience not to be missed.  The opportunity to see these animals in the wild reminds us just how powerful and creative our Lord is!  

At the end of our drive we had a BBQ South African style.  The resort employees people from villages.  Tourism is a large part of the local economy.

The entertainment was native dance performed by local young people.   

Our final farewell to Lerato, our driver.  Lerato is the driver for all mission trips.  He is part of the family.  Lerato is expecting twins this week. 

Lerato we want to hear when the twins are born!

The final portion of our trip home.  The long airplane ride home.   Looking at this flight status board brings home just how far we are from home. 

Well we must be family now.  How else could we put pillows on our heads ant take pictures in a public place?  This time spent together has created a bond of trust and hope.  

Physically we have arrived home.  Emotionally and spiritually, we will be traveling for days and weeks to come.  We are excited to see where the Lord will take each of us from here.  

We prayed for expanded territories.  This trip was just an preparation for the plans the Lord has for us, the territories are yet to come.

The more love is shared, the more it grows.
Thank You Lord for this opportunity to share your love.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

67 Minutes of Service

Our final day in Dihatshwane  

We began our day with 67 minutes of service in honor of Nelson Mandella.  The 67 minutes honor the number of years Mandella had served South Africa the year he turned 90 years old.

First, we picked up trash around the church area.  This area also serves as a playground for the children. The children were there to meet us upon our arrival.  With smiling faces surrounding us, this felt more like play than work.  

The children jumped right in to help carry the trash.  They also made sure to take care of us.

The Victory mission team  also served by clearing the grass near the church in the village of Dihatshwane.  In Arizona we would call working with flat shovels and small pitch forks hard labor.  In Dihatshwane they call it everyday work.

Many of the villagers came to help us and to serve their community.. 
 We do have to admit they cleared the grass much more quickly than we did!!

After 30 minutes of shoveling grass in the rocky terrain, we began to understand the need for breaks to supervise the work.  

Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us service is love.  It is the surest way to build lasting 
friendship  and community.  We are all inspired to come home and serve those who cross our paths. 

We had the honor of serving the children their food for the day.  This too, is the
bread and wine of communion.

The extra slices of bread were the hit.  The adults had more fun than the children. Perhps Rick, Don and Nelly were the children!

During lunch  lessons were given to Remedial Rick,
 we are cheering his accomplishment of learning to add 2 + 2.....  :0)

During VBS the children were taught the Story of Easter by Pastor Kassebaum,
 translated by PaPa Joe

The children created artwork to remind them of the love of Jesus and our love.  One side had a picture of the child and the other had a picture of the Victory Mission Team.

The "Pick Jesus" bags were the hit.  A prized treasure to be sure.

The Mommas came out to play with us too.  

The village children who were not a part of VBS this time, entertained us with traditional dances.   Pastor Joe, Pastor Mpho,  Pastor Uncle "D" and Pastor Kassebaum each shared a farewell.   We are sorry we can't upload the videos.  We will share them as soon as we get home.

Rejoice is 12 years old.  She was the song leader of the dance group.  

The remainder of the day was spent just sharing.  Below is Doll, the girl who sat in Sue Privett's lap last time.  She loves to wear hats.  The panda hat she is wearing was sent 
by Eileen Hernandez's daughter, Dominique.  

Principal Octavia drove out just to say good by.  She promised to wear her 
crown the first day of school.  She is the Queen of our hearts!

Good bye to the Orchard Africa staff from left to right
Papa Joe, Uncle "D", Cindy Nelson, Pastor Victor

Our Good byes....

Name tags were exchanged to pray over.

 Precious was crowned princess for the day.  She is an inspiration for the children.  She has completed secondary school and is working at a day care until she can afford to go to college.

The children have become very good at taking the pictures.  

There was seldom a moment there was not a little boy in Remedial Rick's lap or arms.

Farewell from Dihatswane....