New Blog.

So this blog has come to a close but I’ve decided I just cannot stop writing.. So if you’re interested in reading more of the overflow of my heart, feel free to follow: 

http://pursuingtheextraordinary.tumblr.com/

My sister Becki turned this blog into a book for me.. It was beautifully done and it made me cry… Having it as a book made this whole experience become real for me once again. Thank you, Becki, for your thoughtfulness. I love you.

Pretty much sums it up. This was my team’s theme verse. Drawn by my lovely friend Teagan.

Pretty much sums it up. This was my team’s theme verse. Drawn by my lovely friend Teagan.

The end of the beginning//closure.

So I have been home for over a week now, and I guess it is about time that I finish up this blog.

This season of my life has been beautiful.

Over the past week I had lots of time to think about this past semester, to process my memories, and to revisit my journal entries and my blog posts…

It’s fitting that my prayer at the beginning of this journey was that God would ruin me for the ordinary. He definitely did that. :)

Sometimes when I think about this past semester or when I look at pictures it feels like a dream… It seems crazy to think that all of those experiences actually happened to me…and that God allowed my life to be so deeply impacted. 

Africa has had a special place in my heart for years, but after this trip I feel an even greater call… Like perhaps, He wants me there.  I cannot say for sure, but I will say that I have definitely been praying more about where God wants me to end up… 

Either way, I am prayerfully considering visiting South Africa next year sometime… To serve with Ithemba, maybe volunteer in the township of Oceanview, and to see my South African ‘family’. Please keep those plans in prayer and I will update as soon as God clarifies His plans for me. :)

He is FAITHFUL.  His faithfulness carried me when I was weak and discouraged, and His promises gave me hope and joy to sustain me.  

God is so good. 

I was blessed by:

-the people on my team… thank you to my SA Fall 2011 family. <3

-the staff.. a HUGE thanks to all those connected to my trip in one way or another.. you all have impacted my life.

-those at iThemba.. the kids, the staff, the teachers, the youth, and the families.  I love and miss you all so much.

-my NCF family.  God is so big in each of your lives.. Thanks for being a part of mine <3

-my homestay family and all the people I met in Oceanview… You inspire me.

-all of those back home who prayed me through this adventure. THANK YOU <3

I am so undeserving of this beautiful life God has called me to lead.  I know my life will never be the same because of everything I experienced this semester… :)  

Thank you, God, for changing me, shaping me, challenging me, and growing me.  You remain the same no matter where I am… Africa or America.  You are here.  That is all I need. 

:)

God time.

Earlier today I was reading Romans, and I found myself convicted and excited about a particular passage.

Many of you are probably familiar with the verse: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  …but the verses that follow that scripture GIVE ME THE CHILLS.

They say: 

 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?

And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?

And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 

And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?

As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

We, as believers, are sent by God through scripture to share His message of hope with the world.  That blows my mind.

Friends, family, dear ones: We have an obligation as followers of Christ to be vessels of God’s love - His promises - to a broken and desperate world.  We are meant to reach out (but not necessarily across the world - perhaps just to our own families or our neighborhoods).

GO!

I desire to live my life in such a way that when I get to Heaven, God will look at me and say: “Beloved, you have beautiful feet.

Meet my Host Family! :)

I realized that I had not yet posted pictures of my host family… So here they are!

This is my roommate, Teagan, and my host brother Cole.  He’s a crazy, joyful 4-yr-old.

This is my host dad, Tyrone. He is an awesome man of God.

This is my host parents, Daisy & Tyrone.  They are so incredible.

My whole family! (L—>R: Daisy, me, Cole, Jerrome, Tyrone, Ashley [my 12-yr-old host brother], Wendy, Nathan, & Teagan)

Silly photobooth pictures… : (Colie, Wendy, Nathan, Jerrome, Ashley, Teagan, and Angie [my host cousin])

They made this place ‘home’ for me.  The other day, Teagan and I went back to Oceanview to visit our family and share one last dinner with them.. When we walked down the road towards their house they walked out to the road and we ran to each other and embraced like long lost friends…. I kinda felt like I was in a movie… Needless to say, they have impacted my life and my heart and I will forever remember them.

I love them!

Table Mountain!

Yesterday I hiked up Table Mountain (one of the 7 natural wonders of the world) !!!!

It was the hardest hike I’ve ever done, but it was absolutely beautiful and so worth it!

The WHOLE hike (1.5 hours) was stairs:

This was taken 1/4 of the way up… it was a beautiful hike!

I saw a dandelion on the path and it made my heart happy :) 

These are the amazing people I hiked with! Tommy and Marri:

Holly and I at the summit!

God is sooo big! :)

Guardian Angels…

Okay, so God is such a Protector.  

Yesterday while Teagan and I walked back to the Bed & Breakfast from the Bible Institute where we are studying we were followed and approached by a man… the walk generally takes us about 20 minutes, and we were still about 15 minutes away from “home”, and so both of us were incredibly uneasy.  Teagan and I both prayed “God, protect us.”  The man began yelling and trying to get our attention, and eventually caught up with us.  Beside me, Teagan remained silent, and I tried to avoid conversation with him… He was trying to ask me questions and Teagan told me later that he looked as though he was going to reach out and grab me, but I remained quiet and kept repeating “I don’t know…”  Eventually, he asked us “You don’t speak English, do you?” and Teagan and I remained silent… He kept pace with us for about a minute, and as my mind raced trying to figure out what to do, 2 of the boys from my team jogged towards us.  They saw our frightened expressions and protectively surrounded us, sending the man on his way… As they walked us back to the B&B we apologized to the boys for cutting their run short, and they told us that they had only run because they were coming to find us.  Wow.  What divine timing, that they would be guided by the Holy Spirit to come to find us just in time to be there when we needed them.  

I am so grateful to have such a protective group of ‘brothers’ on this trip with me.  And beyond all that, I am overwhelmingly grateful to a God who keeps watch over my every moment.  He is so good.

Despite the good ending to this story, there have been some bummers so far here…and I would love your prayers for protection and safety for my team (Momma, don’t freak out).  Yesterday, just a short time before my adventure, a couple of my team members were mugged at gunpoint, having their wallets and watches stolen.  Praise God none of them were physically injured.  And last week, two of the boys on my team had their laptops stolen… This is not a very safe city, but God has been so faithful to keep us safe…  Please pray for continued protection.  I haven’t wanted to post any of this because I don’t want to worry my family, but after yesterday I just had to acknowledge the power of God and the way He intervened.  

Thanks for your prayers!

Btw, I leave Africa a week from yesterday! Bittersweet.  One. Week. <3

The Cape!

I have been loving life recently… God has renewed my spirit and my joy and I feel so full.  (Thank you all for the prayers.)  

Yesterday I went to the Cape of Good Hope and to Cape Point… It was absolutely gorgeous.

Anyway, I don’t have much time but I just wanted to show a few pictures from yesterday… I hope to update all about the past week at some point soon, but until then, enjoy these pictures! 

These are my current roomies: Teagan, Estephanie, and Lindsay.  They are beautiful women of God:

This is Mer.  She has spoken so much life into me this semester… God is using her in wonderful, powerful ways, and her passion inspires me:

My great friend and old roommate, Holly:

Cape Point! (where the 2 oceans meet)    :)

We saw penguins… this one tried to bite my fingers off. He’s my friend.

God Bless! 

So lately…

Life has been kinda strange.

I have days where I am so excited about life and passionate about what God is doing.. ..and then there are moments where I feel discouraged and detached.

Cape Town is a beautiful city… still a bit overwhelming for me, but beautiful all the same.

I love staying in Oceanview.  It is what the people here call a “coloured community”, and many of the families there were removed from their hometowns during Apartheid and thrust into this township to be separated from the other races.  But I love this community.  All the people seem so friendly, and as I walk around the township they are always waving and smiling at me.  We aren’t allowed to walk around by ourselves, so we take frequent walks with our host dad, Tyrone, or our host mom, Daisy.

My host parents don’t believe in cars, so we walk everywhere.  Which, by the way, has turned out to be an enormous blessing because they feed us SO MUCH.  I have probably gained 5 pounds this week… but it’s delicious. :)  It has been great to be in a family setting.. surrounded by the sounds, smells, and conversations of home.

We have gone to an aquarium, toured through a township, traveled all through the waterfront here, and we went to Robben Island.

Here’s a few pictures from Robben Island:

It is SOOO WINDY.

Beautiful. :)

Anyway, there is so much more but I’m out of time… Thank you for praying me through this time. I love you all.