Saturday, November 14, 2009

South Africa & Botswana!

Thloki and I

Wow, what a time we've had the past couple weeks! A group of us here in Zambia just recently returned from one week in South Africa and Botswana! It was such an awesome time with the body in South Africa! We arrived last Thursday in SA and had an awesome first meeting in a small Lutheran Theological Seminary about Eph 1..Praising God for His Character and Nature, Blessing Him for His Word, and Thanking Him for His Eternal Purpose. You could just see the burdens just flying off was a great way to start the conference. Then, of course, we went to have a late night rap at the local McDonalds, and to P.Chuck Heidenreich's surprise he had a little visitor in his french fries! Ha! Just as he was grabbing the next fry he noticed that it wasn't a french fry at all but it was a cockroach! So, after we got ourselves together from laughing so hard, he marched up to the counter and got us all some free (and cockroach free) french fries!

So, the next couple days we had our services in a place called "Nelmopelius" (I have a feeling that's not the right spelling), which is a government funded compound where we have one of our churches. So, without a building we held our services under a tent, but the presence of God was very powerful everytime we gathered together. Some of the messages P.Scibelli spoke were being in the hand of God, speaking of Joseph's life; Jeremiah 15:16 "I found your word and I did eat it, and it became unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart." And then the rest of the conference P.Scibelli stayed on the theme of Perfect Love. Then after our time in South Africa we took a five hour bus ride into Botswana where P.Scibelli was in "rare" form! Somehow, someone had given him a plastic trumpet which became a beating tool to poor Dion who was driving the van. haha it was great cause everytime P. Scibelli thought he was falling asleep he would blow the trumpet in his ear and loud as he could, and he would just freak out! (I guess we had to do something to keep ourselves amused:)

Anyway, the next day we went to this small village, and as we walked through the streets and talked to the people living there, you quickly saw that though they were very open to the gospel, and though some knew and agreed with what we shared, they had given up on a life that was bigger than the circumstances that surrounded them. One lady explained to me that half of the population in Botswana are HIV positive, and they have had church groups come in and out of their village but no one has stayed, and they have seen no changes in their village. After soulwinning in the morning we came again at night before the meeting to invite people to come, and by God's grace 27 people came and 12 accepted Christ as their Savior! Their is a real desire in the leadership here in Zambia to start a church there in keep that in your prayers! Talking on Grace Hour while walking the streets of Nelmopolius

P.Scibelli with the infamous trumpet
One message that was spoken during our time in South Africa was from Isa 26:3 "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." P.Scibelli explained that it is God who is responsible to keep us, and even the keeping of our minds on God is a work of His grace. I have been thinking a lot about that...Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to arrive a certain place in our lives, and we feel that if we could only get ourselves there, God could give us the things He has promised. We find ourselves striving to produce something that we are not able to produce. We want to trust God, be content, be free of certain things, but we find a great abyss standing between us and the things we desire for our lives. All of this has served to bring me to a place where I find that it is God's grace that carries me from the place we are, to the place He desires us to be. I was thinking about contentment a lot and God is showing me that as we are available to God's grace, that very grace is what carries us to the place of contentment, which is simply experiencing our position of being complete in Christ. So, as we find ourselves completely unable in any area, let us also see that God's grace carries us to the place of freedom and change. Praise God that we don't ever have to strive or try and produce something we cannot...we simply lay ourselves before the all sufficient grace of God and that very grace and love is what becomes the bridge and the vehicle to carry us to the other side.

I love you all and you are in my thoughts and prayers!


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