Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Hi everyone,

Sorry it has been awhile since I wrote something. Life has somehow gotten very hectic over here and at times, I have found it very, very challenging. To fill you in a bit, and to be honest, I've been finding the adjustment to a new culture for a permanent period of time very difficult. I'm currently talking to Mthoko about everything - he has been a big comfort to me - and I've also been speaking with leaders from our church and from World Changers, the org I am working with. I'm thankful I have great friends.

But, I also have exciting news, only 3 more months to the wedding and God has been taking care of everything. Our plane tickets are taken care of for traveling to and from Canada. My bridesmaids are able to come to the wedding in South Africa. And.... Mthoko and I found our first apartment! I love it and at some point will be posting photos of it. Its a great little place near the harbour and its safe too so I can get out and walk around and take a little more ownership of my corner of South Africa than I've been able to while living in an organization base out in the boonies. I'm so excited to have a home.

Mthoko has been an amazing support through all the adjustments I've been going through. Last night he came to surprise me at the base, just to see how I was doing and make sure I was ok. The surprise was so good as I wasn't expecting to see him for awhile and actually wasn't doing too well with all the challenges lately. He truly is my best friend.

Thats just a little bit for now. I'll update you as things progress here. Thanks for supporting me and praying for me. I know I'm a funny little missionary of sorts - I'm not really connected to an organization or a mission as most people are when they come to be a missionary in another country. But I know I'm called to love people here. Lately thats been difficult so please pray for me as I make these big adjustments in adapting to this culture. I know I am called to the message of Isaiah 61: to preach Good News, to bind up the broken, to proclaim freedom, to release people from darkness... I really want to see these things come true here for the people of South Africa. I feel like I come against a lot of spiritual attack. Please pray for me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oh, & a little surprise!

We're Officially Engaged!

Challenges, Revelations & Wedding Plans...

Hey friends near and dear... some not so near. Haha. Its been awhile since I updated my blog and I've been wanting to. Actually, to tell you the truth, I've been needing to. Sometimes I really miss my friends and these past few weeks, I've been finding this more and more.

To tell you a little bit about whats going on here, I am still hard at work at World Changers Academy. My work load has been slightly lighter over the past two weeks as there is a break between schools. In the meantime I am working on my own studies (I am studying 2 evenings a week in a Bible School called the Breakthrough School of Ministry) and I've also continued to do work with the church I am involved in here. Before the break, I was able to visit 4 townships over one week and 2 the following week and it was great to be out and about, in the sunshine, meeting new students and speaking to facilitators, asking them how their doing and about the progress being made in the areas surrounding the schools.

Then, just last week, I got pretty sick. I came down with a pretty bad cold the week before and tried to continue working as I figured I would just get over it with time, but it seemed to just get worse and worse. I finally was just so sick of being sick that I went to the doctor and got some pretty strong meds that took care of the cold in just a few days. The doctor was great, really friendly and I had to ask myself was I had put off going to the doctor here in South Africa for so long. I guess in my mind I thought the whole procedure would be a little more difficult or intimidating because there aren't nearly enough doctors here for the amount of people. I think that this is a big problem for the hospitals and emergency rooms here but where I went, to a private clinic, it was fine. Seemed a little better than home actually.

This week I'm feeling new and refreshed and am able to approach work with a whole new mindset which I really needed. Last week with being sick, being far from home (and then, not to mention, the water was turned off in our area and we didn't have any running water from Saturday to Thursday), I was feeling the need to connect with good friends.

I wish I could describe to you what transitioning to this new life has been like. Sometimes its so hard and I actually have to ask myself, Am I really happy with the work I'm doing and where I'm at? Other times I feel so fulfilled, my heart is full and I have this breakthrough revelation that I was made for this. This is all purely from a work viewpoint though. My new Zulu family has been incredibly supportive. Even when I feel like I stand out like a sore thumb everywhere else, my Zulu family embraces me and treats me like I am one of their own. My Zulu mama worries about me when I'm sick. My fiance is my best friend and my greatest support. Just this past Friday we sat and spoke about our weeks and it was incredible to realize that he understands me better than I understand myself.

I think that I am sometimes shocked by the challenges of this journey but that I realize that this is a journey full of God. Thats truly what it has to come down to. I know that I am where God wants me to be. I remember that I have something to offer to people here and I try to make my heart open to receive and learn from people here too. Our worlds are so different but God is in both of them. I feel like most of my mission here is to tell people that God loves them. That he made them for a reason. That He has a plan and a purpose for their lives. That when God looks at them, He sees good things... its incredible to see the way that this news changes their disposition and gives people hope.

Actually, that reminds me of a story. During my first weeks of my job, going out and visiting training centres, there was this young guy, I think around my age, who was part of the work at the training centre because he had actually been caught stealing and had been referred to the program through the court. The day that I came to visit, he was overwhelmed and he left the class in the middle of a teaching. The facilitator followed him out and called me to come and speak to him. As I approached him I was surprised to see him crying because, even more than Western men, Zulu men don't cry. I asked him what was wrong and he told me that his mom was really sick and that she had stopped taking her medication and that she had stoppped eating. He said that he thought she was worried about his younger sisters who were sleeping with guys and the one, who had fallen pregnant. He said that he needed to be providing for his family because no one at home was working but that he had to go to this training centre which took up most of his time. If he stopped attending the classes, he would need to go to jail. His situation seemed hopeless but I asked him if he prayed... He said the sometimes his family did in the evenings. I told him that it sounded like all he could do was pray. I told him that God had good plans for his life. That when God saw him, he saw someone that he loved. I told him that God can and wants to do miracles in his life. That he was never alone. Slowly the young man stopped crying and he looked more and more relaxed. Then it dawned on me that if hes been praying for a way out of his situation, him attending our Life Skill courses is actually an answer to that prayer, even though he needs to attend as a consquence to his action. I told him so and we both sat there surprised.

I was surprised because I am always surprised by what the young people go through here. Theres so much crime. Theres a lot of single moms or children being raised by grandmas and neighbours. Life in South Africa is intense. Growing up in Canada, having parents that love me sometimes makes it hard to know what I can offer - I have no similar experiences. But, even though I am not worthy, God chooses to speak through me as His tool and then I'm surprised at the words that come. And I'm encouraged by the impact that they make. Its incredibly encouraging to know that I've been used by God. It actually can make my entire week or month...

Two weeks later I decided to go back and visit this young man and see how he was doing. I arrived at the classroom early, before even the teacher arrived and as I stood there waiting, I saw the young man coming to class. I ran up to him and greeted him and told him I had come just to see him. I asked him how he was doing and he smiled and said, "Christy, I am a new man."

Isn't that incredible? We continued talking, I warned him against challenges that may come his way but told him he could always overcome them, that God was always there with him... but even now, 2 weeks later, I can't get over his response. Its incredible what God can do and is doing in peoples' lives here. Stories like this make me realize that, despite the challenges that might come, I am blessed to have my job. I am blessed to live in South Africa. I am even blessed to be different, to stand out like a sore thumb, because even that can be healing to people. I think because Black people here have been told for so long that they are useless, that they are less than dogs by White people, its actually spiritual warfare to do what I do.

Man, on that note, I love my job. Haha.
Thanks again guys for those of you who have written me letters and have been praying for me. I need it over here. There are times of huge encouragement but there are times of huge challenges too. I need your support and prayers.

Before I go, I'll fill you in on some Wedding plans. Mthoko and I have a finalized date for our South African wedding - July 11th! And its only 4 months away which is incredibly soon. We would love your prayers and we approach this date. Prayers not only for provision (which is something we do stand in need of) but prayers for our communication, unity & spiritual preparation as we enter into marriage.
Thanks everyone! I love you friends.