We went into this trip realizing that our plans were going to change at some point. Today just happened to be that point. We were initially planning on splitting up for the first part of the day, with the guys working at Safari’s house, and the girls doing some deep cleaning at the baby home. However, rain last night and this morning caused us to all head over to the baby home. It was a long day of hard work. From deep cleaning to digging holes, from caring for babies to painting; there was a lot to do. By God’s grace, we accomplished a lot physically, but much more importantly, we were able to encourage and (hopefully) be a blessing to the believers here in South Africa. We were invited for dinner by the folks from Silver Street (an apartment building where multiple church families happen to live). The hospitality that we have been shown here is such a humbling blessing. Once again, thank you so much for your prayers over this trip, God has been so so good to us.
We got to “do stuff” today! From a human perspective, it would be easy to take pride in today. “Look at these great walls we painted!” “Look at how wonderful we are for taking care of orphans in a third-world country!” “Look at how many projects we’re doing!” On and on and on, it is so easy to fall prey to the mentality that what we “do” is king. If we hold enough babies, preach the gospel enough times, complete enough projects; we’ve made it!
We couldn’t be father from reality. Yes, projects are great. Yes, sharing love is an amazing blessing. Yes, evangelism pleases the Father.
This trip is not judged by how many things we do. This trip is not a success or a failure based on if we reach a certain number of salvations, or build a certain number of car ports. No, this trip is about seeking and loving Christ and letting everything else flow out of that love. There are some activities that we might participate in that may seem “productive”, but that’s not why we’re here. We want to make a difference, of course! If there is any opportunity to be helpful, we are ready, willing, and excited to do so!
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
(1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)
We aren’t here just to “do” things. We are here to be little Christ’s who do everything and anything they can for the sake of Jesus and the gospel. We want to encourage the missionaries that are working here day after day, month after month, and year after year. We know that the differences that we can make in a week are minuscule in comparison to the impact that the long-termers have. And that’s not just okay, that’s amazing. God has given this generation of His church the glorious opportunity to send missionaries out–and to stay connected with them.
If there’s one thing that we want to come home with, it’s a lasting friendship with the missionaries and the other believers that are here. There is such an amazing body of believers that serve here in Pretoria, specifically at Living Hope Church and 1 Hope Ministries. However, the missionaries here are all in need of support from back home. One of the blessings of the time that we live in is that people thousands of miles away are simply a few keystrokes away through the use of email, texting, and social media. If any of the ministries or families we’ve mentioned have intrigued you and you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to ask!
All that being said, we are still grateful that God allowed us to serve in a practical and visible way today. Here are some pictures that give a small snapshot into what we did.
We are so grateful that we are here. We have already experienced such amazing things and trust that there is much more to come. Thank you for sending us and giving us this opportunity. We do not take it lightly. Please keep praying for us, especially that we would be energized and rejuvenated to continue the work. Pray that the gospel would be magnified through us. Pray that we would glorify God in everything, not just the “big stuff.” Again, thank you for sending us and being with us through prayer and support. We are grateful!
~Team Member Shoutout~
Tom Licata has been such an example of humility and graciousness throughout our trip. We are so blessed to have such godly examples on our team. Tom is an elder at our church, a fantastic teacher of the Word of God, and a respected husband and father. Today as we were painting, there were a decent number of drips here and there which needed to be taken care of. While an elder of our church and on this team, Tom was willing to stoop down to clean up the little drips that all of us were making. Of course, he was helping to paint beyond just that, but the striking part was the way that he took the initiative, while physically and conceptually taking the lowest job that needed to be done. It was a testament to his Christ-like humility. What a blessing to have practical examples of humility all around us, and specifically in Tom.