Category - Stories

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Through the Eyes of a Child – The NEW South Africa
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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Lolla’s 5 Year Journey with The Sozo Foundation
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Our Story Is Not Our Identity
4
Wanted: Friends Who Judge
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So… How’d It Go? Sound of the Nations: Battambang, Cambodia
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Seeing from God’s Perspective
7
Immigrants, Orphans, and Jesus
8
Who Do I Value? How About Those Untrained, Ordinary, or Young?
9
I Struggle With Fear. Now What?
10
Dangerous Stories

Through the Eyes of a Child – The NEW South Africa

Photo Credit: Sydney Priester

Sydney, hailing from the state of Georgia U.S.A., reflects on her experiences in the local community. She staffs at YWAM Muizenberg, loves teaching God’s Word, and working in the community of Capricorn.

This weekend I went to a local fish and chips shop with a vibrant, spunky, nine year old girl. I am white. She is Coloured (an ethnic group in South Africa of possible mixed origins). It is hard to believe that before 1994 this outing would have been against the law. While sitting there in the beach side cafe, we saw a Xhosa family ordering lunch at the counter. She turned to me and said, “I think Xhosa people are so beautiful! They make the nicest rice and know how to cook pap out of mealies… Oh, pap will make you lekker fat!” For a minute or two, we mused about how wonderful Xhosa’s are; then she turned to me and said, “I like white people too; they are so nice.”

That comment deserves a pause.

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COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Lolla’s 5 Year Journey with The Sozo Foundation

Photo Credit: The Sozo Foundation

We are excited to share Lolla’s inspirational journey with The Sozo Foundation. We celebrate the wonderful things our non-YWAM neighbors are doing to impact the local community! The Foundation recently turned five years old, and The Bay Community Church has made it possible by giving the organization its full back up support from the beginning in 2011.

The Sozo Foundation is a non-profit organisation, based in the impoverished Cape Flats community of Vrygrond, Cape Town. The Foundation creates opportunities for holistic development through various key areas of Youth Development, Education, Health and Wellbeing, and Skills Development. Their vision is to see the community of Vrygrond living with dignity, purpose, and hope. They live by their motto: We help people to know they’re loved so they can love others. Our guest author for this post is Nolis Mhone, a Public Relations Intern at The Sozo Foundation.

Lolla has walked a journey with Sozo from its inception, and we were thrilled when she joined us permanently in April 2015. Born and raised in a small town in the Eastern Cape, Nelisiwe, or Lolla as we affectionately call her, moved to Cape Town in 2007 with her mother and sisters after tragedy struck her family. Vrygrond soon became Lolla’s new home, and quickly after arriving, Lolla began volunteering at the Vrygrond Library in the afternoons after school.

In 2011, The Sozo Foundation was started and began to use the library to provide after-school tutoring to high school learners from the community. Intrigued by the newcomers and the programme that they offered, Lolla volunteered her time and helped out wherever she could.

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Our Story Is Not Our Identity

Photo Credit: pixabay cc

This post was originally published on the Chris Lautsbaugh’s blog at http://www.nosuperheroes.com/our-story-is-not-our-identity/ and is re-posted with permission.

A few years ago, our family completed a journey to adopt and emigrate our son from South Africa. This process took over four years and included custody, name changes, countless documents, and finally culminated in him receiving his U.S. citizenship and passport.

My son’s identity has changed. He has a new name, a new country, and a new family heritage.

This does not change his story. Where he came from will always be a part of his life, but how he is known is completely different.

It is this way with all of us. Our past is a part of who we are, but we have a new identity through Christ.

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Wanted: Friends Who Judge

Photo Credit: Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash cc

This post was originally published on Lindsey Lautsbaugh’s blog at http://www.thisisloveactually.com/friends-who-judge/ and is re-posted with permission.

“I don’t want to be judged, I just want to be unconditionally loved.”
“No one wants a judge; everyone wants a friend.”
“Don’t judge me!”

It is universally accepted that true friends don’t judge. They simply love, accept, and support you.

In my early twenties, I was a young, single woman in the new South Africa. I loved the adventure and possibility of living and working in this nation. I was just beginning to form friendships in a diverse community of people. One weekend at the office, only myself and one other lady were there. We were trying to get ahead on work. New students were arriving that week. We discussed tasks and ideas back and forth. We were as different as night and day and so often would not see eye to eye. As the day wore on, I was getting more and more frustrated at her lack of seeing things my way. Eventually, I got so angry I went quiet and ominously brooded around the office, physically present but ignoring her in all other ways. I would show her!

Suddenly, I could hear her chair spin around and her strong voice break the silence. “Lindsey, are you going to talk about this, or do you plan to give me the silent treatment all day? I don’t like tantrums.”

I was shocked. She was direct almost to the point of rudeness. I stumbled over my words. Feebly, I attempted to sort things out… I don’t really remember how it resolved.

Two months later, someone asked me, “Lindsey, who do you hang out with? Who do you consider your friends here in South Africa?” To my surprise, this lady’s name immediately came out of my mouth.

I had other friends who I hung out with more, had more in common with. But this woman spoke truth to me – Truth that often offended me. Sometimes, it wasn’t truth, it was just her opinion, and she would apologise later. Sometimes, it came out a bit rude. But she kept speaking. Of all the people I was around, I knew this one was a friend. She was a friend who was willing to wound me. She was a friend who judged.

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So… How’d It Go? Sound of the Nations: Battambang, Cambodia

Photo Credit: Kenia Godard

It was a sort of divine, grand experiment: Could we bring a distinctly African worship seminar, in both sound and staff, to Cambodia? What would happen when drums and Township Gospel met chimes and Temple Karaoke? Would it all be lost in translation? Would the catch phrase, “From the Nations to the Nations,” survive being put to the test? We had five weeks in the hot season (and let me tell you it was REALLY hot) to find out.

Average Temperature: “Frying Pan”

Tastiest Treat: “Fried Spider”

School Catch Phrase: “A ‘notha Level!”

(There’s something spectacular about Cambodian’s declaring: “It’s A ’notha Level!” complete with a South African accent.)

YWAM Muizenberg, South Africa staff, Kevin and Tonya Stanfield (USA), Billy Edwards, MJ Abrahams (South Africa), Kenia Godard (Columbia), and Fy Rasolofoniaina (Madagascar), joined forces with the incredible YWAM Battambang base to pull off the second Sound of the Nations School in Cambodia (and discover a whole new appreciation for air conditioning). Let me quote a student’s blog to tell you more:

“The purpose of this course is to dig deeper into worship, raise up local worship leaders, and encourage authentic ethnic song writing! There is a distinctive lack of contemporary ethnic Cambodian songs… God made this country’s sound exquisite and totally unique. It would be so sad to miss out on their expressions of worship!” – Caroline Clymer

Writing a song may seem easy to some, but creating unique music requires a freedom of soul and a confidence that goes beyond the skill of one’s voice: An assurance is needed, one that runs deep and quiet, whispering of the unique song that resides within each one of us… and that this song, my song, is worth hearing. It is, in fact, God’s song too.

So did the divine experiment succeed?

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Seeing from God’s Perspective

Photo Credit: Kathy Gooch

This post was originally published on the Kathy Gooch’s blog at http://scribeofhisheart.blogspot.com/2014/03/seeing-from-gods-perspective.html and is re-posted with permission.

As a full-time missionary for the past 18 years and before that taking short-term missions trips, I’ve had the privilege of traveling all over the world. I’ve seen firsthand (although not climbed!) many mountain ranges – some of the better known ones being the Himalayas, the Alps, the Rockies, the East African Highlands, and the Andes. I’ve even seen the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro from the airplane. All have been spectacular sightings that have been kept as snapshots in my memory bank.

I moved from Zimbabwe to Cape Town in 2009. In the suburb I live in, I can walk out my front door and see the ocean, and I can walk out my back door and see the mountains. More spectacular sightings. As I’m not so partial to the ocean, I’ve kept it as a spectacular sighting. For some reason, I’ve been drawn to the mountains and haven’t been satisfied leaving them as mere sightings. As intimidating as they are, I’ve wanted to experience them. The only way one can truly experience these mountains is to go through the grueling process of climbing them!

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Immigrants, Orphans, and Jesus

Photo Credit: BruceEmmerling via Pixabay cc

This post was originally published on Lindsey Lautsbaugh’s blog at http://www.thisisloveactually.com/immigrants-orphans-jesus/ on December 1, 2014 and is re-posted with permission.

My maternal grandparents were immigrants from Norway. My Grandma Edie would enthrall me with the story of her first sighting of American soil. As a young girl, she peaked through the window of the ship, and there stood the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, New York City.

When Grandma Edie and Grandpa John fought around my sister and me, often they would do it in Norwegian so we couldn’t understand what they were saying! My grandmother made fish-balls and lutefisk and lefse. The town they lived in was full of Norwegian immigrants, and its official motto is still “Little Norway.”

Being surrounded by so many Norwegians brought the inevitable Swedish jokes. I just thought it was like an old high school rivalry. I didn’t know why Norwegians and Swedes teased each other; it’s just what we did. In fact, my Grandfather posted a sign at the top of his drive-way that said, “Norwegians Only! No Swedes Allowed!” Little did I know that this rivalry came out of a deep-rooted history. But it was all good fun for the family in those times.

The last two weeks I’ve thought a lot about my precious grandparents. I was always acutely aware we were a Norwegian-American family. But there was so much I never knew to ask them. They were immigrants. The family didn’t know English when they came, I know that. But what else? What was it like to be foreigners in a strange land?

The reason I thought of this was because I’ve been surrounded by a whole new set of “foreigners” here in South Africa. My husband and I bought a house, and we are doing a few renovations this month before we move in. We’ve had the privilege of hiring a number of men from Malawi to help us with some of the work.

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Who Do I Value? How About Those Untrained, Ordinary, or Young?

Photo Credit: RachelH via StockSnap.io

Recently on a trip to Rwanda, I was reminded of something I love about Youth With A Mission.

I was attending their weekly base worship time when two young Discipleship Training School (DTS, YWAM’s entry level course) students shared a devotional on God.

At first I thought this must be so annoying to their staff to have to sit through these young ladies sharing their basic revelations about God. I imagined how many I would have sat through after twenty-three years in the mission.

But then God reminded me about the gift this is. Youth With a Mission values all people being able to be used by God. We don’t require professional degrees but rather see ordinary people being used by God.

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I Struggle With Fear. Now What?

Photo Credit: Kim Daniel via Unsplash cc

At YWAM Muizenberg’s worship evening recently, Lindsey Lautsbaugh shared about overcoming fear. We are privileged to have Lindsey bring that word to you here and hope you are encouraged IN the powerful and transforming Presence of Jesus.

As a child, my mother told me stories of her own childhood. The ones with danger were my favourite.

With her siblings, she scaled tall pine trees until they reached as close to the skinny top as possible. Then they tried to swing the treetop back and forth, bending and bowing towards the ground and back again. The sight of the thin pine tree with children swinging and clinging gave my grandmother a near heart attack. The danger made me excited and thrilled.

She also described laying on the dirt road, flat as a board against the ground. The older siblings then drove over her, wheels whirring by on either side. She could have been run over if the steering was not precise. I couldn’t hear that story enough.

Facing fear can be so thrilling when we are young. As we grow old, this can change. Fear, which once made us face challenges, grows. We don’t notice it growing; it is so gradual. Slowly, through the years, we accommodate the growing fear until we wake up one day and wonder, “How did I get to this place? Why do I struggle with fear so much?”

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Dangerous Stories

Photo credit: Seyemon via photopin cc

This post was originally published on A Life Overseas where it captured the interest of many missionaries – go and check it out the discussion! You can also follow the author Chris Lautsbaugh’s blog at No Super Heroes. This post is re-posted with permission.

Sometimes the stories we tell of those we minister to can become dangerous.

I’ve been at this missions thing for 23 years now. I’ve made a lot of mistakes.

I often reflect on things I did in the past and cringe. Hindsight is always 20/20, but perhaps others can learn from my mistakes.

One mistake centers around how I have reflected the stories of others to my own supporters and sending churches / organizations.

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