We were met at the airport by Francois who was our driver for the remaining journey. He was no less than phenomenal. A born again soul who had lived a life full of adventures such as a professional rugby player, and a short stint as Goofy at California’s Disney Land. Francois is now a professional safari guide with a heart for the Lord and a keen eye to point out many of the animals along the road which we don’t normally see in NJ. Giraffe, Kudu, Sable, and more. (After 24 hours of travel, my mind may have forgotten a few others.)
Our arrival at the FASA lodge and seeing Jody and Kathy is always inspiring. Knowing what they “gave up” stateside to pack up and move to South Africa to be full time missionaries defines the phrase “All In.” Preparations for next weeks’ kids camp have been ongoing and their efforts are evident. The Lodge is being transformed into an oasis, complete with a thatched roof puppet hut, waterfall and reed lined walls to create the ambiance. These things are created mainly from scratch, recycled materiel and ingenuity. There are no big box department stores or Home Depots or AC Moore craft stores to be found. Extra thatching from a previous roof job for the puppet hut. Corrugated boxes covered with sheets and crinkled paper to for a beautiful waterfall. Reeds collected from along the river bed to line the walls of the Lodge. Sand dug from other parts of the grounds, collected and brought into the lodge via numerous wheel barrow trips. A labor of Love, all to create the backdrop and theme for our Kid’s Day Camp next week – Shipwrecked!
Some still ask, why would you go to all this trouble. There is plenty to be done in our own hometowns. So true, and every member of this ministry is also involved in a ministry back home. Be it serving children, men’s ministry, women’s ministry, Sage Builders, feeding the hungry in Philadelphia or Camden, supporting those that have little to none, we are called to serve with no boundaries. When we look around here, we see homes that look like they are right out of a Los Angeles California lower economic neighborhood. Then, we drive around the corner and see thousands of metal shacks, similar to the old metal sheds some of us grew up with in our backyards as kids, these are houses. Three to four feet separating them from each other. Some with a small dirt area in front with a tree for shade. Many with no such luxury. When we drive through these townships, it is incredible to see the smiles and waves Jody and Kathy receive upon being recognized. There is joy which is based on Jesus and his love.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.’
This trip and and this mission is about the Gospel, the Good News, Jesus. We introduce kids to Jesus. The kids introduce their families, community and country to Jesus. Such a privilege, an honor and responsibility. The Holy Spirit will do the heavy lifting, it is our role to do what he calls us to do, then get out of the way. May we go forth with two ears to hear yet one mouth to speak.
In His name the Nations will put their hope. ~ Matthew 12:21