Where You Go, I Go.

19 Aug

First things should always be first. I would like to thank every person who a)reads this blog, b)has prayed for me in the last month, c) has given me any sort of material/financial support. This has been a very big lifestyle adjustment and I would not be able to do any of this if it were not for every iota of support I receive from every person. So thank you.

I have been at LIV for just under a month and I can honestly say I could not have imagined this place and the experiences it yields. When planning to be here for this volunteer period, I was under the impression that I would spend my time here assisting the special needs teacher who works at the school. This is currently the case. There will, however, be a change. Considering my teaching qualification, the headmistress of the school has decided that I should be teaching my own class. As soon as our new classrooms are built I will be assigned one of these classrooms and seven children to call, ‘my kids’. I will essentially be facilitating remedial education for these children as many of them have endured delays in their education.

As I wait to start this journey, I am thoroughly terrified (this is apparently an emotion I am becoming increasingly familiar with). As a nice high school English teacher, I do not posses even a wisp of an idea of how to do this job. I do not know how to discipline these children. I do not know how to handle their responses when they feel emotionally charged and most of all I know nothing about the content they are meant to learn.

A week or two ago, a very wise lady on the Village said, “We don’t care about your qualification”. She did not mean to say that any form of tertiary qualification is useless or unwanted but she meant to point out that if God has called you here, He may plan to use you in an area that you had never anticipated. And those He calls, He equips (people keep using their most reassuring voices as they remind me of this).

I know that God has brought me here and He is leading me into some kind of work that I had not anticipated. He is leading me into something that scares me very much and that I do not know how to do. As He does so, I recognise more and more each day that the only way of doing this “job” is by running back to Him at every moment. There is no space on the Village for self-reliance. This is a very difficult reality to face.

I have to have faith that He will show me what to do. I have to have faith that He will teach these children through me. The beautiful thing about being totally terrified by what you are meant to be doing is that it emphasizes your need for someone else to do it. So all I can do, everyday, is pray that He will do the job.

Advertisements

Where Feet May Fail

3 Jul

In exactly ten days, I will be leaving for LIV Village. I will be driving down to Durban under the watchful eye of my Daddy Dearest- who will fly back to chilly Joburg after he has safely deposited me in my new, little red house.

It has been a thoroughly bizarre two months, as the reality of resigning from my job and moving to LIV has permeated my mind. It is a strange happening, when the place you have been trying to leave for the entirety of your conscious life suddenly becomes comfortable and appealing. I experienced this. Almost as soon as my LIV arrangements were finalised, Johannesburg suddenly became extremely appealing. My itchy feet were apparently playing stuck in the mud with my comfortable life.

I think this must be some device of the devil; that when someone commits to move in the direction of God’s calling, they are suddenly lured into the depths of their environment. I remember about a month ago, while I was swimming in these depths, a work colleague pointed out that I could, “just stay”. Hearing this, I agreed with her logic. I could. The core of my being, however, knew that there was and is no option but to go to LIV. Anything else would be disobedience.

God wooed me big time this past weekend. All the doubts and fears and second thoughts that were fogging up my brain were dispersed, instantaneously. He reminded me of who He is, what His plans are like and the fact that He is better than anything anyone or any city could offer. As I stood in the morning service at my home-church, the children from the local children’s home played behind me and I was reminded of the children at LIV. I felt something that is becoming increasingly common in my heart.

In an instant God’s Spirit grabbed my heart and I felt so overwhelmed at the fact that I have the privilege of being a part of the lives of children at LIV. It’s natural to think that the children should be the one’s that are grateful to have people offering to ‘help’ them. But I have felt the complete opposite. I cannot express how utterly and soul-consuminlgy grateful I am to God that He is letting me be a part of their lives. I am the blessed one because I get to be involved in God’s redemption of these little people who He breathed life into. I am merely a person. I am flawed and selfish and have no special, spiritual certification that makes me in any way an acceptable choice for this job. God doesn’t care though. He’s not asking me to be perfect. He’s asking me to go. And He will do the work. I am His hands and His feet. My most sincere prayer right now, is that somehow God’s love for these children will flow freely through me. That I would be a funnel. His love poured into me and out, through me, to them.

All I can do is thank my God and simply say, there is truly no-one like Him.

I am still afraid of certain things. I know this adventure will be the hardest one yet. In that, I would love your prayers. I want to thank those who have stood with me, prayed with me and for me up till now. I also thank those of you who have either sponsored me financially or have committed to do so. You and God are truly flooring me with the blessings.

I will try update this little bloggy wog on the 1st of every month. I do not promise that I will keep to that every month but I will try. I will also try put more pictures and fewer words in future posts:)

Here’s a little lyrical treat to awaken the adventurer in your heart;

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever you would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Saviour”      Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), Hillsong United.

El-Roi…my God who sees me (December 2012)

26 May

Home is a tricky concept, it would seem. The fortunate grow up somewhere they believe is home. They call it home because it is where they were born, where they played, where their mom and dad ran things.
I have had a home by this definition. I have always had elsewhere on my heart, but never had the courage or self-surety to truly believe that anywhere else could be home.

Find your way

In recent months home has become increasingly unwelcoming. Uninviting, if you will. It is a bizarre life-moment when suddenly everything you know is too familiar and undesirable. Over the last five months, I have been waging war with the familiar; I have been trying to hold onto it as my home while still seeking the place that’s been lodged in my heart since childhood.
I am beginning to think God is the master of ironic humour. Which will inevitably add to the reasons I love Him. There’s a verse somewhere that people often quote. It says something to the effect of anybody who tries to hold onto his life will lose it. Whenever mentioned, this verse had made me think that God was this big beast in the sky who would find your desire, show it to you then tell you to forsake it because it is most definitely not what He wants.
Perhaps it is time to think differently. It may well have been that I was so desperately trying to hold onto the familiar, what I had deemed “my life”, even though it was slowly draining me of every feeling of vitality I had left. Perhaps this was me losing my life as I tried to hold on.
The irony is that I was seeking the place God had placed on my heart from the time I was young. I just thought that place was some fancy university in Holland or an idealised little apartment in Italy. Not once, in the last five months of seeking did I think that that place could have been a farm, six hours away from my own house, filled with those that society has deemed unlovable.

home heart
I love God’s irony. Whilst feeling increasingly uprooted in the place I had called home I was looking for a new home. Quietly, gently and without any force He brought me to the place I hadn’t known I was looking for. And in that place, my heart said it had found home.
A lot needs to be put into place before I can go home. And I might be entirely wrong about all of this. For now though, I’m thanking God for the life He has breathed into me. I am simply hanging out with El-Roi, hoping my heart got the message right this time.
If nothing else, it is evident that God leads. Leading happens from the front. I will follow…

How we roll…

26 May

As mentioned in previous posts, I spent some time at Liv Village in December. I was also blessed enough to get to go there over Easter. I spent about 9 days there during this period and my thoughts, feelings and heart for the Village were confirmed. The following post is something I posted on my other Blog after I returned from the Village in December.

A Little Bit Of Liv

26 May

Here are some photies of the Village:)

The Village is divided into clusters of houses. This is one of those clusters.

The Village is divided into clusters of houses. This is one of those clusters.

As you drive onto the Village.

As you drive onto the Village.

LIV also aims to be sustainable through farming.

LIV also aims to be sustainable through farming.

These are the little feet of a beautiful little kid on the Village

These are the little feet of a beautiful little kid on the Village

Some treasures playing footie:)

Some treasures playing footie:)

Tables outside the school hall/church.

Tables outside the school hall/church.

What happens when you live on a farm in Durban.

What happens when you live on a farm in Durban.

Liv-foot is a condition similar to trenchfoot.

Liv-foot is a condition similar to trenchfoot.

Every now and then church happens on the field. Over Easter we had a sunrise service on this very spot

Every now and then church happens on the field. Over Easter we had a sunrise service on this very spot

This field was sponsored by John Smit, and is thusly called The John Smit Field

This field was sponsored by John Smit, and is thusly called The John Smit Field

The cluster which will be home for the next 6 months:)

The cluster which will be home for the next 6 months:)

One of the brilliant staff members at LIV

One of the brilliant staff members at LIV

The boys and staff playing some footie:)

The boys and staff playing some footie:)

These are the little feet of a beautiful little kid on the Village

These are the little feet of a beautiful little kid on the Village

LIV also aims to be sustainable through farming.

LIV also aims to be sustainable through farming.

A little surprise

26 May

God has a habit of surprising me. And He has done it again. In December 2012, I tagged along on a trip, run by Tuks Missions, to a place called Liv Village. My human little self thought it might be more fun to sit on the couch for the duration of December. I had, however, already paid the deposit for the trip, so had to go.

We arrived at the Village on a Sunday morning – church time. I sat in that service and was so thoroughly moved by the Holy Spirit that I knew this place was something special. From the first day of the trip I began wondering if this was the place I had been looking for. God had put a place in my heart from the time I was about 12. It was a place that I knew I had to get to one day although I had no idea where it was. I had spent the previous six months searching for this place. Investigating Masters programmes at European Universities, searching for work-abroad opportunities, trying to become a camp counsellor for American kids.

On this two-week trip to a farm in KwaZulu-Natal, God led me to the place I had been looking for without me even realising it. I spent the week agonising over the fact that I had just signed a contract at a High School in Johannesburg.

Upon returning to my hometown I began teaching at the aforementioned High School. I went through quite a rough patch of being entirely uncertain as to why God would put me in a job and then show me where I needed to be, which wasn’t at that job.

I was, however, thoroughly humbled as I tried to do my work. I have learned, over the last five months an incredible amount about myself, children and God. I was blessed enough to be working with some truly incredible teachers who have guided me and taught me so very much. I will remember what this school has done for me and how they taught me to take my first steps as a teacher. I see now that I was exactly where I needed to be.

After praying and agonising and with the help and guidance of my pastor and some other lovely Jesus-freaks, I decided it was time to pursue Liv Village. And I did.

Through God’s grace I will be moving down to Durban in July. I will be volunteering for a six month period. The first month will be probationary as the Village and I figure out if we are a fit. There is a school on the village, and in that school, a special needs class. I will be assisting the special needs teacher. I am truly excited about this as she seems to be an incredible woman and I know I could learn a huge amount from her.

So it is with a sad heart that I say goodbye to my Greenside High School kids this week. It’s strange how other people’s children can burrow into your heart. I find myself wanting to protect them from any mean replacement teachers. I want to leave them with the best possible understanding of Finite Verbs that I possibly can. And at this point in time I am still unsure as to whether or not I will ever teach in a ‘mainstream’ high school again. This is all part of the journey.

So if you are a person who would like to hear more about this adventure that God and I are going on, keep checking this blog. I will try update it as often as possible. I have no doubt that God is going to surprise me more than He ever has before and I am scared and more excited than I can explain as I jump into the unforeseeable.

As good ol’ Justin Bieber says, “You can’t fly unless you let yourself fall”.
Here I go.

Time to fall.