The Embrace of Missions

A man steps out of a muddy cargo van in a foreign land and meets the eyes of another man.  They embrace, they shout, they weep.  This is not the story of two family members reconnecting after a a long time apart, but rather two Christian brothers from completely different worlds, contexts, and backgrounds reuniting on the mission field.

 

Those of us who have experienced a short-term mission trip can remember going to new lands to be overwhelmed by new cultures, languages, smells, foods and experiences.  Personally I was involved in short-term mission trips to Mexico, Jamaica, Equador, Honduras and even Africa.  Those who have been ‘sent’ to these new lands look back on their experiences with full hearts.  What I notice, however, is that what I remember most of those trips is not the new languages, foods I ate, houses I built, songs I sang or children I hugged.  All I can remember is certain people.  And I remember them vividly.  There are those people who even though you don’t share culture, background or language, somehow you become a brother and sister in Christ.  For me I remember Raymond, Marta and Emmanuel. 

 

Who do you remember?

 

For Keith Cathcart, he always remembered Chuky.

 

Many of us connected with young Chuky in Mexico because he was young and funny and open.  Working with Faith Ministry on the border of Texas and Mexico, we were there to serve families in poverty and help them to build homes as they built up their lives.  This faith-based organization came around these families with the hope of Christ, and for one week we would come in and to build and love alongside them.  In this context, we all felt like we connected with the people of Mexico, but evidently Chuky connected with some of us too. 

 

The embrace story that I shared was not long-lost family but instead Keith and Chuky reconnecting after 10 years of not seeing each other.  10 years of no communication at all and coming from WHOLLY and COMPLETELY different worlds but yet their hearts had connected and they were once again reunited in embrace.  It was unplanned and paints a picture of something deep in the heart that longs for connection, is created for connection, and rejoices in the connection.

 

Many years later, my husband and I serve on the mission field of South Africa with our two children.  We now live on the mission field, living among a community of people who are disadvantaged, and I see people coming and going almost daily whose aim is ‘mission’ and to love those who are in need.  They come in and set up kids’ clubs, paint faces of little children, feed soup to the hungry, walk through the community and share about Jesus, and everything else in between.  Sometimes being on THIS side of missions I even wonder if it is making a difference?  The kids seem to go back to normal, the next day the people are hungry, and do they really remember the Jesus they had just heard about?

 

But then I see a story like Chuky’s and something in my soul says that THIS is the power of missions.  The power of missions, the possibility of missions, the PURPOSE of missions isn’t the painting, and work, and evangelizing, and face painting, although those things are needed.  No those acts are only the vehicle for the EMBRACE of missions.  The hope is that two people from completely different worlds and cultures would meet and connect and their lives would embrace in a way that changes them both forever.  No it doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it’s nothing short of holy.

 

So missionaries, both short and long term, I encourage you to keep reaching out, to keep connecting to keep looking for your ‘Chuky’ and to give them all you have while you share a short moment in time together. 

 

It’s the power of the embrace.

 

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We Need Each Other

We just need each other. 

Today I was in a group of women and we were focusing on early childhood development, but honestly it could have been a group talking about anything.  That space is simply sacred: the space when women come together to learn, to grow, to pray, to seek, to laugh, to cry.  We did all those things together today but one brave woman really opened up her heart, was vulnerable and let us into her broken places.  I was in awe because it’s so hard to say “I am not okay.”  We would rather do ANYTHING than say we are not okay, even if we could not be more undone if we tried.  It’s hard to be broken and its even harder to SAY that we are broken.  But in this sacred space this woman did admit and we came around her and shared and talked and listened. 

It was special. 

It was sacred. 

It didn’t fix or solve anything but it did show her that she wasn’t alone.  She wasn’t crazy.  She wasn’t the WORST.  She found a little bit of hope and a little bit of strength in her sharing and she learned she could keep trying. 

I have been reminded over and over again lately that we simply need one another.  We can’t go it alone.  Shame and grief tell us to hide, tell us we are alone, tell us we are the only one, tell us that we can’t overcome.  But shame and grief are liars and they don’t have to final voice.  WE DO.  We have to open up.  We have to come alongside others.  We have to open up.  We have to find that hope.  And we have to keep going forward together.

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Book Review: Subversive Jesus

This life we live in Ocean View was first a dream and a vision for many years as 'incarnational living.'  Incarnational mission is not new but simply is living among the people you serve, and is done by people around the world.  We dreamed that we wouldn't be just missionaries who had separate lives from those we served but that we would actually be neighbors and friends and even family with those who we served.  We are deeply grateful for people who have lived out their beliefs in real and radical ways before we tried, and Craig Greenfield is one of those people.  When we first visited South Africa in 2008 and began dreaming of living in Ocean VIew, someone recommended his book "Urban Halo" and through his story of living in the slums of Cambodia God gave us the courage to live in Ocean View.  Now Ocean View is our neighborhood, our friends and our family.  When Craig began to speak on social media about his next book, I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of his book launch team and knew immediately that his next group of stories and teaching would again form my life mission.  

His book "Subversive Jesus" just recently came out and again his words and life story have profoundly impacted me once again.

I resonated with Craig's book right from the beginning.  He says, "…People thought we were noble, but a little bit weird."  Amen to that brother.  This book was both tale of life from an authentically communal mission field and challenge deep into the hearts of where our faith and life meet.  I was moved by Craig's humbling stories of his life and family following what they felt Jesus telling them to do.  Their life is an example of life on mission lived passionately and with guts.  Chapter after chapter I was profoundly personally challenged in my life and ministry and will be something I use to challenge those around me.  

"Dismantle the fences you have erected around family, tribe, and nation so that God can expand your vision until you see everyone as part of the extended family of God."

think it's time for a radical view of family and a radical view of the body of Christ and Craig's story shows how this could be lived out and helps you to begin to dream how it could be real in your own context.

can't recommend this book highly enough and am thankful for the prophets in our world that point us forward and prompt us deeper.

 

Dream the Dreams

God has been nudging me lately about DREAMS and RISK.

He is saying to me that I need to do much more of both.  My heart is saying AHHHHH!!!

Dreaming and risking are 

SCARY

UNCERTAIN

DARING

BRAVE

OVERWHELMING

and more...

But God is still prompting.

I have found a friend in Mary in the New Testament.  Yeah, 'Mother' Mary.  In Luke 1 she is going about her own business, being a righteous and planned and noble woman just preparing to be married, and BOOM God interrupts and gives her a new path and a new dream.

"In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”  Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”  Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”  The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.  What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.  For the word of God will never fail."  Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her." -Luke 1:26-38

Mary is visited by an angel who shares God's new dream for her path and I absolutely love her response.  First she is filled with FEELINGS and then filled with QUESTIONS.  She allows herself to respond to the hugeness of this vision and then works through it by asking questions to understand more.  I think it's so important to allow space to work through the huge things God asks of us and then follow in Mary's footsteps by saying YES with obedience.

But what strikes me the most is the promise the angel gives Mary.  He says that the HOLY SPIRIT will OVERSHADOW her as she goes to accomplish this dream.  The only other place this word is used - OVERSHADOW - is when the Shekinah glory appears in Exodus and when the transfiguration appears to the disciples.  It is an other-worldly, completely holy, life-changing appearance of the triune God that changes everything.  Mary sees in that moment that the HOLY SPIRIT in great presence is what will allow her to accomplish the dreams of God.

So as God as been prompting me to dream dreams and visions, I ask you, WHAT ARE YOU DREAMING?  And, have you allowed God to give you HIS dreams for your life?

“If your dreams don’t scare you then they aren’t big enough!”  -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

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Why I still believe in the CHURCH

More and more, I see people being disillusioned with the church.

More and more, I see people criticizing the church.

More and more, I see people fed up with the church and walking away.

And I can't say I blame them.

The church has made many promises that haven't been kept.  The church has put people on pedestals as moral leaders only to have them be later torn down or fail miserably themselves.  The church has said it will love people and then instead responded in hate and judgement.  The church was supposed to be so much and has let us down time and time again.  The church is supposed to be united and they seem to be nothing but divided.

The way we often see church and the way we SHOULD see church reminds me of two different stories in the Bible.  I hope we can move from one portrayal and find ourselves in the other.

In the midst of life and ministry of Jesus he finds himself thrust into a tense situation.  It's a crowd of shouting people and in the middle is a woman who has been found guilty (no word on the other half of the guilty party…).  She has made a mistake, she has been found in a great sin, and the people are out to put her in her place.  They bring Jesus into the conversation (witch hunt) and ask him how to punish this obviously horrible being.  Jesus bends down on to the ground, writes in the sand, and changes the conversation completely.  

"They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” - John 8:7 NLT

Jesus changes the focus from an obvious crime that no one disputes, to the hearts of all the accusers who also find themselves also sinners desperately in need of grace.

I fear that often we put the church in the middle of the circle and we stand around shouting our judgements.  We put pastors, we put elders, we put worship leaders, youth pastors, volunteers and the WHOLE THING TOGETHER in the middle and we shout and we judge and we yell and we charge guiltiness.

Here is the kicker.  WE ARE'NT WRONG IN OUR JUDGEMENTS.  

They DID do the thing.  They DID forget the thing.  They DID make that mistake.  They DID let us down.

We aren't wrong.  They are guilty.

The problem isn't that they are guilty the problem is that the condemnation and proclamation of judgement doesn't solve ANYTHING.

And if they are guiltly so are we.  Maybe not in THAT WAY or of THAT THING, but we are all guilty.

We have ALLLLLLLL fallen short of the glory of God.  Even me and even you.

So why do we make this circle?  Why do we condemn?  Well as I said there has been a mistake.  Many mistakes actually.

But what if we did something different?  What if we changed the story?  Changed the conversation just like Jesus did on that dusty day.

In the first church as recoded in Acts, the new believers were trying to begin to learn what it meant to be church they did just that, they learned to BE the church and they learned TOGETHER.

" All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.  A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.  And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.  They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.  They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved." -Acts 2:42-47

The early church got something right.  They knew church was created TOGETHER.  Was it perfect?  OF COURSE NOT!  But you don't hear about it because that wasn't the focus.  They were focused on making Jesus known and helping others to do the same.

And this is why I still believe in church.  I believe in the church because Jesus spoke about it.  I believe in the church because the Bible records its success.  I believe in the church because we are all still DESPERATELY in need of the body of Jesus Christ alive on the earth.  

The church is STILL God's method of spreading His name and love throughout the world.  The church is still MY method of spreading Jesus' name and love throughout the world.  The church needs to be YOUR method of spreading Jesus' name and love throughout the world.  

Is it broken?  Yes.  Are you broken?  Yes.  Is it STILL the way we can see God living among us and draw others to know this HOPE and LOVE we have found?  Yes.  Don't give up.  Believe in the Church.

MIDDLE of a MIRACLE

There is a story God is telling in South Africa through the life of our dear Keller, and we are so deeply grateful.

This past week we went for a follow-up assessment with our pediatric neurologist who first diagnosed Keller with autism almost two years ago.  I felt incredibly sensitive and fragile leading up to this meeting.  It filled my thoughts all weekend and on the day I found myself crying in an instant.  You could have knocked me down with a feather.  

There was so much I KNEW about Keller.  I knew that he was an absolute gift.  I knew that he had come so far.  I knew that he makes my heart swell with love and pride.  I knew that he is so much more than a diagnosis.  I knew that God was telling a story in his life and no one could stop it.  I KNEW all these things but my heart felt like it didn't know these things at all.  My heart felt like it was walking into a possible landmine war zone and I had no idea what would explode and how bad the pain would be.

The last time we went to an appointment with this doctor we only went because we had 'concerns.'  I had done some research thinking I was being clever and proactive and had self-diagnosed him with 'sensory issues' and was certain that would be confirmed.  When she said the words "Your son has AUTISM" you could have blown up the building and I would have hurt less.  It was nothing short of TRAUMA to hear those words and our lives were forever changed.

My mom recently reminded me of the first video call we had with my parents after the diagnosis.  It was so painful all we could do was share the facts and cry.  Casey was so overwhelmed he couldn't even get out words.  It was pure hell.

Now two years later there was SO MUCH MORE that I know.  So much I know about autism.  So much I know about doctors.  So much I know about KELLER.  So much I know.  But again my heart and head weren't connecting.  

We prepared Keller that we were going to see a 'special doctor' with fun toys and he was super pumped for the whole thing which definitely helped.  We nervously waiting in the waiting room until the doctor was ready and then marched in to receive our fate.

Quickly it became clear that our doctor was very excited to see us, very eager to hear our progress and generously encouraging with every single step we had made.  We went through the steps of the past two years and the many MANY interventions we had undergone with Keller.  When she saw us we had just gotten a diagnosis and then what we did with it was completely up to us.  Well, putting that diagnosis in our hands was like a firecracker and it set us alight to set up Keller for success and growth.

We listed the many steps, the many therapists, the many communities we had built, the huge milestones that Keller had flown through.  It was even staggering for us to say it, but it seemed that our doctor was beyond amazed at it all.  She warmly and excitedly responded to every single step we had taken and remarked on Keller's strength and incredible growth.  She was in awe.  I was in awe of HER AWE.  

This woman who two years ago gave our lives a title that sent us into a tragic decent was now watching with pride and awe at US and how far our little champion had come despite his challenges.

My heart still can't even take the depth and profundity of it all.

By the end of the appointment she let us know that we do not need to come and see her again but rather next go to an educational psychologist in order to further evaluate Keller and his educational needs.  He is not taken off the spectrum but now it's being predicted that because of his gifting and energy he will have a great future and  we ned to make sure we create educational environments for him to succeed and flourish in.

Now we aren't worried about Keller surviving but we have to figure out how to help him THRIVE.

Yes, we are in the MIDDLE OF A MIRACLE.


We are not there yet but we are well on our way.  We are not totally healed but not totally broken.  We may not be finished but we are well into the race and see our victory ahead.

We are in the middle of a miracle and leaning in to all God has.

I can't help but think of the words of the apostle Paul in scripture:

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. 
- Philippians 3:12-14

We are on a beautiful journey and we do press on for the miracles God has ahead for us.  Thank you to everyone who has walked each step with us for being a part o this miracle.

Welcome New Volunteer Rachel!

We are excited to welcome our new volunteer Rachel Harpole to Ocean View!  She is here for just over 2 months working in Ocean View and with Ubuntu Football.  See some of her story here.   Maybe YOU should be our next volunteer!

"Hello everyone!  The thought process of coming to South Africa began about a year ago when I began teaching. I worked in a very diverse semi-inner city school where there was a lot of need, but not a lot that could be done as a teacher. I felt so helpless and I hated it. But the thought of going all the way to South Africa was still quite distant. Things became a little more real though when some of my friends came to Ocean View for a couple of months. This thought that I had in the back of my head began to creep up as more of a reality. In August, my summer began to wrap up and it was time for me to face the music. I was at an extremely pivotal moment where I had to choose what I was going to do in the upcoming year. I could continue working in the restaurant with all of my friends, having fun 24/7, and only having to be responsible and act like an adult about 10% of the time. I could seek out a teaching position and hope and pray it would be a better situation than my previous one. Or, I could take advantage of this flexible time in my life and go for something truly amazing and pursue this mere thought of serving in South Africa. I prayed that the Lord would make His plans evident to me and here I am! The entire process in preparing to come to South Africa was so much easier than I expected. That along with the love and support from family and friends only confirmed for me that this was God’s plan for me and I couldn’t wait to see what my time would be like once I got here.

Here in South Africa, in the afternoons, I go to help the Ubuntu boys with their homework, which is a learning experience for us all! It just goes to show that you really should listen to your teachers when they say, “You never know when you’re going to need to know this one day.” I also spend two days a week helping out at the Care Center. Mainly, I am an extra set of much needed hands, but the goal is to help the students learn how to function and behave in a classroom with routines and procedures. 

As I look ahead to my time here in Africa, my goals are to:

  • Grow in my faith and have a stronger, more passionate and intentional relationship with Jesus
  • Be humbled and grateful through serving others
  • Make a different in this community in whatever little way I may be able to
  • Learn about myself and how I can be the best version of me
  • … I know there is more to come that I can't even imagine yet!"

 

Fight Club

 

The Prince family has been sharing this week about our visa issues here in South Africa.  We are so thankful for all the support and love we have gotten from our community here and in the USA.  THANK YOU for walking with us through this journey!

We are definitely FIGHTING to stay here but I recognize that we want to fight fair and still fight HARD.  Remember that movie 'FIGHT CLUB'?  I actually never saw it and I TOTALLY don't recommend it, but it had some catchy parts of it.  Two things I know about the movie are that they had a club where they fought and secondly the club had rules.  The first rule was "We never talk about Fight Club" and the SECOND rule was "We never talk about Fight Club."  Then other rules followed.  Well I am starting a new fight club.  A GOD Fight CLUB and I want to talk about it.

What does it mean to fight God's way?

As I have pondered this question this Exodus passage has been brought to my heart:

"The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm.”  Exodus 14:14 AMP

God brings us into many battles and HE is the one who will fight for us, but we have to follow the FIGHT CLUB rules of God.  I think if God has rules these might be a few of them:

  • Know which FIGHTS to fight
    • If we are going into a battle and asking God to be with us, we BETTER KNOW it's a battle He has brought us into!  How often must we try to fight wars we were never meant to begin?  For us as a family, we fight this battle because we truly know it's a battle we were given by God.  It's our fight and we are ready!
  • Prepare for battle
    • We don't just blaze into battle without being prepared.  God has given us His armor to protect us as we fight.  Ephesians 6:10-11 says, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes."  We have all the protection we need and strength that God will instill in us.  We can't do it alone!
  • Go to the right battlefield
    • Where are you being asked to fight?  If God wants me to fight battles with women who are addicts in Ocean View then I can't go to the beach and look for young girls who look depressed.  I have to go to the right place, knowing the WHERE and WHAT of my battle. WHERE is my battlefield and WHAT am I fighting for?  As a family, we have sought the heart of God and know our WHO, WHAT, and WHERE for our battle.  Thank you Jesus!
  • ALLOW GOD to fight
    • Once we know we are supposed to be fighting, are prepared, and are in the right place, the unbelievable part is that we then just SIT, TRUST, and WAIT UPON THE LORD.  Exodus 14:14 is very clear in saying we need to be calm, quiet, and still and allow the Lord to fight.  THIS IS SO DIFFICULT but it is the ONLY way we will win the battles the Lord brings us into!

God has given us a big battle here in South Africa as we fight to stay here.  We are honestly feeling at peace about it in our hearts and very encouraged with our new immigration experts who are working hard for us.  We are seeing some progress but won't know the end results for months to come.  In the meantime, we feel the presence of our God with us and truly are able to be STILL in our hearts knowing HE is fighting for us.

We pray that you too would allow God to fight for you in your battles, so that we ALL can experience the GLORY OF GOD.

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Why We Fight

Many of you have learned that recently we are fighting to stay in South Africa as we have had continual visa problems that are really coming to a head.  We are fighting to stay here in Africa and continue our work.  The question has come up, the GREAT QUESTION is WHY ARE WE FIGHTING to stay in Africa?  Why the fight?  Isn't it possible that all these problems are a sign that it is time to go?  Isn't it possible that the children might do better going to schools and receiving what they need in America?  Could God be telling you it's time to move on and give someone else a turn?

*Someone LITERALLY suggested that last comment to Casey's face*

These are HONESTLY all great questions.

Questions we have been asking, praying over, and wrestling with for years.  We have taken every part of our call here in South Africa and completely surrendered it before the Lord.

We always tell our volunteers and interns that they are not needed here in South Africa and God can do whatever He wants with or without us.  The same is true for the Prince family.  God does not NEED us in South Africa.  He can do His will WITH or WITHOUT us.

Painfully and humbly we have surrendered this before God and truly feel that He has responded.  

God doesn't need us in South Africa but we feel He wants Casey to continue leading Ubuntu Football.  Wrestling with these visas and our call has really clarified that our family was called here to be the heart of Ubuntu and lead it from our family.  While Casey is all the time with Ubuntu it is part of the heart of our family and we all make it possible for Ubuntu to be it's best.  It's our call together.

God doesn't need us in South Africa but we feel he wants me to continue community development and ministry in Ocean View.  Truly it's the place God has planted my heart.  I love coming home to the people of Ocean View and my heart beats for the community.  My ministry continues to evolve in Ocean View but the goal is the same - point people to Jesus as I live among them as mother, sister and friend.  Furthermore, God has called me to learn and grow as I pastor and assist at Hillsong Church and I love this place of growth in my life.

God doesn't need us in South Africa but He wants to tell Keller's autism story here.  Early on in our journey, soon after Keller was diagnosed, I was crying out to the Lord asking him WHY, HOW and WHERE He was going to work in the darkness we were facing.  I clearly heard the Lord tell my heart that He wants to tell Keller's story in Ocean View.  Over the past year and a half God has shown up time and time again in miraculous ways as He changes Keller's heart and makes him a new boy.  Keller is thriving and growing daily and we have an incredible team around us tackling autism together.  And our boy LOVES Ocean View.  His best friends live in Ocean View and he delights in this community; something completely foreign to normal kids with autism.  God wants to continue to tell Keller's story in South Africa.

God doesn't need us in South Africa but God is growing Kieren to be a beautifully complex, compassionate and loving child as she grows up here.  Kieren has friends that are every socio-economic background, every race and every type of heart.  Her love knows no bounds and her openness to people astonishes me.  She is happy playing by herself or being the center of attention on stage.  Kieren is getting an excellent education, growing in her gifting of dance, and fostering a deep heart of compassion for her friends who will never know her opportunities.  Something very special is growing in Kieren and we believe South Africa is the place God wants to cultivate it.

Most of all, as we have realized God doesn't need us in South Africa, we have prayed deeply to question if he still wants us here in this time.  In our times of prayer and discernment we believe we have heard God does want us here and that it's not our time to go.  God isn't finished using us in South Africa and more than that, God hasn't finished forming US in South Africa.

Because of this revelation, that God doesn't need us in South Africa but has called us here, we fight.  We fight against the lies that our time is over, that it's someone else's turn, that our kids would be better off somewhere else, that it's time to bring things to a close.  We fight because it's our time to be in South Africa and we want to fulfill God's will for our family here.

We now ask that you would fight with us.  Fight against the schemes of the enemy that are trying to keep us from fulfilling His call here.  Fight with us in prayer that God would protect our family emotionally as we go through this tumultuous and emotional journey.  Fight for God's will simply to be done here in South Africa.

This is why we fight.

When We Almost Became Illegal Immigrants...

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We love South Africa.  We adore this county and these people.  It is HOME to us and we plan to stay FOREVER.  I tell people that they can buy me a gravesite in Ocean View cemetery because I will be buried here (weird I know, sorry).

It seems, however, that South Africa might not love us as intensely as we love them.

We are having some 'visa issues.'  And by visa issues I mean we are about two weeks away from being illegal immigrants instead of helpful missionaries.  We have been on volunteer/visitor visas but have hit a brick wall in government this past year when trying to renew them.  Our long-term plan is to stay in South Africa indefinitely because we feel called here and it is our home, and we plan to get permanent residency and have a plan of how to do it.  We are working with our lawyers on this plan and it looks like many steps but should be easy.

But in the meantime South Africa is not granting us another term of visitor visa, AKA meaning we would need to leave the country to work on this process of permanent residency.  We are not in agreement with the South African government as WE think we should stay HERE while we work out this little 'issue.'

I wish it was a little issue. 

So we have a new immigration expert (first one wasn't as pumped as we needed him to be about us staying in the country) and we have a new plan.  But we need some serious PRAYER and movement of God.

Over the past few months we have prayed and wrestled and talked endlessly about this situation and really sought God about our future here in South Africa.  We truly feel like this is where God wants us.  This will only happen with some serious favor and miraculous work of God.  

Luckily we have a community of friends and family who love prayer and a HUGE GOD who loves to do miracles in our life.

So we ask you, would you pray for us?

Pray that God would lead us to make the right steps in our process.  Pray that our lawyers would fight for us, believe in us, communicate with us, and truly believe that this country is where we need to be?  Pray that we would have DEEP PEACE and TRUST in God as this process works its way out (it will likely take 1-2 years).  Pray that we will see the miraculous hand of God all over this journey.  Pray that God would be GLORIFIED in this struggle and strain?

We are so thankful for our incredible community all over the world that loves us and prays for us.  It is beyond humbling.  We need you now so join us in bringing this need to the throne of God!

 

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