Posted by: heartstransformed | October 16, 2012


A little over two months ago, I left the land that I had grown to love so much. 

It was terribly difficult for me to say goodbye to all the learners and friends that I have known the past two years.  Some of these learners have become like my own family.  The little ones have called me their mother.  It was difficult trying to explain to them why I was leaving.  Some of them begged me to stay, cried and wrote me letters.  As I said final goodbyes, in a way, I felt like I was abandoning my own children.  I love them so much!  It was hard not knowing if I would ever see some of them again.  All I could do was trust that these precious children are in God’s hands.

When returning to America, I went through a grieving process as I reflected on the reality that part of my life as I knew it had come to a close.  I had a hard time in the beginning, but every day I feel a little better.  I’m learning to be content with life right now.

And, during this transition period, God is reminding me that He has me here for a reason, just like he had me in South Africa for a purpose.  The important part is to follow Him no matter where I am located.  During debriefing, I learned the song “I will follow,” by Chris Tomlin.

 “Where you go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
When you move, I’ll move
I will follow…

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Who you love, I’ll love
How you serve I’ll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You’re the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there’s life everlasting
In you there’s freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
And I will follow”

He has a purpose for each stage of life that I’m in and even though I miss what I got to do the past two years, I’m trying to move forward in thinking about ministry opportunities now and in the future.  Right now I have been enjoying sharing at prayer groups and different churches.  I’m also looking forward to the possibility of going to Midwestern Theological Baptist Seminary during the spring semester.

Just as I trusted God to guide me in South Africa, I trust Him to guide me as I live life here right now.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Posted by: heartstransformed | June 23, 2012


With only one month left in this awesome country, I took some time to reflect on some of my favorite aspects of South Africa.  I love living here because of the…..

  • Nature: Blue sky, Table Mountain, gorgeous beaches, and an entire floral kingdom (fynbos), one of only six on the planet.
  • Braais: what North America would call a cookout or BBQ, except for this is much better as there is more variety of meats and people will braai during all times of the year.
  • Wildlife: no need to go to a zoo, just go to a National park near you.
  • People: diversity is the word.  With eleven different official languages and many others spoken, it is common to hear five different languages in a day.  Also, even when speaking English, the people in the same city have very different accents.  Each people group has a unique culture within the South African culture as a whole.
  • Best of Both Worlds: Africa meets Western culture.  A person can enjoy aspects of authentic Africa while also enjoying comforts found in the western world.
  • Music: people love to sing and dance, make beautiful melodies and rhythms.
  • National Holidays:  I lost count of all of them, but during each one, schools are out and everything closes down.
  • Schools: The grade 6 and 7 learners mainly have good attitudes and enjoy doing things like singing, dancing and acting silly, something that doesn’t really happen in middle schools in America.
  • African time: No need to worry about rushing around or arriving early at events.  At least in Cape Town, people seem to be more easygoing and relaxed.
  •  Open to Spirituality: Unlike most of Western world, which is becoming more apathetic with Christianity, people here (especially in the townships) are open to having conversations about spiritual matters and seem to show a genuine interest in Jesus and learning to live His way.  With this desire for truth, it is a great place to do ministry.
Posted by: heartstransformed | June 6, 2012

I Hate Goodbyes

I don’t cry very much.  I can count the limited number of times I have cried since moving to South Africa.  Often I have looked at my friends crying during various movies and wondered what was wrong with me, why I didn’t cry?  But, as time has gone by, I’m starting to notice a trend of the times I cry.  One word: goodbyes.   I hate goodbyes.

When I finished university and left Bolivar, I was so sad to say goodbye to friends and that fun-filled period of my life.  Fortunately, I felt somewhat comforted knowing that I would see some of my better friends in the future.  Then, I had to say farewell to my family and friends in order to move to South Africa.  Once again, I was solaced knowing I would see them again in 2 years.  When people came to visit me here, I would feel so sad after they left, but appreciative to see them again in the future.

All these goodbyes in the past couldn’t prepare me for this past week though.  Last week I said goodbye to the learners that I have taught the past two years.  Some of these learners have become like my own family.  The little ones have called me their mother.  It was difficult trying to explain to them why I was leaving.  Some of them begged me to stay, cried and wrote me letters.  They waited by the car as Sarah and I drove away, knowing that we would probably never see them again.  Tears flowed uncontrollably.

That very same week I had been teaching Ecclesiastes 3 during the afterschool clubs.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

Verse 4 stands out for me during this time in my life.

“A time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

The Xhosa people love to dance.  In fact, from my experience, I have seen them dance when they are happy, sad, angry, and excited.  When I said goodbye to my classes, I saw several learners cry.  Minutes later, all the learners would want to dance and sing some of the songs that Sarah and I had taught them.  Smiles and laughter circulated in the midst of our sadness reminding me that there is a time for everything.

I have experienced so much joy in ministry here and now, even though I still have joy, I also mourn.  And what I’m realizing is that it is okay.  Times change. Bad times and good times come and go. But, I gain comfort knowing that even though circumstances change, God will never change. He never leaves me. He will always be there to help me through. He can take even the worst times of life and turn them into something beautiful.

Jesus came “to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.” – Isaiah 61:2-3

Posted by: heartstransformed | May 19, 2012

Pray for The Townships

My teammate created this video to help you have a visual of how to pray for the areas where we minister.

Posted by: heartstransformed | April 18, 2012

Testimonies of the Learners

It has been wonderful to learn how God has been working in the lives of the learners in our afterschool programs. Here are some of the things they have written in their journals this past month.

Z wrote in her journal, “I learned that I must follow Jesus. From today my life will be changed for the first time. I agree here that I will follow Jesus. I never did it because the spirit of the devil was playing with me, but now I will never ever let that happen again. I have learned my mistake. I can tell my mother, father and friends about Jesus.”

K wrote, “I learn that when someone tells us false things we must know that it is not true. I must look at things carefully. I must stop listening to false teaching and practice to know right things. You must pray for me to know truth and what is right because I wasn’t to be with God where ever I go may God bless me for what I have done today.”

Y wrote, “Before I met Jesus I was doing wrong things. I disappointed my family by having boyfriends, drinking alcohol and I was so young. So I decided to follow Jesus so that Jesus can forgive my sins and I pray a long time because I want God to forgive my sins. And now I go to church. ”

S wrote, “When I went to girls club my life was changed when Sarah and Michal told me a story of God and now I know about Jesus. My life now is very happy because I am following Jesus’s way now. I am happy because Jesus loved me so much.”

V wrote, “What I like about the story is that Jesus knew the Scripture from top to bottom. That is so cool. I wish I could know the Bible from top to bottom.

God is doing an amazing work in the lives of these students! Please continue to pray for them that they will grow in their faith.

Posted by: heartstransformed | April 9, 2012

South African Road Trip

I recently went on a South African road trip from Cape Town to Jo’burg and then on to Kruger National Park. 

On my way I noticed several things that set this trip apart from other road trips I’ve been on in America.  Here are a few differences:

–          Wild life – along the roadside I saw cows, sheep, goats, ostriches, baboons, monkeys, warthogs and giraffes.  When actually in Kruger National Park, I got to see the big five along with other popular “African animals.”

–          Diverse landscape – deserts, mountains, hills, fields of sunflowers, cities, farms, townships, the variety of scenery was wonderful.

–          Vehicle etiquette – slow vehicles show kindness by driving on the shoulder of the road to let other faster cars pass.  Then, the passing car flashes his or her emergency lights as a thank you.

–          Gas stations – they are convenient. The workers would fill my car with petrol, would check the tire pressure, oil, water and even clean my windscreen.  This service was free. Why don’t gas stations do this in America?

–          Interesting signs – driving is more interesting when I see signs such as “Trucks! Slow Down!” or “If you speed, you’re a killer!” or “Now Entering highjacking Zone!”  One of my favorites was a sign of a tree to signify a rest area.

–          Rain, rain, rain and more rain – although it wasn’t fun driving in the rain, several beautiful rainbows followed the storms.

–          Random police checks – luckily I only got pulled over for one and the police officer was hilarious! He simply said, “I’m not going to check to see if you have your license, because I know you don’t, but I just wanted to pull you over to greet you.”  I did have my license and was reaching for it, but he just wanted to greet me, just a reminder that I am in Africa.

–          Paying to use the toilet – luckily only happened once.

–          Expensive tolls – we went through around 10 or so tolls, each one costing anywhere from 20 to 68 Rand.

–          No lights on the highway at night- this meant that I had to leave at 6 in the morning to travel all day to get to destinations before dark.

–          Construction everywhere – I went through a lot of construction zones.  Interestingly, they are marked by large rocks placed on the road to prevent people from driving in the designated construction area.

–          No hotels – instead of hotels, there are bed and breakfast places and random guest houses.  Had quite an interesting stay in the middle of the country on the way back.

All these things made my road trip interesting.  Thank God for safety and fun along the journey!  

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Posted by: heartstransformed | March 24, 2012

Doers of the Word

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:19-20

Jesus said GO.  So often, Christians try to make things easier by just inviting people to come to church.  Nothing is wrong with inviting people to church, but we must not forget that the great commission says to go.  We need to go out to people, touch them, love them, and share the gospel.  Yes, this means going to places that are not always in our comfort zones.  People often tell me that they could never do what I do.  In reality, any Christian can do what I do.  There is nothing special about me that makes me better at going into the townships of South Africa to share Christ.

The next part of the verse says we are to MAKE DISCIPLES.  This does not just mean add to our church members.  Making disciples means to teach those who trust in Jesus to live in obedience to God.  It means also training them to be obedient in sharing the gospel.

Who are we to share the gospel with? According to this verse, we are to make disciples of ALL NATIONS.  In Matthew 13, Jesus describes the parable of the sower. The farmer scatters the seed everywhere. He does not worry about some falling on infertile ground.  In the same way, we should not choose to only share with people who we think will respond well to the gospel, but we should share the gospel with everyone.  Then, we trust the Holy Spirit to work.

It says in James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

The great commission is a responsibility given to all Christians. Are you going? Are you making disciples? Are you sharing the gospel with everyone?

  • Continue to pray for Sarah and I as we go make disciples. 
  • Pray for the learners to accept Christ.
  • Pray that the learners will be passionate about sharing the gospel with those in their community.
Posted by: heartstransformed | February 17, 2012

There is no one like Jesus!

About 7 years ago, when I went to Zimbabwe for the first time, I learned a Shona worship song called “Hakuna Wakaita SaJesu,” meaning there is none that compares with Jesus.  What I didn’t realize was that this song is popular all over Africa.  Now I enjoy singing it in Xhosa!


Posted by: heartstransformed | February 9, 2012

Life-giving Dreams

It says in Acts 2:17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams”

I remember hearing stories of how Jesus would reveal himself to Muslims in their dreams.  I would always be astonished how God would draw them to himself in such a way.  Never did I think that I would know someone personally who had a similar experience.  One of the girls, OL, who participates in girls’ club, shared her story of how Jesus revealed himself to her.

She used to go to the Zionist Cult until one evening she had a dream that her grandfather was telling her that she was being deceived and lied to, that she shouldn’t go to the cult.  This reminded me of the story found in Luke 16:19-31 where Lazarus begs Abraham to have pity on him and send someone to his family to warn them so that they will not go to hell.

Then, OL went on to say that soon after she had another dream.  In this dream she saw a bright light and heard a voice.  The voice told her that two white girls were going to come to her school and that she should listen to everything they say because they would speak the truth.  A short time later Sarah and I began to teach at her school.  In addition, OL’s teachers chose her to be part of the girls’ club that Sarah and I lead.  OL knew this wasn’t a coincidence.  She listened carefully to everything we taught.  She felt love from us that she had never felt before.  And after hearing the gospel message, she knew why she had the dream.  She decided to follow Jesus! Her life has been radically transformed since that moment.

She used to feel useless and insecure, but now she confidently radiates the light of Christ.  She not only shines the light of Jesus in her school, she also has impacted her family.  Her mother knows that something is different about her daughter.  God has great plans for OL! Pray that she continues to grow and be a bold witness among her peers and family and community! 

Posted by: heartstransformed | January 19, 2012

Breaking Free of Spiritual Bondage

Whether or not we realize it, there is a battle going on around us. This intense battle I’m mentioning is not the physical battle that we can see with our eyes, although it may cause those wars. The battle I’m referring to is the war taking place in the spiritual realm. This spiritual war has been going on since Satan rebelled against God and was expelled from heaven. As an adversary, Satan tries to prevent the gospel from being preached and received. He tries to keep people groups hidden and by causing persecution among believers. He deceives by creating countless worldviews and religions. He hinders us by sending temptations our way. Bottom line, as it says in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;” He wants to keep people from having the abundant life that God gives us through Jesus.

Over the past year, I have seen much spiritual warfare within our student ministry. Since many students have decided to follow Jesus, the battle has become more extreme. I knew that there were forms of bondage among the Xhosa people, keeping them from accepting the truth and freedom found in Christ, but recently I realized the potency of this spiritual captivity.

One thing holding our students in bondage is the Zionist Church/Cult. I had first seen the Zionist Church when I was in Zimbabwe. They would wear all white or green robes and some of them would be holding a cane. But besides the strange appearance, it was their words that disturbed me the most. One of the members said “All Christians have demons in them.” Wow, I couldn’t believe someone would believe such a thing! Then, when I first came to Cape Town I noticed people wearing all white and green, meeting in large fields around the townships. It was upsetting to see such a large crowd completely deceived. Throughout the school year, I would hear about students going to sangomas or witch doctors for various reasons. I would hear about the evils of sexual, and physical abuse, but never much about the Zionist Cult.

Then, one day Sarah and I took one of the girls from our school to help us do ministry at an orphanage. This girl began to open up and share about the effects of the Zionist Cult in her life and the life of her friends. OL…. shared that she used to be involved in the Zionist Church. “The priest would touch my head and I would fall back,” she said. “Then a demon would be in control of me.” “The spirit inside of me would make me angry and make me feel like I had power, like I could beat up a gangster if he tried to harm me,” she said. Then OL…. went on to say that since she has decided to follow Jesus, she doesn’t ever want to go back. She knows it is wrong. Unfortunately, her friends will not stop going, some of these girls being ones that were involved in our afterschool girls club at Mzamomhle. She said they like the power they get from the spirits. In their mind, the spirits protect them from harm. She said her friends no longer come around her since she follows Jesus. She said when a Zionist comes near her and touches her, he or she jumps back and shakes a little like their hand has been burned or shocked. “It’s because God is inside me,” she exclaimed.

After hearing all this I did some more research about the Zionist Cult. This cult mixes Christian and traditional African religious beliefs together. Many people are attracted to it because it has African traditional ideas and beliefs, which becomes attractive for some African people who want to keep their cultural roots in an urban area. Some people are involved in the cult because if offers healing or special power. Still others join the group to appease the spirits of their ancestors. It is clear that Satan has these people in bondage.

They need deliverance that can only come from Jesus who came to set the captives free.  Join me in praying for the students, that they may know the TRUTH, and that the truth will set them free!

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