The energy flying into this city was incredible! The World Cup games had began the day before so soccer fans were EVERYWHERE. Never in my life have I been able to play soccer in an airport with people from italy, Algeria, Scotland, England, Canada and camaroon. Let alone in one of the most dangerous airports of the world, J-Burg. But it was so cool to see how one thing like a soccer ball can bring together people from all over and provide a window of opportunity to share what we are doing.
Our actual stay in Durban proved to be a difficult few weeks for myself and team. Our first week was spent at a local church helping establish a VBS program. They really don’t know what “kid’s ministry” is so we were helping some Canadian missinarys instill a vision for the future. But our attitudes were crap to say the least. No one wanted to be doing it, most of us felt like we were not being used at all as there were onlyl 10 kids and 9 leaders. We ended up having to stay at the church with no shower use and no transportation, and tension just seemed to be building within our team dynamics. But God is faithful and gracious, PRAISE THE LORD, He did not give up on us. For me it was a turning week as I began to see that it’s not the big things that count-it’s our heart and laying down our rights so that God can move how HE wants to move.
God gave me Psalm 95:6 one day-“come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker…” and hit me with the fact that we are called to worship Him in all circumstances. He is our Lord, why wouldn’t I trust that the VBS is where we were meant to be? Sure, it may not be what we felt was the “right” ministry, but we have the responsibility to worship God in our circumstances, both fun and not fun. So God really humbled me to begin to see the week as His divine workmanship. And as it turned out, hearing the kids’ testimonies at the end of the week were enough to bring me crying to my knees that once again God knows best!
The second week we worked in various settings-one of the key people that impacted us was a lady named Petra. She has a huge heart for the homeless and prostitutes of Durban. She has established a safe house away from the city and as she goes out on the streets every night, sees numerous people accept Jesus into their lives. It was encouraging and challenging to work with her as she is a woman with more boldness than I have ever seen. I would be lying if I said it was easy and I was not afraid walking the streets at 11 pm at night in South Africa talking to prostitutes and homeless people, but it was incredible to see God move in their lives and see Him provide oppurtunities to pray with people and share His love.
Lastly, we also worked with a local “House of Prayer” church, consisting of some very hospitable and loving Indian women. They bent over backwards to make us feel at home in Durban, from providing home-cooked lunches on the beach, a prayer walk of the city and a free pampering session for our entire team. Their love for God flowed effortlessly out of them as they ministred to us and blessed our socks off! It challenged me to view my time, recources, food, money…everything as gifts from God that are given to be used to bless others! They were a wonderful example of believers living out God’s love!