24 January 2010

South Africa Update #8

The team is on their way home.

They sould be on the ground in San Antonio around lunchtime on Monday!!

21 January 2010

South Africa Update #7

The rains are falling in Johannesburg. And when the rain comes in Africa, it often comes in buckets.

Sure enough, the team had to put one ministry on hold due to the rain - they were to collect street children for a little mercy ministry project. The idea was to bring the street children to the church, feed them, give them a place to shower, and then send them on with new clothes and full bellies. That will wait for tomorrow, which will be here soon enough.

Instead of helping the children, the team again hit the prisons hard, ministering to juveniles who were awaiting trial. The response was great and the team is sleeping well tonight in anticipation of a HUGE day tomorrow that will start at 4:45am.

Tomorrow, the team will tackle two prisons (including a female prison). In addition to their work behind bars, they will be feeding and handing out soccer balls, ice pops, and jump ropes at the local squatter camp. If that weren't enough, they'll then be running a Youth service for 100 high school age kids at Mayfair Baptist. Somewhere in between all of that, they still aim to find and feed the street children.

Their reward? Time on Saturday to visit a lion park outside of Johannesburg.

Keep praying that they would finish well. They are headed into the last days of ministry and they will need all of the strength they can muster to finish strong.

And keep praying for Ryan, that he would transition into his role as a full-time missionary with grace and that God would steal away those hurdles to his being obedient and effective.


20 January 2010

South Africa Update #6

Just a joyful report that as the team went to sleep Wednesday night, they were in great health and great spirits. No signs of upset stomachs and plenty of full bellies.

They had an African BBQ (known as "braai") with the Africans they are staying with and, of course, Pastor Willie. A Burundian war-refugee played a solo "concert" for them and a young Zulu showed off some traditional African dancing.

Those times of fellowship and relationship are lasting memories that the team will cherish. After long days of pouring out oneself in ministry, it is often the laughs around a fire that sustains the missionary.

Praise God for His provision and for a SAFE first half of the trip!!!


South Africa Update #5

The team is again making the rounds at schools and prisons today, encouraging the believer and inviting the seeker.

Among the two biggest events left for the team (and the two that will require the most preparation) are services run through Mayfair Baptist Church in Johannesburg.

First, on Friday night (noon in Texas) the Youth of the church will gather and the Grace Point team will be completely in charge of programming a night for them. The team was only made aware of this yesterday and so is planning at the last minute and praying for a good response.

Earlier on Friday, the team is planning an outdoor church service at the Joe Slovo squatter camp near the church, the same one where they have been feeding the children all week.

Prayer Requests:
- That the team would be confident in the plans the Lord has before them and work without anxiety or worry.
- That the nightly devotional time would continue to produce discussion and deep questions as the Lord grows the faith of those on the trip.
- Pray for health on the team, as Stefani is the latest person to come down with an upset stomach.
- Begin praying for Ryan Callahan. As the team gets closer to leaving, he gets closer to being left behind. Pray that God would be his strength, his companionship, and his inspiration.

19 January 2010

South Africa Update #4

The team broke up today, with some members running programs at schools and other members ministering to the prisoners at Johannesburg Medium B Correctional Centre.

Word is that the team members are starting to come together and that not only is great ministry happening during the day, but that the nightly devotionals are taking on a new depth and meaning.

In addition to all of the work of their Tuesday, the team was able to do some shopping at Bruma, a traditional African outdoor market. With hand-carved curios, soccer jerseys, paintings, and traditional clothing, there is something for everyone at Bruma. Between that and a lunch at CIRO's pizza, the team is said to be in high spirits and ready for more hard work coming up.

Prayer Request:
That the team would continue to get along so well and that the honesty and openness would continue to develop as the impact of all they are seeing and doing begins to settle into their souls. These are the days in the trip when one's heart starts to really internalize all that the eyes have taken in. Pray for the Lord to press in deeply.

18 January 2010

South Africa Update #3

The team enjoyed a Monday of ministry. Although a school visit was ruled out due to weather, the team was able to minister to the men of the Johannesburg Correctional Centre (a maximum security facility).

In addition, the team got to get up close and personal with the residents of the squatter camp nearest the church where they are serving. The team was able to feed the children there and to build a rapport that will allow them to continue to serve the residents for the rest of their stay...

Prayer answered:
Kelly is feeling better!!!

17 January 2010

South Africa Mission Update #2

Just heard from Stefani...

The team is preparing for their Sunday night service. All are generally well and excited.

Prayer Requests:

- Kelly is sick to her stomach. Pray for a quick recovery and for God to teach her even in the ugliness.
- Crystal's bag has still not arrived. Pray for that situation to be worked out and for God to stretch Crystal in the uncomfortable place she finds herself.
- The team is exhausted. Jet lag + Time difference makes for a sleepless first night for most of them. Pray that they get rest tonight so they can be truly alive as they tackle a difficult week of ministry.

South Africa Mission Update #1

(Intermittent Updates on the Grace Point South Africa Mission Team will be posted here...)

Post #1

The Grace Point team has arrived in Johannesburg. An uneventful (if long) flight found them safely on African soil. After a late-night dinner at McDonalds (only place open after dark), the team was to sleep in preparation for Sunday ministry at Mayfair Baptist Church. The team will meet the church in the morning and have a special Sunday night service where they will do all of the music and teaching.

(FYI - Johannesburg is 8 hours ahead of San Antonio...)