So, outreach is over, DTS has finished and I’ve arrived safely back in the land of reliable internet and chocolate Hobnobs. I have to admit it is a little bizarre to be back. The houses are warm on the inside, the sun doesn’t go down until 9:30pm and it seems to be permanently raining. One good thing you can say for the weather is that it makes it amazingly green here. I’ve never seen quite the same shade of green as the English countryside anywhere else in the world, and I’ve been to quite a few places now. It’s one of the things I miss the most when I’m away, along with the food, and the people of course.
I’ve been back for a grand total of 3 days, and seem to have spent most of that time unpacking, doing laundry and attempting to wade through the bureaucracy surrounding South African temporary residency laws. Even with all the paperwork to keep me busy, I’m still missing my Media Village family. It’s hard to spend every waking moment with a group of people for 5 long months and not miss them when they’re gone. We were warned about this, and I’ve decided to be pro-active about it, so, with the sadly diminished remains of my welcome home chocolate cake by my side, now seems like the time to look back over the last 2 months of outreach and to begin to tell our stories.
Our time on outreach in White River and Dondo has been extraordinary, exhausting, surprising, challenging and completely life changing. We were privileged to take part in dozens of ministry areas, spending our time teaching, babysitting, painting churches and pre-schools, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick in their homes, ministering to children and youth, preaching, performing, ministering to prostitutes and drug addicts on the streets of Nelspruit, and sharing the gospel in unreached areas of rural Mozambique. As you can imagine, both the scenery and the lifestyle were a bit different to what we had experienced in Cape Town.
In many ways our experience of outreach was out of the ordinary. The favourable reception that we received wherever we went, and large events that we took part in, meant that over the 6 weeks that we were serving, we reached over 15,000 people, prayed with and ministered to over 10,000, saw thousands give their lives to the Lord, and witnessed hundreds of healings. God was so good. Wherever we went we were witnesses to His amazing love and goodness. We saw the lame walk, the blind see and the mute speak. The numbers we were privileged to serve were huge, but even if just one person had heard the gospel and been saved, the whole journey would have been worth it, all 6,844 kilometres of it (we’re pro’s at coaches, minibus taxis and chapas now).
There are so many wonderful stories and amazing testimonies from this time, and I’m hoping to share a few with you over the next few weeks, as they deserve to be told properly, but for now all I will say is that there is nothing that my God cannot do. The changes that have been wrought in our lives through seeing God’s unwavering faithfulness have been wonderful. We will never be the same, and neither will the lives of those we encountered. And what’s even better is that it wasn’t our doing, but God’s. We are just a group of young people that wanted to spend more time with God and see His kingdom grow. We’re nothing special. In the eyes of the world we don’t count for much – only 3 out of 15 have a University education, only 6 are over the age of 21, and none of us has any money, yet God did incredible things through us. It just goes to show that He can and does use anyone that is willing to say ‘your will be done, Father, not mine’.
That certainly is an encouraging thought.