Monday, September 28, 2009

christmas book

Well the DTS team has gone home, I will miss them but all good things must come to an end. They have helped us a lot with various projects, setting up house churches, working on slide shows, and sharing the love of God with people around Cape Town.

I have also been working on my christmas update book. If you are a monthly supporter you will get one for free of course, but if you are not a monthly supporter and would like one the cost is $15 plus shipping and handling. I’m continuing on the Isaiah 61 theme, this year it is Healing the Broken Hearted. Here is a quick preview of the book...

A Journal entry from a mud hut:

Lying on a floor made of mud and cow dung in the middle of “Nowhere, Africa”, journaling by candlelight, right before bed, is amazing. I’ve slept on the floor of someone’s mud hut three times now and every time I’m amazed at the simplicity of life. Often I try to make life out to be a hectic, non-stop roller-coaster filled with material things, busy schedules, and great conversations over coffee - expecting that all these things combined will somehow give me a greater chance at pleasing God and being happy with life.

The reality is that I don’t need anything extra in life. I think these Xhosa people are proof of that. They wake up at 5 a.m. let out the sheep, fetch water, feed the chickens and begin to cook breakfast,
NEXT DAY; wash, rinse, and repeat.

They have a shirt on their backs, food in their stomachs, and a shelter over their heads. I have to ask myself “were we ever supposed to have more than that?” YES… we were meant for more. We were meant for Jesus and a relationship with Him, and the tools to do His will in our lives. I’ve come to realize that there is nothing wrong with material things, but money doesn’t, and won’t solve the problems in Africa or anywhere else.
Jesus is the answer...

If you are interested in receiving a book let me know ASAP. I’d like to get them printed before I go home for Christmas!

I will also be selling post cards with my flower pictures on them for $5. If you are interested in purchasing any please let me know! You can preview them here! They are all also available in 11x17 inch prints for a limited time offer of $100 which includes a matte board and black frame.

Though I hate all the shameless self promotion that just went on in this blog all of this goes to further my time on the mission field.

Last little thing...
This next month not only will I continue with ministry as usual but I will also be working on a project on the destructiveness on alcohol and will finally finnish up the child headed homes project and we will be coming out with an E-book soon after! Thanks for all your continued prayer. Please keep these things in your prayers and I will post a real update soon!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

living in mud huts again

This last month has been crazy.  I’ve been working with a DTS (discipleship training school) team from Kona Hawaii, and I’ve had a lot of fun working with them.
It all started about 4 weeks ago, I was supposed to meet up with the team in the middle of the Eastern Cape so I had a few options: option one I could fly, option two take the train, option three take a 21 hour bus ride completely by myself to the middle of the most dodgy town in South Africa called Mthatha (without actually knowing it’s a dodgy town).  It’s fairly obvious which option I chose, and I will say if you have never taken a really long bus trip in Africa, I highly recommend it. 

 I’ll skip the actual details of the bus ride and jump to when I arrived at Mthatha.  Upon arrival, I called the backpackers I was staying with because they were supposed to pick me up from the bus station. The lady responsible forgot I was coming and happened to be out of town so I was left with one option… Local transport… Again if you have never hopped on local transport in Africa, I highly recommend it. 
I wave down a “taxi” which is an old minivan, with about 20 other people in it. Only one spoke English.  Everyone in the taxi is starring at me and thinking what is this umlungoo (white person) doing in here.  I tell them where I need to go and we take off.  About 5 minuets later we arrive at a grocery store and they tell me this is my stop.  I tell them no it’s not, and they reply by telling it it’s the only safe place they can drop me off. I assure them I know what I’m doing, I take taxi’s all the time in Cape Town, which they inform me this isn’t Cape Town. 
So I get out thinking to myself, “I don’t know anyone in 1700 miles - what good is it to drop me off in a grocery store?”. I walk across the street to a taxi ring where I struggle to find someone who speaks English and someone who knows where I’m going. Again I end up with a lot of blank stares like, “what are you doing here?”  After about 30 minuets of pestering the taxi drivers and telling people to leave me alone when they asked me to follow them (never follow someone in Africa when they tell you to), I finally find someone who helps me tell someone where I’m going. It was a real TIA (this is Africa) moment, but by the grace of God I arrived safely and was able to meet up with the team the next day and feel completely safe at last.
Once I met up with the team we went on a 7.5-mile hike through mountains, beaches, hills, and rivers over the most beautiful terrain you have ever seen to get to the place where we were to do ministry.  Once we got there we stayed in mud huts with some of the local African families. They cooked us traditional African food and brought us water from the town tap to wash. 
This is the third time I’ve stayed in mud huts and every time I’ve always been amazed at the simplicity of the life they live and how complicated we make our lives.  Yes they have enough food to eat, but no they don’t have that really nice SUV. Yes they have shelter but that second story was never added on. Yes they have water - just not in their house.  Though having a lot of things is by no means bad and can actually be a blessing from God, I am amazed that most of the happiest people I know literally have nothing at all.  I’ve also come to the conclusion that no amount of money can fix the problems in Africa. Though money could help, the thing people really need is Jesus and education.  I really believe it is that simple. Jesus to show people how to live, and education to show people how to make a living.  South Africa gives away thousands of free houses a year, gives grants to every single mom, everyone with HIV, and everyone has free health care. If the government took the money they use for all their free hand outs and put them to education it would solve poverty in this country, I’m pretty sure. 
I’ve been seriously considering actually moving in with a family sometime next year for a few months so I can really build relationships with the people and learn more about their culture and what Gods heart is for them.  After that, I’d like to publish a story called, “Living As the Africans Do”.
After about 2 weeks of building a playground, doing different programs with the youth group, and ministering to our families, I parted ways with the team. They flew back to Cape Town, and I took the bus.  I’m still working with the team in Cape Town. They are helping us a lot with little things that we usually don’t have time for, and things that we wouldn’t actually think of doing, but I’ll talk more about that next time.


Things that stick with you for a life time are not things you see every day. It’s the things that shock you, or make you uncontrollably happy that have the biggest impact on your life.

I thought there was pretty much nothing I could see that would shock me anymore.  I’ve seen things that few people from the West have ever had a chance to see and I’ve seen things that no human should ever have to see.  

That being said, nothing could have prepared me for the impact one of my friends has already had on my life.  Her name is Angela. I met her about 3 or 4 weeks ago doing door to door ministry with my friend Spu.  She was laying in bed talking to us and I honestly thought it was kind of odd, “why is the beautiful girl just lying in bed, why doesn’t she sit up and talked to us?”  

It was then that she lifted her arm out from under the covers.  When I saw how skinny her arm was and that I could see every bone on her hand and shoulder I automatically knew she was sick with the disease that has claimed so many lives in Africa.  

Now I have seen this many times before, when people are so sick and skinny from this disease that they don’t have the strength to get up out of bed. It wasn’t the site that shocked me. It was the story.

Angela’s mom sat there and told us how every prayer she has ever prayed for her daughter had come true.  She prayed that she would always be in a loving family. When her dad got drunk and abusive he left and was never heard from again. She was able to love her daughter the way God intended, she had her loving family.

When it was time for Angela to go to school her mom prayed that God would provide a way for her to go to a “white person” school.  God opened that door, and she got a good education and because of that she got a good job after school.

Angela now has a daughter of her own but is unable to look after her. The prayer now is for healing, Pray for Angela to get her strength back, to be able to walk, be well again, to be able to mother her child and love her the way that her own mother loved her.  Though Angela may have made some mistakes there is forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ.   A once bright future has been dimmed by mistakes made, but it can also be re-lit and redeemed by the power of God. 

I personally believe she will walk again, work again, and live a totally normal life again.  God’s grace is unmeasured and can not be contained.  Whether it’s from the medicine she takes or just a complete miracle she will get better.

I hope you will all join me in prayer for Angela.  

Angela now has a daughter of her own but is unable to look after her.  Please pray for Angela:
 * to be healed,
 * to regain her strength,
 * to be able to walk, 
 * to be well again,
 * to be able to mother her child,
 * to love her the way that her own mother loved her. 

Though Angela may have made some mistakes there is forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ.   A once bright future has been dimmed by mistakes made, but it can also be re-lit and redeemed by the power of God. 

the list

Day 1: Alcoholism
I could probably trace most of the problems that are faced in South Africa with Alcohol. Pray that the men would put God and their Family’s above alcohol.

Day 2: Orphans
Pray that orphans would have a loving home to go to and that the HIV/AIDS pandemic ends with this generation.

Day 3: Baby Dumping
A growing problem in South Africa is girls giving birth, not knowing what to do with the baby and leaving it in the middle of a field, or dropping it down in the gutter. Pray that God would provide ways to care for the children, and show the mothers how to love their children.

Day 4: Street Kids
It is estimated that their are 10,000 street kids in Cape Town alone! Pray that God speaks to these kids, and provides ways of getting off the streets. Their are several NGO’s who help kids get off the street but most kids wont go, Pray God gives them the desire to change their lives.

Day 5: Jobs
In a lot of communities the unemployment rate is 75%. Pray for job creation, and pray against complacency, because a lot of people are capable of working but wont.

Day 6: Spirit of Poverty
Pray that God breaks the spirit of poverty over this nation, people feel stuck and don’t feel like there is any way out!

Day 7: Spirit of Helplessness
Similar to spirit of poverty, people feel helpless, Pray that God gives people an I can do it with Gods help attitude. Nothing is impossible with God.

Day 8: Single Moms
Pray that people would only have sex within marriage, If I had a dollar for every single mom I’ve met in Africa I wouldn’t need to be on support.

Day 9: Child Headed Households
I’ve spoken a lot on this in the past! Pray that God would inspire people to open up NGO’s who help child headed households! Pray for provision!

Day 10: Granny Headed Households
If a girl has a baby outside of marriage in Africa it technically belongs to the grandmother, a lot of times the grandmother does not have the means to care for kids anymore and also holds old beliefs when it comes to education and tribalism. Pray God would instill the importance of education to grandmothers, and teach the grand children in biblical ways.

Day 11: Gangs
Little known fact Cape Town was recently named the second most dangerous city in the world second only to Johannesburg, which is also in South Africa. Pray the police would crack down on gangs! The biggest gang in South Africa is called “The Americans” sad I know...

Day 12: HIV/AIDS
Everyone knows of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Pray for a decline in numbers. Millions of people die every year due to HIV in Africa.

Day 13: Drugs
In some schools in Cape Town the teachers estimate that 75% of the kids in the class rooms use Crystal Meth. Pray that people who make and sell drugs to kids would be put out of business and come to a relationship with God.

Day 14: Child Abuse
Child abuse is very apparent when you work in townships, you see signs of it every day. Pray for people to value their children and that they see them as the future and as a gift from God.

Day 15: Education
Though a lot of teachers are great, a lot don’t care. A lot of teachers look at their students as hopeless causes and as a result the students do not always get the education they are promised by the government unless they can afford to go to a nicer school. Pray God gives the teachers and educators a passion for their jobs and a love for the kids!

Day 16: Prostitution
Pray that God sends people who can show love to prostitutes the way God intended love to be! Most prostitutes are very broken inside and feel a lot of shame and guilt... Thats not Gods heart for them!

Day 17: Discipleship
Africa is a very evangelized place, everyone knows who Jesus is and most would call themselves a christian, but what is lacking is discipleship, no one knows what a christian life style looks like, remember the bible says make disciples, it doesn't say make converts. Pray that God will send long term people who are dedicated to disciplining a nation.

Day 18: Homeless
Homeless people are all over Cape Town. Pray for shelter, and food to be provided, and for the help they need.

Day 19: Corruption
The man who was just elected the new president of South Africa just a few months ago, has been on trial 4 times in the last 2 years. Twice for corruption and twice for rape. He has gotten off all 4 times through loop holes and other tactics. This is just one example of corruption in the governments in Africa! Pray that God ends the corruption!

Day 20: Trafficking
South Africa is one of the few places in the world were people are trafficked from within as well as to and from other countries. It is estimated that somewhere between 40,000 to 100,000 people will be trafficked in South Africa as sex slaves for the 2010 world cup. Pray that this trade is eliminated! Pray for the freedom of the captives!

Day 21: Living Conditions
Most people live in tin shacks which get cold and wet in the winter time which causes mildew build up. Pray that the government follows through on their promise and builds everyone proper housing.

Day 22: Separation of Classes
There is a hugh separation of classes in South Africa, there is a normal middle class like you’d find in America or Europe, but there is also extreme poverty like you’d find in the rest of Africa.
Pray that God closes the divide between people.

Day 23: Cape Town
Cape Town was recently named the second most dangerous city in the world. Pray that the police would get a handle on the crime.

Day 24: Johannesburg
Johannesburg is named the most dangerous city in the world, pray the same as above.

Day 25: Child Soldiers
Though child soldiers do not exit in South Africa there are still about 200,000 child soldiers in Africa! Pray that the UN will finally act on this issue that they have known about for a long time. Pray that world leaders would stand up and put pressure on the armies here to not use children.
Day 26: Racism
Though a lot has been done sense the apartheid ended in 1994 there is still a lot of racism among whites and blacks. pray for further reconciliation.
Day 27: Tribalism
Much of the conflicts in Africa still have to do with tribalism. People also mix their tribal beliefs with christianity due to lack of discipleship. Pray that God breaks the bonds of tribalism but at the same time keep their culture.

Day 28: Rape
In America someone is raped every 4 minuets, in South Africa someone is raped every 23 seconds. Pray for men to respect women!

Day 29: Orphanages
There are a growing number of orphanages in South Africa, Pray that God continues to provide for orphans, and that more orphanages continue to be built!

Day 30: Faithful Husbands
In Xhosa culture it is perfectly acceptable for a man to cheat on his wife. Men often have several women who they see on the side making themselves and their families vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Pray that the men of this country will be faithful to their wives

Though I gave you guidelines on how to pray feel free to dig deeper and pray what you want into the issues, If you have any questions please feel free to ask! I could probably list another 30 issues if I thought about it longer!

interesting foods

One of the most common questions I get asked is, “How are you eating?”  As in, are you eating enough?  Are you eating healthy? What kind of food are you eating? 

I find this questions kind of funny actually, in that my food budget is about $4 a day.  I usually eat toast for breakfast, then a PB&J sandwich for lunch, and mince and stir-fry or chicken, stir-fry and noodles for dinner.  I do eat a lot of carbs such as, bread, noodles, rice, but I also eat a lot of veggies, apples, bananas, other fruits.  So as you can see, though I can’t exactly afford to be on the Adkins diet, I eat very good. 

By now, you're probably asking yourself, "what is the point of this blog?  What’s this guy going on about?"  Well about 1-3 million people in Africa live on $1 a day in total.  So this next month (June) I am going to do a $1 a day fast. 

I will pay my rent, communication, and transport bills at the beginning of the month, (which I have no choice but to pay) but after that I will only be allowed to spend $1 a day.  That includes food, entertainment, and any other expenses one might have. 
I will literally buy my food on a day-to-day basis. I can’t buy the whole months worth of food at once and have it average out to a dollar a day.  I can’t use the peanut butter that I didn’t use this month. I have to start from the beginning.  If I only spend 50 cents one day, I can spend $1.50 the next. 

The reason I am doing this, is not to toot my own horn, but it is to place myself in other people’s shoes so I can understand what it is really like to go to sleep hungry every night.  Though I know I’ll never fully know, hopefully I will have a better understanding. 

I will also be praying over several things over the month of June, which I’d like to invite everyone who reads this blog to join me in prayer. 
I’m going to make a list of 30 things that need prayer in Africa and every day focus 1 hour (that’s right one hour) a day in prayer on each one of these issues.
I will also do a lot of sitting and listening each day for God’s heart on each of these issues.  (I’d also like to invite you to partake in this) 

The list will be coming soon…

Also If you have not seen the details for the trip I will soon be doing please click here

keeping it simple

This last month has been pretty busy for me so I'm sorry for not being in contact!

Earlier this month, I had the chance to travel to the Eastern Cape in South Africa which is a much more rural area than Cape Town.  The purpose of the trip was to work with and document some child headed homes. (It’s a project that we’ve been working on for a while and will continue to because the issue is very heavy on our hearts) The trip didn’t quite go like I thought it would, but I think it was really important for my relationship with God to go on this trip. 
God spoke to me a lot about simplifying my life, and taking out the things I don’t really need.  We slept in mud huts, (which I actually love doing!) had dinner cooked on a fire for us, and had water fetched from a community faucet every day.  I don’t think I need to live a life that simple, but I do that think cutting out a lot of things in my life that I simply don’t need, and instead placing things in my life that I do really need, like more time focusing on God, are important.  

When we arrived at the child headed home we discovered that the children's father had just passed away un-expectantly so it had just become a child headed home and the whole extended family was there.  It was a sensitive time, and we didn’t spend as much time as I would have like, but we did get to pray with the whole family, (20 people) I think God uses those little situations we find ourselves in ways we could never imagine. 
I know I’ve talked about the issue of child headed homes a lot, but the more I dig into it, the more heart breaking it becomes.  It’s an issue basically ignored by the government, and the local communities try to cover up the fact that they exist.  What often happens in the communities is the kid’s in these homes are distributed throughout the community and become household slaves, and usually are served the smallest portions of food and mistreated badly.
We as a church NEED to pray into these issues if we want to see change!  Please, get together with your bible studies and spend a little time in a group praying into the issue of child headed homes.  God says in his word when 2 or more are gathered in his name he will be there also! If everyone who receives this newsletter spent 10 minuets in prayer for child headed homes a day for 1 month that would be hundreds of hours of pray from all over the world.  Change can happen, justice is possible, mercy is a prayer away, and we as a church are capable of all this!

Pray people will take their HIV medicine, a lot of times people don’t take it consistently because they don’t see the affect of HIV right away so they don’t see the need. If they take their HIV medicine they can live much longer lives and their family’s wont be left behind.
For more on what we are doing as a ministry visit: and see the current projects page. 
For pictures of the trip go to thoughts on photography and shooting in the Eastern Cape

For giving:

Patricia Robinson
Missions Accounting Coordinator
YWAM Tyler
PO Box 3000
Garden Valley, TX 75771-3000

Make your checks out to YWAM. Make sure you don’t write my name anywhere on the check for legal and tax purposes! Write my name on a sticky note that is not on the check or a note card!

all good things must come to an end

Well as some of you know I am moving to another apartment soon, but I am going to miss this place, as you can see from the picture above I have a view of the ocean, and a mountain.

Another reason I liked this place was because the gangsters and street kids hang out right on the corner of the building so ministry was never far away! That being said it also had it’s challenges too in that I could never get away from ministry...

In the end the reason I’m moving has nothing to do with the gangsters and street kids on the corner, they always made things interesting during the day. It’s the cockroaches in the building I’m in, for the past few months we have had a serious cockroach infestation and we think it’s from the neighbors because we have done everything to get rid of those things and nothing has worked.

So we are moving to the other end of the street where we no longer will have an ocean view, but we actually have furniture. I’m actually not sure when the last time was that I had furniture in the place I lived... other than a mattress on the floor. So God continues to bless us everywhere we go.

Though this blog update actually has nothing to do with the ministry I’m doing I just thought I’d post it because it shows God’s faithfulness in the little things, as well as the big things. He’s looking out for us.