May 16th, 2017 – Night Before My Trip
I always pack last minute. As a master procrastinator, it’s what I’ve always done. 12 hours until I start my journey across the world, and my clothes are just coming out of the dryer.
Over the past 9 months I’ve been a student in the Antioch Discipleship School, or better known as “ADS”. It’s a 10-month class where one of the main objectives is to learn your identity in Christ. The tagline is “Give one year to God..be changed for a lifetime.”
I’m being picked up at 9am tomorrow morning for my first mission trip overseas. I’m hopeful that it won’t be my last. I’m super nervous. This year, our class will be travelling to Cape town, South Africa.
Earlier in the year, we had a scavenger hunt where we grouped up into teams to play a game to find out where we were going on our two week mission trip. At the end of the scavenger hunt, I stared at the flag of South Africa in disbelief that I would be going to Africa.
I never really had plans to travel to Africa. For the months leading up to the trip, I was a bit apprehensive and tense about what to expect. Here I am now less than 24 hours before the trip, and I’m mixed with tons of emotions. I’m sure i’ll be fine as soon as I’m at the airport.
Getting on the plane at Chicago for our trip to Capetown
May 17th, 2017 – Waiting at the Gate to Chicago
I didn’t realize how much downtime we’d have at the airport. We arrived at Detroit Metro Airport at around 9am to make our way through security.
We are taking a short, connecting flight to Chicago O’Hare before travelling overnight to Layover stop in London. So, we are leaving Chicago for London at 5pm, and won’t get to London until 7am
Lady on our flight to Chicago knew Nate. Struck up a conversation. He mentioned going on our mission trip. Lady asked for what church. When Nate responded, “Antioch”, she said oh I’ve heard of that church.
Do you know a guy named Caleb? Nate didn’t, but the guy sitting next to us did. The Caleb guy worked for his dad. The lady was confused and wondered if the guy was also a part of the trip with us. But didn’t know each other #smallworld
On the plane to London
I don’t wanna just be a Christian on mission trips, or Sundays, or just “part-time”. I want to make living for Christ a lifestyle. I’m still learning what that means. I think the one thing I’ve learned the most these past 9 months is that I’ll always be learning for the rest of my life.
Especially when it comes to the things of Christ. I’m still trying to understand how to have so much confidence in my faith yet be humble when I speak. Sometimes I say things that are probably out of line, but the believers I’m surrounded by have more mercy than I have faith.
It really showed me my ignorance to the things of God. I came into ADS being very cynical of the church. Mainly because people have been hurt by the church: when the church is supposed to be the safe place. The church holds the responsibility of the Great Commission. I feel like in the bigger picture the church as a whole has succeeded wildly.
At the same time it’s a paradox in my mind because if every generation of believers had done the task God was calling them towards in the fullest, more non believers would have come to know the lord. There would be more believers in heaven receiving more hefty rewards from God.
I have a feeling that when we get to Heaven we’re gonna realize all the missed opportunities we had. Because of our selfishness. Because of our own plans. Our own desires. So ya. That’s what I’m thinking of right now on our flight to Cape Town.
I also fear that i’ll be the person in scripture that gets his reward for looking like he’s Holy and a hypocrite for reading my bible in public with the wrong intentions; even if it’s a good thing. My heart needs work. I think it will be an ongoing project for my whole life.
I think I’ve come a long way since August, but now it’s May and I’m still not perfect! Ha! I wonder why. Maybe it’s because I’ve been missing the point of everything we do in discipleship class. Even if I’ve received a word of knowledge from God about who I am. I feel it’s in vain when my heart is not aligned or humbled towards God’s heart.
I’m afraid I don’t or won’t ever have a heart like Gods. I guess the best part about all of this rambling about my insecurities is because I don’t need to be perfect or have any works to prove faith to others; including believers and nonbelievers alike.
Jesus has done all the hard work for me and I usually get too caught up in learning about who I am in Christ to just simply accept the reality of the power Jesus has and has chosen to share with me.
I fell asleep in London on the boat tour of the famous river I forgot the name of #jetlag
Saturday, May 20th, 2017 – First Morning in Capetown
Our house is surrounded by walls. On top of the walls are metal spikes, preventing anyone from jumping the wall. On top of that, there’s an electrical fence. Just in case…
It made me realize how protective you had to be in Cape Town. At first, I started thinking wow; our country isn’t like this. There are no walls surrounding my house. You can walk right on up.
For just a second, I thought my country was “better”. That was because I could physically see one of Cape Town’s problems. I mean, there’s absolutely no way anyone’s getting over that fence.
And then a light bulb went off in my head, and I started thinking; most of our homes in America might not have physical walls surrounding our properties with electrical fences. But most of our hearts do.
In fact, the more I thought about it; most of us guard our hearts more fiercely than just putting up a 6 foot wall with spikes and another foot of electrical fencing. Most of us have multiple fences, with spikes; barbed wire; then you have the security checkpoints. Sounds more like a prison.
At any point; you can reject help. If someone says something you don’t like. BOOM. They’re gone. You must leave these premises. This walling up of our hearts make it hard for God to come in and heal us of our hidden pains. Things we hold on too, far too often; for too long.
In that place, we leave spaces for sin to creep in. God wants to work in those places, He wants us to change our hearts, and tear down these walls. So..after all of that; I don’t’ look at Cape town as a scarred city that is worse off than my own.
I believe God’s allowing me to see Cape town in His perspective. The only difference between Cape town’s walls and Americas walls is our walls are generally guarding our hearts; and they’re much more guarded than a 7 foot fence.
We woke up to find our hubcaps stolen. We took a visit to the market where we had food and got to socialize with others. Our mission mentality is to be on the lookout for potentially spiritually hungry people.
Nate and I with others from the team as we went treasure hunting
Nate Woznick and I were paired up as travel buddies. There was a guy we passed that has a shirt that said “Jesus is my King”. This happened as we were treasure hunting. I just smirked because God made it easy for us to spot spiritually hungry people, as long as I was being faithful in listening to Him.
However, Nate and I kinda shrugged it off as an anomaly or coincidence because there was another Antioch team in the market too (from Houston). So we just assumed this guy was from that team.
Nate & I kept walking. We decided to go eat. Long story short I decided to listen to God and go back and find that guy to talk with him. So Nate & I went back walking. Couldn’t find him.
We finally stopped searching for him, and I turned around and saw the guy we were looking for. I introduced myself and asked if I could pray for him. I prayed for him being able to reach the unreached. He said he got goosebumps. It turns out he was down in Cape town interviewing for a position in a church for doing outreach for the unreached.
He was so happy we prayed for him. He felt super reassured of being in Cape town was the right thing once I started praying for him as I mentioned his object without even knowing it.
Afterwards, we ending having flat tire. We got it fixed. I tell you this random tidbit because we believe in the moments leading up to the flat tire and for the whole of the first day we were fight a spiritual battle. Satan did NOT want us in Cape town and he was doing anything & everything to get our spirits down so we would take our eyes off of God.
That’s because we were called into Cape town for a divine mission and we have been trained to stay and remain in the lord’s presence. Later in the day, we went to a park to try and scope out who God wants us to speak with.
This phenomenon is called “treasure hunting”. It involves talking and praying to God for specific words of knowledge of who to speak to in real time. It’s’ super effective because God is super effective. During our time, Nate & I spoke with an older gentleman that was asking if we wanted our shoes shined.
He was hungry and was looking for work for something to eat. We asked if we could pray for him, and pray for an abundance of work so he could provide for himself and his family. He said he was a born again Christian and loves prayer.
We spoke with him some more, gave him some change and invited him to the church market we have planned for that Friday.
Fixing our Flat tire. Ted is a superhero
Monday, May 22nd, 2017 – Community Outreach
I love team time. We worship. We encourage. We engage with scripture. We are filled up with the Holy Spirit. We are then sent out for the daily mission.
Side Note: Ted is practicing prophecy and got a word that it would rain tomorrow (Tuesday). Cape Town really needs rain.
Today, our mission was to help Antioch Cape town get to know the neighborhood a little more. Our place is about a 10 minute walk to the church. When we arrive to the church, we are met with the local church leaders as well as the intern team that is staying with the Cape town church for the next 3 months establishing connections throughout the city.
Today our mission is to survey the surrounding neighborhoods and ask them a few questions about the state of their neighborhoods. Here’s an example of a few questions:
- What are two needs in your community?
- What are some personal needs that you might have? (This question is more personal, but an opening for prayer)
- Are there any organizations trying to meet the needs you’ve addressed in this community? (This question is asked to help church leaders potentially reach out to like minded community leaders and establish connections)
- What can the local church do to help meet the needs of the community?
This is a mission trip. So, we were sent out in 5 teams of 4 with maps of the surrounding areas and where we were to reach out and talk with people.
Once we were walking in our “survey zones”, we were to be treasure hunting for people of peace. If this is the first time you’ve heard of this it’s ok; it’s new to me too.
Treasure hunting is just the simple act of calling out to the Holy Spirit through prayer asking Him to highlight something about a potential person, place or thing to be on the lookout for. For example, we will take time out ot pray and ask God to highlight a possible attribute about someone that He wants us to speak to.
This is an act of being led by the Spirit, and it works quite effectively for an outreach strategy. Today, I got the color yellow. Sometimes we get a hit, sometimes we don’t. The simple act of having faith in speaking what you think God is saying, IS the very act of practicing walking with God and learning to understand the Holy Spirit speaking to you.
It sounds crazy, even for a mainstream Christian; but if you believe in the God of the universe, it shouldn’t be too hard to believe He speaks to us. Our team went out for a few hours and we got to engage with some business owners and students that live in the area.
We got some great feedback and more importantly we got to pray for them. We spent 90 minutes going around in the community and our whole team of 20 people spoke with close to 60 people, 30+ people were prayed for, 10+ people were interested in learning more about the church. 1 person was healed. But who’s counting?
So ya, there’s that. And just to clear things up, it’s not really about the number of people you reach, but I did want to leave you with some context. The people of Cape town are so open to being spoken to about Jesus it’s crazy.
We have been having an easy time reaching out in the community finding people that are spiritually hungry. I personally believe it’s because of the way Antioch has structured short term mission trips. They allow for ample time together in the morning for “TWTL” or “Time with the Lord”.
We have coined that our new phrase. So, we spend time each morning with God, then come together for 3 hours of team time that includes de-briefing from the previous day (if necessary), worship, encouragement, reading scripture, and briefing of the days marching orders.
This team time allows for all of us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, which is absolutely essential in the mission field. Tending your heart and spending time with God and the Body of Christ is an essential part of our success when we go out for the day.
I forgot to mention they drive on the opposite side of the road (and it was a stick shift van)
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 – Longa Outreach
I’m just going to be blunt about today. But, I have a feeling I have no idea the impact I might have just had or the power that i’m wielding through Christ. I mean seriously; people are getting healed.
Close to a hundred people were prayed for. Darkness is fleeing. 5-10 people were legit healed of pain or chronic ailments; and everyone we talked to felt better.
It could be because we’re Americans is South Africa: however; I haven’t let the Devil hold that thought captive in my mind at all, and I simply stated that because it was brought up at some point on our mission trip.
We are missionaries whose time has come. We are the hands and feet of Christ. Ok, back to the having no idea thing. Longa is a poorer township in Cape town.
It’s the oldest township in Cape town; so in my opinion, you could it’s ground zero of the oppression of freedom. It’s where blacks and colored peoples were displaced to when the apartheid was instituted in South Africa decades ago.
I have full faith that Longa will be ground zero of the restoration. God is taking back land in the townships. He is going to star taking back His land for His people. This is His redemption story. I am so blessed to be here.
People with cataracts were healed today. Healed. Did you hear me?? Healed. No scientific explanation. The living God healed a real person in real time in 2017. Pain in others’ bodies dissipated.
I don’t even understand this power God has allowed me to wield for Him. And all I’m doing is opening my heart for God to work through me in loving ways. That’s how God changes the cities. He doesn’t take land back by force, He takes it by love.
Now, this is my first time on a mission trip, so if you’re a Christian reading this it might seem either weird to you or completely normal. If you’re not surprised by any of the things I’ve said it’s probably means you’ve been smirking and geeking about God revealing Himself to a worker in the harvest for the first time.
If you’re’ not a believer, you’ve either stopped reading by now, reading to find out how crazy I am, or a close friend of mine.
We ran out of coffee within 45 minutes while doing outreach on Capetown University Campus
Update 2018 | Reason for Writing
I wrote this while in Capetown experiencing God at work while on my first mission trip.
This was just a quick, brief synopsis of some of the highlights of the trip, and doesn’t cover half of all the amazing stories.
One of my goals is to write my first book, and I always thought my first book would come in the form of writing about my business.
Well, I have thought about it for the past 2 years and truly want to dedicate the time to writing my first book as a whole experience I had during my time in Capetown.
Thank you for reading. I’m so excited to see what God is going to continue to do in Capetown and the world.