It has been raining this week. Not that I want to talk about weather and wind, but the thing is that it does not rain every day here in our town. But it rains now, it rained in January and it rained in September. It always rains when Stefaan, our base director, teaches on the Holy Spirit. It does that wherever he goes in the world.
We have had two DTSs visiting, apart from the two that are running on our base at the moment. One from Mossel Bay and from Mauritius (I have never met anyone from there before!) It is crazy when Stefaan teaches, because he demonstrates more than he speaks. In all honesty quite a few of the students have been scared, but it is at moments like these that I appreciate my own walk with God. Speaking in tongues was a huge struggle for me (but I really wanted to!) and to be baptized in the Holy Spirit was a looooong process before it finally happened. So I have experienced a big Shephard's heart during this week. And now I do not think there is anybody in the class who does not love the Holy Spirit.
Yesterday five guys and two girls were baptized in the pool as the rain fell down. One of the guys, who did not have any experience of the Holy Spirit before the DTS but still have been very open during the week, was so slain in the Spirit as Stefaan baptized him that three men had to carry him out of the water.
That is what it is like in our town.
”We are a nation without value” is what the people of Haiti think of themselves. This morning three ladies from our base shared their experiences after a month working in a clinic and counseling in Haiti. The ladies, originally from America, Namibia and Zimbabwe, said they have never seen such poverty - not even in Africa. Haiti was a poor nation before the earthquake that killed 200 000 people, but now people do not have houses, and if they do, they still sleep outside because they are afraid. People do not have clothes and most of them have never worn a piece of new clothing in their life, always getting things second hand.
Next month the rains will start. There is nowhere for people to go. Sanitation is non-existent and people do their business wherever they feel like it. The rains will most probably cause typhoid and cholera to flourish. The worst thing, our ladies say, is the hopelessness of people. They are apathetic, but on the bright side - God is using the situation now to bring people to Himself. People have seen that voodoo does not help them and many say that there must be a purpose to them surviving.
Ida, Mawuse and I are excited to go to Haiti in July. We hope to work with the YWAM base in Port-au-Prince. It is only being pioneered, but the greatest needs are in the capital. (There is also a YWAM base in St. Mark.) Our challenges will be with hygiene and the stench, I assume. On the other hand, security and food will not be such an issue as we first feared.
The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned. Matt. 4:16
When I was little (11 years of age) I thought I was going to be a missionary in Italy or perhaps France. Or Portugal. Europe. The old Christian countries.
The other day there was someone saying that if the third world does not start sending out missionaries to Europe, Europe will be Muslim within 20 years.
I mentioned Daniel from Brazil, Julia’s father, earlier. He is one who has a calling to the Nrodic countries and it almost makes me cry. (His eight-year-old daughter on the other hand has a passion for China and she often sits with the Chinese - asking questions and thinking about how to get into China with the gospel.)
In all the teaching we have there is one thing that really makes passion rise in me - missions. When someone talks about taking he nations and asks, ”Who is going to take Europe ... North America ... Asia ..?” Then my heart beats a bit more distinctively. When God says, ”I want to birth new things, who is willing to go?” - that is when I feel myself come alive.
The old Christian world need to be re-taken. And we need all the help we can get.
Last Saturday I fled 42 degrees celsius in Worcester and went into Cape Town. The other night I saw that it was 28,5 degrees. The time was 7.30pm and I thought, "Oh, how nice that it has cooled down. I should bring a sweater." Interesting how you get accustomed to certain things. People that have to dig out their cars from the snow - or like my sister - need to use a blow drier in order to open her front door to get out feels very foreign to me now. Cape Town was like a fresh oasis: wonderful to be by the ocean. The beauty of Cape Town has a wondrous effect.
Coming back to the base, I was told that most people had been sitting in the pool most of the day. Even the Africans. Anyway Laimon from Zimbabwe said he had seen Julius in the pool. One girl from Zambia said, ”Yes, I saw that the pool was coloured.” Very funny, thought the Africans.
Speaking of which, Hilaire from Cameoon told me the other day that he had learnt how to swim. ”I am the first black man on base that knows how to swim!” Very proud was he. African humour at its best.
Julia is eight years old and she is from Brazil. Her parents are missionaries. I either meet her by the pool or like the other day, in the dining room. Every time I see her she exclaims, ”This is the best day of my life!” Or if you would ask her how she’s doing she answers, ”Couldn’t be better!”
”But Julia, how can every day be the best day of your life?
”I don’t know! But if I have ice cream, it’s the best day of my life! Yesterday was the best day of my life because I got to play mini cricket!”
”So, why is this day the best one of your life?”
”We’re going to the mall!”
”What are you going to do there?”
”I don’t know! But we are gonna eat there.” The mall has a few good restaurants. And air con. So consequently, that is where YWAMers in Worcester go. There is also a cinema. It costs 36 rand (3,60 euro), except on Wednesdays when it is 18 rand. The base is pretty empty Wednesday nights... Julia continues reflecting on the best day of her life.
”Last year was also the best day of my life because then I also got to play mini cricket!”
”So, Julia, do you want to say something to the readers of my blog?”
”You have to enjoy life! I’m a kid, I need to enjoy my life!” Then she writes in Portuguese on my napkin,
”But I write that you need to be happy. ‘Vocé te qi se fese’ though I don’t write Portuguese very well.
Daniel, Julia’s dad, who is also doing the Creative Leadership Seminar with me, once told me how Julia had been sitting with some guys playing cards. One of the guys was not doing very well, shouted and hit the table. Julia asked him,
”Have you had your quiet time today?”
I think I also need to look for something every day that makes this the best day of my life. Starting it off with God is always a good idea...
From the age of nine, at least, I was determined to become a missionary. Everything I did during my school years was focused on a future in missions. After I finished school I did the Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) with the expectation that God would take me into missions. during the DTS God did not show me the next step, so I went home to have a year when I sought God for what I should do. In the middle of that year he told me to study theology. That was honestly not on my list of things to do in life, but I had told God I would do whatever he asked me to do.
I was at university for ten years doing theology - not because I liked it so much, believe me, I would have quit anytime would God have opened up something else. From the summer of 2008 something started to happen, even though I did not know what. But God was dealing with me in new ways. During the years I had sought different possibilities to be involved in missions, but that real breakthrough never came and I was quite desillusioned with God at times. What also happened in the summer of 2008, was that a Methodist acquaintance who was working in YWAM contacted me, asking if I would like to be part of their Troubadour project in South Africa. The foundation of the project was sharing the gospel artistically while travelling. My heart ached, as this sounded like My Dream. But I did not feel God was releasing me.
Nine months later my contact in South Africa got back in touch with me. I talked to my parents about the possibility of working with the world’s largest missions organisation - as a volontary, as nobody in YWAM receives a salary. My parents were very positive and suddenly I felt there was a ‘yes’ in my spirit. I was very excited as I had had a sense that God would show me the next step toward the end of February 2009 and this was the third week in February!
I talked to my church and they were equally excited and I started making arrangements, most of all to finish my Doctorate in theology. And so, on Januray 8th - almost a year after God had showed me the next step - I defended my dissertation and a week later I was on my way. During the first week here I felt like I had ARRIVED - not just physically in South Africa, but in my destiny.
Welcome to my blog! This is the place where I will share my adventures, being stationed in Worcester, South Africa. It will be personal, but I hope that it will be inspiring at the same time, as well as informative about the work I am part of. I will give you small pieces a few times every week and you may check the updates as often as you like! I am also happy about comments!
I arrived one Saturday in mid-January to Cape Town preparing for the world cup. I had heard that the temperature was around 40 degrees celsius - which was pretty different from beautiful snowy Finland. But it has been alright. More annoying than that is the Internet access and phone system... But I would rather have that than meeting a black mamba.
At the airport I received a warm welcome when the officer saw my visa.
”Oooooh, YWAM Worcester, I knwo them!”
”Oh, do you?”
”Yeeeees! But have you heard that they have a black mamba in Worcester?”
”No, nobody has told me that.”
”Aaaaaaah. You must be careful!”
”Ok, miss Finland. I’ll see you at YWAM in Worcester!”
It was a good start.