Mission Trip Report - South Africa, Africa, 1/15/2006 to 5/15/2006 Adventures in Missions

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South Africa, Africa
First Year Missionary

Trip Dates:  1/15/2006 to 5/15/2006
Age Group:  College-aged young adults
Status: Completed
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   Reports for South Africa Trip
3 More Weeks! 17

4/22/2006  By: Kimberly Shaw, FYMer

Hi Everyone,
So yea it's been a while since we've sent out an update - we apologize! However we only have 3 more weeks till we step back onto American soil. Craziness - I think so! This past week we spent our time saying goodbye to those who live in J-Bay. We had a goodbye party for our kids at Ithemba and handed out numerous thank you cards. We seem to know a lot of people here in this beautiful beach town! Our list of goodbyes grew quite long by the end of the week!
So now we are spending our weekend packing our things, cleaning our room and eating everything single food item we will miss once we leave. Believe me the list is long!! :)
This is a hard time for the team - saying goodbye is never easy.
Our last 3 weeks will be spent doing some awesome ministry in Capetown, visiting a farm, riding ostrichs (yes I am the daring one attempting that feat!), bungee jumping, meeting new people and just enjoying this beautiful African country God created.
It will be a great adventure as we move into the final phase of our trip. We would appreciate your prayers as we travel.
Oh one last fun note. So as it is our last final weekend in J-Bay we decided to adopt a little boy for the next 2 days! Yes that's right. His name is Coco and he is a little boy we have known from the community. A week ago he cut the bottom of his foot and since noone takes care of him it became infected. It is now a hole the size of a quarter the skin is rotting. So we decided to be FYM mommies and take him home with us for the weekend so we can take care of his foot properly until we can take him to the clinic on Monday morning. He has no mommy, just a daddy who does not really take care of him. He is a beautiful 2 1/2 year old boy and we are having so much fun playing with him and just enjoying him. Come on - we needed one last big adventure while we are here!

Camp 16

3/31/2006  By: Allison Duhm

I just wanted to put a quick update on asking for prayer for this weekend. We are helping MXP (the base we stay at) with a highschool camp this weekend. Each of us (aside from Holly who's in Zambia) will have a small group of about 5 or 6 highschool girls so that's really exciting and a new ministry for us! So keep us in your prayers this weekend. There are 150 kids coming from Friday till Tuesday.
We have lots to update on but havn't taken the time to do it so after this camp we'll put a few updates on the site! Thanks for your patience!
Thanks for your prayers!

Ali for the Team

New Beginnings 15

3/15/2006  By: Kimberly Shaw, Participant
Bethel Baptist Church-  Cherry Hill, NJ

Whew ~~~ the family festival is over! The tent has been taken down, the people have headed home and the FYM team is slowly adjusting to normal life again!
It was an incredible week of meeting UCSA teams from all over SA, hanging out with the FYM Swazi team and being totally immersed in powerful worship and teaching.
My head is still spinning from all that we have learned.
God is moving in a powerful way and we are just starting to see the tip of the iceberg.
During the week we had the privilege of hearing from two main speakers - Floyd McClung and Ben Messner. They were very effective communicators and really challenged us to not put God in a box but simply step out in faith and let the impossible become possible.
It was a real week, a genuine time of seeking God.
The excitement in the team is overwhelming and yet so much fun at the same time. We are learning and growing and all of the glory goes to God! How cool is that!
So as we head out of Family Fest and back into everyday ministry the prayer is that our hearts continue to burn with the passion and desire to know God better and let the impossible be possible with Him.

Faith 14

3/14/2006  By: Amanda Petersen, FYMer

Some days our work at Ithemba seems dry. When in relationship with children, often times we don't get to see the benefits of our time and energy because the seeds start growing later on in life rather than right now. It's been amazing to watch God work in different ways though our commitment there, and last night our team got to experience one such reward that is new to us in South Africa.

Throughout the past few months, we have been building relationships with Rosie and Soso from Ithemba, two of the most precious girls I have ever seen. After picking them up and dropping them off one Sunday of spending the day together, we had the opportunity to meet their mother, Faith. Rosie is a carbon copy of her mom....you could definitely see where her beauty comes from. Since that weekend, we've visited Faith a few times at work and have always been blessed by her hugs and smiles. This past week we saw her and she asked that us girls come over soon, that she had something she wanted to speak with us about. We scheduled a date and were all very curious what this meeting might regard.

When Ali, Kim, Naomi, and I arrived at her house last night, she made us feel welcome in their wood shack by making us tea and offering us seats on the wood benches that lined the walls. She began by telling us that she had a problem, and that she wanted to speak with us because, "I see God in you people." She shared with us about the pain in her heart, her anger, depression, and feeling of wanting more in life. She showed her appreciation for her job and the bread she is able to buy for her family, yet knows that there must be something more because she is still not happy. She asked us to pray for her and we did. Afterwards, she let us know that she knew she could talk to us about that because she sees how we know the Lord by the time we have spend with her girls. She said she is ready to know the Lord now also! We offered to bring her a Bible and to give her a few ideas on where to start reading, and she said she can't wait to receive it because she wants to know God's promises for her. We spoke with her a bit about the downward spiral of negative emotions and how only through God can those things be resolved. She shared with us a little bit about her history and her struggles with her relationships with Rosie (I guess 13 year olds in South Africa aren't perfect either!). We even starting planning a "Girls Night Out" to spoil her and reward her for her place as a wife and mother. God is so good!

On the drive home last night, I couldn't think anything but, "This is what it's all about!" I think everyday I go to bed wondering, "Who am I to these people? Who do they see me as?" I always hope that the answer is "I see God in you." With the children at Ithemba, I may just be a play-mate or a teacher or a white girl with a funny accent, or to the patients in the clinic, I may be a nurse or a volunteer, or once again, a white girl with a funny accent :) But Faith saw God in us, and that's the reason why we are here. When working with the intention of building relationships, the harvest may not ripen right away, or ever. I am so thankful for God right now that He allowed us to be a part of that family's life and see this beautiful woman come to know Him.

Eunice 13

3/8/2006  By: Allison Duhm


Yesterday was a very sad day. Our friend Eunice died yesterday morning.
We were told by Virgil that she didn't look good on Monday so yesterday we went as soon as we could to go visit her. We pulled up in the van and it seemed like her family was there visiting or something bt we didn't think anything of it, so we got out and walked into a quiet shack filled with people...Sad faces...Empty bed...a sick feeling...I knew. Eunice was gone. Our friend who we spent many hours with, talking, coloring pictures, painting her nails, reading her the Bible, asking about her, making jewelry for her, bringing her treats and sweets and viatimins...She was gone.

I immediatly hugged her frail mother and we sat and cried in each others arms. We prayed and held the people there. There were many tears. The mother was rocking and squeezing me so tight as she wept. I tried to stay strong but I could not hold back my tears of grief and sadness.

As I looked around the room, I saw the pictures we drew for her still hung on the cardboard walls, the fake flowers that Kim bought her to brighten the room still sitting on the dresser, and I knew her nails were still painted hot pink. I also had a card from my Gramma to give to her that day...she never got it.

As I continued to cry and hold her mother in my arms, she lifted her head and said to the group, " I love you" in her precious broken English and through her tears...It was one of the moments in life you never forget.

It was such an awesome picture of the love of Christ...Blacks, whites, and coloreds, all gathered in this tiny run down home, all united by the love for one special woman. Instant unity. If only the rest of the world were like this...

The hardest part about the day was we don't know if she recieved Jesus as her Savior. We presented the message and read scripture to her and prayed with her and most of all lived out the love of Jesus but we don't know... I wish I could say that Eunice went to be with the Lord yesterday but I can't. And that's a hard thing to deal with. It really made me rethink what I'm doing with the rest of my ministries. If I were to lose contact with any of the people I'm ministering to, would I have done all I could for them? It's a great thing to reconsider.

Her son, Sinivoyo, is 9 years old and is now and orphan due to AIDS. Such a beautiful sweet boy left alone. I'm sure someone in his extended family will care for him but still...

We will be told when the funeral is and will attend if at all possible.

I will never forget Miss Eunice Breakfast who lived in Shack #2. The sparkle that came to her eyes knowing that we loved her...She died knowing she was loved...and hopefully knowing our Lord and Savior as her own.

I cried all day yesterday...shocked...but not shocked cause I knew she would most likely die. And even during the day, after I heard she wasn't doing well I thought to myself, what if she dies...but then I didn't think about it again...It was such a sad day. We'll continue to visit her mother and family to show our love and support for them just like we had for thier daughter, sister, mother, and friend.

Thank you for your prayers...they are much needed.

A Tough Day in J-Bay 12

3/8/2006  By: Omi Hunter

This week is the big "Family Festival" for all of the UCSA programs. THere are currently ~250 people living on our little base, getting to know each other, digging into God's word, and worshiping Him. It's been an awesome last few days, as we've had the FYM Swazi team down to visit us. However, because of the preparations and schedule of this festival, we have put our ministries on hold for the week. On Monday, Virgil had the opportunity of visiting Eunice. He sang to her and just prayed for her. He brought us back the report that she wasn't doing very well. Upon hearing this, we decided to introduce some of the Swazi's to the community, and visit Eunice while we were there. When we arrived there, we found out that she had passed away that morning. This is a hard time for us as a team. We have poured into Eunice for the past 2 months. We were expecting this sometime, but not so soon. Pray for our team as we're grieving. We have no idea if Eunice ever accepted Christ, but she definitely saw His love for her. It was encouraging to here from her mom, who said over and over again that she loves and appreciates us. We know that we were the highlight of Eunices last days. We know that we accomplished what God wanted for us. We showed Eunice His love for her through the time we spent with her. Please continue to pray for her 9 year old son, and her mom. Thank you for all your prayers for her over the past two months. We feel that you also had a part in the light that was brought into her home every day. Thank you.

Auntie Matilda 11

2/25/2006  By: Holly Denson

Well, I have been here one month and it has been an amazing. So much has happened in such a short amount of time. We have been involved with the kids at Ithemba, Eunice, the clinic, and Auntie Matilda. I have been so inspired that my life, no matter how little I have, can make a difference. Auntie Matilda is one of the most amazing people with the biggest heart I have ever seen. She has so little, yet everyone in the community we work in knows her and she has made such an impact on her world. She does not have a car, she does not have money, and she is 56 years old, but she is raising 4 kids, none that are her own and she lives to serve others. She loves the Lord with all her heart and trusts Him to provide and meet her every need. By faith, she was able to get a hospice built for the terminally ill, she is currently trusting the Lord to provide all the beds, furniture, and appliances to get the place up and running. The other day, Ali and I went with Auntie Matilda into the community to see two people. We ended up visiting quite a few others before even getting to the first home. One of the people we went to see was a woman and her baby, both have AIDS. The woman was desperate for someone to take her baby, she could not care for him any longer. Auntie Matilda in all her faith and no way of meeting this need on her own told the woman that by the same time tomorrow she would have a place for the baby. I walked away wondering how on earth she planned on doing this. Ali and I asked if there was an orphanage around here and her reply was “No, we are trying to get land from the government right now so that we can build one. We would like to put the orphans in the hospice until it is ready but then we don’t know what to do with them once it is ready to be occupied.” I am thinking, this woman is amazing, she does not even have enough money to buy herself new shoes but her next goal is to build an orphanage. We were walking back to the clinic and as we were going by the hospice, there were people there, moving in the new refrigerator that had been donated. She began dancing around praising Jesus. The next morning we got to the clinic and Auntie Matilda was there, waiting for someone to come and pick her up, sure enough, she had found a home for the baby and they were going to get him that morning. She cries tears of compassion when she sees people hurting and sick and she does whatever it takes to help them. I have been challenged in my own life to live by faith and to love people as Jesus loves them.


2/11/2006  By: Naomi Hunter

Wow…where to start!!!

Yesterday we were woken up at 4am, dragged out of bed, and informed we were going on an ENDURANCE RACE (with the MXP team that we live with). We were split into three teams, boys, fast girls and slow girls (we chose what team we would go on). We were then dropped off at different distances, 65, 50 and 45 km respectively, from Jeffrey’s Bay. We then raced with the other teams to get to our destination point first. WE walked CONSTANTLY for 40km, in the heat of the sun. All we saw for 7.5hours was sand and water. IT was tough, but awesome!!! I had a great time, and God revealed a lot of things to me during this time. Although I was with a whole group of girls ( we were on the fast team), I was alone a lot of the time, and just had some time to think. After 4 hours, God reminded me of the Israelites in the wilderness. They must have had an incredible faith in God, and trusted Moses like crazy in order to stay in the wilderness for 40 years. That’s CRAZY!!! If I was them, after 4 hours I would have said, “Heck with this, I’m going back to Egypt, this isn’t worth it.” It challenged me as to where my faith is...

Our whole team was definitely proud of ourselves during the endurance race. "The Americans (and one Canadian of course)" were always at the front of the pack. I think we just wanted to get it over with and get back to our beds!! WE decided half way along that it was easier to just walk fast the whole time, and not to stop. It’s when we stopped that we started to feel the pain in our muscles. So, we just booted it along the beach. However, we were asked to slow down a lot, and wait up for other people. This taught me a lot about how I (Naomi)treat my team. Often I just go out on my own, and storm ahead, without thinking about the rest of the team. I have to stop being selfish and start thinking of others. It was definitely a learning time in the desert!!!

It was fantastic though. God is definitely beautiful. For 7.5 hours, it was just rolling sand dunes and fantastic beauty!!! I’m pumped that I had this opportunity, even though I’m a little sun burnt today!!!

Babies and Pregnant Ladies!!! 9

2/9/2006  By: Naomi Hunter

On Tuesday and Wednesday I had the awesome opportunity of working in the clinic weighing babies. When we first arrived at the clinic we thought that we would just be watching a nurse weigh the babies, talk to the mommy's, etc...However, after a brief (very brief) introduction we were sent to our separate rooms with a scale and a list of babies that we had to call. It was kinda scary, but an awesome time. I really enjoyed making the babies laugh, and talking to the moms. Many of them are on their first babies, and only young mothers. It is an awesome opportunity for us to just reach out to them, get to know them, and share the love of Christ with them.

It was also heart breaking to take a look at some of the babies medical charts. Most of the babies we saw were very small for their age. We saw a 'white' baby of 7 months that was the same weight as a three year old 'black' girl. It still breaks my heart to see the segregation. Many of the babies are also premature, and have very swollen bellies, and belly buttons.

Today we arrived at the clinic to help a lady from Holland weight pregnant mothers, and take their blood pressure. However, we were a little late (a mix-up in information again). THus, we were able to listen to another lady teach the pregnant ladies basic facts about how to prepare for their baby. Corrita attends the same church as our team does, and has just had her first baby 7 months ago. She is a social worker, but during her maternity leave, she is spending time every week with the pregnant ladies. It was motivating to see her compassion, and the opportunities she is having to go visit some of the ladies at their homes, and tell them about Christ. It is a very practical way to reach out the ladies and tell them about what Christ has done for them.

The Community 8

2/8/2006  By: Allison Duhm

Yesterday morning was fun!

Holly and I went alone with Aunti Matilda on her visits with the poor and sick people in her community. You don't realize how many people are sick until you stop at 7 houses before your scheduled one or two.

So anyway, as we are walking, SUPER S L O W L Y... Auntie Matilda grabs Holly's had cause their the "short ones" :o) and off we go!

It seemed like everyone we saw knew Auntie, and of course we just HAD to stop and socialize with every single one! I started off getting frustrated but then I was like, "Ya know what...I'm just going to enjoy this time and soak in the culture, the people, and the scenery. And while I'm at it I'm going to take some pictures! So I did! And I had lotsa fun.

We visited a really old blind lady, a women with a broken leg, a lady with TB and AIDS, and a few others, then we came to a momma and her baby boy and they both have AIDS. The mother doesn't want her baby anymore because she had to quit her job in order to take care of him so she has no income. Her solution...give the sick little boy away. I just don't understand. Matilda said she'd try and find a place for the boy and she did! We heard about it this morning. So this little boy who screamed and cried when strangers came in to talk to him and ran to his only source of comfort, his mothers arms, will be taken away from her and brought to some other strangers. And this is supposed to be better....ugh...I don't get it. Matilda didn't want to do it but she was afraid of what might happen to the boy if she didn't take him.

Their little home shocked me! I could tell from the outside it was exremely tiny, and then after 4 people were already squished inside, they called me and Holly in. We looked at each other and said with are eyes, "Are they serious?" They were! So in we squeezed! And in this shack they call home, was one double bed and a dresser. Barely enough room to walk past then end of the bed and just enough room to get to the top of the bed...This home is much smaller than most bedrooms! The walls were completely covered in magazine clippings and other pieces of paper, you couldn't see one bit of the wall! It was funny! Wallpaper has a whole new meaning!

So for hours in the heat of the sun, we walked through mazes of shacks. Some extrememly poor, made of anything they could find, others made of cement.

At one point Aunti showed us the little water ways that are built as a sewage system. They are open, mind you, and the kids play in it often. Auntie wanted to show us part of the source...so we followed this cement, trough-like water way between some shacks, around a corner, between a few more shacks, and then she points. A toilet. one little building made of scrap wood with water leaking from it and the water way is coming through it. The whole community uses it. You can decide on your own how you feel about that.

So overall I loved yesterday. Walking is so much better than driving! You get to see so much more! And sometimes the slow, humdrum way of life is more rewarding that the fast paced way.

Eunice (ali's version of our day) 7

1/30/2006  By: Allison Duhm

I just had a very heart wrenching day.
Our team and our leader Virgil left at 9:30 this morning to meet this little lady named Aunti Matilda, I think of her as the Mother Theresa of South Africa, at a clinic so that we could join her on her daily rounds of visiting very poor sick people and seeing what she can do to try and help them.
She does that along with working at the clinic and raising 4 street children as her own. This lady is 56years old and looks much older. She's about 4'10" tall. Darling lady with a huge heart!
Anyway, we waited in the clinic for about a half an hour (welcome to africa!) and as we were waiting we saw this woman come in with her face painted all white and she had a white outfit on and some kind of fur and bones around her neck and a stick of some sort...kinda strange...we were told she's a witch doctor. That was very interesting to see!
So we finally left with Aunti and travelled very slowly house to house visiting some people with diabetes or TB but they weren't real sick, just poor so they didn't have much of a way of getting any food or medicine. One older couple had absolutly no source of income because she had to quit her job in order to care for her husband. So there is no money. Sad sad situations.
As we went on we went to a more poor part of town, shacks lined up, sewage running down the street that children play in, garbage everywhere, broken glass all over with barefoot children running around, and then we came to a house where a lady with AIDS was living. There were a few children running around outside playing on an old matress...a boy laying under a broken umbrella, and I tried to see inside the house. It was very dark. At first all I could see were little holes in the roof where light was streaming in. They looked like bullet holes, I don't think they were but that was the size.
As I walked in this little tiny room of a home my eyes adjusted and I saw her.

Her name was Eunice. 25 years old. Beautiful big eyes...but no life in them.

Groaning in pain laid this beutiful young lady on her death bed with AIDS. She was literally skin and bones. Her cheeks were sunken into her face, her breasts were completely gone, her arms were nothing but skin and bone. Literally. As she lay in this old bed with blankets on her cold body even tho it was scorching hot she told Aunti that her legs hurt and she was almost in tears. So Aunti picked up some sort of cream that she said will take away the pain of death that she is feeling in her legs and feet for just a few precious minutes. I immediatly volunteered to help massage this creme into this sweet girls legs. Her legs were smaller than my forearms, dry, lifeless, she moaned as Aunti and I massaged her legs because of the pain and then she relaxed. After I had sat at the foot of the bed and started touching this woman I thought of what I was doing...I was sitting on a filthy bed touching a woman who may have not been cleaned in days...but I didn't care. My heart broke in a million pieces. I tried to hold it together but I just cried. I couldn't hold back my emotions. She probably only has days to live. She looked like the people you see on the specials on TV or in National Geographic. I never imagined I'd see that with my own eyes and touch that with my own hands. I didn't even think before I went to help rub in the creme. I just immediatly walked up to the bed and sat down before i had even thought. I couldn't NOT help this lady.
I was in shock for about 30 minutes after that. I just cried. Sat in the van and was silent just thinking.
Before we left we had prayed for her and Aunti shared the gospel with her. When we left I walked up to her and smiled as much as I could through the tears and touched her sweet face and told her goodbye.
I will never be the same. God changed my life today. I will never forget Eunices helpless face for as long as I live. It was draining.
Everyone needs to experience something like this if they ever have the chance. We don't understand how much we take for granted.
Please pray for Eunice that she would accept Jesus in probably these last days of her life.
I don't know if we will see her again this week as we go with Aunti Matilda on her rounds but I hope we do.
God has broken my heart yet again...

More Ministry 6

1/30/2006  By: Naomi Hunter

On Sunday night our team, along with Gail and Virgil, had the opportunity to meet with "the mother theresa" of Jeffrey's Bay. She is a short, 56 year old, crazy coloured lady, who constantly made us laugh. We were able to see her amazing passion for the sick in the black and coloured communities we're working in. Every day she works at the clinic from early in the morning, and then heads to different homes to visit the sick who are bedridden. We will be visiting homes with her during the week. This week we are 'getting to know' her ministry, and spending every morning with Auntie Matilda (isn't that an awesome name??? She's so cute!!!)

So today, was our first day in the community. Got definitely showed us his heart when we visited a 25 year old girl who was bedridden, very skinny, and in constant pain from the HIV virus. It was heart breaking, but amazing to see the love that Auntie Matilda and her sister-in-law, Esther, showed her. We were able to pray for her, as well as other sick people, and tell her about Christ. Pray that God will break our hearts as we minister to the HIV/Aids community.

Auntie Matilda as well as other people in Jeffrey's Bay have also had an awesome opportunity to build a hospice for the sick and dying. We went to see the beautiful building. It is going to be an awesome ministry here in Jeffrey's Bay. However, they have no sponsors to put beds, office supplies, and to run the facilities. Please pray for this ministry. It would be awesome to see it up and running before we leave here. Please spread the word about this hospice. If you feel that God is leading you to give to this ministry, please feel free to get in contact with one of our team.

God is definitely going to bless this community in the months to come. It's going to be exciting to see how He moves!!!

Ithemba 5

1/25/2006  By: Allison, Duhm

Well, our service at Ithemba is progressing and so this the number of children. I believe we are up to at least 60 kids every day. And more trickle in everyday! We are just praying for God's grace. We are trying to implement some rules because these children know nothing of dicipline and they are testing us bigtime now! So be in prayer for patience in us. It's very overwhelming and exhausting!
We are going to try and split up age and gender today and see if we can have a little more control over them that way.
Women are not respected in this culture so to have 5 women in charge is not working well since they dont have respect for us at all.
Pray for thier little hearts! They need love, attention, and mostly Jesus! There are some new picture of the kids posted, so check that out! Aside from being naughty they are precious! smile*
God will provide us with the strength we need to make a difference in these kids lives!

First full week in South Africa 4

1/23/2006  By: Amanda Petersen, Participant

Hello all :) Just wanted to let everyone know that we are ALIVE and WELL after our first full week here in South Africa. We've definitely gotten a few trials so far here, but are still praising God and doing GREAT :)

After our first 3 days at Ithemba, we have fallen in love with the children and are excited about the relationships we will be able to build with them while we are here. We often talk and wonder what the 5 of us really mean to them....who we are to them...and what impact we will leave. If our goals are achieved, we will leave this place in 4 months having given them a sense of worth and love and most importantly, Jesus! :)

The diversity in J-Bay is astounding, much like any U.S. city, especially the economic differences. Here we have this beautiful tourist street with a view of the ocean, yet street kids are out and about looking for food, and the locals from the township are going about their business next to the wealthy citizens. One experience that has really impacted us so far is when our group was walking home from a stroll on the beach and Gail (on of our mentors), Ali, and myself stopped to talk to a couple of young girls who we noticed were sniffing glue out of juice cartons. They were extremely high with glassy eyes, snotty noses, and tears dripping from their eyes. They weren't able to hold much of a conversation, but were pretty willing to share with us their names and even admit to the fact that they were sniffing glue. Gail shared with them a bit about the effects of the fumes, and we got a chance to tell them how beautiful they were and how the glue would destroy them. They were only 14. They left us saying they were going to throw the bottles away, but the fact that they wouldn't hand them over to us was pretty much proof that they wouldn't. We are praying that we will run into these girls again often so that we can begin to build relationships with them and hopefully share with them their sense of worth. Please pray that God would protect these girls while they are high, as I am sure they are being raped on a regular basis.

Thanks to everyone who has offered prayers on our behalf...God is listening and providing abundantly! :)

Prayer Request 3

1/22/2006  By: Allison Duhm, FYM

We have a major prayer request! One of our vital team members, Kim, is having some health problems. She has Vertigo which causes dizziness but for some reason now it's alot worse. The world has been spinning for her the past 3 days and it won't stop. We need to lift our sister up in prayer. She is a preschool teacher and has TONS of experiece with children which is our main focus here in J-Bay so the Lord could really use her gifts! Please pray that Satan would leave her alone. And that if God desires to teach her something through this struggle that we would all trust His plan, not our own. I know how she feels from experience because I had to go home from training camp last semester due to mono.
So lift her up.
Also pray that our team would be bound together with Christ so that we can accomplish all the Lord has for us here!
We have had some very moving events and emotional roller coasters this first week and we don't want to get distracted from our work here!
Thank you for your prayers...They are much needed and appreciated!

Ali for the team

J-BAY!!! 2

1/21/2006  By: Naomi Hunter, Participant

Wow...it's hard to believe that the five of us girls are in Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa, for four months. It's amazing here!!!! God is definitely spoiling us!!! So much that in the first few days we were here, we struggled with seeing the need for ministry. We're only a block and a half from the most beautiful beach ever, surrounded by surf shops, and tourists. HOwever, only a short walk away is a very different environment...

On Wednesday our leaders, Gail and Virgil, introduced us to our internship. We will be working with a local church in the black community. Every afternooon we spend 2.5 hours with the children, running a program and feeding them. There is a huge need here. It's overwhelming to see the different lives that are lived, and the segregation between the coloured and the whites. The moment you walk into the black community it's a different atmosphere and way of life. The houses are very makeshift, surrounded with garbage, and barefoot children. It's a place that is rarely spoken of.

Here's a background about the community we'll be working in:
-about 1/2 to 3/4 of the young girls are molested in their homes...how many are raped?
-there are no virgins over the age of 10. In this community, it is a practice that the boys have intercourse at the age of 13. Oftentimes it is easier to target a young girl.
-if a girl finds that she has the HIV virus, she will immediately get married or pregnant, spreading the disease even faster
-the community kicks you out if you are HIV positive. Thus, many women never get tested, and constantly deny that they have HIV.

However, there is hope! Christ is at the centre of the community! Ithemba is the name of the church, meaning Place of Hope. They have many goals: providing a safe place for the children, starting support groups for AIDS patients, teaching the children and women entrepreneurship skills so they can support themselves, and much more... It is amazing the passion and love that they Pastor and ladies or the church have for these children. We're privileged to be a part of that!

Please pray that Jesus will constantly break our hearts with the things that break His heart.

Great First Day 1

1/10/2006  By: Dave Gross, FYM Camp Coordinator

Everyone arrived safe, one time and with all their luggage yesterday! Praise the Lord. We all arrived at our training site and had a great first night of worship, challenge and prayer. Seth Barnes challenged each of the participants as they get ready to embark on this 4 month journey. That followed with a great time of worship in which God moved many to just continue and share and pray together.

Today, the team came out to AIM's headquarters for training. They are all getting along very well together. The teams are starting to gel as they get to know the ones they'll be living with and ministering together with over the next few months.

Thanks for your prayers. May God continue to work in these students lives.

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 The Art of Listening Prayer - by Seth Barnes 
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The Art of Listening Prayer