Uzoma Isichei, a Premier Gospel presenter always end his show with these words;
“Wherever God leads he feeds, wherever God guides he provides.”
I’ve always found these words quite encouraging, at home in the UK and now on my one year placement in South Africa.
So far I’ve felt as if I’m walking around in circles, trying not to get into a panic, trusting God with this part of my spiritual journey. I am reminded that God is the master planner, to keep still and let him calm the storm, that there is no need rushing ahead recreating what’s already created.
I’ve changed my placement and I’m now volunteering with the YW – Cape Town (previously Young Women Christian Association). Here I’ve set up a listening space including mentoring, guidance and counselling. In my spare time I am doing research for the Restitution Foundation on the theological view of restitution in South Africa’s context. Through the YW, God has provided me with support and accommodation only a short walk from the city centre. Wherever He calls you, He will guide, protect and provide.
In contrast to my previous newsletter, I am slowly adjusting to South Africa but there is this need to preserve my identity not only in Christ but as a British and a Jamaican so as to avoid succumbing to the legacy left by apartheid, where people are still treated very differently based on the colour of their skin.
I find myself having conversations with visitors from the UK on how England is a great place to live on this planet and having this urge to sing words of the hymn Jerusalem.
And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
As well as shout out God save the Queen!.
Recently I travelled on a train – a 20 minutes journey from Cape Town to Claremont. I was shocked by
what was supposed to be first class but I was even more shocked travelling back in rush hour in an overcrowded, wet, smelly, noisy first class carriage with people pushing to find space, even hanging out the doors. Thank God that one of the residents of the YW was with me. Otherwise I wouldn’t have coped.
South Africa is plagued with service delivery protests especially with the upcoming election on 7th May but that’s another story to tell.
I really feel that God has guided me to the YW-Cape Town and provided me with a safe haven there.
Isaiah 40: 31 (The Message version) states “But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.”
Being at the YW is not only about giving but receiving through support and associating with the young ladies. I’m learning to be and to look after myself more as well as gaining guidance and direction for my life through the counsel I am giving to others. I truly believe that counselling is a two-way street and when you allow the Holy Spirit to work in the counselling room, wisdom and counsel are available for both the counsellor and the counselee. There is no expert in the room or I should I say, one expert and that is the Holy Spirit – He is the great Counsellor. While God uses human counsellors to minister to us and guide us, the ultimate Counsellor is the Holy Spirit, Who guides us into God’s truth (John 14:26;16:13). He is always there prompting us, prodding us, encouraging us, guiding us, and maturing us through all the challenges of our lives.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” ( 1 Cor. 1:27-31 NIV)
During my time here in South Africa, this prayer has been a blessing.
“The Four Fold Franciscan Blessing”
May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. May God bless you with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. May God bless you with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen
There have been a lot of discomfort especially in leaving my comfort zone for a new country with different customs and attitudes; the initial discomfort with finding accommodation coupled with the instability I experienced in moving around. There have been a lot of anger at rude people and lack of customer service. There have been a lot of tears; nothing could have prepared me for South Africa. Changing my original placement may seem foolish at the time but I had deep conviction that I could make a greater difference elsewhere and this I feel I am doing at the YW.
“Even in the wildest storms the sky is not all dark; and so in the darkest dealings of God with His children, there are always some bright tokens for good.” (Robert Murray M’Cheyne) [Letter: 6 February 1839]
Ralph Waldo Emerson states “Life is a journey, not a destination.” My counselling slogan is “You don’t have to walk this journey alone” I am certainly not walking this journey alone and I’m thankful for all the people God has provided along the way to bless and discourage me as they have helped to thrust me on the path that God is leading. I am now living Psalm 71:1 “You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.” [New Living Translation]
My time here is self- funded along with support from friends and family. My shortfall each month is £150.00 (approx.R2,700) so please support me if you can via my website http://missiontosa.yolasite.com or email me for my mission account details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all those who are supporting me through monthly pledges and one-off donations. May God bless you abundantly in exchange for your generosity!
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
…. to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory. (Is. 61: 2-3 MSG)