Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Butuan Aftermath

I have finally come to a place to write my last official blogpost about the trip to the Philippines. After a crazy trip home and me contracting an even crazier eye infection (not fun), some recovery - physically, emotionally, spiritually - I feel ready to write this last post.

As I shared consistently throughout the trip, I fell deeply in love with Butuan and the Philippines. Being in missions from birth, literally born on a YWAM base, I have experienced many trips, projects and people that I've been in contact with in my almost nineteen years of life. Each time I loved fully and a piece of my heart was given, as I choose to live wholeheartedly in the spirit. This often means your heart breaks and it hurts often, but that is a worthy sacrifice when then given an opportunity to love! 

That being said to add some context, I have never ever experienced as deep a love as I have when I was in Butuan. It was unreal! The two weeks consumed me fully with love and passion, and then the pain that followed in leaving hurt far deeper than normally. My heart broke when I left, and I will long to return until I eventually do return. I was in no way ready to go back to Frankfurt, even though I have nearly always spoken positively about it and do in many ways love it and have made it my new home. 

The last few days already caused my heart to begin to crack, and I cried on each of those days before heading back to Germany. Though Sunday was a day of wonderful celebrations! We celebrated the 3rd anniversary of Kingdom Life Butuan, and a bountiful harvest. The work put into this event was just astounding once again. How many volunteers came together to work on this event, and just how beautifully it all came to be. The beautiful fruits are already seen when it comes to Kingdom Life Butuan!

Everything done by the team and congregation was clearly blessed and anointed, I just know so many lives were touched by all the work of joyful hearts that went into these items all together.

We were also able to celebrate the talent of Yrah Lee with many of KLB family even after the long event. She was fantastic! The Regalas are truly bless and annointed, and I'm so glad to have met them. I also incredibly enjoyed the time we had with them and some other close people on the last day, going to Britannia Islands.

Though those few days were filled with great joy, I could still feel my heart break each more. I cried during each goodbye, and I cried so much that the one air hostess even asked me if I'm okay and needed anything (Jesus thank you for kind people). It was one of the most difficult goodbyes I've ever had. 

Now after a few days of (forced due to eye infection) rest, I have done a lot more processing of everything. My heart still breaks at not being in the Philippines right now, but I am also truly choosing to be positive about my home in Frankfurt and the incredible opportunities I have there - because there is so much to be grateful for. 

My unique upbringing again blessed me in allowing my heart to have many homes, and I'm glad that Butuan is now one of those homes. I cannot wait to return!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Through the Eyes of a Child

Saturday // For whatever reason, I found it really difficult for the first time to fully experience God's presence. I just couldn't get into the space that I'd been getting into the previous days, where it felt like I'd get lost in another realm when experiencing the love of Jesus, and it took me a while usually to adjust back to reality. But then, I struggled and I felt a heaviness.

At some point during the morning service, this beautiful little boy came up to me and just laid his hands on my legs. He held my hands during worship and just cuddled up to me, looking up at me and repeating the word "Gwapa" (which means beautiful), over and over again. This interaction melted my heart, and God showed me the awe He has for me and His children. 

I spontaneously decided to join the kids program as Aris shared in the main service, and then the Spirit led me to teach them songs and lead the lesson, though this just felt like a normal and natural thing to do. Only later did I realise the impact it may have had. At the end of the service the children sang the "I am special" song I taught them. I realised again they blessing it is that Jesus would use me to show the worth they have, that they belong to Him. My heaviness was realised and I felt a gentle touch of Him.

Thereafter we shared an incredibly delicious meal with Pastor Berwyn and his family, and I enjoyed how we all had the opportunity to share hearts with each other. Liberty, Pastor Berwyn's wife, prepared some sweet things we reminded me of treats I would have back in Cape Town. Oh, this trip has really made me feel at home but made me feel homesick all at the same time.

One of my favourite parts of the trip was going to Ambago to work with the kids. They made it home for me in many ways, and there "don't forget me" comments hit my heart in every direction. All I wanted was to stay with them. I love them.

God showed me His love and was faithful on a day that I felt I couldn't feel Him. His love never fails.

The evening ended with some preparations for the KLB anniversary, and I just enjoyed every moment with the wonderful people I've built meaningful relationships and friendships with. They have my heart and how I wish I wouldn't to always be so far from them. My heart now has another home.

His Seeds

Friday // Galatians 5:25 was put on my heart months before coming to the Philippines, and now has been a recurring theme when being here. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." God has been doing that in my personal life, giving me my own revelations. But it's even greater to see how God has been bring revelations to many in our time here and I know He will continue to bring revelation to those who are here.

We started our day travelling again for about one hour to Pastor Zabala's church, where Aris shared a message on Jeremiah 29:11. It is wonderful to see how people rejoice in worship and fellowship here, regardless of what the congregation or church is like. People are ready for prayer and are open to any words of faith which may come, and are quick to respond to what the spirit says. The culture here is warm, friendly and hospitable. They are willing to give so much away, even when they have nothing, but they are afraid to ask. I really felt heavily on my heart for them that God wanted to show them that they shouldn't be afraid to ask God for the desires of their hearts, because God is the very one who put those desires on their heart. 

I remember feeling like I didn't really need to have too much faith on my own, because of the missionary home I was raised in I felt like I could depend on my parents to pray for all our needs when there needed prayer. I later realised that I also didn't pray specifically because I was scared of being disappointed. That maybe if I named exactly what I wanted to God that I would be incredibly disappointed after and that would cause a damage to our relationship. 

I remember the moment I realised this was last year when I was talking to my parents about my ticket to Korea and Germany, and how there still wasn't money for the ticket and for me a simple prayer just didn't feel enough, I felt like they needed to do more. I remember how my parents told me to have faith and trust, because God has always provided for us, and that I just needed to ask for it. I remember the aggravated feeling, and me feeling like I was going to get hurt - which is interesting in retrospect, because God had really always provided, even if sometimes I felt like I had less than my friends at school. God truly had provided, but again in that moment I felt like my dreams were going to be taken away from me because of lack of finances. This was a deep pain, because being in missions often means that there are ways we go without, and faith is a huge key in there being provision. 

I cried that day and my heart broke when I realised that I hadn't realised that I'd been depending on the faith and prayer life of my parents, with semi my own, instead of entrusting Him with everything. I prayed and named my hearts desires. The next day the money came in from someone covering not only ticket to Germany, but my ticket to South Korea and all my family's tickets to Germany. My faith has only been getting stronger since then.

To be honest, living abroad alone is really, REALLY difficult at times. I feel in many ways I have been thrown into the deep end of adulthood, besides the normal leaving Highschool and starting university. Suddenly rent, deposits, budgets and taxes have become part of my daily life (along with cooking, dad - you're the best cook). Providing for myself at eighteen requires a lot of faith too, as if something goes wrong and so far away from my family, it can be very daunting.

Two weeks before we left for the Philippines I had my hardest two weeks since I moved to Frankfurt, to the point that I just wanted to move back to Cape Town. The weight of what I needed to do and fix felt a burden I no longer could carry. I trusted God that when I was in the Philippines that He would give me a fresh light and perspective on everything in my life, because I didn't know how to continue.

Wow, is He faithful. I feel like this fresh and raw struggle gave me a much deeper authenticity to what I would share on, that I could empathise in a more real way. I felt and experienced everything even more deeply than I usually would.

For example, a moment shared just holding a child at the orphanage and having her fall asleep in my arms felt like a divine moment. Watching Christina lead them all in communion moved me. Hugging and kissing them all goodbye hit me. God shifting and moving. 

The evening was a time of fellowship with the volunteers who give so much to build the kingdom. They are incredibly faithful and diligent with what the Lord has given them. I am beyond blessed to have met them, they have taught me so much.

I am heartbroken to be away from them, but they played a role in my life, and I hope I to a point played a role in theirs. God planted seeds in my heart and I hope I have been faithful enough to sew them.

Monday, 17 July 2017


I've attempted time and time again the past weekend to write another blogpost, and I was unable to bring myself to do it. I never comprehended that I would fall so in love with this city and this country, and each time I tried to start my heart would break into further pieces as I thought about leaving I would start crying. 

Well now I'm still crying, but at the airport as we prepare to board our possibly delayed plane to Manila and then to Hongkong, then lastly Frankfurt. Right now it feels though I will probably cry the whole trip back, but I also hope that I will get some rest. 

The more and more I reflect, the more and more I'm amazed how in such a short space of time that I would feel so at home and loved and make family. I am the type of person who feels everything deeply, and I knew it would hurt when I would leave, but this is a new level that I've never experienced before. I found family and friends, and I leave so incredibly blessed by the experiences, memories and relationships made. 

I will catch up and write posts about the last weekend still for the next few days, I just couldn't bring myself to do it just yet. I'm rather heartbroken right now, but I truly believe this isn't the last time I'll come here. My heart has a huge chunk which is being left behind here.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Leaving my Heart in the Philippines

With a little bit of a blues singer's voice (thanks dry air conditioning in my room) I headed over to share on a national radio station about "Preserving the Next Generation." Though my voice was scratchy I really enjoyed being able to share a theme that is really close to my heart. That if young people could see the powerful voice that God had equipped them with, that they would never again stay silent but to roar for the Kingdom. I hope that my message even reached one person, that those seeds sown will be reaped with sweet and wonderful fruits.

Jonnalyn, Pastora Roszel and I left after the radio meeting at 5:30 am to have coffee and share our hearts. Each day I get to know these people more and more, and each day it gets even harder to think that I soon have to leave them. I enjoyed being able to share about anything, feeling that I've known them for years, and not merely a few days. 

Threreafter Christina and I took part in a fun photo shoot, being spoiled with a makeup artist, costumes, and the best company and photographers. It was enjoyed, even if I'm quite the awkward model.

I ended up spending my whole day at Kingdom Life Butuan instead of going back to the hotel. I laughed, sang, made jokes and told stories with everyone, continuing to build the relationships that have beautifully started and formed. 

Aris hadn't been well, so I led the girls' life group with Pastora Roszel. Oh my, the girls are just lovely. I shared on the Proverbs 31 woman and how it relates to us in a modern world. That God created us with our unique strength and beauty, and He will equip us with all we need for each and every step we take. 

In the evening we once again ministered to the street kids and then spent time with the volunteers, and I fall more in love with all of them again. Jesus really has really been overflowing into me and my love then overflows. What a blessing! I don't think that I could really want to leave - or more so I know that I must come back.

The night ended with a "not so great" mango shake for me, but a great meal and  company with Pastor Julius, Pastora Roszel, Andreas and myself. It really touched my heart when Pastor Julius shared that he could really see me living here for six months and working here, because in many ways I feel the same. God will guide the way!

No Longer Slaves

The words we speak have power over our life, and worship is powerful form of declaring God's promises over our lives. There is power in declaring the greatness of our Saviour over our us. 

Yesterday this was seen as we worshipped with prisoners in a jail yesterday. That experience will be right up there with the most surreal I've ever had. The power of being unified singing "No Longer Slaves." My heart broke as God showed me the love He has for them. To look past the problems and the "surface" level coverings that everyone will see at first glance, and see their hearts. Wondering what could've lead them to make those choices, and how perhaps that could've been prevented. But despite what those choices lead to, God can always restore and refresh them.

As we spent that morning preparing all the packages for the prison, I started praying for the day ahead. I knew that going to the prison would probably be the part of the trip that would stretch me the most.

The way they worshipped was beyond powerful, the freedom that was declared. They may have been in a physical prison, but they had freedom in the spiritual realm. They had been set free by Jesus.
I cried there, cried as we left to the car, and cried on the car trip back. Because the Father's touch is powerful and gentle at once, and it was like a tidal wave that had crashed over me.

Again I enjoyed spending time with Pastora Roszel and Yrah Lee, getting pampered at the salon and sharing a meal (though we quickly realised Pastora Roszel's watch was incorrect, and we had to rush to the church).

I shared the difficult part of my testimony on a public platform for the first time during the prayer meeting at Kingdom Life Butuan. How at fourteen I had been violated, and how that crumbled me some to such a low worth and self-image and lead to my anxiety, hospitalisation, and three year process of feeling truly worthy of love and purpose again. How I could at the end of last year call my mom and just cry, because I finally found completely happy and at peace again.

I knew that it was important to share it, even though it was difficult, because I know there are sadly many girls, women, and people who have gone through a similar thing to me. That I could at least understand to a small degree, and the spirit guides me to empathise with the rest.

It was testimony to me how I've truly come, that I felt able to share my story without feeling ashamed and dirty. I know that I'm worthy and pure. That I'm worthy of love. I pray that Jesus will show this to me everyday, because it isn't out of my own. There is no way I could do it in my own strength. Some days are also harder than others, and some days the anxiety is so strong and real again that I feel I could barely get out of bed. But my God is stronger, He turns my test into a testimony.

There is no way that I could ever look back on my story and not see God pulling the thread all the way through and bringing it all together. He is still healing me and will use me to show others that He can do the same for them.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

My Unique Upbringing

I found myself yesterday continuing to reflect on the blessing I've had, and how I was fully equipped by how I was raised. Naturally I could never ignore my convictions, that what breaks my heart could never be ignored, because how I saw my parents go after that. I could never sit back and do nothing, because I have a knowledge of the need of the world. My heart breaks and therefore I must do. 

But what I'm learning more about myself in this time is that my pastoral heart and my heart for preaching had fully been encouraged too by the leadership of Pastor Richard Maybery. The way he called out my purpose in me before I could even see it. We had plans to go to India together and he always told me he was training me to be his next pastor, though at that time I just thought it was funny. From a very young age he challenged me with theology and books that most six year olds probably never would have access to it, but he would sit and explain it to me until I understood. He believed in me before I saw what he believed.

I remember the crushing feeling of knowing I'd never have that trip with him, that my whole childhood of training with him felt like it had gone to waste. I wish he could see me now. I hope he would be proud to see me preaching and doing what he encouraged to me to do what he does in the Philippines. 

Going to the tribal churches and having the opportunity to preach and meet the people, I can preach and lead from my heart as if I'd been doing it my whole life, because of my unique upbringing. I'm continue to be grateful. 

Christina also was able to preach yesterday at one of the churches, and we were both blessed by the openness of the members. Their hearts and ways.

My day, with Andreas, ended with a challenged of trying Bulat with some of my KLB friends after a Facebook comment thread. I'm always willing to try something because I want to fully explore the culture, but yesterday was really a sacrifice. A sacrifice was worth it though to continue building the wonderful friendships I've made. 

A Day of Rest and Reflection

A day of reflection came on our Monday. We were all given the opportunity to rest, but Andreas still chose to share his incredible testimony at 5:30am on radio. What a powerful testimony it was! 

I personally was going with Pastor Roszel to go have my hair done, because it's super cheap here, but also to bound with the wonderful woman of God that she is. Unfortunately at that point it didn't work out to do my hair, but I was blessed with the opportunity to be able to spend time with Pastor Roszel, and later Dani Mae too. As a child of ministry we were able to connect on many things, even so early in our relationship we are able to understand each other without even audibly communicating at points. The coffee and food was delicious, but I enjoyed the fellowship far more.

After us three quickly popped over to the market to pick up more fruit for me, and then joined up with the others to have some bonding with the Regalas.

The sightseeing afternoon ended with the tastiest meal at their home, and the day off was well needed and enjoyed. The whole KLF team rested well that night.

Yesterday was also a day of reflection for me. This last month before coming to the Philippines personally has been really difficult for me, and I've felt really exhausted and tested. I prayed that God would refresh my perspective on what I'm doing with my life, to show me the purpose of what I do in my everyday life, and then to show what should be removed when it is taking away from that. 

God has been faithful, and He reminds of His truths each day. He again reminded me of how Pastor Richard Maybery and I were going to travel to India together in the November after I turned 16, and how we had prepared for it for years. I was reminded by how broken I was that I would never have the experience with him after he passed away. God told me then that He would be faithful. 

I smile now at 18, being led to the Philippines by another Pastor Richard M., knowing that God has kept His promises. That all that laid (and lays) heavily on my heart will be released by my Father who cares for me.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Bountiful Blessings in Butuan

During this week I was astounded by all the impactful experiences I was having each day, how each day was filled with missions work and being His hands and feet. At some point we asked Pastor Roszel about the program they had put together for us while in the Philippines, only to realise that this is how they actually live their everyday lives. That we get to come along and live what they live each week. If that doesn't put things into perspective, I'm not sure what else will. That we get to come here for two weeks and join during our missions trips, but they are living their missions calling each and every day of their lives. Whoa.

Now I'm an avid believer that your everyday experience is your mission field, and that Jesus can equip you to be a "missionary" still in a sense with each simple task you complete. But I must say nothing really leaves me quite as alive as I am when I am living the missions like I'm living now. It would give me great pleasure to serve like this constantly, but I also know that my studies and getting my degrees is incredibly important to me to have the papers and qualifications to fully reach and impact the lives of the people I want to work with. Yes, God equips us, but I want to be able to study and know all the laws and ways to fully know and be able to help. To have those qualifications to be able to have the open doors and opportunities to do more. I hope that one I have them I would even be able to be able to be employed to do therapeutic trips for my music therapy - God can make a way! 

A few of the girls who I've formed a with will constantly ask me to please stay in the Philippines, or at least promise to come back. I'm careful not to make promises that I may not be able to keep, but I do tell them that I would love to come back. They even added they would try find me a husband if it would mean I could stay. All you can really do is smile. Though a dream is that one day I will be joined to someone who shares this heart like I do, because I don't think I could live with someone who didn't. Who couldn't give me the space to live my calling.

Yesterday was filled with absolutely  anointed church services. From the house church where Aris shared, and from being given the blessing for me to preach in the Butuan main church, to a service dedicated just to the kids, and ending with the best youth service I've probably had in my life. 

I could probably write pages about each of those services and how anointed they were. God's presence is so incredibly powerful and taken up by all their hungry hearts. I am feeling Him on such a raw and deep level, and I cannot get enough of it. 

The day was bountiful with blessing, and I cannot begin to express my gratitude.

Mother of Nations

When I was ten years old I was prophesied over according to my name. Not only about it's meaning, God is my teacher, but also how like Abraham who travelled to the land of Moriah I would be a mother of nations. A rather intense word for a ten year old to receive and I didn't really know what to do with it.

For some reason I hadn't been reminded of it until I was preparing for Sunday's preach again yesterday. That what I'm doing right now is part of fulfilling the promises God had given me, and how humbling it's been. I feel deeply connected to myself at this point because I know I'm busy living what God called me today.

Yesterday's full day started with home visits. I love how Kingdom Life Butuan serves its community and church, and how they truly are an example of kingdom living. From prayers to prophecies being spoken over it's members, I strongly felt Jesus guide all the wonders that happened. Alongside Him reaffirming the passions and desires of my hearts. I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to be planting seeds for the kingdom of God. 

I mention often that I live and love deeply. It's easy for me to fall in love with a country - it's culture, ways, and people - in a heartbeat! I also truly mean it. God has given me a deep ability to love and i wish nothing but to continue to live that out.

That love and word spoken over me came into full play when we worked with the street kids, leading them again with ministry. They broke my heart as they asked me never to forget them and to please stay, and honestly I wish I could stay in many ways and I know I would never forget them. How could I? They now have a piece of my heart that I would never be able to return.

This day ended with fellowship with wonderful leaders of the church who too have my heart. I cannot help but repeat how much I am in love with the Philippines, because I truly am, and I'm continually given reasons to fall deeper. Including a massage that converts to only 5€! The overflow is truly here in the Philippines (haha). 

Honestly, I will probably hurt when I have to go home, even though I love Frankfurt too. But I already know at some point I will have to find my way back to Butuan.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Overflow

I have thought that I could possibly make a good missionary, because in many ways I am simple to please and there aren't too many have must-have-requirements to live in a certain place (obviously besides the fact that God would have called you and stirred you to do so). For me one of these things that would be a "must-have" is access to good coffee or a good coffee location, which is one of the first things I asked when heading towards the Philippines. My request has been satisfied by a quaint coffee shops called "Bo's Coffee" and this where I will probably start most of my days on this trip after breakfast. 

Yesterday morning, our first full day in Butuan, we left caffeinated and excited for the day ahead. We travelled with the team do different home visits yesterday and to bless and pray for those who we met. However I left each home feeling blessed and touched by the anointing that was in those homes, and by how freely people give. It's always humbling to see how people give so freely even when they have nothing, and what a loving gesture that is. 

One home visit in particular touched and broke my heart at the same moment. A little girl at one of the homes came over to me when I asked if she'd like to sit to me, and then I offered a hug (because they should always give consent). She took it and just held on. For the duration of that visit we just sat in an embrace. She completely relaxed in my arms and at  a particular moment turned to me and said "I love you." My heart melted and the love of my own for her and the love of Jesus for her just overflowed.

After lunch we headed to this market where we had the best mangoes and avocados, and more! Christina and I weee particularly overjoyed.

With happy spirits we headed to an orphanage where KLB serves each Friday. Again, I was amazed by willing and eager the children were to partake in what we had to offer. The children there were also so wanting affection and love. We soon realised it was one of the boys there had his birthday on that day, and when he was prayed for he cried - because it was the first time anyone had ever celebrated his birthday. Me being me, I cried. I cried and my heart again was filled with love.

The night closed with home groups and fellowship, and then a meal at Captain Shrimp with the Regalas. 

A full day, but by no means left empty thereafter. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

In Love Already

As I predicted yesterday before arriving, I'm already in love with this country! Besides the fact that this South African girl was overjoyed by Cinnabon at the Manila airport (seriously, Frankfurt, y'all need to work on that), any Jetlag was immediately kicked aside but the beautiful welcome we received from the KLB family here. It was as if I was returning home, even though this is my first time meeting any of them.

We went from the airport to share in fellowship at the Gerry's Grill, which I'm told is a tradition for these trips. The food was great but the company was even greater, and all I could really do was be in awe of how clearly God had chosen for us to all to be together. He is deliberate!

After a water and banana pickup from the shops and drop off at our hotel, we headed off to meet the Streets Kids which KLB serve food to and minister to. My heart has already given pieces to all those  kids and seeing their response to what was shared about Jesus and their eagerness to learn new songs and games despite it not being their mother tongue was beyond refreshing to experience.

I left my first night with a new hairstyle and my heart full with the Father's love for all of them.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Awakening to a Calling

I was delighted to wake up realising I had slept through the night after successfully keeping myself up till to nine thirty the night before to try my best to adjust to the time zone. That did mean being awake already at six when I could've slept a bit longer, but I still felt rested. Still a bit strange eating breakfast at around 3am for my body's internal clock, but the service and people have been so lovely here. I'm already in love with this country! The warmth and friendliness feels like a bit of a taste of the culture I miss from South Africa when I'm not there.

This trip has already been such a testimony to what God is stirring in even just my life. For me especially it was special to have one of our layovers be in Hong Kong, as my first ever missions trip had been there when I'd been only six months with parents back in the YWAM days. I'm a person who appreciates symbols and this for me was significant, as I came to cross it on my first missions trip now as an "adult" (the quotations are being used, because I still feel like a child with much to learn - but I serve a God who enables me). I just last week received a word that Jesus would enable me to roar powerfully like a lion and passionately share His love. 

We leave to Butuan airport in around 30 minutes, and I cannot wait to see this all come to be - after buying some good coffee though, I'm in need.