A Grey Go-Away

May 8, 2011

While here in South Africa, Mark and I have discovered that we have funny accents! It has naturally made people curious to hear us talk and then they listen to what we have to say more intently.

The patio of the home we are are staying in Pretoria has an empty bird feeder in the garden beside it. The owner has left some scraps of bread and melon rind in it. The color and variety of birds that have visited it are astonishing. A Grey Go-Away came for some melon. It is a very large, parrot like bird that could have been a character in Jurassic Park.  They have all captured our attention.

It is our hope that the messages and prayers that Mark and I have shared here will bring a fresh understanding of God’s grace and peace.   ~ Kristina

Victoria Bay

May 6, 2011

Mark and I have been teaching at a Leadership Retreat in Victoria Bay that started on Wednesday. It is at Mount Carmel Retreat Centre which overlooks a beautiful bay with a few brave surfers and some rugged fishermen.

On the four hour drive to Victoria we happened to see elephants and a rhino in the distance. I tried to take a picture of them but it will probably look like a smudge on the film.

Mark and I have had a successful time and lots of fun teaching leaders from a number of All Nations’ ministries from the surrounding countries here in Africa . Hearts are very open and willing to be transparent with their ministry challenges and personal discovery. Mark and I feel very blessed to be here. We have fallen in love with the people of South Africa.

South Africa is a beautiful land. We are staying in a guest suite in Floyd and Sally McClung’s home outside of Cape Town in a village called Kommetjie. Their home faces the ocean and is swept by the sea breezes.

Last night Mark and I joined the McClungs in a monthly leadership meeting with men and women who have house churches and fellowships. Several drove for over an hour to be part of the fellowship and teaching which Floyd led.  The discussion was rich and insightful. Black, white and colored (which is an acceptable term here) joined in mutual admiration and respect for each other’s ministry.

On the way home we dropped off several fellows who live in a village called Masi. The level of poverty was very evident. As today is a national holiday, the streets were filled last night with men, women and small children milling about.  There were open fires as it is winter here. A section of Masi is called the Wetlands. It is filled with shacks that are about 8×8 feet in size made with many types of material for shelter. It is primitive at best. Thousands of people are packed into a very small area. Some of Floyd’s leaders live in the Wetlands.

When we awoke this morning Mark and I learned that a fire swept through the Wetlands last night. As the day went on we learned that over 800 “homes” or shacks were destroyed. There have been fires there before but never this large or devastating. Over 3000 people lost all that they owned except for the clothes on their backs and what they could grab.  Their little food, hidden belongs, blankets are all gone. Remember, it is the beginning of winter here. The evenings are cold.

Floyd and Sally’s team are focused on obtaining shelter for their leaders and their families as well as members of their fellowship. The community churches will aid in assistance. Fortunately, All Nations has a ministry base called Africa House, which will serve as a rescue mission for the time being.

Mark and I have heavy hearts for some of our new friends. When we all serve the same King, it is so easy to fall in love with fellow workers for His kingdom!

It is reassuring to see that God has placed and prepared All Nations and Floyd and Sally McClung for such a time as this. Life will be extremely difficult for many right now, but the believers here are rallying around to help in any way they can.

Thank you for your prayers at this time. We can feel them! ~ Kristina

When I was young I used to be afraid that three things would happen if I really gave my life to the Lord. I thought I would have to live a celibate life, wear black shirts with white collars and be sent to Africa. One day when I was nineteen and wrestling with the celibacy issue, my Catholic Godfather recommended that I consider becoming an Episcopal priest so I could get married someday. His suggestion helped expand my thinking about what it means to be a priest of God.
Years later one of our dear friends married a Catholic man, and I shared in their ceremony in his church. I couldn’t help but laugh along with some of my friends who saw me walk down the aisle in the robes of a priest.
Today, Kristina and I are in Cape Town, South Africa. After three flights, one of which was 15 hours nonstop from Atlanta to Johannesburg, we are staying with Floyd and Sally McClung. I will be speaking at a conference for the leaders of their All Nations church planting network which works in many southern African nations.
One by one, I have found that things I have feared lose their power when I trust the Lord. Jesus does not sentence us to a life of boring confinement, or of reckless abandon. Our Father in heaven wants us to be free from the fear of man and the fear of death. When we obey his word we are sometimes led into situations which we would never expect or chose. I continue to discover that obedience to God does not bring punishment, but blessing.
Kristina and I would appreciate your prayers that we will be bold and effective as we preach and teach about Christ and God’s kingdom in the days to come.
David Stockton is starting a new teaching series from the book of Exodus this weekend at Living Streams in our Saturday night and Sunday morning services. I’ll look forward to giving you a report from our trip when we get home in two weeks.

Love in Christ, Mark

PS. Prawns have little to do with this message, but I just had to put them in somewhere because they are just incredible here!~ Kristina 🙂