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Westoak Woods Baptist Church

Serving In South Africa
June 17, 2015

Arrival

by Christopher Fry | June 17, 2015 3:02 PM

After almost a full 24 hours, the team made it to Johannesburg and were welcomed by Pastor Josiah and his wife. After a simple ride from the airport to the hotel, we were welcomed to our home away from home. There was a warm meal waiting for us, but more importantly, a comfortable bed. We are excited to start ministry tomorrow and see what the Lord has in store for us this week. Since we spent a full day on the plane, it was decided that the group photo should be taken in the morning. Look for it then!!!!

First full day

by Isaac Fry | June 18, 2015 1:12 PM

Today, the group got into the midst of ministry and spread the word of God. At 8:00, we woke up and ate the wonderful breakfast provided by the hotel. We took a group photo and we socialized over the amazing food. We talked ministry ideas, plans, and revised itineraries. We got to know each other and got hyped for the day of spreading the Word. We drove to the church (in a town called Evaton), and we were surprised to see some of the kids on the road cheering for us as we drove by. Once we got to the church, we were greeted with the presence of God. We went inside the church and talked about what we were going to do and then finalized our plans. And, of course, we did it in the name of God. After the amazing lunch prepared by women of the church, we went off into our mission field. Our plan: split into two groups and do a community walk. We had a wonderful time spreading the word about Christ Revival Ministries (Pastor Josiah's church) and the ministries that would be happening at the church (medical clinics, mini VBS, evangelism services, and Sunday worship.) Many amazing encounters happened during today's ministry work. Harold had many conversations with the people in the community, Mayzie was hugged by every kid who came near her, Chris seemed to win the hearts of a few girls, and Josheph and Noah developed an interest in "bunnychow", a South African "meal in a wrap". After we got back to the church, we got plans organized for tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday. We then prayed for the leadership of the church, and the team let their hearts out. It was definitely a time of worship. Once we were done praying for the church, we ate another fabulous meal prepared by the church ladies, and we were off to the hotel. Tomorrow we will wake up at the crack of dawn to make it to the local school by 7:30 a.m. to lead school devotions. We're looking forward to a day full of ministering to the kids in this community.

A full Friday

by Christopher Fry | June 19, 2015 2:53 PM

It was an early morning! We left the hotel at 6:45 am to go to a nearby school. We were so blessed to hear and see the all-school morning assembly/devotion! The children sang to us and welcomed us with huge smiles and big hearts. They were incredibly polite and respectful and truly touched our hearts. The team presented a wonderful improv, which was loved by the children. Shelby and Joe shared their testimonies, and Terry shared a meaningful message that encouraged the children to ask Jesus into their heart. The team then split into small groups and visited each classroom. The children asked questions about America, and the team members shared with they love Jesus. Mid morning we returned to the church for ministry planning and orphanage prep. Christopher took Chad to get paint supplies for the painting ministry that Chad will be sharing on Sunday as Terry preaches. We enjoyed another wonderful lunch provided by the women of the church, and then we left for the orphanage. The orphanage is home to about 20 kids. The team guided them through crafts, each child had their photo taken with a member of the team, and the team then printed the photos to be placed into the crafted photo frames each child had made. The children LOVED playing games with the team, using the jump ropes and other toys donated by the team, and opening the amazing gift bags (containing a Bible, a toothbrush, and a Beanie Baby). We ate dinner at the church as we listened to the band prepare for Sunday's worship service. And then....the electricity went out. This was a result of the South African government program referred to as "load shedding". (Because the country does not have enough power plants to supply the growing population, the power is cut off in 2 to 4 hour shifts around the communities. Our hotel has a generator, but the church does not.) So the music stopped, and the sun was setting quickly. As it got darker and darker, it was chilly in the church buildings....but candlelight and fellowship brought warmth. Following dinner, the team had a very unique opportunity to support the people of this church. Pastor Josiah had advised us when we arrived that a young woman in the church had passed away; her husband had passed away a month ago, and their 3 children are now without parents. In South Africa, the process of burying those who have passed involves the entire church family. It typically takes a week or more for the family of the deceased to gather the money to pay for the coffin and burial. Throughout that week or more, the leaders of the church spend time with the family every day to pray with them and for them. Church leaders also encourage members of the congregation to contribute what they can so that together they can allow the family to say goodbye to their loved one with dignity. On the night before the funeral, church leadership goes to the home of the deceased and provides words of encouragement to the family. In this case, the funeral is on Saturday morning, so the words of encouragement was to take place tonight (Friday ). Pastor Josiah spoke with the family in advance, and he conveyed to the team that the family would be very honored and grateful to have the team join the gathering for the words of encouragement. Special thanks to Rich, Christy, and Terry for sharing this evening. Tomorrow the team will go to the Apartheid Museum, provide a medical clinic to community members, and lead men's and women's Bible studies.

Saturday in South Africa

by Mayzie Evers | June 20, 2015 2:28 PM

Today our team got into the heart of our ministry -- the medical clinic and Vacation Bible School. However, before those happened, we visited the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Although many team members knew what apartheid was, we had no idea the devastating effects of it and the passion, power, and persistence it took to remove apartheid. Many men and women, young and old, gave their lives and time and resources to fight the systemic injustice found in their government. It led me to ask myself if I believed in something so strongly -- really, the Gospel. That question led me throughout the day as continued our ministry. This afternoon was very busy: our Vacation Bible School began with 140 kids and the medical clinic is still being run as I write this at 9 pm! The joy of Jesus is so evident at the church. Community isn't just a word said here; it is a lifestyle lived. Being around the loving and joyous (and energetic!) kids made that evident. This evening we led separate Bible studies for the men, women, and children of the church. As for the women, we studied several ladies of the Bible in light of four characteristics of a Godly woman: redemption, beauty, strength, and submission. The women's study was full of the Spirit, and after we shared our teachings there was a time of prayer. The Lord is giving us many opportunities to edify our brothers and sisters in Christ while on this trip. Please pray for us that we could encourage them and serve as needed! Blessings!

Chad's painting

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 9:52 AM

Chad's painting (created during Sunday morning worship) was a blessing to all!
Chad's painting

VBS

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 9:57 AM

More than 140 community children participated in VBS on Saturday. In this pic the team teaches one of the groups a Scripture verse.
VBS

Jan and Harold at orphanage

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 10:08 AM

The children loved having us visit --- and we were blessed by our time with the children.
Jan and Harold at orphanage

Medical ministry

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 10:17 AM

Jeanna shared both her medical expertise and the Gospel with those she saw. In this pic, she's working with one of the children in the orphanage. She also spent hours and hours seeing community members who came to the church seeking help.
Medical ministry

School ministry (Tammy)

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 10:25 AM

The team was thrilled to be able to attend morning assembly at an elementary school near the church. The children were fascinated by the opportunity to speak and sing with Americans; and the team was honored to be able to share their testimonies and the Gospel in a public school!
School ministry (Tammy)

Community walk

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 10:36 AM

This picture shows Toni inviting local women to join the team at Sunday worship, evangelism services, and medical clinics to be offered during the coming days.
Community walk

Sunday is a day of "rest"

by Roxanne Fry | June 21, 2015 2:38 PM

Today (Sunday) was an amazing day of praise and worship! We arrived at church by 8:00 am in time for intercessory prayer; then at 9:00 am, the church service began with an incredibly energizing and prayerful hour of music that moved the members of the team -- literally, as some joined a dance of praise with members of the congregation! Chad painted throughout the entire 4 hour service (see pic posted to this trip journal), and Harold and Mayzie shared messages with the congregation. Terry then took the floor and the Lord spoke through him as he shared the Gospel. Pastor Josiah and his wife, Mary, also spoke at the service, expressing their profound gratitude for the privilege of working with this amazing team. Mary said that she's been asking the Lord, "What have I done to deserve having these wonderful Americans with us?" --- but the team members let her know most sincerely that they are the ones who are wondering what THEY did to deserve this opportunity to walk and work beside Pastor Josiah and his flock. Following the service, the women of the church once again served a fabulous meal. (With an 80% unemployment rate in this area, the church ladies are very thankful to be hired by Praying Pelican Missions to prepare our meals, in addition to be given money to shop for the items they use to proudly prepare traditional South African meals for the team.) The afternoon brought more children and adults to the church for VBS and the medical clinic. The excitement and enthusiasm grew as the smiles and laughter continued to rise. Following dinner, the team led an evangelism service for members of the community. Pastor Terry spoke about the lies that satan tells us, all in an attempt to keep us from a relationship with Christ. As he was preaching Chad continued his painting ministry, creating a painting of Jesus stepping on and over satan. Tomorrow we again have a very early day: breakfast at 6:45, followed by travel to another local school, followed by more medical ministry, VBS, and an evangelism service.

Medical Clinic registration

by Roxanne Fry | June 22, 2015 11:48 AM

Terry, Mayzie, and Isaac at the medical clinic registration area.
Medical Clinic registration

The Bald Man Club

by Roxanne Fry | June 22, 2015 11:53 AM

Rich, Christopher, and Harold
The Bald Man Club

Preschool visit

by 33068005.955 | June 22, 2015 11:58 AM

Noah, Isaac, and Joe at a daycare we visited during our community walk.
Preschool visit

Pastor Josiah and wife Mary

by Roxanne Fry | June 22, 2015 12:48 PM

Harold and Rich with Pastor Josiah and Mary
Pastor Josiah and wife Mary

Preschool visit

by Roxanne Fry | June 22, 2015 1:12 PM

Jan chatting with preschoolers ---- and after this picture was taken, she was the recipient of an amazing hug from a young girl.
Preschool visit

Marvelous Monday

by Roxanne Fry | June 24, 2015 12:14 PM

We traveled to a local Primary school bright and early this morning to start another beautiful day in South Africa. Last week and this week "the learners" (as students are referred to here in South Africa) are finishing "writing their exams" for their winter break. We're so grateful to be able to spend time with them before they completed their mid-terms. The team returned to the church mid-morning and split into groups: one group prepared the medical clinic that would open at 10:30, another group joined a member of the church for a Prayer Walk throughout the community, and Christy and Rich spent time meeting with PPM staff and Pastor Josiah to review the schedule for our last few days here. The group that did the Prayer Walk visited and prayed for the prosperity of local businesses. They also prayed for a woman who wants to find a Godly husband, and as they turned a corner, they found a man who sought prayer for employment as well as to find a Godly wife. The Prayer Walk included a visit to a local daycare, where team members prayed, sang, and shared Bible stories. The walk also included prayer over another church in the area and for the new library in Evaton that hasn't yet opened. For lunch, the women of the church treated us to Hake fish prepared with their custom rub/spices. Pastor Josiah's wife, Mary, was shocked when she checked on us toward the end of the meal and found the fish completely GONE! We told her it was clearly a hit among the team. In fact, we heard comments from team members that it could very well be the best fish they'd ever had. The good news is that Mary has promised that the ladies will make hake fish for us one more time before we leave. Jeanna again poured her heart into the medical clinic, with the total number of people seeking help during this trip climbing to 90. At the same time, child upon child poured toward the church for another fabulous VBS experience. The beautiful day (is EVERY day in South Africa as beautiful and sunny as we've been experiencing??) was the perfect backdrop for seeing the children lift their love and praises to the Lord. The team had a most JOYOUS dinner celebration when they presented Pastor Josiah with a big surprise: the gift of a generator!!!! Rather than worshiping in the dark or having to frequently rent generators, the church now has a generator of its own to meet its needs as "load shedding" continues for the foreseeable future (see one of the previous posts for explanation of "load shedding".) Praise God for generously providing! Witnessing Pastor Josiah's look of shock/surprise and his heartfelt expression of overflowing gratitude on behalf of his flock was a highlight of this trip. The evening brought another opportunity for an evangelism service. Terry spoke on the topic of planting God's word in your heart, and Chad portrayed this with an amazing painting of a man planting a heart into the soil. Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be similar to today in terms of scheduling. However, because schools will be out of session for mid-term break, we will re-visit the beautiful children at the orphanage rather than going to a school.

What a Tuesday

by Roxanne Fry | June 24, 2015 12:16 PM

Our morning started off by splitting into two groups: one group prepared for and worked the medical clinic, and the other group went to the orphanage for a final visit. Anna, the leader of the orphanage, had loved Chad's paintings so much that she asked him to paint one for the children. He graciously agreed, and painted a picture that Anna said she will always cherish. (The group made crafts and played games with the children as Chad painted.) The medical clinic was very busy today. The line of those waiting continued to grow, and while we're awaiting the final tally, I've heard that an estimate that the total # of people seen this week is approx. 150. Thanks to Mary's amazing generosity and hospitality, those who were waiting in the sun for hours were treated to juice, bread, meat, beets, and cole slaw. One elderly man remarked that he was "Happy, so happy happy!" because his stomach was full and he was going to be getting medical help. The last day of children's ministry was amazing as well. Children have yet another Scripture verse hidden in their hearts! Many lives were touched this week.....the hearts of the children as well as the hearts of the team members. The final evangelism service was very powerful. Tammy and Mayzie shared their testimonies, Terry preached, Chad painted, Pastor Josiah expressed his generosity, and many hugs and goodbyes were shared. Tomorrow we'll travel to the Lion and Rhino Reserve and conclude the day with a final dinner at the hotel with Pastor and Mary as our guests.

Wednesday and Thursday

by Roxanne Fry | June 25, 2015 12:58 AM

Yesterday (Wednesday) we went to the amazing Rhio and Lion preserve. We were SO fortunate to have our tour of the 1,200 acres during feeding time!! To see the lions, wild dogs, and cheetahs all fed in the wild was an incredible experience. Ask the team members to show you their pictures --- no words can describe our experience! This morning (Thursday) we enjoyed our last meal at the hotel --- the staff is providing made-to-order eggs and a lot of other yummy SA treats, Then we are finishing our packing and heading to the church for the last time. At church we'll do one final prayer walk, we'll be treated to another serving of hake fish, and then pray with and for the leaders of the church. At approximately 2:30 we'll head to the airport to give the team time to do some shopping in the airport. Safe travel and blessings to all!

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Comments

Ashley Evans

June 25, 2015 7:32 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Patrick Wilson

June 25, 2015 8:56 AM

So excited to see you all back home this weekend. Praying for your safe return.

Ashley Evans

June 25, 2015 8:24 AM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 24, 2015 4:38 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 24, 2015 12:04 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 24, 2015 7:41 AM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 23, 2015 8:53 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 23, 2015 8:28 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 23, 2015 5:09 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 23, 2015 4:41 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 23, 2015 4:14 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 23, 2015 3:04 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 22, 2015 8:54 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Robert wright

June 22, 2015 7:23 PM

Seems like an amazing opportunity to aid and minister to these people.

Ashley Evans

June 22, 2015 3:54 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 22, 2015 2:53 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 22, 2015 2:11 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Patrick Wilson

June 22, 2015 7:56 AM

We love you all and continue to pray for you daily. We are excited to hear all that God is doing and to celebrate and praise him with you from afar.

Ashley Evans

June 21, 2015 4:20 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 21, 2015 1:56 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 21, 2015 7:56 AM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 20, 2015 3:02 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 9:12 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 3:41 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 2:02 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 1:24 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 12:44 PM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 11:19 AM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 11:10 AM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 8:10 AM

I don't know why my hearts in my message showed up as question marks. Sorry about that.

Ashley Evans

June 19, 2015 8:08 AM

Hey ya'll!! We are praying for you everyday!! It sounds like you had an amazing first day!! You are such a blessing to the people there and I know they are such a blessing to you as well!!! ????

Patrick Wilson

June 18, 2015 4:12 PM

What an exciting first day! God is amazing!!

Holly Mirau

June 18, 2015 2:41 PM

Hey team! I'm praying for you all this week. Don't give Christopher and Isaac too much grief...but don't make it easy on them either ;) Talk about a dream team kind of week! Many blessings, Holly

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