letter

Open Letter After My South Africa Mission Trip

Dear Friends and Family,

            I hope this letter finds you well! I bet you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard from me or why this letter is coming so late as I’ve been home from South Africa for a whole month now. But if I’m being completely honest with you it has been one of the hardest things for me being home. I want nothing more than to sell everything and move to South Africa, but we all know that’s not logical. I know God has me here for a purpose and He took me to South Africa for a reason, but I do miss it. As much as I prepared for God to send me to South Africa, I was not ready for the reality of coming home. Since being home I have been trying to process the trip as a whole and it’s been extremely tough; as cliché as it sounds I left my heart in South Africa. God stirred something up in me and I fell in love with South Africa; the kids, staff, community, and people.

            While I was in South Africa God completely transformed my heart. He opened my eyes to appreciate the little things and I got to experience His love in a totally new way. I felt so at home and at peace while I was there. I never knew you could fall in love with people in such a short amount of time so fast. I can honestly say I love the people I met in South Africa and they are family to me now. No matter the distance between us I know that we are bonded together in the love of Jesus Christ. And that brings such joy to my heart; to know that they have Jesus into their hearts. I don’t know whether I will ever see them here on this earth, but I can find comfort in the fact that I will see them again in our Heavenly home with our Almighty Father.

            As I prepared for the trip I thought that I was preparing to pour into the lives of the people of South Africa, but when I got there I was in for much more than I had imagined. I went with no expectations because I knew I could not hinder the work of God. But the people of South Africa filled me with so much more than I could ever offer to them. They embraced me with so much love and joy it literally brings a smile to my face. On the last day when we were leaving I was in tears saying our good-byes and the kids were encouraging me telling me, “Don’t worry, God is with you” and “God loves you.” I thought I should have been telling them that, but because I had showed them God’s love continuously over the two weeks they knew it was exactly what I needed.

            As most of you know a month before I left for South Africa my Gramma passed away. It was a really difficult time, but I knew God had picked me for the team for a purpose so I put my trust in Him and I went. While I was in country I saw people who had so much joy and happiness, despite their losses. God showed me that even through the pain and sorrow there is hope. These kids who had lost their parents to AIDS had suffered so much pain and hurt in their short lives, yet they were still filled with so much joy. It’s crazy that God had to take me all the way to South Africa just to tell me that He was with me through my pain; that He was embracing with love in my pain and hurt just as He was with the people of South Africa.

            Since being home I have been constantly thinking and praying for the people I met in South Africa. They have captured my heart and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go. And I personally want to thank you for all your love and support. I never would have been able to take this leap of faith without your prayers and encouragement. I am so thankful to have had you on this journey of faith, but I must admit this is only the beginning. I don’t know where God is calling me next in mission, but I know God has put South Africa on my heart. The love I encountered in South Africa was something I’ll never forget; it was true genuine unconditional love. I found peace in South Africa amidst a broken world, but it’s evident that God is doing work in South Africa and I’m blessed to have been a part it and I’m excited to see His Kingdom further in South Africa.

 

This letter is only a glimpse of the work God is doing in South Africa and how He used me. There are plenty of other stories and encounters, but I would have to write a novel to just touch the surface. So I encourage you if you would like to hear more or simply just want to talk I am open to get coffee or dinner or simply meet up anywhere. I would love to share my heart for mission and South Africa with you. I will leave my contact information at the bottom if you wish to get together or you can check out my blog. I thank you again for all of the ways that you have supported me; It means more than I can ever express in words.

I ask that you would please pray for the people of South Africa and the work God is doing there. I also ask that you please pray for me as I continue to process the trip and transition being home, even though I’ve been home for a month I still find it hard at times. Thank you again and I will be praying for you my friends! I love you!

Thank you taking the time to read this! I value your time and I thank you. Continue to seek Him and All His Glory!

-Steven

// Thewindblewhope.com // stevenjs32@hotmail.com //