Thursday, March 31, 2011

Losing and Legacy

As the world is already turning today with talks of Libya and American Idol, my world has seemed to stopped spinning just a bit.  Yesterday and great friend from the States, Cathy Asbridge, lost her long battle with cancer.  She was my high-school cheerleading coach, and her husband Charles mentored and led me to a full life following Jesus Christ.  She leaves four beautiful kids and a grieving and broken family.  

So many will speak in the weeks to come of this story and talk about the tragedy it is.  How will her kids grow up without a mom?  Who will help her girls get ready for their wedding days?  Why would God take such a beautiful woman so early?

Cathy was a strikingly beautiful woman, who was loved by all who knew her.  She loved music and played violin, she taught science in various schools, and she was respected and revered.  There was a spirit and a smile that went before Cathy, and she truly brought love into every encounter she had.  Her greatest ministry was her family, and she gave her heart to teaching her children about Jesus Christ and living well.  

I honestly can't really grasp that she is gone.  I can't conceive how across the world there is no longer a Cathy Pike Asbridge walking around, laughing, hugging her family, smiling at strangers in the grocery store, leading a humble and beautiful life that honors Jesus.  I can't take it in yet.

If I were in the United States I would be flying to Florida today.  I would meet up with my youth group friends and hug and cry with them.  We would share memories and stories.  We would laugh and weep together.  I would come to my great friend Charles and embrace him and tell him I love him, because no other words would fill the spaces of his grief.  I wish I could be there, but I am not.

So in the absence of people to help me work through my own grief, my head is filled with a song.  Nichole Nordeman wrote a song called 'Legacy' and it's about leaving a mark on this world for Jesus Christ.  The song has come alive for the first time ever, because Cathy truly left an incredible legacy on this world.  Her life was a sweet and beautiful offering to God.  She didn't want accolades or praises, she truly just wanted to point to her Savior. She was successful in that goal.

Many will say she was taken too soon, but I can't help but wonder if it's the opposite.  Cathy had bouts with cancer before, two actually.  Both times the family faithfully prayed and stormed the doors of heaven asking God to heal her, and she was healed.  Maybe her time to go to heaven was earlier, but God blessed  this world with more years with Cathy then we ever deserved.  Each day she was here was a gift, and her children will be forever marked with her grace, beauty, and love.  Truly, truly, this world was brighter with her on it, and I feel grateful for all the moments I shared with her.  

One thing I do know, is that now Cathy is with Jesus.  And I also know that Cathy would encourage us all to live a legacy, to point to Christ, to offer each moment as worship.  We should hold our kids tighter, hug our spouses longer, smile and offer kindness to strangers, and live lives that point to Jesus.   

What is your legacy?

Love,
Sarah


Video reflection of 'Legacy' by Nichole Nordeman

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Loving Until it Hurts


Loving until it hurts

I have always loved Mother Teresa and her work.  She has a quote that says,   
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
 This weekend I learned what that means.  We had a great weekend planned for Ntokozo to continue celebrating her birthday.  Her cousin Minky was spending the weekend with us and we were taking them to Cavendish Mall (a big fancy mall near the city) for their first trip there ever, to shop and then have dinner.  Friday night I decided to make a roast pork dish for the first time, and put it proudly on the table for our ‘family’ when it was finished.  We all were eating, and I’ll admit it wasn’t the BEST cooked dish I have ever made.  Meat was great, potatoes were just a bit hard.  Ntokozo just moved everything around on her plate and then tried to say she was done.  I decided to choose a battle and told her to eat one more potato.  This girl eats HORRIBLY and almost nothing that is a vegetable, so I have decided to try to round out her eating.  This is when she proceeded to freak out.  She finally put the potato in her mouth but put her head down, looking at the table, and sat there for 15 minutes.  Her cousin was teasing her and we kept trying to speak to hear, but she was already furious.  She then went to her room and proceeded to be in a foul mood the entire night.  We had to drag her to youth group, but then she sat in a circle with her jacket tied up around her face.  I had to come to her and whisper to her to unzip her jacket TWICE.  After youth she went straight to her room, not hanging with the other kids, it was AT OUR HOUSE.  After everyone left, I spoke to her alone.  I tried to have a conversation, but she wouldn’t look at me or speak a word.  I told her that her attitude was unacceptable and she must change before tomorrow, I told her, but no response, not even a head nod.

I don’t even fully know why, but this was my BREAKING point.  The rest of the night was tears/snot/crying/heaving/mess.  It told God and then Casey that I didn’t want to do this anymore.  They were both very sweet and didn’t really answer me back.  It is just the most painful love I have ever experienced and I feel like at times I am laying myself out to get beaten.  She really doesn’t understand or take in our love, and I know it’s because of her past trauma and abuse.  But it hurts.  Even if you understand all the whys, it still hurts something fierce. 

Saturday was like nothing happened; she woke up with a completely different attitude.  So we cut out a few things in the day but still went to the mall.  Things are civil, better, but we have a long, LONG way to go.  Some days I know I am up to it and other days I am fully aware that we can only love her through God’s power.  We know God has brought her to us, so we walk trusting Him above all else.  Even when it hurts.

Love,
Sarah

Book Review by Sarah

We were given a book recently by a new friend Noah Kaye and told it reminded him of us.  Always lovers of platitudes and praise, we were excited to read this book, Sub-merge by John B. Hayes, about living and serving among the poor.  However, pretty early in the reading I realized the book was about people living among the poor, but with a deep and profound spirituality that humbled me to my core.  This book speaks of a group called InnerCHANGE who live and serve in 7 various poor communities around the world including San Francisco and Los Angles.  The author, Hayes, was living in East LA when the riots broke out in the early 90’s, and shares many other incredible and providential times in life and ministry among the poor. I loved hearing about LA because I have always likened our community to one you would find in LA, where my mother grew up as a Mexican-American.   Hayes follows the journey of himself and his ministry group as they live, work, move, and see transformation in many forgotten places.  The vision he gives I clearly see but the ways in which he loves and intentionally reaches out to work with people has humbled me to my core.  If you have any interest in knowing WHY we do what we do, or desire to minister in difficult places read this book and join a great journey.  Wow, this was a great one!

Overall grade: A

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sermon from this weekend

Hello all!

So preached this weekend at Ocean View Baptist Church; a lovely and lively church that we partner with in many different things (one example, we are taking 30 of their women with us to Hillsong conference in 2 weeks!).  They are an amazing group of people and it was SUCH a privilege to speak to them.  AND I got to preach on 1 John which is one of the books of the Bible I just taught on at Cornerstone.  Double bonus!  Enjoy!


Love
Sarah

Click on this link here or look below.

Woopsie!

If you feel that the Prince's are MIA lately, SOOORRRY, it's my (Sarah!) fault.  I recently got a new computer and a new ipod (missionary life!  woo hoo!  computer crashed and ipod stolen.... Ocean View life!) and then proceeded to use up ALL of our African Internet in like 5 seconds.  Don't worry, Casey keeps reminding us all whose fault it is.  I do feel bad and a bit disconnected and a tiny bit bad that we are now making our white friends who have UNLIMITED Internet (this is huge and new and cool and only available where white people live, so not in the View) into our own Internet cafes.  

Just made some SERIOUS run on sentences. 
So much to tell about, such a full and fun and blessed weekend.

But  my computer is a little sad faced because of the lack of use it's getting.  April 1st Internet will be BACK and so will we.  Until then, we will see you sporadically...
Love,
Sarah

Friday, March 25, 2011

Everyday Heros

This is a new 'theme' that you will see more and more on my blog, but I want to highlight 'everyday heros' that are in my midst and all over the world.  I think sometimes we need to be reminded that we can all be a hero, we can all save the world, we can all "be the change you want to see in the world," in the words of Mahatma Gandhi.


My hero for today is my friend Chantel Douglass.  Her and her husband are South Africans who work at Hillsong Church here in Cape Town (this is actually odd because most of their staff are foreigners!).  They are an INCREDIBLE couple and we have loved getting to know them and their sweet kids Manassa and Tenacity.  They came with the fam last night to check out Ubuntu Sports and then Chantel shared with the women.   Her story was hard to even listen to because she experienced a great deal of pain and trauma as she grew up, but JEsus truly rescued her from it and now she lives in freedom and forgiveness, even with the ones that hurt her most.  Her story could NOT have been more appropriate for our woman and they were moved and inspired in many ways.  This woman is amazing, she is a mom, runs a HUGE kids ministry, loves her husband, cares for her family, and is changing the world day by day.  What an honor to know her and be friends with her.  Women have a special heart and power!


Who is an 'everyday hero' in your life this week??


Lots of love,
Sarah



Prince Family Newsletter

Prince Family Newsletter is out for March 2011.  Enjoy!

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0ByXLDKBOhmIZOTA3NTM3NDYtZjJkYS00YWZmLTk1OGUtNTEyZDEzYzc3Y2Iz&hl=en

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We LOVE Cape Town

This past weekend at Hillsong Church they focused on community care in our beautiful city of Cape Town.  They created an amazing video that inspired us to keep giving and going!  Enjoy!


We love Cape Town // Community Care Sunday 2011 from HILLSONG CHURCH CAPE TOWN on Vimeo.

Party in My Tummy

A good friend shared this with me today, and had to pass on the happiness. This morning the party in MY tummy is coffee and a bananna muffin. What is YOUR party??



Oh, and just to let you know, Kiers STILL is rocking her big baby belly, and her BELLY IS A PARTY all the TIME!

Love,
Sarah

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Teaching DONE!

You GUYZZZZ!?!?  Can you believe it - my first class of teaching is OVER!  That's right, my class is all done.  At Cornerstone Institute they work in 8-week modules instead of semesters, so we are all packed up.  Yesterday I had my final class and the students were paired up to do presentations.  They were asked to created a multi-media creative ministry presentation based on a passage of their choosing from the book of Revelation.  It counts (with a proposal, paper, and presentation) for 40% of their grade, and they were SUPER nervous about it - I think because I was SO excited about it.  I really wanted them to push themselves, be creative, and try to really engage their 'audience' in the passage.  

WOW.  They couldn't have blown me away any more.  The presentations were superb and I was so proud of them.  So proud.

Some highlights.  One group made a cake with this picture from the story of the woman and the serpent in Revelation 12:
Put THAT on your kids' next birthday cake.
Another group had a 'skit' where the son was listening to an Iron Maiden "The Number of the Beast" and the mom comes in to break up the loud music and then explains the real meaning of Revelation 12-13 and the 'beast.'
If you want to take a trip back or be really freaked out, watch the video:



There were so many other amazing parts of the presentations, I was just awestruck.  They really brought to life this ignored and complicated book of the Bible and we ALL left so hopeful and energized.  Ultimately, God is victorious in the battle against evil and no matter what we face we can be assured that our God will WIN!  Great stuff.  I closed the class, and found myself very caught up in the realization that I had the privilege of teaching and molding the minds of these great future leaders in the church and beyond in Africa.  These people are going to change the world and impact so many others, and hopefully I played a small part in that.  It was just amazing.  So now stay tuned to see if I get asked back?!?  I really hope and pray there is so much more to come.


Lots of love,
Sarah

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Human Rights Day!

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights."
(United Nations Human Rights)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Friends

We always love sharing about what we are doing here in South Africa, and we are quick to say it takes a large army to make all this happen.  We are not just trying to be humble; we actually need a LOT of people to make our life here in South Africa work.  Last week we were reminded of that as our friend Wes Ward from Raleigh got to come for a quick visit while on business here in SA.  We packed the poor guy down like a pack mule with books, electronics, and toys (those were a surprise!).  Wes' wife, Suzanne has been a friend of Casey's FOREVS in Raleigh, and we love this wonderful family with their two little one's Taylor and Will.  Tay Tay (as I call her) sent Kiers the most AMAZING present, a Dora music player (basically kid ipod, genius!).  She plays it EVERY day and we already know all the Dora jamz.  Is it weird that she calls it her 'phone' and tries to call and take pictures with it?  Anyways it was a great time to reconnect and hear from our friend.  Again humbled by the support and love we receive and SO aware that we could never do this without our American community.  If this is YOU then know you are LOVED, prayed for, and we are SO GRATEFUL for you!

Love
sarah

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Book Review- UnChristian

I'm a little behind on this one, but I just finished "UnChristian" by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons.  I really wanted to read Lyons follow up book, but knew I needed to start with this one.

This book is basically the results of a research project that Lyons commissioned the Barna Group to do.  They researched Mosaics and Busters to see what their perceptions of Christianity were, especially of those outside the church.  The results can be quite depressing, but shouldn't be surprising if you've traveled outside the southern United States at all or have any non-Christian friends.  
Because they are presenting research it can be a touch dry at times, but Kinnaman works hard to put a real face onto the research.  They wisely include notes at the end of each chapter from Christian leaders in different fields that have great hope for the future.  In the end you actually believe that the Church can turn things around and really begin to live a life that honors Jesus, doesn't turn people away from Him.  I'd encourage you to check this book out, and then read Lyons' next book "The Next Christians."

Overall Grade: B

Casey

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saturday Morning Easy Listening

Yummy listening a new band I just heard called Wye Oak and their new album called 'Civilian'















Then, here is one of my ALL. TIME. FAV. artists, Glen Hansard.  This is a rough video, someone popping in with their own camera at some point, but still SO DELICIOUS.  Wow.

Prayer as We Look to the Unrest In Our World

Lord our world has been shaken by earthquakes and wars,
Lord our lives have been deluged by floods and tsunamis,
Our hearts are aching and we are overwhelmed,
Lord have mercy.

God whose love never lets go, be with all who have died,
God whose compassion never ceases comfort all who have suffered loss,
God who stands firm as a rock provide security for all whose world has fallen apart,
Christ have mercy.

Lord hear our cry for mercy when we call to you for help,
Lord may we be strong and and not give up,
May we reach out in love and compassion, finding hope in your abiding presence,
Lord have mercy.


Sunset in Ocean View

"Micah 6:8"

Having a sick day today, as Ntokozo and Kieren have spread their 'bug' to me. Brain not working much, but thinking throughout the (sleepless) night about Micah 6:8.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Simple truths, and sung by one of my favorite worship leaders, Charlie Hall. Enjoy.
Sarah

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art, like the universe itself (for God did not need to create). It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
-CS Lewis 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Children

I am in love with children these days.  Especially my children, of course.  But then I have a new obsession with my friends' children here.  We have some beautiful kids in our bunch, and I love that they are Kieren's little buddies.
Last night we had our Connect Group for Hillsong, and it's filled with our friends who live on this 'side of the mountain' (south of Cape Town).  Out of our friends, 4 couples are fostering and one couple has adopted internationally.  These situations are intense, hard, and beautiful.  Last night it was much of our conversation and then we spent some great time in prayer these sweet children.  As we prayed for them their faces came to my mind, I heard their laughter and their little voices.  My heart breaks in some of these situations because our friends may be caring for children, but ultimately they may not be able to parent and adopt these kids in the long-term.  Stories you hear about kids getting lost in the 'system' are faces now, one of them a three year-old boy, in his fifth house, finally thriving, yet his future is unsure.  It is heartbreaking and painful at times, but it is real life and I believe the work of God.  According to James 1:27, the work and worship of our  God that is pure is to care for the orphans of this world.  We get it, we live it, and we love it, even if it breaks our hearts in the process.


Love,
Sarah

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ntokozo Update

Good morning everyone!

I realized over the weekend that I haven't brought you an Ntokozo update in a bit, so just want to let you what is happening with her these days.  The past couple weeks have been better after we really 'hit bottom' emotionally in dealing with her.  We took her to a counselor a couple weeks ago, which made her FREAK (possibly because I told her on the way so she wouldn't FREAK all day), but she didn't hate it (or like it).  We are going to meet with another woman soon, but counseling is a MUST in this family journey.  However, we have been having many more good moments then bad lately, and I can only give God all the glory.  We are aware of Ntokozo's traumatic past (or parts of it) and know that only God can really heal her and help her to accept our love.  It's not in our hands.  This is hard, especially when her anger and moodiness is permeating every corner and inch of the house.  Even then, God is TEACHING us so much, and it's our home and we will not allow her to control it.  We are learning the differences between TEEN and TRAUMA in Ntokozo so we can push when we need to and pull back when we need to.  MAJOR PRAYER REQUEST - continued discernment between TEEN and TRAUMA.  But the good moments lately have been really good.  Ntokozo's birthday is this month and so we have started talking to her about having a TEEN party with her friends and she is overwhelmed, as she has NEVER imagined this.  Casey took her 'online shopping' last night for a new rain jacket - also a new world for her.  She is warmer lately, keeps her door open more, says goodnight before going to bed, and laughs more with Kieren.  There is a fresh breeze coming through the house and I am SO THANKFUL to God.

My favorite moment that recently occurred was a night last week when she asked me to pray for her.  We sat down on her bed (with Kieren) and she talked to me about how her family wants to come again for Christmas this year because 'the ancestors want to speak to her.'  This is African culture stuff, and dangerous, and something many Christians try to mix with Jesus, but it doesn't mix.  She knows there is a tension there, and believes Christ is biggest, but wants to honor her family.  So she asked me to pray for her about the decision.  So we sat on her bed, held hands (Kieren too), and prayed for her.  SO.  SPECIAL.  Those are the moments that make everything worth it.

Keep the prayers coming people, but God is moving this mountain!  He is greatest!

Love,
Sarah

Cape Argus Cycle Tour Thoughts

As Sarah has shared I did the Cape Argus Cycle Tour again this year.  It's the World's Largest Bicycle race with 38,000 riders this year!  It's such a part of Cape Town culture and really grabs the city's attention.
I'm quite proud of how I did this year.  My first year (when we were here in 2008) I finished in 6 hours.  Last year, I got it down to 5:05.  This year I set a goal to ride it in 4:50.  It seemed like a good goal to cut off 15 minutes.  Well, I crushed that goal and did it in 4:10!  That's 55 minutes faster than last year, which was 55 minutes faster than 2008.  I guess that means I have to do next year in 3:15!  (Yeah, NEVER).

The weather was totally PERFECT this year.  There was no wind and temperatures were in the 70s.  Weather can dictate so much with cycling.  Also, I got to start a lot earlier this year because of my time last year, so riding with faster riders really helps.
The best part of the race, though, is when I make that turn at Soetwater park and head towards Ocean View.  I know I'm coming up to my "home field".  I have decide that everybody is out there JUST to cheer for me!  Ocean View's hero rides through!  I start seeing kids I know and calling them by name so they totally freak out that they actually know somebody riding.  Then, I stop to visit my family and all the friends gathered there.  It gives me great motivation to finish the last 1/3 of the race.  Even after Ocean View I see friends in Masi, Capri, and then Noordhoek.  So that whole 1/2 hour is my favorite part, right before the last 2 kick-butt mountain climbs.
Next up, finding an entry for the sold out Two Oceans 1/2 Marathon.  Set a goal to run 1:50 this year.  I think I can do the time, but need to find an entry.
What goals are you setting for yourself this year?  How are you pushing yourself in exercise & fitness?

Cheers,
Casey

Interview with Seth Godin


Exclusive interview with Seth Godin from GiANT Impact on Vimeo.

Seth Godin really grabs my attention.  He says so many interesting things in his books, blogs, and when he speaks.  He's really challenging me to keep pushing the boundaries, to do something nobody has ever done before, and to win the race to the top.  I would encourage you to check out this video and start following his blog.  Also check out what he's doing with the Domino Project.

Cheers,
Casey

Monday, March 14, 2011

Casey in Action at the Argus

The Cape Argus!

The Cape Argus Cycle Tour was this weekend, where 35,000 cyclists descend upon Cape Town and take over the city for the biggest and most spectacular bike race in the world!  It's an incredible event and in our 'neck of the woods' the streets are closed and everything looks to the cyclists.  Ocean View is known for being one of the most rowdy and welcoming communities along the trail, so we love going down to celebrate with our peeps.  

Casey rode the Argus for the THIRD time this year and did amazing - 109 kilometers in 4 hours and 10 minutes!  He is superman!  We took the family to the View party to see our man in action and had a great time!

Kieren checking out the chaos - I think she was a bit overwhelmed, but trying to hide her emotions and 'stay cool' with her Dora glasses....

Seriously!  Check this guy out!  He could be an advertisement for this race!  Effortless!

Hugging our hero (Ntokozo was there too, just hiding out and trying to survive the View craziness!)


Our boys cheering on Casey too and enjoying the festivities.

Fun times in Cape Town!  We are so blessed to live in such a unique and fun place!


Love,
Sarah

Happy Monday!

Monday morning FOOT STOMPING! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Casey Prince, Argus Bike Race


Check it out - our friend Noah Kaye caught Casey on the Argus!

Go Casey!!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Glimpes of the View This Week

Sharing some images of the week of Kieren and her View buds

Here are three of the girls who live on our street who hang out with us a LOT recently.  Kiers loves them and cries EVERY TIME they leave!
They turned into mini-gansters for the pics...

Kieren playing with her buddy Akeelah

Doing some frog jumps in the yard

Painting nails

Kieren and Dante hanging out on Wednesday during the Ash Wednesday service at our house.  Evidently Dante is making her dinner in her kitchen.  It's getting serious...

Saturday Easy Listening

I recently downloaded some songs from Adele's new cd, '21.'  She is beautiful genius.  Enjoy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ash Wednesday... Thursday

Yesterday the Christian world celebrated Ash Wednesday.  Ocean View Methodist had a beautiful service, and I always somehow find myself at worship as I begin my season of Lent.  However, I found it VERY interesting how 'alive' facebook was about your thoughts on Ash Wednesday.  Here are two of my friends giving their (great) thoughts:
 
Heather Bragg Troxell
FYI: The season of Lent is not about dieting for Jesus...
Charles Asbridge
People are funny how they say,"why are you doing for lent?" I answer, "the same thing I do the rest of my life." It's no longer I that live, but Christ in me.
Love.  Why is it that suddenly at lent everyone feels the need to give up ice cream or facebook?  Why do I have to suffer and not see you on facebook because you need help focusing on Jesus?  And I agree with my wise friend Heather, this is not a season for dieting, it's all about Jesus.

For some reason, I always forget to give up something on Lent.  Every year, I sit on 'Ashed Thursday' as I call it and try to figure out if I should start my sacrifices now.  Better late than never?  But then I wonder why I am doing it in the first place?  And what IS Ash Wednesday?

Here is what 'Wikipedia' says about Ash Wednesday:
Ash Wednesday, in the calendar of Western Christianity, is the first day of Lent and occurs 46 days before Easter.
According to the Canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent forty days fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, during which he endured temptation by Satan.   Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this forty day liturgical period of prayer and fasting. by
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered after the palms from the previous year's Palm Sunday are burned.

Ahh, got it now.  So it's about Jesus.  It's about worship.  It's about God.  It's about mourning and repenting and bringing yourself to God.  God it.  Well I do admit that I am thankful for a time to help me focus on this, as obviously this isn't my hearts' focus on most moments of the days.  But this year, I want my prayer to be for Lent that I would take this further than the feast of Easter morning, and continue in a heart of humility before God.  As I look ahead to Easter, this year I long that all parts of my life would rise to new heights through Jesus' Resurrection.

John 3:30, "He must become greater; I must become less."


Happy Ashed Thursday.

Love,
Sarah


picture from boncherry.com

 

Love.

This morning I feel like I'm drunk on love.  I just want to tell everyone that I love them.

It all started last night.  We had an Ash Wednesday service at the View Methodist Church and I came in late because I was counseling a friend.  I brought crazy Kiers with me, who was SO PUMPED because her boyfriend, Dante, was there (don't judge me because I want my two-year old to have a boyfriend...).  It was a bit late at this point, which of course means CRAZY TIME for all the kids, so here us adults are trying to have a serious moment and all the kids are running around.  FINALLY one of these kids is Kieren.  I don't know what it is about church, but she is SO SHY there (might be that EVERY ONE wants to pick her up and touch her; I would be ill too).  But now, she is really loving it, going around hugging and greeting people and loving her friends.  So she ran all around laughing and playing during this serious spiritual moment.  I took her with me when I went for communion and when Pastor Kyle tried to put ashes on her forehead she freaked with 'no' and ran to the back.  HILARIOUS.  Watch this space people; this girl is going to do things her OWN WAY.  After church she kept running around playing and SO HAPPY (even though she was still sick and exhausted from a day of school and play).  LOVE HER JOY.  And I love my church.  And I love the kids.  And I love sitting around watching the kids knowing Kiers will be growing up with THESE kids.  When we left Raleigh, I was so sad to know K wouldn't grow up with THOSE kids, and it still stings a bit when I think about it, but THESE kids here in the View are beautiful and ALL our lives will be better and fuller and richer with them in our hearts.  Love.

For some reason I woke up today still feeling love drunk.  Just love my friends near and far.  Love that technology keeps us close.  Love that there are new girls hanging with Kiers at our house lately playing with her.  Love that she GRIEVES (maaajor meltdown) when they leave.  Love that Casey and I are slowing down this weekend to be TOGETHER.  Love life.  

Love you.

Sarah



 picture from www.30yearchallenge.com.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sick Day


 Yesterday the Prince family woke up to a day of Epic fail-ness.  The water had been OUT since like 5pm the night before, so the house was filled with dirty dishes, dirty hands, smelly people, sticky Kieren, and NO BRUSHED TEETH.  Dislike.  AND, Kiers had been up much of the night with a fever as she has a bad cold this week.  I was supposed to take her to school and then go to Cornerstone for my class - presentations start this week for my students.  But we had to call in for a sick day.  I mean, how am I supposed to face the day without my teeth brushed??

We called our church peeps and quickly found out how to turn the water back ON (not a big deal, but help us out people!  We are not from these parts!!) and got everyone and everything clean and non-smelly/sticky/fuzzy (teeth when they are not cleaned)/feverish.  

I called in a sick day for Kiers and I - no school for either of us.  Once we were all cleaned up, we went out the 'shops' to see some working friends and get some juice as we walked around, and then back home for an EPIC nap for Kiers (I might have snuck one too after the sleepless-fever night).  Then Kiers and I went to visit a friend of mine and afterwards some View kids came by to play.  

IT WAS SO NICE to just have a rest day and make everything stop.  It was perfect - I got a sick day but didn't have to feel sick!  Kieren was FINE all day; coughing and runny nose, but didn't mind a bit and continued to love every moment of life.  She is just joy.  At night Casey and I had soccer practice, a baby shower, and our leaders Connect Group for Hillsong, so we dropped Kiers with some View friends and took off.  All was well and happy at the end of the day.

Sometimes it's just good to take a break.  The world won't end if you call in sick; in fact, the world can probably keep spinning just fine without you.  Make sure you find space in life to have great moments with your family and those you love, and I won't tell on you if you aren't even really sick :)

Love,
Sarah

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Become a Part of the 'Freedom Project'

Watching CNN this morning I have been so excited and impassioned to see their new campaign for the year of 2011.  It's called the CNN 'Freedom Project.'  They want to bring light and information to the modern slave trade going on throughout the world and bring an end to it.  

This is now affecting me, as I shared a story of a girl in our church who was almost trafficked last week.  Check out CNN's Freedom Story blog here: http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com.

Don't Miss This Book!

Donald Miller's newest book 'A Million Miles in a Thousand Years' is being released in paperback this week - meaning it's easier and cheaper to get a copy or share a copy!  This book has TRULY inspired us this past year and become a part of our language and ministry as we believe passionately that EVERYONE has a story to tell!  Check out Miller's video below and find a copy for yourself SOON if you haven't read this incredible book!







What story are you telling? from Rhetorik Creative on Vimeo.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekend Praises

Wow, what a weekend.  Wow, WOW.  Just so thankful for our lives.  

On Friday night we planned an outing for the Ocean View youth we are now leading, and took them all the way to the city for Hillsong Youth.  We went a bit early and had boerie rolls (sausage rolls) and hung out with everyone, then stayed for CRAZY youth service.  It. Was. INSANE.  There was like almost 200 youth packed in a room, jumping, singing, praising, and loving life.  Some of our kids hung out in the back, but most were in the middle of the pack sweating and jumping.  At one point I hung with Ntokozo as she dragged and jumped and sang with her cousin, Minky, who came for the FIRST time to anything we had at our church.  Great message given by one of their great youth leaders, and at the end he said a prayer for anyone that wanted to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  To my surprise, Minky (cousin) went down to the front with another girl who has been hanging with us a lot, named Nosi.  WOW!  I was overwhelmed, and went with them to talk afterwards.  The girls happened to be in our car (praise) (oh and also so cool that Minky didn't even ride with her cousin, Ntokozo) and the two girls were HYPER and so happy.  It was beautiful.  They had both been around church most of their lives, but this was the first time they really wanted it for themselves.  They were alive and it was beautiful.  That is what it's all about.


(From left) Nosi, Ntokozo, Minky, and Cleo



Aaron, Reece, KIERS!, Joslyn, and Tracy


Aaron and Cleo


Saturday was a fun family day.  Minky spent the night and her and Ntokozo just hung around the house most of the day, which I think was what they both needed - REST!  I took Kieren to the birthday party of Bailey, her bestie, who was turning THREE.  All the way there (run to the grocery store included) Kieren talked about Bailey and practiced singing her happy birthday.  Love this little girl (Bailey, she is so sweet and happy) and her and Kieren love each other.  Also cool because this family is in the process of adopting a little African boy named Lacona, also three.  So Kieren loves to talk about 'Cona' and Bailey.  LOVE THEM.  The party was on an ESTATE with horses, pool, little river, cake, scavenger hunt, bubbles, heaven.  So cute.  Then went home for naps (all skate on this) and then met Casey at the beach for some more family time (he had SOCCER all day - fun!).  Finished the night with Ntokozo watching Kieren (which they both love) while we headed for a beach b-day party for one of our great friends, Wayne, and then a NO KIDS dinner with the Ostrand's who we love.  Did we mention no kids?  Yeah, it was nice.  Sunday we woke up, stopped by View church, but then went to an earlier service at Hillsong.  We took some friends who are really struggling, as the husband has found himself in a cycle of drug abuse.  It was BEAUTIFUL to see them at Hillsong because they really opened up and let God love on them during the worship.  I was all in tears.  Great message that really hit home for them.  It really renewed my hope in God that no one is too far to come back to Him and no sin is too big to be forgiven.  Love it.  Then Sunday we just HUNG out like all day.  WOO HOO!  Epic naps happened for all, and our friend Michael Jenkins came over for soccer watching while we had a spaghetti dinner (home-made sauce by Sarah??  What what!!).  It was nice and relaxing, and Casey and I even got to de-brief the week a little bit and talk some 'strategy' to make sure things all work and we get enough time together in this crazy season.  That is most important in all of it; making sure our family is healthy and loving each other.

So great!  Excited for the week ahead and all God is going to do!  Can't wait!

love,
sarah

Friday, March 4, 2011

LOVE

This week for our Thursday Women's Bible Study I taught on John 3:16 and the following verses.  John 3:16 is one of the most FAMOUS verses in the whole Bible, one really familiar to me, but I had never taught on it.  WOW, what a great piece of God's Word!  We had SUCH A GREAT conversation on it and we all left so deeply encouraged.  HOUTOS encouraged :)  Read the notes below and you will get what I'm talking about!


Love,
Sarah





History Maker

Last night was our women's group once again, and we finished with a story I honestly think I will never forget.  I have always been drawn to the human rights issue of 'trafficking' but it is never been something I have come in close contact with.  There is prostitution in Ocean View and even kidnapping at times, but nothing I have been affected with personally.  Until last night.

As I shared last week on the blog, one of the great women of this group is a mother named Pam.  She is an incredible woman of God, working through many things, but I have always thought about her 'God is going to use this lady for something incredible.'  The time has come.

Our time together was coming to a close, and Pam asked if she could share something.  She told us an unbelievable story about her daughter, Anessa, whom we  had lifted prayer on behalf of for months.  She is only fourteen and involved in partying and sneaking out on a regular basis.  Last weekend she snuck off and then didn't return on Sunday, like she  usually does.  On Monday morning, Pam went to the police station, and went to all her friends to investigate where she could be.  Her mind was, of course, going to the worst possibilities, but she continued to claim her thoughts in Christ and believe that God was protecting her.  One of Anessa's young friends told Pam on Monday that she knew where she had been over the weekend, at a party in Hout Bay.  This is a seaside town near the city, and I had no idea what it mean, but evidently it has a reputation, as one of the townships have begun to prostitute and traffic young girls there.  Because of what she knew, Pam immediately took that girl and some police to the township, knocking on every door looking for her child.  She was begging and pleading with everyone, especially the mothers, to help her.  They found nothing, and went home that night discouraged and helpless.  Wednesday morning they had still heard nothing, and Pam, her husband, and two other young girls gathering for prayer.  There were tears shed, but as they prayed, Pam had a vision of Anessa as a young girl and a few other kids playing under a light.  She knew it was her daughter and that God was watching them.  Minutes later the police called from Hout Bay and had her daughter.  She went to the police station to find four teenage girls with glares and attitudes and took her daughter and one other home.  Unfortunately the parents of the other girl wouldn't even open the door to meet her, and the other parents didn't care either that their children had narrowly missed being prostituted or worse.


Evidently, what happens is these guys host parties in this township with free booze, and bring vans to Ocean View to invite the young girls.  They come to the party, and there the men 'sample' them (not even sure what this means...but I have some guesses) and then everyone stays at different homes in the townships.  The next day if they like you, you are invited back.  Anessa was IN THE HOME of one of these men, as they had chosen and 'liked' her.  At the last minute, he invited all the girls from Ocean View and minutes later the police came and released them all.    A mother had seen Anessa and recognized her after Pam had come by with all the picture.  


Amazing that Anessa is alive.  Amazing that the police found her.  Amazing that these girls were safe.  Amazing that Anessa is fine (doctor says all is good).  Amazing that God gave Pam a vision of these four girls being in light and they were safe. 


Pam says that now she is just thankful that God allowed all this to happen because God has increased her faith.


And mine.


Now Pam is on a mission to shut down this ring of prostitution and trafficking.  Evidently the girls are not prostituted in that township (like what happens here in the View), but are taken away to other places never to return.  She told the police they better shut this down or she will.  


What was amazing was how calm she was.  How obviously full of faith and strength she was.  It was like hearing about a movie, and Pam was the incredibly courageous mother who changes history.  Except it is real.  


Amazing.  So honored to minister to this woman; to know this woman.


History is changing; the kingdom of God is coming and making wrong things right.  And Pam is on the front line.


Is there some history to be made in your world?  I bet there is...


Love,
Sarah

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Kieren changing your life....

Coming Together


Last night some close friends of ours who live in Ocean View came over because they wanted to discuss their marriage and some issues they were facing.  These are people that partner with us in ministry, and whom we love and respect very much.  They have some things going on that are really affecting their marriage, and want some help talking through them and building a stronger foundation and bond between them.  It is a privilege that they would allow us into their marriage and very inspiring to see a young couple who wants marital health.  In Ocean View, as in America too, most people just settle for 'okay' marriages, and it's a victory if you even stay together at all.  We believe that marriage is a sacrament of God, which means it's a place where God can enter and do something holy and supernatural that is unexplainable.  We experience that, but know that you have to WORK and FIGHT to find that in this difficult world.  It's so amazing to see another couple agree and want GREAT not just good.  It's amazing to come together and really 'do life' in this way with people in our community.  This is what it's all about.


Lots of love,
Sarah


picture from mumsgather.com

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Prayers Answered!

Just wanted to share a great PRAISE - Antoine Musemena and his family (our Congolese friends) have made it safety back home to the Democratic Republic of Congo.  This was a LONG journey for them and I know they are glad to be there safe and sound.  Now come a whole new set of prayer requests for them!  Below is the email I received from Antoine today; please join us in prayer for this incredible family and the work they are doing for God!



Hello Sarah, Jim
we are glad to let you know since the 20 february that Mathy and Onesie arrived at Kinshasa and myself and Christ Roi arrived on the 28th february.We are doing well but honestly our country is completely destroyed .the poverty has reached the extreme and the misery is total. food price is not affordable for the poor people.We pray God to come to help our country because the politic authorities do not care for people.Even us who came from outside, in very few days we start to feel it and we pray God to assist us.For now we are in process to get a bank account and will let you know as soon as we get it.Once more thank you for your continuous assistant. May God bless youMathy and the children are doing well and our family which is also under the national situation are doing their best to help us but for how long.When we will finish to get in touch with some orgarnisation in kinshasa we will be going to Kisangani.We write to you again very soon.Antoine  
Micah 6:8He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.    And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy    and to walk humbly with your God.




Last night, Casey led our Connect Group for Hillsong, which is mostly made up of people who aren't part of Hillsong, but our great friends who live near us and share life together with us.  LOVE THESE FRIENDS.  I spent most of the time in Kieren's room with kids and my great friend Kate Senekal (which was way fun and great convo anyways), but Casey shared about this scripture from the Old Testament book of Micah.  Interestingly enough, in our group of friends, four families are fostering children that are not their own, two of us having (difficult) teenagers.  In studying the scriptures, it becomes clear that God tells us to care for the widows and orphans, but He does NOT promise blessing or reward for it.  We can be certain that God himself will show up in the mix, but there is no pot of gold at the end of this crazy rainbow.  So the group wrestled together with this idea, and at the same time, Kate and I  also were talking about the difficulties of taking in orphaned children.  She is caring for a three year old little boy, and we both lamented at not knowing all the stories of these children's' lives up to this point.  What we experience today is likely not just the situation at hand, but a mix of stories and pain from the past.  Her 'son' cries all the time in over-emotional ways while my 'daughter' has MAJOR attitude and completely shuts down when anything gets hard.  This is HARD.  And no reward at the end?  Only God himself; and that should be enough.  But this we know, we can't go back, and we know we are doing God's work.  So we move ahead, and in our own little ways, try to make the wrongs in the world a little more right, one person at a time.  


Who around you has been wronged or hurt?  Who do you know that is lonely or alone?  This week why don't you turn a 'wrong' into a 'right' by loving them in real and tangible ways.  God won't give you a gold star, but He will be in the mix, and actually that is more than enough.


Lots of love,
Sarah