Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Women in Leadership

Great thoughts on women in leaders from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

Monday, May 30, 2011


This weekend, Granny took Kieren to yet another birthday party.

This is one popular white toddler among brown toddlers.

I went to pick Kieren up from the party, and each child was sitting in their own seat at a table with a HUGE spread of baked goods, sweets, and cake.  WOW.  Even I wouldn't have been able to eat all the goodies.  Kieren was WIRED when she got home, but so happy.  

I love, love, love that she continues to become more a part of the Ocean View community.  She knows so many people who we don't even know.  Her best friend in the View speaks ONLY Afrikkaans.  Love.

This is Granny and Kiers all dressed up for their par-tay!

Book Review- The Next Christians

I have found recently that I struggle really getting into books that are written from a very American perspective to a very American audience. That's not an indictment on any specific book, it's just that now that my worldview is stretching it's more difficult to latch on to those books.
With “The Next Christians” by Gabe Lyons I found that to be the case for a while. I was having a hard time latching. But I pushed through and I'm glad that I did.

I think I most started resonating with it in Chapter 4 when he started to outline what the 'next Christians' were are all about: restoring. It's a fantastic description and I can think of so many people like this. The next 6 chapters are spent defining the 6 distinctive characteristics of the Restorers. Lyons describes them as:
  • Provoked, not Offend
  • Creators, not Critics
  • Called, not Employed
  • Grounded, not Distracted
  • In Community, not Alone
  • Countercultural, not “Relevant”

As I read I realized how influenced I am by the people he was often describing and the stories he was sharing. I so desire to be a restorer. However, I often fall back into being a critic, or doing a 'job', or worrying about being 'relevant'. I was really encouraged to live a fresh life of following Jesus in the way God has called me. I don't have to be anybody else, only the best version of me that I can.
So, I would encourage you to read “The Next Christians”. It's an easy read, not easy to swallow all the time, but smooth going in. You'll be encouraged to seek some new expressions of your faith in Jesus.

Overall Grade: B+


Sunday, May 29, 2011

We Like to Party

Another epic bash at the Prince home this weekend

This year it was "Sarah's Birthday Brinner" where we also celebrated a year since Kieren's accident and all the miracles God did in our life.

Brinner is breakfast for dinner.  Duh.

Our house was PACKED.  No, seriously crazy packed.

It was our own 'Rainbow Nation' of friends that we love so dearly.  I just kept saying all night as people were like, 'WHAT IS THIS??' that we are just SO blessed.

Hanging in the lounge

Talking with friends

Awww, here I was just reading a really sweet gift that we got from some great friends - a night away at a fancy place for Casey and I!  So amazing!

Our summer interns/slaves were hard at work.  This is Alison Gamble and Doug Wegman is somewhere nearby.  They are here to volunteer with Ubuntu and live in OV this month.  They ended up making dinner for a million people last night.  They were EPIC.  Double their salary.

Kiers and I with our sweet friend Rita

Missionary friends!  Karl Ostrand with daughter Jenson and Noah Kaye both serving Jesus beautifully!

So many great friends!  Danielle, Wayne, Marc and Katie, Laural, and Amy

I tried to take this pic like 3 times and people kept jumping in.  It's of the besties Michael and Casey, this time with an added does of Treswill.

Crazy kitchen.

My girls Kieren and her bestie Bailey

One of our worship guys at OV Methodist, Uncle Jonny, showed up and was filming.  WHY is he wearing a Santa hat??

Sarah and the brown daughters (they are now both ours and spent the night after the party) Minky and Ntokozo

New friends bonding: Roger, Cindy, and Allison

It was such an amazing night.  Special.  So many helped all night to make food and insure everyone was having a good time.  Chaos.  Big mess.  So much fun.

Our community here is beautiful.  We are blessed.

Some friends brought cards and presents and I opened a few last night.  Humbled by their generosity and kind and generous words to me.  I am loved so much more than I could ever deserve.  I woke up this morning wondering who I could now bless because I am filled to the brim.



Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Easy Listening

Just some easy listening for your Saturday morning.  Hope yours is as lovely as mine has been.

Fleet Foxes, one of my new loves.  They are really helpful with my writing and studying.  LOVE.

This song came on my run yesterday morning, and then I played it again this morning running.  SUCH a great anthem for our ministry in Ocean View and for your world too.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Prayer for Unity

A Prayer for Unity

In word and deed,
in loving and caring, in sharing and compassion,
in participation and confrontation;
Lord, speak your word to us all,
give us ears to listen
and willingness to be involved with and for one another
and a spirit of obedience.

A prayer from a multi-racial group in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Taken from: With All God’s People: The New Ecumenical Prayer Cycle
(World Council of Churches Publications, 1989)

Go and sin no more...

Another incredible night with my Ocean View women last night.  Casey asked last week, "Do you ever NOT have an amazing night with your women?"  I don't.  It's always amazing.  Guess who doesn't get the credit for that - ME.  They show up and are just expectant and loving and open and real.  It's beautiful.  Last night we went through the beginning of John 8 where Jesus meets the woman caught in adultery, changes the whole scene inviting those who are perfect to persecute her, and then when they are left alone in the dust tells her to go and sin no more (notes below).  I think this is one of the most profound teaching moments of Jesus' ministry because there is no clearer picture of the forgiveness and compassion of God than this incident.  It lights up my mind and burns in my heart at the scandalous love of Jesus that also reaches out to me and to you.  God is incredible.  As a group of women we were humbled by this story and cried and shared together one again.  I pray we can take in this captivating love for ourselves and see others not with judgement but with compassion and forgiveness.  Only through the power of God.

Lots of love,

Or this link.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Coming Up Next

Yesterday I was having some 'quiet time' pretending to do work but instead watching tv while Kiers was out with Granny, and there was a knock at the door interrupting my quiet bliss.  It was my OV Methodist church friends Pam and Morne.  They rock my world.  They are this incredible couple who I have asked to pray about becoming youth lead through this cool training by an organization called J-Life that trains leaders for Africa all over the continent.  So they have been praying FOREVER about jumping in with us!  They have 3 kids, very busy, very committed, I KNEW they really wanted to say no.

But last night they broke my rest to tell me YES!  They feel called to jump on board with the youth, be trained, and see where God takes them!  They actually already have TONS of vision and just huge expectation and excitement for what is ahead!

Best birthday present EVER!
I feel like this is a present to me because God has given me His eyes to see this couple.  They have been through a lot, many challenges, many hardships, but they continue to grow and learn and are hungry for more of God.  They have so much potential and I think they are going to be a light in leading the next generation of our church.

Humbling.  Beautiful.  Exciting.

This is why I do ALL of this, to see new people step up into leadership, into the unknown, into their calling, and take a journey with me that I know will be beautiful.  I am pumped.

YAY Happy Anniversary dinner to us

Aren't we cute?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nine Crazy Years Later...

Nine years ago on this day, two kids exchanged vows and looked towards the future with hope, vision, and excitment.  I cannot believe that those two kids on that day have turned into the Prince couple that exists today.

On that day we vowed so much, and in the last nine years we have fought hard to love one another, understand each other, grow, change, and accept.  At times we probably were hanging by a few threads, but luckily one of those was God.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  -Ecclesiastes 4:12

Today we are better and stronger than we have ever been.  We love each other and really, really like each other.  We are a team and a force.  And we have a blast.

We are blessed and today we celebrate.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gang Life

We saw an unbelievable documentary this weekend.  It's a BBC show called 'Ross Kemp on Gangs' and this guy goes around the world to study the gang culture and life - pretty intense, right??

Intense doesn't even begin to cover it.  This show was an incredible and unimaginable look into the Poolsmoor Prison that is 30 minutes from our home.  DEFINITELY people are there from Ocean View.  In prison gangs run and rule.  We learned so much we never wanted to know, but it's a harsh reality to South Africa these days that can't be ignored.  People are desperate to make a living and belong and so they turn to the family of gangs; one day finding themselves drowning in drugs and violence.  The clip below was the most haunting, of one of the gang leaders named John Mongrel.

WARNING: explicit and harsh content

We are thankful that the gang culture isn't too big in Ocean View, but it definitely exists.  Ultimately after watching the video my heart was even more ignited for this country and those that are lost and falling between the cracks.  God is real and He CAN save.  I believe it.  We are seeing it.

The journey continues and we will see so many more come into the light.

More info on this show episode:


Monday, May 23, 2011

North Carolina Love

We have some friends from North Carolina visiting this week - hollar!  The incredible twins Christine and Allison Gamble are coming to Cape Town to hang out with the Princes'.  They were a part of our youth ministry in Raleigh and we are very close to their family.  Christine (on left in picture) on here for two days on her way to Zambia to do mission work for the summer and Allison (right in pic) comes on Thursday with a friend Doug to spend a month in Ocean View and help our ministries.  So fun!  We love these girls are a PUMPED to have them with us!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Forever Young

Thinking today about the Ocean View youth.  Another fun night with them.  

Wanted to share pics from LAST Friday night, when we took our youth took Hillsong Church.

Casey and Kiers with Reece and Ivanna and our missionary friends Marc and Katie

All of us after a fun night

Hollar at my girls!!

Worship time for Hillsong youth.  EPIC.

ME speaking at youth!  I was so honored to be asked to speak at Hillsong for their youth service and it was a wonderful night.  The kids are SO EXCITED to hear about Jesus - it's a privilege to minister there!

Here are my notes from the talk that night:


Friday, May 20, 2011


Go to the Ubuntu blog at www.ubuntusports.blogspot.com to see the NEW VIDEO for Ubuntu's ministry.  It is AWESOME!!

Communion in my Community

Did you know that 'communion' actually comes from the word 'community?'  When the first church celebrated the Lord's Supper, they did so within a meal and sat around a table, sharing the 'body' and 'blood' of Christ with one another.  There is a poignant beauty in this, in remembering and receiving from Jesus at the table with one another.

We decided to bring this back last night at my women's group.

We learned last night from John 6 about the Eucharist and what Jesus meant when he told us to 'eat of his flesh and drink his blood.'  Super intense thoughts, but Jesus was taking it REALLY seriously by inviting us to take Him in to every part of us.  He wants HIS LIFE to flow through our veins, and guts, and hearts.  A beautiful thing.

We shared communion last night by passing it around and serving one another.  It began a bit awkward, with some giggles, but ended in tears and holy silence.  Just beautiful.  

God showed up and my ladies DEFINITELY showed up.  I am honored to serve with and to them.  

Check my notes from my teaching time below.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Daddy Daughter Bond

Kieren and Casey have a close bond, but it doesn't come from the normal father - daughter activities.

WARNING - watch at your own risk!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ocean View Women Pray in Masiphumelele Township

This video shows a WOW moment in my time with the women of Ocean View this year. We gathered last week to go to the nearby Masiphumelele township to pray with women who were affected by the huge fires there that left over 5000 homeless. We had an incredibly poingant and moving time of prayer and song with them and I feel so proud of my women for stepping out of their comfort zones to love others! God is at work!


Reaching Out

(This blog was posted last week, but erased by Blogger and only now restored.  Enjoy again!)

Tonight was a WOW night.

Last week a horrific fire happened in Masiphumelele township that destroyed over 500 shacks and displaced about 5000 people.  It was devastating and our entire city rallied around this poor community.

Churches and community leaders came together and have helped to rebuild much of the homes, as well as supply the people with food, clothes, and other necessities.

It's over a week later, and I wanted our women to respond, but what could WE do to help, especially since now so much has already been done and many homes are up again like those in the picture below?

We decided we could do what we do best: LOVE WOMEN.  So we went this evening with my friend Tricia who are working in this township and helping to rebuild, to encourage and pray with some of the women she is working with.

My ladies were not totally up for an evening stroll in the dangerous Masiphumelele township, but I learned tonight they MAJORLY trust me and we went together.  We parked in the middle of some homes, and followed some people back through a maze of shacks.  Finally we found ourselves in the home of a young woman with a six year old physically disabled son, who spends every moment in a crib.  People began to fill the room; they just kept coming to see what was going on.  The mothers shared about their lives, their kids, the fire.  We learned that the home was the center of a new home church where the surrounding families meet and study God's word together.  Beautiful.  So we just started praying, and then we sang, and then more prayers, and then singing, and then praying.  It was all in candlelight, as they don't even have electricity.  It was beautiful.  We were united.  It was holy ground.

Seriously, people from Ocean View NEVER go to Masiphumelele.  Granny Jacoba said it was her SECOND time ever there.  My women just stepped in and loved those women so well.  And we ended the night just how we end our View meetings; we hugged.  Everyone hugged everyone.

It was a piece of heaven right among us in that shack.    


Picture from www.accidents.co.za

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


One year ago our lives completely changed and we will never be the same.

It was May 17, 2010, and in preparing for a women's meeting, Kieren grabbed a cup of hot tea and accidentally poured it all over her face, neck, and chest. That night her condition was critical, but she made it through and was in the care of the Red Cross Children's Hospital for five days.

We honestly didn't know if she would make it through that first day, and each day following was a fight moment by moment. We surrendered ourselves to God in a way we had never experienced before, and watched Him slowly heal Kieren more and more each day.

Read the entire story in the newsletter we created below:

We kept walking through each day, with a very traumatized and hurting Kieren, but each day she got stronger and we all began to heal. As a family we cried out to God for His mercy and He loved us in an intimate and real way through the incredible ordeal.

Today it has been ONE YEAR since her burn accident, and honestly, we are full of praise and thankfulness on this day.

This was the day God became raw and real and deeply faithful to our family. This was the day where we were taken to our utmost limits and found God's presence with us every second of the journey. This was the day when Kieren's physical body was burnt and the scars will remain to always mark what took place. This was the day that linked us forever with families and children who have experienced life-threatening accidents or have scars or deformities.

One year later, this IS the day Kieren is full of joy and love and NO FEAR. This IS the day where we have a testimony of God bringing us through the fire and pain. This IS the day where we are full of love for our God who, even through the pain, loves us more than we could ever deserve.

Tonight I am reminded of the Hillsong worship song "Desert Song." I sung this song out of my guts during this month a year ago, and it will permanently be written on my heart. I echo its words as I will always BRING PRAISE because God is my victory and He has shown us that He is ALWAYS with us.

Thank you for your deep love and support over this past year as we have watched Kieren heal. We celebrate with you and thank God that He brought you all into our lives to share in this beautiful story.


GREAT Ubuntu Sports Blog - DON'T MISS!

Check out Casey's recent Ubuntu blog at www.ubuntusports.blogspot.com.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Save the Date for our event in RALEIGH July 14th!


Serious.  She is just cuteness personified.
This picture was taken after a girl brunch with some of my favorite ladies here and Kiers.  She was so good the whole time and just hung out because she LOVES these friends.  Sweet.
Great Saturday, great weekend.
Lots of naps and rests and time in our peaceful home.  It was just great.

Kieren is the most hilarious person ever right now by the way.  And the sweetest.

Every night in bed we ask her, "who do you want to pray for?"  Then she gives a list, "Kyle, Vano, Keegan... Jensen's mommy and Jensen's daddy (our great friends Julie and Karl)...Treswill and Cindy...and Stacy....and Steven and Charmaine....and granny and Lita...."
It goes on for a while.  SWEET.

Love my life,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

OV Youth Chaos

This is what youth looks like at our house on a Friday night. It is CHAOS. Good times :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Miami Meets Ocean View

This is what happens when Miami meets Ocean View

While we were on our REST at Mosaic Farm, we met a wonderful family from Miami, Florida who are traveling the WORLD for a year.  They took their three beautiful kids out of school and have been all over - and we met them at Mosaic!  They are lovely and so we invited them to come visit our 'hood while they were in Cape Town.

Our sweet girls Roxie, Meagan, and Jadine were hanging at the house and totally bonded with the Americans.  They taught each other Spanish and Afrikaans and other fun games.


Have I told you before that we love visitors?  We DO.  Come.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Little Letters

Just some thoughts for today

Dear Ocean View,
I love you so much.  I am so glad we are friends.  Thanks for letting the Prince family be all up in your bizness and for letting us pretend we are coloured.  We know we aren't but we so love thinking we are in our hearts.  I think you grow more beautiful every day.

Dear Kieren's big-girl bed,
You are my new best friend.  Thank you for making Kieren happy and helping her to sleep SO WELL  I love your green big-girl sheets and being able to lay next to her.  I love that she loves to jump on you and run into you.  I just love you.

Dear Diet Coke,
This week I learned that you are toxic.  Like not "duh, of course you are 'good' for me" toxic but in a "whoa you could totally cause me a stroke, peel off my teeth, kill me" sort of toxic.  I am bummed.  This article was NOT good for our relationship.  I think we have to break up.  You know we have had a long, long and intimate relationship.  But I must find a new, less toxic vice.  The only alternative in Ocean View is crystal meth, or 'tick' as they call it, so I am going to keep looking.  Oh I am so sad.

With love,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review- Enchantment

I just finished "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions" by Guy Kawasaki and thought it excellent.  The book is inspiring, practical, and helpful in thinking through how you present your cause to people, how you work with and interact with them, and then how you get them to believe in and join your cause.  This could be your business, non-profit, idea, family relationship, anything.
With Ubuntu Sports Outreach, and specifically the Ubuntu Football Academy, being in its infancy stage still we are constantly looking to 'enchant' people so that they want to do all they can to help us succeed.  This gave me some good ideas and also reinforced many of the ways we operate.
I would encourage you to read this if you lead, sell, grow, distribute, or market anything!  If you have a big idea and want help getting it out there, read this.  If your boss doesn't realize how great you are, read this.
Overall grade: A


New Normal

I am not sure what universe we are living in, but last week we certainly stepped into a new one.  On Thursday night I got a phone call from Ntokozo asking if she and Minky (cousin) could come to youth on Friday night at our house and then SPEND THE NIGHT!  And then she said to tell Kieren good-night (she didn't SPEAK to Kieren the last month she lived in our home).  I was like 'ummm, okay!'  What?  What planet are we on??  So the girls came over on Friday and stayed much of the day Saturday and we had a great time!  They were polite, helpful, although a bit quiet.  We were all a bit quiet - but mostly me - thinking WHAT THE HECK IS HAPPENING?  So I am thinking this is our new normal, as on Sunday Notkozo called me to wish me happy Mother's Day!  Huh?  I will take it and feel that I ready.  Not ready to call her brown daughter, or move her back in, or have an intense conversation, but I am ready for her to come back and start out NEW relationship.  I feel good about it, and I really just let myself work through ALL my feelings last week before my surprise call on Thursday.  My Stephen Minister (lay ministry in USA, I speak with someone monthly to help me process the chaos!) helped me to see on Wednesday that I really was grieving; and that is really where all my feelings were.  I was seriously going through the five stages and I feel like I had lost a dream and a daughter.  I'm on the way back though and really feeling much better.  Still on a journey, but it's moving.  And looking forward to this new normal and our relationship with Ntokozo and Minky.  I think we are a safe place and a growing place - but now she can call the shots of when and her speed.  I can do that, and I hope she can too.

When I hung up the phone after our conversation on Thursday my FIRST thought was - wow everyone has REALLY been praying!  You have - keep it coming - God is doing MIRACLES!  You never know what life has planned, but we can KNOW that God is in it all.

Lots of love,

Sunday, May 8, 2011


Kieren has been playing with a new buddy lately, one our neighbors, a girl named Roseka.

Roseka comes running down the street when we drive in and loves playing with Kieren.  She is probably about 10 years old and full of laughter and joy.

Picture below is me TRYING to take a picture but they were laughing and jumping around.  Classic.

I especially love this friendship because it's not one I would have chosen for her.  Actually, Roseka has been coming around our home the past year and a half, but Kieren is the one who just now invites her in all the time.  At first I thought Roseka was just a bit awkward or pushy, but then I learned she goes to the local handicapped center for school.  I am beginning to understand why she is so needy for attention and why she often ends up alone without the other kids.  I am not sure about the family, but I don't think it's the most awesome situation.  I often see her at night on the street playing with kids in her bathrobe and slippers.  

And I didn't want to let her in, but Kieren did.  Kieren loves her.  Hugs her when she comes in.  They laugh and play and are so cute.  Kieren is teaching me about true love.  Kieren is teaching us about opening our home to a beautiful girl who just wants to be loved.  Kieren loves without noticing what everyone else sees.  It's beautiful.  Very humbling.

I love that they are buds.  I hope that Kieren keeps loving people so graciously and boldly.  And I really hope I can learn to do the same.


Friday, May 6, 2011

School Thoughts....

So I am taking a class online these days through Fuller Theological Seminary called 'Poverty and Development.'  It's kicking my butt in all kinds of ways, but just overall teaching me SO MUCH.  Development is a huge topic and obviously something we care about living in the community of Ocean View.  We want to see people's lives transform and develop so they can be all God longs for them to be.  This doesn't happen through magic or even just love - it takes major vision and wisdom.  I thought I would just share some of my thoughts from this week.  Enjoy!


Reflecting on Walking with the Poor, by Bryant Myers, what aspect of development practitioner presents the biggest challenge to yourself? What disciplines might help you improve in this area?

Meditating on the principles needed for a holistic development practitioner, the concept that has challenged me to my core was introduced by Myers through Melba Maggay's "dance of death."  Myers writes about this, "Self-emptying is the only way to genuine incarnation...Technical power can come from good training and good experience.  Spiritual power comes only this harder way" (161).  WOW (I wrote in the margins).  How terrifying and humbling.  I sometimes recognize myself as a 'task-oriented' person who loves to make goals and check them all off the list.  But the deepest and most important part of our discipleship is total surrender and death of our own will.  In ministry, it can be so easy for me to make about the things I want to do and see accomplished rather than laying it all down for Christ.  I often still want the same Messiah the Jews were looking for: a regal and powerful leader.  I want to follow that Christ.  I recognize in myself a reluctance to follow the humiliated, shamed, lonely, and rejected Christ.  But there is only one Christ to follow.  There is only one way.  In my context of Ocean View, this means surrendering my schedule and time and personal goals of ministry.  I have to get into the flow of what God is doing in this community through MANY people working together, and submit myself to the ways this community works and relates to one another.  I must sacrifice for the families I love and even the ones I don't love.  I must put them before myself; think of them as better than my family.  Only then will I begin to see Christ truly alive in my ministry and development.  Challenging stuff this wee

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Loaves and Fishes

Tonight was another meeting with my View ladies.  Oh my GOSH I love these ladies.  They rock my world.  We shared a great time in God's word together learning about John 6 and the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes.  So great and profound; who knew?  Check out my notes below.  Then we gathered in prayer, and one of our lovely ladies had a major request for her family and their financial situation that is dire and stressful.  She broke down and the floodgates opened.  For all of us.  We gathered around her and prayed a mighty prayer of belief for breakthrough in her life.  More tears.  It was so great.  It was beautiful.  And this is my life; seeing the Kingdom of God break through in people's hearts all the time.  As my hand was on her, hearing another one of my friends prayed, I just thought, "I am so blessed,"

Good night,

Read notes at the link here, or read below.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

If I quit my day job

If I quit my day job, I would become a dentist.  Not kidding.  I have an odd affection for all things dental hygiene and teeth related.  So strange.  I use to be terrified of the dentist because of a traumatic teeth-pulling episode in elementary school.  But then I got thrown into the medical/dental mission at my church Grace Community back in the diz-ay because the trip always pulled in crazy medical professionals.  And there in the midst of these crazies I found my passion.  Well I first just love people, especially strong-willing, independent, know-what-they-want-but-BREAK-over-Jesus people, but I also fell in love with dentistry.

On one mission trip in Mexico they actually talked me in to pulling a woman's tooth.  It was TRAUMA for everyone involved, including the patient.  Yeah.  But I did it.  So BAM.

Anyways, some of my dentist friends have been bugging me (or I have been bugging them, can't remember now) to put together a dental trip to the Mother-land hosted at the Prince home.  What could be better?  My hood with my crazy dentist friends walking around?!?

Finally am starting to do some research to see if it's even possible with Living Hope (they also want to bring some dentists over) AND needed to take Ntokozo to see the dentist.  SO finally got to go to the ONE dentist in Ocean View this week - Doctor Sonday.  Hollar at my new boy!  He is so cool, and down to earth, and really smart and competent, and CHOSE to move back to the View after leaving to go to school.  So much respect for him.  We'll see what evolves with a trip, but I am definitely excited about MY upcoming visit for a cleaning to my new main man.  Going to the dentist in Ocean View; how GREAT is that?  That might even get you to finally get on a plane and come over here, right?

Hope stuff develops, hope some peeps come over to do dentistry here, hope we can teach and help the people in this community with dental hygiene, hope I never have to pull another tooth.


Chapel Time

Today I was asked to preach at the weekly chapel service at Cornerstone Institute.  It happened to be the last gathering of the students with the study abroad group who had been taking classes among them from America.  Every time I am at Cornerstone I fall more in love with the community.  They are just amazing, authentic, and hungry for growth and learning.  And today I got to preach to them and share some insights from living in my 'hood.  It was GREAT.  So thankful, just SO thankful.

Read my notes below or open there here.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Family Time!

Saturday we decided to regroup as a new family of three, and have some time together.  

We went out for pancakes and waffles (something SPECIAL and RARE here!)

I wonder where she gets her faces....

Hanging with friends for a birthday party at the 'Scratch Patch' where we collected rocks

Happy family and a GREAT weekend together :)

Saying Goodbye

Saturday came and went.  Our home is eerily quiet and my heart is a mix of emotions.  Ntokozo was SO unhappy living here and I knew it was time for her to leave.  I still can't even really express what happened - not that I can't talk about it, it's just that I don't understand it.  But really, I think it comes down to that she just wasn't ready for it.  Wasn't ready for all of us.  So that is okay.  But saying goodbye was NOT something I was looking forward to.

She packed up all her stuff, and spent the day hanging here with her cousin Minky.  Minky is also an orphan and lives also with their aunt and uncle in Kommetjie (down the road).  It's a house with some problems (where we took Ntokozo out of when she moved here) but Minky seems to be doing fine there; only showing how she had a much more emotionally stable and encouraging background growing up.  We have gotten to spend a great deal of time with Minky over the past months and even watched her commit her life to Jesus Christ at Hillsong Church one night.  We love her and have kidded with her over the past weeks that she could always switch with Ntokozo and come here. :)

So we drove them back to Kometjie.  I just couldn't believe we were going back with all her stuff.  I still can't believe it.  We unloaded all the stuff, and Ntokozo was noticeably happy.  Then Minky came up to me as everyone was inside, hugged me and said, "I just want to thank you for all you've done."  I was stunned and replied they were both so welcome and we will continue to be in their lives.  Then Ntokozo came up and Casey and I both made her hug us and say goodbye (awkward/forced/blah), and then I see Minky.  She is crying HARD.  I come up to her and hug her again and she says, "I just can't believe it's ending like this."  WOW.  I tell her it's not ending and we are always here for them and will see them all the time.  But wow.  How beautiful and telling of what she has seen.  I was so moved.

And so we got in the car and drove away.  It was quiet.  Sad.  But peaceful.  I know we have done all we can.  It's time to have a peaceful and happy home again.  It's time to stop battling with a very hurt girl and trying to force her into something she isn't ready for.  And it's time to surrender it all to a God who loves her WAY more than we ever could.

I just never thought it would end like this.  Praying....


Our Own Freedom Fighters

This past week Friday rolled around like usual (our normal night for youth at OV Methodist), but we decided to do something a bit different.  I threw out the idea of a movie night and then we found the 2007 movie 'Freedom Writers' in our movie collection.  Little did I know how inspiring and relevant it would be for our kids.

The movie is set in the early 1990's in Los Angeles just after the Rodney King riots.  An idealistic young white woman goes to teach at an inner-city school with big dreams to change lives.  She finds herself in a freshman English class with students who couldn't care less about their time in the classroom.  She finally gets through to them by challenging their own racism and violence teaching them that it's just history repeating itself.  She connects their story to the Holocaust, takes them to a Holocaust museum, has them read the Diary of Anne Frank, and they even get Miep Gies, the woman who hid Anne Frank's family, to come and speak to their class.  The kids are inspired, and they write their own stories, and they grow and evolve as they go along on a new journey together.  It's an incredible TRUE story, and beyond the sappy movie I thought it would be.

Most of our youth had seen the movie before, but it was STRIKING to watch it with them.  They are LIVING the struggles the actors are playing on the screen.  As the kids in the movie begin to write, they share their stories of pain and abuse.

One girl named 'Brandy' writes, " In every war, there is an enemy. I watched my mother being hlaf-beaten to death, and watched as bloodand tears streamed down her face. I felt useless and scared, and furious at the same time. I can still feel the sting of the belt on my back and my legs. One time he couldn't pay the rent. That night he stopped us on the street and pointed to the concrete. He said, "pick a spot." 

And this is an exhange between the teacher and one of the students named 'Eva,'

Eva: White people wanting respect like they deserve it for free. 
Erin Gruwell: I'm a teacher, it doesn't matter what color I am. 
Eva: It's all about color, it's about people deciding what you deserve, about people wanting what they don't deserve. About whites thinking they own this world no matter what, you see, I hate white people. 
Erin Gruwell: You hate me? You don't even know me. 
Eva: I know what you can do. I saw white cops shoot my friend in the back for reaching into his pocket, his pocket! I saw white cops come into my house and take my father away for no REASON except they feel like it! Except because they can! And they can, because they're white. So I HATE white people on sight! 

This is a CHARGED movie, and it was wonderful to watch it with our youth.  It ends with inspiration and hope.  Just the ending I want to see with our Ocean View youth.  It reminds me that these kids do have incredible stories to tell, and they are courageous and choosing to come to church, even though it's the last thing most of their peers would do.  They are my heros already.

Miep Gies says to the students, "but even an ordinary secretary or a housewife or a teenager can, within their own small ways, turn on a small light in a dark room."

It's so true and so possible.  I am thankful for more hope.

Hillary Swank with the REAL Freedom Writers