Journey with God

2015/01/img_1093-1.jpg

We all have it, you know? Untapped potential, that is. We all have the ability to do something that goes far beyond what we believe we have the capacity to accomplish. Our Creator placed it there. Potential is having or showing the capacity to develop into something in the future, latent qualities or abilities that may be developed for future successes or usefulness.

What is funny is that most of us believe in the concept of potential. We can even recognize it in others. But we have a difficult time seeing or believing in our own potential.

So how do we unlock our own latent qualities or abilities and develop them for future success or usefulness? I believe there are three steps we can take to unlock untapped potential in our lives.

– Recognise Opportunities that Are in Front of You
– Release False Beliefs
– Realise Your Future Is in the Hands of God
You have incredible God-given potential. It’s there, just waiting to be discovered by you and those around you.

*Today’s devotional written by: Alli Worthington, COO Propel Women.

As I was reading this daily Christine Caine devotion today, I’ve realised how much I have changed since having a relationship with God.

I was brought up in a Christian household, attended church weekly, went to yearly Christian camps but never really fully committed my life to God. I would do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it: basically living the drink, sex, rock & roll lifestyle to fit in with friends. When I went to university, it magnified: drinking, partying, screwing up friendships on a daily basis while studying a little. I was a mess.

At the ended of my first year, I was invite to go to Spain on a mission trip (at the time I didn’t care about the ‘mission’ part, just that I’d like to go to Spain for a cheap holiday). In the team, there were two girls in their twenties, who had so much joy, so much life, so much peace and so much love. I wanted this, what they had. My life had gone into a downward spiral and if I carried on it would only get worse. I knew they were like this because of the love and grace of God.

In that week, I committed my life to God and started a relationship with Jesus. This has been the best decision of my life. It has been tough at times but knowing I have Jesus at my side, it makes it a whole lot easier.

I remember my first week back at university after my encounter and I was petrified to tell my friends. They knew what I was like and they liked that person (which was tough for me) but I had changed over the summer. On the Sunday evening, I literally told them ‘I’m going to church, see you later,’ and shut the door, not waiting for their reaction.

Since then, I have only grown in my knowledge and understanding of God, been involved in several churches (due to moving), built incredible friendships and unlocked my potential.

There are so many things I would have not achieved or even done if it was not for God or others around me pushing me. I have accomplished so much in my life already, which I would have not believed I could have done from the small things to the huge achievements.

I totally believe that the three step mentioned in the devotion is key to unlock untapped potential:

Recognise Opportunities that Are in Front of You

I am now constantly looking for opportunities in my life. Whether it’s helping a person in need or supporting friends or being a connect group leader or being involved with outreach, there are always opportunities.

One of the most recent opportunities, which I’m about to embark on, is going to South Africa to lead a team in voluntary work with a Christian organisation. This came about after finding out that I would not be staying in my job so I could have dwelled on this then found another job or look to God, who opened this amazing opportunity.

At the end of your life, will you be thanking God for the opportunities you took or grudging that you didn’t take the opportunities God revealed to you?

Release False Beliefs

We all have false beliefs about ourselves. When I was younger, I was bullied and this destroyed my self-esteem and confidence. I always compared myself to others. I believed that everyone else was prettier than me, had a better life than me, was smarter than me and that I was worth nothing. I thought that no-one would notice if I ended my life, I wasn’t capable of achieving anything and there was no point in life, which is why I just followed what my friends did to fit in. Even when I first became a Christian, I would feel guilty about what I had done in my past and not forgiven myself.

However, through my journey in God, he has made me realise that he has plans for me, with him I can do anything, he is my security and my anchor and he has poured his love and grace over me, where he has forgotten my past and all my wrongs. I now have self- belief, self-worth and confidence. A few years ago, I couldn’t even talk in a group and I have now been a leader and done presentations in front of masses of people. Only God could have realised this potential.

Realise Your Future Is in the Hands of God

This is so true. Our lives are in the hands of God and he will reveal our future one step at a time. It is a huge adventure fulfilling Gods plan for us. We will still have our ups and downs but be reassured that God will always keep us safe through everything we do.

“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Zimbabwe: what I will miss

IMG_3619.JPG

I have just arrived back in England. My eyes feel with tears but also joy in my heart. I was only in Zimbabwe for two week but it feels like long.

From the time we arrived in Zimbabwe, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. They all feel like family, caring and loving us, having a laugh with us. Even the people I met on the course or at church or in the school will always have a place in my heart.

Teaching at the Paraclete Presbyterian College was an amazing experience; having no resources and a black board. All the children wanted to learn, were focused, and it was great getting to know them in the short time I was there.

Zimbabwe is about singing and dancing to escape some of the living conditions. I loved that they harmonised with each other using no instruments and the crazy dancing. Just so talented.

The people I met were generally so happy and they were in community with each other even though a lot of them were in poverty. Some were living in a small one bedroom place, where 6 people had to sleep. They ate the same food every day and could afford to go into a supermarket so they had to grow their food.

I will miss the amazing hot and dry weather, walking around in t-shirt, shorts and sandals. Everyday the sun was out, giving blazing heat. The sunrises and sunsets were one of the most beautiful, I have beer seen.

I even got used to the lack of electricity, water and internet. It’s not there, let do something else.

This is my prayer for you:
‘Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.

I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.’
Philippians 1:3-11 (NLT)

Zimbabwe: Sunday is the Lord’s day

Sunday is always a good day. Today, we needed to get to the church earlier than last week as we wanted to set up before all the children arrived. Unfortunately, one of our team drove us and sort of got us lost, which was a little bit of an adventure. The church is literally two turnings away from where we were staying.

Eventually, after asking a local, we got to the church later than the children and the other group. Sunday school was buzzing with cheerful children. We finished the creation story, where the children created amazing pictures, full of drawings, colour and stickers.

At the end of the session a few of us started to blow bubbles which the children loved. They ran around and jumped to catch and pop the bubbles.

IMG_3677.JPG

IMG_3674.JPG

IMG_3680.JPG

We were then summoned to the office to have a quick prayer before the service started. Again, we were sitting at the front facing the congregation. The outline of the service was similar to last week. During the children’s talk done by one of the team, the children sang ‘Hallahlu Hallahlu’, where the boys sang one part and the girls sang the other, which was great fun. Then we got the men and women to sing it, which made them laugh.
In the service, I’m impressed how the children sit in the middle aisle, listening and focusing on the preacher.

Towards the end of the service, both our team and the Zimbabweans expressed their gratitude towards each other, which left us with tear of joy down our faces. I had a mixture of feelings, I was so thankful to be there and to have met all the lovely, welcoming people as well as feeling overwhelmed and sad.

After the service, we filed outside shaking and greeting everyone, which was slightly sad as we knew this would be the last time we would see some of them.

A couple of us decided to do some games with the children, which included the parachute. The kids loved playing with this, flinging balls around everywhere. We also played ‘Duck, duck, goose’, did the ‘Hokey Pokey’ and running around games.

IMG_3685.JPG

IMG_3690.JPG

Once everyone had left the church, we had a meal at the minister’s house with his whole family. We sat down together, chatting, eating, introducing ourselves and giving them gifts.

Late afternoon, the youngest member of our team and I were invited to a Young Adults meeting at a different church. Our two friends, Norest and Bona, collected us and we walked there. As we entered, we met the chair person of the meeting and was taken to the front row. The church was filled with Young adults from different churches around the township. As each church was introduced, the group from that church stood up and sang a worship song. I was mesmerised by their good voices and how they harmonised. The preach was in Shona so I didn’t understand it but I know it was based on a psalm that was used the previous week. After, they had a worship jamming session, where different groups came up to lead worship songs with dancing. It was a great experienced and just showed me how their culture value song and dance.

Once the meeting was over, we got walked back to the complex to meet the rest of the team, where we ate and rested.

Zimbabwe: church

(Sunday) Today I got the pleasure of experiencing kuwadzana presbyterian church.

They have Sunday school at 9.00 for all the children to learn about God’s word. The church seem to come in drips and drabs. One of the guys from our team was taking them, where we did the start of the creation story. We brought over lots of coloured paper and crayons and glue. The session was total chaos but it was also just amazing. The children were so well behaved and obedient. Usually they do Sunday school without any resources so the children were confused with us doing this.

IMG_2185.JPG

IMG_2192.JPG

After, we taught them a song: ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands’ with actions.

When we had finished with the children, we went to the minister’s office to greet all the elders and go through the plan for the service.

During the service, we were expected to sit on the stage facing the congregation.

In the church, the women sat on the right hand side, the choir at the front on the left hand side with the male elders behind, men behind them and the teenagers behind them. It was interesting that husbands and wives did not sit next to each other. One thing I noticed was that they were all dressed extremely smart with colourful dresses and black tie.

IMG_2203.JPG

The choir sang us several songs beautifully, singing acapeller accompanied by a bongo, marracers and tambourines. They were dancing away singing joyfully. There were only women in the choir but there was a complete range of voices from bass to soprano.

The order of the service went: song, welcome, song, announcements with introductions, song, children’s talk, song prayer request, song, readings, song, prayer, song, sermon, song, what was going to happen next, song, prayer, song (I think you can see a pattern).

IMG_2207.JPG

On the way out, we went first as guests and had to shake the ministers hand and stand in line. I discovered that the whole congregation were going to shake and greet us then joined the line. Basically by the end, everyone shook everyone’s hand.

IMG_2212.JPG

After, we sorted out who wanted to attend each course, some people prayed for the sick. As this was happening, women elders were sorting out food packages for poor members of the congregation. There were rows of them with soap, maize, sugar, salt, rice in each pile. From looking at their clothes you wouldn’t realise how poor they are but a lot if them can’t provide the basics for their family.

IMG_2209.JPG

Most people went home after this. We sat outside under some tarpaulin to shade us from the sun. Here, the elders and choir introduced their selves: name, number of family member then we introduced ourselves while snacks and drinks were brought to us: fizzy, crisps and nuts.

The choir sang us several lively songs just for us while doing dances.

IMG_2215.JPG

Then we all ate. By this time I was hungry. The food was delicious: vegetable fritter, beans and carrots and a tomato and vegetable soup.

IMG_2218.JPG

Once we were finished, it all got cleared up and I was talking to a guy from the young adults and a little girl named Charmaine. She is extremely cute with a bright smile. She decided to play with my hair then we did clapping together.

After a busy day, we grabbed some good from the supermarket, chilled and chatted.

For dinner, some of us made omelettes, our hosts made chips from scratch and salad as well.

In the evening, we played several card games.

Zimbabwe Mission Trip: departing

After all the planning and preparation, this trip has suddenly arrived: I leave tomorrow.

There are 11 of us: all ages (I’m not the youngest for once), males and females with different expectations, experiences and skills. We are going with a charity called Paraclete and will be based at Kuwadzana training centre, a high density urban suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe. We will be working alongside the church as well as providing 3 courses for the locals, getting involved with the secondary school and organising after school clubs.

I have been lucky enough to have done mission trips with them before and I know the majority of people I am going with. Even though, I haven’t been to Africa before, I am feeling excited about what God has planned for us out there and know that we have a strong team.

I am pretty much packed and ready to go (most of my clothes have come back from my last trip, gone through the washing machine then straight into my luggage). I’m not however looking forward to carry all our luggage: 2 23kg bags, a laptop bag and our hand luggage. Yes, that’s each of us. One and a half bags are full of gifts, prizes, resources, food and other things that they have requested, which means on the way back, we will have extremely light bags.

It has been great being back in England for 10 days but I have to go again.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

Archives

Follow ___ Life as a travelling teacher on WordPress.com