The second half of my trip to South Africa was pretty amazing! My beautiful bride was able to fly down and join me for the second week which very cool for us. It was the first time in 5 years that we have been able to travel to Africa together. When we are together in that special place it is always some kind of wonderful.
The reason for this part of the trip was to visit one of the biggest projects/ministries and groups of missionaries that I support and have the blessing to serve alongside here at UWM. My biggest priority for this part of my trip was to gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do in South Africa. My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to spend time with the people that are living and serving in South Africa. What better way to get a feel for the ministry than to get to know the people.
I have wrote about East Mountain, the ministry there outside of Cape Town, a couple times and many of you have heard me talk about them because they are just that awesome. **Actually the very first missionary couple and the first intern that I had the opportunity to work with when I came on board here at UWM, both went to serve here with East Mountain South Africa. I just wrote a blog post on East Mountain not long ago and you can read more about who they are and what they do here EAST MOUNTAIN or you can check out their website for more info here eastmountain.tv
DISCLAIMER – This may sound like no work and all play but…I enjoy my work so much and most of my co-workers live in beautiful places around the world so…most of my work does feel like it is all play. Great things were accomplished for the Kingdom while we enjoyed every sight, sound, and taste of South Africa! If you got to have a job it might as well be one you enjoy, right!
When I travel I usually get the question, “how was your trip” from many of you and my response is often, “amazing!”. This time I would say exactly the same thing, “amazing!” So, I thought I would share with you some of the experiences, pictures, and stories that Lara and I had from being there and being with the East Mountain Community that made it “amazing!”. It was a full week but really fun! Fun, not just because we were in one of the most breath taking places on earth but because of the people we were with…the giant mountains, gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, wine country, and delicious food didn’t hurt either!
Sunday: Lara had just arrived the night before so we took it easy and hung out with the Halbert family. They allowed us to crash with them for the week and it was great. These guys are great host and friends to spend time with. Sunday lunch was at a local winery where they have what they call, “market”every week. It was like a small, relaxed festival with local food and crafts. Then we headed to the famous Table Mountain to hike and see the sunset. The views were unbelievable! Pictures can not do it justice. Unfortunately, we did not see the sun set because the winds were so bad they evacuated the mountain. Still an awesome day!
Monday: We did the “Loop” as they call it. Basically, you start going down the eastern coast of Cape, down to Cape Point, then back up to Cape Town. This was a long day but a really fun way to see much of the area and cool sites like, penguins, Cape Point, and the beach! We finished the day off having dinner with all of the interns from the US and Africa that live at the East Mountain house. Awesome day!
Tuesday: We were invited to the staff meeting where we had the chance to hear about some of the things happening and coming up in the next few weeks. It was good for me to see all of the Community together and working together. Later that afternoon Lara and I went out with Gabe Smith, friend and founder of East Mountain, to the oldest winery in Stellenbosch. We had a good time catching up on life and ministry while doing a wine and chocolate paring. So yum! Later that evening we sat around with the more friends catching up, laughing, dreaming about the future, and talking about how God is doing a great thing with this work here in South Africa. Awesome day!
Wednesday: The morning was freed up so that Lara and I were able to spend a little bit of time together in the city. We walked around exploring this quaint city, checking out little coffee shops, talking just to two of us, and we enjoyed all of the fun shops that line the streets of Stellenbosch. For lunch and dinner we went out with two different couples that serve at East Mountain and got their view of life, ministry, and experiences as they have just recently finished up their first year being in South Africa. These times are valuable and very helpful for me as I work with others interested in serving overseas in the future. Another awesome day!
Thursday: This day got off on a good start! We had an early meeting to talk about future work and plans for East Mountain and how I could help resource them with the right people. The kicker is, our breakfast meeting was at the beach starring at the cliffs running off into the ocean. In the words of a wise person I know (wink wink you know who you are), this did not suck! We were then able to visit with another leader at East Mountain who serves one of our partner churches and school in a local township to see transformation…real life changing, long lasting transformation. Today this poor, lower class community is better than it was last year and in the next 5-20 years it will radically different! This isn’t the nicest, safest, or most welcoming township but there is a bit of light that is springing up out of the local church. They are educating, feeding, loving on people, tutoring, creating fun spaces to learn the bible and how to worship, meeting needs, interacting with the least of these, and making it a better place today and for the future. We have the opportunity to come alongside them as a resource, friend, and support to help them do even more of the things God has called them to do. This was one of the most impactful times of our trip for Lara and I. We were able to participate in some of the ministry while sitting with people in their homes and walking the streets. We ended the day by having dinner in the home of another “fresh to the field” missionary family that seem to be rocking it! It was truly an awesome day!
Friday: We headed back home but before we did Lara and I took advantage of this great weather and wonderful little city. We went walking, site seeing, got some coffee, ate at our favorite breakfast spot, and said our goodbyes to some of our new friends! It was an awesome day other than the fact that we had to leave!
East Mountain is a community of people who love Jesus, the local church, and each other. We are blessed to have spent some time with each one of them. For all of you who partner with the RouseHouse through prayer, financial support, and encouragement we want to say a BIG THANK YOU for making this time possible! It meant a lot to us as well as to the men, woman, and families we were able to sit with and encourage during this week. Thank you and God Bless!