Mac’s trip to South Africa

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I will travel with this kid anywhere because he knows how to eat! Sushi!


As many know, last week I was able to take Mac with me to Stellenbosch, South Africa. It was so fun to have this cool guy travel with me, especially on such a long trip. When he was 5 he had the chance to go with Lara and I to Panama but honestly he doesn’t remember much other than the ice cold showers we had out in the jungle first thing in the mornings. He even asked me if we would be able to take hot showers this time a few days before we left. haha!  This trip was kind of special and it was his first time to Africa which was pretty special for me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t praying that he would fall in love with this place and the people much like Lara and I did 10 years ago.


It was a long journey just to get there. 32 hours to be exact. He was a champ the whole way there and back. He slept, talked, ate, talked, read, talked, did home work, talked, watched movies, talked, played games, and then talked a little more. Let’s just say I was more tired by the time we got there than he was. It was fun though!

This week in the Cape Town area was good for he and I. I was busy many of the days in a conference/leaders summit with some remarkable leaders from multiple African countries, Thailand, India, Mexico, multiple European countries, and the US. We dream, talked and planned for how God can take this way of life, living and serving in intentional community, and transform lives around the globe. Let’s just say He is up to big things…and by His grace I have a chance to be a part of it!Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 6.10.40 PM

Mac had a full week too. When I was in meetings he would hang out with some of the families that live in Stellenbosch and are a part of the East Mountain community. I think he really liked being with them more than me but I can’t blame him for that! The other half of the time he would come along with me to visit ministries, head into town, or go have a meal by the water. Lunch by the ocean with your son and friends is pretty cool if you are 11 or 33 years old! Mac also just hung around with us at the East Mountain house and busted out some homework. Yes, he had to do homework per his teachers but just being in Africa was pretty educational.

“Dad, I need a coffee and I have my own money.”

I asked Mac a bunch of questions on our way home so that he would be ready for when people asked him, “how was your trip?”. I know how this kid works and I didn’t want him to just say, “good” in his non-excited tone. Once we talked through the trip he really had some great answers so, I thought I would share just a few of them.

What was the craziest/best thing you ate? Ostrich steak and kudu sausage…This kid loves some meat!

Braai – South African for cookout or BBQ. We had 7 or 8 different meats!

What kind of money do they use? The use the Rand which is around 15 ZAR to $1USD. I love math so I liked figuring the price of things out when we went to buy something.

Did you see any cool animals? penguins and seals

Was it what you expected? No, I thought it would be a bunch of huts and animals but it was really normal.

What was the funnest thing you did or visit while you were there? The day we visited the township and saw just how poor some of the people were. I couldn’t believe that people in the world actually lived that way. They were also cooking goat heads on the side of the road which looked weird, but smelled so good.

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Over looking Khayelitsha

What language do most people speak? I think it is called Afrikanns but they also have some tribal languages but I can’t say them.

What’s one cool fact that you learned about South Africa? There are 2.4 million people live in the Khayelitsha township which is only about 15 sq miles.


The top of Table Mountain. Usually you can see for miles.

What was the weather? Well, they say that it is really nice but it rained while we were there, especially the day we went on top of Table Mountain. It’s not too cold though.


What did you do most days? When I was with you (dad) we hung out at the East Mountain house which is really cool and when I wasn’t with you I played with my friends Asher, Madeline, Caleb, Dylan, and Isaiah. They were pretty cool!

How do think God could use you in a place like Africa one day?  I would love to work in the poor townships teaching people about Jesus, playing with kids, and helping with whatever they might need.

Mac visiting a church sponsored school in the township. 

Well, I think we have another lover of Africa and future missionary in the RouseHouse! He did great and loved every minute of his time in South Africa. It was a really blessing to be able to spend so much one on one time with this kid and see him love being a world traveler! He was made for this.

17 Hour flight with NO TV! What else can you do but sleep.


Visiting the Community, South Africa part 2


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

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!IMG_5886.JPG

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!IMG_5854.JPG