Namikango Mission

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A Journey not soon forgotten!

Jun 21, 2016

We returned mid-May from our journey to South Africa. As expected when traveling by road across Southern Africa, there were many interesting events – some planned and some not. Some of the highlighted events from this season include the All Africa Missions Conference (AAMC) where we were encouraged by past colleagues plus old and new friends serving across Africa, and a real highlight as we rejoiced at the birth of our second daughter - Lily Rae Hayes. But a brief article can merely list events, and that could never tell the real journey we had.

One of the biggest themes that ran throughout our trip was our lack of control over the events that happened, and the Journey of Faith it took us on. After arriving in Cape Town, our car stopped working. It took two weeks to repair. Lily's arrival was later than we had hoped, and that too, was beyond our control. Shortly after her birth we found that we had to wait a week to apply for her American passport, and then two more weeks for it to arrive. This also was beyond our control. Then the real test began - after leaving Cape Town our car shut down once again in the quaint town of George. However, throughout the process, we were consistently shown the grace and provision by God. For example, our car stopped working and then somehow started just long enough to get us to the driveway of a mechanics shop where it refused to budge another inch. The shop which, coincidentally, appears to be one of the three in South Africa that focuses on Gear Boxes, which was the cause of our problem. After realizing we were not going to make it to our destination for the evening, we quickly found an Airbnb ( a home sharing place) for the night and showed up just thirty minutes after booking. The family turned out to be believers and were a huge blessing to us, even allowing us to stay an additional few days free of charge as we waited for our car to be suitable for travel. Five days after we drove into George, we were back on the road in our 17-hour day that landed us in Johannesburg. Our travels were full of such stories that we will remember always as a part of Lily's birth story, as well as a time when the Lord taught us much about trusting Him and having grace for others. In a season of not knowing where we would sleep that night, or at one point not even having enough cash to be able to travel (There was a money crisis in Zimbabwe at this time), we reflected on our feelings about things out of our control and how they can be both debilitating and degrading.

How can we expect those we meet to want to grow in the Lord when they spend most of their waking hours finding food and just making it from day to day? We need to understand their situation. It reminded us that we are here to serve, and by serving, empower individuals not to feel in "control" of their lives, but to place their trust in God to provide for their families, churches, communities, and even outsiders. Then they can be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world where far too many factors are beyond our control, but not beyond His. We are trusting that God is with us, and that He cares about even the smallest details in our lives.

Justine Hayes