We have been in Jo’burg for nearly two weeks now. So much has happened in this time that we do not know where to start! Once again it feels like life has been turned upside down. We have come face to face with the personal cost of moving to South Africa as well as experiencing some fresh revelation and Father’s outrageous love. Upon hearing news of friends going through a rough time at home, we have wanted to go home to be with them. We have seen some of our new friends here in Jo’burg going through incredibly tough situations in the last 2 weeks. But through it all God has been so good. “Immanuel”. He’s with us here.
A week ago I picked our car up from Port Elizabeth. It took 12 hours to drive the 1050 odd kilometres from PE to Jo’burg. It was an incredible journey. God has always spoken to me through His creation. This journey was no different. I don’t believe it is possible to understand how big God is this side of heaven. Graham Cooke says in one of his books that before we step into a new season with God we need to upgrade our image of God to be made aware afresh of His character and size. God upgraded my vision of Him during that trip. The scenery was the biggest scenery and most diverse I have ever seen. And God created it all for us to enjoy. He is huge and unbelievably creative. My vision of Him has just got a lot bigger. On this trip, God began showing me a lot more of His love for me and consequently others. As I drove, I found myself crying. God’s grace was undoing me. His Father’s heart for us is marked by grace. In the midst of a massive landscape I found a massive God with a heart bursting with love for me. The tears gave way to joy, laughter and praise. Then I moved into the next section of landscape and the tears would start again as I became aware of an even bigger God, even bigger love, even bigger grace.
During this drive I realised the truth about the calling on mine and Kate’s life. I always thought that our calling was something that God had “asked us to do”. In my pride, I confess there have been times when I’ve felt like He’s wanted us to “help” Him. As I experienced a bigger God than I had ever met or known last week, I realised how badly wrong I’d got it. God doesn’t need any help. He is far more interested in me, than in what I thought I could “do” for Him. God has never asked me to move to SA & look after children. He has graciously provided me with this calling as a way that I can respond to His love in worship. Until now, I had mistakenly thought that because God had placed this on my heart and opened the doors, He was asking Kate and I to do this. As I walk out this calling, in worship to Him, He uses it to transform me and those around me. I used to long to see God’s Kingdom come as a servant. I now long to see God’s Kingdom come as a son, so that more people can experience this indescribable love, mercy and worth based entirely upon the limitless love of their Father. Not upon what they can do.
In the last 2 weeks we have been spending a lot of time in one of the boys havens here in Jo’burg. Masiphane (www.africanhavens.org) run this haven as a home for 6 boys. On our very first day there, an astute 7 year old boy asked us: “are you going to be our new mom and dad?” Inwardly, our hearts were both in pieces, whilst exploding with love for this boy. This 7 year old had just echoed the heart’s cry of every one of the 3 million orphaned children in this country. We explained that we couldn’t be his parents due to only living in Joburg for 3 months, but that he could call us “aunty & uncle”. We affirmed Themba lots, did homework with him, but his question will always remain with us. Themba’s voice strengthened our hope to one day be adoptive parents. But more than this, he strengthened our desire to see the church – the beautiful & broken body of Christ – known for adoption.
It has been a rollercoaster 2 weeks! Praise God our boys are settling & making friends easily. Thank you so much for being patient with us & for journeying alongside us.
Richie & Kate