Archive for March, 2009

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Zimbabwe

March 30, 2009

 

I just got back at 2 a.m. this morning from a weekend trip with the church to Zimbabwe. It was a really great trip. All we set out to do was gain new relationships with the churches in that area for future work there.  We also got to bring a lot of food and seed to bless the people there.

It was my first experience with what I consider “true Africa”. South Africa is technically Africa, but I have pretty much the same things in the US (minus a clothes dryer).  The first signs of “true Africa”, came right of the bat.  The border crossing was intense. The car I was in was driven by Marc Le Roux, my friend and new hero.  He was a champ, as he had to deal with issues and corruption at every stop we faced at the border. He later admitted it was a game to him. I was very nervous and tense. These guys gave him problems just because they wanted a bribe from him. He didn’t back down and went through the border with $0 spent on bribes.

We finally made it to where we were supposed to meet with another group from our church at 4:30 p.m. in Zim. This was 13 hours after we first left. An hour and a half later, a car drove past us carrying people who were leading us to the village where we were going to stay for the weekend. After 24k of dirt road driving, we finally got to a school where the church met.  There were about 50-60 people from this church who welcomed us. It was truly a spiritual experience as we looked up and saw the entire sky filled with stars. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. The people led us into their church and they immediately started singing a song in their language. It was so beautiful.  After a short service, they served us dinner we ate with our hands.  They eat pap pretty much every meal. It contains corn and looks like mashed potatoes, but a different consistency. I had a slight difficult time downing the whole thing. After dinner we all hit the sack. I slept on the concrete floor. Not the most comfortable of sleeping times this weekend. 

The next day we just hung out with the people of that area. We played hackey sack, soccer, and even showed the kids an egg toss. It was pretty fun.  We got to know the people there, and they got to know us. It’s amazing to see them sing, dance, and worship God in their difficult circumstance.  It really makes you think about your own life. There is more I can tell you, but you’ll just have to look at my pictures.  I am definitely looking for more opportunites to experience the different parts of Africa. Hopefully my stomach will do better with the unique culinary experiences I will encounter.

I posted my pictures on facebook, but flickr isn’t letting me do it right now. Hopefully it will let me later this week.

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Ignite 2009

March 20, 2009

I’m really excited about this event coming up over Easter Weekend. Watch this video. You might hear something familiar.

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Captain America

March 18, 2009

This is my new nickname. It was actually waiting for me when I got here. It is pretty awesome to represent a whole nation.  There are 3 or so American girls, who have moved here, but I am the only American dude around.  In the states I always love to fake accents from around the world, but here talking normal is my cool accent.  I was told I sound like Tom Hanks the other day 🙂

It has been exactly two weeks since I arrived here in South Africa.  The church here is amazing. I have fit right in to the culture. I even have played soccer twice.  I am the only one without soccer cleats (or boots here in SA). It has made it quite challenging to play, but my two years of soccer 20 years ago have really helped 🙂 .

Teaching this 1st grade class has been quite difficult.  These kids don’t have much structure or discipline in their lives at home, so it is hard to impliment that in class.  If you have any advice, please give it to me. I wish I took at least one education course in my 5 years of college.  It’s not what I thought I’d be doing, but this is the task that God has set before me. 

It’s been raining here a lot the last few days. It has made “Olibush” (the community I teach in), a horror. The town is completely made of dirt roads. Driving to school yesterday looked like we were off-roading in a creek bed with a compact car.  My classroom was ok, but the younger kids all had to jam into one room, because water was seaping into their room from under the wall. 

My 3rd favorite thing in the world, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, starts today. (1st obviously Jesus and 2nd is going to the bathroom when you really really need to). Go Bruins! I don’t think I’ll be able to watch the games, but who knows. Blessings to all, and to all a good morning.

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Alumni Connection

March 14, 2009

Right before I left, I was interviewed by my friend Danyal Schultze for an article she was writing for a Life Pacific College online newsletter.  She did a great job. Check it out below or  at http://lifepacific.edu/econnections/alumni_connection.html

Alumni Connection: Taylor Lyall

Taylor Lyall (Life Pacific College ’07) came to LIFE because he had a heart for the world. He didn’t know what his future would look like, but he knew that God was calling him to study the Bible in preparation for the ministry that lay ahead of him.

Taylor graduated from high school in 2002, with the goal of becoming a sports broadcaster. He never imagined God would call him to do what he’s doing now!

Taylor Lyall began his undergraduate studies at California State University, Fullerton. While he was there, he got very involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and began going on regular mission trips. It was during this time that his relationship with the Lord really grew and his passion to reach the world was established. He knew that God was calling him to more than sports broadcasting.

Taylor heard about LIFE from a friend who was a current student and decided to transfer. He had no idea back then that his years as a student at Life Pacific College would so significantly shape his passion for ministry. He discovered that he cared deeply about social justice issues facing today’s world—issues like slavery and sex trafficking – and knew he had to do something.

That’s exactly what he’s doing! Taylor moved to Midrand, South Africa, where he is working in an orphan home called Botshabelo. He is also serving in a nearby preschool, ministering to a community affected greatly by AIDS and poverty.

“I want to go and make a difference,” shares Lyall, “but I also want to come back [to the United States] and create awareness of the global issues and help local Christians be active in the issues facing the world. I heard someone say that in order for a person to really create awareness about something, you have to experience it.” Taylor has a passion to make his world aware, and he’s doing something about it.

His time at Life Pacific College taught Taylor to see “the big picture” – God’s Word as “… [His] plan to redeem humanity,” rather than just “a bunch of different stories.” He forged relationships that helped get him to where he is today – serving as a missionary in South Africa. He feels honored to have spent time studying here, knowing that he “met people who will do great things in the world for God.”

His story has only just begun!

To follow Taylor’s journey, you can read his blog at www.taylorlyall.com.

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A Miracle of God

March 12, 2009

I am extremely bummed right now. I was just told that I couldn’t put pictures of kids from the orphanage on the internet. Bummer. I might have to delete the ones from the creche …we’ll see.  I was about to put an amazing picture of my new friend.   She is a baby that is just a few months old. She was brought to Botshabelo Babies’ Home about a month ago after being found in a storm drain.  That totally rocked my world after I heard that. I was just holding this miracle of God during a puppet show at another one of the kids birthday/goodbye party.  He just turned 5 and is leaving to meet his new adopted parents.  As I was holding this little girl, I could just feel God’s love for her and for me. Thank you God for your little miracles.

Check my facebook and flickr account to the bottom right for new pictures. I might have to delete the ones of the kids soon…I am not sure yet.

Think about adopting a child from another country. Think about God’s little miracles all around us. They are definitely bigger than we might think.

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Two Sides to Every City

March 9, 2009

So today was my first day teaching my class. As expected, it was a little bit hectic.  Some of them don’t understand English…yeah…hard to teach them.  I tried to work on names today, but with names like Simphiwe, Asiue, and Mawele, I didn’t get very far.  Ok, not all are that tricky. I got Junior, Shaun, Michelle, and Josiah down no problem. The funny thing is that the other kids, whose names I don’t know, are the ones who are misbehaving and whose name I have to call the most. 

These kids are very smart and can say their ABC’s, months, days of the week, and can count pretty high. The thing is, they just memorize these as a set group, and can’t really distinguish them by themselves.  I just need to get really prepared and come with a lesson plan and system to get them to read. Baby steps.

I was sick the very next day after I got here. I spent most of the day in bed. It seems I have gotten completely better and even have overcome my jetlag.  I got to go out and about and enjoy some of the local area this last weekend. Yesterday, we went to Montecasino. It’s a complex that has a casino, movie theatre, restaraunts, and various places to shop. I got to see Slumdogg Millionaire again for only 33 Rand (which is only $3.00, such a good price).

It’s really interesting to see how different the two sides of this area are. Montecasino looks a bit like a hotel in Las Vegas would look. Well, not that nice…let’s say Reno.  Then today I went to teach in the local township, Olievenhoutbosch.  It looks like the poor parts of Mexico.  Most houses are built with just sheet metal. Some are made from brick. The few miles near the place I teach are all dirt roads. It’s a very tricky and slow drive.  It is also a very dangerous area. I was intsructed not to leave the creche at any time until the girl arrived to pick me up.  Rape and spousal abuse are regular occurences among the familes of my students. 

I know God has me here for a purpose and just to get to work. Thanks all for your support and prayers. Pictures will come soon!

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How’z It?

March 5, 2009

That’s the official South African greeting. I just got here and am so tired. Didn’t sleep too well on my 36 hour journey across the world. Probably one hour total. The people here are amazing and very welcoming. I just found out that on Monday I will be teaching my own class of 17 students,  ranging from six to seven years old at the creche. Pretty crazy, since I’m not a school teacher, but I am the son of one. Mom help!  It’s a class full of refugees that can’t afford to go to normal school. She said she’s throwing me into the deep end. Here goes nothing! Please pray.