July 14, 1998 – Tuesday – 10:05 p.m.

I am here.  I have seen the sunset in Africa.

We are staying at a place on top of a hill here in Johannesburg.  The view outside my window is gorgeous.  I’m an official Mission Advisor now.  Paul and a different John than the one on my travel group is with me as well.  My team leaders are Shawn and Barbie.  Shawn is a drummer for Acquire The Fire.  The other MA’s are Joey, Andrea, Angela, and Kita.  The other team members are John, Amanda, Rebecca, Lauren, Julie, Brandy, Anne, Laura, Joel, John, Trista, Sarah, Paul, Krystal, and Chris.  I think that’s all of them.  And our project directors are Rich and Michelle.  There are many others in other teams, about 75 all together, and I’ve already made friends with many of them like Bekah, Jamie, Audrey, Jessica, Amy, Corey, and Brock.  I will still see them, just not as much as my own team.

The land is amazing, but I only saw what I could from a short bus ride.  Now it’s time to sleep.

 

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July 13, 1998 – Monday – 6:30 p.m.

I am flying over the North Atlantic.  We just recently left New York.

The past four days have been amazing; forgive me for not writing during the time, but I was super busy.  My fellow missionaries and leaders are fantastic.  Audrey is my flight partner.  She’s 18 and a senior in high school with really pretty eyes.

The past four days of training alone have already changed me.  I am a different person.  My heart has been broken for the world.  I am ready to change it.

My new buddy Chris is sitting behind me.  The poor guy thew up on the bus ride in New York.  My Mission Advisor Group is myself, Chris, John, and Paul.

This is the most amazing plane I’ve ever been on.  They gave me a blanket, a pillow, socks, and a toothbrush.  Wow!

Every person here is so wonderful.  They are overflowing with the Lord and are completely committed to him.  It’s difficult to begin writing about this new time, for there are simply so many people.

In a few hours I’ll be entering the Southern Hemisphere for the first time.  God is so good.  He is using me to change the world.  There is no joy in a life lived for the self.  Only complete giving of ourselves to God and to others will satisfy.  I love you God!

July 9, 1998 – Thursday – 10:05 p.m.

I’m in Texas!  Dan is here.  He’s going to Alaska and I’m going to South Africa.  We’ll try to hang out a bit each night.

The girls going to South Africa with me are so beautiful, but even more amazing is their deep relationship with Jesus.

It is so warm here.  The moon is full and orange as it sits on the horizon.  I never saw the moon so close when I was in the mountains.

Our South African team is easily the most verbally excited group here.  We’ve made up our own chant and everything.

We will fly out on either Sunday or Monday

July 8, 1998 – Wednesday – 9:15 a.m.

I’m probably over Tennessee now.  The ride over here was with Groome Transportation and Justin’s family paid for the ride.  I rode with a guy going to Alaska and he was complaining about how the government took his money to pay for families that don’t know how to use birth control.  Wow, so much negativity; it broke my heart.

This is exciting!  The flight attendant is here with some food.  Awesome!

Last night I got a message that Mary Jo had a table for me.  She even recruited some guys to help me move it to my apartment.  That was so nice of her.  I also got to see Coleen last night.

Food is here!  Must eat.

July 5, 1998 – Sunday – 9:38 p.m.

I went to Parkway Temple this morning.  I felt so welcome!  One woman came straight up to me and told me I had the most beautiful eyes in the world.  Afterwards I went out to lunch with David and two other members of the youth group.

That afternoon I spoke with Emily and Lindy over the phone.  Then I went to the Founder’s Inn on campus and stood in line for 40 minutes to see Mark Lowry in concert.  I stood in line and sat with three beautiful women: one mother, one daughter, and one aunt.  The mom went to Parkway Temple.

Mark Lowry was hilarious.  I saw him many years ago with my mom in Asheboro.  I also got a free ticket to see him on the 700 Club tomorrow morning.  How cool is that!

I feel like God is showing me so much and it’s making him so happy!  Loving God and enjoying everything he has made is the only way to be alive!  He has truly given me an abundant life!

July 4, 1998 – Saturday – 11:59 p.m.

I am now in a beautiful country home on the outskirts of Colerain, NC; a place I’ve never been to before.

I went to the youth service with David at Parkway Temple on Friday night.  It was so awesome.  I’ve never seen kids praise the Lord like that before.  I was around an entire new set of people, but I felt so at home.

After the service I went over to Justin’s house where he and all of his camp friends were getting together.  I spent another two hours with people I’ve never met before.

The past few days have just been new people after new people!  America is just filled with wonderful people everywhere I look.

Then, this morning, I left with David, Mary Jo, and Mark and we drove down to Mary Jo’s house here in Colerain, NC, 15 miles east of Ahoskie for the 4th of July.  All three of them are Divinity students at Regent, and we spent most of the day on the shore of the Chowan River that runs nearby.

Mary Jo’s parents are hilarious, especially her dad.  They are so hospitable and they fed us like crazy!  Three other friends of hers came over, Kelly and Chad from Greenville, NC and Coleen, another girl from Regent.

We swam in the river, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but the fireworks were cancelled that evening due to strong winds.  Instead, we just sat on the swings and talked.  We spent hours and hours there; the conversation just flowed.  The warm wind blew all over us.  Coleen is so unique and beautiful.  It was just the most perfect 4th of July I could have had.  Talking and sharing with new souls who seem so eager to know you is one of life’s greatest gifts!

Now it’s time for a peaceful sleep.

July 3, 1998 – Friday – 4:03 p.m.

Matt and I went to the birthday party with David yesterday.  The girl’s name is Christina and she is turning 34.  Everyone there was what I would call a “spirit-filled revivalist” and we spent five hours praying for each other and in worship.  My body was shaking most of the night.  I was told I have a gift of prophetic intersession and I had a word from the Lord for two people that night.  I was prayed over about four different times and God told me that me being at Regent was not a mistake and it was just the beginning.  Those who prayed for me had fire in their hands, I could feel it.

God moved so much last night.  I made so many new friends and they’re so much older than me.  I’m looking forward to learning so much from them.

What a different world from Lees-McRae, where I was the only charismatic Christian who spoke in tongues until Abigail and Ann-Marie showed up.  But we never got together and prayed for each other like the group last night did.

I talked to my mom last night and she said God was rewarding me to staying faithful to his spirit during my time at Lees-McRae.  Most Christian families I spent time with during my time at Lees-McRae weren’t really “spirit-filled revivalists,” but they sure knew how to love each other and love me in a very practical way.  Perhaps God is showing me the best of both worlds to make me a complete person.

I’m amazed at how he cares for and provides for me.