Hello dear friends and family!
It’s been a while since I wrote some personal news and updates to you, so I’m taking this opportunity, as we close off November and enter into the last few weeks of 2019, to share some recent news and developments.
First off, I’d like to yell a massive THANK YOU to each of you for your continued support and prayers that carries me by the grace of Christ! I am truly thankful for each of you, and the amazing team I am surrounded with! Thank you for joining me on this uncharted adventure as I go to the Nations to declare the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel. Your support on every level enables me to run wild so that others might live free. THANK YOU! #runwildlivefree
Testimony from Kalene Hill, Northwest Zambia
I want to kick off this post with a testimony my teammate, David (Kalene Hill base, Northwest Zambia) shared with me last night:
I found this testimony very encouraging because we often try to make ministry more complicated than it is. When Jesus commissioned His followers to go to the nations, He simply commanded them to fulfil the ministry of reconciliation — the proclamation (preaching) that the Kingdom is at hand, that God has come near (Immanuel) to man. This is what ‘ministry’ is — to know WHO He is, and who He as made YOU to be, as His kingdom ambassador. Ministry does not require special training or skills or an extroverted personality or three years of Bible school. It requires an obedient worshipper. That’s it. May you be encouraged to step out in faith, and in ministry, at every opportunity as the Holy Spirit empowers you to fulfil the calling of God on your life.
As many of you know, I spent my birthday (6 November) in the Western Cape visiting a friend, and took this opportunity to spend quality time with God, breathe in different air, and refresh after the crasiness that followed my dad’s passing in September.
On that note, I want to dive into a bit of a personal testimony.
Let’s go fly a kite!
I grew up in a church home (a.k.a a home in which we went to church and Sunday School, and we did all the right things, and even meant them with a good deal of sincerity and reverence), but it wasn’t until later, when I hit my teenage years, that I discovered that a relationship with God was a real and tangible possibility.
I had always deeply loved God — I remember walking around in the mountains at the back of our house on the farm singing made-up songs to Him as a young child — but I would compare this love to the kind of affection a dog gives its owner. Sincere in as many ways as possible, but you kind of just expect a pat on the head, “good girl,” and then go about business as usual.
Though this church home was perfect form the outside, it was wrecked on the inside, and it caused me to doubt the validity of this so-called ‘Christian’ lifestyle we were signed up to live. When I looked at church folks, I often noticed double standards, and I simply couldn’t reconcile what I read bout God in the Bible to the way these ‘believers’ lived. And if I couldn’t trust them to teach me about God, perhaps I couldn’t trust God?
My parents’ divorce fuelled my distrust in God. I still loved Him — no doubt about it, but I didn’t feel like I could trust Him. How could I trust a God whom I couldn’t see when I couldn’t trust a father whom I could see?
I was about 14 years old when I told my mum very candidly that I saw no value in going to church because Sunday after Sunday was filled with sugar-coated preaching, hypocritical believers, and shallow commitment.
I have to add though that this is something you’ll find wherever you look — not only in church!
Nonetheless, as I told my mum, I loved God and I still wanted to serve Him, but I wasn’t going to church because it didn’t help me. My mum, in her astonishing wisdom said, “Sissy, you’re welcome to seek after God and go wherever you hear Him speak to you.”
In my desperation to find a true and trustworthy God, I went to every church and youth meeting I could find — every denomination was tested until finally, I decided to draw a line in the sand.
Now, I need to jump back to a couple years earlier, I was 8 years old at the time, to a conference I attended with my mum entitled, ‘The Gifts of the Holy Spirit.’ Now, I have to preface this by saying that, as an 8-year old who went to Sunday School in a traditional church, all I knew about the Holy Spirit was that it was part of the Trinity, and that it appeared in the form of a dove when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. I didn’t understand this baptism either, because the Dutch Reformed church does not believe in the baptism of believers (regardless of age or size) through emersion, but in child ‘baptism’, which is essentially just a couple drops of water on the forehead.
At this conference, one of the ministers asked who would like to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and I of course had no idea what this foreign concept meant. I later told one of the men who was laying hands on people that I saw a picture of a tree standing on a hill with multi-coloured ribbons tied to its branches that floated in the breeze. He told me that this was called ‘a vision’ and that it was one of the ways in which God spoke to people.
What? God could SPEAK to PEOPLE? Ordinary people? Even children? And not just the minister? I was blown away!
So, fast-forward to 8 years later as a nearly-16-year-old me was drawing the line in the sand. I had done everything I knew to do to be a good person. But it just wasn’t good enough. I was rebellious since I distrusted authority, and I gave everyone a hard time — if you could not justify WHY you believed something, and simply told me “Because,” I had no time to waste on you. (Don’t worry — I soon repented and God taught me a couple things about humility since!)
I was in my room one evening when I yelled at God (well, the ceiling really, because I wasn’t convinced that God was listening, ) — “God! If you’re real, SHOW UP!”
In that very instant, Holy Spirit showed me that exact picture I saw 8 years ago — the tree on the hill with multi-coloured ribbons that floated in the breeze. I KNEW that this wasn’t something that I had made up or imagined, thought about, or even remembered, and I was convinced that God was real, that Holy Spirit did indeed speak to me, and that a relationship with Him was not only a possibility, but a real and true reality.
It was then that I started walking in relationship with God, and kicked off a journey of healing, forgiveness and growth — one that I’m still on!
This journey ultimately brought me to one of the biggest challenges of my new-found faith: forgiving my dad and building relationship with him. To be honest, it was an up-hill battle for the most part. I won’t go into all the details, but I can honestly say that God worked miracles in my heart and life, and that of my dad, and the last six years or so we had a truly wonderful relationship.
When my father passed away on September 14th, 2019, I could truly say that I held no regrets, and even in this earthly loss, I saw God’s faithfulness be made manifest.
Soon after this ceiling-yelling-salvation I went on holiday with my dad. We bought a kite together, and we flew it at the beach. I didn’t go on holiday with him a lot, and so, the kite found its way to storage, and it wasn’t until I packed up his house after his passing that I came across it again. So, this past birthday, the first birthday on which (both) parents didn’t phone me at the crack of dawn to sing happy birthday (it’s a family tradition and it often involves a cat-choir), I took my our kite down to the beach and flew it for the first time in many years.
We look forward by looking back
The one thing these past few months have taught me, in coming back from AMT in Zambia, and preparing to head to DRC fulltime (EEEEK! Can’t wait to share more about this in the near future!), is that we see the future by looking at the past.
Yes, I know that sounds like some (weird) quote by Rafiki (the blue-faced baboon from The Lion King), but it’s very scriptural when you consider that the entire Old Testament was a prophesy of the New Testament, and that the New Testament is therefore a fulfilment of the Old Testament.
What I mean by this, is that looking back often provides us with the perspective we need to recognize God’s steadfast faithfulness in every season. God does not change. His Word is ALWAYS true. He is not slow in remembering His promises. When we step out in faith and walk in obedience, He is sure to fulfil His Word since He has already equipped us with everything we need to live a life of holiness and godliness through the Holy Spirit.
This is my prayer for you too, as we close off November and enter the last few weeks of 2019 — that you may look back and recognize God’s hand in your life — how He guides and sustains you, how He provides, how He heals, how He teaches, how He gives favour and grace, and above all, how He loves.
One Tribe Missions Conference
I am also very excited to announce that I’ll be leaving for the United States at the end of December. I would appreciate your prayers for this month-long trip!
While in the States, I’ll attend the Overland Missions One Tribe Missions Conference in Florida. You can tune in by live-streaming the event (the link is available on Overland Missions’ Facebook page or http://www.overlandmissions.com), and join more than 200 missionaries from all over the world in the Overland Missions family as they share testimonies, and cast vision for 2020!
During this time I’ll also attend a seminar or partnership development which will help me to launch into the Democratic Republic of Congo with Overland Missions, starting 2020! I am BEYOND excited to share more about this soon — so, stay tuned!
Goodbye for now
And on that note, goodbye for now!
Grace and peace be to you by the abundance of the Holy Spirit that works in you and through you to make the Word manifest in the nations!Blessings, Cornelia