For those of you who don't know or remember the details, here is what my life is going to look like for the next few months:
I leave June 5 to fly to Cape Town, South Africa with my parents. We will then travel for a little over a week around SA and into Zambia to see Victoria Falls. Then on June 17, they will drive me over to Franschhoek, SA, where Bridges Academy is located. This is where I will be until August 22.
Bridges Academy is a Christian boarding school for orphans, born out of the umbrella ministry Bridges of Hope, which originally started with OVC (orphans and vulnerable children) and community development programs. The school is only a couple of years old, but it is steadily growing.
I will appreciate your prayers more than you know. Pray for the children, pray for the school and staff, and pray for me. My intention is to update this blog once a week for the duration of my time. I want you to know what is going on and how you can best pray.
I was reading through Nehemiah the other day, and as I was reading chapter 4, I was struck by all the parallels to my time as I prepare to go. Nehemiah has been leading a group of Israelites in the reconstruction of the city wall, and in chapter 4, Sanballat and Tobiah come to discourage them. Many of these lies are ones that I have been hearing, and I would really appreciate your prayers to fight on my behalf.
--"What are these feeble Jews doing?" -- "Samantha, you are so weak. Do you really think you can do anything of value? You don't have what it takes-no way. How could you ever think you have enough in you?"
--"Are they going to restore it for themselves?" -- "Are you certain you aren't doing this out of selfish motives? Who are you really working and serving for? Your time isn't going to benefit anyone else. And are you even sure you can do it alone?"
--"Can they offer sacrifices?"-- "You think you're honoring God, but the truth is that you're not even really giving him anything. You're probably not glorifying him like you should."
--"Can they finish it in a day?" -- "You're only going to be there for two and a half months. What can you really accomplish? Not much."
--"Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble, even the burned ones?" -- "You can't really do anything for them-their pasts have scarred them too much; the hurt and despair are too ingrained in society. The culture puts them at such a disadvantage-who are you to think you can make a difference? Do you really think you can do anything for kids who have endured so much hardship? You are powerless to do anything."
--"Even what they are building-if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!" -- "Even if it looks like you're accomplishing something, the minute any storm or difficulty arises, everything is going to crumble. Your work is not strong, not sturdy. You might as well not even try."
Please pray that I would be able to stand firm in the strength of the Lord, knowing that in his power, my weaknesses are made perfect. Pray for trust, for faith, and for an eager anticipation and hope as I look forward to what is coming and what the Lord is going to do.
Thank you all so much for your support, encouragement, and prayers. I don't know that I could do it without knowing that you are behind me.
"So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind and heart to work." (Nehemiah 4:6)
"We prayed to God, and because of them, we set up a guard against them day and night." (4:9)
Please be a part of my guard.