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Hands and Feet-Agape & African Animals

Agape & African Animals

Agape : selfless, sacraficial, unconditional love.
Day 4.
I had been looking forward to this day of the trip for a while, mainly because this was the day of the game drive. 
Before leaving America, I had been a little bummed thinking, "how could we go to Africa and not do a safari?!"  God heard my selfish little thoughts and provided us the opportunity to do an afternoon game drive.  I was beyond ecstatic!
Little did I know, this day was going to be unbelievably impactful and not because of any animals!
That morning we got up and headed to Sunday morning service at Agape Church.  This is a newly planted church on the grounds of the Bhalekane Care Point.  The entire attendance consisted of about 8 adults and 20 children and the 32 of us!
As we walked across the grounds toward the building they were holding service in, the stunningly beautiful sound of African voices filled the air.  I wish you could hear the music we heard that morning.  When they sing, you can hear their souls. I was about in tears the moment we stepped inside.
For several minutes we stood worshipping our Savior.  The Swazi men, women, and children sang their angelic songs as the rest of us tried to sing along or stood in silence and in awe.
I will never forget standing there, swaying to the beat of their music, looking out the window at the beautiful African landscape.  The moment literally took my breath away.  God was SURELY present.  I could feel Him.  He was so present, I could almost see Him.  This will go down as one of the most special moments of my life.

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20

One of our teammates, Kenny, shared a few words of encouragement with the congregation and then the pastor got up to preach.  He preached out of Genisis and repeatedly asked the question "is anything too hard for the Lord?"  It was powerful and it was poignant.  Nothing is too hard for the Lord, NOTHING.  And it's a good thing too, because just about everything is too hard for us.
In my head I kept thinking "God is here & we are here!"  It was absolutely surreal.
Church in Swaziland was passionate.  It was beautiful.  It was not rushed.  It was His time.  I came away with a sense of how we rush God and church in America.  These people NEED Him, we all do, but they know it.  They depend on Him each and every day.  They worship Him with their whole hearts and I'll never be the same after being apart of it.

 the entire congregation at Agape
After church we left for our safari at the Hlane Royal National Park…

We got exceptionally close to this lion.  I believe someone on our team affectionately named him Aslin.  At one point he started walking toward a vehicle, which clearly was making them nervous, but he ended up just curling up in the grass for an afternoon nap.  As we drove past him we were about 6 feet away from him.  He clearly didn't mind being stared at all day long.

Next up, the Rhinos!  This was a definite hightlight for me. These creatures are so huge and powerful, and oddly beautiful.  God sure does have a huge imagination!  We were able to get out of our vehicle to get a closer look at these animals.  Our driver was not pleased about this but the other cars were doing it, so he couldn't say no.  We ended up standing about 20 to 30 feet away from these awesome animals!

We also got to experience, up close and personal, a Rhino fight!  Like a normal person, I about sprinted back to the vehicle, while my husband and a few other brave souls stood there and took pictures!  It was a little frightening, but very memorable!  Eventually, the tour guides got nervous and hustled everyone back to the Jeeps.

Our safari group!
Joseph, Michelle, Tricia, Becca, (guide), Rachel, Kenny
Allison (me), Ashley, Mairi, and Katie

On the way home, we got to see the most beautiful sunset.  I've always heard that African sunsets are the best, and now I know that first hand. 

When we got home we had an evening debrief.  The next day our real ministry was starting and fear was not just creeping it, but setting up camp inside of me.  Fortunately, I was not alone.

We had a powerful time of prayer, which was much needed, as it always is.  The prayer on my heart was that the Lord would deliver us from satans attacks.  Satan doesn't want us to feel worthy or good enough, but we are!  God can and will use us it we are ready and willing.  The Lord was whispering in my hear "I am ready, my child."  Even though I didn't feel ready, He assured me that He was, and that is always enough. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7