That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

the supaquick update!

We’ve moved house (and been crazy blessed by people in the process)!!!! 

We’re going to Tijuana, Mexico, on our missions trip with school in April 2012!

We’re learning Spanish!

We’re going to be serving in a house church as our community outreach (starting next week!!)

We have the best Revival Group Pastor everrrr! 

We’ve been eating so much Mexican food lately, it’s incredible!!!

We’re still mourning the loss of the Rugby World Cup!

I’m doing a short art course! 

and…its nearly halloween here, and there are carved pumpkins everywhere! 

Long update coming soon!!! 

Much love, Shaun and Kelly

1 month gone already??

Wow, so we both just realised that we haven’t actually posted anything since the first week that we started school. I am sorry about that because I know how you love to read about the wonderful adventures we are having and how we are doing and you basically want to check up on us just like you check your facebook every couple of minutes when you should really be working (it’s OK, we all do it).

We are starting to get into the swing of things when it comes to school. I think we have adapted to the system (even though the system is extremely flexible) and are starting to feel like real students! One of the great things about being a student at a school like this is that there are so many different cultures. They have 900 students of which 400 are international students. So you are constantly meeting new people who have different accents and it’s a great way to start networking with other nations! We have met a lot of people and everyday after you come home from school you can be sure that when you open your facebook account there is a high probability that you will have at least one new friend request. The people here are so friendly, loving and kind. Everyone just wants to help you in whichever way they can. I know me and Kelly have had to walk home on two occasions (which isn’t a short walk by the way!) and before we can make it down the hill on which the church is located, somebody has already pulled over and opened their car doors for us, its great!!

Our second week was a pretty normal week, I don’t think as exciting as the first week, you could say that we had more administration work to get through in this week, which did make it seem a lot more dull. But during the third week of school, all of the revival groups go on retreats together to neighbouring cities to spend time together and get to know each other a lot better. Our group, which was joined by two other revival groups, went to a small town called Chico and we had our retreat at the YWAM base there. The base is basically an old hotel that has been revamped to host teams of young people who would serve on the YWAM program for a year. 

The YWAM base in Chico, CA.

The retreat was amazing! The only thing wrong with it was that it was too short! I think it is quite difficult to meet new people and engage in a meaningful conversation (like soccer) with people at school, because there are 900 people and an agenda for the day that doesn’t leave much time to get to know other people personally. But on the retreat we had the opportunity to get to know a lot more people and develop solid friendships and relationships. Basically the retreat consisted of eating, evening meetings and a whole lot of free time. Which was great! One the first evening a guy called Jason Valloton came to speak to us, Jason is the Associate Overseer for first-years at school. He is an amazing guy with an amazing testimony and such a genuine heart for God! He basically got up and shared what was on his heart, he had something planned that he was going to speak on but he really felt led to speak about something else. He basically shared how we can sometimes know God so well, that we can foretell how he is going to move and what he is going to do before he even does it. Therefore we lose expectancy and we end up being the ones who dictate what God is going to do, so we know where this meeting is going, we know what is going to happen if this happens etc. And we just become hard people, never really realising that God is just wanting to show us his love and constantly do something new in us, because that is his nature. I know for myself, this struck a chord in my heart, because I have been trained since I became a Christian to know how God works, I understand the program, I know the run sheet off by heart, I know which song comes next, what time the preacher is going to step on the stage, what time he is going to say his last “amen”, when all the while God is looking at me and saying, “No, no, you got it a wrong”, it’s about coming to God and having him be the agenda, not taking your agenda and super imposing God onto it. I knew God was speaking to me, he was wanting to change this proud, arrogant spirit that I had built up over many years, knowing that I know his ways (when the Bible says his ways are far too different for us to understand). At the end of the time, I just lay on the floor crying my eyes out and asking God to forgive me and bring my heart back into alignment with his. It was a good time of introspection and refocus for my life.

The second night was very different. Mark Brookes came to speak to us, Mark is the Overseer for first-year and is an incredible man of God. He has the most contagious laugh I have ever heard! It’s awesome. Mark spoke on joy. It was really refreshing because a lot of the church today thinks that you have to be serious to be serious about God. Mark spoke about how Jesus had more joy than the people he hung out with (you don’t get invited to sinner’s parties unless you’re fun). He spoke about joy being an antidote in hard times, how joy attracts provision and how it is not just an emotion but it should be a part of you. As he was preaching you could feel the presence of God come into the room, I don’t think he actually got through the whole of his sermon because people where just getting touched by God. One of his points was that he explained (can’t remember context or where it is) how Jesus was joyful, it was a verb and it meant that Jesus literally jumped in the air as high as he could, spun around and shouted out loud! So at the end of his talk he brought it back to that point and then asked us, “Who wants some joy?”. At first everyone kind of sat there but after asking two more times, some people got the point, and suddenly a whole bunch of people ran to the front jumped in the air, spun around and shouted out loud. As this happend, almost instantaneously the presence of God showed up in a big way. People couldn’t stop laughing and dancing and crying, and jumping and going nuts! It was great! They put on some rave/dance music and everyone just went nuts! Dancing around the room, laughing their heads off, praying for each other, falling over on the floor. (If this sounds a bit funny to you, think about this, in Acts 2, when the Holy Spirit fell on the 120 people, they made a big noise, attracted a crowd, and that crowd accused them of being drunk… Hmmm, why is that perhaps?) It was a crazy, joyful experience that I had never seen or been in before, we danced, laughed, cried, got filled with the Spirit late into the night!

After the retreat it was back to school. Oh! One of the things we did do was go out to this big waterfall that you can jump off. Here is a photo of it below (Thanks Colin):

Yes that is me jumping off of the top! And no I didn’t do it straight away, it took me at least 10 minutes to eventually do it. (I think what got me to do it was when somebody told me that their friend jumped it with ease, and she was a girl!) I think my pride got the better of me, so I jumped. What I didn’t realise was that there was an extremely sharp rock just below the exact place that I jumped into. I cut my foot open and was bleeding in a very bad way… Just joking! I was fine. It was quite deep though. Kelly also got the courage to jump it, but she never went from the top, she jumped from about halfway, you can see her in the picture.

We also went to see an incredible musician perform, he is one of our favourites and it just so happened that he was playing a show in Redding at the church, his name is Josh Garrels. I have seen and heard a lot of great musicians, but the creativity that Josh has is unbelievable. If you listen to him, please do yourself a favour and read through his lyrics as you are listening to his songs, they are awesome! If you like some acoustic, folk mixed with a bit of hip hop, you’ll love this guy! We couldn’t get a nice photo of him, but check out his website, you can download his album for free!! http://joshgarrels.com/

The following week of school Kris Valloton came to preach about purity. Kris is the Senior Associate Leader of Bethel Church. He is also a prophet and has incredible insight and wisdom. Every time I listen to this guy’s sermons I am completely blown away. He basically shared a lot of what is written in his book, which I have already read, it’s called “The New Moral Revolution”. He spoke very openly to us about sex and purity, which was so refreshing because the church is so silent on this issue and has shamed sex and thought of it as something disgusting and wrong. Kris’s argument was that sex is good because it is created by God, he speaks very openly and frankly which I enjoy. He spoke a lot about covenant and how marriage is so special because it is based on a covenant. He said a lot of people don’t want the covenant, they just want intimacy, which doesn’t protect them, it actually hurts them. He spoke very straight about waiting until your married to have sex, and how only people who understand sacrifice can give away something of value! (wow!) The following day he continued to preach on the same topic and spoke a lot about virtues and values. He spoke about the difference between temptation and sin, temptation is not the same as sinning. But that we can only be tempted by something we have an appetite for, and this is what Jesus did. He managed his appetite inside of core values of virtue so that he didn’t sin. There are so many more points I could write down, but if you really are interested, you should read his book, it is amazing!

In between these weeks we have been hanging with friends, getting to know people, getting to know the town by riding on our bicycles. Oh one thing I forgot to mention is that we were dropped off at the shops one afternoon to go grocery shopping, and the plan was to catch the bus on the way home. What ended up happening is that we missed the last bus by a minute (we literally saw it drive away from us) and had to walk all the way home carrying heavy packets (the distance was about 5km!) so we both were very unhappy all the way home. 

All of the South African students got together to watch the Rugby last Saturday evening.. Let’s just say the evening started off really well, but it didn’t end too well. I think in the end there were about 30 very depressed and shocked South Africans going to bed, not what I had pictured at the beginning if the evening. But I won’t say anymore besides the fact that South Africa deserved the win more than Australia did, and that is what makes it so hard to accept.

Lastly, this week was an incredible week. Firstly we had two travelling speakers come to speak to us, now these speakers aren’t just anybody. They are heavyweights in the body of Christ. The first guy, Claudio Freidzon, I had never heard of in my life, but he has been the instrument God has been using in starting the Argentinian revival that is still going on today, he is an incredibly passionate, fiery preacher whose soul mission is to see revival come to the whole of Argentina (and boy is he doing a good job!) His church started with eight people, himself, his wife, his parent’s in law, and four old grannies. He would preach week in and week out and after years, they had grown to eight people! Haha! Claudio then decided he was going to seek God and go after his presence and nothing else. So after attending a revival-type meeting in America, God spoke to him and he went back to Argentina. Then in 1992, one day while he was preaching, he looked up and in the middle of his sermon the literal presence of God just descended upon the room, they had a crazy encounter with God and just knew by faith that they needed to hire stadiums immediately because of what God was going to do, so they did it! And literally overnight his church grew from 8 people to 10,000 to 60,000!! If you check out his videos on youtube, you will see some of the crazy stuff that goes down there, it’s really incredible! He preached a message to us all about the presence and the presence of God being the focus in everything we do, and it’s so great to hear it from somebody who is living it out and not from a pastor or preacher who says they are all about the presence but really their mandate is to put bums on seats in order to make themselves feel better. At the end he came around and laid hands on everyone in the room, when he got to me, his hand kind of missed my hand! He barely touched me, but even so I felt the power of God come over me and I knew something was imparted to me. If you wanted to describe the atmosphere at the end of the meeting, you could say it was pandemonium! After school, most of the 900 students had to literally crawl out of the hall because God was moving in them, people were laying down all over the parking lot, crying, wailing, praying for each other and laughing. You could definitely see that this was something real, even if you didn’t believe in God, it was very powerful. 

That was on Friday. Today (Tuesday) we had a man called John Arnott come and speak to us. Some of you reading this might know who he is. He is the pastor of Catch the Fire (formerly known as Toronto Airport Fellowship) which was where the famous Toronto Blessing occurred. Even though John wasn’t the actual catalyst in the Toronto Blessing, Randy Clark and Rodney Howard-Browne were, he still carries the same passion as these men and really has a heart to see people walk in the power that is freely given to them by God. There were about 15 people who got healed before he even started preaching! One person had been deaf in the one ear and God restored their hearing!! Just like that! John preached about being hungry for God and how God most of the time, not all the time, will not give his presence or do a miracle when we sit passively, we need to be active, pressing in for more of him and his presence. It was a very encouraging preach. He spoke a lot about spiritual warfare too. I think the two thing that stuck out to me were the two principles he lives his life by, God spoke to him one day when he was crying out for revival before the Toronto Blessing. God said to him, if you will give me your mornings and spend time with anointed people, I will give you what you want, and that is what he did. It really encouraged me to give more time to God during the day, because it can be so easy to fill our time with things that really don’t matter (unlike this blog:)). But I was really challenged to set time aside for God and when you do, I think you will be pleasantly surprised about how many things “fall into place” or how much “better you feel”, it all comes from his presence and spending time with him! 

John also came around and laid hands on each of us, when he laid his hands on me, I also felt as thought something was deposited into my spirit, a hunger for more fo God, to not be satisfied with living a mediocre Christian life where I have him figured out to the point where I never step out because I know what is going to happen and how God moves. The Christian life isn’t mediocre. One of the things that is constantly said here is that a life of miracles is normal, it’s the normal Christian life, it’s normal to see people get healed all the time, for the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear in my everyday life, and not just at a crusade or when the travelling evangelist is in town. I am really starting to discover (as crazy and as “out there” as it sounds) that it is the truth..

Much love, 

Shaun and Kelly

I have uploaded some random photo’s for you to see:

 

This is beginning of school everyday.

My name tag :)

Kelly’s name tag :)

Our crazy cool friends from all over the world

Our craziest friend from Scotland - Colin. (This guy has an insane story!!)


Our first few days at school…

Our first week of school was absolutely mind-blowing! I don’t know how i’m even going to write about it, or do it enough justice to convince you just how awesome it was. 

Monday - Registration

We arrived at the church for registration 30 minutes before it was scheduled to start. Students were so keen to register that there were already queues winding out the church doors…luckily because we’re international students, we stood in a different line :)  I’m not sure of the exact number of first-year students, but i’m positive its averaging on 1,000. There are just loads and loads and loads of people, from across the US and the world! While standing in the international student line we finally met other South Africans! Whoohoo! We had been searching for them since we have been here, but hadn’t met one until now. We went to a few different tables for different things, got a student card and our picture taken, and then went to our Revival Group Pastor’s table. All students are broken up into smaller groups of about 60 people, Revival Groups. These groups are headed up by a Revival Group Pastor and his/her interns. Our Revival Group Pastor is Barbara K, and she is awesome! Barbara gave us our binders, which contain notes, assignments and a bunch of other stuff for the year. And then registration was done! There was such a vibe in the main hall where registration was taking place, just such a sense of expectancy.

Tuesday - First day of school! 

Again, we arrived super early for school, and there were already people queuing up to enter the main hall of the church. All our classes are held in the main auditorium of Bethel Church (well for now anyways). The auditorium is huge, but our first-year class packs that place out one time! So we queued up and waited, rather confused at how everything was going to work out, how we were going to get a seat, and rather awkward, still not really knowing anyone except from a barbecue we had the previous week! We happened to stand in the line, unknowingly, that leads right to the front row seats, so on our first day we got the best seats in the house to hear from Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton, the senior leader and senior associate pastor of Bethel Church and heavy-weights in the revival game. What a joy! Again, there was just such a sense of expectancy and hunger in the auditorium, it was buzzing! The day started off with an hour of worship, lead by Jeremy Riddle. The sound in the auditorium is incredible, so crisp and perfectly mixed! You can feel the bass literally go through you (Shaun’s words). I totally need to wear earplugs in future (in a good way)! Bill Johnson then spoke about… a lot of things! He is on another level of revelation. Its difficult to try write all of it down. Once you start writing he says something else profound and you lose your train of thought, so you end up with a whole bunch of half nuggets written down that don’t make all that much sense. Yet I still wrote copious notes. Kris Vallotton then went through the core values of Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) and the core values of Bethel Church. It was really incredible to see their heart as a church and movement. They have such an emphasis on honour, love, and being intimate with the Father. 

Wednesday - Day two of BSSM

It was amazing.

Thursday - Three days of awesomeness at Bethel

It was also amazing.

Friday - FOUR days of glory, my brain cant contain!

Just super fantastic. 

Ok so it was all really a blur after day one. Kris Vallotton spoke about identity on Day 2. The kind of teaching that changes your whole life. Everything in your life depends on your identity, how you see yourself determines your value for you and for the world around you. It determines your thought processes, your decisions and how you generally relate to the world. It all hinges on identity. As a Christian, you were a sinner, who became saved by grace, who is now a saint. You have a new nature. Not to say that you don’t sin once you become a Christian, but that its no longer in your nature to want to sin. You are now bent towards righteousness. It all about knowing who you are and whose you are. 

On Friday after worship and a teaching from Bill, we had our first Revival Group gathering. Smaller groups really help facilitate fellowship! We partnered up with someone in our Revival Group and had to introduce our partner to the group. It was really fun getting to know everyone, and see different group dynamics and personalities emerge. Our group is diverse in age and nationality, with people from the US, Sweden, Norway, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Mexico, Paraguay, Canada and South Africa (whoop)! I’m really looking forward to spending more time with our group, and excited for the journey in God we are going to have together during this year. 

What a whirlwind of a week! Oh yes, we also signed up for our activations. Activations are something that every student does at least once a week to put what we learn at school into practice, in one way or another. They range from community projects that care for the elderly, homeless or vulnerable to healing and prophetic ministries, and helping out at a local school getting to know the kids. We haven’t yet been assigned to a specific activation, but should be soon.

Exciting stuff!

It’s the weekeeeeend, baby!!

Hi all, so this is Shaun writing his first ever blog post, I don’t think I am on par with Kelly’s awesome writing abilities, but I am going to give this a bash! 

We have had a really crazy weekend, the weather is still extremely hot here, so during the daytime you are forced to stay indoors unless you want to dare the extreme heat and take on the risk of getting sunstroke. (Apparently one high school kid did die from sunstroke during a football practice not so long ago. They just kept pushing him through the heat until his body couldn’t handle it anymore, scary!) So myself and Kelly have been taking it easy during the daytime, but when that sun goes down and the cool night is upon us, we hit the town hard… on our bicycles. 

That’s right, you may have seen on Kelly’s facebook that we took a 15km cycle together. I for one am very proud and surprised at the fact that we were both able to accomplish this magnificent feat. Given the fact that neither of us has exercise since high school. (Unless you count walking up and down stairs to get to our flat.) But more about that a bit later.

On Friday night we went to the evening service at the main Bethel Campus. It was really great to see the whole church packed full of young adults more or less the same age as ourselves, with hearts that are similar to ours and who are all just ravenously hungry for God. I don’t think I have been in an environment like this one ever, it’s really encouraging! The worship was awesome, it was powerful and God really touched people, spiritually and physically. Before the speaker got to his sermon, he felt led to pray for people who needed physical healing. All in all there were about 40 people who were prayed for for healing and all of them got healed! There was one guy who was a war veteran and had nerve damage and was constantly in serious amounts of pain, he came forward to testify that God had healed him and he was now free from the pain which he had been suffering from for years!! 

The guy who spoke was the Outreach pastor at Bethel, Chris Overstreet. He really has a powerful testimony of how he met God when he was in jail. You could see from the way this guy preached that he had a heart for people who were seriously lost. He spoke about taking that step to reach out to somebody and share love with them, something we find so difficult to do because of fears, or pride, or past disappointments. But the crux of his message was to first take that step of speaking to them and then God will give you the right words or picture for them, but so often we want God to give us all the words beforehand and then speak up (which we don’t do anyway.) It was really challenging to hear.

On Saturday we woke up nice and early because the Honeybee Festival was in town (yay for the Honeybee Festival!!) The Honeybee Festival wasn’t that great… It was supposed to be a big festival with crafts and food and music and fun, but it was a small craft market with an acoustic guitarist and some ice cream. The coolest thing about it was probably this big truck that was parked on the field that you could walk into and it had a whole variety of animals on display (mostly animal heads), I think it was a taxidermy company.. Anyway, here is me next to a Springbok that we found in the truck.

Because of the heat, we were forced to go home and stay indoors for the rest of the day. This is where our 15km bike ride comes in. We decided to take a bicycle ride down to the Sundial Bridge, which is 4.8miles away. So we put our cycling gear on, filled up our water bottles, did our leg stretches and departed on our journey. Even though it was quite far away, it didn’t take us too long to get there, it was downhill most of the way, and the bike lanes on the roads here are huge (it’s the equivalent of a normal traffic lane back home on some roads.) So we arrived at the Sundial Bridge with sweat in our eyes and no breath in our lungs. 

The Sundial Bridge is a really beautifully designed bridge, and it seems like it is the local hangout spot too. We took a walk across it and went down to the Sacramento River that runs beneath it, passing all the couples and groups of high school kids just hanging out together and enjoying the warm summer’s night. Here’s a picture of the bridge if you haven’t seen it before.

It’s not a perfect picture, but it gives you an idea of it, and there were a lot more people there than the picture shows.

That brings us to Sunday! We went to two services at the Twin View campus today (it’s the second church campus that has the sermon from the main campus streamed through to you so you watch it on the projector.) In the morning, Bill Johnson spoke about 9/11 and the terrorist attacks. His sermon wasn’t long at all, it was probably about 7 minutes in length, but he ended the meeting of with a time of praying for America. He got us all to pray for America and to have a heart like Jonah did. Jonah was an Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by a whale because he didn’t listen to God and was stuck in the mouth of the whale for 3 days (you might have heard this story in Sunday School), and at the end of his ordeal with the whale, he ends up listening to God and goes to speak to the town of Nineveh. He tells them to repent and turn to God, and the town is so moved by his words and his message that the ENTIRE town repents and turns to God, from the King to the lowliest person in the town. Bill said how we have seen parts of America turn to God, but we haven’t seen the whole nation turn to God. He then got us to pray for the nation to see the love and mercy of God and for the nation to turn to him. I was praying at this time, but I wasn’t praying for America (I was at first), I was really praying for my home nation, and God really started to speak to me about seeing South Africa as a nation turn to God, which made me cry a lot and God broke my heart, wow, it was quite a powerful time of prayer. He showed me that the nation can change, it is in a bit of a mess at the moment, but God is a really big God and wants to change the nation, he wants to change it for the good, from our politicians, to our schools, to universities, workplaces, the arts, music, television, he wants it all to be changed for the good, to see the nation of South Africa become the light and the example for the world to follow. Big vision, I know, but we serve a big God :)

We have just come back from the evening service at Bethel (which lasted 4 hours! Which was great!) Heidi Baker was in town and she came to speak, if you don’t know who Heidi Baker is, please google her, or check out her ministry, it’s called IRIS, it’s based in Mozambique, but they have many other bases. 

Heidi is incredible, I have never met somebody who so full of vision, so passionate, so on fire, so loving, so caring, so real. Just hearing her stories of what God is doing Mozambique and Malawi rattled me and stirred my faith. I could type up a whole essay about her stories and what she shared, but this blog is already quite long. But just to say this, her message was so simple. Even though she spends about half the time kneeling on the floor, singing and praying to God, she eventually starts talking. She spoke about making time for God firstly, making that our number one priority, becoming intimate with him, and then our second priority was to “stop for the one”, just to make time for that one person you meet in the shops, on the street, in your family and just to share the love of God with them, so simple, yet so powerful. I think it was so powerful because she embodies this very message wherever she goes. A true hero of the Christian faith. She had an altar call of sorts for people who wanted to give over their fears and allow God to take control of peoples hearts who had been living in their own strength, and between the two campuses about 600 people came forward! I went up too, and I think that each and everyone that came up ended up crying because God came into the room and just messed with their hearts (in a good way). Do yourself a favour and check out her website, or research her.

Both myself and Kelly’s hearts are stirred after listening to her, we both want to just share love with anyone that we see, let them know that God loves them and has a plan for their life, it’s so simple. I can feel that a lot of stirring has happened in our hearts and it’s only been one week and school hasn’t started yet either!!

Kelly is currently fast asleep as I’m typing this, so I am going to go to bed too. We have to go and register for school tomorrow morning. School starts on Tuesday! Yay!! We are very excited! Please keep on checking out our blog and also praying for us! I hope that this is being a blessing to you too!

A really bad picture of the Bethel prayer room

A really bad picture of the Bethel prayer room

the Tour de France training starts….now!

Yesterday we cycled. We cycled up hills and free-wheeled down them. We cycled until our legs felt like jelly. And then we cycled some more. We cycled up to Bethel, we passed out in the prayer room, and then cycled back home. 

The prayer room at Bethel is open 24/7. Its a big wooden structure, the inside is a circular room, and the outside shaped like the star of David (well that’s what it looked like to me…), each point of the star is a triangle balcony attached to the circular room. There is a big water feature/pond in the middle of the room, and miniature country flags lining the windows. When we arrived at about 9pm, there were a handful of people lining the edges of the room, either praying or just enjoying God’s presence. There was also worship music playing in the background. Shaun and I, after cycling up the hilltop on which Bethel is situated, collapsed on the floor, and lay there for about an hour. What a great place to rest! 

Earlier in the day, we went with a first-year student, Caroline, to Target and Walmart to see if we could sort out a phone contract and to get batteries for the lights on our bicycles. We met Caroline the night before at our Revival Group BBQ, she is from Auckland (i think), New Zealand. Its been great to hang out with her and know that someone else understands our confusions about driving on the right-hand side of the road and why the bakkies (trucks) here are so big. What a laugh. 

why yes, that is a drive-thru ATM

Sunday was our first service at Bethel Church. On the way to church, Shaun and I felt like giddy kids. We couldn’t really believe we were in the car on our way to a Bethel service. Totally weird. Due to the high number of students in town and the limited capacity of the main church campus, all students were asked to attend the church’s second campus, Twin View. When we arrived at Twin View, we met a guy outside that told us there is a South African on staff at Bethel. Whoooop!

By the time we got inside the worship had started; the band was incredible, crazy brilliant voices! Bill Johnson was in town and spoke at the main campus, with the message streamed live to the Twin View campus. Bill is the senior leader at Bethel; as far as I understand he has moved into more of a travelling pastor/apostolic role and is often out of town. Bill spoke about sloppy grace with reference to Hebrews 12. If you know at all what I am referring to and have questioned grace and sloppy grace, I encourage you to check it out; it is available for download on http://www.ibethel.org/ under “free sermon of the week” and the sermon is called “First things first”. 

After church we went to Mt Shasta Mall, Redding’s only shopping mall (I think), to do a bit of window shopping. There’s a shop there that Shaun and I absolutely love, its called Buckle B. Melt. We went across the street to Cold Stone, an icecream shop. We kinda just stood in front of the counter staring at the menu so baffled at what to choose. You can order an icecream mix, where they take whatever topping you like and mix it into the icecream. One small tub of icecream was about 4 US dollars (R28); we found out that you can buy a litre of icecream for less than that in Walmart…gulp. Food is either the same price or cheaper at the shops, but staples like bread and milk can be rather expensive. Your average loaf of bread is just under 3 US dollars (R21). Takeaways are pretty pricey in comparison to what you can get for the same amount at a local grocer.

Mt Shasta Mall

After the icecream, Julie came to pick us up and we spent the rest of the afternoon sleeping. I think the lack of sleep and jet lag has finally caught up with us! We are wrecked by 1 o’clock in the afternoon. Haha!

Monday was another pretty relaxed day. We went for a walk in the greenbelt at the end of Julie’s road called Lema Ranch. We then went to Walmart, the 99cents store and a whole bunch of other places. We made mince pasta for supper, our first real home cooked meal since we have been here. And it was really good! On Tuesday Shaun and I attempted to walk to Walmart to draw money to pay the rent…well we left home around 9am and by the time we got the shops I had blisters underneath my feet and it was about 35 degrees Celcius :( We have been having issues drawing money at ATMs since we have been here, rather inconvenient and awkward when the rent is due…Needless to say, we still had problems when we got to the ATM, and I could hardly walk, so we just caught the bus home… which took a nice long loop across town in the opposite direction from home. Haha not a good start.

Good news though…we were given two bicycles yesterday by one of Julie’s neighbours. Few! Its about R700 to buy a new, cheapie bike from Walmart. So that saved us quite a bit of money! :) The same neighbour that gave us the bikes gave me a lift to the shops today so that I could attempt to withdraw cash for the zillionth time. And luckily it worked! Hooray! I withdrew money from a drive-thru ATM….I stood where a car would usually stop to use the ATM…drive-thru banks…kinda weird. Because of the blisters from yesterday’s walking, i hobbled along to a book store called Barnes and Nobles while the neighbour was having her car battery fixed. I sat on the floor in the travel section paging through a South Africa travel guide. I teared up when I opened it up to a big picture of Table Mountain. Reading that book sure made me realise just how amazing South Africa is, how rich the culture and history is and how blessed, crazy blessed, I am to have grown up there. People knock South Africa all the time, and yes maybe the trucks and super size McDonalds are bigger over here, but the grass is definitely not greener. 

A drive-thru bank :)

There are about 800 students attending first year at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM). All students at BSSM have been put into smaller groups (called ‘Revival Groups’) of about 60 people. Someone in our revival group organised a BBQ for all the students in the group. It was really great to finally meet a few of our fellow classmates! Some real gems in the group! I can tell its going to be a fun year learning and laughing with those guys! 

Holllllaaaaaa, and now its time for bed. Goodnight :)

NIGHTNIGHT by DEDDY