After 28 hours of travel from Wyncote, PA to Otjiwarango, Namibia we finally arrived at Ombili Assemblies of God on Friday, October 4th for our first night of ministry. There we met 4 special women; Rosewitha, Sipporah, Hettie, and Ouma who have been at Ombili faithfully for 3 years despite the lack of attendance from members of the Ombili community. After a night of worship and prayer, we came to NAMTI Bible College, for rest and restoration with team meeting and team prayer.
On Saturday, October 5th we woke up early to prepare for our first children’s outreach ministry. Dale Mifflin, Dave Biddle and Alfredo Santana stayed behind to work on the construction at NAMTI college. At Ombili, there were games, stories, balloons, sumo wrestling demonstrations, parachutes, and songs for the children. Over 100 children came and were ministered to that day. Later in the evening, after rest and dinner, we returned to Ombili church. After physical exertion, our bodies were tired and our spirits weary. During worship, the team struggled a bit with finding the energy to praise and worship. The wife of missionary Mark Gardner came to the front in the midst of worship and spoke edifying and encouraging words. She spoke of mental images of the Holy Spirit filling and quenching her thirst. By sharing, she allowed God to work through her and quench the needs for strength and energy that were prevalent in our team.
That night as we assembled at Namti for our team meeting, we were all asked by Pastor John to share a bit with the rest of the team a moment during the day where we saw God and His love clearly. Here are the responses.
“I saw God today moving in a special way when there was a little girl, she looked like maybe 2 or 3 years old, she had gotten some thorns on the bottom of her foot. She had gotten some thorns and had started crying. I picked her up and started drying her tears. She had so many on each foot that I asked Rick to help me take them off her feet. The love factor kicked in. It was so special to watch Rick with so much tenderness and love and watching him serve a child. It was like watching God move. I saw so many things today, I could write a book. There were so many things that touched the heart and we saw God move.”
“I think that when I saw God work in me was when I was talking to the little kids, when I was praying for them. I’m usually flustered but everything came out right and God just helped me say the right thing.”
“Everyone was tired in worship today but we pressed through and God showed himself.”
“Tonight when we walked around the church praying. There was a teenager in the back. I asked her if I could pray for you and she didn’t say anything. Then she nodded her head. I prayed for her. At some point she started crying and I felt that God was touching her life at some point. I’m glad I picked her first. They were so receptive to being prayed for. I thought it was so different from the US. People who are Christians are usually reluctant to receive prayer. Seeing how they loved being prayed for was a wonderful experience.”
“It was really good that Rick went out and started praying for the people because it gave us encouragement to reach out to the other people in the congregation. There was a lady in front of me who was holding her one boy and the other one was trying to get her attention. I asked if I could hold him and she said yes. I was surprised. I thought she would say no. I wonder what we can do to make an improvement for them. It seems like they need so much. I don’t know. It’s a lot to think about.”
“Despite of not resting well last night, God gave me the strength to work back there building the church. When I got to church tonight, I was exhausted. God just gave me the strength. When we went to the front to pray and Pastor told me to go to this guy, his name was Bolos. His prayer was that I don’t want to keep backsliding. When I prayed for him, I saw God move in him. I was touched to also pray for his son, Arthur. He kept staring at me. I saw God working tonight. Even thought people didn’t step out to receive prayer, we the team went out to them and that’s God.”
“The attitude that Dale and Santana have. Working out back, there was an air compressor that wasn’t working and we had to improvise. It’s a lot harder doing something that should be easier. I felt bad for leaving them but I appreciate them for having a serving attitude.”
“I had a hard day. I did. I think we all did but I’m just saying how I felt. It was not that I haven’t seen poverty before or anything like that. Where I’m from, my family, generations before me knew that kind of poverty. What really just hit me between the eyes is that the families are so broken. That the structure as a whole is broken. It’s one things to live in poverty but it’s an entirely different thing to live in poverty with no structure. I came back and I was very quiet. I wasn’t mad at anyone but the Lord is opening my eyes. He told me he was going to give me a different perspective and I think I need it too. I think it’s important to see the spiritual poverty but also see the hunger and life in their eyes. If we’re looking right, he will show us that these kids have a hope and a future and that promise is just as true for them as it is for us.”
“I thought I was the only one with trouble with worship. I guess it was soon after Kim said what she said that turned on something inside of me. God touched me and I knew things were different after that. Honestly, I thought I was the only one.”
Pastor Alex Kranjec
“First of all, you guys are doing an awesome job. I got a chance to walk around and see through a lens, and you might not see much else because you had 20 kids in your face, but I’m coming from the perspective of seeing everything unfold. Something stuck out, Hettie, she stuck out the first night. I got a chance to talk to Mark and he had a chance to tell me about Ombili and I said, God how can we come from thousand of miles away and impact this battered dying church? Only 17 people. That’s a lot of work, as Pastor Seth said. I knew the power that would be in our ability to worship and pray. After hearing what she said, really confirmed that what we are doing here is right and God has been doing something long before we have gotten here. We come and do our piece, influence, leave something. I know it’s hard how it was tonight but what we’re doing is valuable. We’re changing that church. Some of these people have lost the ability to feel the Holy Spirit. Some of the churches have become very religious and lost the zeal for the Spirit. We have the opportunity to model something and partner with Jesus and do what he wants done. I was blown away by this woman. The ability to step out of yourself and see the big picture of what God is doing is really phenomenal.”
“Uh, actually I’m gonna’ piggyback on what Alex just said. There were many great moments. After going to this facility on two successful days. I spent a lot of years doing construction in the city and seeing poverty. What I saw driving through this neighborhood absolutely shocked me. Today, took it to another height. I said, ‘Lord, I see with my eyes and my mind can’t be fixed.’ I felt God reminded me that he wants us to walk with bold faith. He wants us to pray with bold prayers because he is a God who can do anything well beyond what we can imagine or ask. Where I’m at with this particular situation is I kept reading Ezekiel 37… I felt that He’s going to breathe on these dry bones and bring them back to life. Our worship and our praying is good but the Spirit of God is the only thing that’s going to make this come alive. Be bold. Don’t struggle in your own faith. It’s encouraged me to look beyond that place and the shoeless kids and the dysfunctional families and see what God can do. There is nothing, there is NOTHING that God can’t do. What he wants from us? Only belief. I believe in my heart that those kids are going to see a better life. I think as a group we have been blessed with one spirit and one mind. I have to leave myself and my attitude at the back door. It’s important that we just yield. I believe God is going to change that community and bring hope into that community. And one last thing, you’re a good group of people to be with. It’s fun to sit and talk to people. I like to know the person and what you are like and know who you are and I thank you for that. Thank you all.”
“My God moment happened early in the day. We were busy here getting all kinds of things ready. Mark was in his administrative role and he was clicking off all the things we needed to do and the organization we needed to get done and all of a sudden he just stopped and he looked at the few of us who were around the table and said, ‘Let me tell you the most important thing you’re doing to do today; You’re going to be Jesus to these kids.’ He said, ‘You’re going to wrap your arms around them and you’re going to say I love you, I care about you.’ It was like, this is Mark the jokester, the driven administrative missionary guy. It spoke to me on a few different levels. I needed to hear that. That we’re Jesus with flesh on. Just the passion that he spoke that to us in. God loves these children and he wants you to tell them. And I thought, sometimes we forget, we look at our missionaries, we look at our pastors, our leaders like bosses, but you don’t always see their hearts. You don’t always get a chance to look inside someone and see their hearts. I thank God that he let us not only get that truth, but also see that part of Mark.”
Pastor John Holt
“So many. I know we were all struggling tonight and I was also speaking to myself saying; ‘You’re here to worship the Lord.’ One of the real God moments for me was when Alex went into “I Need You More” and we transitioned to asking people to share and Sam said, ‘I miss God’ and I thought how true that is for so many people and they don’t really know what they’re missing. As we pressed through, God gelled that altogether. There are times when we don’t know what to do next but God brought it together”
“I have two. One was when I was coming back with Mark on the truck and I came back and saw the yard full with the kids, and seeing Alex taking pictures and the team split, watching it all. I thought man, this is awesome. Just watching you guys, every single person was giving it their all. It shows how much we gave today. Just seeing the smiles that you brought to their faces. Seeing the impact we’re having on the community and how much what we’re bringing is needed. God planned for us to be here all along. His plan was for us to interact with these kids and God has us here for a reason. And seeing what God is doing, I’m seeing the reasons He has us here.
“There were so many different moments where I saw God, it’s so difficult to pinpoint one. I saw it in the children, in the people, in their smiles. One of the ways God really showed His love today was through our team. Like Alex said, when you’re behind the lens, you see more. You see all of the different team members interacting with all of the children and the people in the community. You see the smiles on their faces as a result of the time, energy, and attention they’re being given. I saw today, a team who went out and gave it their all. A team who was willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and to capture. I just want to thank all of you for allowing God’s love to shine through you and to touch the hearts of the children and people who were ministered today. God is doing amazing things.
“We take one step at a time but there have been nothing but God moments since Pastor announced the trip to Africa. We were going to go to Kenya. God changed it. That was a God moment. We could have very well been there and caught up in something. All of those God moments since the announcement of this trip. My second God moment was when Hettie said she asked God for help with the church of Ombili and she said God sent her a team. The power is in prayer.”
“Back home I participate in a lot of children’s ministry. It was really different tonight. There’s usually just a bunch of kids sitting down reluctant to do anything. But these kids were really into it. Not just that, but so were the adults. I’ve never been able to be a part of something like that. It’s good how God was able to use the training that I had to go through to do that today.”
God is doing amazing things in the people of Namibia and blessing our team in the process. We’ve had a few days of ministry and God has shown himself to be here, in the midst of the people of Namibia. We ask that you keep our team in prayer, that we will all have the strength to accomplish and follow through with the mission God has called us to here in Otjiwarongo, in the community of Ombili. We ask that you also keep the people of Namibia in prayer. That their hearts will be ready for and open to the love of Christ.