Matt, Sarah, and Bree
I made it back to Boise in one piece. After a long journey 32 hour journey which entailed 4 legs of flights, checking and rechecking my baggage 3 times I arrived home exhausted. I did not sleep on any of the flights. I believe I may have dozed off for 15 minutes until I was awakened by the child in the seat behind me kicking the back of my seat repeatedly. Upon arriving home I found several friends and family there to greet me. I was happy to see them. After being home for 2 hours my exhaustion overwhelmed me and I began falling asleep in mid-conversation. It was kind of embarassing waking up to my family laughing at me because I fell asleep mid sentence. I apologized and went to bed. Jet lag had me down for almost a week. However I am now back on schedule and feeling good.
Many people have asked me how my time was in South Africa. I can only answer that “it was fantastic”. I could see clearly how the Lord led me and opened up doors for ministry. While in South Africa it felt as though the spiritual air ways were wide open. I heard the voice of the Lord more clearly than I ever had. His message…”Move to South Africa, I have work for you to do here”. So it is with excitement that I announce that the Gager Family is moving to South Africa. We will be working primarily with young men and women that have recently come out of prison in a mentoring capacity. We have a lot of “chores” that we need to accomplish before we leave. Our time frame for leaving is 3-6 months, as long as there are not any problems along the way. Please keep us in prayer as begin to prepare for this season in our lives. That is all I have to share at the moment. I will keep you updated on our progress along the way. Blessings!!!
This last week in Mossel Bay has been filled with divine appointments just as the title of this post suggests. Earlier in the week as I was praying and I heard God say that we would be meeting people that would be important connections for ministry. The next day Josh and I met Robert, a man Josh knew from his previous visit to Mossel Bay. Robert had brought along a Pastor he knew from his outreach into the townships. Pastor Benson was his name. We sat and shared our heart for the people of this area. We quickly kindled a friendship. Pastor Benson invited us to his church the following Sunday. Below you will see pictures of the township called KwaNonqaba and the church.
Me and Pastor Benson.
During a shared meal after church, Pastor Benson invited us to see some of the work that was being done in a sister church located in a nearby town called George. So the following Tuesday, Josh and I accompanied Pastor Benson, his wife Brenda, and Janine and Elmar Haun to the church in George where the feeding program takes place. We arrived early (It would be good to note that Africa time is not the same as American time. Americans and Europeans tend to be early or on time but Africans tend to move at their own pace) so we had time to see some other aspects of the ministry being done other that the feeding program. Pastor Benson and Pastor David (Pastor of the church in George), took us down the road a couple blocks to a gated compound. Once inside we were introduced to several workers. They shared that the Government Municipality took notice of the good work that the church was doing and got behind the program. The University of Cape Town also heard and now are the main sponsers of the program. So they expanded and hired several social workers and counselors. As the story came to a conclusion a nice woman came out and we quickly learned that she was the director of the program. Pastor Benson greeted her and we went to her office to pray with her. After a time of prayer she felt encouraged. Our party left and went back to the church. We arrived just as they were about to begin. Pastor Benson was invited to share a few words and pray for the meal. Josh and I volunteered to serve. Below you will see some pictures of Pastor Benson and Brenda as well as some of time spent in George.
The following day our friend Thamar Rooken-Smith set up an appointment with some friends of hers that work in the local prison for young people. One of the ladies was a social worker with probation and parole and the other lady was named Kitty and was a member (staff) in the prison. To sum up a long conversation they have been praying for people to come and get involved and are completely on board with our heart and vision. As a result of that meeting, Josh and Mindy will be meeting with 10 people out on parole next week and have continued plans for long term involvement in the prison.
Directly following this meeting Josh, Mindy and I went to a local coffee shop to talk about what had just transpired. While we were getting our coffee a man noticed we were from America. We struck up a conversation and found out his name is Josh and is from Virginia. They have been in Mossel Bay 8 years and were missionaries teaching locals how to grow plants so they can have their own gardens. We had heard of him and the work he was doing the previous Sunday from another visitor to the church Pastor Benson Pastors. What are the odds that two different men named Josh from the U.S. would be missionaries to the same area of South Africa. God has a wonderful way of putting people in your path at the right time when you are following his will. We made plans to see the work he and his wife are doing in the near future. Below is a picture with Josh Davis.
I am not sure if I will have time to write another blog post before I head back to Boise, but please keep checking back as I will update you on our plans for future ministry in South Africa.
The first week in Mossel Bay has been an adventure. Josh and Mindy have been diligently looking for a home to live in. After several appointments with a realtors and countless phone calls it appears that they have settled on a 4 bedroom 2 bath home in a nearby suburb of Mossel Bay. I have not seen the home yet therefore I don’t have any pictures to share at this time. I will be sure to take several pictures and include them with the next installment. In the moments we were not house hunting and doing school with the kiddos we took advantage of the beauty of Mossel bay. Josh, Christian and I took a hike up the St. Blaize trail and spent some time praying over the city.
A couple of friends from Pretoria drove A car down for the Mason family to use while they were out of the county for 5 months. While Martin and Mulder were here we went to an area called the point. In this area several large rocks make a natural swimming pool. The city built a couple diving platforms. Here is a picture of me doing my best flying squirrel interpretation.
This week we had the priviledge to meet 2 brothers in the Lord. We first met a German man named Marcus who works with the Local YWAM base. He was a really great guy, very personable and could make a great cup of coffee. Marcus had some great advice for foreigners moving to the area with ministry in mind. The following day we were introduced to Pastor Benson.
Benson is originally from Zambia and now has a church in the townships (aka. slums). When we met with Pastor Benson he wanted to know our heart. I was able to share how the Lord directed me to South Africa and that our heart is to be obedient to the Lord and to just Love the people of this country…specifically the people in this area. It was obvious to all of us at the table that this was a divine appointment and consequently we received an invitation to come and spend time with Benson and his church in the Townships. Praise God!!! We were praying for a way into the townships and now we have an invitation. The Lord is good. We will be meeting with Benson this Sunday Feb. 22nd and also be driving to George to see the work being done with feeding the homeless there. There is plenty to be done in this area of the world for Jesus. Please keep us in your prayers as we step through the doors that God opens up for us.
I spent the first three days in Pretoria, South Africa resting after the long flight. The details of those days are detailed in my last post. You can read it here. As we prepared to move Josh, Mindy and the rest of the Mason family down to Mossel Bay we were praying that the Lord would give us a safe trip. Josh had rented a Toyota Avanza to drive down to Mossel Bay. However, Josh was concerned that it would not be big enough to carry Josh, Christian and I, along with all of the luggage. When we arrived at Avis they did not have the Avanza so they upgraded the vehical for free. We ended up driving away with a Chrysler Grand Voyager. It was also a diesel so we got fantastic gas milege.
When we loaded the vehicle it was the perfect size. All the luggage fit and we still had plenty of room to drive the 12 hours to Mossle Bay. The trip was very uneventful, just like we hoped it would be. Here are some pictures of the drive down.
The landscape was not what I thought South Africa would look like. I was thinking there would be savannah with large broom trees. I was hoping that I might spy a giraff or two. No such luck. Howerever I did see a couple monkeys and several thousand sheep. The landscape looked suprisingly like…Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Our route took us through a high mountain desert region called the Great Karoo. The temperatures reached 107 degrees that day. We stopped long enough to take one picture than we ran back to the van to stay cool.
Upon arrival in the Mossel Bay area the one thing I noticed was its beauty. Like many coastal cities it is very green. Colorful buildings littered the coast. Busy people scurried around tending to the tasks at hand. In pretoria I was a little concerned about safety but in Mossle Bay all my concerns seemed to fade away.
We drove up several steep streets to our destination, an apartment occupied by DeWald and Ginez Lourens. They are friends of Josh and Mindy’s from Harvest School in Pemba, Mozambique.
We exchanged the customary pleasantries then we ate dinner. After dinner the power went out (something very common in South Africa) so we went to sleep. The next morning we got cleaned up and headed to a local coffee shop overlooking the bay for breakfast and WiFi.
Josh researched rentals and made some calls while Christian and I talked and I acted like a tourist (taking pictures and commenting on the beauty of the place every few seconds). After all the calls were done we finished up breakfast and headed into a neighboring town called George to return the rental van. After returning the van we headed to the beach while we waited for a response to the inquiries about the rentals. Josh and I began to discuss how we felt God wanted to use us in Mossel Bay. While we were talking we looked over and saw this.
God’s timing is perfect and God is definatly doing a great job of getting my attention.
While we were at the beach we got a call from an real estate agent stating that she had a home for us to look at. So we made our way to the house. Upon arrival it was clear that the place was not going to be child friendly. So we retired to the Lourens residence. I am currently sitting at the table typing this blog post as the awesome smell of dinner drifts through the apartment. DeWald and Ginez are taking great care of us.
Stay Tuned More posts to come!!!
After I said my goodbyes at the airport and checked my suitcase I made my way to the gate headed for Seattle. While waiting there the Lord highlighted a woman to me. She looked very solemn. I prayed silently for her as we began boarding the plane. She sat across the isle from me and one row up. When we landed in Seattle I made my way to the gate headed for Dubai to check in. That woman was standing was standing in the line in front of me. She looked back at me so I made some small talk while waiting to talk to the ticket agent. Her name was Anna Maria. She was originally from Romania but lives in Dubai. Anna Maria told me that she was visiting her husband who lives in Boise and works at Micron. After checking in with the ticket agent we had two hours to visit before the flight departed so we grabbed a bottle of water and visited. Our talk revolved around religion. Anna was not religious but her husband was. She had read the Korean and the Bible and was confused. I shared with her about Jesus and how he was alive. I shared some of my personal testimony. At the end she came to the conclusion that you have to accept Jesus as a matter of faith. She didn’t make as commitment at that time but seeds were definitely watered.
When I boarded the plane I was amazed at the hospitality. Here is a couple picturea of the plane.
the flight to Dubai was a long 14 hours. I wasn’t able to sleep on the plane but I did keep myself busy watching several movies that were available on the in flight entertainment system. One of the coolest things they had on the plane was fibre optic lights in the ceiling. When the cabin lights were dimmed they resembled stars. When I arrived in Dubai I had time to talk with my wife Bree and let her know I was “still alive”. An hour later I boarded the 8 hour flight to Johannesburg. I sat down next to a young man from Malawi named Cali. He was visiting some friends in Portland and was on his way back to plant a church in his hometown. I shared some of my experiences from my years on staff at Cloverdale Church of God. He was very grateful. We exchanged email addresses and then we feel asleep.
Upon landing in Johannesburg I made my way through customs and found my baggage. Josh was waiting for me and after a hug and a quick picture.
we made our way back to the house. I was very tired but I decided to stay awake because it was early in the day. I was told that it would be better to stay awake and go to bed at night in order to minimize jet lag. So we spent the day running errands and catching up. Here is a picture of all of us in the car preparing to run errands.
One of the errands included a stop at the footprints Orphanage where the Mason family served for a short time.
at the end of the day I was exhausted. As Josh was driving home I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I barely remember crawling into bed. I can tell you that I don’t think I moved the whole night.
The next morning after breakfast I was able to help fix the pool at the ministry house.
my time at Twin Dolphin pool and spa learning some skills came in real handy. (Thanks Don).
The next couple days will be spent here in Pretoria rehashing and preparing for the move to Mossel Bay. It is a 14 hour drive. Please keep Josh, Christian and I in your prayers as we drive down this Sunday. Mindy and the rest of the children will fly down the following Wednesday. While we are there we will be looking for apartments and making Connections with the locals. I am looking forward to the road trip. I will post again in a couple days so stay tuned.
February 3rd I will be embarking on a month long adventure to south Africa. I will be spending some time with my good friends Josh and Mindy Mason and their terrific family. I am excited for the divine appointments that I know the Lord has set up for me to walk into it. Please keep me and my family in prayer as they will be at home tending to the usual business. I will be posting pictures and articles throughout my stay in South Africa. Please subscribe to my blog to get updates or follow me on Facebook.
I think it is human nature for people to think that life has destination. People think, “if only I get that big promotion everything with be great…then I will be happy.” When in reality most people that aren’t happy right now won’t be happy when they get what they want. Often when we reach our “destination” we find a new set of challenges. So we create another goal or destination and say the same thing, “if only I could…… I would be happy”. With this mentality you never really reach the happiness you are looking for. Life is a journey. At each turn and bend of the journey there are new experiences and challenges. Choose to be happy now…in this moment. When you do you will find that no matter what challenge comes you will be in the right frame of mind to handle it.