I have returned from my God-led mission to Cape Town South Africa! It was truly an awesome, eye-opening, emotional, blessed, hard, and amazing experience and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity!
I’m in awe that God chose me…My eyes saw a lot, my heart felt a lot, my hands touched a lot and I’m still processing…
I will be sharing some of my experiences from the trip over the next couple of weeks, so please stay tuned for more.
We partnered with a ministry called Orchard Africa – http://new.orchardafrica.org/ (I’ll talk about them in depth later because they were truly some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met). We had the great task of creating and teaching a business and computer course for adults in Khayelitsha (the largest shantytown in Cape Town). The average adult there supports 13 other people and there are not enough jobs to go around. So in an effort to help develop the people we were asked to create a business and computer course that would help reinforce God’s design for work, while also providing valuable training on positive self-perception, a great attitude, resume development, interview prep, overcoming work barriers as well as job creation through small business training.
Below I included a link to my presentation on “Strengths” during the Business and Computer training – click image below:
It was really humbling on the first day of training when we learned that many of the students didn’t know what a mouse was, let alone how to use one. Yet, we worked through it together with one-on-one attention and when each student’s pastor presented them the certificate of completion on the last day of training, each received it with pride – it truly warmed my heart and naturally I shed some tears! Students left with printed resumes/CVs, an email address, basic computer knowledge and more! And not only did they leave with the tools needed to help get a job, but some completed job applications, others left with websites and another had business cards made! But I think one of the most important takeaways was leaving with a renewed sense of pride in who they are, what they’ve accomplished and their dreams that they will pursue.
God united me with Unathi as my student for the week. Throughout the week she was kind of quiet but as we worked through creating her resume/CV, I slowly learned more about her and her accomplishments. We tailored her resume/CV after her dream of being an ambulance assistant and we used the adjectives she identified on her strengths worksheet: Caring, supportive and adaptable.
On the last day as I showed her how to print and she printed her very own resume/CV and she had it in her hands!! We worked through some sample interview questions, but I noticed she was kind of fumbling through and not using the great things we talked through when making the resume. So I put down the sample questions and asked the question The Lord had put it on my heart for me just a couple hours earlier:
What do you love about yourself?
I ripped out a piece of paper in my journal for both of us and told her I was going to answer for myself while she did hers. After like a minute, I noticed her pen wasn’t moving. So I asked if she was done, but she just shrugged. I put my pen down and gently asked if she wouldn’t mind sharing what she wrote. She said “I can’t think of anything.” I was really surprised by that because of all the great things she mentioned she’d done before that. So I began to bullet on her paper all the things she had mentioned just that week. I wrote down how I admired her beauty and strength and she just looked at me in amazement and kept saying “no, not me.” It was then that we sparked up one of the most meaningful conversations I had the whole trip.
She told me she couldn’t think of anything she liked about herself because she didn’t really like herself. She mentioned how a lot of times she felt she couldn’t act like herself; She constantly hid true feelings and emotions because she feared others’ thoughts of her and didn’t want anyone to judge or laugh at her. She said “I don’t know who I am because I’m never myself and when I don’t have a job I just go to church and home because I like to be by myself.”
My eyes watered because there was so much truth in her words that I identified with and I confessed to her that I often felt “locked within myself.” She agreed that she felt the same way a lot of times. She told me that in her head she can see herself doing many things, but in reality it’s just not the same and doesn’t seem possible.
So I shared with her some of the things that I’d learned over the last year about myself and affirmed them for her too. I told her that she is loved; she is beautiful; she is able to be all the things she’s dreamed and take care of all the responsibilities placed on her path, but that it starts with her. I told her about my journey to love myself when she mentioned that a lot of times she just sends her son to her mother because she feels she has nothing to give him. We talked about the importance of taking care of ourselves and loving ourselves so we can render it to others (i.e. her son).
I really appreciated the authenticity of our conversation because we were able to enlighten one another. We are so similar and it’s nice to know you’re not the only one. We often need others more than we realize – whether it’s just for a conversation, a compliment, a relationship, a lifetime, or whatever, we need each other. I am so glad our paths crossed. She may live more than 8,000 miles away, but I think of her and pray for her often. ❤