I’ve been back from Cape Town for a little over a month, and being able to reflect back on the trip, I see more and more of what God really did and revealed to me through being there. I wish I could tell you a story about how I prayed for someone and instantly saw them healed, or about how I received a spot-on prophetic word for someone.
But I never had a single one of those moments... and that's OK.
For me, going to Cape Town was a lot about internal change. God made some things clear to me that I 'd never really taken time to consider before.
As Christians, I think we often don’t feel successful unless we see some miraculous change in our lives or have a huge “come to Jesus” moment. And while those things are important, I don’t believe they're necessary for change to occur.
Some of the smallest moments have changed my life in the biggest ways. It's so cool how God uses what resonates with a person to speak directly to his or her heart. For some people, a miraculous sign builds faith. For others, someone buying their lunch may be what it takes for them to know that God's love is real.
Our first day of ministry in Cape Town was spent at an daycare center. All of the children were sitting on the floor, and so, I sat down amongst them. As I did, a little girl named Cleo ran up to me and hugged me so tightly. It was just a hug... but for some reason, this moment spoke volumes to me about God.
This is exactly what God’s love looks like.
No preconceived notions. Really, your past is washed clean. He doesn’t care about what you’ve done or about how you’ve acted. He wants to love you and to bring you into His family.
That little girl, who has no idea what her hug meant to me, showed me a new level God's love. I want to show that kind of love to people for the rest of my life.
Another time I truly felt God’s love was during one of the nights at our team's house. The Yebo Life team came over and worshipped with us. One of the guys was giving words of knowledge, and he had one for me.
(I’m laughing now because that night, as we worshipped, I felt like someone was going to say something to me about singing... but I didn’t want them to. I’ve known that God wants me to be on my church’s worship team for a while now, but I’ve been fighting it. I’ve feared that I'm not good enough. I was letting the devil lie to me about what God was calling me to do.)
The guy, Shaun, turned to me and asked if I sang. Trying to brush it off and overlook what God had clearly been telling me, I said, "Not really." Shaun kept going and told me about how God wanted me to sing. He said God loves it when I worship Him.
He was so spot on. I'd been fighting those thoughts for so long, and God was probably thinking, “OK, what will it take to get Jessie to believe me?” And now, after receiving that word, I couldn’t deny or fight the call anymore.
When I got back home, I started going to worship practice and singing with our worship band. I love it. Being part of creating an opportunity for people to worship is one of the greatest joys I’ve experienced in life. I'm so thankful that Shaun was faithful in listening to God that evening. It's helped me fulfill another leg of my God-given journey.
I love how God uses different situations to speak to different people.
The last thing I’ll mention that stood out to me in South Africa was the people and their love. It was so encouraging to see my team members, the Yebo Life team, and their ministry partners working with God. I met some amazing people and made friendships that will forever be in my life. I was shown time and time again what God’s love looks like through other people.
Like at the Soup Kitchen, I was shown his love by Pastors Edwin and Angie, who have a huge heart for Lavender Hill and open up their home to give food to hundreds of people and children. Throughout the whole trip, I was shown how Tony pours love out to other people constantly. He was always encouraging us and telling us to step out and take risks for God. At Christian Assemblies, I was shown how much Pastor Gerald and Colleen show God’s love through their continual gratitude. They even came to the airport to say goodbye to us before we left Cape Town!
In the past, I’ve looked for grand moments that convey God’s love... but His love is really represented in little, everyday things. After seeing that love in action over and over again, all I want to do is mimic it. I want someone to see that in me. Going to Cape Town and working with Yebo life truly changed me.
And what I've just shared with you is only a fraction of what God did for me and our team.
Through Yebo Life, God was able to use us. They made it easy for us to make connections, to reach people, and to love others. What they do in places like Lavender Hill is amazing, and the change that's happening as a result is something I never want to miss out on. I cannot wait to go back and see what else God has in store!