Thursday, February 28, 2008

Prayer Letter, blog edition...

I’m going back to South Africa! Last year, my apprenticeship with NieuCommunities was an amazing journey of discovering how God has uniquely gifted me and exploring my calling and future ministry. Since returning home, I have taken time to discern what might be next, and God has reaffirmed that NieuCommunities South Africa is what he would have me pursue for the next season of my life. I’ve been invited to join NCSA staff, and there are still details to be settled, but I’m moving forward in faith!

NieuCommunities is part of Church Resource Ministries, which develops leaders to strengthen the church worldwide, in fulfillment of their mission: “To make God’s name renowned among the nations.” NieuCommunities develops young leaders through a ten-month program, inviting apprentices to come alongside staff to learn and do life & mission together.

Last year, in my learning with NC and the ministries I pursued, God began to call my attention to two threads that had been woven into my life for some time. The first thread—my gifting in shepherding—emerged as I saw how God has enabled me to disciple others in friendships, small groups, and ministry relationships. As I built friendships with the women in “Granny’s family,” I began to better identify this gift in myself and see my heart for helping others grow closer to God. The second thread—my interest in the arts—emerged from a writing project with fellow apprentice Sarah, telling the stories of women we befriended in Soshanguve and downtown Pretoria. It was this that helped me respond to God’s call to integrate my interests and passions with my ministry.

Understanding that God can—and desires to—use my gifts, abilities, and my interests resonated in my heart. Toward the end of the year, I wrote a vision statement that has come to encapsulate the dreams God has given me for my future life and ministry. I feel God calling me to grow in shepherding, and to pursue a new vision in ministry: of drawing people into a deeper relationship with Him through their experience of the arts. As I explored this calling—what it might look like, and where I could best live it out—God drew me back to NieuCommunities, and my heart to South Africa. In April, I will return to Pretoria for at least two years: growing in mentoring apprentices, and pursuing a new ministry vision of arts-based discussion groups designed to connect people with God through fiction & film.

I am planning to return to South Africa on April 15—just two months from now! I hope to reach 100% of my support goal by March 31 (my birthday!). This goal breaks down into two categories:
• $2000 for transitional expenses (visa expenses, airfare, getting settled in Pretoria)
• $2200 monthly to cover my living and ministry expenses

May I encourage you to begin praying about your level of involvement? I am praying God will provide 12 people to give $100 per month, 10 to give $50 per month, 14 to give $25 per month, and 15 to give $10 per month. If you would like to contribute, please visit this link and search for me by last name.

Thank you for being part of my journey to seek God’s calling on my life and follow His leading into cross-cultural ministry. It is a blessing to have your faithful support, both financially and in prayer. I would love to talk more with you soon about your part in supporting me on this new journey!


David Seruyange said...

You're in my prayer Barbara.

Roger Saner said...

Yay, you're coming back! Whohoo!