Aug

20

Guest Blogger: Jill Marshall

I’m an early riser. I set my alarm for 4:45am but am often awake even before that. I like to get up early so I can spend time with the Lord, workout and walk Zoe all before going to work. I love my morning routine even when I hate it. It has become my thing.

One of the challenges, however, is that Zoe insists on protecting the world from squirrels and raccoons, even at 4:45am. That’s her thing.

One morning I was praying and journaling about some things that weighed heavily on my heart. The Lord was encouraging me to see the best in everyone including myself, and to see the best in every situation rather than worrying about things outside of my control. Basically, to see people and circumstances through His eyes.

So I was feeling all encouraged and spiritual…until Zoe started barking, running back and forth, jumping up my back wall, and trampling all my flowers trying to catch a raccoon. I was ticked! And I was sure my neighbors were about to be as well. Zoe was in big trouble!

Then I paused. What did the Lord just speak to me? See the best in everyone? Did that mean my dog as well? Because she was just doing what dogs do. What she thought was right. Protecting her mamma. And that raccoon was 25ft in the air, in a tree behind the 6ft wall of my yard. Yet she barked and jumped as if she could actually reach him. It never even occurred to her that she couldn’t. I wish I had that same determination, perseverance and hope.

Did the Lord just school me using my dog?

I don’t want to over-spiritualize this. I still grabbed Zoe and pulled her into the house. Barking at 5am is a big no-no. But I love how God used her to reinforce his lesson to see the best, assume the best and to step out in faith trusting that he’s in control. He also reminded me of how quickly the enemy tries to snatch away truth through annoyances, distractions and challenges, and for that we must remain alert and guard our hearts.

May we all learn to snatch God’s truth right back with the same determination, perseverance and hope of Zoe girl.

Ps. In this picture Zoe went after a skunk rather than a raccoon. In the battle of Dog v. Skunk there are only losers. But you can’t blame a girl for trying.

At Ignite we purpose to see the best and call it out of leaders of all ages. For ways you can help, please follow this link.

Aug

15

Guest Blogger: Jill Marshall

“You complete me.” Whose heart didn’t just melt when Jerry Maguire dug deep into his soul and poured out these words to Dorothy, played by Renee Zellweger? And what woman (or man if he’s willing to admit) doesn’t long for the exact same thing?

To be complete. To feel complete. For someone or something to complete them.

I know I do.

In Colossians 1:28, Paul’s goal is to proclaim and teach the gospel so that everyone may be presented complete in Christ. Colossians 2:10 says that we are complete in Christ. Some translations use the word perfect.

So often I focus on the things that I’m lacking or have lost along the way. My flaws and scars. My fading beauty and energy. Goals not yet accomplished. Dreams deferred or destroyed altogether.

Then I try to rally by cultivating gratitude and “counting my blessings.” By focusing on what I do have rather than what I don’t. That works for about a minute, then it floats away and I’m back to beating myself up. This time with “ungrateful” added to my list of flaws. Ugh! Have you ever done this, or am I the only one?

What do the things I’m grateful for and the things that I lack have in common? They are things! Separate from me and even contradictory to who God says I am. They neither make me complete nor detract from being complete because they have nothing to do with it.

The truth is that I already am complete. With or without my 20-year old body. With or without a spouse or full bank account. With or without accomplishments, accolades or promotions. With or without Instagram followers or 1000 Facebook friends.

The truth is that I am complete. Because my Father, my Creator, my Lord and Savior says that I am.

And if you’ve surrendered your life to Christ, you are too!

Lord, you complete me. Thank you that I am complete because you are complete, and you are in me. Help this truth sink deep into my soul. And may it fuel joy, gratitude, confidence and power in my life. Amen.

Pastors, leaders and youth need to know they are complete in Christ, and in Christ alone. If you can help us reach them with this truth, please click here.

Mar

7

Ignite South Africa is operating in enemy territory.

On a daily basis our coaches are confronted with shocking stories. Cases that include child abuse, molestation, rape, negligence, and violence. In fact, a large percentage of our students, grades 7-9, have already experienced some or all of these atrocious injustices.

The 2017 crime stats feature Phuthaditjhaba (Qwa Qwa) in the Worst 10 Precints in 2017 in terms of sexual assault, rape, and sexual offenses. (Crime Stats SA)  These statistics are based on crimes reported at police stations. What is tragic is that in Qwa Qwa these crimes are so familiar that most of them go unreported. Imagine growing up thinking sexual molestation is a way of life.

That sexual assault is acceptable.
This is how the enemy operates.

He comes to steal our innocence, kill our hope, and destroy our life.

Recently a 15 year old student from one of our schools opened up to a coach. She shared that she ran away from home and slept on the streets for 2 days. This was done to escape  an abusive stepfather who attempted to rape her and tried to kill her mother. She and her mother finally went to stay at her grandmother’s house, ending up in yet another abusive situation.

The living conditions at her grandmother`s are marred by poverty, violence, and alcohol abuse. When she requested basic necessities, her mother instructed her to prostitute herself so she could buy them.  She is currently staying with a friend.

Another 13 year old also faces physical abuse in the home. Her response was to find a boyfriend. This boyfriend tried convincing her to participate in a satanic cult and sacrifices. He told her blatantly he worships Lucifer, and even took her to the mountain at midnight where they have their gatherings.

Though she is 13 years old, this boyfriend is trying to convince her to fall pregnant and have a child with him. This life she lives has led her to being suicidal.

We are grateful that this young girl felt safe and able to share her story with us.
Praise God that we were at this school, at this time able to share His love, bringing hope, help and guidance.

These stories are from one class, in one school, on one day.

This is the type of stories our coaches come across on a daily basis.
It is the work that Ignite South Africa is involved in.

In addition to teaching, our coaches meet with students one on one to provide support and refer to organizations, or the authorities, respectively.

One can only imagine how many others are dealing with similar and/or worse cases. How many young people are questioning their existence, have become dispondent or suicidal because of the condition they find themselves.

This year we plan to reach 22 schools and all the students within. While we are grateful for this, our hearts break for those whom we are not able to reach due to financial limitations. Our reach is not even 10 percent of the number of schools in Qwa Qwa. Yet, we refuse to let the enemy win.

You can help!

A gift of as little as $10/month will help expand our reach and counter the works of the enemy.  Use these links to request more information or partner with us today!

Mar

6

Correct Interpretation of the Bible is Possible!

Ensuring correct interpretation of the Bible is what our Hermeneutics class is all about.  Learning how to do that consistently certainly requires Bible reading and listening to the Holy Spirit. However, understanding the genre, original language, history, culture and even the audience it was intended brings additional insight.

According to social psychology, people interpret situations based on their own experiences. While this may be acceptable in life, it is very dangerous when it comes to the Word of God. Imagine if every leader was to interpret the Bible based on their personal experiences!

We have heard of preachers who minister based on misinterpretation and seen how it can lead congregations astray. As this is one of the greatest fears as a Pastor, we chose to include this course in our curriculum. 

Additionally, the Hermeneutics course plays an important role in achieving our mission to model and equip godly leaders.  In providing resources and teaching participants to use various study methods and resources, they glean a deeper, more accurate understanding of God’s Word.  

Follow this link to read  testimonies from the leaders who completed the course last year. We look forward to even greater reviews as we continue to multiply Godly leaders in South Africa.

If you are passionate about ensuring that the Word of God is interpreted as intended,  you can be a part of this mission by providing resources or funding . please contact us to get details.

 

 

 

Feb

27

We finally did it!

Our first Hope mobile pregnancy clinic  was held on the 15th and 16th of February.  We have been particularly excited about this initiative because of our holistic approach.

While the Hope Clinic offers free pregnancy counseling and testing, it has two standout features that are unusual.  The first is our ability to offer limited sonograms on site.  We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity this provides and joy it brings to new parents.

The second is our classes. 

Health education classes are rare to nonexistent in the area of pregnancy, childbirth or parenting especially in rural areas.

As a culture it is often thought that these issues are too personal or private to discuss. In addition, so many are without a mother who might “hand down” birthing and child-care tips. Amanda also points out that in most African cultures you are not taught how to parent or deal with parental issues, you learn as you go.

While the public clinics would like to do more education and prevention, it is simply not possible because of the sheer number of people needing help and time limitations.  

Therefore, to augment the work already being done, we developed curricula to meet these needs in our pregnancy/childbirth and parenting classes.

As the Hope Clinic, our focus is holistic and designed to ensure we have time  for these additional essentials.
Therein lies our excitement…

 

 

Update: We discovered an additional level of approval with the Health Department was required for testing.  Therefore, our Hope Clinic only provided classes to those attending as we await final approval. Please join us in praying that approval is expedited and available by March 23, our next scheduled clinic date.

 

Feb

19

Our Flashpoint program is a needed help for many schools  

After an introductory school assembly last year, we received repeated invitations from the Principal to schedule our classes.  The primary reason was a concern about the emotional well-being of the students. She believes our program will help.

You see, this school is in a very remote area of Qwa Qwa with no form of recreational activities for the students.  In fact, due to their location and size, they shared that it is rare any organization visit them to offer support or services.

One of the teachers voiced concern as well, sharing a recent incident in which they found students engaged in sexual activities inside the school toilets.  One of the children is now pregnant.  

Though the toilets are now patrolled and teachers involved, they state they need more help.

This term we brought our classroom program there.

Our coaches confirmed that what the Principal feared was true for many. Upon introduction of curriculum and explanation that God has a purpose for their lives, students quickly disagreed.

Two students stated that they came to this world by mistake.

One said she is a product of teenage pregnancy (and was named in regards to that mistake).
The second shared that she was raped by her stepfather, and because of that believes her life is also a mistake.

It is these stories that make our work as Ignite South Africa crucial.


Data and testimonies reflect that 
through our program students lives are impacted by truth and changed forever.
That s
tudents begin to understand God has a purpose for them regardless of the past.

We have personally witnessed the lives of students (and families) in previous schools altered forever by HOPE.

Because of that, we look forward to witness the transformation in the lives of students here as we teach in grades 7-9: Living on Purpose, Save Sex, and Break The Silence. 

We can only do this with your prayer support and financial backing.
To join us in reaching this school, and many others, pray about becoming a financial partner.  

* Sponsor one class per month for $45/month
* Sponsor one coach teaching in one school for $85
* Sponsor a whole school for $300 – $550 (cost varies on school size and number of coaches teaching)

To specify your giving as noted above, just leave a comment in the donor form linked above.

Feb

13

Let the whole world know what God has done…

The strike has ended with surprising speed. Reports indicate that Vusi Tshabalala has stepped down as Mayor over Maluti a Phofung district.

Today, schools are back in session.  Word is that we will be able to resume our Flashpoint classes tomorrow.  What an answer to prayer!

We also plan to move forward with the Mobile Pregnancy Clinics in both Mmakwane and Qholaqhwe on Thursday, Friday respectively. Please pray that word gets out and that people respond and take advantage of the classes and services we are offering.

We ask for continued prayer for our district, and the country, as there will be many changes in leadership on all levels over the coming weeks.

Thank you for your partnering with us, prayer absolutely changes things!

Feb

12

Today is the second week of a bit of unrest here in South Africa.

Last week Tuesday the strike started with roads being blocked, schools closed, and shops locked. We had hoped the end was near however just discovered today that it is continuing indefinitely.
We could use your prayer support…

The reason for the strike is multi-faceted but the request is that the Mayor V. Tshabalala step down.

He has been accused of many things including misappropriation of funds which has led to services having slowed or stopped in many areas.  Additionally,  residents in Qwa Qwa find themselves without essentials such as water and electricity.

The situation is desperate and word is that schools, nor work, will be resumed until he steps out of office. Which to date, he has refused to do.

In addition, at this moment a committee is in session to determine whether President Zuma will be asked to step down. If he refuses again (he has twice so far) the matter will then go to Parliament.

In all of this uncertainty I can assure you we are safe.

We are taking precautions. Which means our Flashpoint classes, Workshops, Life meetings and ministry events have been put on hold temporarily until life settles.

We pray that will be this very week. Will you join us?

Feb

5

 

Imagine this…

as a child of 11 or 12 years you are playing with friends when one notices that there is blood on your pants.  Home you run feeling confident that you are now dying. You stop before your mom who quietly states, “you are a woman now. Do not sleep with boys or you will be pregnant. Go and clean yourself up and use this cloth to protect your pants.”

That’s it. That’s all you get.

No explanation at all about what is happening in your body.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-often occurrence for many girls within the villages of Qwa Qwa. Culturally parents do not discuss body changes feeling it far too personal. This leaves many youth alone when trying to understand, and care for, their body.

A principal in one of our schools identified that as a problem for his youth and asked we talk to the boys and girls separately prior to beginning our formal classes.

Our first class we did just that- divide the boys and girls. Our coaches talked about puberty including body changes and personal care for both males and females.

Due to a donation of reusable panty protection packs from Listowel Baptist Church in Canada, we were able to explain proper care and provide the means to over 50 girls.

In addition, we took that time to talk about sexual abuse, molestation, and respect toward the opposite sex. With National statistics reflecting 1 in 3 youth in SA have been sexually molested/raped we knew it was something we needed to discuss.

Once again, thank you to all our partners who make our work possible and practical!

Follow the links to see more photos from the day, learn more about Flashpoint, or become a partner.

 

Jan

29

It’s a new school year in South Africa and just like in the states, it brings with it a sense of  anticipation. The children await class dressed in their school uniforms exuding hope for a successful year.

It is an exciting time for all involved, including me.

Today I join our Flashpoint team to deliver our books and take photos on this first week of classes.  In the schools I see the joy experienced as the kids receive their book and hear about the topics to be discussed. It reminds me of “the whys”…

Why I live overseas, away from family.
Why we spend months developing our coaches to go into the schools.
Why we invite new schools to join our classes.
Why we invest money in preparation, curriculum, education, and ministry to the youth.

South Africa’s next generation leaders.

This first quarter Flashpoint will be in 7 schools teaching approximately 1,175 students grades 7-9. In addition, they will work with students one on one when requested and hold assemblies in schools not currently teaching. Follow this link to enjoy a few photos from the schools we were at today.

We invite you to partner with us in prayer:

  • our Coaches model Christ and lead by example.
  • youth will see and seek Truth over beliefs and expectations
  • recognize every choice made will determine their tomorrow, their future.
  • see the Coach as a safe refuge and are able to talk freely

To join us as a financial partner and impact this next generation, follow this link