Amazing

by admin on September 22, 2011

The past few weeks we have seen incredible things! My prayers have turned to sounding like:

God, you are the God of miracles. You parted the waters for Moses, Joshua, Elijah and Elisha. You made an axe head float in a river. You empowered a boy to kill a giant, lions to become tame, you healed every disease and you defeated death. There has never been a hint of a scratch on your battle armor. You are the victorious one. Nothing can stand against the power of your name!

My faith has come to a new level, I pray yours has now too. Our God is a God of miracles, prepare yourself because I’m now going to testify to two.

Me with Maxwell in a hair salon.

First, a few weeks back I spoke of a man named Maxwell who had been cursed by the witch doctor and hasn’t been able to walk for seven years. His leg muscles have shrunk to nothing because of the lack of use. I spoke to him of confronting the demonic in prayer and breaking the chains this witch doctor had on his legs. Isaac and I prayed for him. Two weeks ago we were having a Barbecue to celebrate all the Lord had done and who came walking down the street… did you get that? WALKING down the street to the barbecue? That’s right, Maxwell. Since our prayer time, he decided to seek God again, so he attended a local church service. There the Lord showed him that he was more convinced of the power the witch doctor had than he was of the Lord and the Lord’s ability to heal and protect him from any curse. In that moment Maxwell’s life was changed. He asked God’s forgiveness through many tears and he felt the witch doctor’s power break off of him. He then knew he could walk, so he stood to his feet and praised the Lord. I’ve been watching his muscles come back to full strength over the past few weeks. It is miracle nothing short of biblical proportions and yet, it’s starting to happen daily here!

Some of the children in the wetlands of Masi

Okay, why we were having the celebratory barbecue in the first place?

When we first got here mid-May, I had asked a young man who lives in Masi, who is the worst man in the township? Who–if he turned to Jesus, the whole township would know and revival would come–so that we can pray for him. His answer was: a man named Smalls, the purveyor of drugs and prostitution here. So, just like many before us, we prayed. In mid-July we were walking past Smalls house (everybody knows Smalls house) and the Lord interrupted a man on our team, Isaac, with the thought: “We should ask him if we can rent his house”. Everyone had a good laugh and then got quiet, staring at him in anticipation. Stirred with faith, two young ladies on our team boldly went and knocked on the door. A rugged looking soul answered the door and Isaac asked to speak to Smalls. The man immediately called Smalls on his cell phone and within seconds, Isaac was asking him if we could rent his house. We were told to call back the next day. So again, we prayed and the Lord caused this man to move all of his belongings out of his house and rent it to our team. We signed the lease on the 28th of July and members of our team moved in August 1st!

The Masi House

This move caused a shockwave throughout Masi. I met with a Pastor and his wife who live and minister in Masi last week to invite them to the barbecue. They were surprised that I was part of the group of white people who lived in Smalls house and wanted to know the story. Before I told them, the wife shared with me that in a prayer meeting against the drugs in Masi they had seen a major breaking around the 28th of July!

Within days of our team moving in, everybody knew there were white people not only living in Masi but living in “Smalls House” (Don’t worry grandparents, the children have not been staying there). A week into our team having the headquarters in Masi, the Lord began to show us a new hope for the coming months, we felt the word come that we would see 100 salvations in the next two months. As we discipled these 100 they would multiply by 10 so that within one year of being in this house, there would be 1,000 radically transformed, discipled and trained up christian leaders in Masiphumelele. The Lord is so gracious that He confirmed the word by releasing the first 10 souls within 5 days. We went from seeing no salvations for months to seeing 10 in 5 days. Those 10 are now bringing their friends daily to our Bible study that is being held in the Masi house and we have at this point seen 8 more and many, many others who hungrily seeking to know Jesus.

So we celebrate. We are looking to the future with hope and expectation. Our God is a God of miracles. Despite the scariness of what the news agencies say, God is still in a good mood!

The Wetlands of Masi - a large majority of our friends live here

 

Next steps for our family

A lot of people have been asking us what our current needs are, where are we at financially, etc. You can always see how close we are to meeting our budget here at this page:http://thereadfamily.com/partners/

While seeing the extreme poverty in Masi on a daily basis and all of the injustices that go along with that, it is difficult for us to ask for financial help. That being said, we are still in need of a large enough vehicle for the six of us. We have also been purchasing homeschool curriculum for the kids and are in need of some winter clothes for the growing children (extreme growth spurts, it’s crazy!) and finally, Josh has been planning a trip to Chicago in October and was recently approached with an opportunity to go to Tokyo for a few days and visit the YWAM base there. All said and done, that is around ten thousand dollars that we do not have. We know God is a God of miracles and so we are fully believing He will provide. If you feel that He is laying it on your heart to give, we are still in need of monthly partners which you can sign up for here: http://thereadfamily.com/partners/ . If you want to give specifically to our current lump financial need, please reply back to this email and I will send you more information.

 

 

Night time in the Township

by admin on July 30, 2011

We had a barbecue for some friends we’ve made in the township. We’ve been doing this every friday night in celebration of what the Lord has done that week. Last night some of the women broke out in worship and I caught it on video.
Worship in Masiphumelele

In thy storehouse

by admin on July 24, 2011

There are riches in Thy storehouse
But my Lord we are so poor.
There is power in Thy storehouse,
But he cripple clothes our door.

There is wisdom in Thy storehouse,
But in ignorance we grope.
There’s revival in Thy storehouse,
But we’ve millions without hope.

There is freedom in Thy storehouse,
But thy people are so bound.
There is glory in Thy storehouse,
But it does not shine around.

There is love within Thy storehouse,
But thy people are so dry.
There’s compassion in Thy storehouse –
Then my Saviour, why, oh, why
Are Thy people stony-hearted
And our eyes so desert-dry?

– Leonard Ravenhill

I’ll rise and go!

by admin on July 17, 2011

I fled him when His grace pursued.
I did despite unto His name,
And delved me into sin so rude,
And therein forged my soul a chain.

When captive to my own desire,
When blue with guilt and unnamed shame,
His long arm reached into the mire
And plucked me out. Blest be His name!

Shall I leave others in their woe?
Shall I ignore their cries who sink?
Forbid it, Lord! I’ll rise and go
‘Twixt Thee and them a link!

Unwearied may I lift the load
Of those who stagger ‘neath sin’s spell.
Stab my poor heart with love’s strong goad
To battle the powers of earth and hell.

Earth’s little span is far too small
To barter for the Judgment Day
When powers and thrones and wealth and all
Forever shall have passed away.

Oh, Day of days, when I shall be
The cynosure of ten million eyes,
Oh, my Saviour say to me,
“Well done!” as my eternal prize.

When unsupported I shall stand
Before Thy. Blazing bema seat,
Give me, my Lord, to understand
I did the will of God complete.

– Leonard Ravenhill

Parenting

by admin on July 10, 2011

As the previous updates show, we are about to move into our permanent rental home. We are $650 USD short of moving in. We have been pinching and saving every penny we have and so on Saturday we felt the Lord saying to give the kids a fun day out. We took out $100 USD from an ATM to get some much needed groceries and diapers and felt like the rest was to go buy a cheap dinner at a mall and see the matinee of Cars 2. We were stoked, the kids were stoked.

We went to the mall and sat in the food court. I ordered the food and it was gonna take a couple of minutes so I went to buy the tickets to the movie and Rebecca ended up getting up from the table to get the food when it was ready. While she stepped away, someone walked by the table that the kids were sitting at and stole Rebecca’s purse. Obviously, the kids really were unaware of what to do.

Wow. So difficult. When we realized what had happened it was crushing to Bec and I. Literally all the money that we had left was taken from us as well as all that was in Rebecca’s purse. Anger began to rise up in Bec and I, Frustration, Bitterness, all those emotions, then we turned and looked at our kids. Fear was rising up in them, anxiety, the question of “what’s gonna happen to us” etc. We had a choice to make and recognized that this was a major parenting moment.

We talked about what must have been going through that persons mind and the injustice that they have had to live under to have made a choice like that. We discussed with the kids how that person doesn’t know that God is totally for them and wants to bless them. Then we chose to forgive the person as a family.

Rebecca and I felt that we were to still go to the movie with joy and excitement, etc. After the movie we sang and just encouraged the kids that the Lord is totally for us as a family and He is our provider, not a job, not anybody just simply the Lord. My phone made the “email” noise and I checked it to see that a close friend had just given us $15. We celebrated!

It was hard. It was honestly difficult to make the choice to rejoice in our [very minor] suffering but we did it. We woke up this morning filled with more joy and ultimately feeling like we had “passed the test” if you will. Praise the Lord. A friend of mine re-posted a blog about parenting this morning, it is amazing and very much something we are trying to do with our children. Please read The Parenting Blog.

How He loves us

by admin on July 8, 2011

A song that’s been impacting me a lot lately is by Misty Edwards and a line of it goes, “He knew what He was getting into when He called you.” God knew all the sin, all the heartbreaks He would experience, all the turning away from Him, He knew it all and He still calls us by name.

The other night we invited all of the young men we’ve met and have been pouring our lives into as a group. All in all, there were 5 guys from our team and 12 guys from Masi ranging from 14 – 24 years old. The Lord had led our group earlier in the week to invite the men over and discuss what purity looks like, not just sexual but spiritual purity too.

We had dinner and hung out and then sat down on the couch and started to have a conversation about purity. These 12 were the guys who are actually hungry for more of the Lord. They are the ones who when asked, say that yes they are christians, but, they are serving two masters. At one point, one guy asked me how I could have 4 kids – I’m so young, when did I get married. I said I got married at 22 years old. They all flipped out. In their culture, they would never get married that young, if even at all. They have an honor for marriage, biblical marriage. There is a fear of the Lord that you should not cheat on your wife, and so, they just don’t get married so they can have sex whenever and with whomever they want. I found out some horrifying details of the culture there in Masi that I don’t feel comfortable sharing on this newsletter. Needless to say, there is a complete lack of honor for women.

At one point I was so appalled that I stood up and simply pointed out in James how sin starts as a thought and goes down the line ultimately ending in death. I pointed out how Masi is a culture that cannot sustain itself, it has a crazy high rate of AIDS (statistics are over the board on this but the median is 74%). I also then pointed out how they are all fully aware that children are regularly raped and sexually abused in Masi and how that is part of this same sin pattern. Then I asked who in their guts was actually feeling convicted, just, did they have a sick feeling when I pointed these things out. One guy raised his hand.

We have realized there is much more prayer that needs to take place. Eyes are blind to sin. I have gone back to prayer and fasting, starting first with: “Lord, where are my blindspots?”

We know prayer moves the heavens. I taught on Thursday to a group about intercession and prayer. The group was so moved they went into an hour long time of repentance. As a community we are beginning to understand the authority we carry as followers of Jesus and the effectiveness of our prayers when we have clean hearts (Psalm 24 and James 5:16). Note: Two books that have literally transformed my prayer life are: Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets and Rees Howells: Intercessor by Norman Grubb.

Other News

The picture above is when I went to pray for a sick woman with a friend. I stopped and snapped a photo of the bathroom since we were in the “nice” part of Masi. The normal “lot” in Masi will have one home that the government built and then 10 – 15 sometimes more shacks that are built on the lot that the homeowner rents out. Usually there is one bathroom for all of the shacks and it mainly consists of a hole in the ground. This is the first bathroom I had seen that had a toilet and a shower (basically a hose glued to the wall and ceiling).

Sickness has been going through the community pretty bad. A winter virus (it is winter in the southern hemisphere right now, I have to keep reminding my parents) has gone through almost all 24 people in our community now. It knocks you down and bed-ridden for three days. It is on it’s last two people now so we’re praying it doesn’t come back again.

Our family is moving into the permanent rental home very soon. Rebecca is thrilled as we have been somewhat nomadic after having sold our home and everything we own to become missionaries. That being said, we feel as though we will be planting some long-term roots here. We have three year Visas and believe we will be here for the entirety of them.

Rebecca and I have been asked to speak at a conference in Spain in November and we are very excited and intimidated. It is a conference of 300 leaders from a missional organization geared toward reaching families in Europe.

The kids are doing well. Rebecca and I are very encouraged. We do get homesick every now and then and are looking forward to having internet so that we can skype all of you. Our skype name is – ainsworthstudio – please contact us anytime you see us on, we would love to talk and or pray with you.

We still need committed monthly support, please pray with us as we are coming up short every month, you can see where we are at here: http://thereadfamily.com/partners/. We know God is faithful and have seen miraculous provision every time we’ve been short. I also want to remind you, He is faithful. He does not set you up for failure. God is Love.

Catching Up – Post Four

by admin on June 22, 2011

Just to let you all know, we have been in a temporary house – it’s beautiful but only there until we can get in the house we will be renting long-term. It also has no internet at the temporary house which is why we haven’t been available online.

We are moving into our permanent house on July 8th. It has internet and we will be available much more often then. We will be posting regularly as well.

Please pray for provision for us. We need a lot of money for a first and last month’s rent as well as a security deposit. We also need money to furnish a house with a couch, beds, etc. We also need a family vehicle. So, in short, we are in need of around $8,000 USD to start our new life here.

Catching Up – Post Three

by admin on June 22, 2011

We have been learning a lot about honor over the past few years. It’s such a big deal in the kingdom of God and yet not really talked about in christian circles. There is though, an amazing book called “Honor’s Reward” by John Bevere that I highly recommend.

But, my thoughts are not complete on honor so that is for another post. We are still in constant prayer over how to effectively minister in Masiphumelele. we have good friends who lived in Tacoma about 5 years ago. They moved there due to some danger they were in. They had grown up and lived in a township in Cape Town called Gugulethu which is much more violent. He had been a leader of a gang and had been radically met by the Lord. He surrendered all to our precious Savior and therefore found himself, his wife and his children in extreme danger of losing their lives. So, through some connections he found himself on a plane to the other side of the world where he moved a block away from Rebecca and I. We now live a few miles from them. He is now ministering in the township he left. He’s been beaten three times, threatened a number more and has led to the Lord and discipled more young men than I can possibly imagine. Unfortunately about 80% of those young men have been murdered within months of their salvation. (Note: to those family members who are panicking, I am talking about a township that we don’t work in and are not near. I have been there with my friend and we prayed the entire time but I promise you I will not take the children there.)

We had this man and his wife over to our house the other day (below is a picture of Mhinti showing Rebecca how to carry a baby “African” style) and discussed how would he work in Masi. He will be meeting with our whole team this week to tell us more. We are praying for discernment that we will be able to see the wisdom of God and an effective move that will turn the tide of fear and destruction in this township.

We also have met with the leader of the coalition of all the Non-Profit’s that work in Masiphumelele. she has been working in this township for 24 years. Back when it was 300 people in a field behind the mall. Now it’s estimated at 40,000. We asked her what she saw people doing that was harmful, where the loopholes were, where the gaps were, etc. It was a great meeting and we will be definitely working and serving those groups as best as we can.

Rebecca and I have gotten the chance to sit with some real heros lately. It’s been an honor to say the least. But, it’s been sad. These folks are incredible. They’ve been running so hard, doing so much, having some effect only to get shoved down by the enemy very quickly. We’ve been able to hear their stories and then simply love and encourage them. When we first arrived here, we felt the Lord showing us a picture of what our house would represent, it was of a hospital/spa with a sniper on top speaking to this sitting and restoring and pampering and blessing but also laser like intercession. Pray for us, our hearts are breaking more and more every day, not only for those in the community but those serving the community. We also are in a spiritual battle in intercession, one that is costly to our physical bodies, one that has only just begun.

I met with a man on Friday night in the township. My friend Isaac, his wife Deby and I went into the wetlands area (the worst area that is basically a cesspool which floods regularly during the rainy season that we are just entering into). His name is Maxwell. Isaac and I will be meeting with him regularly to pray for his healing. You see, Maxwell had some money. In township terms that means he probably had a thousand dollars. The Sangoma’s, or which doctors, got jealous of Maxwell so, they put a curse on him. They followed him home one night and when he stepped in some mud, he left some footprints. The Sangoma’s mixed up some powder and put it into those footprints and suddenly Maxwell’s legs didn’t work anymore. We are talking spiritual battle here. Then, the Sangoma said, now that i’ve got your attention, start paying me monthly or I will kill you. Maxwell recently received the Lord and does believe for his healing. He knows the Sangoma are basically holding him captive in his house. I know the blood of Christ not only cleanses us from all sin but it heals all our diseases. It’s also far more powerful than some witch doctor and the demonic forces behind that power. I do know this, Isaac and I are in for a battle, we are about to stir a big ‘ol hornets nest up and Rebecca and I are asking you to pray for us. We need you to be praying protection over our kids and our house and our finances, etc. Let’s do some work and take back some territory that the enemy has stolen from our brother in Christ!

 

Catching Up – Post Two

by admin on June 21, 2011

Since coming to SA I’ve been drawn to fasting on several occasions. The reality of poverty, not just physical but spiritual poverty, is so apparent that I am daily faced with my inadequacies. In myself I can do nothing, but with Christ all things are possible.

We are here as a community. We moved here to live intentionally with two other families and several single adults. I am crying to God for revelation, reading books regarding lives sold out for the Lord, testimonies of missionaries moving in the power and love of Christ, etc. It’s caused me to be so hungry for Christ to be glorified. I have been asking the Lord how does a community live in daily glorifying your name. What does that look like? To do anything of our own is pointless, literally I see it as a waste of time. It will get nowhere, you can see it in all of the failed or failing organizations that have come and gone in Masiphumelele already. We should not be leaving our houses without the compassion and love of our savior in our hearts and the power of the living God in our hands. So how do you become so broken that you cry out like John the Baptist: More of you and less of me! How do you become so ruined that like Paul you profess: I have been crucified in Christ and it’s not me who lives in this body anymore but it is literally the spirit of Christ! What kind of atmosphere stirs up this brokenness? A community who is in this mindset is usually referred to as revival.

As I’ve been sitting before the Lord asking him about the atmosphere of brokenness, one thing so far has come to mind: repentance is where it begins, but there is more. Then last night, the more came. I was reminded during prayer of reading the story of Evan Roberts and the Welsh Revival. He was asking basically the same questions as a Bible Student in the beginning of the 20th century. The Lord gave him four points and as he would speak them out, people would fall to the ground under conviction of their sins against a perfect God. The points were this:

  1. Confess all known sin
  2. Remove all lifestyle choices of questionable doubt (movies, books, etc.)
  3. Obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting instantly
  4. Profess Jesus Christ as Savior publicly

The Valley where we live

by admin on June 21, 2011

Noordhoek Valley – about 45 minutes south of Cape Town South Africa.