The Rock ChurchThe Rock Church
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By way of life and culture, the act of celebration is reserved only for the most important of occasions: birthdays, weddings, great achievements. Often everyday life is more of a struggle than a celebration. And yet every now and then, we’re taken a little by surprise. About four and a half months ago I met six young people, who had given up a lot to come to South Africa and serve, six young woman who had sacrificed first-world comfort to live in a small township and volunteer their time to an almost forgotten community. But this sacrifice seemed easy for them, they were full of joy and life. Abi, Keziah, Hannah, Catherine, Emma, and Pippa have been serving the community of Amaoti for the entire time they have been here. Trading Tescos and Maltesars for early mornings and cold showers, they have poured themselves into the lives of orphaned children and disadvantaged schools where more than 40 kids crowd into a single classroom. These six ladies are in my life group, and when we visited their house in Phoenix recently for our weekly meeting (change of scenery often brings perspective) I was both challenged and encouraged. Sharing a two bedroom, one bathroom house with cold water and no TV is a far cry from the comfort they are used to, yet all over the house was the evidence of people so full of life, and of love for the kingdom, for Jesus, and for the people they have come to serve. Pictures and activities from the school children line the walls, as do scriptures from the girls’ daily devotions, prayers for girls that have been trafficked, and the reminders of things they had done whilst away from Amaoti on holiday. They have even taken turns celebrating each other with a ‘South African’ birthday where they allow that person to pick the activities for a day. My favourite thing in their house, a ‘#100daysofgratefulnessladder’, is stuck onto the wall as you walk in the door. This ladder counts down the last 137 days of their stay here, and has a myriad of things on it. The idea is to name one thing a day that they are grateful for. These things varied from lasagne, to the return of team members’ families, to new relationships, but each one important to the girls. This spoke to me so powerfully. These girls have given up everything, and yet they have kept a humble attitude and a grateful heart. They celebrate EVERYTHING, big and small. No thing, or person is too small to be celebrated. This really challenged me… because, you see, God is like that. He celebrates, and loves every part of us. I have been so challenged to be grateful for all the God does for me, from the simple things, like providing the food on the table, to the really big things, like a job. The lives we live are worship to God, and I for one always want it to be a testimony of God’s goodness.    

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