4.30.2012

Seasons

August 2011- ready to fly to South Africa


I am still here in South Africa but sometimes my thoughts float back to my Canadian life. In less than three months I will be frolicking around Canada and I'm not sure what the future holds for me. (does anyone!)

One of the most comforting things throughout this whole year has been knowing 100% that I am doing God's will. I can just sit and rest in the fact that I know this is where He has placed me and where He wants me to be for a year. I love the time factor. I have a year knowing I am doing the will of God. It's been super exciting because when I am worried or anxious I can rest on the fact that I know He wants me here. 

But as my time becomes shorter, my prayers have started to change as I ask God "what's next?"  Where does He want me to go? Should I be going back to school? Is living at home a smart idea after surviving on my own in a foreign country for a year? What job should I get?

One thing God has said is that He wants me to enter into a season of discipleship returning home. I'm not sure what form that will take or how that answers my very practical questions but I also know that it's all in God's timing and not mine. One thing I am so certain about is that God wants to do more. He wants to use me, strip me down and mould me more into His imagine. We've chatted a lot and I know God can use me more in this next season of my life than He did here in South Africa- you don't have to go to "Africa" and go on a missions trip to be used by God. He has stressed that more than enough this year.


Other than the discipleship calling I haven't heard anything else. Which for a natural planner like myself that has been rather difficult. My friend told me this weekend that maybe He isn't telling me because I need to finish this season of my life before I start the next. God wants my full attention in these last three months in South Africa and God and I both know that giving me more information probably wouldn't be the best.


but those who wait for the LORD will renew their strength - Isaiah 40:31


So I'm going to strive to be present here in South Africa and finish off this season while I wait on God to see what's next. As a wait I know that I can renew my strength and be ready for what God has in store for my life!

If you are in a prosperous season or a waiting on God season know that He is in control and take comfort in 1 Corinthians 2 (my go to passage when I'm discouraged!)

However,as it is written: "What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him. These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

Have a blessed week!


4.24.2012

Weaknesses

These past few weeks I have had a lot of conversations with people who do not believe in God (in South Africa and via internet). I have a massive fear every time I start chatting with those people that I will say the wrong thing or that something in my life won't reflect what I am saying. I think a lot of times I try to look "good." I try to look like a good person, a reliable friend, an amazing nanny, a girl who serves whole heartedly etc. But that really isn't who I am a lot of the time.

I am full of sin and get frustrated easily. I have a hard time seeing others point of view and have messed up a lot. I am not the perfect Christian or young abolitionist who is always active at changing the world.

Yesterday I was listening to a pod cast by Perry Noble called "10 signs your an insecure leader." The quote that stood out to me was "if you preach from your weakness you will never run out of things to say." That clicked immediately with me.  Who really wants to hear from someone who has it all together? Are they even human?

It re affirmed that Christ calls me to Him, but I don't have to try and be something I'm not. God loves me right where I'm at today even with all my failures. & when I deal with those failures He is still going to love me to exact same amount. It is so comforting to rest in that. 

I am encouraged that the next time I speak to someone who doesn't believe in God and faith that I don't have to feel pressure to have it all together. I can boast in my weakness knowing the Holy Spirit will be speaking through me & with that I really will never run out of things to say!

Happy Tuesday:)


4.23.2012

More of Him

Life can get so busy. Even though I am serving this year - the life of a service worker can be so hectic. Dealing with kids are especially hard and energy consuming. This weekend has been really great because I got to sleep in, take a bath and have over twelve hours of silence... just me and my thoughts! It was such a blessing to just take time for myself.  Yes, it is great to rest and sleeping is very important... but it can only go so far.

I realized that my Spirit is exhausted as well. No matter how many hours of zzz's I get that doesn't help me to be Spiritually ready for what lies ahead tomorrow. Before the weekend started I was listening to Jesus Culture and the song "I need you more" came through my speakers. Immediately my Spirit just started aching and I knew instantly that I had been so focused on getting more sleep and taking "Maddie" time but that wasn't do any good when it came to my Spirit.

I have had a lot of God this year. (If that's even possible) I read my bible pretty much every day and often times more than once. I spend hours in prayer and have been sitting in God's presence more than I ever did before. I read amazing blogs of people who are living their lives for Christ and I often have a pod casts on in the background while I'm at work. This year has really been all about God. So why does my Spirit ache? Why is it so exhausted?

Because we always need more of God. We will never be satisfied as people who love the Lord with where we are at today. We need more of God than we did yesterday or last week. It's easy to make a checklist and feel like a good Christian when you've had your devotions for that day but I know that God wants more than that. He wants all of us, all the time and He is longing to give us more and keep our Spirits refreshed.

So this week I am going to focus on not getting physical rest, but Spiritual rest. By spending more time in His word and sitting at His feet longing to be in His presence. I totally believe that by giving my Spirit rest and encouragement my physical exhaustion will disappear as well. That's the power of Christ.

I am going to seek God more than I did yesterday.


4.20.2012

Godly Men and Women

I have prayed before coming here for these children and I pray for them multiple times every day that they would rise up to be the men and women God has called them to be.

Here are some photos of the children this week!














okay funny story! The children didn't know what dental floss was so I gave them all a piece and we practised flossing our teeth! They thought this was SO COOL that they wanted to wear the floss in their teeth as an accessory.. so yes Awa has floss in his teeth while building a puzzle.


showing that He knows how to floss:) What a little man!


4.19.2012

Computer Students Graduation







Here are a few pics of some of the students who graduated:)

15 students wrote this term and guess what ALL 15 students passed! 100% success rate.
It was very encouraging to sit down with the students and hear their evaluation of the course.
I will miss all of them so much and I've learnt a bunch teaching in another culture!!

Happy Thursday
xo

4.17.2012

A letter to South Africa

Dear South Africa,

I can't believe that I have been with you for eight months. I would definitely describe our relationship as  love/hate.

You have seen me cry in these past eight months more than I ever have in my nineteen years of life. You have witnessed my extreme frustrations with the way you treat women and leave them so vulnerable. I have become so angry at how unsafe I have felt and how many times I have lived in fear. My heart has broken over and over and over again as I listen to the brokenness and helplessness of so many of your people. Their faces will forever be burned into my heart.  I hate how I've heard "the only way to discipline a black child is to hit them" and I often find myself sick of your cultural excuses even though your laws say it is illegal. I'm tired of switching lives... I can feel so 'first world' in your country on the weekends and so 'third world' on the weekdays. That has been one of the biggest struggles for me personally and I only see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. I question how you're going to deal with this because in the future the gap will only continue to grow.  Getting use to Zulu time has been another struggle and I've often been frustrated when every plan I make changes and if I ask to meet someone at 2, if they show up at 3 it is not even something to mention. Having mentioned your time factor I am sick and tired of everything taking three times as long and I'm worried that as globalization increases and our world becomes 'smaller' you will never keep up with the demands of a Western world. I am tired of showering outside and fighting for hot water - you had them start over on the bathrooms five months ago and yet it's still not finished. I see such a generation of laziness.. or will you just blame me for saying that  "it's your culture." It gets under my skin that I can't run with my ipod because everyone around me is convinced someone will jump me and steal it. I hate that I have to run with hundreds of cars and make my asthma even worse just because it is unsafe to run by myself as a women any where else. I am getting fed up feeling like I am in prison all the time with bars over my windows, gates on the doors and barred wire lining the fences around every house.

However, I can't thank you enough. You have moulded, tossed, stripped away so much of selfish "Maddie" and are in the process of creating a beautiful bold women who is desperate for God's heart in every situation. I love how you have let my tears fall in your soil as I try to discover who I am and who I am designed to be. I thank you for letting me share my hopes, fears and dreams in your country. You really have helped me so much as I've finally gotten over my past relationships and forgiven myself for the hurt that I've caused so many people. I have learnt that I can't love my children until I learn to fully accept God's love for me. I have learnt that I can't love with my own strength but that I need to be filled with God's love and his love will overflow into every circumstance I am put in. I have learnt these lessons in your beautiful country. Speaking of beautiful, I have never been in a more beautiful place. I love that your mountains are only an hour drive from where I live but drive an hour the other way and I get the privilege of swimming in the warm Indian ocean. I adore swimming in a warm ocean and jumping waves until I'm exhausted. I have loved frolicking in the ocean and seeing God's beauty all around me. I am so blessed to be worshipping the one and only God in your country with thousands of other people. I have enjoyed going to NCF and that will honestly be something I will miss so much when I return back to my homeland.
I have seen beauty in the broken more than ever before, but goodness you're country is filled of beautiful people. They love unconditionally and have taken such good care of me. I am so blessed to have met so many amazing South African's who have sacrificed so much to make sure I am okay and not just surviving in this country. I have been put with two amazing host parents who I don't think I could love any more, they are just such beautiful caring people. Through all my hospital visits this year I have learned to appreciate Canadian health care but realised how your trying to become competitive and I think in many of your hospitals you have succeeded. I fear that if I was anywhere else in Africa I would have died and not been writing this so I honestly can't thank you enough for having medicine to save my life. I am forever grateful to you.
And the most important thing that I feel the most blessed is to meet your children. My South African children are the number one reason why I love you and your country so much. They are my everything and through these eight months I have only been able to love them more and more. From having dance parties to reading Snow White (91 pages last night!) to the children my heart is so full of thankfulness. I have been given an opportunity of a lifetime and I refuse to let these last months slide by. Hearing that they love me before bed and holding their hands while we pray to the giver of strength has been such a blessing. I love them and they are moulded and shaped by you.

Through our love/hate relationship I am 100% sure that I love you more than anything, even if there are a lot of things I can't stand. Happy eight months! I look forward to spending the next 3.5 months learning to love and serve deeper and appreciating everything you have to offer me in your country. I hope to be able to look back and say that I gave something to you as well.

Love,

Madeline Charnuski

4.12.2012

Intended you to be


Dear Atheists, homosexuals, transexuals, lesbians, Christians, Catholics and Muslims. Dear widows and orphans and slaves. Dear homeless man living in the garage beneath my apartment. Dear terrorists, anarchists, and marxists. Dear Mr. President and North Korea. Dear every woman I ever dated, and every porn star I ever saw naked. Dear Comic-Con fanatics, artists, and anyone who still owns a Dell. Dear home-schooled children, bullies, nerds, jocks, heads, geeks, squares, popular kids, and unpopular kids everywhere. Dear Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Franco, and Ryan Gosling.
Dear Everyone.
Dear me.
You are imperfect and judgmental. You are self-addicted and lustful. You are full of hate and sin, pride and secrets. Yet God sees you through the lens of Christ’s Crucifixion: forgiven and without scars, perfect and fulfilled, destined with a purpose the way He intended you to be.

- Max Andrews

4.11.2012

8 months

It honestly feels like yesterday I was fiddling through my photos putting together an overview of what I did for my one month anniversary.  I can't fathom that that was seven months ago! I don't have time to write long blog posts this week because I am working "too much of hard" but I'll post my eight month reflection blog soon. (I've already written a few pages in my journal)

We don't have electricity atm which has been such a challenge trying to see and feed eighteen children- esh! Hopefully we can get that sorted out before the end of the week.

Here is a quote that I've been processing/mulling over!


"We’re caught in Einstein’s loop of insanity, delivering emergency assistance over and over but never getting the result we want: stopping people from dying of hunger."


xo

4.10.2012

New Week, New Challenges

I hope you had a very relaxing Easter:)

My Easter was spent in the sun, in the water, eating delicious foods and getting to visit a game reserve. At one stage I thought I was very homesick but within the hour I got over it and carried on with the weekend.

Things that are happening this week:


  • My computer course that I've been teaching finishes this week with graduation for both groups scheduled to take place next week
  • I get to see my children in a few hours!! Hurray and hang out with them after a three week break
  • A new computer class starts tommorrow which I am a "helper" for. I had a train Vuyo already because I leave PMB in less than 3 months
  • I will hopefully be visiting two creche's (pre-schools) this week and meet with the teachers/asses their needs and how Gateway can help and empower
  • Bible study and a dinner planned with friends
So it's going to be another busy week (even if it's 4 days) and I'm so looking forward to what God has in store for me.

xo

4.06.2012

Pressure

Pressure.

this word isn't new to my vocabulary. From playing sports to getting good grades I have had a lot of pressure put on me and pressure I've put on myself to be better, to strive further. I think a bit of pressure is good. It helps me hand in assignments on time and makes me become a better person in many ways too.

these past few months I have been feeling a lot of pressure regarding my blog. (make sure you keep reading cuz i'll try to make sense soon!) this blog originally started as a venue for my thoughts and to keep my parents, close relatives informed on my happenings in 'foreign Africa.' I ended up posting my blog link to facebook and people seemed interested in my life. It was extremely excited reviewing my 'stats' on my blog those first few months where I was desperate for home and needed encouragement.

Over fifteen thousand hits later, I'm realizing that I've been able to encourage some of you with my stories and thoughts and I'm so thankful to be able to do that. However, I can't lie by saying that I don't feel a little bit of pressure to write something poetic or beautiful. To write insightful things that give you hope in the day.

I've been starring at my "new post" icon these past two weeks feeling the pressure to write something amazing, but nothing wonderful is coming to mind.

 I think I let the pressure get to my head and I'm trying to let it go. I am just an ordinary girl trying to live my life with purpose. I'm desperate for God's heart and will for my life and yearning to love you like Christ is. I wish I could give you the "right" words of encouragement or write with less grammatical errors but I just can't.

I want to thank you for reading my blog because your support is AMAZING, however I want to be clear that I'm not a "good Christian" or "this great service worker." I screw up a lot. I fail myself a lot of the time and people I work with. As much as I love my kids, they make me so angry when they steal from me or won't give me space.

When I come home, I hope you see Christ in me and not me, but please don't get this wrong idea that I'm "holy" or "amazing" or anything.

I'm just a girl who is running this race called life - just like you. God is using me but He wants to use you too.

& when I get home I really pray you can accept me for me, whatever state I'm in.

4.03.2012

Learning to Love

love my Dad playing patty cake in the background!:)


"the greatest of these things is love" - 1 Corinthians 13:13b

The question that I ponder every morning when I wake up. 

How can I love others today like Christ loves me?


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