The Joy in Just Following Him
"Ma'am, will you share a verse?"
As a teacher at the school where I've been volunteering in athletics approached me, my mind immediately started racing through different possible verses to share as I realized my chosen, seated position on the fallen tree beside the assembly of kids hadn't made me inconspicuous after all.
I pulled out my phone while simultaneously asking the Lord to speak, and to do so quickly, all while listening to the kids open their Bible Study time in what my ears heard as a beautiful symphony of Zulu choruses (at least I think it was Zulu).
A favorite verse? An encouraging verse? A Psalm? A Proverb perhaps?... "Don't overthink it, Whitney. Keep it simple"...something I'm constantly having to remind myself.
Ahhhh, the joy in following Jesus...That's it. It's that simple. The simple gospel...Following Him.
In Matthew 4:18-22 we read of Jesus calling the first disciples. He approached Simon and Andrew, James and John, and spoke the words that changed their lives forever - "Follow me". He calls them just as they are, where they are, and invites them on a beautiful journey to walk with Him... to follow Him.
In the last five months of being in South Africa, I feel as though I've had a lot of moments where Jesus has invited me to follow Him all over again, and my 'yes' to Him has led to a great adventure! This month, walking with Him has led Zsofi, Haley, and I to accept an invitation to do a bit of leadership training with the youth directors from the IPHC Central Conference (pictured below), we've opened our home to start a young adult group through our local church of Christian Heritage, and we've been blessed to build connections at a local nonprofit that just opened an afterschool program in Krugersdorp (a literal dream to get to see in action). However, while all the new things this month have been quite exciting, I've also found great zeal in the places that are becoming consistent; such as volunteering at the school and getting to serve on the worship team at Christian Heritage. (Can I just stop here to say how surreal it is to think of how I now get to pray for, pray with, and actively serve a church I first rode by and took a picture of when a trip to the game park turned into a tour of Krugersdorp in 2019... not even realizing at the time that it would eventually be the place I would call home?) I still can't believe my journey in following Jesus has brought me here, to this place, to meet these amazing people. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I haven't even mentioned the ways He's been tugging at my heart. I'm telling you, the joy of following Him is unmatched.
Getting to share about the disciples' call to follow Jesus wasn't something I expected when I showed up at the school that day, but I think the Lord knew I needed the reminder of the power in the simple gospel, not the well prepared and rehearsed attempt at profound words I often feel I must formulate to be a "good" minister. Instead, what a reminder to just share Jesus.
I'll be honest though, often on my own journey I've wondered about the emotions the disciples processed as they just dropped everything and followed this man who had made them an offer of just two words that they somehow couldn't refuse. If they are anything like me then I'm sure at least one of them asked, "What did I just do...what have I gotten myself into...what now...?" But Scripture is pretty clear about the outcome: He's worth it. Getting to walk close to Him, to know His voice, to be in His presence...worth it. And, that's not just for the kids at the school. It's for all of us. Aren't you glad He calls us just as we are to daily make a choice to follow Him? In my own life, I've found Him nothing but worth it.
So yes, I've been in South Africa for five months, ministry is picking up and starting to fill our schedules, but whatever my month has been like, whatever the next will hold, I'm grateful that He calls me (us) to daily walk with Him.
As always, thank you so much for partnering with me in the work we are doing here in South Africa. I dearly hope you are making the daily choice to follow Him. He's worth it. It's the greatest joy.
Here's how you can pray for our team:
- Continue to pray with me over our travel. In March we will be traveling quite a bit as we serve different IPHC conferences in South Africa. Continue to pray for safety, wisdom, and discernment for us girls as we both drive and fly in the coming months.
- Be in prayer for the area we live in. Krugersdorp needs Jesus and us girls are actively looking for ways to represent Him and introduce Him to our community. Pray that God would open the right doors at the right time and give us the discernment to know where to be looking.
- Daily we encounter various cultures and languages. As we minister please pray that the Lord would make us moldable in His hands to minister not according to our own ideas but to the needs of those He has placed in front of us.