Over the first week of September, JSAW sent a crew of 5 guys across the Atlantic to South Africa. During this week we partnered with Inspired to Become (I2B), a non-profit organization in Somerset West, South Africa to do various kinds of service projects such as: building and delivering portable grind boxes to 3 skate clubs, judging 2 local skateboard contests, and building a concrete skatepark at a safe house called Bright Lights. I2B is run by Chris VanDerMerwe, who is passionate about making disciples through action sports. Chris runs several skate, surf and skim clubs around the area. One of these clubs is a group of kids from Bright Lights. The kids who live at Bright Lights were being bussed to the I2B skatepark each week, but this has become near impossible for various reasons. JSAW partnered with I2B to change that.
This project was no easy feat and took the entire week to work on. We worked around things like load shedding (local timed power outages), sicknesses, late concrete trucks, lack of tools, materials, language and communication differences and odd mixtures of concrete either being too wet or too dry. Weather was also a huge factor. It was cold and rainy with little sunshine most days. On the last day we served, we were prepped and ready for the final concrete pour. The concrete truck was several hours late, and though our team was bummed, it was decided that because of the delay it was best to cancel the final concrete pour. The completion and final touches of the park would need to happen the following week without us.
Over the whole project, Chris' dad showed up and served. He worked tirelessly to instruct, encourage, and disciple. The main theme he held over the whole week was that if God wants the project done, it will be done. It didn't matter how much we completed, because God was the one directing the whole project. So, when we couldn't finish the project on "our" time, he wasn't worried and encouraged us to take time to rest and enjoy time with one another. We had been working hard all week and it was such a blessing to have some time to skate, surf, skim and enjoy one another's company as well as to rest and eat some local food. It was hard for us to step back from the project, but what we gained was so worth it.
We have this idea with mission trips that we have to complete something in order to know we have served. This is a misconception. In reality, when we go and are willing to serve in any capacity, God uses that service to accomplish far more than we think. Missions isn't about completing projects, it's about spreading the love of Christ and sharing the gospel. Romans 10:15 says this clearly. It says, "And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" The gospel is our main focus. Even though we didn't complete the project, we were able to share the gospel, share our testimonies, preach, teach, and leave the riders in South Africa with a ton of new equipment and ramps to skate.
As you read this the Lord may be tugging on your heart. The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. God wants people willing to serve and share the gospel not only across the world, but also right here in your community. JSAW is praying and asking for God to raise up laborers to serve in our local missions here in the Twin Cities. I encourage you to consider volunteering, and praying to the Lord to prepare your heart for his mission. Please go to jsaw.org/volunteer for more info on how to become a laborer of the harvest.