Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My South African Adventure Continues

I've been trying to get this post done for days now.  But, had I posted it days ago, the story wouldn't have been complete.  Now, it is.

As you know my daughter, Alece, was a Missionary in South Africa for years. She and her South African husband pioneered a large ministry and their mission base was on 2,500 acres of animal-grazing, National Geographic-imaged land.  I've had the awesome privilege of traveling to that country three times. And three times my heart broke as I headed back to The States.

During my pilgrimages, my heart bonded with the Basotho people.
And to the land.
And with the animals.
It seemed I had an extravagant love for this country and her African people.

However, through Niel divorcing Alece and the closing of their ministry, I've lost my ties to the deep-rooted South African part of my life.

My connection with South Africa was severed.
Over. 
Done.  
For three years, I've been grieving the loss to my family, the ministry to the African people, my job that I held in their ministry, and the different people I have come to know through Thrive Africa. 

Believe it or not, I've even grieved the loss of their ministry logo. The little boy in their logo was such a part of my life for so long.


And during this whole time we hadn't found a home church here on Long Island. No place has seemed like "home".  Just recently I realized that it was, in part, due to Niel's betrayal. It annihilated my trust in men Ministers of God. The Holy Spirit showed me that I would not allow myself to really connect with a pastor or get "involved" in their ministries/churches again because now I have a trust "issue". 

Until...

My Father brought me to a very young church recently, whose Pastor is a woman from South Africa.

A woman Pastor - not a man.

Isn't that just like Jesus to understand me and instead of forcing me to trust in a man minister, He is allowing the trust of ministers to be rebuilt through a woman?  Oh, I could just hug Him!   

I've always loved the South African accents.  Now, I will hear it on a weekly basis.  And I'm getting connected to a local Body of Christ.

The South African adventure part of my life may have been detoured.  But, it looks like God truly has had a plan and my South African adventure is going to continue!

Jesus was so kind to me on Sunday by responding to my heart.
Kind.
Gracious.
Long suffering.
Loving.

On my drive to church, I told The LORD that I had our monthly tithe and if I put it in the offering, it was going to mean I am now committed to this church. Planted.  Am I truly ready to be planted somewhere? Yes! No more excuses, Diane. (This was my internal dialogue.)

I sat out in my car for a few minutes before going in.  I reaffirmed my heart about the tithe and being planted, but really needed confirmation. So, I asked The LORD to please confirm to me that this is where He wants me planted by having someone ask me to do something today, on this Sunday morning.  So, I'm thinking someone may ask to help tear down at the end (it's a rented building) or maybe greet or something like that.

While I still had one foot in the doorway and one inside the building, the pastor's husband came to me and asked if I could help him with something.  Oh, boy, OK, LORD! Confirmation! He told me he is in training for a marathon run and would I help him nutritionally prepare. That was not at all what I expected. But, he did ask me to do something. Relationships are being build - someone wanted my help with something personal.  Oh, God, thank You!

Nothing about Sunday was what I expected.  Because Chris asked me, which is what I asked The LORD to do to confirm, The Holy Spirit was welling up inside me to testify.  I don't want to stand up in front of all these people.  I started to sweat.  This was Communion Sunday, so I knew that time was going to be limited.  So, I told The LORD if He wanted me to testify, have the Pastor ask if someone had something to share.

Well, she did.  My hand shot up in the air.  I was very emotional and couldn't get through it without crying, but it was definitely The Holy Spirit. In a nutshell, I shared my story, then my prayers out in the car, and Chris approaching me to ask me to do something.

After the service was over a few people came up to me, including the Pastor. We hugged and she thanked me for testifying.  She told me since she is South African she has a tremendous burden for her homeland and had been praying if our little church should be doing more to minister to the needs in South Africa.  She took what I shared as an answer from God.

Isn't it just like The LORD to bring His Life back to my grief-stricken soul and simultaneously, make me an answer to a pastor's prayer?

Then the Pastor started her sermon.  Guess what it was entitled? NO MORE EXCUSES!  I just laughed.  Only Jesus would go to such lengths for me.

Well, it looks like my South African adventure is going to continue.  I don't know how or what my part will be, but I always knew SA was birthed in my heart, not by my daughter's mission work, but by The Spirit of God through intercession before she ever moved over there.
 Romans 11:29 says, "For the gifts and calling of God is without repentence."     
Because of Him and Unto Him,
                  Diane

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I read your post with hope-filled and thankful tears. For where God has planted you and for how your journey with SA was "detoured" but is so far from finished.

Diane Ronzino said...

Thank you for coming by and reading. Thank you for your words. God truly does have a way with our hearts, doesn't He? I am walking around basking in the wonder of His Love.

Christina Berry said...

I'm so glad you're re-establishing your South African connection, Diane. This is a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it with me.

Betty said...

What a blessing post that was my courageous wise hearted friend. Yor are risking "again" and God is answering prayer after prayer because you are willing to receive His way of working in your life. A lesson He has to continue to teach us daily.

So understand your love for Africa...thats how we feel about Papua New Guinea. With our new ministry out in California we will be directly involved with so many from that country. Your eyes have affected your heart...

Love hearing a little bit more of God's story in your life, makes our friendship real and closer. Thanks for that honest post. Look forwars to hearing all the ways God will use you at this church and with the people who worship there. Blessing my sister

Diane Ronzino said...

Thank you, Christina and Bettye. I appreciate your words - I gain strength from them! I think my eyes impacted my heart, because I saw through Jesus' eyes.
Hallelujah! Thank you for sharing my journey with me!

Lolita said...

You are now involved and joyfully connected and re-established with a possible SA mission work.

Praise God that He is mightily showing you His pre-destined path for you. May He light your way with all provisions included in abundance. Grow and bear fruits for our Vineyard Master.

And may another of our sisters' wishes find its way in God's garden and prosper.

Bless you, my dear sister Diane.

Pam said...

This sounds like a wonderful healing move of the Holy spirit in your life, Diane. Another "sign" of "no longer being on pause!" :) God's numbers 6 blessing on all He leads for you in this.

Diane Ronzino said...

Thank you so much, Lolita and Pam!

Martha Herden said...

Diane-
Sounds like you have faced the "Detour that life gave you" and now with your heart open, "You are enjoying every bit of the Scenery!"

God bless your amazing strength and faith. Martha Herden