Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Few More Dreadful Pics

Not gonna lie, it's nice to have my guitar back!

Jammin' to a song I wrote in Africa.

And then some carols on Christmas morning!

Dread Me

On my last day in Africa, I did something that I had been wanting to do for a long time...I got dreads! Now, they're still a work in progress (it can take several months for dreads to actually lock in), but I'm digging them so far. The best part was after I put them in, when for the rest of the day anytime a black guy saw my dreads, he would give me a thumbs up or yell, "Hey, my Rasta brotha!" Even the lady at the check-in counter at the airport told me she loved them! Apparently getting dreads = immediate solidarity with black Africans!

The "before" shot.

The "during" pic.

All done!

From the back.

So what do you think? Do I pull it off, or is a buzzed head in order? Leave me a comment!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Brunch

Here's the whole clan finally together again for our annual Christmas brunch. This year seemed extra special...

Back Home Again

Well, I've been home for about 5 days now. It's been great just reconnecting with my family this week, and in some ways with them it feels like I was never gone. This coming week, then, I will slowly start the re-entry into my life here, as I'll begin reconnecting with lots of old friends. If that includes you, call me up, and lets hang out!

Getting lots of love from the Edison clan at the airport.

Meeting my new nephew, Wesley James, for the first time!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finals Days in SA

Well, I'm finally getting a chance to breathe and just relax in my final week here in SA. After VAC Camp, I drove six hours down to Pietermaritzburg to spend a few days with some good friends, Josh and Jamie Quarandillo and family, as well as an old high school buddy, Andrew Myers, who is interning with the Qs for the next nine months or so. The past few days have been filled with lots of sleep, some reading and journaling, and endless hours of Nintendo Wii sports tournaments with the Q family...just what I needed. Tomorrow, then, I'll head back up north to Vereeniging to stay with my host family here in SA for my last few days, before flying back home on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

I've got lots more to share about VAC Camp this past week, as well as some of my other experiences and thoughts from this year, but for now I'm just going to try to enjoy my last few days with some people I love, in a country that I have grown to love. Looking forward to reconnecting with many of you soon!

Monday, December 14, 2009

God is Moving

The Spirit is moving here at VAC Camp in ways that I've never seen before. It's insane. We've seen many kids come to know Christ, and many more who have had major breakthroughs and experienced freedom from bondage, a freedom that only Christ can give. Much more to come later, but for now just keep praying. We have one more day left, and I'm excited to see what God has in store for us next!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

VAC Camp: Day 1

VAC Camp started yesterday, and nearly 300 young people from the Joburg area showed up at Camp Eden. The theme for camp this week is "Power," and we are diving into a power-filled life in the Spirit that so many Christians seem to be missing these days.

In the opening session last night, I walked through the entire Old Testament with the youth, focusing on the POWER struggle between God and man. Beginning with the first temptation in the garden--" will be like God..." (Gen. 3:5)--and the cycle of sin and rebellion that has plagued humanity from that point forward. Still today, I think our greatest temptation is that we want to be God--or at least "god" of our own lives. So we search for this power within ourselves, only to be perpetually frustrated by our inability to live a power-filled life. Only be surrendering and plugging into the power of the Spirit can we truly live power-filled lives. In conclusion, I had everyone pray this simple prayer: "Holy Spirit, show up in my life this week." I'm convinced that God wants to break through in powerful ways in the lives of these young people this week, and I'm convinced He met with us last night!

Please continue praying:
  • that God would transform the lives of these young people this week.
  • that the Spirit would fill Mthawelanga and me as we continue to share God's Word over the next four days.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Re-Orientation and VAC Camp

There's a good chance you won't hear much from me for the next couple weeks. Tomorrow I head back to the J-Life headquarters at Camp Eden for a week-long "re-orientation" (that's what they call it around here--we would say "debrief") with the 2009 J-Life trainees. It should be a great time of reflecting on what God has done in our lives and ministries this year, as well as an awesome time to reconnect with many close friends with whom I went through four months of training at the beginning of the year.

Next Friday, then, begins "VAC Camp." J-Life is hosting about 250 young people from several churches around Johannesburg for a summer camp at Camp Eden, and I'll be one of the speakers at camp this year. I'll be splitting eight sessions with Mthawelanga Nkonzo, a super-gifted worship leader and youth pastor from Johannesburg. He will speak in the morning sessions, while I will speak each evening for four days. Our theme this year is "Power," and we'll be taking a look at what it means to live by the power of the Spirit. I've learned a ton over the past month or so as I've studied this topic, and I'm excited to share what God has laid on my heart for the youth. As VAC Camp approaches, please be praying with me that God would make clear the words He wants me to share to these young people, and that I would simply get out of the way!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Huntin' for a Job...

Well, I'll be home in less than three weeks now--that much I know. What I don't know is what exactly I'll be doing once I get home. I'm planning on hanging out in northern Indiana for a while to spend time with my family and friends. However, odds are I'll be back on the mission field sooner rather than later--hopefully within the next year. So I guess the big question is: what will I do for the next year?

Being a person whose life has revolved around youth ministry for the past several years, my heart is definitely in investing in the lives of young people. Unfortunately, a year (or less) isn't really an ideal amount of time to get plugged into full-time youth work. It's really not fair for any church, and it's especially not fair to the young people. This puts me into kind of a tough spot. I certainly don't want to "waste" a year of my life just hanging out and waiting for God to reveal His next big plans for my life. After such a stretching year this year, the last thing I want to do is spend a year getting comfortable and not really pouring myself into young people, which is clearly God's calling on my life. But I also realize that I can invest in people's lives no matter where I am and no matter what I "do" vocationally.

I've considered even just doing some substitute teaching. Sure, the pay's not great, but it's a chance to hang out with young people every day, and it's obviously an extremely flexible job--I can just work whenever I want to work. Other than that, I suppose I can get some other job in the "secular" world--maybe work as a waiter or something. I think it would actually be kind of cool to be out in the "real world" for a while and really get a chance to be salt and light.

Most of all, I'm just praying now (and you can be praying, too!) that God will open up the right doors for me and make things clear. And who knows...maybe He will use you to show me the right door? I know that most of my readers are friends or other people involved in ministry in some way--or both. If any of you have a great job idea, feel free to let me know! Like I said, I'm not sure a full-time youth ministry gig is the best option for me right now, but I'm not totally ruling that out, either. Besides that, as far as ministry goes, I think I can add value to a church in the areas of worship and/or missions. I have a passion for worship through music and have been leading in that capacity for several years now. And, obviously, missions is my life and passion as well. Other than that, as I said before, I'm more than open to any job ideas you might have in the secular realm as well.

Okay, my shameless plug for myself is finished. Leave me a comment here on the blog or shoot me an email at if you have any thoughts/suggestions. But, most of all, just keep praying that God's hand would continue leading and guiding me in every step I take in life, and pray that I would be sensitive to His leading! Thanks so much to all of you who have been praying faithfully!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Did You Know That There Are Penguins in Africa?

While down in Cape Town in October, we stopped by Boulders Beach in Simon's Town, which is famous for, of all things, PENGUINS! Yep, believe it or not, there is a small population of penguins who find their natural habitat in the Western Cape of South Africa. The Western Cape is actually known for its less-than-tropical weather: high winds, cool temperature, and FREEZING water along the coast. The best part about this particular breed of penguins is that they're called "Jackass Penguins" because they sound like braying donkeys! Ha! Enjoy the pics....

Penguin Crossing: not something you see every day...especially in Africa!

I present to you: the Jackass Penguins!

I call this one "The Godfather" because he (she?) looks old and wise. It's also the ugliest penguin I have ever seen! I think there's a reason this guy didn't get called for the cast of Happy Feet!

Chillin' with the penguins.

One big happy penguin family.

I picture the penguin on the left with a New York accent saying, "Whaddya lookin' at, pal?"

Another sign you just don't see everyday!

How crazy is that?! Penguins in Africa?! Who would have thought???