1 Thing – “The Place”

“Where have you experienced Holy Ground?” This is the question asked to each individual on the past three Africa Teams as we have journeyed and served together. I have loved hearing the response by others as they shared their Holy Ground experiences. Allow me to mention a few:

  • Listening to the Besotho people sing, dance and worship.
  • Hearing God speak to them during a sermon.
  • Praying over a deaf street boy and watching God restore his hearing.
  • Sewing, washing, and cooking with teen moms at the Good Shepherd Center.
  • Taking care of orphan children at Beautiful Gate.
  • Watching a double adoption service at Beautiful Gate.
  • Listening to the testimonies of orphan high school students at a retreat with Bountiful Hope Foundation.
  • Looking at the stars in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Gazing at a waterfall in the mountains.
  • Meeting Sister Constance who has worked tirelessly to help orphan high school students.
  • Building a Green House at Good Shepherd Center.
  • Playing soccer in a youth prison.
  • Handing out audio Bibles in villages.

This is just a taste of the Holy Ground encounters experienced by our teams. I wish I had room to share them all.

Each member of the team read Draw the Circle, The 40-DayPrayer Challenge, and Day 39 spurred this question about Holy Ground. In Day 39 author Mark Batterson shares how Jewish scholars used to debate why God would meet Moses in the burning bush. Why not a palace or a pyramid in Egypt? Why such an obscure place?

Here was their conclusion: “to show that no place is devoid of God’s presence, not even a bush on the back side of the desert.” So the scholars gave God a name, The Place. They said, “God is here, there and everywhere,” (p. 217).

For me personally there are several places or pictures where God showed up and I truly experienced Holy Ground. One would be the fact that two students gave their lives to Christ; another would be the powerful healings by the finger of God, also the Father’s glory falling at the orphan high school retreat. I would also add to my list donating Bibles at a women’s prison and I could go on and on.

But there is one scene in particular that symbolized a penetrating picture I will not forget of The Place. As our team was walking back from a hike to an indescribable waterfall we passed through a remote village. It was here that a team member stopped at a dilapidated shack that served as a bar for the local people and handed a young man a solar powered audio Bible in the Sesotho language. As she turned it on for him and he heard the Word read in his language his face lit up with pure joy and others who were just hanging around leaned in to listen as well. The bar became Holy Ground, The Place where Abba Father showed up to share His letter of love, to share hope in a remote village where the mode of transportation was horseback.

Remember no place is devoid of God’s Holy Presence, God is “here, there, and every where.” I pray as we get ready to fly back to the states this team and all the teams will remember that the same God that powerfully showed up in Lesotho Africa is alive and well in their schools, neighborhoods, soccer fields, bars, and where ever their paths may take them.






1 Thing – Dwelling in His Presence-Africa

Despite the fact that Tim has traveled to Africa more than twenty times, I am experiencing Lesotho for the second time, however two years in a row. The fact that I was the last to set foot on the soil of Lesotho in our family of five was because Tim and I both felt that experiencing life from a different cultural perspective was important for our kids and so we offered the opportunity to each of them. Apparently our three kids were up for the challenge as each of them was able to travel with Tim to Lesotho, our oldest daughter even studied for a semester in South Africa during college. Our youngest daughter has been to Mexico more times than Tim and I combined and not sure if it counts but our son is currently spending the summer in Iowa and a semester in Chicago next year.

“ONE THING I ask of the LORD this is what I seek that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple,” (Psalm 27:4)

As far as I can tell dwelling in the house of the Lord can happen in any country, virtually in any place and any time. Dwelling in my opinion is being, BEING aware of God’s presence wherever and whenever, sure the church building may be a wonderful place to find God’s presence, but truly it goes beyond that. Dwelling is experiencing, it is relational, it takes time and energy, in many ways it is BEING STILL and knowing I am God. Although on Sunday the team we are traveling with joined the local congregation and sang that song with a lot of volume and action, it was a long way from a peaceful and quiet chorus, however it certainly could be categorized as focused, engaged and being very aware of God’s presence.

What about the newly arrived infant, barely a month old that came to Beautiful Gate Care Center on our first night arriving with the team. The fifteen of us had a very different journey of packing, planes and changing time zones. This precious baby girl had a journey that included being left who knows why and where? Could the presence of God be evident in such sadness? This baby tightly wrapped in a warm blanket and lovingly placed in the arms of workers at the care center has a new home and much hope. Each student had the privilege of holding this little one and gazing into her eyes before she fell asleep. The loving arms of our Savior held this little one and without a doubt revealed the presence of God.

What about the sunset at the top of Lancers Gap? Hearing the wind amongst the barking dogs and honking taxis was the presence of God there as sheep wandered past on the hilltop and echoing voices could be heard in the background? Yes, yes the scene was breathtaking as the sun dipped below the mountain and the sky changed colors and the temperature dropped. Yes, God’s presence was evident in such majesty.

I could go on with other specific examples of my time here in Lesotho, but those of you have opened your heart and life to others whether that be across the street, from another age group or religious affiliation knows what I am talking about. Those of you who have traveled to Israel, Africa or even Lesotho to visit, no rather “experience or BE” apart of Beautiful Gate can attest to dwelling in the presence of God. You don’t have to travel to Lesotho to know what it is like to experience God, but consider yourself invited if you ever decide to come!

May you DWELL….BE….EXPERIENCE….KNOW GOD at this moment, wherever you are and whatever life may hold at the moment.


1 Thing – When Jesus Shines


Africa never fails to show forth the beauty of our Savior Jesus!  As I write this blog winter has officially arrived with a chill in Southern Africa, yet the Son’s glorious face has warmed deep into the hearts of those on our team.

The goal of our team from Colorado was Psalm 27:4, “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord…”  We have faced spiritual battles, adversity,highs and lows, seen miracles, shed tears, made new friends, and on this journey His beauty captivated us beyond words.

Listen to a fews students from Parker Lutheran who were basking in the Son’s radiance:

“Jesus is everywhere, and I really noticed this during our trip in Lesotho, Africa. His presence was known and shown in every little thing we did and saw. I saw Him through the Good Shepherd teen age moms I met, the people I saw on the streets, the church that accepted us as one of their own, and through the love and compassion shown by the adults, and teenagers on this trip. The way we glorified God through our actions was such an incredible thing. I’ve never felt more humbled and blessed as I have in Africa. This trip has changed my view on the world, and has turned my life upside down in the best way.” (Abi Budnack).

“Throughout our time serving in the beautiful country of Lesotho, we got to experience Christ firsthand. It was in the eyes of the Besotho people, the people we were all blessed to have blessed, that I saw Christ. Looking at the eyes of the people I could see the stories of pain, sorrow, scarring, fatigue, poverty, sickness, fear, and so much more, yet in those same eyes, I could see the overwhelming light of Christ. Throughout all of the trials and tribulations, God was and still is working in their lives for good. It is in those eyes that Christ is shining through the pain and suffering and overcoming the trials and tribulations. I have been blessed and broken through a simple glance of an orphan, a teen mother, a child, a nun, the sick, or the poor and will be forever changed because of the Holy Spirit within the hearts and souls and eyes of the wonderful people of Lesotho.  Matthew 6:22 The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.”(Daniel Ness)

Take time today and find the face of Jesus as these young people did. He is not just in Africa, He is the One placed right in front of you to love, serve, and then watch Him Shine.

Reflecting on 40 Day Prayer Challenge with Ray Spykstra

I had the privilege of interviewing my dad, Ray Spykstra for this podcast. Listen in as he shares some amazing stories from his experience of reading and giving away over a 100 “Draw the Circle – The 40-Day Prayer Challenge,” books by Mark Batterson.

One of the stories he shares in the podcast is about a man named John Bandimere, one of the owners of Bandimere Speedway in Colorado. Right after our podcast my dad received a letter from John telling my dad that all 7 of his siblings started the “Prayer Challenge.”

I hope you will be blessed by listening to this Podcast and hearing how the Holy Spirit is moving through the prayers of His people.