Never having left the hood I was raised in,
I have become a product of my placement.
The naive fearlessness of my youth has left me-
Replaced by a bold untamable hope.
When the sun falls from the sky
And the bright day fades into blackness:
The children rush to their homes..
The streets aren’t safe anymore .
I remember sand skiing and joyful nights marked by a father’s love and mother’s hugs
All around me I see broken families: gun toting, drug addled, single parents perpetuating examples that’re cancerous
I am the last artifact of a generation past
And I am the architect of our future
You are the future
And I will build you up
I will fortify your walls
I will teach you love
And You will keep my words hidden within you like a secret code
Hear my whispers and heed my roar
We are more than we are taught
And that is why I seek The Source:
Because the heavens reveal our worth
Inspired by and written for Pastor Mark in Retreat.
Left To Right: Corrie, Me, Tori(team member that joined us in SA), Pastor Mark, his wife Felicia, Kyra, Katherine, and Kari
We’re all workers in the Kingdom. The question is, are we all working?
This was a question I found myself pondering over subconsciously in South Africa. But first, a little recap. My team and I traveled to SA (South Africa) after spending around 22 days in Tanzania. In Tanzania God taught me a lot about identity. He stretched me tremendously, as described in my last blog post. In fact, the prayer I had while we were putting on the seminar, which was, “God, name me, call me as you did Gideon, and Mary” was inspired by a book I was reading titled Army Arising. When God called Gideon, He named him. This name was, “Mighty Hero/Valiant Warrior” (etc depending on translation) and I’m sure that as Gideon was threshing wheat in the wine press, a “Mighty Hero” was the last thing he felt like, nevertheless God called him as it.
When our Father places a call on our life, it may not be something we can understand as of yet. Despite this lack of understanding, He is still faithful to grow us into our calling. Just as the feet of children grow into needing bigger shoes, so to do we spiritually, so to speak, grow. He named me, as an answer to my prayers. The name, for the purposes of this blog, is unimportant, but know that just as Gideon perhaps felt overwhelmed and underprepared to walk in the understanding of his new name, so did I.
One day I had a vision. In it I was shown two hands by a riverside, grasping up water and transporting it. I asked God for clarity as to what it means. He told me that just as the hands are a vehicle for the water to be transported, my words are a vehicle to bring spiritual war. The thought of this tantalized me. When I was young I felt like I didn’t have a voice. Like I went unheard. As if my thoughts didn’t matter. And here comes God, through a vision redeeming that false perception. Effectively saying, “Matthew, my son, your voice matters, and it matters a heck of a lot more than you even know right now.” Thank you Abba.
In South Africa I was challenged by our Host, Siyabonga to step out and share my poetry. His reason was that South Africans are a very poetic people and they would greatly enjoy it. I wasn’t nervous about sharing. I’m actually a fairly proficient Poet. I just didn’t know if what I had to share was acceptable given that the purpose was ministry, and when I write, I don’t write Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus Jesus. I write about the world around me and the world within me and try to tackle both with a biblical worldview. Telling the story of a young man who is honest with himself and his struggles. Anyways:
One night we were hosting a high school youth group in Retreat (A township mostly inhabited by colored people. Colored people are of Indian descent) and at the end of the night, the kids asked me to share some of my poetry with them. I shared one called This Fight with them and they loved it. I intended to be done, but I felt a nudge inside that I was supposed to share another. Seated, I looked to them and asked, “do you want another one?” And they all said yes. So I did. And in this one (Chosen) it speaks of Freedom, Loneliness, and Renewal. When I got to the part about loneliness I felt another nudge to look at a girl and direct- no, more than direct- to intensely focus every word in hopes that they would barrel into her soul, and she would keep them keyed up there, as a treasure of truth, once lost and now found. When I finished, the Spirit of intensity left me. They applauded, and our program was done. I was unsure if what I said to her mattered to her or not, I was unsure whether it was just me performing, or whether it was God redeeming.
That night during our team debrief Kyra had said that she had talked to the girl One on One and God had told Kyra that she dealt with loneliness as well. The girl cried when Kyra brought it up. This was confirmation to me, that what I had said was more than mere performance, but our Father trying to reach the girl by any means to comfort her, and let her know, just as he let Gideon know, that He is, was, and always will be, with her.
When I write, it is more than self expression. It is opening myself up to become a vessel of my Father. I become the pen and He becomes the hand that controls my strokes. Often times I do not know the significance of what I write. But when I share it, people are sure to tell me that it meant the world to them. This is, indeed, a part of my calling. And it stems entirely from hearing God, and going with His flow.
My job in the Kingdom is to be a mouth, speaking the truths of the heart of God in this crazy world.
now it’s picture time! (P.S. didn’t get many ministry pictures because we weren’t allowed to take our phones into the townships. Hope you enjoy the pics anyway 🙂
Squad(minus Kyra and I) Left to Right: Tori, Katherine, Siyabonga our Host, Kari, Corrie
First day in SA I made Brai, aka South African BBQ. It was delicious
We lived here. Muizenberg. 45 minute train ride away from Cape Town.
When the Orange so good it got you zoning
Tori kicking a ball with some kids
Sinazo teaching us to make Justice Dolls (displayed at the right)
Justice Doll up close. Raising awareness of the tragedy which is Human Trafficking
After-preaching selfie ft me Kyra and Corrie
Kari, Tori, and Tim(South African bible school student) leading worship at Pastor Mark’s Church
“What did you feed me?!?! A ROCK???” -That girl
Kyra and Sasha. She’s a student in the DTS going on in Muizenberg. Those two are tight like pigs in a blanket.
POSE WITH THE CONGREGATION
Practicing her mommy skills
Tori, Sasha, and I. Happiness
Kari and Katherine doing the “Sin Chair” skit during the youth group I wrote about earlier
South Africa was a triumph.
God is good. South Africa was great! And I am tremendously blessed. Having returned, so many people can see a change in me. Glory goes to God. Also, lately with the socio-racial climate of the country I’ve been heartbroken. And feeling as if the local churches didn’t care. But last Sunday a church invited me up during the service to dialogue about what’s going on and bring a Godly Black perspective to it. It was such a blessing and many people came up to me afterwards thanking me and saying I clarified much and helped them see a new truth. Thank God for speaking through me!
I’ve applied to be a Discipleship Training School (what I just did as a student)staff in YWAM Madison. In the next week or so I should know whether or not I’m accepted. I ask that you pray that God’s will is done. If I’m accepted I’ll need to raise a lot of money fast, so, also pray for my own diligence and perseverance.Also, my brother is in a detention center awaiting trail for a possible 5 year prison sentence. Pray that God’s will is done, and that people of God can reach out to him no matter where life may take him.
Thank you for sticking around to the end, hope you enjoyed the story and pictures! Thanks for all of your support and interest in me and my journey with Father.