Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Within Her Pages: Alexis

This is Alexis Weaver and is from Conway, Arkansas, United States of America. She’s 29 and is a customer service representative (for the mean time) and missionary. She’s passionate and thrives on missions, travelling, reaching the lost and bringing hope to the broken, photography, helping people find freedom, young adults and helping them find community. 

Her family has been through a lot of hardship and brokenness and were never really close, but God is in the process of restoring their relationship with one another and creating bonds that never used to exist. Her favourite childhood memory is when she traveled back home to Maryland to visit her cousins during summer and when she used to ride horses competitively.

When she was 18, she nearly lost her life to an overdose of pills and alcohol, however Jesus miraculously saved her life after three days of being unconscious. She was angry that she survived, nonetheless that was when God really shook her and made her aware that He existed. After a few years there were girls that sought her out and showered her with love. This love was a genuine reflection of the love of Christ and something she had not experienced before. It took the girls a lot of time to convince her to try out the ministry, but after a while, she encountered Jesus and accepted Him into her life.

The need for others to experience the hope and love of Jesus awakens her in the mornings, more so that there are those who cannot fight for themselves and need others to stand up for them. Alexis’s definition of strong is to be someone who continues to get up after life continually knocks them down. Brokenness, injustice, tragedy, hopelessness, those who are lost, the wounded and afflicted places her heart into pieces.

In Her Words:

What do you like about yourself: I like that I fight for people and that I am encouraging. 

How do you describe beauty: God’s creation. People experiencing the true joy from the Lord. Love that radiates from the heart that flows into action.

What is love in your one word: Jesus

What is that one habit you wish to do away with: Picking at my fingers! Ugh.

Coffee or Tea: Coffee! (But tea is good too).

What country would you like to travel to, why there and what are the activities you would engage in whilst there: You mean aside from coming back to South Africa? I would like to visit Croatia. My mother’s family immigrated to the states from Croatia and I’ve always had a desire to see where we came from. I would honestly love to just explore and possibly even try to find distant relatives if it were possible.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during this year: You mean, I can only list one? Well, I recently locked myself in my car door. I also accidentally sent the word “boob” to a group text of all ministry leaders.

If you were granted one wish what would it be: To be more like Jesus and to be able to reflect his love better.

In five words she is: Daughter, Awkward, Friend, Redeemed, Set Free.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Within Her Pages: Christina

This is Christina Akosua Otupea Otoo-Anakwa from United Kingdom (UK) via Ghana. She was born in England, moved to Ghana at the age of five and returned to the UK when she was 14. She’s 33 and is currently in transition for her new job in Cape Town, that she starts early next year. For the past nine years she was in a band (Twelve24, definitely check them out, they are one of my faves) they toured many countries with the sole purpose of letting others know about Jesus and instilling in them a sense of value. After spending a lot of time in prayer and thinking, Christina had decided last year it was time for to move on. So, she will be working with a charity called the Message Trust as she is passionate about investing, developing and disciplining others into their purpose. She is passionate about numerous things, firstly for ordinary people (whether he / she is a lawyer, cook, cleaner or musician) to live their lives to the fullest with Jesus and for them to know their lives are worthy of living. As an individual you do not have to do anything special but one should merely live whole heartedly for Jesus and so will all pieces be pieced into its rightful place. Most vitally in the process of achieving, for individuals to be reminded to achieve fully and displacing mediocrity. She thrives on music, loves loving on others and making them feel special. Her life's motto is to love God and people.

She has three siblings, two older brothers and a sister. They are all very close to one another and grew up with both their parents who come from a royal line in Ghana. Between her siblings Christina has seven nephews and one niece. Her favourite childhood memory was when she met her eldest brother Emmanuel for the first time at the age of two. Emmanuel was born and raised in Ghana and she recalls staring at him and thinking the language he spoke was completely strange, as there was no understanding from her side.

She took a decision to know more about Jesus, she chose to love Him, although growing deeper with Him was never easy and she came to a beautiful realisation that the more she yearned for Him the more intimate their relationship grew. Growing with Him one begins to know His thoughts about our unique seasons and that which He intends to do during them, where you as an individual become a part of the solution to the world.

Living her life out fully awakens her in the mornings. She lives per her favourite verse John 10:10 as Jesus can to give life and life in its fullness, hence she desires to do just that. She would like to experience life until the very end of her days on earth as her excitement is also that which lies within the next day. Having the ability to rise regardless of mental, physical or spiritual battles, simply overcoming when you’re knocked down, that is being strong to her. The disrespect shared between individuals places her heart into pieces.

In Her Words:

What do you like about yourself: Everything. Sounds big headed but ever since I was little I knew I was special to somebody. When you know that, it changes your perception of yourself. Why would you hate something that God adores? It would be like spitting in His face. I know we all feel down sometimes but the way you feel doesn't change who you were designed to be. We are all made to do great things.

How do you describe beauty: Someone who knows and embraces their uniqueness.

What is love in your one word: Sacrifice.

What is that one habit you wish to do away with: I pull my eyelashes and find pleasure in it. Don't worry I still have lashes on my face hahaha!

Coffee or Tea: I'm an English girl, tea is what we do, although I must say both. I stopped drinking both about five months ago, but I might just start drinking it again.

What country would you like to travel to, why there and what are the activities you would engage in whilst there: I would love to go to Thailand, I would try and do all the good stuff there.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during this year: I cannot think of anything.

If you were granted one wish what would it be: To live in Cape Town right now.

In five words she is: Committed, peaceful, loving, generous and thoughtful.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Within Her Pages: Jessica

This is Jessica Faith Anthony and is from Cape Town, South Africa. She’s 15 and is a High School student at Elkanah House. She’s passionate about the equality of animals, the manner in which they are treated in captivity and the reasoning why animals are placed into captivity. She thrives on worshipping and praising God.

She has one younger sibling who is 13 years old and her name is Emma. She grew up with both her parents. Her Father’s name is Brad and Mother’s name is Judy. Her favourite childhood memory is her family holidays spent in Shelley Point on the West Coast, approximately 2 hours from Cape Town. During one of their holidays when she was 10, Jess’s cousin who joins them for their holidays dropped his gummy worm into the pool and they laughed at him hysterically for a long period.

She grew up in a Christian home and for her going to church with her family was not an option. She had a faith-filled heart from a very young age however as she grew older doubt and resentment started creeping into her spirit because she had to be at church on Sundays, whereas in comparison to her friends they could engage in other activities. She then began to serve at Church every Sunday for the 11am service in order for her to escape hearing God’s word and worshipping Him. She got to a point where she struggled with extreme anxiety that she was unable to control and struggled with self-hate for being unable to immerse herself into everyday activities. Her life took a turn when she made a decision to go to the Stand Camp 2015 (a youth camp), and that’s where Jesus met her and she felt His love so tangibly. The doubts she lived with were put to rest too. Her life began to take a different route after this camp, a Christ centred route. She mentioned that regardless of the sorrow she continued to feel, giving her life to the One that made her was the absolute greatest decision of her life.

Being a future agent of change in another individual’s life awakens her in the mornings. Jess’s definition of strong is to be both brave and vulnerable. Brave enough to keep fighting through hard times and vulnerable enough to admit you are struggling and able to turn to others for help. Her heart is placed into pieces when others experience difficult situations, the mistreatment of animals and the captivity of wild animals.

In Her Words:

What do you like about yourself: I have a caring heart.

How do you describe beauty: The uniqueness of a person and the bravery that they possess to show it to the world.

What is love in your one word: Powerful.

What is that one habit you wish to do away with: Feeling sorry for myself.

Coffee or Tea: Tea.

What country would you like to travel to, why there and what are the activities you would engage in whilst there: I would like to go to Alaska, USA to see Orcas, they are my favourite animal and one of my biggest dreams is to see them in the wild. Alaska is a very popular spot to see wild Orcas.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during this year: My life happens to be a series of embarrassing and laughable events. So choosing one event proved to be extremely difficult. I think the funniest thing would be me playing a Tokoloshe in a drama performance at school.

If you were granted one wish what would it be: For a thousand more wishes.

In one word she is: Strong.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Within Her Pages: Karin

This is Karin Muller from the city I call little “Rio” Cape Town in South Africa. She’s 36 and is an International Operations Coordinator for Life Child which is a Non-Profit Organisation, that aims to reach  Orphan and Vulnerable Children (visit the website and part take in making a generational change: She’s passionate about positive change within communities in order to see lives transformed through Jesus and a new generation arising to be the agents of the change within their communities. She thrives on encountering Jesus, hiking and adventure.

She has two siblings and grew up in Johannesburg. She grew up with both parents her Father was an engineer and Mother a teacher. Karin’s Father went to be with the Lord 15 years ago and her Mother continues to live in Johannesburg. Her eldest sister recently moved to Cape Town. Whilst the younger brother lives in Johannesburg with his wife and two children, the eldest child being four years old and the youngest is two years old. Her favourite childhood memory is her visit to the Kruger National Park with her family, at a very tender age she enjoyed the outdoors and the bushveld as it brought her so much peace. Family braais and the joy filled nights of card games is part of the Muller household.

She grew up in a Christian home and attended church from a very young age. The church she attended was very traditional, although she learnt about the Bible her faith was more religious than it was a personal relationship with Jesus. Her relationship with Jesus deepened when her Father went to be with the Lord when she was 21. She then left South Africa to work overseas and her relationship with Jesus became personal whilst in Scotland. When she returned to South Africa she intentionally followed Jesus and the will He has for her life.

Living out her calling and establishing God’s Kingdom on earth is what awakens her in the mornings. Karin’s definition of strong is being bold, courageous, vulnerable and transparent. Very often individuals hide behind a strength called “performance”, nonetheless there is a real struggle to be real about our weaknesses, she mentions. When individuals are real and honest about their life struggles and weaknesses, additionally humble enough to admit their sins and probe for forgiveness from God and others, these are all vital pieces of being strong. Strong is to be obedient when there is fear. The issue regarding broken relationships and vulnerable children places her heart into pieces.

In Her Words:

What do you like about yourself: I love to laugh!

How do you describe beauty: Beauty is being content with yourself and knowing who you are in Christ. Beauty is being passionate about life and enjoying what God has given to you.

What is love in your one word: Selfless.

What is that one habit you wish to do away with: Biting my nails.

Coffee or Tea: Tea.

What country would you like to travel to, why there and what are the activities you would engage in whilst there: Kenya, Masai Mara / Serengeti. I love the bushveld and would love to see the crater with all the wildlife. I would love to camp there, go on game drives and just read, relax and spend time with the people I love.

What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you during this year: I made a fool out of myself on screen in church (Cornel DIY).

If you were granted one wish what would it be: I would like to be married and have a family. I would like to adopt when I am married.

In five words she is: Called, Passionate, Adventurous, Loving and Caring.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Holidays in Angola and Northern Namibia

Approaching the last week of school during the final term of the year my parents get excited as they prepare for our holidays. I grew up with my parents, two brothers and cousin, and I was the only girl, the reason behind I had to be one of the “boys” all my life, surely the best thing too. Consequently we were not as excited as my parents as we predetermined where our holiday would be (the good old Angola and Northern Namibia Ongha to be precise), how long the drive would be, where we will be staying conversely it was exciting to see all our cousins. That’s where the entire family gathers during the Christmas holidays. Although the family is wide spread within various regions of the country or other countries, home is always in northern Namibia and Angola.

Daddy was and still portrays the most excited, he packs three weeks in advance and we always stare at him in awe of how passionate he is about his family and home country Angola. He is always filled with eagerness and that is the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. Daddy’s family is from Angola relatively within close proximity to the Namibian and Angolan boarder post, a village known as Onananime. The Lands are unspoilt, infinite and covered with lush green trees, free roaming animals and some with shepherds, Mahangu plantations over the summer period as well as water holes. I love being out there, being fully immersed in nature. Watching the sun rise over the plantations and the sun set is arresting. Spending time with family in such an exquisite setting is priceless.

Our transport varied every holiday, from the Volkswagen minivan to a Toyota truck, Daddy is gangsta he loves the truck and wait till you see him in his sun glasses and hat, the coolest man I know. The varied modes of transport made it much more adventurous, my sure favourite is the minivan and there was a loose seat, if anyone driving pushed on the brake it bend over and we would fall over. This was the funniest especially if there was someone on the seat that is not used to it, nevertheless Daddy usually gave warnings before he pushed on the brake, hold on tightly he said. I was the one individual that never slept on the journey as I wanted to engage in conversation with Daddy as he drives but more so to ensure there was no sleeping involved whilst driving, as it is a 10 hours’ drive with stops included too.

We had our usual “pad musiek” as we call it in Afrikaans our cassette collection was by far one for the books. We made sure either one of us sat in the front seat (anyone youthful) in order to ensure we had a DJ upfront that understands the ear of the younger generation. When Mommy is in the vehicle the volume had to be lower than it usually was, yes of course we all had something to comment and we figure it was highly unfair to us, what Mommy says goes.  My little brother usually took the seat and the responsibility, and there was so much trust in that boy.

The December period is our summer and it is extremely hot, Mommy ensures her sun protection items are handy, her track pants, long sleeved shirt, hat and sun block. My brothers and I often look at her with inquisitive facial expressions, relatively internally stating “Mommy immerse your entire being in the Vitamin D”. Hence humour is a fundamental quality within my family. Daddy on the other hand is such a character and of course with the advance packing skills of several years he loves his blue over-rolls and veld skoene (field shoes), favourites too. He is continually glowing and is the wittiest. My brothers and I never seem to get the memo right, thus we go with the flow. But more so it was a sign of rebelling as this was not our first choice of holiday.

The games we engaged in whilst there were very interactive, hide and seek, amagoes, blinkie vol maak (fill the tin with sand), jumping rope, carron board, soccer, hopscotch, freeze dance, marbles, hand clap, building mini homes with sand and having to seek food from my aunt’s house. I often took those occasions for granted however I cherish those memories so much. When we gather as a family after having grown so much we cannot help but reminisce some of the best memories we made during the period of our childhood.

There was a time we had to leave the Truck in Angola and we consequently travelled with a minivan taxi to the Angolan and Namibian boarder, and the roads unfortunately had multiple potholes, the driver was speeding, the music was extremely loud for Mommy however Daddy, the boys and I looked at her face filled with so much agony. We genuinely felt sorry for her and surely she was ready for our arrival at the boarder in that moment. Upon arrival at the boarder it generally takes a while to get through customs as the Angolan officials are quite strict. After a couple of hours we eventually made it through and Daddy and the boys would then pick up the vehicle at my cousins’ place which is in close proximity to the boarder, and took a few minutes.

Back on the road we go, still in northern Namibia which we call Ovambuland we make a stop at Ongha the village Mommy calls home at my Aunt’s home in order to break the journey back to Windhoek. One thing I look forward to is my favourite meal which is our signature traditional Oshiwambo chicken and shifiima (Mahangu porridge made from well-known plant planted in northern Namibia by many families), added for flavour was a delicious nutty Marula oil called Odjove, you can never go wrong with that meal! After dinners the young girls ensure every item around the cooking area which we call epata needs to be securely packed away. The elders often go to bed or have a catch up session. As youth we often have play time especially at the brisk of a fool moon with the neighbours’ children, it relatively carries on until the wee morning hours. Normally as it was summer we all camped outside.

The next morning we wake up early as it is the day we get back on our journey to Windhoek. The girls awake earlier to prepare breakfast which usually consists of freshly cut bread topped with a mixed berry jam which is an all-time favourite with hot pot black coffee, milk was only used for the elders and if your coffee was too hot add a little cold water and you’re sorted. Alternatively we dried the bread as an alternative for rusks which made for the perfect breakfast rusks too.

There we drive out after breakfast with my family waving goodbye as I watch them from my seat, till the next school holiday again. There's so much more to put into writing, however I will end off here.

Aunt Kaoso's Home

Monday, 22 February 2016

Scorching Sun, Animals and Greens

There is something truly special about the unknown and unplanned. This is something that excites me as I merely look forward to it, without having any predestined actions of that which is to take place. I remember this day as I was battling to decide whether to spend the day in Swakopmund where the desert and the ocean meets or rather drive to Daan Viljoen Games reserve for a hike which is not too far out of Windhoek. On that particular day I was already not feeling too well so driving far out was not an option, so Daan Viljoen was the winner.

I quickly contacted my very close friend and baby brother, they both agreed to join in on the fun. I remember this day vividly as my brother and I left home to pick up Mewawa; as always she makes an entrance the with by cracking jokes and I mostly cannot contain myself as I laugh hysterically. Mewawa and my brother get along very well so I summed up the perfect group. Clearly we were all excited about heading to the games reserve as it was a first for each of us.

Upon arrival at the game reserve it was 11:30, hopping out of the vehicle was like stepping into a furnace and we all gave one another that “we-should-have-came-earlier-look”. Nonetheless we were excited to enjoy the views of the game reserve and the animals too. As of the initial encounter with the animal Mewawa said “Please could we take selfies with the Ostriches” Diago and I both burst into laughter and agreed to take the photo regardless. We then continued along the Rooibos hiking trail which led us to the Augeigas Dam as well as the eastern highlands, coupled with pit stops to catch the shade from the various trees as it was boiling hot. We managed to have a few peaks at two springboks but no other animals along the hiking trail unfortunately as they too felt the heat.

On our way back from the hiking trail we stopped for a swim as my brother was super keen, however Mewawa and relaxed under the umbrellas as watched him swim and definitely made fun of him. Finally we all agreed maybe just maybe we need to head back to the city.  I must admit the drive back home was a bit quiet as everyone was exhausted.

On this day 17th December Diago and I had planned to surprise Mommy at work as it was her birthday but maybe more like embarrass her just a little. I must say she just did not have any of that and tried to run from us, the funniest thing. It worked so we will schedule it in as an annual must do event, what out Mama!

It is so important that you spend time with those you Love as quality time is one amongst the five Love languages. Never let the busyness of life be an excuse as it is how you continue to develop close connections.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Minha Familia

There is something special about family time.

Walking into a room filled with smiles, laughter, noise from all corners as conversations hit off with a variety of generations in the room, some of those real silly and some particularly with more depth and urgency as we all ought to pass through the different stages of our lives. 

My previous time home was rather a difficult one, emotionally and mentally. This holiday was VERY DIFFERENT, a good and refreshing different. Upon arrival it was raining and the mood was set as we all drove from the airport to pick up Mommy from work, my baby brother (Diago) and sister (Gail) “my two favourite entertainers, I must stay” truly know how to keep one on their toes as they never hold anything back. They both have such refreshing and cool spirits as I am known to be the serious and boring one, there is definitely so much truth in that. As we got Mommy, when she approached the car she immediately makes me hop out and after all the welcome home formalities she starts analysing whether I have been eating and taking care of myself, Mommy: “You don’t look too bad honey”, surely my siblings agreed too however in addition they said: “She still needs to eat more”. I love these interactions as immediately it sunk in I am home with the individuals that love me regardless.

Our distinct characteristics:

As much as I am the least vocal in my family there is something about adventure that I truly love (this is my Juice) and most importantly…the unplanned always works out best. Gail is not into adventure and thus her ideal place would rather be sitting in an outskirts restaurant sipping on her favourite glass of port wine over dinner, Diago loves cars so he is always somewhere riding around hence he never picks up his phone, Mommy loves her quiet moments and I have noticed by far loves sitting by my eldest brother’s grave and talking to him is her favourite thing (watching her in the moment is breath-taking as she looks up into the heavenly skies) and Daddy has a passion for Angola aka the roots and his dogs (first thing he asks when arriving home would be whether we all fed the dogs), my cousin Matthew is super hardworking and very enthusiastic about his sleep, my favourite little angel Rauna who talks the day away so passionate about the food network never mind her constantly sitting there with her mouth-wide-open in awe of the delicious food, I must say that it is slightly torturing (she’ll be a famous chef some day). My family is weird but I passionately love them and there surely is a lot I could write about. Although it is not always perfect, I am fortunate to have them as my life long partners.

Last year I have been praying that God would bring my family and I closer to one another and He did. Honestly I am in awe every day of the work He is doing within our hearts. Being overwhelmed with joy is an understatement. This taught me that there is so much power in prayer and although my faith was wearing thin, thus I am now going to pray even though my entire being is unwilling to do so.

 Love in itself is a huge responsibility and can challenge one, as it is learning process every single day. It's a lot about grace, ferocious faith and standing tall regardless of the circumstances.