During the weekend of January 13-15, some of the NieuCommunities South Africa crew took off on a retreat to our old stomping grounds of Pangani. For nearly a decade, Pangani was a space God used to richly bless countless lives of ministry leaders around the world. Standing in this position of trying to sell it and honor the past has been a very humbling experience.
Most of those who now participate in NieuCommunities are of an African culture now. The only person in our leadership team that has experienced living here are Curtis and myself. It was an important step to give the other members of our leadership team (and some of our other members) that understanding in a tangible way. What better way to constantly remind ourselves of our past than building an ark with relics from the past?
Just as the people of Israel placed crucial relics of their past, I took the team on a tour of the property. I told stories as I remembered hearing them from before my time as well as stories I helped to write. It was painful, joy filled, and emotionally driven for me. As we worked our way to the coffee shop, I stood in a very important place. Natalie and I sat with Rob Yackley there a little over two years ago to confirm the vision God had been placing on our hearts to stand next to African leaders in community, helping birth new initiatives wherever God opened doors. It was in that room that we launched into what we are now busy building today.
Builders build on foundations. Without the solid foundation, whatever you try to build just collapses. I wanted to make sure that at this pivotal moment in the story of NieuCommunities, we captured a deep understanding of that very foundation. I want us to throw our hammers wherever God allows us to while anchoring our identity in what God has already begun. This ark serves as a constant reminder that we are standing on the shoulders of many tears & celebrations. May His kingdom come and His will be done so much more deeply as we choose to carry these memories with us.