ON THE ROAD WITH RGM — AFRICA

Long before I launched Redeemed Girl, I took a Bible study course that literally rocked my world. The course was called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. It is a 15-week class that examines God’s heart for the nations. I remember taking the class and reading the Bible with fresh eyes. God’s heart is for all people to know Him—every tribe, every language, and every people group. And Christ followers have been entrusted with the soul-saving, life-transforming, freedom-giving, Good News of Jesus Christ.

Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:3)

While RGM has primarily focused on sharing the Gospel with women in the United States, our heart beats for the nations.  Nothing brings me more joy than to hear of women across the globe who are trusting Christ or growing in their faith through our resources. So last fall, when I received an email from a missionary friend in Botswana, informing me that women there are listening to the RGM podcast teachings during their Bible studies, I flipped out! To say the least, I lost my chill.

Always a spontaneous activator, I told my friend, “I want to meet them!” So that one little email set in motion a plan for RGM to host our evangelistic event at The University of Botswana and for me to have time to teach and disciple the women in their faith community. After months of planning, my team and family headed to Africa in April! I won’t bore you with travel details, but let’s just say the flight was long— really long. But once we arrived in Botswana, we were greeted by the sweetest group of students and staff. The hospitality of the CRU team was incredible. I love how you can be across the globe, meeting complete strangers, yet feel you’ve known them for a lifetime because you have Jesus in common.

We landed Friday night and immediately the next morning we hosted our first event. The team informed me that the culture is very confused about sex, so they decided to name the event, Scandalous Sex. I’ll be honest. The title made me blush a little bit, but there was a great need in this country to have a candid, Biblical conversation about sex.

Botswana is a beautiful country, and the people are full of joy, kindness, and generosity. In contrast to this light, there exists a darkness. The country was also devastated by the AIDS crisis. Most students were raised by grandparents because nearly an entire generation died of AIDS. Today, 22 % of the population is HIV positive. This heartbreaking reality is the backdrop for why the Cru team wanted to share God’s beautiful design for sex.

Due to jet lag, I woke up super early the morning of the event, which allowed me time to spend with the Lord before my talks. As I prayed, I sensed the Lord speak the word “grace.” This culture was raised with religion, but many have never heard the true Gospel. I knew before I could address the sex confusion, I had to address the soul confusion.

We couldn’t have been more pleased with the turnout. Hundreds of students filled the room on a Saturday afternoon. In the first session, I shared my story of Scandalous Grace and told the students about the transforming power of Jesus. In the second session, we got real with a candid conversation about God’s design for sex. The students were so invested in this time and asked dozens of questions during the Q&A.

Our next ministry time was held in a village school with a few hundred 10th grade students. Realizing how vastly different my culture was from their own, I felt led to stick very closely to scripture when speaking. God’s Word is relevant to all cultures and generations! With the aid of a translator, I opened my Bible and shared from Luke about the Prodigal Son. These students are faced with many of the same temptations that students in the US face: drugs, alcohol, and promiscuity. And with these temptations they can end up in pits of destruction. But oh, aren’t we thankful for God’s redeeming grace! I shared how God welcomes us with opens arms and restores us when we run home to Him. This was a beautiful day as 75 students prayed to trust Jesus as Savior.

My favorite moment of the week was teaching (live and in person) the women who regularly listen to RGM podcasts. Their hunger for God’s word was evident. We dived into the scriptures, and my sweet husband had to hold a flashlight over my head as a taught so I could even see the pages. Whatever it takes people, whatever it takes! There is nothing in the world like seeing women fall in love with God through His word. I’d cross a million oceans to see that joy on a face!

After days of back to back speaking and events, we departed Botswana for a short family vacation at a safari lodge in South Africa. I’ll let my husband’s amazing photos tell the story, but to say the least, we lived as my sister T-Swift would say … our “wildest dreams!” (see what I did there?)

Here are a few highlights from our African Safari:

#1— The sunrises in South Africa are unparalleled. God’s glorious creative power is on display in technicolor every morning.

#2— Elephants. Oh. So. Many. Elephants!! Swimming, Dancing, Playing. The are adorbs! They are also much larger than they appear in photos and are very family oriented. I loved learning about their habits and culture.

#3 —When I completely LOST MY CHILL when I first spotted a rhino and then again when I saw a giraffe. The unexpected sightings take your breath away. By the way, I have a ninja-like skill for spotting animals. I hate to brag, but for real, I’m good.

#4 —Watching my bonus boys come alive and experience God’s grandeur and creation up close and personal. We think Brenden may have found his calling as a safari guide, and Andrew is our future photographer.

#5 — Have I mentioned we watched lions feast on an antelope for breakfast? Oh, it was a real thing, and it was crazy fascinating. The lion literally walked right by our truck, once again, chill was lost.

#6 — Spending my fourth wedding anniversary with the love of my life as we danced in fields of gold! After such a busy few months on the road with events, I was grateful for a few days to be with my family and rest in such a beautiful setting.

#7 — Oh, and the sunsets. The only thing that can rival an African sunrise is the sunset.

For His Glory,

Marian

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