Three weeks ago I got my first opportunity to meet some incredible people and begin what I am sure will be lifelong friendships with all of them.

As we made our way into the township of Philipi, Terry wanted to give us the opportunity to taste some of the local cuisine. We stopped and had lunch at a place called Mzoli’s butchery. It is a meat lover’s paradise where you can choose anything from chicken, lamb, strips of beef and all kinds of sausages. When you walk into Mzoli’s, there is a front counter area where you select the meat you want to eat. They put your choices on a big platter, you pay for the meat and then take your platter to the back area where there is one of the biggest grills I have ever seen. It looks like something you would see at any SEC tailgaiting venue on Saturday afternoons. They use some kind of secret marinate for all their meat. What’s in the sauce? I have no idea but I will tell you, it is the best barbecue I have ever had – period.

After lunch, we finally made our way to Beautiful Gate. Beautiful Gate is a ministry that looks after the care and well-being of vulnerable children in the Lower Cross Roads area of Cape Town. Beautiful Gate has allowed Bridge 4 Hope to utilize some of their buildings in order for them to perform their ministry – which focuses on kids 18 to 28. You can learn more about both by clicking here – Beautiful Gate or Bridge4Hope.

The first person I was introduced to was Zimkhitha Mlata (Zimmie). This girl has one of the biggest and most infectious smiles I have ever seen. Have you ever met someone that instantly fills you with joy? Zimmie is like that, with her smile and unassuming nature, she simply exudes joy as she speaks and tells her story. Even though we didn’t have a lot of time to hear her complete story she was able to share enough to know that she has had to overcome a lot to get to where she is today.

We also had the opportunity to meet Thembelani, a young man, who like Zimmie has had to overcome a lot in his short life. There is no bitterness within him and although he hasn’t forgot about his past, his focus is on what lies ahead. His heart is to help make a difference in as many lives as he can going forward. To share with others, that there is hope and there is no obstacle that can’t be overcome.

Finally, we met Abongile, Bomikazi and Cheri as they played host and served us tea and biscuits. Again, 3 incredible young ladies, each with a humble spirit, bright smile and great stories to tell. I will share more about Abongile and Bomikazi in a later post but for now, I will just say – about all of these folks, is that it was so refreshing to see young people with such a hunger to learn and know Christ more intimately with each passing day. And then want to turn and share what they have learned with others!

As we pulled out of Beautiful Gate, I was so thankful that God had allowed me to come to South Africa. On this first day, I had the opportunity to see the beauty of God’s creation as I looked upon the ocean and mountains while being reminded to see the beauty in God’s greatest creation – His people. I had been given the incredible opportunity to meet some of these wonderful people and instantly form a lasting bond with each of them. And although they understood that the people from America were coming to share with and teach them – I knew and understood in that moment, that it was me (us), that would be the ones that would learn far more from them!!

Last thought – How much richer would my life be if I would simply take the time and be intentional about getting to know new people? I pray that God would open doors and that I would be bold and courageous enough to step out and do just that in the months ahead.

Peace and thanks for reading