Noah – Not Just a Name

Today, we visited three service sites: Masiyila Secondary School, Mannenberg Primary School, and Young in Prison. After visiting two others next week, we will get to choose which site we would like to work more closely with throughout the semester. However, the Lord has already made it clear where he wants me to be! I’ve been praying fervently for clarity, knowing that I’d be lost without His divine guidance leading me in every detail of this process. This morning, I was meditating on Psalm 32 and came across this beautiful verse:

“I will instruct you and show you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you.” – Psalm 32:8

In other words, the Lord’s (dove’s) eye is upon each of us, guiding every step of the way. And honestly, I don’t want to go my way anymore! I don’t want to be like the horse that has to wear blinders to guard my eyes from distractions, or that has to be harnessed with bit and bridle to jerk me back on track. My one true desire is to draw near and scootch up close to the Lord’s feet willingly and passionately. I want to be completely surrendered to His will. Because whenever I choose to go my own way, nothing ever seems to work out anyways! Sometimes I grasp so tightly for control. Why? Because I fear uncertainty. I fear following an “invisible” God. I fear failure. But then I remember that He has shown Himself faithful to me time and time again. I remember that in times of uncertainty, he provides divine guidance. In times of searching, He reveals Himself in tangible ways. In times of failure, He produces beauty and triumph.

He has divinely “instructed me and shown me the way I should go.” And He is, without a doubt, leading me to Masiyila Secondary School. This morning, when we arrived at Masiyila in the township of Khayelitsha, we were greeted by a woman named Machacha. As she introduced herself and brought us into the library, her friendly spirit warmed my heart. Immediately, it was evident that she loves the Lord. The first thing she mentioned was that Nelson Mandela has pneumonia and that we should all keep him in our prayers.

She began to tell us all about the school and the wonderful projects that other service-learners have done in the past. In particular, she highlighted the work of a guy named Noah who established a library there last semester. Angela Mias, our program director, had also mentioned him a couple of different times during orientation. Though I was incredibly inspired by his achievements, Noah was just a name until Machacha mentioned offhand that it reminded her of the story of Noah and the ark.

Chills ran up and down my spine as I realized…whoa! It is in this very story that the dove plays a prominent role. Noah sends the dove out from the ark several times in search of dry ground. It returns one day with an olive branch clasped delicately in its beak, symbolizing the end of the flood. (In fact, I mentioned the story of Noah in my explanation of how this site got its name! See tab at the top entitled “The Dove’s Eyes”). I was brought to tears in holy reverence and awe at how intricately the Lord is leading my steps! Praise Him!

For dinner, we all went to a beautiful restaurant called Moyo’s. The atmosphere was that of a jungle with quaint cabanas and tents interspersed among the trees. As daylight faded, lanterns illuminated the paths and branches – a magical setting for the extravagant buffet that we feasted upon throughout the night. African drummers and a live band played wonderful music as people filed out onto the dance floor. When Shakira’s song “Waka Waka” came on, the servers got up on stage and did the dance – it was completely unplanned! …Such a beautiful moment that shouted loudly of the pride South Africans have for their country.

Meal at Moyo's

Dove’s kisses:

  • One of the service-learners from last semester who established a library was named Noah…and the dove is prominent in the story of Noah and the ark!
  • As we traveled along one of the highways, I looked out the window and saw the following phrase written across one of the large barrier fences: “With you I am well pleased.” This phrase comes from Mark 1:11 when the Lord speaks to Jesus, saying, “You are my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” …which comes directly after the Holy Spirit descends from heaven like a dove.
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