05 Jan “Travel the World and Serve the People”
Tell us a little bit about yourself
LUKE: I’m thirty-one years old, married to Celina, and I am from Switzerland. I grew up in a wonderful family – with my dad, mom and brother. I had an amazing childhood; we played a lot in the streets and had fun. After school, I did an apprenticeship in an organisation which works with disabled people, and then led a temp agency and worked as a landscape gardener. We had a wonderful life in Switzerland and had no reason to give up everything and leave.
When we got married three years ago, we got a call from the Lord to travel the world and serve the people, so we thought we would start in South Africa. We had met Stefano and Doris Lindsay from All Nations at a youth conference in Switzerland, and decided to join them for a 6 month internship, then travel on to Australia and the States. However we never went farther because we fell in love with South Africa!
CELINA: I am twenty-five years old. I grew up in a small village in Switzerland – where people say there are more cows than people! I grew up in a home with my mom, my dad, my younger sister and my baby brother, who is 10 years younger than me. I fell in love with Luke when I was fifteen, and we got married seven years later. I worked in a bank and then studied to become a primary school teacher before coming to South Africa.
How did you end up doing Forge?
LUKE: We decided to extend our six month internship to a year. After that, we decided to become staff members of All Nations, and for this to happen, one of their requirements is to complete Forge. At first, I wasn’t excited about Forge because I am a very practical guy; I want to be busy doing something. I’m not the type of person who can sit in a classroom for a whole day; I get bored and disconnected. So, initially – I was not happy at all!
CELINA: It was different for me! I was excited to do Forge because I love to learn, and before we went on our trip I dreamed about doing a bible school abroad. Starting Forge was an exciting prospect and I was looking forward to it.
Can you share one highlight from Forge?
LUKE: As I said, initially I was not excited. However after 1 or 2 weeks I realised that this was exactly the right place for me to be. I realised God was taking me on a journey during Forge that I hadn’t expected or experienced before. I learned to trust God and found out who God really is. It was a highlight to realise that Forge was the right thing to do and that it helped me a lot in my spiritual life and my life as a husband, a man, a believer, a disciple maker and a disciple. And my life as a mentee and a mentor. Wow!
CELINA: A highlight for me was the debrief week. I really enjoyed how the Forge staff team took care of us after our outreach. We had so much fun together this week. We had deep conversations as we processed with each other what God did during Forge. It was a highlight because I realised how much God had changed me, in a really good and healthy way. That I could be the unique Celina he created me to be. I realised that God puts passions, gifts and talents in us on purpose so we can worship Him with it. He equips us with everything we need, and continues to do that over a life time!
What was the most challenging part?
LUKE: The most challenging part for me was when I had a huge headache for a few days so I couldn’t attend class or walk around, I was just laying in bed, taking pain killers. It was so bad that I had to go to the doctor and he said it could be encephalitis, which is a dangerous swelling of the brain which could result in death. The elders of All Nations came and prayed for me and from that moment on I realised I was feeling much better. It’s hard to believe but the next morning I was on my surf board in Kommetjie, surfing some lekker waves! So I got healed – Praise God!
CELINA: For me, it was living together cross-culturally during CBO (Cross-Border Outreach) . Our team had four people from three different cultures and nationalities, and we lived together very closely, like a family – and it was intense! I struggled a lot at the beginning to live together with people so closely, and it was a challenge to get to know about culture in a really practical and deep way. Basic things that were normal to me weren’t always normal to another person, and that really challenged me!
Any funny moments?
LUKE: I can’t think of one particular moment, but all I can say is we had lots of fun in Forge. Because you live so close together in the same house it’s like a family and you get to know everyone really well. For those considering Forge, it might be helpful for them to see its not just teaching and sharing but its lots of fun and living together in community. We did a game called ‘Pie Roulette’ once, where you put shaving foam on a plate and pass it around and when the music stops the person that has the shaving foam in his hands can decide whether he ‘pies’ the person on the left or right. A random game but tonnes of fun! In the evenings there was also time to spend with people, play games and get to know another.
CELINA: I had to laugh so much at our cultural differences. For example, for our Malawian friends in Forge, everything that’s in the cupboard at our house was seen as available to share. But for Westerners, we are used to having our own shelf with our food that belongs to us. Luke had some nice, expensive biltong on his shelf. One night, while we were playing games, one our Malawian friends took the whole pack of biltong and dished it up for everyone. No-one said anything at the time but everyone knew it was Luke’s biltong! During Forge we laughed a lot at different situations when we realised how unique our cultures are. The great thing was that we were able to laugh about it and talk about it and it wasn’t awkward.
Can you share something that God has done in your life since Forge?
LUKE: One thing I realised during Forge was that I put God in a box. There were certain things I trusted God with, and certain things I thought I have to do myself because it’s not God’s department, it’s my department. During Forge I realised I could explode this box and let God do whatever he wants to do with my life; to give Him full access to my heart and every part of my life.
CELINA: God showed me He is not a religious God. When I realised that, it changed my whole view of how I look at God. To not be motivated by pleasing God, but to be brave, to worship, to fast, to feast – to do it all out of a heart of relationship with Jesus. That’s something God did in my life.
How has your Forge experience changed you or shaped your ministry in Ocean View?
LUKE: I changed the way I look at people. Not to see people, e.g. in Ocean View, as projects that I work on, and try to improve their lives, but to see them as friends and disciples of Jesus. And to know that I can hand over difficult situations with them to God; they’re His people not my people. This was a big release to me as when I first came to South Africa I felt it was my responsibility to fix their lives and do everything I could to give them a better future and life. I thought it’s all about me, but actually it’s all about God!
CELINA: The way I look at God and also the way I look at myself. I started to really embrace who I am and my uniqueness and to understand what it means to be rooted in His love, which is like the soil I’m growing in. And to not have a soil of personal accomplishment or striving or doing things in my own strength. In Ocean View, I now don’t try to make people dependent on me, but on Jesus. And I’m learning to really embrace and value their culture, to ask questions about how they think or what is normal, to listen well and keep on learning.
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