Monday, 15 April 2013

Colour Conference twenty-13

As each Colour is uniquely different so are the girls that formed the sisterhood at Colour Conference this year. But as each colour comes together a beautiful rainbow is formed. A rainbow signifies the end of a storm and that’s what I believe the Missio Dei “Mission of God” was for this years’ Colour Conference. It was the end of unawareness about all the troubles facing the world, it was the end of not knowing how one can help, it was the end of living in the darkness, it was the end of loneliness, grief, anger, pain, loss, and ignorant living, but was the start of a revolution of PEACE, LIGHT and LOVE!

So instead of the usual praise report, I thought I would take it a bit further and write a praise report blog post. Because the space on that report card is too darn small to express the gratitude I have for God and Hillsong SA as a whole for bringing me to my knees at my very first Colour Conference! Not only did I have the opportunity to attend the conference but I got to attend it with the very best of friends. I invited one of my best friends in particular after God planted the desire in my heart to experience this wonderful weekend with her! I knew it was something important she needed in her life as it was a great way to show her that no matter how broken and hurt some people can make her feel there is a God in heaven knocking on her door waiting for her to accept his glorious invite into her life!

This weekend started with our spanking new t-shirts stating a simple line: “I will Rise” and that we did!

Nearly 6500 women queued in front of the doors at the Grand Arena. The doors were opened and the conference begun, but don’t for a second think that women are gracious when it comes to getting the best seats in the house of God, oh no! Like I can imagine a race to get the last pair of Jimmy Choos at a sale would be, so the women pushed, shoved and stampeded to get those seats, I can admit I was no different! Whatever you do....Do NOT send me to the balcony!

The stage was breathtaking and the Worship team, who was absolutely fabulous, opened with a stunning worship session. Bobby Huston gave us a wonderful word about our journey into Zion beginning with God and ending with Jesus and about our Missio Dei “Mission of God” while we on earth.

Hearing 6500 woman sing-along to Oceans from the Hillsong United C.D. Zion still gives me goosebumps when I think about it! Such a beautiful song and such a beautiful moment!

And so, day two commenced, starting bright and early with our arrival at 7am of course, because no, as I said before, I was not sitting on the balcony! Haha! Priscilla Shirer an American woman of God brought possibly the most wonderful Word I have ever heard! About when we step out of the boat and give up that’s when Jesus steps into our boat and tells us to go deeper, to try harder and for us to know we not doing life alone!

Beautiful Canadian, Helen Burns, then brought us the Word about not being Isolated, about loving one another, building communities and having strong relationships with others as 90% of our destiny is in other people. Relationships are all about caring, commitment, conviction and courage.

During our breaks finding a store to purchase food without a line that stretched to the ends of the earth and back was impossible. So I settled for fish finger tasting chicken nuggets, thank goodness for the snack pack we received in the morning. During the breaks I got asked by numerous people why there were so many women all together and it gave me an opportunity to tell them about God and invite them to Church and NOTHING makes me happier than to give someone the opportunity to experience the happiness I am now experiencing.

The next half of the day Bobby Huston encouraged us to talk about Jesus more to radiate his light through naturally charged conversations when introducing your friends to your other Friend!

The next session dealt with important matters and light was shown on serious situations in the world. They introduced us to initiatives like The A 21 project that is driven towards rescuing woman from human trafficking, WAR which is Woman against Rape and the 500 project that encourages us to raise money for woman in Uganda who have stopped going to school. Check it out here: They shared inspiring life stories and it truly encouraged me to stay true to the Big Idea I have been planning. You will all hear about it soon, still tons of research and planning to happen though.

Priscilla Shirer brought another wonderful message about patience and that when we think God has cheated us, he has actually chosen us! God has saved me, he will change me and he will use me through justification, sanctification and location!

Helen Burns then spoke about God strengthening you to do what you have been called to do. Bobby presented a wonderful gift to us and the worship team closed off with a stunning performance based on shining your lantern brightly.

The conference as a whole was amazing but the things that drew me so close to God was in the small conversations I had with people outside the conference, about when they started attending church and how God has worked in their lives, I even got introduced to a person that told me exactly the truth that I was seeking, I asked him how he knew my heart so well and his reply “It’s not me talking to you it’s God talking through me” and this in its own was my little miracle of the weekend not to mention my best friend got saved! Hi 5 Colour!

So I just want to thank all the volunteers, the Colour Conference team, the Pastors, Hillsong SA as a whole and all the lovely ladies for making this weekend one not to be forgotten! Next year I will be #ONMISSION to invite all the ladies in my life to partake in Colour because I feel that no woman should ever miss out on an opportunity like this! After all it is the greatest love story ever told! Cape Town Stadium 2014, taking it to a whole nother level! Let’s Go!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Hearing Isn’t Always Listening

I’ve had a yearning desire to write this blogpost for a while now, but I’ve been putting it off as I was fearful that my thoughts are stupid, and people won’t really care about what I have to say, but if I have learnt anything from this weekend it is to follow the little voice in your head, to do the unreasonable, to use your talents and your unshakeable faith to make the decision to let go and let God take control of your life.
Yes, people might be judging me right now, thinking ah Anuschka, you Jesus freak, you show off, and how dare I talk about Christianity in the public spectrum. I, however, have come to realise that I don’t care what a handful of negative people think as long as I can impact the lives of several people through my desire to spread His word. I hope that you all can read this with an open heart.

God has been in my life since the day I was born, my grandfather was a pastor and my family has always planted a firm seed in my life when it comes to Faith. All my life I have been attending a Catholic church and going to church because I was told to do so. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to church at all for months at a time. I have always believed in Him but over the past couple of years I have come to realise that going to church and saying your prayers at night does NOT make you a Christian. Having a relationship with God is a whole different ball game. When you have a relationship with Him, He will test your faith on a daily basis. I only truly started on the path of growing and moulding my relationship with him when I got invited by a girl in my class to attend her church and was taken back by the crazy passion everyone displayed, clapping and singing at church, surely this wasn’t what He wanted but I was open to change and to experience something new. As the night commenced I felt the spirit like I never have before, I saw passion like I have never seen before, and I understood His Word and what God wanted for me in my life for the very first time. God can call you back to him in the strangest ways, he works through people, through signs, through opportunities, he may even use your lowest moments where you have given up all hope and need a miracle to make you stop and turn to him again.

My life has generally been quite an easy one, whatever I have wanted I have usually got and I don’t know if that was favour or luck but after my year in London I realised what stress and uncertainty felt like. “For God has a plan to prosper you and not to harm you.” London is a tough place to keep you faith up, at times it’s put on the back burner but I’m grateful that I made the decision to attend Hillsong London as often as I could. It was a safe haven for me, a place where God reminded me that He was with me throughout the week no matter what obstacles I faced. There were two defining moments last year which will always be a constant reminder of His undying love for me.

I will never forget the Easter Sunday we attended Hillsong London for the very first time, it was raining and we had to queue outside to try and get in for at least one of their packed out Easter services. At that time we were jobless and still living in hostels. I filled out a prayer request that morning begging God to provide us with a job and nice warm home, within that week my friend’s mother organised a job for us in a catering company called Elements: Favour, ask and you shall receive. We were still living in hostels and moving between houses but we eventually found a home.

The second defining moment was when we were almost homeless again, the house we were living in was not a healthy environment to stay in due to our steroid taking, drug dealing landlord and after an incident happened we decided to tell the landlords that we were leaving the home before our holiday to Barcelona. We had a limited time to find a new place to stay that was both affordable and in a good area, it was stressful and many of the places didn’t call back or didn’t give us a chance, after desperate prayers we found the perfect home. When we recalculated the figures we realised that we couldn’t afford to pay the deposit and monthly rent so we called the landlord and told him we couldn’t afford it. The landlord decided not only to waiver the agency fees but to drop the rent of the rooms. We paid the deposit and hoped for the best. The morning before we left we got a call saying that our flights needed to be changed and that we would receive 100 pounds back for the change. It was truly a blessing as the deposit we had to pay crippled our bank account. The roommates in our new home were amazing and from the day we moved in there our lives were instantly better. Favour: Ask and you will receive.

God has not only worked his wonders for me while I was in London but he was working his wonders back home for my family, my dad was blessed with a new job, and their faith was kept firm, we often spoke about how God was impacting our lives even though we were thousands of miles apart.

This year my Faith has grown from strength to strength, after my uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer a few weeks ago and my friend was in a horrific car accident I decided to take a serious look at my life and what was truly important in it. The Friday prior to last was the night I knew I started to completely change, every sip of alcohol I took I kept thinking to myself I know God is not happy with my drunken state at this moment but I chose to ignore His voice in my head. That Saturday as I opened the Bible app on my iPod looking for answers the daily verse was from Peter:

1 Peter 4:1-11 (NIV)

"Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."

That Sunday I went to church and the message was about living according to His word again. This weekend I attended a conference called Lift and it was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my life. It made me challenge myself and question all that I stood for. Pastor Glyn Barrett joined us from Manchester and he tested us to be courageous, to listen to His voice and pay attention, to understand that sometimes God can be unreasonable, and to allow big moments to mould your life.

I believe I was brought to Urban Edge in Durbanville as it is right around the corner from Durbanville Medi Clinic where my uncle is currently at, nothing is by chance. On the last night of Lift I felt the Holy Spirit like I never have before, I felt the burning desire to go pray for my uncle after the service. My friend Natalie and I raced in there as we just missed visiting hours, he was so surprised to see us and as we stood over him praying I knew in my heart that God would provide a miracle, on my way out of the hospital a man approached Natalie and I in the parking lot telling us “No matter what you are going through God is always there for you” and that was exactly what God wanted us to hear! When I got home I wanted to tell my aunty about how amazing everything turned out that evening, without telling my mom about it, my aunty messaged my mom and told her she was going to come and visit us. As I told her about how God gave me the strength to spontaneously go to the hospital, I could tell that she was so happy. She made the decision to come to church with us this morning, and she encouraged me to invite my uncle’s son and her sons too. This morning I arrived at church with 6 new faces ready to listen to the Lord. During the afternoon I went to visit my Uncle, he was doing amazing today, smiling and looking healthy as a horse. I can see that there is a new fighting desire in him and I know that things are only going to get better from here onwards.

Sometimes you just need to stop, and look up; you need to have the courage to say yes to having a relationship with Him. You need to spread his love whether it be a smile, giving your hard earned money to someone who needs it more than you do or whether it be you waking up everyone in your home on a Sunday morning to make sure everyone attends Church to hear His word at a risk of being thrown with something sharp. No one is perfect but the fact the you’re trying is all that counts to Him, we all falter and fall and I might go back to the person I was. But I know Jesus believes in me and I will come back stronger. There are so many chapters to write in my life and as long as I am writing the right chapters I know I will have the Lord by my side and these chapters will be filled with abundant favour!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Live More, Travel More

As all the adults head back to work and all the youngsters enjoy their last week of freedom, I felt that reviving my blog would be a great way to celebrate the new year.

2012 was truly one of the best years of my life, not many people can say they got to live in a foreign country and travel Europe with three of their best friends. It wasn't all happy times though, we were truly being tested almost everyday we woke up in London, whether it be us waking up snuggled together on one bed in a friends home, or waking up in a bug infested hostel, or in a raging, steroid taking landlord's home, we knew we would always pull through in the end. Even after being jobless for the first month and living off Tesco's microwave dinners shared among the four of us, giving up was not an option. We were lucky enough to find a job which recruited us to various 5 star hotels, things only got better from then on.

I made a list of my favorite moments in 2012:

  • The first day I walked in Oxford Circus, experiencing Primark, Top Shop and H&M for the first time.
  • Our short trip to Camden Town, definitely my favorite place in London.
  • Easter at Hillsong London
  • My trip to Manchester United's Old Trafford, Everton v.s. United 4-4 possibly the best day of my life.
  • Being employed
  • Working at The W hotel.
  • Moving into our first house share, thrilling at first devastating at the end
  • Our trip to Amsterdam
  • Seeing a couple of famous people from the likes of Cheryl Cole, Will.I.Am, Princess Anne (The Queen's sister) and Bryan Habana.
  • The arrival of Jody
  • Our Trip to Barcelona and Ibiza, where we partied to Calvin Harris & Paul Van Dyk at Amnesia
  • Nikita, Adee and I's drunken pool party in Ibiza 
  • Moving into our new, beautiful home.
  • The arrival of Nico and Mike
  • Coco-Cola at The Langham Hotel London for the 2012 Olympics.
  • Watching the Olympic Women's Volleyball semi-final game: Brazil v.s. South Korea
  • Our trip to Madeira
  • Watching Steve Aoki in Madeira, possibly the best night of my life.
  • When Felix and JJ moved in as well as meeting a whole bunch of new friends.
  • Shopping time with Bee in Primark
  • My first purchase at Top Shop
  • The bus rides home from The Langham, honestly involved the craziest conversations.
  • Roaming in Trafalgar Square after nights out, damn I love that city!
  • Watching the sunrise behind the London Eye and The Houses of Parliament
  • Sing-a-long's and sitting on YouTube for hours in Club Felix
  • KING'S Cup
  • Making my first omelette with the help of Felix.
  • My trip to the V&A Design Museum and Tate Modern.
  • Underground Drum and Base party at Fire.
  • Our final trip to Paris and Rome.
  • Putting a lock on Lock Bridge in Paris with BANA (Bianca, Adriana, Nikita and Anuschka) written on it.
  • My trip to the Louvre and The Vatican Museum.
  • The Numbers Warehouse Party
  • Seeing art from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, Michelangelo as well as pattern design by William Morris and architecture by Gaudi.
  • Surprising my family and friends when I arrived home in Cape Town earlier than expected.
  • The year ended off perfectly as we got to spend New Years with all our friends at Rezonance outdoor festival.
2012 wasn't just about what I experienced but rather about what I have learnt, it wasn't just about the people I met but about the relationships I have built, it wasn't just about the countries I visited, it was about the goals I set and accomplished, it wasn't just about the hotels I worked for, but about the teams I worked with, it wasn't just about the art I saw but about the emotions I felt and it wasn't just about the friends I arrived with, but about the sisters I left with. 

I will forever be grateful for the year I had and would like to personally thank everyone that helped us through our toughest times, and those who celebrated with us during our happiest times! I'm looking forward to what 2013 has in store for me.