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AFRICA TRIP JOURNAL 2014: THROUGH THE EYES OF J.HOLLIS

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AFRICA MISSION TRIP JOURNAL: JUNE 2ND-13TH 2014

JUNE 2ND:
So the journey began driving to meet Greg Davidson (CFO) at Central South Distribution offices. We headed to the airport to get on a plane to Atlanta, GA and then sixteen hours direct to Johannesburg, South Africa. On the way to Atlanta I sat next to a girl named Morgan Kopitzke who works in the music business as well as an entrepreneur in health products. She also leads worship at her church and her Uncle plays keys for Peter Cetera as well as several other well-known artists. How cool is that? After the quick thirty-minute flight to Atlanta we headed out to our flight to Africa. When I sat down the girl sitting next to me was headed to Mozambique to study to train disciples which was awesome how God would place me on two flights with spiritual connections! Surprisingly, the flight went rather quickly after watching a few movies, reading a book, listening to some new music on my ipod, and falling fast asleep to awaken to breakfast being served and only 2 hours left.

JUNE 3RD:
When we arrived in Johannesburg we were greeted by Hennie Hanekom (Africa Vision Foundation), Mike Greenberg (E3 Ministries/I Am Second), and the rest of the team. After getting to the Road Lodge hotel in Pretoria we got ready and went to dinner with the team and then met our old friend Hein who was with me on my first trip to Africa three years ago. We talked and caught up a bit then we headed back to the hotel and went to sleep.

JUNE 4TH:
After a good night’s sleep and breakfast around 10am we loaded up the vans and headed to lunch at the Irene Farm which was a beautiful place. The food was buffet style of some traditional African dishes and desert’s that were out of this world. After a couple of hour’s fellowshipping we loaded up for the two hour trip to Shikwaru Lodge Game Reserve. On the way there we saw monkeys, giraffes, and more wild animals it was so great to see them in their environment. When we arrived at Shikwaru Lodge it was still sunny out and the landscape was just breathtaking and we all unloaded our gear and got into our cabins. We then headed upstairs in the lodge for an introduction to the Africa Vision Foundation Summit which would take place for the next four days. It was great there were over forty people from businesses and ministries from all over the world coming together to pour into Africa. Afterwards, we went downstairs and ate dinner cooked by Chef Danny who had been to culinary arts school and he was only in his early twenties. The food was amazing and the fellowship meeting new faces. Then we went out around the fire pit and we were told a story underneath the display of stars unlike anything in America it was simply awesome to see God’s beauty at work in the night sky. We went to bed after that and I was still jet lagging a bit so I watched a movie and then went to bed.

JUNE 5TH:
The morning brought a breakfast and then upstairs to the beginning of the “invitation only” Africa Vision Foundation Summit. We listened intently about the “harbor” concept which was led by Hennie and Paul Barker (Soli Deo Ventures) and Bill Price (Africa Institute of Leading). Followed by the AVF Leadership and Governance Docking Bay which was facilitated by Dr. Bert Watson (Leading Edge Christian Ministries), Rudolf Kabutz (Leadership Development TWR), Bill Price, and Adv Leslie Sedibe (Proudly South African). We broke for lunch for an hour and then heard about the AVF Missional Docking Bay led by Dr. Judy Bauer (Kingdom Advance or KAM), Dr. Louis Blom (Judea Harvest), Ron Kinnear (Africa Missions), Willem Nel (Every Nation), Adriaan Adams (MIA), Mike Greenberg (E3 Partners/I Am Second), and John Paul Sprecher/JP (Young Lions Arise). We broke for a coffee and tea break then we were led in an inspirational time with Patrick Kuwana (Unashamedly Ethical and Crossover Transformation) and Jayson Naidoo (Lead Like Jesus). Followed by a time of prayer with Bill. Breaking for another amazing dinner with Kudu steaks. After dinner we made another fire outside of my cabin and had fellowship with some new friends. It was a great night and afterwards went to bed to sleep.

JUNE 6TH:
After a chilly wake up around 34 degrees brrr cold morning we headed to breakfast and began another day of the AVF Summit. We began with a reflection and prayer time. We then talked about various topics Development & Transformation Docking Bay, Business & Trade Docking Bay, Soli Deo Ventures spoke about positioning, funding models, philosophy, projects, and the way forward by Paul Barker. Small group discussions began after lunch break which were very in depth but, good stuff. Basically, we were putting these concepts all together. After dinner we had another amazing relaxing time of fellowship.

JUNE 7TH:
Saturday morning was devoted to the Trade 4 Development Program with Dirk where he explained the concepts to us. We broke for lunch and then to the Safari which was absolutely the best I’ve ever been on! We saw rhinoceros, lions, jackals, giraffes, wildebeests, hippopotamus, elephants, cudus, and so much more! It was absolutely awesome! When the sun went down the cold came upon us and the wind was just brutal. We made it back to the last night at the camp and went to bed.

JUNE 8TH:
We headed back to Joberg to catch our flight to Kigali, Rwanda where we sat for a lay-over for four hours but, it was air conditioned and we ate and drank for free. We then boarded our flight for Bujumbura, Burundi and it was a quick flight. When we arrived it was so muggy and hot and there was no air conditioning in the airport birds were flying through the windows. Just different than expected and then we had to get visas to be in country so that took a while. Then we were off to the hotel. Then we ate a late dinner and went to bed.

JUNE 9TH:S1250384
We met with our guides and went up to see the Long Miles Coffee headquarters where we had a cup-tasting which was so cool I have never done that before. Then we loaded up the Range Rover and headed up the mountain to see the washing station. When we got up the mountain we stopped at a hospital being built and orphanages behind it to house orphans from the genocide and wars. Then we loaded up and met Ben Carlson and the team at the washing stations. It was a sight I’m not even going to try to put into words, ok I am going to it was beautiful across from us were Eucalyptus trees in a huge field and in front of me were the drying stations for the coffee beans where thousands and thousands of beans were drying in the sun. At the top of the station was the water bucket where the cherries of coffee were dropped in and if they made the cut they were placed on a mesh sheet to prepare for the machine to have the skin removed so that the beans can be washed. It’s quite an amazing process. Ben shared the whole process with us and then we went to a late lunch half way down the mountain where we ate goat on a stick and other African dishes. It was quite good. Then we went back down to the hotel where we went to sleep.

JUNE 10TH:
We got to go see the sights in Bujambura, Burundi today it was great I got so much video footage. We went to visit the ladies at the ministry where they made clothes, bags, purses, etc. it was really touching. We then met Ben Carlson for lunch and to say goodbye to everyone. We got on our plane and flew back to Rwanda and then to Johannesburg. We hung out and ate dinner with the team. I was exhausted so I went to sleep afterwards.

JUNE 11TH:
Today we woke up and had breakfast at this really unique restaurant which looked like businessmen had meetings there. Afterwards we walked through the shops and then Greg & I went with Hennie to a sight-seeing trip of Joberg. It was so eye-opening to the culture there and then we went to Sandton wow! Such a ritzy place I just felt out of place it was just so for people with lots of money!! But, we walked all over and ate at a really nice steak house in Mandela’s square. Then after we went to the airport for the long wait for our flight. We met with Hennie and Dirk and drank some African coffee. Then we went to shop a bit before our flight at 8:30pm. When the time finally came we were so ready to get on the plane. So for hours we watched movies, listened to music, and after midnight our time I fell asleep for 6 hours. I was out…couldn’t believe it.

JUNE 12TH-13th:
Still flying in the air pretty much all day it was getting to be a long trip a bit but, with the time change it seemed to go faster. We landed in Atlanta technically at 6:30am eastern time so we boarded for Nashville and arrived at 8:40am central time and then thank you Jesus we were home! Great time so much to process. Amen

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