I my last “Favor Factors” article entitled “The Favor That Follows”, I took a look at the journey of Joseph from the pit to the palace from the viewpoint of favor. Everything he experienced was directly impacted by the favor that followed him. I too can attest that when you surrender your will to the will of God, favor will follow you also.
When I said “I do” to the will of God concerning my journey to South Africa, I had no idea to what extent favor would follow me. When looking through the eyes of flesh, one might accuse me of being stone-cold crazy: a woman literally giving up her entire life, a life of first-world country comfort and convenience, to venture solo into a third-world, foreign territory where there is no biological familial support, no promise of provision, no idea of how long she would stay, no guarantee of success, no idea where she’d return to when the journey was over. But from the eyes of the spirit, this was a destiny move.
Being driven by a destiny calling, favor prepared me for the many unforeseen obstacles I would face. There were many minor “culture shocks”. Something as simple as grocery shopping was a reminder that I was a sojourner in a foreign land. While the grocery stores were laid out just like those here in the US, I had no idea that I’d have to relearn how to shop just so that I could cook the only way know how.
Crackers aren’t crackers in South Africa. They’re biscuits. Tomato sauce as we know it over there is actually ketchup. I’ve never found our equivalent of tomato sauce there. Ground beef is mincemeat. Cornmeal? They’ve never heard of it. I can’t even tell you how long it took me to even be able to pronounce the word serviette. But when I would ask where the napkins were, I’d be pointed to the where the diapers are.
Then there were other linguistic differences. South African English is NOT the same as American English. I’ve come to learn that if someone says “I’m coming just now”, or “now now”, just know they may arrive anywhere between now and next Tuesday. Lol.
Being geographically dysfunctional, and not knowing how to use public transport was another hinderance for me. As a result, for the first 5-6 months, I couldn’t embrace the same independence as my South African counterparts. It would be almost a year before I would brave this new world of public taxis.
I would say by far the most difficult lessons were the cultural ones. I found myself often offending people just by how I would knock on doors, for example. It took years for me to figure out the “proper” way to knock ever so gently with my middle knuckle facing upwards. The ear trained for it can hear that knock a mile away. I could barely hear it standing on the opposite side of the door.
Upon my arriva, I found myself, a person with a type A personality combined with a reclusive spirit, having to adjust to living in a two-roomed house with 6 people. From there I wound up living in virtual isolation on a tract of farm land, which I actually enjoyed. But the sound of mosquitos whirring in my ears like helicopters all night long was the norm. Staying in a place where there is no such thing as screens, all windows must be closed at night regardless of the heat or you’d wake up the next morning looking one big mosquito bump.
This wasn’t so bad until the attack that is attracted to favor reared its ugly head and I began to cry out to God for deliverance. That deliverance came in the form of another relocation.
YET FAVOR FOLLOWED ME
While I was seeking the Lord for direction, I lodged for a few days at a place that provided accommodations for people who desired to seclude themselves for fasting and prayer. The complex was divided into two units. One for prayer and the other for university student accommodations.
Shortly thereafter my visit there, I was invited to move there by the manager. “The Holy Ghost instructed me to ask you to come stay with us” he said. This gentle giant knew that I had no money to offer. He was simply being obedient to God’s leading. My current circumstances were a clue that favor was following me from the remote farmland to a very nice housing environment in town where my role as “mother of nations” prophetically spoken over me years prior would be born.
It was here that several young ladies began to adopt me as their parent. It was also here where for the first time I finally gained contact with the outside world through internet connectivity. For two weeks this became my paradise. I had the best bedroom in the house. The staff and students showed me the love of a true family. Then POOF! The lights went out.
For the next two months, I found myself living with the total absence of electricity in the dead of winter. Yes, it gets very cold in South Africa especially since there is no such thing as central heating. My nice little electric blanket was no longer of any use to me at all. I had two very thick plush blankets that I received as a gift, but those suckers were so heavy that laying under them felt like something was smashing me.
The “gentle giant” made all the provisions he possibly could for those of us who had no other options. And although I have strong loner tendencies, in that environment it was nice to have my “baby girl”,
Fiona in the room next door and a couple others to keep the home lively…that is until the school break. Everyone in the house was “going home” to their respective creature comforts, except me. I must say, this was one of those times that I really didn’t handle the transitions God brought before me very well. I found myself at the height of frustration.
For days prior to everyone’s departure my spirits seemed to sink lower and lower. I would find myself almost in tears until the night before everyone left. In the privacy of my room I just exploded. Through eyes swollen and red from a river of tears, I cried out to God, “This is so unfair! Everyone else gets the opportunity to go somewhere to enjoy light, heat, and other creature comforts and I have to stay stuck here in this cold dark house”. It just isn’t fair!” I yelled to God.
“Favor ain’t fair either, but I don’t hear you complaining about THAT when I give it to you” He retorted.
It’s amazing how quickly my attitude changed. “Never mind,” I humbly surrendered as I reflected on just how abundantly blessed I was. Tears? Long gone! Frustration? A thing of the distant past. In just that instant, the realization of God’s favor upon my life converted my frustration to joy. So bon voyage, my happy house mates!
Before everyone left that weekend, I had approximately R0.00 in my wallet. With a conversion rate of 8 to 1, that’s the equivalent of $0.00 for anyone who may struggle with math.
I became instant manager to the people who were there fasting. One of the ladies there asked that I minister to the others in her stead as she was too week to minister to them herself. Well, what else did I have to do? So I gladly ministered.
God gave me a word almost immediately after she asked, so I delivered that word. Before the group left, one by one, people began giving me that “holy hand shake”, i.e., pressing money into the palm of my hand. They would say things like “we’ve been taught that when someone sows into us spiritually, we must sow back naturally”. It is true that it’s more blessed to give than to receive, but I was feeling mightily blessed at that moment!
I was also invited to Sharpeville to participate in an evangelistic march on that Saturday, and to attend service at the host church on Sunday. Afterwards I received another “holy handshake”. By the end of the weekend, the holiness I had shaken into my hands amounted to R1, 675. That’s $209.38. Financial favor was on standby, and I almost missed it. But after surrendering to the Lord’s gentle chastisement, favor embraced me instead.
This is only a drop of the downpour of favor that followed me. Throughout the duration of my stay in South Africa, I encountered favor beyond measure. That’s because favor followed me there. And guess what? Favor followed me back to the United States as well!
Thank God for the favor that follows!