Welcome! This is the personal blog for the team that makes up the non-profit organization, Love for the Sake of Love. Here, we'll update you on the work we're doing, what is going on with each of us personally, and some of our random thoughts on life. We hope that this blog will give you some insight on each of us and the things we're doing at Love for the Sake of Love. Please choose a category below to get started.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Just because I'm back from South Africa does not mean that L4L is relaxing for the rest of the summer. Co-founder, Andrew Vanover is currently traveling the world with his initiative called 50days50meals. He and his good friend, Austin Simmons are spending 50 days going to over 19 countries with their camera gear, passports, and not much else.  Their goal is simple: to share a meal with a stranger each day they're traveling.  They intend to love those they meet through the conversations they have with them and they're documenting each step in their journey.

I could not be more excited with the work that they're doing and have been so impressed to see how hard Andrew and Austin have worked to see this project come together.  They've trusted God each step of the way, and He is definitely getting the glory through what they're doing.  Love for the Sake of Love is proud to be connected to the work of 50days50meals.

PLEASE check out their website to learn more and follow their blog for updates.


L4L Co-founder

Our last week in Cape Town

So we may have slacked in blogging our last week and a half in Cape Town, but its because we were really busy soaking everything in and saying bye to all of our new favorite people we had met in Ocean View.

One cool thing we got to do in our last week was spend a few nights with host families in Ocean View.  Amanda and Katie stayed with Chevonne's family and Mary and I stayed in the flats with a woman they called Auntie Netta.  While we loved staying in Kommetjie, it was great spending that precious time with some of the OV locals.  Auntie Netta was so sweet and welcomed us into our flat with open arms.  One of her daughters, who is in her mid-twenties, was also living with her and we had some fun conversations about traveling, some of the differences between America and South Africa, and a little bit about South African soap operas.  Even though these conversations weren't extraordinarily deep, it was a great reminder that even though we live in opposite sides of the world, we're really not all that different from each other.

We also spent some quality time in our second home, the Green Room.  It's hard to explain to people who have never been there, but its the perfect combination of a laid back restaurant and coffee shop.  We got to know the owner, Ollie pretty well and made sure we spent some time actually getting to hear his life story our last week there.  He never said he was a Christian, but he still seemed to have a soft spot for us crazy American missionaries.  He let us use his wifi as much as we wanted, he always greeted us with a smile, and he welcomed us into his group of friends.  Even though we were there to serve the people of Ocean View, God doesn't teach us to pick and choose who to love.  Even though it wasn't much, spending that time with Ollie and hoping that he saw God working through each of us was just as important to us as all of the other work we did in Cape Town.

For our last Friday in Cape Town, we had a sleepover with the OV youth girls.  In South Africa, instead of calling them sleepovers, they call them stay-awakes.  It was pretty fitting. :)  The girls loved it and it was a fun way to end our time with them.  We got to know these girls pretty well during the six weeks we were there and I know Katie, Amanda, Mary and I all miss them a lot.  Good thing we're all planning on being back in Cape Town one day.  This isn't the kind of place you can go to once and then check it off of your list.  It sticks with you and completely changes you.  At least for me, there's no other option but to go back.

Mary was much better about updating her blog, so if you want to see more updates from our trip, check out http://maryinsouthafrica.wordpress.com/.
Amanda also created a blog when she got back from South Africa with some of her reflections about her time there.  Its amazing.  Seriously...go read it.  http://amaddox093.blogspot.com/


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Girls Day

In the church with the youth girls of Ocean View Methodist on Girls Day
Over the last few weeks we’ve been getting to know the youth group at Ocean View Methodist. We played Uno and Bannanagrams with them in the front hall of the church. We hosted a night where a speaker talked to them and their parents about good communication. We bonded with them while walking around Ocean View. We traveled with them twice to Hillsong, a huge church in Cape Town—and listened to them sing/shout everything from Rhiana to Michael Jackson on the whole 45-minute taxi ride home.
Many of the girls (I say girls because there’s only one guy in the group, and he hardly ever comes) live in flats, which are one-room apartments in Ocean View that house entire families. The flats are where you’ll find most of Ocean View’s biggest problems—drugs, alcoholism, rape, gangsterism, domestic violence and abuse. These girls grew up witnessing all of those things. Most of them don’t have fathers or fatherly figures. Besides going to Hillsong, they hardly travel outside of Ocean View.
These girls have great potential, but they severely lack hope and ambition for the future. In Ocean View no one asks, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” No one thinks about it.
So on Saturday we planned a Girls Day—an entire day dedicated to them. At the beginning of the day over muffins and hot cocoa we told them that the whole day had been planned for them, but they weren’t allowed to know about the activities until they happened.
Katie started the day with a message about God’s love, and how valuable and special they are. It’s an important message, and something these girls don’t hear on a daily basis.
Listening to a lesson
Then I gave a short lesson about building a relationship with God. I talked about how he’s here with them, and they shouldn’t be intimidated to pray. I had them do an exercise that Tammy (my chaplain at Chapel of the Cross) did with us at ECM—I had them sit still (nearly impossible for them) and instead of using a formal prayer, to imagine that Jesus was sitting right in front of them. I told them to just talk to Him about anything that was bothering them at that specific moment in time. I said it’s important to talk to God about everything, no matter how big or small, to build a relationship with Him. After all, you don’t just tell your best friend when something big happens in your life—you tell them everything. The same should go for your relationship with God.
Then I told them to sit and listen for a moment—that they’d never hear God speak unless they listen. I also shared a little about my journey to South Africa:
My final semester of college I was so worried about what I was doing after I graduated. I didn’t have a job. It was all I thought and talked about. Then I decided to start praying about it. But it wasn’t until I started listening (actually from that same exercise I did with Tammy) that I got the overwhelming sense to just stop worrying about it, that the right opportunity would present itself when it was time. Two weeks later a random girl from one of my entrepreneurship classes (Alison) messaged me on Facebook and asked if I’d like to come to South Africa with her.
I didn’t know if it was just some crazy coincidence or whether it was God trying to speak to me. So I decided to lay down all my problems before Jesus again. I prayed “God, if this is your will, just make me sure of it.” And then a few weeks later I got two scholarships to go—making the trip completely free. So even though I knew almost nothing about South Africa, Alison, or the trip, I figured that’s what I was meant to do. All because I sat down and listened.
After my session, we cooked hot dogs and served them with chips and soda. Then Amanda gave a talk about having patience, and Alison spoke about thinking about the future. We gave them wire heart-shaped rings as a gift.
We also did two activities in between sessions. The first was button bracelets—to demonstrate how they held their community together. The second was called “paint something positive.” We gave them paper and paints, and left it pretty open. The result was very inspirational.
Ivana, painting
Amy’s painting said “God wants 2 use you”
The girls, painting. Some said this was their favorite part of the day
Silly photo
The girls left their paintings to dry and climbed in the back of Casey and Sarah’s truck with no idea where they were going.
They have no idea where they’re going.
Katie made them be quiet (again, virtually impossible for them) the entire ride to Noordhoek beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Southern Peninsula.
Walking up the beach
We walked along the beach, climbed rocks, took hundreds of photos and watched an incredible sunset.
The girls with their leader, Chevonne, who has become one of our good friends
All of us
When we got back to the church again we made a banana-chocolate dessert over the grill. Basically you split a banana in half long-ways with the peel still on, and push pieces of chocolate inside. Then you wrap it in tin foil and place it on the coals.
At the end of the day several of the girls told us it had been the best day of their lives. That was so inspiring to us. I also think that through conversations we all connected very successfully with the girls. Such a great day!
To top it all off, as we left that evening Sarah and Casey were heading to the hospital to go have their baby! So exciting!

Hiking Table Mountain

Table Mountain is the best known landmark (and most popular tourist destination) in Cape Town. It’s a flat mountain overlooking the city and it’s on all the postcards, the city flag, all the signs and logos for most companies. Last week, we got the opportunity to hike it.
Before we headed up the mountain we stopped at a local coffee/tea shop in Cape Town called Origens. Our coffee-junkie friend Austin, who has been working with Sarah and Casey for the last 9 months, recommended it. And this place was serious about its drinks– it had a whole room dedicated to tea! Just listen to this description from the menu:
Leaves, Pot, Water. The Trinity of Tea
When tea is mixed with the correct energy, the correct temperature, the appropriate infusion time and the right state of mind, all of its wonders and glories are unlocked. The art of tea is in its making… please allow the tea to do the talking and learn the wisdom that comes from surrendering to tea and silence….
I got a vanilla strawberry tea. It was served in a glass pot lit by a tea candle and even had an hourglass timer to tell you how long to steep the loose leaves.
After we drank our coffee and tea we headed to Table Mountain to start our climb. Most people take the gondola up to the top– and we soon learned why. I’ve hiked a lot in my life, but this was intense! We literally climbed straight up for a solid two hours. One of the girls had to turn back because she couldn’t make it.
Just the beginning
Katie Kelly, Katie Smith and Nick on the climb. Seriously, straight up.
Seriously. Straight up.
View on the hike up. Once we reached the shade it began to get colder
Wow, we finally made it! Just reaching the top
We’re here! You can see for miles… 
The whole group reunited at the top– Nick, me, Austin, Katie Kelly, Amanda, Katie
Ocean side of the mountain– in the very far distance you can see Kommetjie!
Cape Town side of the mountain– you can see the whole city
These things were everywhere at the top of the mountain. We later learned they’re called dassles. Their closest relative is the African elephant.
Another group shot, on the Cape Town side
Funny shot
Pretty shot
Austin made me take this shot.
We took the gondola on the way down– flashback to Switzerland! We weren’t coming back the way that we came…