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How Going to South Africa With Crystal Impacted Me (from Kathy)

Hi, my name is Kathy McClure and I went with Crystal on the recent trip to South Africa. She asked if any of us who went on the trip wanted to write about our experiences in South Africa and I jumped at the chance to share about why I went and how the trip impacted me…


A Little Background on Me & My Family

I was born and raised in Lancaster County, PA. My parents started a printing, publishing and bookstore business, and were entrepreneurs in other areas, too. I grew up attending genealogy conferences, designing book covers, troubleshooting computer issues, and traveling to Europe to see where our ancestors lived.

I am now a stay-at-home mom of three, Caleb (6), Kaylee (4) and David (3), and a wife to Steve. We love to do things together as a family whether it is bicycle riding the rails to trailscooking together, going on family camping trips or visiting great-grandma in the dementia unit.

I exercise my love of marketing and media through a blog I started in 2010. I love seeing how God gives me vision and passion for posts, and sometimes just puts me in the right place at the right time. It is thrilling to watch how He alone can take a post viral—it is definitely not my own doing!

I love to try new things—like adding shredded zucchini and crushed pineapple in pancakes to discover a new family favorite recipe! I also love to make our house a home by designing chalkboard wall art. I recently co-authored a book with a mentor of mine. Hosting a launch team and watching the book rank in the top #30 on Amazon was an incredible experience!

Why I'm SO Glad I Went With Crystal to South Africa

Why I Applied for the South Africa Advocacy Trip

When I heard about Crystal’s trips to South Africa, I was intrigued and inspired. What I absolutely loved was that she was an entrepreneur here in the States, and she was advocating entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Not only was she advocating it, but she was supporting it financially. I grew up in a small family business and it never once occurred to me the possibility of helping others overseas, who might not otherwise have any guidance, to develop their entrepreneurial skills. I loved the connection Crystal made.

As I researched the Help One Now organization that this trip would be in partnership with, I was moved by how they operate like Paul. Their goal is to equip and support the locals, not to go in and do the ministry for them. They find locals who are already being moved by the Spirit and doing God’s work, and they empower and equip those local leaders. I connected deeply with this vision.

My Experience in South Africa

So many times I get brochures in the mail, pamphlets to read through, and even videos to watch—on where and how we can give money to help overseas—but I often feel like I don’t know exactly where my money is going, how it is impacting the area first-hand and how much it is really needed. I don’t have a personal connection and so it can be difficult for me to get excited about giving generously.

When I was in South Africa, I saw the hearts of the Take Action Ministry Team. I felt their passions and compassion. I witnessed their excitement and I heard their true and personal stories. I spoke with them one-on-one and heard their humility.
Why I'm SO Glad I Went With Crystal to South Africa

Why I'm SO Glad I Went With Crystal to South Africa

I saw first-hand the poverty and the needs of the locals—what they eat every day and what they don’t eat, how little money they make and how hard it is for them to make any money at all. I learned about the government and the systems that are trying to help but are only making things worse.

I also saw the hope the country and the people have. With the extreme prosperity only 20 minutes away from extreme poverty, there is incredible potential for change and improvement!

I saw God at work and I loved it!

I was amazed at how the people were literally God’s hands and feet. It was not uncommon to hear compelling phrases such as, “We act out of obedience, because our faith is not big enough.” And, “Now that we are doing agriculture God’s way, how about doing marriage God’s way?”

When we asked one young man what his vision for his life is, his response was that he wants to transform people. I was humbled to consider what answers Americans might give to this question.

This trip was so much more than a missions trip for me. As part of an advocacy trip, I felt I was able to come to an understanding of the country, the people, and the land. I asked questions and learned things I would not have had the time to learn if I was there serving.

Why I'm SO Glad I Went With Crystal to South Africa

Why I'm SO Glad I Went to South Africa with Crystal

How I Was Most Impacted by Going to South Africa

While my life was impacted in many different ways, I think I was impacted the most by the Take Action Ministry team—their unity and their mission for Christ. God has given them the wisdom and discernment to seek out those being moved by the Spirit and already doing God’s work.

The team works diligently, faithfully, and obediently, and they do all of it because they have a heart for it. They have their own families, their own children, their own houses, their own dreams—yet every day they give of their time and make helping these communities their passion.

I feel compelled to find creative ways to tell and show others the integrity, obedience and trustworthiness of the Take Action Ministry Team. I feel compelled to advocate for them and the impact they have on South Africa.

I feel compelled to share how I have seen they are truly God’s hands and feet, acting in obedience. I feel compelled to support their decisions they are making to eliminate poverty and to make all communities sustainable.

Why I'm SO Glad I Went With Crystal to South Africa

Read All My Behind-The-Scenes South Africa Updates

While I was on my South Africa trip, I created a newsletter and sent out daily updates sharing what I was learning. I am continuing with that email newsletter featuring insights now that I am back in the States, going deeper into some of the areas of the trip that I didn’t share much about while I was there, and sharing some of my favorite South African recipes with a Lancaster County twist! I would love for you to follow along and enjoy these exclusive stories, photos and updates with me.

Kathy likes to define herself as a child of God, mother of three adorable children, and a wife to a totally amazing husband. She’s a deal finding enthusiast, a dreamer, a houseplant killer, and an ever-learning student who is inspired by trying new things. In her spare time she likes to host yard sales, sell at consignment sales, design chalkboard wall art, and find bargains. 

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  • Jonna says:

    Kathy, you captured the heart and spirit of what we are doing so beautifully. Thank you! We are so glad we were able to spend time with you here in South Africa and cannot wait to see how God is going to use you and the other advocates to further His Kingdom!!

  • Diane says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. I also read your post about helping your children give stuffed animals to people on the dementia unit. How beautiful!

  • Heather Hoffman says:

    Great summary, Kathy! You are such a good writer. I’m happy you were able to have this experience & truly enjoy & grow from it. I’m sure it will be the first of many!

  • Alli says:

    Kathy is a wonderful person and loves the Lord and helping others! I’m so glad Steve and her family could reach out and help with the little ones so she could go! Kathy–you are a wonderful writer. I feel like I have a friend who is famous!!

  • This is an awesome synopsis of the trip, Kathy! You captured it perfectly. I plan to share this with my friends and family so they can better understand the Take Action team and their immense goodness and trustworthiness. It was so amazing to get to know you in SA, and I look forward to staying in touch!

    • Kathy says:

      Likewise Rachel, I am so glad I met you!! I hope we can stay in touch too – maybe some day we’ll have a team reunion. 😉 And at some point I definitely want to do an across the US trip traveling from family to family that we know around the States. You will be one of them!! We can laugh about my rhino photograph then, hahaha!!

  • Chanda says:

    I LOVE this post! I LOVE Kathy! She and I met years ago when we were both pregnant with our first babies (due just days apart), my husband and I were new to town and literally knew no one! Kathy walked up to me, introduced herself, and proceeded to welcome me in to her heart and family with such generosity. She boldly loves those around her well!
    Another thing I love about Kathy is that she has such follow-through. When she has vision for something that will improve her family, her church, her community, or God’s kingdom, she doesn’t just sit on that idea, she figures out how to make it happen and does it! She inspires me so much in this way!

    When I saw that Kathy was on this trip, I knew she was an absolutely perfect fit! Thank you for sharing your vision Kathy! I am so proud of you, and I am so eager to see that amazing things God does through you and Steve in the months to come!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Chanda. Your sweet words bring tears to my eyes. You have no idea how many days I wish we lived closer to each other! You inspire me beyond what I could ever put in words. Blessings to you!

  • Holly Comas says:

    Aw Kathy! That was wonderful!! What an amazing experience you had! I’m so thrilled to read about your life changing trip and all that you are up to these days! So excited to see what God has in store for you next!!

    • Kathy says:

      Oh Holly, I can’t believe how many people from different seasons of my life have seen this post. You are truly from a very special season. I will never forget our time studying 1 Timothy together. Do you know how much I looked up to you? 😉

  • Stephanie Briggs says:

    Kathy, you did a Fantastic job explaining South Africa and the impact the trip had on so many of us. It was such an honor to get to experience this trip with you. I can’t wait to see where our advocacy takes us from here…with God there are no limits. Miss you already!

    • Kathy says:

      Miss you too Steph! Fortunately we don’t live super far away from each other. 😉 I think of you and the team often—although it definitely is interesting how we have to get back into the swing of things quickly as moms and wives too, isn’t it? I’m also eager to see where our advocacy journeys take us as we are faithful and obedient to Him! God is good.

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