Thursday, February 18, 2010


It’s been awhile…again. Sorry for that. I’m committing to update my blog at least once a week – really.

So I am still in South Africa. I did take a month long journey back to the states from December to January. This was a huge blessing (thanks to a pretty awesome couple) and a complete surprise to my family who knew nothing about my trip home until I showed up on their doorsteps. I arrived a day later than originally planned (oh the joys of many flights to get from South Africa to Texas!) but I still managed to pull off the surprise. I got a lot of double takes the first couple days – that was great fun! I managed to surprise my best friend, Amy, as well as my former workplace when I showed up there to see her. While I couldn’t possibly be in Dallas for an entire week before making it down to San Antonio to see my parents, I surprised them by calling from my sister’s cell phone.

I spent the first week in Dallas (jet lag was rough), the next week with Mom and Dad in San Antonio (Mom time was the best!), the next week back in Dallas for Christmas with Kim, Barry, Lilli and Maddi, the next week in San Antonio for New Years at my parents with ALL my sisters and ALL my nieces(we kept the secret from my niece Leah until I saw her in person on December 27!), and the last week back in Dallas for last minute visits, shopping, etc.

All in all it was a great time home. Time with my nieces was so great and much needed. They feed my soul so much its amazing! Sister time is always a blast and there is no one funnier than my sisters! Mom and Dad are good and so supportive and understanding.

Maddi and Lilli

Leah and my Dad (her Papa)

Me with Lilli

As the last couple days approached, I got asked a couple times how I was ‘doing’. You know the look and the head nod…”How are you DOING?” I knew each person meant how was I doing with leaving home again to come back to South Africa. My response? “I am ready to go back. I am thankful for time at home and seeing my family and friends, but my life is over there right now….it’s where God wants me, and I am good with that.”

When I left to move to South Africa in April 2009, I did not cry at my goodbyes. I was nervous about what was to come but was ready to go. This time around, I cried at all of my goodbyes – whether in front of people or while driving away (my poor brother-in-law, Doug, who took me to the airport that cold January 8th, got the worst of it. Sorry about that, Doug! You should never agree to take me to an airport again…). I remembered how much I missed everyone while over here, and the tears flowed. I never knew I could miss my family THAT much. Far too often we take our relationships for granted way more than we realize.

I seriously am so thankful for all the precious time with each person back home. Life and relationships have so much more meaning to me and God has really opened my eyes to cherishing those with a positive influence in my life. I truly appreciate all the prayers, love, and support.

God wants the same kind of relationship with us – cherished, nurtured, loved. A theme that’s been in my mind since December is “What’s pleasing to God?” I try to keep this on the forefront of my mind every time I wake up in the morning, every interaction I have, every decision I make I will ask myself “Is this pleasing to God?” I have even heard Him speak the words “Now Ami, was that pleasing to me?” and I bow my head and seek forgiveness.

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. But I still strive to please God.
Every. Day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I am finding it hard to post this blog as there is so much need here in South Africa. I want to be able to raise funds for the things that actually matter to me. However, I know that to be able to do what I can for those things here in South Africa, for the time being, I have to be in South Africa. For me to be in South Africa, I need your help. I am here fully supported by people back home. In order for me to stay here for my committed year, I need funds to support me here. I will most likely be staying until August 2010. There are many things that will need to come together in order for that to happen, one of them being funds to do so. I have full faith in God that if that's His will, He will provide.

I am here helping Genesis with their fundraising. We’ve been working on proposals to get more funding for the care centre and have implemented our Sponsor-a-Bed Program, also known as the Sithembele (See-tem-bay-lay) Program. I am the coordinator of this program and have been working to get it off the ground.

Sithembele means “We have Hope”. And we do. We have hope that the care centre will find replacement funds when our PEPFAR funding runs out. We have hope that the care centre is bringing patients dying of AIDS to Christ. We have hope that we are making a difference in their lives. We have hope that we are giving them the love and care that they might not get at home. We have hope that they will get well here and be able to go home to their families. We have hope that we are giving them hope.
I am learning a lot and I love it here.

If you want more information from me about what I am doing here, etc. please let me know. Please pray for the people here. Please pray about considering supporting me while I am here. Lake Pointe Church has an account set up for me and it’s very easy to do so. Just go to… Click on “Missions Offering” and fill in “465-22550, Ami Cheek, South Africa” in the box below asking for missions support information. Fill in personal information as asked, etc. All funds given are tax deductible when given through Lake Pointe Church to my account they have set up for me.

Thank you so much, and as always, thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Unconditional Love

A therapist once told me that I knew nothing about unconditional love. At one point I asked him about God he told me that God was the last thing we would talk about in therapy. I was not living for Christ at that time but I knew that did not sound right at all.
God loves me unconditionally and the only one I need to teach me anything about unconditional love.

Thank you God, for your unconditional love. Thank you for letting me be me. Thank you for not requiring me to wear a mask, be fake, be someone I am not. Thank for you really knowing me and my heart. Thank you for all the amazing plans you have for me. Thank you for allowing me to come to you when I was ready – broken, hurt, alone, afraid, angry. Thank you for allowing me to still come to you during those dark times that I still go through. Thank you for always being there and not putting conditions on your love for me.

Thank you for sending people into my life over the years that also unconditionally love me and show me just a glimpse of your great and awesome love.

Thank you for loving me so much that you send your son to die for my sins on the cross. Thank you for your forgiveness. I can only imagine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It seems to be the word to describe several things lately. And I don’t just mean not having hot water for 4 days. That is so minor. Although the fourth day was getting a bit long…;)

Seriously though. Two weeks ago while I was at the Life Skills training we were doing a listening skills exercise. We were told to tell our partner about different times in our lives (happy, sad, favorite birthday, angry, etc.) doing different communication (no words – only motions, talking at the same time, whispering, standing across the room from each other, etc.) . There were three of us in my group. One of the exercises was to stand back to back and tell about the last time we were sad. Our group had a man from South Africa, and two Americans – myself and a missionary that’s here with the IMB. We Americans went first. He told about the last time he was sad, then I told mine (missing my nieces), and then it was the other mans turn (I am not using his name). He said “I was sad on the 7th of August when my five year old daughter was raped by a friend.” GASP. I turned around and said “WHAT?! YOUR daughter?! When?!” I know this man, I consider him a friend here, so hearing this I was in absolute shock and had to be sure I heard him correctly. He shook his head yes. I told him I was so sorry to hear this. He simply hung his head and came towards us for a hug. Sigh. I’ve been praying for them ever since. What do you say to someone in that situation?! There are no words. Only broken hearts.

Last week some of us went to Place of Restoration. This is a place of safety for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. The first place I volunteered after college, back in Dallas, was a similar place. However, those three words – abused, abandoned, and neglected – mean something completely different here. I can’t explain it- they just do. There may not be any other family for the child to go to here. Either no one knows where they are, or they are all dead. Neglected could be that both parents have died of AIDS. We don’t face that much back at home. I got to hold a baby for a little while. I was brought back to a time when I held a small baby at the shelter back in Dallas. That was a similar experience for me. All I thought was “How could any woman have just given birth, in the last 6 months or less, to this child and not be holding this baby, HER baby, in her arms right now? Why is this child here?!” There are no words. Only broken hearts.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with the managing director of the Vikings Rugby Academy, Lodie, and his wife, Cristal, and their daughter last week. The Vikings Rugby Academy is a ministry of the church and Genesis. It gives boys who are finished with high school the opportunity to play rugby and be coached to eventually go into the big leagues of rugby here in South Africa. It is much more than that though. Most of the boys that come to the academy are not Christians. They are coached and taught on Christian values though, so most do come to know Christ while a part of this program. They are also taught life skills and much more. They don’t come from much, but are given a tremendous opportunity. Lodie has such a heart for this ministry and takes it very seriously. Recently it was thought that they would be getting government funding for this program. That did not happen though and they are in desperate need of funds. If they do not get them soon, they will close down. And boys will miss the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful program. There are no words. Please pray with me that we find funding for them and more young men will be reached and the glory will be for God.

The other day I was asked if there was anything I could do to help a young man rebuild his family’s home that was destroyed in floods that came through this area over a year ago. The amount is nothing compared to what we would settle for back home. This young man humbled himself enough to come talk to me about this. Sigh. All I could do was tell him that I would pray about this with him. He doesn’t want a hand out. He specifically told me he doesn’t want money but the materials purchased for the house. It’s for a roof over their heads…not some luxury item. There are no words.

So you see, my heart breaks on a daily basis here. I go home often with a heavy heart and fall into His arms each night, knowing He has the answers and it’s all in His hands and His plan.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Sorry for taking so long to update. It’s been a busy month!

First of all I want to share with you all that my friend, Phumlani, who I met a week after I came to South Africa back in April, went home from the Genesis Care Centre two weeks ago. He came to the care centre (hospice) very sick and went through getting better, to getting pretty sick again, to getting well enough to go home to his family. It was a bittersweet day for me, as I was so happy he was going home but also I was sad because I wouldn’t be able to go see him every day anymore. As he put it, he was glad "to go home on my feet instead of in a coffin". Amen. We sat and talked for a long time that morning. When his brother came to get him, we had a long hug and I gave him a Bible in English as well as a personal note.
I can honestly say that I have not been back in the male ward since he left. The thought of walking in there and not seeing him is strange. I have tried to go in, in fact I attempted twice. I just couldn’t take the next step. God has really put it on my heart to go in there this week and make new friends and see the caregivers. There are others that I can bring hope to. I just miss my friend. He called me after the first night he was home to let me know he made it through his first night and was doing well. I heard from him this past week as well and he continues to build his strength and is loving being back at home. Please continue to pray he does well.

Me with Phumlani the day he left to go home.

I had the pleasure of having three lovely ladies from the Lake Pointe youth team stay with me after the team left on July 10. They were here until August 7. They did various projects and touched many lives. We went on Home Based Care visits together and that was just an amazing time with them. It was great having some company here for awhile. Katy, Taylor, and Jodie – thanks for blessing me as well as so many here! I miss you…and your cooking…and all our tea times! Katie W. also came from Lake Pointe and blessed many as well! I even got to take Katy, Taylor and Katie on the ultimate adventure of jumping off the same cliff I jumped off of last year. They did a MUCH better job than I did....that's all I'll say!

In late July a team from High Pointe Community Church in Washington state came to bless this area as well. They were a team of seven. I was able to go to dinner with them one night as well as be with them as they visited the care centre. What awesome people! They were a bit weary of the care centre before coming and once they spent a couple hours there, they came back every day and made friends with the patients rather quickly. I feel so blessed to be able to have seen the care centre through their eyes- very similar to my first experience there. I’m pretty sure some of their hearts are left behind in the care centre. They better come back to reclaim them. J Thank you thank you thank you, for your prayers and support Ruth Ann, Adrian, Sarah, Heather, John, Linda, and Tod.

This past week I was able to take part in a training for Life Skills with the local SU (Scripture Union) people. SU goes into local schools and teaches children and young teens life skills to help better themselves and their lives. Since I have gone through this training I can now help out with these programs they do in schools. I am really looking forward to this! The first one I will help will be October 5-9.

There are three college guys here for four months from the US. They are here with the Hands On program through the IMB. It’s been fun getting to know them and they live just down the street from me. I can already tell that they are going to have a strong influence on boys here in the area. Please keep them in your prayers- Wesley, Tyler, and Jonathan- that they are able to touch lives here and also have their own lives touched. How selfless of them to give up a semester of college at age 21 and come serve others. God is good.

That’s it for now. I hope you are all well and again, I will really try to blog more.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jacob's Well

Jacob has given me his blessing to tell the following story. It's important to Jacob that he not be glorified in this story, but instead that God be glorified. Amen.

In July 2008, a young high school student named Jacob came to South Africa with the Lake Pointe youth team. Jacob was drawn to the rural area, referred to as Khula Club, that Genesis partners with. There is a crèche (preschool/daycare), a church, a ‘kitchen’ for cooking, gardens, play areas, and several homes spread out amongst the hills of the Khula Club area. It is said that not until recently, many of the children in this area had never seen a white person. Fetching water is no easy task, as you can imagine, as it’s a very rural area with a lot of space between each home (hut).

On the way back home last year, Jacob had the idea to help this community get water by providing a well. Thankfully Jacob did not get back home and forget this idea and return to every day life in the states. He began to talk to people back home about holding a fundraiser to raise the money for the well. He wanted this to be a way that he and his fellow students could reach out to help others instead of just stay in their sheltered community. They had t-shirts made and he and his friends sold them during the lunch hour at their high school. Jacob wanted to go big and had plans that if each senior bought a t-shirt they’d have the money raised in no time. A lot of t-shirts were sold at first but then sales tapered off. This caused doubt in Jacob’s mind…doubt in God, doubt in himself. The event for the fundraiser was to be a dinner – an evening of sharing about South Africa. Not about the food itself, but people coming together within the community of Rockwall to help another community half way across the world that struggles just to have water each day….each week.

There were a couple times that the dinner was almost cancelled. They didn’t think they’d have the turn out, caterers were not working out as planned, etc. etc. etc. Looking back, I think this was Satan’s way to intervene. He tried….but he did not.

The dinner happened as planned. It was held at the Rockwall-Heath High School. A lot of paper work with the Board of Directors of the district had to be done and approved in order for this fundraiser to take place. All of it was approved. I attended, as did my family. Many that are on the adult team that have now come to South Africa three years in a row were all there. It was a pull-at-the-heart-strings kind of evening, along with a few laughs.

Turns out donations poured in and with a goal of $5,000 to drill the hole for the well, all in all $16,000 came in! Praise God! The total for the well to be drilled, pump in place, generator, etc. was about $8,800… God is good, ALL the time!

As the time approached for the Lake Pointe teams to arrive this year, we at Genesis knew the well needed to be started on by the time the team got here. There were still final cost quotes to be gotten and arrangements to be made for this to happen, all within about 3 weeks time. Studies had been done on the land awhile ago, and it was selected where they would drill. There was a chance water would not be hit at all. God was in these plans of course and everything came in to place for the drilling to begin. While the adult team was out at Khula, the drilling of the well began. Early that day we were told they would only work until 5pm and they would not hit water that day. Maybe the next day. Here you can see them drilling in the background as the team had VBS with the kids.

As the team walked out of the church at Khula, after having a great day, one team member said that it was the perfect day, now only if we’d hit water. This was at about 5:15pm…remember, they were going to stop at 5pm. It was at that moment that water started spraying up into the air! WE HIT WATER!!!!

What an amazing moment to experience as a team! We were all jumping around, laughing as water sprayed on to us, praising God, taking pictures, loving God. We joked that the paparazzi showed up because a lot of the team had video cameras and high tech camera equipment to capture the moment. It was just 123 meters down that they hit water!

We were sad that Jacob couldn’t be there for this moment…the youth team had arrived to South Africa earlier that day and Jacob was once again part of that team. We knew that he’d get to see the well though, now flowing with water.

It was that Monday that Jacob got to see the well. At that point it’d been capped off with a rusty cap. There were a lot of holes all around but it was very obvious which one would pump water from it. I was there when Jacob saw it for the first time. At first there were tears and we soon formed a circle around the well and held hands.

People prayed and it was to end with Jacob’s prayer. He went from praying, to sobbing, to on his knees praying, to sobbing, to singing, to sobbing, to praying….you get the picture. What an incredible worship of God…who used Jacob’s idea to bring this community water, and to see Him glorified through it all. Jacob spent a lot of time around the well.

Several of us collected a rock that was left over from the drilling. Jacob collected water and sand in a water bottle to take home. It was later stated that the rocks we collected are a reminder of faith. In took faith for this idea to come to life, to spray water out of the ground. Any time I am lacking faith, I will set my eyes upon that rock.

The well now pumps 5,000 litres of water per hour! PRAISE GOD. The people in this area now don’t have to walk for miles to get clean water.

That night, as the youth team held devotions, Jacob spoke about the journey to finally seeing water out at Khula. He said that he doesn’t see himself when he sees the well, he doesn’t see all the t-shirts that were sold, or all the people that helped raise the money, or even the people that now will have water close at hand. He sees GOD. God is to be glorified through all of this, and always.


The well may be named Jacob's Well, but ultimately it's God's Well....His water for His people.