Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: Maxie Kamalski

A Letter From Maxie.

Maxie truly is, "In Good Company!"

Maxie truly is, “In Good Company!”

May 2013

To All Our Dear Family, Friends, & Partners In Mission…

I am so grateful that God is always with me and that He constantly has the best in mind for me! Every single time, He seems to come up with ways to remind me that I am loved and that He has good in store for me. What I love is that God is really concerned with my heart and cares a great deal that I am cared for.

And it’s in this journey that I’ve come to a place where some change was needed. After being in full-time ministry and community development work for 11 years in some of the rough and painful places in our world, it’s become time for me to take some time out to care for and rest my own soul. A few months ago, after learning of a specific incident involving sexual assault and retributive justice in one of our communities, I realized that my own capacity to address such issues with compassion has been reached and I am in need of some restoration myself.

Right as I was realizing this, I received a wonderfully unexpected offer from my neighbor and dear friend to help her launch a Cape Town branch of a creative party and decor shop called In Good Company. After a great deal of prayer, consideration, and conversation with Chris, along with the full support of Bridges of Hope South Africa, I made the decision to accept this full-time shop assistant role while still assisting Bridges with fundraising and grant-writing on a part time basis, as Bridges continues to pursue becoming financially self-sustainable within South Africa.

I began my role part-time at the end of March while slowly transitioning my full-time responsibilities with Bridges of Hope, and it has already been such a restorative season in the past few weeks. I knew I needed to make this change for a reason and am excited to see what God will make of this obedience in loving myself well. I have realized that sometimes it is okay to take a season to primarily care for your own heart, because you need a well cared for heart to truly take care of others sustainably. I am certain that stepping out of full time ‘community development or missional work’ does not mean that I will not get the chance to be a part of some awesome stories of transformation in this coming season. And yet I also know that this is not the end of my work, but rather a different season to step into with joy!

I have already had some wonderful realizations about not only about myself but also towards what is stirring and growing in my heart as I look towards the future. Thank you for walking with me into this new season, and for partnering in encouragement, support, and tangible resources for Chris and I. I look forward to sharing stories of this new adventure with you!

Grace and peace friends,

Maxie Kamalski

P.S. I recently wrote an article for EKerk, an online South African teaching ministry, where I reflected on some of these personal themes in a more general way. Entitled, “Love Your Neighbor As You Love Yourself,” you can read it here. We sincerely hope it blesses you in your own journey of transformation.

P.P.S Head to Facebook for an album showing off the new shop!

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That Smile (Project 365, Day 255).

Aperture: f/1.8     Focal Length: 50 mm     ISO: 100     Shutter Speed: 1/3200′

Mama’s Farm (Project 365, Day 251).

Aperture: f/14     Focal Length: 27 mm     ISO: 100     Shutter Speed: 1/40′

 

Piano (Wo)Man (Project 365, Day 234).

Aperture: f/4.5     Focal Length: 36 mm     ISO: 1600     Shutter Speed: 1/25

 

Our Future Date (Project 365, Day 217).

Aperture: f/5     Focal Length: 40 mm     ISO: 1600     Shutter Speed: 1/20

(Note: Maxie Kamalski edited this image, which was shot the night we spoke about marriage for the first time. It ended up becoming central to our wedding save the date!)

 

Laundry Day (Project 365, Day 216).

Aperture: f/5     Focal Length: 39 mm     ISO: 100     Shutter Speed: 1/80

 

Saucy Wife (Project 365, Day 214).

Aperture: f/5.6     Focal Length: 55 mm     ISO: 100     Shutter Speed: 1/400

 

Refusing To Perish.

Enthomjeni Youth Prison, where the mantra is "A Place of New Beginnings." Sounds just about right!

Download {REFUSING TO PERISH}, our latest [Field Stories] update here.

(Hi-Res version here). (Low-Res version here).

 

‘Without vision, people perish.’ This provocative phrase found in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) anchors our work in facilitating the Life Compass course with inmates in Enthomjeni, a rehabilitative prison for juveniles in Pretoria. A growing partnership between NieuCommunities South Africa and Pure Hope (the NGO that my wife Maxie directs through a local church in Pretoria) has led to 16 inmates refusing to perish in the past 9 months, fresh hope building in their hearts as we speak life into them, seeking to tell a fresh story with their future. The Life Compass process is a holistic developmental tool that seeks to provoke a directional vision and a vocational call in one’s life that propels a person forward into who they are created to be. We have been given the privilege of shepherding this process here in Pretoria, and are ecstatic about how God is developing our hearts for this work. The [Field Stories] above paint a brief picture of the stories God has begun to tell with these inmates’ lives. We hope you are inspired with their visions, penned by their own hands…

Mind: Stop Interfering!

I think my lovely wife knows me well, no?

Maxie walked in the door just now, fresh from wandering around the mall on her day off, grinning that she had found me a little present that just couldn’t wait until my birthday. I was curious as to what she had purchased, and so we opened up…

The most epic little idea notebook ever! The book is called “Love Stuff,” and has this as its tagline:

Sometimes the heart should follow the mind. Sometimes the heart should tell the mind to stay at home and stop interfering.

I was immediately struck with a) how accurately and deeply Maxie loves me well, and b) how much I resonate with this sentiment. Listen: I love internal dialogue, self-awareness (I’m looking at a creative interpretation of the Socrates quote, “Know thyself” right now on my desk), and the internal journey of transformation that we all walk through more than most people. Heck, I even got a Master’s degree in it! Yet, I am increasingly convinced that for a portion of the human race, the mind (at times, if not managed well with an overabundance of grace and self-care) can becoming more imprisoning than freeing. I know my cycles of paralyzation all too well, and they often chain me rather than let me fly. Some sort of integration of internal processing, and actionable engagement, must be the way forward…

NieuCommunities’ Facilitates Transformation.

Curtis Love, a gifted coach himself, was the perfect facilitator for our Coaching Training.

Curtis Love facilitated an amazing 3-day coaching training for 18 gifted leaders of local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), NieuCommunities, and Ethne (a sister organization within CRM), a few weeks ago. Yesterday, I received his newest newsletter reflecting upon this intensive time spent together, and I realized, this is what NieuCommunities does best. We facilitate transformation through the creation of environments and spaces where people can be trained, and then sent out to return to their own context of mission and service. His newsletter was so powerful I asked his permission to re-post it in its entirety as a window into a bit of our work here in Pretoria! Suffice it to say: I took all these pictures, and served a lot of tea, coffee, and fire-tending these 3 days. Really proud of you my friend. If you want to receive Curtis’s newsletters, click here:

Teaching through the COACH Model.

Curtis’ words from here on out:

Getting 18 busy leaders, managers and supervisors in a room for 3 full days is no easy task! These leaders were a mix of people from NieuCommunities, Ethne and three local, faith based NGO’s.The reason? We were hosting a training on “transformational leadership”, in which we were seeking to help people integrate coaching/empowering skills into their current role and leadership style.

A wonderfully diverse group of Africans made for great conversation!

For me learning together in a room full of people committed to God’s world and the precious people that inhabit it, is a really incredible experience. A few of the people in the room I know quite well and the challenges they face day to day in their work are not trivial (an understatement!). They work with the homeless, young girls at risk, orphans, unemployed youth and the terminally ill, yet they continue in faith, hope and love to serve those people who live in the shadows of our cities.

The COACHing training facilitates wonderful practice time to internalize asking reflective questions.

The feeback was enthusiatic and warm, which for us was very affirming.  Learning, friendship and a commitment to the health of our world is a potent combination! The most satisfying feedback that I received came from our good friend Maxie (My wife!!). She wrote, ‘this workshop really made me aware of my role in a persons transformation – a facilitator that helps create space and awareness through listening and questions…’ This is, for me, one of the most profound insights of coaching. We are not the initiators of transformation in our lives, the lives of others or in the world (1 Cor 3:6). We are simply facilitators of God’s loving and healing transformation at work in peoples lives and our world in general.

Coming out of the training we are establishing a coaching circle, which will meet once a month  to continue to grow, apply and advance the coaching skills learned in the training. While a once-off training is good and provides short term motivation, we know that ‘deep application’ takes time and a supportive community. We hope that this group can serve as this community.

Ladder Shot.

For those of you who know the ministry and NGO world, you know that good quality training is often limited by budget restrictions. One remarkable thing about this training, is that we were able to offer the 3 days for just R100! This allowed people who otherwise might not have come, if the price was higher, to attend. This was only made possible by the generous people who support this work. I am continually grateful to God that people would invest in me and our community of people, so that we can make ourselves freely available to come alongside and support the important work happening in and around Tshwane.

Noel Chiritido, a part of our missional community, rocking 360 degree questions!

Truly it is humbling and inspiring to know that we do not work alone but with many people behind us, supporting us, belieiving in us, and cheering us on towards ‘love and good works’ (Hebrews 10:24).