It’s been a good few days here in SA. Just some quick thoughts…
Shua and I have now attended our second South African church. The name of the church was called Twozhill Church (the street name the church is on). It’s part of the New Covenant denomination, a group mostly in the UK, Australia, and South Africa. Twozhill is a church plant from the other church we attended (Church Unlimited). I must say, the people were quite friendly. In some ways, it reminded me of Wellspring. It was about the same size, many young families, friendly, and relatively young. But I was also thankful for the sermon. It wasn’t an exposition. But at least the pastor was faithful to preaching the Bible. And I would rather have a preacher preach God’s Word without style, then an eloquent preacher who neglects God’s Word in His preaching. Overall, it was a good worship.
But I admit it, I am biased, because I can’t wait to worship back at Wellspring!
Shua and I have had a number of good conversations with the volunteers, many of whom are young (low to mid-20s). They come from the UK and Canada and have different church backgrounds. But all of them really do love the Lord and love kids. I think what is interesting is listening to their expectations of what their time in Africa was going to be like and what their time of Africa truly is. To keep an international organization like Hands running which receives funding from all parts of the world, you can imagine the reporting and paperwork required. And since the volunteers are often the most skilled in English, they are often solicited to do some office work, which of course, is not what you think of when you are serving in Africa. And of course, if you’re not careful, this can lead to some disillusionment. But this is where George’s words really make sense. If the goal really is to feed the most vulnerable children, sometimes office work is what it takes for some in the US or the UK to give enough money to feed thousands of children. Isn’t that worth it then? I realize that just like anywhere, it always takes servanthood to do kingdom work. And being a servant is never glamorous and often tedious hard work.
We went to a new community yesterday where we helped with food distribution to orphans, played with the children, and sang songs. I also shared the story of the Parable of the Two Sons with the kids. Once again, I am always amazed by how much these kids love our kids. They’re so used to seeing foreign adults, but I think our kids are a real anomaly to them. One young teen really loved Jack, almost as if he were a doll. She kept picking him up like a baby, hugging him. It was as though he was the orphan. It really does make one’s heart melt seeing the love these kids have and yet the love they have never felt from a parent.
There was one baby there who was being cared for by a girl Elisabeth’s age. They are a family of 8 children. Their parents died and they were being watched by a granny. This little girl Elisabeth’s age brought this baby and another younger sister to the center to be fed. Can you imagine an 8 year old caring for a baby, carrying her to places as though she were an adult? This would never happen in the first world. But this is the face of AIDS, disease, death, Africa, orphans. And this is why I am thankful to be in this place.
We will have the privilege of going to Cape Town for a little break next week. We’re looking forward to it. It’s amazing how tiring home-based care really is. You go spend time with the kids, go on visits, help feed, share, sing, and you feel completely wiped out when you return. I think it’s the combination of the hot sun, the emotional drain of seeing such situations, and the fact that I’m just plain ole aging. But it really makes me appreciate the care workers who are serving these children out of their own poverty day in and day out. So getting a few days R&R will be good before the team comes and we’ll really be busy. Also, I figured we’d never have a chance to go to that part of Africa so we thought we’d take the time since this place will be deserted this week and next as many people are away on vacation. But I am sooo thankful that my family has had this intentional vacation to see the poverty that is in much of the world. I am also thankful that our children will come to realize that God’s heart is for the whole world and socio-economic, ethnic, linguistic, geo-political, skin color differences cannot change that. It is good to be here in Africa.
Here are some more pics for you to enjoy…
This is the child and baby, both are orphans. It just make you feel so sad watching the “older” little girl feeding the younger one.
The name of the community we visited where this little girl was from
A close-up of the baby
Some other boys…this is one of my favorite shots since I’ve been here because the natural lighting was so great. Bu this little boy really is photogenic.
I know this little boy looks so angry. But right after I took the shot, I started blowing some bubbles with my spit (I know it sounds gross. It’s my stupid human trick and it always seems to get the kids riled up and so happy.). Well, I started blowing my saliva bubble and he burst out laughing.
I thought I’d also add some of the animals we’ve seen here. Africa is such a beautiful continent. And where we’re staying in South Africa (Mpumalanga), supposedly there are more bird species here than any other part of the world.