Finding the words to capture all that God has been doing and showing me is quite difficult. Its somewhat like trying to capture a beautiful landscape with your camera, it just doesn't do it justice, but I am going to try. We have already been in Africa for almost 4 weeks and time is flying by. The word the Lord gave our team on repeat was the word "Unity". Initially we thought God was telling us to stay unified as a team, and He was, but so much more. After arriving here we soon realized that the stronghold over this area was disunity. There are so many types of people from extreme poverty to extreme wealth, people with drastic life experiences all crashing into one area here in Cape Town, much like the mountains and ocean colliding with one another; two opposites stacked on top of eachother. We realized very soon that the Lord was calling us to walk in the opposite spirit in unity and to combine our world with theirs, to show these people great love and compassion and unity in Christ. Our first week here we went to a township called Lavendar Hill, this is one of the most violent townships here in South Africa. Townships are locations where until the end of the Apartheid in 1994 were designated for Non-Whites, (Coloureds, Blacks and Indians) as they call them here. During the Apartheid these people were forced out of their homes and into these townships, they have stayed there and these places are very underdeveloped, stacked with houses made from scraps of metal and paper bags. Many of the townships have a cycle of poverty and violence and major rejection. We have had the opportunity to go to a few of these places and pour out acceptance, love and joy with children who at the age of 8 are asked to join a gang, sell drugs, are most likely HIV Posotive and probably have one of their parents gone or in prison and have seen far more than a small child should ever see at that age or any age really.
Here in the Muizenberg area there are a few young boys who shake sand in old coke bottles and sing songs for money. Most people avoid them, push them away and see them as trash to brush aside. We see them almost every day and many of us began talking with them and listening to their stories. The other day Ben and I sat down with one of them as we gave him a cold coke which he eagerly opened and drank it as if it was the first drink he had that day. This 13 year old boy began to tell us about how he lives alone becase his mother is dead and his father was never mentioned. His aunt lives there too but he only sees her when she needs money, he lives in a township called Capricorn but he sleeps on the streets of Muizenberg, where we live, because it's safer for him at night. As I watched him tell this story to us with his thin arms to which I could see his bones, his torn up clothes and ripped shoes my heart began breaking thinking he has no one to take care of him, feed him, love him, buy him new clothes. As he spoke I could see there was something different about him, a leadership quality and a genuineness about him. Many of his friends do drugs and sell them so we asked him if he did, he said he didn't because he doesn't see the point in it. This young boy has no parents, sleeps on the streets and sings sings on the corner for money, he has so much to be angry at the world for but he was grateful, faithful and full of wisdom and innocence despite what he has experienced and seen. We asked if he knew about Jesus and he said he did and he told us the whole story, he said "I know that story and I beleive that story." We see him and a few of his friends every day and we are currently praying about what we can do for them, more than just giving them money, but be Jesus to them, show them compassion love and care they most likely don't receive from anyone around them. There are people all around us that society has rejected but no one is beyond the reach of the Father and His desire is for all to know His great love for them. His heart is for the one and he will leave the ninety-nine to find the one.
We did an outreach last week late in the night on the streets, looking for daughters of the King who have been told and convinced that they are less than that. Ben and I were able to speak to and pray for about seven different women and give them resources to places they can call to receive counsel and help to get out of their situation. There were four girls we stopped to talk to and give them gift bags we had put together. We laughed and talked with them and they were very moved that we stopped to talk and love them with the Father's love. These women knew God, knew who He was in their lives, they even began talking about how they can feel the spiritual darkness in their area of town. They knew the truth but they have been stuck here for so long in this situtation of most likely substance abuse and drug addiction, this is all they know and getting out of it seems like a deep deep hole with no way out. They have gotten lost in lies and in false hopes of fulfiillment in things that only bring death, the sad part is they know these things will not bring life, but they have come to the point in their life where this appears to be their only option to provide for their children or their addiction, whether they are being held by force or not they are enslaved, ensared in the hopelessness. Our job is to bring the light, the hope that they are meant for more than this, that this is not their end and that God has not given up on them. We surrounded these women who gladly joined us as we prayed for them, as I began speaking value over them, calling them out as daughters of the King who loves them tears began to fall as their fragile hearts yearned to feel the love of their Father. That night we were just a small glimpse of it for them but we are praying that they seek the help they need to receive healing and restoration that truly only Jesus Christ can bring.
These are only a couple stories of what we are experiencing and we are humbled and blessed to be able to be here. Amazing things happen when you say Yes to Jesus and what He is calling you to.