Every Life is a Journey: Here's a Bit of Mine

Every Life is a Journey: Here's a Bit of Mine

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

July 8th South Africa Update

Hello again from South Africa! I got back to Soshanguve last night after spending time resting for a few days, mostly in solitude and some with my team near the beach! It's been great in helping me to recover from bronchitis.
I've gotten into the swing of life here, and have seen quite a bit. The church that Mrs. Selepe pastors is composed of sheets of metal primarily, what most in the US would consider a large shack. The congregation is composed of the poor, although many want to contribute a significant portion of what little they have to help serve others. Mrs. Selepe's home lacks quite a bit, such as a ceiling between the rooms and the roof and no running water in the kitchen, yet she too wants to give what little she has to help serve others.
Pastor Selepe goes to various poor people's homes to pass out food and pray with, and counsel people, and I've been blessed with some opportunities to join her. We've visited one mother sick with AIDS, giving her some food. We've visited and aided a few other homes with orphans and abandoned children, one with a jobless grandmother trying to care for 5 young children, which isn't that unusual it seems.
Promiscuity here combined with lack of education has created quite a problem not only with AIDS, but with effectively fatherless children. Fathers impregnate girlfriends while having little impetus to marry the young ladies even after the fathers find out about their children. This came close to home two Saturdays ago, when a close relative of the Selepe's chose not to see his prior girlfriend who lives next door or his brand new daughter after Dikaledi gave birth 1 month prematurely to his daughter early that afternoon. With so many fatherless and motherless children here, by abandonment or death, it reminds me how thankful I am for a father and mother who love me dearly.
On the 25th I was spending time with 2 brothers in their mid thirties for the first time who are some of our neighbors next door to the left of our house, and was greatly encouraged . In conversation, one brother said that my living next door to them, and hanging out with them at that time, was a dream come true. In a place where I can remember seeing only 2 other white people versus probably in excess of a thousand black Africans, and with lawfully enforced segregation still effecting the culture to a large degree after the laws have ceased, I can begin to comprehend why, and it was a moment that I will cherish. The fact that God can use our mere incarnational presence within this place to jumpstart the process of racial reconciliation to such a high degree in the life of two men is astounding to me.

Ezekiel, one of the brothers, who went 3 and 0 boxing in the past, is pictured below. We boxed, playing around, just once! When he drew a bit of blood from a nice hit on my nose, his brother made us stop, so we switched to no face hits!
Please Pray: For the poor in this township, including more care for them from the outside world that would mostly rather ignore what they believe an ugly and dangerous place;
For Pastor Selepe and her church's ability to meet some of the needs of those hurting in the community. After she didn't distribute chicken heads, a cheap form of flavor, for a few weeks, one girl we visited was sick from the paper she had become addicted to in the mean time.
That fewer churches here would preach doctrines that include that one must be doing something wrong if they are physically and emotionally hurting;
For a father figure's presence in Dikaledi's life for her baby;

Thank the Lord: For the healthy birth of Dikaledi's little girl;
For my bronchitis that has hindered me little, and modern medicine which allowed me to suffer far less than I would have without it;
For local men and women in Soshanguve like Ma Selepe who sacrifices time and money in the service of the hurting poor.

Thank you all,

Adam Garrett