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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Well it’s evident I was not very successful in my goal of blogging daily. We have had challenges with internet connection. However my experience has been rich enough to fill out a few blogs. I will be dedicating a few more of my blogs even after I return to the blessings we have received while here in Southern Africa.

This past week has been spent doing quite a bit of traveling. We moved from Hazy View to Johannesburg (a 6 hour bus ride) on Monday. On Tuesday we traveled from Jo’burg to Ficksburg (another 6 hour ride) right on the border of South Africa.

Wednesday and Thursday we crossed over into the Kingdom of Lesotho, a country that is completely surrounded by the country of South Africa. There we visited the Maluti Hospital and the Maluti Adventist Christian School. I’ll be writing about the wonderful ministry being done here later. For this blog allow me to recap something from last week.

Last Thursday I wrote about our visit to the Khomelela Community Services Project. We had a wonderful opportunity to see the dream of Pastor Paul Mawela and his wife Martha, come to reality. Pastor Mawela had retired from official church work and decided to move to Dwarsaloop to start a church among his people. He was met with resistance and all his efforts were thwarted. The Lord led him to begin ministering to the community through addressing the needs that arose due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

At the Khomelela Community Service Project we saw some great ministries taking place. The community asked them to start a preschool program. One of the reasons for to provide a place for teenage mothers to drop their children off so that they can go to school and complete their education.

I was particularly impressed with the care giver ministry that is operated out of Khomelela (it means “Hold On”). They go out and assist refugees from neighboring Mozambique and the elderly who need food and other services. Without them these people would be forgotten. We traveled with two care givers – Yvonne and Tinswello.

These ladies blew us away when they told us the sacrifices they were making for this ministry. Tinswello travels 2.5 hours one way by foot to come to the center arriving each day at 8 am. She then goes out to see her clients and ends her work at 4 pm. She does not arrive home until 6:30 pm or 7. In addition she is presently doing this work voluntarily. There’s more. She was not complaining about her work or travel or lack of pay. She was excited and smiling. Here are her words. “I’m proud to serve others.” She takes pride in knowing that she helps others. She was recruited because they were looking for people who wanted to help others. It is a badge of honor and a source of pride that she can minister to the needs of others.

How wonderful it is that the motivation for service is service itself? If we could all realize that being able to help others is not a burden but an honor.

We have been blessed to meet such wonderful agents of the love of Christ here. I pray that I would be able to say like her, I’m proud to serve others.

I am writing to you from South Africa. I’m part of a group traveling with Hope 4 Humanity. Check out their work at hope4.com/wiiserve. This is one of the blogs I wrote this week on wiiserve.org

Wednesday we were able to witness God at work through human angels. We moved out to interact with the people of Dwarsaloop, South Africa. We finally moved from preparation to interaction phase.

We visited the Nhelengo project. The name of the project means “Standing together against a common enemy.” The first sound that greeted us when we disembarked from the bus was the melodious singing of about 45 women. They are called Caregivers.

We had an opportunity to talk with them, travel with them, see them work and hear their story. I am convinced that these ladies are doing the ministry of Jesus here on earth.

They told us how they walk for hours from their homes to visit individuals in the village stricken with HIV/Aids, TB and malaria. They work from 8 am till past 6 pm. The people that they work with have almost been abandoned by their families, their community, by the world. These caregivers step in and provide the care they need.

If I were to share everything we learned from them, this blog could go on for days but I’ll share just a few lessons.

1. The people they serve have become more than clients to them. They are family to them. Sometimes their clients ask them for food and even in their poverty (they are given a small stipend for their services) they give what they can. Children who are orphaned in the community come to them for clothes and other necessities at times and they do all they can to help them. Kyrinda Richardson, one of our group, witnessed an interaction with one of our caregivers named Ruth and a resident who lived next to one of her clients.

The person was hungry and asked her for food. She replied that she was suffering too. Then she said the most amazing thing. Ruth told our group that she doesn’t have much but she gives them love. She said she prayers everyday that God would give her love.

2. The caregivers live a life of prayer and dependence on God. We asked a group of caregivers how they keep going. How they gain the energy to walk long distances? Audrey, a dear lady, replied “We pray, always. We pray when we wake up, we pray as we go throughout the day.” In fact they sing a song about that called NJalo (pronounced – Jah-lo). It means always. In it they say we pray, we give, we praise always.

I thought to myself, these ladies don’t have much but they are all the people in that village have.

When we got back to the center which is led out by Papa and Mama Mawela, we enjoyed the singing and dancing from the caregivers. Their joy was so abounding. It just flowed out. Stephen Williams remarked, “how is it that those with so little are thankful for so much and those with so much are thankful for so little.”

We then had a chance to meet the orphans of Nhlengelo. I have to comment on them on another blog. I want the ministry of the caregivers to be the focus of this blog.

Ray Tetz, says that the thing they carry in their bag is love. They don’t have much of what is needed by those they serve but they have love. They have joy. And that’s what they give away so freely. You see they have learned to connect to the source. So they can give love and joy away because they pray always. NJalo!

Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians. – 2 Corinthians 8:1-4

One of the challenges of human life is taking responsibilty when we are at fault. Too many times we want to excuse, rationalize and avoid owning up to what we have done wrong. Other times we find someone else to blame…(wonder where we got that from – see Genesis 3)

However I think beyond the need for us to own up and take responsibility when we are at fault (which is our duty) the call of God causes us to take responsibility even when we are not at fault.

We have been taught to overlook needs just because it’s not my fault so it should not be my responsibility. And around the human table we play the game of pass the buck because many times we can’t figure out who’s at fault.

What a difference we would make in this world if we lived by the adage, “not my fault, but still my responsibility.”

Jesus did…see the disciples all with dirty feet sitting before the basin and towel thinking “the dirt on the other disciples feet is not my fault so not my responsibility.” Watch the Master kneel down and gently watch all their crusty feet. Not His fault but He made it His responsibility.

Then watch Him go to the cross and die for our sins – not His fault but He made it His responsibility.

What is God calling you to take responsibility for now? Remember it doesn’t have to be your fault.

On my last blog entitled “Giving Challenge” I described how my daughter, Janiah gave up her favorite toy for us to give to a child without toys. Well here’s the rest of the story…and it’s so much better.

We decided instead of having her give us the toy and then we go drop it off at a local agency that it would mean so much more if she could meet and interact with the child she was giving it to. I volunteer at this awesome ministry called Hillcrest Transitional housing from time to time and they enable people who were homeless to get back on their feet.

While I was teaching a class today, Janiah was in another room playing with the children of the residents. For her and them, there was nothing different between them. And the truth is there is nothing different between them.

At the end, Janiah gave her favorite toy, a Stephanie doll (from Lazy Town), to a girl she was playing with. What followed next amazed me! The girl promised my daughter that she would come back the next time and give her a potholder she’s working on. But that wasn’t enough for her. The girl didn’t have anything else to give, so she ripped off her name tag and stuck it on my daughter’s shirt.

You should have seen the excitement on both girl’s faces: the girl was happy to get the doll and Janiah was thrilled with her sticker. You see we had cut out the middle man and learned a few things:

1. We are all equal no matter where we live or what our bank accounts say.

2. Everyone has something to give no matter how little they have.

3. Everyone is in need of something from someone else no matter how much they have.

I think it would do us a lot of good if instead of throwing money and stuff at issues, we actually gave of ourselves and met people. Instead of simply supporting agencies who help people, let’s go beyond and meet people and help them.

Get rid of the middle man. We would all be richer at the end.

We are learning as a family the value of setting up traditions. One tradition we just launched is if one receives a gift for his birthday he has to give something like it away to someone in need.

Our youngest celebrated her birthday and we decided to implement this. Instead of doing it for her only when she received the gift we made all the children sacrifice a toy. What my middle child did blew me away. My son and our younger daughter brought toys that they really did not care for. But my older girl brought her favorite toy out and told us to give that away to a child in need!

One of the challenges that the mainstream media and popular culture present us is how much can we accumulate, store and hoard to ourselves. It seems like the rules of the game are who has the most toys wins the game. So we figure out how to store more clothes into our closets and more things into our garages and attics.

What a novel idea my daughter has? What about giving something that we even like away whenever we receive something new? (Maybe it will eliminate our need to pay for storage for things we don’t use:-)

So this post is a challenge to all of us this week to give something we like away. It will help us to understand that the thing isn’t more important than the person we give it to and if nothing else it will reduce the clutter – in our homes and in our hearts.