Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Thank you for being a part of our community"

After an incredible time settling into life at the Zimpeto Children's Centre, we are on the road again. We are presently attending Harvest School 21, a missions training school that Iris Global (our missions organization) runs twice a year. Over 30 nations are represented here and it is an honour to be a part of such a diverse group that lives for intimacy with Jesus and serving the poorest of the poor. 

Usually Harvest School takes place in Pemba, a city in Northern Mozambique. Due to various complications, this year's school starts in Johanesburg and Nelspruit (South Africa) and later finishes in Pemba. Initially when location changes were made to our training school, I was disappointed. I love Mozambique and I especially love being at the Zimpeto Children's Centre. I knew if would be hard to leave our girls and our Mozambican family even if only for a short time. Despite what seemed to be an angel that spoke to me vividly in a dream within a dream saying, "Do not be surprised if you end up going to South Africa," I struggled with the idea of coming here. Ironically, I feared that South Africa wouldn't be rustic enough and that I would simply be surrounded by the wealth of a developed nation (despite conditions of extreme poverty, South Africa is often considered to be among the developed nations). We are called to serve the poor and as such I wasn't overly excited to have our training school moved to one of the wealthier African nations. (I should probably note that Evan was a lot more easy going about all these changes and was quite open about going just about anywhere.)

Disappointed about our location and sadly saying goodbye to the Zimpeto Children's Centre, we boarded a greyhound bus headed towards Johanesburg. After a twelve hour bus ride, walking across the border by foot, and a private taxi ride in the dark with a driver who didn't know where we were going, we finally arrived at the Iris Children's Centre just outside of Johanesburg.

Somehow over our journey to get here, I started to feel more at peace about being in South Africa. Perhaps it was driving by the slums and seeing some of the hopeless sights of poverty which don't usually jump to ones mind as they think of South Africa. Perhaps it was seeing the tents, cabins, outhouses and bucket showers where we would be staying that gave me a rustic sense of home. Perhaps it was the warm welcome of the staff and fellow students who had journeyed from all four corners of the earth for this harvest school. Either way, somehow along the journey I was filled with peace and a sensation that I certainly would not be disappointed with my time here...

Our time in Johanesburg has been filled with amazing classes, speakers, outreaches and the opportunity to explore the differences between this children's centre and our Zimpeto Children's Centre. The past two weeks we have visited a large slum in South Africa on outreach. As we walked through the slum, I was awestruck by the extreme differences of living conditions from the wealthier suburbs to the slums. It was mind blowing how much financial disparity could cover one small region. 

As we walked through the slums, we chatted with the locals, played with children and prayed. At first when we arrived I started spending time with a small group of children. "Why are you here?" they asked, "don't you know it's very dangerous here." We played games, gave lots of hugs, passed out food, and I took some time to write down each child's name in funky calligraphy along with a few adjectives that described their character. Another team mate prayed for a little boy who was limping slowly due to his broken leg. God healed his leg on the spot and he went running home to tell his mother. As we played and sang songs with the children, an older man came walking by and pulled Evan aside saying, "thank you for being a part of our community." 
It truly has been such an honour and privilege to join their community and spread joy and love even if only for a short period of time. As such, we can't thank you enough back home in Canada for being a part of our community through your prayers, financial support, emails and encouragement. Here at Harvest School 21, we are learning, growing and being challenged. We look forward to the next part of the school in Nelspruit, followed by a short time in Pemba- but more than anything, we can't wait to get back to see our girls.


2 comments:

  1. Oh how I love your honest writing! I feel you with disappointing switches but they usually have their upside. South Africa is one of a kind to learn about poverty and inequality. I have always wanted to go to see the the disparity in a few steps. God has you there to understand poverty on another level. Love you both and so excited to pray and follow your journey more!

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    1. Hey Jess,
      thanks so much! We are loving it here and we are so glad that his plans are greater than our own!

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