Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An afternoon in Masi...

I am currently sitting on the front porch of the beach cottage my family rented for the week, listening to the waves, and sipping a cup of coffee.  Such a perfect place to process and think about my previous 10 day adventure to South Africa.  What I wish is that I could have all of you over to sip coffee with me and share the days of my trip to South Africa.  And for those of you close to me, I would love to do that, so get in touch with me!  :)  But for now, I will do my best to capture the moments here on the blog, I know that I will miss many things, and might not be able to paint the clearest of pictures, but I am going to do my best to highlight some of the amazing, hard, painful, joyful times of this trip.  I am so glad you are taking this little adventure with me (which basically means mom and a few other friends who actually read this blog :)) .

We arrived in South Africa Tuesday night late, and Wednesday morning was spent catching up on the rest that did not happen in my compact airplane seat the 30 hours prior.  Wednesday afternoon, we visited Pollsmoor Prison for the first time, and I will share more about that later.  Our visit led us to the hospital/clinic on the property and was very eye opening.   Wednesday evening we shared dinner with the Mayotte's, the missionaries we were serving with and I very much enjoyed sharing and getting to know them.   One of the other purposes of our trip was to receive some training through the church that Steve and Daria are a part of.  We had 3 evenings of training and they were amazing!  This training was wonderful and stretched me in lots of ways.  One area of my spiritual life I have always struggled with is really listening and being obedient to the Holy Spirit, and the training we received certainly addressed that.  One of my favorite things our trainer Alison shared is this,  obedience is more important than knowledge.  More on that later!  :)

Thursday came and we were excited about a day to worship and visit Masi a township in Cape Town. And I had no idea how a visit to this place would affect me!

Here is a little background knowledge about the township, just to give you some perspective.  The township is a Xhosa community and was created during Apartheid.  Apparently it was originally known as Site 5, but later the residents renamed the area Masiphumelele, which means "We Will Succeed".  Around 400-500 people settled the here but as Apartheid unraveled the number of residents began to grow.  At this time, the population of the township is around 38,000 people.  The houses in the township are made from various materials, cardboard, metal sheeting, etc.  Most have dirt floors and no bathroom.  There is a water spout where the families must go to fetch water for cooking, cleaning, bathing etc.  There is a school on the premise, but it is overcrowded and even though it is a public school, there is a fee for students to attend.

When we drove into Masi it was overwhelming.  It was easy to feel down and depressed, to feel such a heavy feeling of despair.  And then we met Edward.  Edward is a friend of Steve's who lives in Masi.  We pulled up to a shack and standing there greeting us with the most amazing smile was Edward.  He was kind, joyful and so excited to welcome us to his home.  We walked behind some homes and made our way to his house.  And that is exactly what he called it, his house.  We entered his one room home and he immediately invited us to sit on his bed and pulled up every available item he could for us to sit and be comfortable.  He told us that he wanted us to come with him next door to his friends house that had more room to do bible study with them.  He had gone over to wake his friends up so that we could all open the word and share how the Lord was speaking to our lives and hearts.  Next door we met Robert and Luke and Joseph.  Again with the same joy and hospitality they welcomed us into their home and shared the best of what they had to offer.  We opened the word together and shared from our hearts.  At that moment, any division that might have been there due to race, background, socio-economic status was erased.  We were brothers and sisters in Christ.  As I looked around the room, I didn't see the nicest furniture, the most up to date clothes, food falling off the shelves.  But what I did see was a true picture of the body of Christ, I heard thankfulness for time with new brothers and sisters, I heard gratitude for how God had provided, I heard sounds of hope.

Meet my new brothers in Christ!
My heart was so full after this impromptu bible study with my new friends.  I love to welcome people into my home just like Edward and the other did for us.  But sadly my opening of my home comes with conditions; my house must be clean, the perfect food must be served, the napkins must match the plates.  How many times do I complain because things are not just so?  And these men taught me that being together in fellowship is about so much more than the just right snacks or the cleanest floor.  It is about being in real community with people, about sharing what is going on in your lives.  It isn't about keeping people out because things are a little messy but instead welcoming them into our mess (figuratively and literally).  This is what living life together really looks like. And boy do I have some work to do!

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