When I finally took the time to sit down and reflect back on my time that I’ve spent here in South Africa so far, it’s almost indescribable.
From serving at Blessed Hands and feeding the homeless and families in need, to serving at Kairos packing food parcels so that families can have meals to support their family, playing with my kids Zita, Masana, and Bantetilé during the after school care program at the school, and helping Titi with her homework…I can’t even put into words all that this week has held. The stories of these families, seeing where many of these kids have lived in the squatter camps right across the street from the school, and some days it was just hard to see and hard to process.
To give you some context, these squatter camps house 4×4 homes. It’s basically just a room with four walls and a bed. A community of 50 people sharing one shower and one bathroom.
As we walked through one camp, my eyes peaked into a home where I saw a little girl playing on the bed. She had beach blonde hair and bright blue eyes…just like I did when I was her age, but her reality is so different than the one I grew up in. My heart was heavy.
I could tell you to google squatter camps in South Africa and maybe then you will be able to see just a little of the reality of some of these families, but it’s so different than what the pictures express. For example, When you stand in the squatter camp. When you look into the eyes of the people portrayed in the pictures. When you smell the air of the surrounding area.
Coming from America to South Africa there is definitely a difference in culture and at times it can be very overwhelming. From seeing what we have seen and serving alongside these ministries it can be challenging to process as you look at what seems to be the smallest tasks that we have completed, and you wonder is what we have done actually enough?
Have I impacted those around me?
Have I talked with the right people?
Have I truly been a light for Jesus Christ?
Is what I am doing actually making a difference at all?
As I spend time with the lord, to be still, and sit in his presence, he reminds me that it’s not about what we do at all.
It’s about how we love one another. It’s about the planting of a mustard seed through the simple tasks knowing that we may never see the fruit of our labor, but God is using that small moment that small simple task to grow his kingdom into something so much greater than we will ever see in our lifetime.
As we were sitting at Blessed Hands waiting to set up for the meals we were about to pass out, there was this little girl named Amolé and she was determined to refill all of our cups as we finished our drinks…and in many instances as she refilled our cups she would fill them up to much and they would spill all down her arms and all over the ground.
In this moment Hein leaned over to me and said, “What a picture of the kingdom. Filling every cup until it flows over.”
This little girl so willing to serve, wanting to be apart of our group, wanting to be seen, known, loved, and cared for. Such a gentle spirit, yet she has no idea how God is going to use her one day.
As I said before…It’s not about what we do at all but it’s about how we love. How we view people not just for what we see on the outside but realizing that these individuals we have come in contact with have a name. They have a story. They have a path they have traveled that has brought them to this time and place and God loves them, just as he loves us. We aren’t any different than the person standing on the side of the road asking for money. Our status may say differently but our souls show otherwise.
We have value, we have worth, and he calls each of us by name, but do we show the same worth and value to others? Are we so caught up in our lives that we forget to take the time to have a conversation with one another and get to know the person below the surface that we see?
The Amolé’s who fills each cup…the Natasha’s who learned my name as I passed her a meal before I even knew hers…the Titi’s who are the troublemakers in the school but get her one on one and you get to know the sweet girl underneath who is just trying to finish her homework.
It can be so easy to become caught up in the busyness of our lives especially in America today but it’s when we are distracted most that we can miss these divine moments. We lose the value of the gift God has laid right before us which is the gift of today.
Our lives and our future will always be there. We don’t need to strive towards what’s next because as it says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
…but our present. Each and every moment of today is temporary just like the people around us. As it says in James 4 our lives are like the morning fog. Here for one moment and gone the next. We have the opportunity to change history with every moment that is given to us. With each moment we can make tomorrow better than today…to give hope to those who feel stuck and show them that their past isn’t their future…it’s a stepping stone into tomorrow.
If we look to hard at the physical we can miss these divine moments. We can be so caught up in ourselves that we forget to love one another, to share a cup of coffee, or pour into those around us so that their cup can run over once again. But the moment we stop looking at the physical and look with our spiritual eyes, God will reveal His will and moment by moment we will have the power to change history.
As it says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
We have to potential of changing someone’s history in a single moment by helping to make today better than yesterday and to give them the hope that tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start?”
“My cup runneth over…”
Until the next Adventure,