A beautiful day to sit out on the patio. The warmed winter's sun of CapeTown, South Africa and lunch all done. It's grinning time!
People of the blog, "Molowi," meaning good morning. I share with you the church I attended this past Sunday, Sivuyile National Baptist Church. I was also asked to preach. This was the last day of the national recognition of Women's Month. The church was packed as there were also nursing students from the University of Connecticut too. What I can tell you is this place was vibrant, rhythmic, and full of the Holy Spirit. There was dancing in the isles as the music instruments of a drum, hand bag, and plastic pipe set the pace.
Sisters and brothers we started a little after 10am and I did not come up to preach till 12 noon! No one left and in between any silence in our place of worshipping sounds could be heard of other Churches. It was Sunday in the poorest township call Gugulethu and praise was being done. My sermon title was the "Power of Devotion" from Ruth 1:1-18. While every song was done in the xhosa langauge, when I preached they understood me! How powerful is the spirit's work? And then I was presented the most precious gift, a Xhosa Bible, I am still in awe, as I share with you now. Suffice it to say Sunday was a very special day of so many on this journey.
People of the blog, today, like Monday was an emotional day, but for different reasons. You see, as I continue on this spirit filled misson journey, I had to close out my time with the Go Go's (grandmother's) of Paarl. I have been traveling to work beside these amazing women of faith as they served the children of Mbekweni Township. When I began we were serving about 150 to 200 hundred children after school and this past week has been 275 to 300. On my last day it was only one Grandmother doing the cooking becuase the other scheduled women for the day were at a family funeral and the doctor's.
So Esther, Joye and myself got the food prepared, dished and served until we ran out. Every day this week we did not run out of food till today. And even as I said to the children still in line, there was no more, the children responded calmly and without complaint. They had done so the week before but for some reason I understood today. They've known this experience in their young lives and how to move toward the next day. What an awakening as we washed the last bowls and put everything away.
It continues to be the dedication of these grandmothers who come from different churches attempting to make a small dent in these children's lives and I got the blessing of being a part for two weeks. And what can I say about the children other than they are precious. We played, kidded, and laugh with each other from the 5 year olds to the 12 year olds. I know the church's mission by God is loving kindness by the old or the young of the church. This mercy is an action word for all of us. Therefore seeing a need and being daring enough to step out on faith is the spirit I pray for the church today!
People of the blog, today I spent time with Becky, a young American woman with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She came to this place called sibongile two years ago with the intention of staying just for one year of mission service. However as we sat down and talked she told me the work spoke to her and she his completing her second year of work. She is about to go home to the States and a long term descion must be made on whether she will remain in the U.S. or return to this work at sibongile after sometime back home. My friends the work she is doing resides with children suffering from Cerebral Palsey and other nurelogical issues.
This is hard, draining, and taxing work on the mind, soul, and body. Yet this woman chose to be here not one year but two She is finding the thought of going back home not that simple. I know why as I played with a little child otuside kicking a small plastic red ball. He did not have Cerebral Palsy but ADHD, which enabled him to run around and kick a small red ball past me everytime somehow. When I thought the game was over he would walk over to me and grab both my hands spreading them out so we could play even more. I did not want to stop when Becky and I had to go to the next location. She would tell me a history of so many of the children, knowing every child by name and understanding their language impeccably. I understood why this future departure will be hard.
This young woman's heart to make a missiional difference is a reflectoon of what can happen when work like this is supported by those who could not make such a trek nor have the skills needed for such work. For the thirty plus childern, Treemdous Hearts and those who support them help Becky make a diffrence and for that I was truly thankful this day. These children would have no place to go, would be socially left behind, along with having a shorter life expectancy for sure. Yet despite the poverty, social stigma and physical struggles of each of these children a difference is beig made.
So I need you to "imagine all the children," becuase out of respect and safety reasons I am not posting pictures of them or the staff. Followers of this blog trust me when I say, your emotional and spiritual places were challenged this day, in a good way.
Pictures from my Friday with community organizer, Vernon Ross. We would stop at Langa, the oldest township. I would meet a young man putting his artistic skills to work for himself and the community. Then we would visit a Baptist Church in the poorest township, Guguletu. From there we would go to the largest township, khayelitsha. There I would talk and shake hands with the same young man who met then to be President Barack Obama! We talked about the same issues, AIDS prevention and care for this community which is running somewhere in the neighborhood of 15%. So much more could be done by government and finally I was reminded of the many street vendors and take aways (mom and pop for us in the US), competing poorly just to make a living from each other.
People of the blog, I send you pictures from the place I had worship yesterday. This is the very church which sponsors the afterschool food program I volunteer with through Tremendous. Hearts. At St. Paul's Apostolic, there is a vibrant spirit of song, along with lots of prayer in two languages and some of the young folks even danced into the singing. What a time!
I had been invited to church and likewise on this Sunday asked to preach, I did. God's text being Mark 3 : 1-6. The scripture is about stretching one's hand. We certainly in worship and in our current time of walking together in this township are reaching out together in the name of God. Pastor Desmond and this congregation do not have plenty, yet they are extending much more. Glory be to God!
My friends, I know it has been a while, since my last post, but I have been a bit busy. Rev Clive Jacobs and Pastor Llewellyn Clayton have been hosting me at the Baptist Seminary, a monthly community pastor's meeting and visitng one of the local churches. This particular church is in a very bad war zone, as Pastor Llewellyn told me. The mission of the Baptist Church in this area is centered on peace to keep these young folks alive, find them jobs and purpose. We made time for me to attend a lecture at the seminary on Friday morning.
The week began and continues with my connection with the Go Go's of Tremendous Hearts this week. These women in the United States would be called grandmothers by you or I. These ladies actually belong to different churches and each one has three or more children living with them becuase they have been abandoned or their mothers have died of AIDS. Yet they saw a need in the community as school children would be going home on or to empty cupboards. These Go Go's came together and started a free after schol meal to children. Monday through Thursday six women rotate as they offer a morsel to 150 or more kids. I cannot express the feelings of my heart of these women and these absolutely beautiful children. What a gift of ministry.
So with Gods help I hope this upcoming week to balance my work along side Pastor Llewellyn, the Go Go's and another ministry I have yet to see. Indeed the mission of the church and its people is to do!
"He has shwon you O mortal what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
People of the blog, it is 7:20 am here, so I am writing this blog messge hopefully as you are sleep. Yet as I was thinking on my morning devotions, I wanted to share just a brief piece about my place of worship this past Sunday. You see I thought I would go to one or another place for church, but they fell through for good resasons. Thus I went to St. Georges Cathedral for church. For those who may not recall this is where Archbishop. Desmond Tutu still preside from time to time. He would not be here this Sunday.
Instead the preacher would be the RT. Rev'd Eugene Sutton, of Washington, D.C. My friends sitting in worship in this ornate and holy place was absolutely touching and at the same time moving. The singing felt great, hearing the different scriptures read in three different dialects was marvelous and the sermon from John 20:11-18, spoke to my soul.
When Mary goes to the tomb, meets the Risen Lord, and is sent forth to tell others he has arose she becomes an Apostle in the that moment, we were told. I did not recall hearing this term used of Mary and it resonated deeply. Jesus sent her out. He did not wait for the disicples to come or the church leaders to appear, as our preacher reminded us. We might have thought this would have been, but not so for Christ, he sent Mary. As this is Woman's month in all of South Africa, we were reminded of the strength, conviction and gifts women bring to the church and the world. This powerfully gifted messenger, spoke to the the mistakes we have made as a church when it came to women and many other isssues. The good news then, as is now, we have the opportunity to get it right as the church.
So I say Happy Women's Month from Cape Town South Africa to every woman! You are blessed, called and highly favored by your God.
This is my new home and community for a while, Bo Koap. This is a Muslim community and I have already been invited to the Mosque to the right of the young boy, which you cannot see from the picture. I also introduce you to "Monster."
The two pictures are part of our family time in Cape Town. I took lots more but not on the tablet. These two pictures are views outside our rooms one being Table Mountain as the clouds rolled in everyday over it's top. The other is Signal Hill and if you strain a tiny object might be seen. We were the spot the day before at 1148 feet overlooking the city.