Tuesday, February 2, 2010


“T-I-A” is one of the most common phrases you here around the base. “This is Africa.”

It’s the only way to explain things sometimes.

We spend an evening amazed by a HUGE spider, throwing moths into its web to watch it attack it’s newfound prey – and then realizing this is somehow more entertaining than any night out at the movies…

After working, sweating and stinking out in the community, you get in the shower, ready to actually see what color your skin is under the red African mud, only to find out the water is off for an undetermined amount of time and you’ve run out of clean clothes - so you put the muddy ones back on…

Mangos and Cadbury chocolate satisfying your new, more personalized nutritional food pyramid…

Showing up for children’s Sunday School at 9:30, and greeting the kids upon arrival at 10:20…
(getting my hair done for church, of course)

Jumping into the pool and justifying it as your shower for the next 2 days (at least)...

The weather during rainy season also gives us a lot of “T-I-A” moments.

This weekend, we planned on visiting a community for an all-day VBS (Vacation Bible School) program. We were looking forward to interacting with the kids, and were all a little disappointed when the ominous clouds rolled in and threatened our fun. We had to cancel VBS because it would be unlikely that the children would come in the weather, but decided to put on our hoodies and head out to the community for a potentially wet prayer walk.

I didn’t really know what a prayer walk was, but our team met at the church we’ve been attending for the past few weeks and learned a little more about the community before starting. One of our teammates, Lennon, is actually from the community and another teammate, Mongo, has been participating and ministering in the community for months now.

The name of the community is Mboniswane (just sound it out). It’s about a 5 – 10 minute drive from base, and Ten Thousand Homes has previously hosted a feeding program for orphans and vulnerable children out of a community member’s home. Some of the staff from Ten Thousand Homes are now involved with a church sitting on a hill in the community and are working closely with the pastor, focusing specifically on the youth in the community. They are hoping to be able to begin feeding, trainings, and creating refuge and fun for children in the community out of the church.

In our meeting in the church, one of our leaders, Hayley, said she believes the church will be a light on the hill for the community, and that God will bring life and hope through the people there. In our discussion, we started to get a small taste of what life is like in Mboniswane, and in much of Africa.

There is a hope deficit. Many people are just living. Just surviving.

Some believe in God, but the spirituality in their culture often teaches that God is good and it will be great to go to Heaven someday… but don’t understand His heart to give them abundant life now. They are missing the “His Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven” part of it. (Matt 6:10)

Imagine not imagining. Many of us grew up dreaming the sky’s the limit - dreaming of what we want to be.

NaNa always tells me that I used to say, “Whatever I’ll be, I’ll be.” I can imagine that, for me, this meant that I didn’t even want to limit myself to just one dream because I grew up believing that all things are possible.

The people of Mboniswane and all over this continent might say, “Whatever will be, will be” instead. Many go to church just to check it off their list.

Brittany and I walked with one of our staff, Stanley, around the community to pray for hope, for the youth and to meet people. We were so thankful for Stanley’s familiarity with the community and for translating for us. Most we met didn’t speak English.

First, we met a traditional healer who was experiencing tremendous pain in her body. We learned from Stanley that healers didn’t believe in healing themselves, but had to be healed by others. She became frightened at the mention of prayer and asked us to leave. As we stepped outside her property, we prayed for God’s healing love and grace to overcome her and that she would start healing in the name of God.

We continued to walk through the community, visiting and praying with people. Toward the end of the walk, we met a man in the street who had been very ill. We prayed over him and he invited us to meet his family. In the light rain, we sat outside on buckets listening. Through Stanley’s translating, we learned that the man was very worried because he has been unable to work due to his health and had no income to feed his family. He had applied for help from the government, but, because he is sick, they had denied him. On days when he is feeling well, he tries to get work, but sometimes he works all day and gets paid very poorly or not at all. He and his family were so kind and gracious as we prayed over them.

On our walk back to meet the rest of the team at the church I was speechless. The government doesn’t seem to have hope either – denying a sick person help because they are probably going to die anyway.

Where will they get the message of hope?

How can we give hope in a practical, grab-a-hold-of-it-and-don’t-let-go, hunger for God, and live life abundantly kind of way?

Hope compels us. Love gives us meaning.

What would life be without it?

(no idea why i'm the only one who can't keep my eyes open)

(gathering some kids together after our prayer walk to sing and play)

1 comment:

  1. Love the post... T.I.A will pretty much never get old.