Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Name in the Dirt

Two little faces – I’ve watched them for over a year now. I’ve asked everyone at the Mbonisweni feeding about them, and have received no answers. I’ve kissed them. I’ve hugged them. I’ve only known them as Sesi and Bhuti (Sister and Brother). They’ve been mysterious little angels with that infamous “orphan cry” written all over their faces.
Bhuti and Sesi - May 2011
I first noticed them when they began showing up to the feeding very early. And when it only took a glance or a wink for their entire bodies to wrap around mine. After one day of hugs and kisses, we were like family, and they knew they had a place on my lap.

They smelled like filth. They were so, so dirty – every week. Their clothes never fit. They would inhale a heaping plate of food in what seemed like a single bite, and then run back to beg for seconds. I don’t know how it fit into such tiny bodies.

Sesi and Bhuti. I just knew there was something about them… Something for them.

Recently, at TTH, we hosted a group of 13 young adults who came, armed and ready, with a clear direction from God and the plans to make it happen. They would pay for and build 2 homes with us, and then return back to their mission base in Los Angeles to build a model home to raise awareness. They gave us advance notice and asked us to start making plans with families. We were thrilled – and all over it. We couldn’t even wait for the TTH ministry break to end before getting knee-deep in that red dirt again.

This was it! This is the dream! This is how it works! We were building relationships that wanted to spread the movement throughout the nations. They were coming with willing hands and hearts. And we already had strong relationships with just the right families! Praise the LORD!

But then there’s the people-factor. You know, the fact that we’re all broken people. And culture-factor. And allllllllll those broken parts of this earth.

The same factors come into play all over the world, in every stage of life, in every body and every church… and it’s just as disappointing every time. We were made to be redeemed people, designed for the Kingdom culture, and belong as citizens of heaven.

The team arrived, and so did a cyclone. Rain, rain, rain.
We ran into a cranky headman (a tribal chief or community authority) who was unwilling to open his door, much less help.
For the first time ever, we could not secure a plot of land to build a home on. We had people; we had money; we had plans… We just couldn’t get a piece of dirt!
A month went by with absolutely no break-through.

Over and over again, the team set out to pray through the communities, trusting God to fulfill the words HE spoke into them. We didn’t know what to do. It’s our policy and a core value to know the families we build for. Relationship creates Home, not money and not four walls with a roof.

They came to us and said they’d found the home. Three times God brought them there. I was nervous. Filled with doubt. And disappointed that my families, the people I visit and pray over, weren’t getting a home over a matter of whose name was written over a piece of dirt.

As I pulled up to Leah’s plot, to a pitiful shack inhabited by a reportedly welcoming and broken woman with three young children, I could hardly unbuckle my seatbelt before bolting out of the little blue Mazda… SESI AND BHUTI!!!! And Samkelo – a child whose eyes lit up, greeted me by name, and whom I didn’t even know was related to Sesi and Bhuti.


This WAS the family.

They are all the families. They are all the children. They are all spoken for, planned for, and in line for a Home. But this WAS the family for today. For these people. For right now.

The excited team huddled around Leah and her children. They told her that God knows her, sees her and has not forgotten her. They told her He cares about every need. She is so valuable to Him that He changed the plans of an entire ministry; He rearranged everyone’s schedule; He began speaking to a team and hundreds of generous hearts around the world months before; and, starting the very next day, the strangers-turned-family that filled up her piece of dirt were going to build her a house!

Her reaction wasn’t exactly one you’d write a blog about. She didn’t turn on the waterworks. Ty and the gang at Extreme Home Makeover might have been disappointed.

Leah froze.

Her name was written on a piece of dirt. That’s it.

She had 3 children with an abusive father who had been kicked out of the community because of his violence and danger.
She had nothing to offer her children – no food, no money, no hope.
She had neighbors who smirked and giggled as they walked by because of the way she lived.

She’d never known a promise to be fulfilled.
She’d probably never heard a promise with her name in it.
Her name was written on a piece of dirt. That’s it. 

Leah’s heart is not just on a piece of dirt anymore.
Leah’s name is written on a house that is called The Home of Hope.

Sesi and Bhuti are not their names. They didn’t even introduce themselves by their names. How would you know it’s worth it, if your mother doesn’t know her name is worth more than a piece of dirt?

Her children’s given names, Samkelo, Maria and Bennett, are written on plaques over their brand new beds. They each have a place to sleep now.

Leah has her own room. Her own bed.

More than a house and more than a plaque, Leah’s name is written in heaven – as a full heiress, adopted and treasured.

She met Home after she saw a promise with her name being fulfilled. They kept coming back every day for a month. They kept praying and singing worship songs as they put on one brick at a time. Then they gave her the keys – to her brand new door and to heaven as they shared the gospel.

She heard her name. She accepted His Name to redeem her from the dirt and call HIM Home. She took every key offered to her. And now she has a lot more to give her children. And now they answer to their given names.

Maria with a whole new countenance

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