Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Playing for Peace

Last week, TTH's Dwaleni feeding program was rough.

I won't sugar-coat it.

Almost 400 children tore through the gates like a tornado. Fists were flying, and faces were snarling. Corruption, injustice, abuse, poverty and oppression were flowing out of them like wildfires dressed  in school uniform. Everything they live through in the darkening walls of their homes came out with a vengeance last Thursday.

I couldn't even pray.
I felt like I was in a chokehold... one that brought tears to my eyes and kept words from my lips.

I wandered around - supposedly the one in charge - with a baby on my hip, hundreds of dirty little hands lunging for me, and discouragement closing in on me. I broke up fights, pried hands out of my hair, supervised dish-washing stations, and made plans to take home one group of kids who walked way too far down a dangerous road to get home everyday and another young woman to the police station because she was in grave danger.

There weren't enough people to help.
There weren't enough arms to hug.
There wasn't enough food to feed them all.

We can't proclaim a Kingdom, a Father, and a Family that has space for everyone, sets a place beside Him at the dinner table, and wipes away our tears if we don't have enough plates, food or hands. 

We have record numbers coming to our Dwaleni feeding. I know it's because hope is coming there too. Because God hears what we've been crying out to Him, and He loves these kids.

The spiritual warfare is raging. 
Last Thursday, I couldn't even pray. 

So today, Wednesday, we tried something new with the Sizanani volunteers who cook, serve and volunteer full time in Dwaleni. We marched into that very same yard where chaos prevailed last week, and we proclaimed peace for this week.

And we played. 

Half an hour into this not-so-traditional tea time, Sophie was all wrapped up in a hammock for the first time ever. She sighed and rocked herself into a state of bliss. "I am happy."

I put my hands on her reclined, hardened feet. I said, "Sophie, this is what it feels like to rest in God's peace. This is what the feeding can feel like."

And she got it. Eyes flickered and fluttered. And over and over again, she said, "Thank you."

I told her that Jesus asks us to have faith like a child and to give our burdens to Him.
So we play, on a hard and hot day, and we find ourselves smiling. And not feeling the pains we came in with.
We lay in a hammock. And we see only the heavens above us, with no weight on our bodies.

And then we find ourselves praying - communicating with the Peacemaker - as instinctively as taking our next breath.

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