I know it has taken me a while to write about our trip…it seems to take me a while to process everything that goes on…whenever we go back to South Africa. It is such a mix of emotions. Jeffrey’s Bay is one of mine and Gavin’s favorite places in the world, it feels like home. We are so blessed to have such a great community of friends and it is always so much fun to get to see them again. But, each and every time that we go back, the contrast of environment shocks me to the core. I know the circumstances, I know the city, I know the people but it still shocks me. To the left of the main road in J’ Bay- the most beautiful homes you have ever seen. Perfect white beaches, the world best waves, amazing restaurants. To the right of that same road- desperation. poverty. incredible brokenness. There are tiny shacks as far as the eye can see, children being abused and neglected everywhere you turn. Children starving when there is a grocery store the size of any Kroger less than a mile away. Talk about injustice that is hard to understand. So, it is hard for me to put our trips in to words.
On this trip we were so blessed to be accompanied by 7 amazing girls. Jill, Amber, Jessica, Christy and Stephanie from Atlanta, Jess from Nashville, and Lisa from Kansas. Each girl came to South Africa with an amazing open heart and a great desire to help the children at Ithemba. Each day, we went to Ithemba and served and loved on the precious children. We painted and gave Ithemba a “makeover.” We shared meals with the teachers and got to experience their culture through dance and art. The trip was really amazing…bellow I will include another journal entry from our time there: I think it better describes the raw emotion that I was feeling during the time.
This world is fallen. It is dark. It is hard. It seems so hopeless at times. Being here in South Africa, working with the children at Ithemba really brings this forward. This week I fell in love- head over heals in love with two little girls- twins named Sussa and Doeffie. They are PRECIOUS, beautiful, innocent, yet their innocents is constantly being stolen. These babies are four years old and they have spent their lives being raped by their step-brother and their own father. Looking in their precious eyes, you can see the reality of Satan’s work- you can see the depravity of man through the pain in their eyes. And THIS is motivation- a CLEAR calling from God to FIGHT and help bring His Kingdom to earth- an undeniable call to BE Jesus to these girls. That is what Ithemba is doing for them – fighting their circumstances- fighting for their freedom- loving them like Jesus and putting His joy back in to their lives.
Being here, experiencing this has made me realize just how BIG the love of God is and how much HE LOVES US. Yes, the world is dark but He is the brightest light that you can imagine. Yes, the world is fallen but He is redeemed us- He has offered us HOPE when all seems hopeless. He is light and He is love. In the middle of the township, He breaks through the darkness through giving people like Ria (the woman that started Ithemba) a vision to bring a small piece of His love right to the middle of the hell that is the township. We as humans have messed up so much yet He loves us enough to birth His dreams and His vision in people and empower them with His love to accomplish His purposes because HE LOVES US SO MUCH!