Our time at Ithemba is coming to a close – but as a group we have decided this is not “goodbye”…instead it’s a “til next time.”
Our time here has been truly life-changing. I don’t think any of us will walk into a Target, or grocery or department store, or even our own home with the same eyes we came with…there has definitely been an internal shift – a change of mindset. I hope that when we find ourselves wrestling with contentment, we now have a name and a face of someone we’ve met that is currently living with so much less and has a joy and peace that is contagious.
We started the day as we have many others – playing with kids – just lovin’ on them, playing beauty parlor, pool, kicking the ball, throwing football, hula hoops, etc…but something was definitely special about today knowing it would be our last…bittersweet. I spent most of my time playing with Asum, Mary & Lisacahze – they are some of the ones that have captured my heart. Unfortunately, it was too wet to do our fun day/field day – so we left the toys w/ the teachers to do when it warms up. After we put the kids down for nap time, we headed over to SuperTubes to watch the waves roll in and pick up some lunch.
After lunch, we headed back over to Ithemba to play games and say our goodbyes. A couple of the boys, Simphiwe and his cousin, gave us a tour of the township where they live. (The city is divided into three – the whites, the coloreds, and the blacks.) They live in the black community which is the poorest of the three. I can’t begin to put into words what we saw. As we walked, we handed out sandwiches we had made to the kids we met and I prayed alot as we walked the area. I know our God is good and He is Sovereign, but sights like today still wreck my heart with questions of mercy and justice. I think the hardest part was knowing that Precious, an orphaned HIV positive kid that goes to Ithemba, was running into one of the shanties we walked by. I just wanted to scream out her name, scoop her up, and take her home. (I will post a pic of her later that will melt your heart.) Leaving her behind was hard.
Another moment that will be forever etched in my mind was Matthew walking up to this cute little boy, laying on his belly with his head propped up on a picnic table bench just staring at us as we walked by – and as soon as he saw Matt’s hand out with a sandwich just for him, he’s eyes and body perked up and he jumped down and took it and then smiled at Matt and gave him a high five…and then took a big bite. As his sister, it was a very proud moment. The smile on Matt’s face was just as precious as the kids…so rewarding to have witnessed it…for that I am grateful.
My Richie Rich moment of the day was watching him with as many kids as could fit in his lap watching cartoons off in the corner with some of the afternoon kids. He was just giggling along with ’em – very cute.
I am not quite sure what to do with all we have seen and heard today. I take comfort in the fact that safe house is almost done and some of the children will have a place to go to and perhaps have a chance at a life of possibilities and choices.
For now, I am just pondering what these verses and hoping God will continue to show us where and how to stand in the gap and do for those who can’t do it for themselves.
Matthew 25:37-40 (NIV)
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Micah 6:8 (NIV)
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
With grateful hearts,
Becca, Matt & Rich