Hello, or shall I say moloweni (the Xhosa word for “hello”) from sunny Cape Town, South Africa! Our second week here was full of wonderful memories, real experiences, and fulfilling service opportunities. We enjoyed the breathtaking scenery: beaches and mountains viewable right from the team house. We’ve seen God touch people in ways we’ll never forget. We’ve shared tears and laughter as God works in us, through us, and all around us.
We started the week off at our partner organization, Living Hope. We were able to hear from a founder, Avril Thomas, and her son, Victor, who now runs Living Hope. They both shared the amazing ways that God is at work in the organization. Living Hope oversees many different programs that serve the locals holistically.
After worship, devotion, and orientation into the program, we headed to Masiphumelele. Masiphumelele is an impoverished township just 13 minutes away from the team house. The soft-spoken people of the Masi community were warm and welcoming. Our first encounter with them was a tour through the township, and we were greeted by nearly every person we encountered. By the end of the tour, many of us had made friends with local children, who trailed along chatting and playing with our team. Then we went to the Living Hope home base in Masi.
Every morning we were able to experience extremely powerful Xhosa worship, sung enthusiastically by the local nurses on Living Hope’s staff. It was incredible to be with people who praised God so unabashedly.
We were divided into teams of 2-3 to join nurses on house calls. I was assigned to a team that cleaned and dressed wounds. As we walked to the houses, we chatted with the nurses about their lives, and in return, they (very patiently) attempted to teach us some Xhosa. We walked at what felt like a painfully slow pace. But this taught us a lesson. At first, many of us thought that we could be more efficient by walking faster. But what we didn’t realize was the number of people the nurses were able to touch, greet, and make conversation with along the way. This form of ministry would be lost if we sped up. We aren’t aware of how fast-paced our lives are until we’re forced to slow down. Sometimes slowing down is beneficial, and in this case, it really was.
South Africa has a power company called Load Shedding, and every day at different times, all electricity turns off for two to four hours to save power. As I write this blog, Load Shedding has turned the power off. Several of my teammates are outside stargazing, someone is strumming a guitar, and another is playing the mandolin. Laughter echoes through the house. So, even though it is not ideal for us, it also pulls our teams together and teaches us another valuable lesson about simplicity.
Our second week here in South Africa was amazing. The culture here is so different, and I think we will all leave a little different. We saw so much of God’s creation—from the beautiful mountains to the smiling faces we met. We truly have been humbled by what is happening in this country. There were some difficulties, but God has his hand on this community and ministry. We are learning lessons and making memories that will last a lifetime. Until next time, goodbye, or sala kakuhle!