What an eye opening experience!
For some time now I have felt deeply on my heart that we as Christians sometimes choose the easy way out. We toss up a prayer when faced with the plight of peoples’ needs, something like, “Oh Lord, bless and help them,” and then we go on with our lives, our conscience momentarily appeased. We go back to our little worlds, watching our favourite series, on giant flat-screen TVs, which are not quite as big as we’d like, griping about the issues that intrude into our comfort zones.
We are so caught up in our own little worlds, that we are even blind to the fact that we are blind to the plight of the needy. Yes, we know there are poor people out there, and yes, maybe we donate food and money to support helping organizations, but until you come face to face with the stark reality of the poverty some people live in we have no idea how selfish and self-absorbed we really are.
It is when we meet people whose only concern is where their next meal is going to come from, when the entire contents of a kitchen consists of three potatoes, that our own challenges pale starkly in comparison. Our stone walls and soft beds compared to those living in plastic, wood and corrugated iron shelters. How small minded and self-absorbed we are! The ugliness and poverty around us ironically reflecting the ugliness and poverty of our own souls.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to visit kwaMasinenge with Abounding Hope community Development. I had no idea what to expect, as it was my first time in an informal settlement. I suppose one expects garbage lying everywhere, the stench of raw sewerage permeating the air, danger lurking behind every corner waiting to pounce. Imagine my surprise to discover the area being relatively tidy, a friendly, uncomplicated people, polite living with dignity, each shack furnished into a makeshift home. It’s not the Ritz, but each host welcomed us warmly and offered us freely to share in the meagre comforts that they had. The most striking for me, was their vulnerability. We are so incredibly privileged living in our big houses, with electrified fences, burglar bars and alarm systems with private security companies and two big dogs in the yard. These people live in a wooden frame with corrugated iron and not even a proper bolt to lock the door. If someone wants to rob or harm them they are virtually defenseless.
The people too are surprisingly hospitable, there is a simple humility about them which is very touching. You hear testimonies of healing which
encourage, you hear plights of woe which move you, and you hear horrible stories of the way they sometimes treat each other. It is raw humanity at its best and worst. They have no veils and the trappings of wealth and success to hide behind. They are just very real people trying to survive from day to day. Born into families and lifestyles purely by chance, just as we are. It opens the eyes to see how utterly blessed we are, shaming us for our former ingratitude.
It is a journey I would recommend everyone should undergo at least once. If nothing else, it will remove the blindness of our eyes to be grateful for what we have, and hopefully motivate us to do a little more, than to just offer up a “quicky” prayer on Sundays for the plight of the poor.
As always we go into Masinenge with great expectation of what God is going to do regarding everyone we meet and come across, bringing Glory to Him and Him alone. With every person we met and who's place we visited, God was there as always. His presence hovering over us and empowering us in love and in Spirit.
We prayed for restoration healing of a baby boy who's broken bone has not been completely healed. (This particular baby was physically abused by his previous caregiver and was in full body cast for several weeks). The Lord has made way for the boy to get the much needed physio that will lead to full restoration and healing.
We were invited into an old mans home, who lost his life partner a few days ago, whom HOLY Spirit not only wanted to comfort but also had plans to bring him to salvation.
The old man gave his life to the Lord and the Holy Spirit was truly tangible, as Jesus was proclaimed as Lord of this humble, hurting old mans life. We blessed him with some groceries to add onto his list for the funeral. What was truly touching was us asking this weeping, broken hearted man what he knew about Jesus before his salvation, he tells us he sees Jesus in all the love shown by the team and through His works in the community.
We laid hands on a lady suffering from a hectic case of ulcers. God revealed to one of the team members that she has very bad nightmares which lead to her have anxieties and panic attacks. But we serve a God of whom nothing is impossible for Him.
Our last visit was to a household where the wife is a cancer survivor and the husband is recovering from TB. She mentioned the difficulty she's experiencing with her throat as it closes up at times when she tries to eat her food, have her medication and even drink water. We laid hands on both her and the husband and prayed for healing and prayed for their home.
Touching lives for the Kingdom of God is what we at Abounding Hope Ministries live for ...