It's been 3 days of ministry, and to be completely honest, I've been putting off updating this from not even knowing where to start. On Sunday we were introduced to the ministry, it's locations and the communities that Living Hope serves, check it out: http://www.livinghope.co.za/ - and then on Monday, we hit the ground running. My team is working in a community called "Overcome Heights", a township that has no permanent structures standing, only small shacks, dirt and trash filled roads, and about one thousand stray dogs! I've never seen this kind of poverty- shoot, I've never seen poverty close up before. From 10 am -12 pm we run a kid's club for any children under the age of 12, and a teen club for kids over 12. On Monday, we walked the streets and started recruiting kids, most of which were wandering the streets. We started with about 50 kids on Monday and today we had around 90!
I can't put into words my experience here so far. I've met and hugged hundreds of kids, attempted to learn their names... let's see, there is Sikelele, a 6 year old boy with eyes that will just make you smile from the inside out. And there's 3 sisters that come together, Lucretia, Kaylene, and Meagan who are all absolutely beautiful. And one of my favorites, Diago, he NEVER forgets the memory verse for the day! And so many more, I can't even begin to list them.
But you know what- as much as these kids are stealing my heart away, I am absolutely falling in love with this ministry of Living Hope and God is giving me new eyes to see. Their mission is so pure. To love the least of these- not just to feed the poor, or heal the sick. That's not enough- it's to show Jesus to them, to give them HOPE not just for eternal life, but even in this life!
We heard John and Avril speak tonight. (founders of Living Hope and pastor of King of Kings) The only word I have to describe them is - vessel. They are a vessel- an open vessel to be used for WHATEVER purposes the Lord puts on their hearts. I wish you all could have heard them speak. My words don't give them justice. I can't give this trip and this place and these people justice. I can only pray that God changes my heart to hurt for what HIS heart hurts for. That's a big prayer, but my gosh, God does BIG things. I'm learning that more and more everyday. He changes lives. We just need to be willing to be used.
Living Hope used to be partially funded by our government, through President Bush's Abstinence program. Since the administration changed, their funding has been cut entirely. They are still trying to raise funding to make up what they've lost. They began this new program, called the "DAD" program, for those who are willing to donate a "dollar a day". I've seen first hand who these people are, and what their mission is. I'm all in. Check the link out if God's tugging at your heart. I wish you could be with me to see this first hand.
Love to all of you back home.