Monday, August 6, 2012
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Lusaka and Johannesburg - two large cities in Africa; a world apart. Each of then populated by over 4 million people - a mixture of European, Asian, Black African, and mixed races. Two cities with distinct class differences ranging from the extremely poor to the upper and middle classes. In each case white westerners live much more comfortable lives than their African counterparts.. One city - Johannesburg bustling with a very modern, western feel. Lusaka on the other hand lacking government services and infrastructure. The common things with each city are the rampant prevalence of HIV/AIDS, extreme poverty, thousands of orphans, hungry people, and homeless. South Africa seems to us to be well ahead of Zambia. But it would be unfair to compare or quantify the level of need - it is beyond comprehension in both places. And throughout our mission trip we have discovered selfless people, dedicated to serving the poor, helpless and vulnerable in both places. We are overwhelmed by people like the, Witherows, Pastor Vessie and the people of the Ennerdale URC church. What impresses us more though are the people like Mama Florina and the dedicated cadre of caregivers that go out each morning to care for the sick and dying. It is the dedicated pre-school teachers in Finetown and the teachers of Healing Place in Lusaka. We are moved by the tireles desire of pastors and church leaders who are willing = no, compelled - to breath the very air of the people who live in their communities. That is to say, they desire to be the hands and feet of Christ proclaiming the Gospel in word and in deed to the people in need in their own communities/ Right now - two days away from heading back to our own homes and beds - we are on emotional and spiritual overload; trying to make sense of what we have experienced. Today's highlights were celebrating with the pre-school teachers of Finetown as they received their certificates of training and then serving those teachers lunch. We cried as Lovie and Ida hugged their friend Cherie who has walked with them in their caring for the sick. We prayed, asking God to set apart Mama Florina as she attempts to feed up to sixty children two times a week, send the caregivers out each day, and take care of 11 orphans in her own home, which even though larger, nicer and better equipped than others in Finetown or Kabanana, is still modest and challenging considering all she does. We served a simple, nutritious soup to about 20 children - a meal that may be their only meal for the day or even two days. We can't begin to thank you enough for the prayerful support that you are continuing to offer up on our behalf. Continue to pray that we would be vessels through which Christ's love can flow. We return home Thursday but a part our soul will always remain in Africa. We are grateful. We are blessed. We are humbled. Two cities - an overwhelming amount of human need.