All posts tagged "South Africa"
Where in the world?
I can hardly believe we’ve been in Cape Town for six weeks already. In some ways we’ve experienced a lifetime worth, and on the other hand, it feels like yesterday we were waving our (temporary) goodbyes to our Zambian family for this next season. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, if you ask me. The mountains tower high over the land as the ocean shores crash in all its wildness. We’ve been enjoying it’s countryside immensely all while journeying a heart’s path that will make these moments truly last forever.
We’ve enjoying the life of a Jesus community that we happened upon in South Africa. This community has been grappling with things like: how to do life in an African setting while serving and empowering the Africans, how to celebrate the love of Jesus with people without changing their cultural context, and how to effectively serve the oppressed and walk a journey with them in contrast with the foal to “convert” people. Loving and serving people simply for the love of people. Imparting a vision of a valued and cared for humanity. God has really been in the midst of all this, shaping our hearts, bringing beautiful relationships to surround us with, and showing us His love and grace in this process.
Walter Wink wrote a book called Jesus and Non-violence, one that Nick and I are currently reading together. Some of you might have already seen this quote on my facebook. “What does God require of me in response to the needs of others?” It’s not, “How can I be virtuous?” But, “How can I participate in the struggle of the oppressed for a more just world?” That’s where we are. At the very core of who Nick and I are, we are seeking God’s heart to participate in this struggle. How to live out Isaiah 58 and “loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke, and set the oppressed free… share your food with the hungry, to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, clothe them.”
How it looks and where that takes us in the future is an open book.
But where is that taking us right now?
Nick and I are headed on yet another wild adventure, and heading to India. We will be there for approximately two months, staying at the base of the Himalayan Mountains, sharing life with the Tibetan people residing there.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.
Well Watered Gardens
Our return to Redhill was a much-anticipated reunion. Three years ago marked a very pivotal time in our young, American, newly married lives: deciding to move into a little shack in a South African township to work amongst the Xhosa people. Life changing, really. Probably more for us than them. We had little inklings of what it’d be like, but had no idea it’d shape our lives and decisions from then on in such a large way. Not to mention the real love and bond with the people of Redhill, specifically with our neighbors David and Daisy.
So, you can imagine, the emotions that come into play, when you drive up the road, in anticipation to seeing them again, revisiting the little shack that kept us cold at night and warm in the day. (and no, that was not a mistake)
My heart felt heavy from the start of the day, wondering if they’d still be there, fearing they wouldn’t share in our excitement of returning, but mostly just out-of-my-skin thrilled for the opportunity to see everyone again. Liana, our roommate in this shack three years ago, and I both admitted feeling a little nervous just as we parked.
So we head up to our old stomping grounds, reminiscing and noticing changes in the once burnt grounds of a fire stricken land, now with flourishing gardens and natural landscape. We see David and Daisy. Tears start flowing and Daisy immediately embraces us and reminds me that I am crying the same as the day I left. David came around the corner and got his same old toothless grin on his face. One that looks like he’s trying to hold back his real emotions. “We often talked of you guys, wondering when you’d come back. Took you long enough” he said, in his almost cowboy-like abruptness. Soon came the little kids that once knew us so well, playing in our yard, and sitting on our laps. I saw Artule, a little boy whose photographs graced the pages of magazine stories of Redhill and my gallery in Portland. I had a photo of him hanging on my office wall at home, and would recognize his eyes from a mile away. He was happy to accompany us for the remaining tour of Redhill that day. Hand in hand, we went.
I was reminded of the scripture the Lord gave us while working in Redhill. Isaiah 58, a well quoted chapter of God’s heart for justice, and yet, for us, almost a prophetic inscription of what to expect from the Lord in our sun-scorched land.
“and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in the sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called the Repairer of Broken walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58: 10-12