Friday, July 20, 2012

Africa: Humbled

There’s so much I could tell you about today, but to add too many details would cloud one experience that will highlight this trip for me…

Today was our first day back out at our church communities...Our project for today was to plant fruit trees and seedlings in their garden…  They always come out to help us so we finished pretty quickly.  Since we had so much extra time, I decided that for the third year running I would ask Pastor to take us into the community to get a better understanding of what it’s like.  I’ve asked him each year, but he has been very reluctant.  I guess it just took some time to build some trust.

While we were out, he asked if we could stop and pray for a man in his church who had recently lost his wife.  Of course…  We all piled out of the van and as we walked towards the homestead, I noticed an older gentleman out under the tree.  There were grass mats on the ground and pastor started to have us sit down, but the man asked if we would bless him by coming into his house. l

So let me give you a little context...  In Swaziland, it is considered bad luck when your spouse dies.  In fact, in the rural areas the people almost shun the person who has lost their spouse.

So back to my story…  his grandchildren laid out grass mats for us to sit on.  It was a very humble home…  Concrete block walls, a couple of plastic chairs, maybe 3, and just some basic tools to survive.

After a word from Pastor, he invited the gentleman to say a few words…  I was humbled to the core at what he said… “Now I feel like a human being because you have blessed me by coming into my house.”

God used our simple little visit to help restore his dignity…  Stunning!  We just have no idea how God can use the smallest things!

But then, I was completely overwhelmed…  Pastor asked us if we would gather around the gentleman, lay hands on him and pray a blessing for him.  And the gentleman took off his sandals!  In Exodus 3, when Moses was before the burning bush, God instructed Moses to take off his sandals because he was on holy ground.  When we finished praying, the gentleman put them back on.  His simple, subtle gesture gave a glimpse into his heart…  He felt like he was on holy ground!

I am awed by how the simplest things mean so much to the people here…  Sometimes I struggle with feeling like what I do where is woefully inadequate.  I often wonder, wouldn’t it just be better to take the money it cost to come here and just give it to them.  But it’s coming home to me over and over on this trip that someone showing up is as important for their spirit as water and food is to their bodies.

I have a lot more to tell about today, but I’ll probably save it for when we get home.  Tomorrow is measuring for TOM’S shoes…  Pastor says there could be as many as 500 children!  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

7 rCan hardly wait to hear the rest of the stories.!