So, these past few weeks have been a chance to celebrate life. David and my co-worker Thulani share the same birthday month, so they decided to have a joint “bring and braai” to celebrate. As we sat around after cake, listening to them both share about their year, it was so inspiring to see how God had provided for both of them. At Thulani’s request we sang the song, “In Christ Alone”, and the line “No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me, from life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny” was a line that carried Thulani through this year. Thulani was very sick this year and also was walking with some children in the community through very difficult experiences. It was quite emotionally draining– but God brought him through it. This time last year David didn’t have a job–but now he has been teaching for nearly a year at a local high school. We really do have nothing to fear when Christ is commanding our destiny.
I’m so thankful for these two guys and their love for the Lord and the work that they do. Also, I love any excuse to have a party! We recently had another excuse to party– on thanksgiving day, the iThemba staff got to go to uShaka water park in Durban to celebrate our successful completion of our staff goals. I think water parks are fun in general, but going with a bunch of crazy guys who work with kids all day just takes it to a whole new level. We did every slide together, and the whole group would burst into chants and songs at different moments– once even getting a stranger to join us in a redition of “Baby Shark” complete with actions. 🙂
These past few weeks I’ve also been reminded of how important it is to celebrate life and the lives of those we know around us while we have the chance. Beauty, a Zimbabwean lady who went to our church and volunteered there faithfully, was tragically killed in a bus accident a few weeks ago. Beauty was someone who always had an infectious smile and was always there to help. A few months ago I felt like she was someone I wanted to get to know, and so our church small group invited her to join us for tea where we got to hear her life story. She left behind a country she loves in order to earn money for her family, and gave up a successful job as a caterer in Zim to do nanny work here– but she trusted God and was always so thankful. Living as a Zimbabwean in the community of Sweetwaters is very difficult– Zulu people here can be very rude to people who don’t speak Zulu– often taxi drivers wouldn’t stop to let her off because she wasn’t asking them in Zulu (even though they could understand her). But Beauty consentrated on the positive. I was able to see Beauty and her granddaughter just two days before she was killed– she stopped by an iThemba Life Group I was at, and I was able to introduce her to the gogo who hosts the Life Group. It was quite shocking to find out she was gone just a few days later. Of course, I was sad for her family, but I was even more sad for myself, and for the rest of our church family. I was sad because we didn’t take advantage of the holy privilege we had been given of getting to deeply know Beauty. We took for granted that she’d be there every week, helping with the coffee, smiling as always, and so we missed out.
I hope this holiday season we celebrate, we play, we have fun– but we remember it’s a privilege to joke and laugh with these precious immortals.
“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.” — C.S. Lewis
- Praise God for teens camp: We have all 50 teens sponsored, and we leave for camp on the 11th of December. Many teens coming have never been to camp before, and several come from quite difficult home situations– pray that they would come to know the love of Jesus this camp season.