We’ve experienced the joys of the wine country, tasting the fruits of the land at Klein Constania, Buitenverwatching (don’t ask us how to pronounce) and Groot Constantia. It was a lovely experience between us, Rene and a another American from Tennessee by the name of Christian Man. No kidding folks – that is the name on his birth cert. He is an intern at the Warehouse . We’ve taken in the passion of this Nation’s competitiveness as we watched (on TV) South Africa defeat Italy in a Rugby match. We saw our first wildlife in the form of Baboon’s scavenging food in a clear-cut as well as the strangest snails on Strand Beach that seem to emerge from the sea at the scent of dying muscle (these things are weird). We’ve taken the cable car to the top of a a very cold, very wet Table Mountain and finished with with a drive down the coast, beautiful scenery and the most amazing seafood and mojito at Paranga (yes – better than Primo…way better). However, the most significant thing we’ve experienced is this strange dichotomy that is South Africa.
While you drive through the wine lands you see pristine beauty and tremendous houses, but on your way you bear witness to Townships ragged with poverty. With little explanation, it is overwhelming. There are so many people with so little dignity in this country and daily you can be reminded of this fact. Giant homes one one side of the street, mountain, freeway, etc. Shacks on on the other. In the mountains we saw beautiful homes at the base and in their backyards would be tinned, leaking homes. The history book is laid before one’s eyes; the pages in full color as you drive the streets. The beauty of this dichotomy is that God is watching and has sent people to this place to restore the people.
We had the privilege of going to a farm by the name of Eagle’s Rising. We were confused when we arrived, as all Rene had told us is that the people who run the farm pray quite a lot. We met Mimi and Johann, two South African’s who wanted to give young people who would never have a chance in this country, the opportunity to live life with hope of a future. The criteria to come to this farm: complete 12th grade, have absolutely nothing and no hope for a future. What they are given: life skills. For instance, learning to eat with a knife and fork, learning how to endure quiet (living with 10 people in a shack is not conducive to learning this skill). Many have gifts for creativity, sewing, maintenance, etc. These gifts are embraced and expanded by whatever means they have available at the farm. These young people are given life and dignity that they would otherwise not have. One element of the farm that was personally encouraging was that they had a 24/7 Boiler Room, as in a Red Moon Rising real-deal prayer room…spray painted with phrases such as “Lion of Judah”. Young men and women were praying and crying out to the Lord in this little room full of cushions and Jason Upton. Intercessory prayer is part of the students role and education. We scanned through the prayer journal to find that God, as usual, is speaking so many similar things around the globe. The presence of God was so strong at this farm. We both were becoming quite emotional by what God was doing in the lives of these students; rewriting their futures.
We were honored to see a birthday party for one of the girls who was turing 18. Before anything had even happened, she sat in her chair by candlelight, quietly crying. We had been informed that she had never had a birthday party in her life. Everyone gathered around and sang, blessing her with words of encouragement and prayers. Several of the girls told her they loved her and proceeded to turn on an African gospel song to which birthday girl and many of the students danced without any fear or hesitation; they danced with heritage and passion. It was so beautiful. Knowing that these kids had been plucked from poverty and given a gift that would never stop giving: dignity through love. They had been empowered to be who God created them to be. Oh that all people in the townships would be given such a gift. Our hearts have been ripped from our chests and we hardly know what to do.
We attended church after our return from Eagle’s Rising and the emotion of what we had witnessed continued to come. We are asking God what it is that He has for us. On one side, we want to be the people who can walk in to a place like Eagle’s Rising and write a fat check to purchase the new bus they need. On the other side, we want to give up everything we have and serve them so more students can be helped. What part to we play in God’s economy? Oh, how we long to know now.
Thank you, as always, for your prayers. Please pray for our health. Please pray for Rene and Caroline that they also would return to full health. Its the beginning of Winter here (cold season), but we believe that God will always win in a fight with rhinovirus.
Goodnight from Cape Town!