Sawubona. Zulu for Hello.
I had the opportunity to go to South Africa this summer with a group of pretty awesome High School kids. Have I mentioned that I love my job?
When I think about my time there, I am overwhelmed. Simply because the Lord is so present in South Africa–in the land, in the people, in the music, in everything.
We spent some time in a settlement of Johannesburg, Kya Sand, and worked with the organization, Impact Africa. An area of 20, 000 people: an area of people who are both hopeless and hopeful, an area with children who are victims but yet manage to find their innocence and whose desire is simply to be held. An area of darkness but where the Light continues to shine…
We also spent some time at a preschool, Philile, where we did Vacation Bible School for little 3-6 year olds that did not speak any English. But there was one language we all shared– laughter.
We also spent a lot of time with high school kids that live in the wealthier part of town, and though from the outside looking in, you may think that their life is perfect, you soon discover that there is still brokenness and pain in even those kids.
Interesting Fact: Johannesburg has the biggest wealth gap in the world.
As a teenager, I always hoped of going to Africa. And as I got older, I began to hope that I would one day adopt from Africa. Surprise Mom and Dad!
Who knows what God has planned for me, but what I do know is that there is something so special about South Africa– something that just settles in your heart and doesn’t leave.
I learned a lot–from my students, from my colleagues, from South Africans.
I learned that my God is the same God as those in Kya Sand, and those in any other city or town or settlement in the world. He is a God who hears all, no matter the language.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy Will be done–On Earth as it is in Heaven”
It is all around us, His Kingdom is all around us, and when I open my heart, I see it.
In South Africa, I saw the Kingdom of God. I saw it in the diversity of the people, in the way they worshiped and in the way they danced. I saw the Kingdom of God in my students and how they prayed for complete strangers, and in the eyes of the little kids in Kya Sand.
Faith. It is a powerful thing. It is a true thing. It is a miracle-making thing. But though those are all true, it is still a hard thing. The Lord never said that life would be easy, in fact, I am sure He would tell us it will be a difficult thing. But one thing is for sure, He promised us that He would be with us through it all. I saw that in the people I met. Faith was not lost, despite their circumstances. My hope is that I can continue to live my life like the people of South Africa–a life of thanksgiving and a life reflecting the Kingdom of God.
As a teacher, you expect to teach someone something, but the beauty of being a High School teacher is that I am, in fact, the one that learns something. Despite their age, my students have a lot of wisdom. Here are some of the things they learned while in South Africa:
-The enemy plays a serious role in the world.
-You don’t have to use words to make an impact.
-The power of prayer
-To be grateful for everything
-God values a willing Spirit
-Spreading the Word of God is urgent
-The importance of being the head, heart and hands of Jesus
-That there is a difference between knowing the works of God and the ways of God
-God loves us relentlessly
-Be a display of the Lord’s splendor
-Have hope in every situation
The God of America is the same God of Africa.
He is the God of all people.