Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tears of joy - "I'll remember it for the rest of my life"

Possibly the most moving experience of my trip (and possibly my life) so far was on Wednesday night at Mariannhill Bible class. I was initially pretty apprehensive about going as I’d never been to a township before so going at night sounded a bit scary for a first experience. When we were driving though, if I’m honest, I tried not to look outside as I didn’t want to scare myself. I kept asking which building the hall was, though when we turned up it was fairly obvious. I could see through the window a man dancing, which initially I found pretty funny. I was a little bit scared about going in, but I’ll never forget the moment I walked through the door. 

I heard a massive cry of “Hallelujah! Let us praise the Lord” followed by the most beautiful singing I’ve ever heard. People were smiling, clapping, banging their bibles (!) and dancing. I’ve never experienced such joy before. I’m not an especially emotional person (I haven’t done the colour test yet but I don’t expect to have a lot of blue), but I have to admit that in the first prayer a few tears came out. To think that a few months ago, this church didn’t even exist and these people didn’t know Christ, to hear them now praising God in this way was inspiring. I felt privileged to be able to join in with their praise and will remember it for the rest of my life. 

The talk by Bro. Otto van Rensburg was on the parable of the master and servant (Exodus 21) and how the master served the servants. This was a parable of how God serves and provides for us. It was especially poignant considering that a lot of them actually worked as servants. The people were also really friendly, greeting us all individually with beaming smiles. I didn’t want to leave, in fact, when I did it was driving back in a car with 4 Mariannhill members. It was a great way to end an evening I’ll never forget.  

James Dean, UK 

At Dumisani’s school I was struck by just how grateful everyone was for our week’s work and the impact it brought on raising awareness to the wider community. Journalists came to photograph and write about what we were doing, as white people had never come to do anything like this before. The students put on a very touching farewell show with singing and Zulu dancing and afterwards, the staff cooked us a braai. One of the teachers gave a speech, asking us all to tell everyone back at home about this disadvantaged school and send more volunteers to come out and help. 

Shona Taunton, UK

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