Sunday, June 14, 2009

May and June with the Beelers in South Africa

Imagine, if you will, that you have arrived to do a bible class with a small group of believers. It's been a hectic day and you're unloading your bibles and greeting the group. Suddenly, one of the young men in your class comes to you and tells you that one of the regular children from the creche you are meeting in, has died from a terrible accident. The mother of the child has requested that you come to her house on the hill and pray for her...

As you arrive at her patchwork shanty, whose interior more closely resembles a walk-in closet I once owned, you are surrounded by the Zulu 'family' who are coming to share in her grief. We pray for God's comfort and for his blessings on the family and the community and especially upon the mother who is in terrible grief for the loss of her 4 year old. I also have a 4 year old and it hurts me that any person would have to feel this pain.

One of the women begins to sing in her grief. While 5 or 6 of us were in her abode, about 15 people had gathered outside. These women from her community and family began singing, following the lead of the first lady, singing Zulu hymns and spiritual songs. I could here uJehova and UNkulunkulu in the songs, but was too new to know many other words in Zulu. After several more songs, some of the women began praying together. While there were many praying at the same time, it was all in Zulu and was comforting to the mother. Again, I could hear reference to God and Jesus in the prayers from the 25 or more women who were in attendance, outside, at this time. While there were many praying, I felt a clear, orderly approach to praying for peace and comfort to the family of the child.

I felt the pain of the mother and of her loss. I was praying to God that we could be some source of comfort to the mother and it occurred to me that our Father also lost a son once. It was painful for the Father to lose his son, as it would be for us, and God can clearly relate to the pain that the mom feels. For all of those who pursue His Ways, He has a plan to perfect our world, fulfill our lives, and provide us a creation with no more suffering sorrow or pain. We have hope and that makes our pain bearable, and I want to share some of these things with this young mother. I put my hand on her shoulder, and pray over her; seeking the Lords blessings, peace and comfort in this time of trial and distress. I truly hope that some measure of comfort was brought to the mother this day.

The Zulu community is different in it's identity than the people of the west. They are a community that "think" from the perspective of their elders and chiefs (if you can call them that). Their elders set the community direction for what is acceptable, and to some extent, that includes where you may go to church.
Further, the most common "event" in these townships are funerals. funerals occur several times a week in a town as small as Lamontville. Funerals take precedence over all other social activities, and are attended by people from all over.

so, To be invited to the funeral by the mother of the child was an excellent and sobering experience for me. More importantly, it is a sign of the respect and trust that exists for the Lamontville Ecclesia and those who live in the township.
It's clear that those who work in the creche are making a difference in the Lamontville community and are doing much to spread the reputation of our Father!

I hope this letter provides insight, both to the reality that is experienced by the township as well as the progress we are making in this community!


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