Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Durban P2P Jan 2010 : Team Ruth

Wow! What a fortnight. We’ve had such an amazing time here, coming together from all over the world for one purpose: to learn more about our awesome God and share our hope with others. Allow me to introduce ourselves - We are “Team Ruth”(cue the Dad jokes “Are you Ruthless?” etc ): Steve and Jess Russell  and Ben and Roxy Topham from Oz; Jude Norcross, Julie Machacek, Tim Morse and Ellie Bilton from the UK; Katie Schlageter from the States; Steve Le Duke  from Canada and, of course,  our honourary team members - Kwanda Mzulwlini and Christy Beyers from South Africa.

It all began at Mariannhill. The word was out that a Kingdom Youth Soccer match was about to begin and so we were soon bombarded with energetic kids from all over the township. We had fun running off some steam with them teaching some Bible principles: focus on the goal of the Kingdom, run with endurance and work together. Stumbling through the long grass our next project suddenly became clear: to blitz the playing field with weed whackers.

In typical African style we hired out some weed whackers with no health and safety guidance and started flogging the field barefoot and without ear or eye protection. Two days later, our ears were ringing and we were all grassed out. Thankfully, lots of people from the community took an interest in what was happening and reached for the rakes themselves to get amongst the grass. God blessed us with hard workers and opportunities to talk to new people about The Good News.

Next up, Happy’s. We foolishly told Happy we’d re-vamp all the bathrooms in the girls and boys dormitories in the space of a day, thinking that only a lick of paint was needed. Our hearts sank when we saw the true state of the bathrooms and thought about what the kids have to live with day in day out: mould, peeling plaster and the stench of urine. We soon realised that this was to become an epic project in need of some good financial backing (donations very welcome people!). Despite the setback, we had some good quality time painting, singing and dancing with the kids at Happy’s.

If in doubt, sing and dance. Wherever God guided us and whatever time we had to fill, songs and dance always saved the day . At both the Mariannill and Lamontville Holiday clubs (think 80 hyperactive kids battling over hotdogs) dancing really unified us. Similarly at Margate’s Praise and Worship evening, dancing served as an awesome ice-breaker with some people we’d only just met. God richly provided us with many people from the local area: namely, the local township and Oribi Gorge (Yes, The Extreme Five boys) so thankfully, all our billing and talking felt incredibly worthwhile.

Above all, the best thing about the whole P2P was gathering together at the end of each day to reflect upon our “magic moments”: times that made us laugh or things that touched our hearts and made us simply stand still in awe- “wow God” moments. It was a great team bonding exercise and it made us feel so thankful for all the experieces we'd shared together everyday.

One beautiful moment was seeing the faces of the kids at Happy’s light up as they watched the dolphins leap at uShaka aquarium and knowing that one day, by God’s grace, they will also be leaping and no longer bound to their wheelchairs and crutches. Another key moment was  witnessing Steve Le Duke’s refreshingly uninhibited faith - going into places where many white South African wouldn’t  dream of venturing (Durban taxis and shacks in townships). Finally, the opportunity to simply work together as one family; assembled by God. Who else could have brought together so many different people from different countries for one fortnight of crazy-beautiful life-changing stuff? God has made everything beautiful in it’s time and we just pray that He continues to guide us and bind us wherever we are.

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