Monday, February 6, 2012

Cape Town, South Africa: Day 2

Let's start today's post of with a little bit of this...

I know, right? Drool, sigh, melt into a pool of happiness. That's how we feel too. And we get to see this every day for a week.

What we've heard is true, though: This is a first world area with third world issues. It's a topic we've rolled around back and forth since we arrived, trying to figure out what to do with it.

Today was like "drinking water from a fire hose," as Natasha, our tour guide and Living Hope Teams Coordinator, said. It's true. It was full, rich, emotional, and exhausting.

We started off at the main campus of Living Hope and got the full overview. Let me try to translate in a few short paragraphs what we learned.

John Thomas, pastor of King of Kings Baptist Church in the Cape Town area, heard a statistic that revealed the HIV infection rate in Masiphumelele, a nearby township, was 42%. It broke his heart and moved him to action.

That was in 1999. And that's when Living Hope took off.

Today, we learned that the ministry has four different arms that minister to the greater Cape Town area:

  • Living Care – The health care center with 22 beds and home-based health care with 50 carers.
  • Living Grace – Originally reaching the homeless and now offering a substance abuse recovery program and feeding program.
  • Living Right – Offering support groups, health counselors, and life skills for both children and adults.
  • Living Way – The job creation arm that offers soft skills (keeping a job), hard skills (what you need to get a job), and business development training.
Want to hear another cool part about this ministry? Five of our Brentwood Baptist members are serving as missionaries at Living Hope in each of the four break-off ministries.

Amy Helms is a nurse at Living Care. Ashley Lovell works with Living Grace. Danielle Schneider and Courtney Lankford work with Living Right. And Joey Lankford works with Living Way.

Don't worry. I plan to post more in-depth stories on what each person is doing, more about their roles in the ministry, and the lives they've already touched. Stay tuned.

Our tour included township drive-bys through Masiphumelele, Ocean View, Overcome Heights, and Capricorn.

And we were able to fit a small run-through of Living Way in there.

It finally ended with lunch, prayer, and a pep talk from John and Avril Thomas.

This afternoon, we set sail for our first stop in the week-long eye clinic journey—Red Hill, a small, rural township of about 2,000 people. The pictures speak for themselves regarding the poverty they live in.

But don't be fooled by looks alone. Those we served were kind and grateful we came to visit. And God is up to something there.

Along with the Living Hope crew—who set up tents for glucose, TB, and HIV testing—our crew rotated through various roles. Two took blood pressure, one ushered patients through, three tested eyes, two washed feet, and the rest volleyed between one role and the other helping out where it was needed.

Here are some remarks from the team after the fact:

  • George West: "Gordon, our bus driver, said, 'You have no idea what that meant to them. Nobody washes their feet—especially a white person. It was something they've never seen before.'"
  • Chris Bishop: "A mother and her son came through. I gave the little boy a piece of gum and you could tell it put him at ease. I asked if I could pray with them and he put his head against his mom like they'd done it before. You could tell they prayed together at home."
  • Troy Brown: "One lady came to get glasses and I asked if I could pray for her. She was hesitant at first, but finally admitted that she'd been to the doctor and found out she was pregnant. She hadn't told any of her family members yet and was concerned about how they would take it. I'm glad we got to pray through that."

Becky Gross led a powerful devotional tonight based on Romans 8:28: "We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him."

She encouraged us to hone in on "in everything" and what that looks like. Because it looks like both good and bad times. And it doesn't mean that we always see the good that comes out of what we do right then and there—and we may possibly never see it. But, nevertheless, in everything.

Tomorrow is a rough neighborhood in the township of Capricorn. It's going to be another long day for our team. But God has already proved His faithfulness again and again, going before us, behind us, and surrounding us as we take the gospel to this nation.


Prime footage of Red Hill and this afternoon's eye clinic.

Quote of the Day:
"Most of those women had no idea what the word 'tickle' meant."
—George West,
Resident Foot Washer, Mission Journey Fashionista, & Professional Napper

Sharon Fairchild, whom we like to call "The Baby Whisperer"

This verse was posted on a sign in the tunnel run by the hard work of our Brentwood Baptist missionary Joey Lankford and others at Living Way.

"Listen to what I am tell you. Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest."
—John 4:35

This was a preschool on Living Way's campus. The kids loved showing off their skills for us.

Post by Kaylan Christopher


Amy Fairchild said...

Kaylan, LOVE LOVE LOVE all the pictures & stories!!! I wish I could be there with you!! Give everybody hugs for me and y'all keep up the good work!! Praying for you guys!! Can't wait to see what God has in store for you the rest of the week!!

Courtney said...

love the post Kaylan:) what an amazing day in an amazing place. and mr george's quote... hysterical... wondering the context?! hehe. never a dull moment. love, courtney

ashley lamb said...

Please tell Gordon hello and that the Nov Team misses his history lessons :)

Emily S said...

i am also loving the pictures of "napping george". thank you for the great updates on your trip! i wish i was with you! love to all of you, emily

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