Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Cape Town, South Africa: Day 3

Here's your daily dose of South African beauty.

You're welcome.

We were up bright and early this morning for breakfast and prayer partner letters. The name of our early morning game was preparation, preparation, preparation for the sake of the people in a township called Capricorn.

This township is intense, with 8,000 people living in a very cramped space. We saw so much brokenness and addiction. Mothers who couldn't feed their children. Fathers who didn't know their children. Children who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Teenagers who were parents before they should be. People who desperately need relief and Jesus.

Housed in a Living Hope-developed building, we started at 8:30 a.m. and ended at 1:00 p.m., which felt like it equaled out to be the longest, most exhausting four and a half hours of our lives. But the payoff was amazing. Lives were altered. We were humbled. And Jesus' name was lifted higher.

We performed more eye exams, took more blood pressures, washed more feet, and added a blood sugar testing area. I was personally moved to tears to sit at the feet of people suffering through TB, AIDS, HIV, and other illnesses to wash the dust from their soles. Those are the moments in life that change your entire global perspective on the people God is so desperate to reconcile to Himself.

After packing up the clinic at Capricorn, we went back to The Team House for lunch and rest (aka naps equivalent to what you'd let yourself get away with on a Sunday afternoon).

At 5:00 p.m., we started a new venture in Muizenberg. The evening eye clinic drew a slightly different crowd—one that heard about it through 107.5 CCFM, the Christian radio station started by Living Hope. Some in line had been waiting since this morning to be tested.

This is what we saw when we got there...

When we arrived, people were lined up around the building—some having been there since this morning. Unbelievable. They were waving, cheering, and shouting, "We love you!" That probably spurred some of our stealth-like, all-star behavior until 10:00 p.m. tonight when we finished.

Have you ever watched a pit crew get to work on the track during NASCAR race? No? Me neither, but go with me on this one. Imagine it. That's exactly how our crew teamed up to make this thing happen.

That didn't mean we herded people through like cattle. Rather, it meant we didn't waste a minute of the precious time given to us in ministering to each and every person fully with every ounce of energy left in our sleep-deprived, jet-lagged bodies.

The split-screen day was an eye-opener. This morning, we wanted to hold our clients. Tonight, it seemed they all wanted to hold us. Many of them held an incredibly deep love for Jesus. We walked away talking about how much they encouraged us when we'd planned for it to be the other way around.

In the end, we still had to turn away hundreds of people and invite them back to another clinic on another day.

Here's what some of our team members said about the day.

One couple, who'd been married for 50 years, came in to get their eyes checked. The wife went to Scott Holmes and the husband went to George West. Then, they tag-teamed on the retelling of this story tonight:

"He had terrible, terrible cancer several years ago. His wife had to take care of him and he was in hospice for several years. They're both very strong Christians. What he was saying is how the Lord has kept him on earth to keep glorifying Him with his life. Then, at the end of our time together, he pointed to the left and said, 'That's my wife down there.'"

"Her name was Mary. She literally gripped me the whole time and encouraged me like no one I've ever known. She told me about her husband having cancer and pointed him out at the end. She said, 'I don't pray for God to help me every day. I pray for Him to carry me every step.' I told her I was married and she said, 'You go home and hug your wife every day and love her every day.' They were really two people who loved the Lord and each other. It was so encouraging to me."

"The whole day was overwhelming. I started the day off washing the feet of someone who was about to get tested for TB and there were sores. Then I got into a conversation with a woman whose daughter was being beaten by her boyfriend. Then a man sat down tonight and said to me, 'I'm so glad Jesus loves me that I get to be here.' It was an emotional roller coaster today. I was encouraged and blessed and broken and hurt. It was exciting and exhausting and wonderful and burdensome—all at the same time."
—Becky Gross

"This morning, I read in Proverbs. Chapter 22 talks about how to train up a child. It felt like 70 percent of my patients who came through asked me to pray for their kids—kids that were on drugs and drinking and in bad situations. I used that verse so much today. It's like God knew I would need that piece of wisdom to pass on to the people I met today."
—Chris Bishop

I love our evening debriefing sessions and devotional times at the end of the day. Tonight, Michael Russell challenged us with this: Sometimes, serving the Lord is uncomfortable. What could you do in your community to make yourself less comfortable and minister to someone in need?

Good word. We'll take it.

P.S. Pray for us tomorrow as we go to Living Way for our fourth eye clinic of the week.

Posted by Kaylan Christopher.


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