By Traci VanSumeren
I found out Sunday night that Pelile was given some money and sent to the hospital because of her worsening condition. I was glad to hear that she may be getting some help, but this also left the other four children without an adult at home. I wanted to do something for them.
I talked to my team to suggest we bring all four kids over Tuesday after we left the Carepoint and just give them a night of fun. My team agreed to it, and we brain-stormed some ideas of things to do and what to make for food.
It was a surreal experience to bring them home with us. We all piled into the kombie and off we wentthe seven on our team, the four extra that have joined us for the month, and the four kids. Right away Ben and Mbeki connected, and I was thrilled to see how much fun he was having. We showed them the lions and pointed out the ostrich wandering around our camp.
They live less than five miles away and have never seen them. We introduced them to the flush toilet (which startled Siphiwe at first), and they were really excited to use liquid soap to wash their hands. After giving them lunch, Traday and I headed to the pool with the girls while Ben and Mbeki stopped by the reptile park to view the snakes.
The girls were so tired on the walk there. It’s around a mile, and most of the way Traday and I had to carry Zamele and Hlonpele on our backs. When we all caught up at the pool, it was amazing, though. They immediately got their energy back and were splashing around and swimming. Mbeki really came out of his shell, too. I have never seen him laugh or be so free before.
After the pool we played at the playground for a bitswings, a slide, and a trampolineand then gave them showers. When they came out, we had brand new clothes for them to wear. It was such a touching moment to see their reactions to receiving new clothes.
They were so proud of their new attire, and they absolutely glowed. For dinner the boys made a chicken and pasta dish for us all. The children rarely get meat, so this was pretty special for them.
At night I lay in the tent with the four of them, reflecting back on the day. How incredible it was for me to participate in it. I was honored that I had the opportunity to do it for them.
This is the thing: I’d been reading Red Letters by Tom Davis the week before and was heart broken by the statistics and stories. These were my thoughts: I’m here, Lord! I’m in Africa, but I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I’m at the Carepoints, but people will continue to come in and out of the Carepoints. How do I leave an impression; how do I really demonstrate your love?
Christ’s words in Matthew 25 kept coming to mind, specifically verse 40: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
I’m learning little by little that I can’t change the world, one world at a time, but I can change the world one life at a time. I’m trying to take situations and individuals as that, and not just see the big picture and freak out.
Red Letters is a great book to pick up. It is primarily about the AIDS pandemic in Africa, but it touches on other places and problems as well.
It gives real examples of how people walked as Jesus with skin on, and how we as Christians need to be stepping up to the plate on the issue. Not only is the information thorough, and the stories touching, but you help feed an orphan with each copy purchase. It gripped my heart and spurred me to action, and I hope you’ll invest some time into it.
Traci is a missionary on the World Race. They are currently in Africa, on an 11-month mission trip around the world. Click here to hear more about this adventure mission trip.