Sunday we attended a church in Thabong. We packed 8 of us into our 7 passenger car, then picked up DJ & Bridge to bring the total to 10. Of course, that was far from the record of 17 that we set during one of our Bible studies last year. The church service in itself was a humbling experience. The message was about demonstrating an Attitude of Gratitude. The pastor challenged the church to show God’s authority over their lives through an offering for RHI – this was unplanned, as the church didn’t even know we were going to be there in advance. The offering was taken up at the end of the service, after the normal tithes and offerings had already been collected. There were about 50 adults at this service. The final tally was R1,100. This is the equivalent of about $160. When you consider that the average income is about $10 per day, you realize the generosity shown by these fellow believers. It brings to life Paul’s message in 2 Corinthians 8. I think the pastor was also a bit surprised at the response. Initially the challenge was to collect enough so we could buy French fries and Cola for the kids. By any measure $160 is a bit of overkill for French fries and Cola. Instead we used the funds to make food parcels and deliver them to families who live at the dump and at #7 Squatter Camp. You will hear more about that in the Saturday summary.
After church we enjoyed lunch with DJ and Brilliant joining us. We’ve learned that of all the things that teams enjoy, the biggest impact occurs when they get to know the people of South Africa on a personal level. We try to ensure opportunity for that as much as possible. One of the guy’s had a family member set aside some funds specifically for a couple special needs. Before the team left the US she collected some items of clothing and shipped them over with the guys. In addition to that she set aside some funds to help buy groceries for Bridge’s family. When the guys gave those things to Bridge, he was so overwhelmed he couldn’t talk. The generosity of someone he doesn’t even know moved him to tears. Seeing moments like that are the things that leave a lasting impact with teams and with us.
In addition to gifts for Brilliant and his family, there were also some things for Atang. Atang is JT’s younger brother. I’ll have to share his story another time, but again, God blessed this young man through the generosity of someone who he will likely never meet – at least on this side of life.