Weekends are generally anticipated as a time of relaxation. Of course, that is a relative term. Compared to what we had been doing, the work wasn’t as hard, but we still made good use of the time.
On Saturday morning most of the team went to a local craft market and saw what Welkom vendors had to offer. This is where we buy great big bags of dog food to feed our great big dog Vlad. The guys were fond of the “Horse-dog” as they called him. He has been pulling guard duty at the property for about the last 6 weeks – ever since we started to have valuable items there to guard. A couple of the guys were able to get some souvenir soccer jerseys left from the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Tex and I went to a local shop to stock up on supplies for an outreach. The previous Sunday a church in Thabong took up an offering for us and it came out to almost $160. We wanted to use these funds specifically to help spread the Gospel in this community. At the shop we bought high calorie food supplies. Once we brought them home we added some of the things that had been donated and shipped in our container for protein. Then we packaged all these together and took them to the local dump.
DJ went along as our interpreter. We wanted to ensure the parcels went to those who needed them most, specifically to the families with children. Each parcel also received a Gospel tract in the Sesotho language.
Right as we arrived at the dump 4 young men approached our cars. One of them came and asked to become my son. This is the first time that has happened. It is pretty common to be asked for a job, but I have never had a grown man ask to become my son. I had to speak through DJ, because he didn’t know English. At first I thought I was misunderstanding – I asked why he wanted that and his response was so that I could take care of him. I asked how old he was and he said 24. I asked why I would adopt him, as in, what does he bring to the table. He said he had some qualifications like mine training...so I guess he could work in my mine, if I had one. I questioned if he was looking for work and he said no, he wanted to become my son. Then I asked the key question –have you been drinking. His response was “I’ve only had 4 beers so far.” Once I asked that I guess he figured the conversation was over, and he left.
Amber, the kids and I stayed with the vehicles while DJ took Lois and the guys into the dump to find the people who needed the food parcels. The municipality must have recently done an operation out there, because there were hardly any children. Periodically they go there and “clean things up” meaning they make sure the kids that live there are moved somewhere else.
After the dump we still had some parcels left, so we took the guys and the food to Number 7, the squatter camp just down the road from us. Each family with kids there received a parcel, and there was one older lady who is very, very ill. DJ was able to sit with her in her shack and share the Gospel with her, then pray. I asked if she understood and he said “Yes.” I asked if she agreed and he looks at me with one of those “It’s hard to say” looks. To me that was the coolest part of the entire outreach. Several of the guys were able to come into the shack with us and see DJ share God’s Word. And his discernment to see that she understood but yet he wasn’t sure if she made a genuine decision was encouraging. Praise God for his boldness and pray for the seed that was planted.
On Sunday we attended Grace Evangelical Fellowship that met at Morning Star Care Centre. Morning Star is a Christian daycare for HIV+ children. Some of our very close friends work there. Val Bekker gave the guys a tour after church. The photo with all the stars is there wall of rememberance. They have been in operation for 10 years now, and each star represents a child who has died while enrolled at Morning Star. This is usually a very touching time for team members as they see again the effects that HIV/AIDS is having on so many innocent lives.
Sunday afternoon most of the guys went out with Brian on his dirt bike and ATV. While tooling around one of the many mine dumps in the area they came across a group of illegal miners. Apparently they have found that they can get some gold from the areas around these dumps, so it has become quite busy and quite dangerous out by these areas. Since the guys were on motorized transportation there wasn’t too much danger, but you always have to be aware of things here.