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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tales from a Township - Life for a Kid

 The following stories were related to us through Morning Star, a Christian daycare here in town that cares for HIV+ children.  It's stories like these that help you understand the culture we're working in and why a ministry like this is needed so desperately.  By no means are these stories unique or altogether unusual.  

Please use discretion for age appropriateness.  

10-year-old Mpho has become the pawn in a family feud to gain custody of her. Aging grandma, no longer able to look after her properly, is loath to release her in to the more capable hands of her very nice son and his wife. And why? Because she doesn’t want to loose the government foster grant she gets for Mpho each month. Grandma’s gone as far as to have a legal protection order drawn up, preventing her son from ever setting foot onto her property in Thabong again All so very destructive and tragic!

Clenton's grandma, previously a more suitable guardian than his biological mother (who frequents shabeens – liquor houses – at night and drags her 2 small children with her) now appears to be ‘on the run’ from the law for possible corruption charges. She is continually ‘on the move’. As a result our 6-year-old Clenton has been neglected and even left to fend for himself one night. When our minibus dropped him off at home one afternoon there was nobody there to greet him. The next-door neighbour grudgingly agreed to ‘keep an eye’ on him until a family member got home – but nobody ever came. So she let the child sleep alone at home the entire night! When collected by Morning Star the following morning he was filthy and ravenous!

It’s been ascertained that 5-year-old Disebo has suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her biological father. Seemingly innocent visits to ‘dad’ became nightmares, with the child able to relate exactly what he did to her before rewarding her with a chocolate! So there’ll be no more visits to dad in the future. If he wants to see his little Disebo it’ll be on home ground or not at all!

Our 2-year-old Aphelele, living with an irresponsible young mum (prone to drunkenness and sleeping around) was left sleeping in their shack whilst mum went up to the shops (so she says). She returned home in the nick of time and found the owner of the property where she resides/rents, in the process of raping the toddler. Aphelele’s nappy (diaper) and waterproof pants were lying to one side and the mite’s ‘privates’ were exposed, in readiness. Mum and child have fled the area. The perpetrator is presently in prison – but who knows how long he’ll be kept there and when a bribe will be proposed for his release?

Stories like this turn your stomach, but it is reality for so much of the world.  I challenge you to read the book of Amos and ask yourself "am I all that different from Israel?"  God's condemnation of Israel through this prophet is twofold: First, empty religion, where they appear to be worshipers of God but there is no sincerity of heart in the worship.  Second, lack of concern for the poor.  If you understand the book of James, these two tend to go hand in hand.  We are by nature selfish.  While we may jump through all the hoops to appear godly and religious, our concern is for self - for our own welfare, for our own definition of success.
As an American, living in the most prosperous nation ever on the face of the earth, is your religion real?  Do you have a true relationship with God through the sacrifice of His Son?  And are you truly concerned for the disadvantaged, the orphans and widows of Scripture?  Or will you read these stories, shake your head and move on?

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