One needn’t travel far to observe the repeating themes lived out in the lives of man. Different customs, appearances, foods and social order distinguish the variant cultures of man, but inherently we are similar — and struggle in many of the same ways.
One can easily enter a situation and think he is objectively assessing things are as they are, but as I’ve seen time and time again, while our reasons for sinning are simple, our lives are quite complex. Each family, region, country and culture carry with them individual as well as collective, besetting sins, and it is by these fault lines that the landscape of a people is traced and lived out.
South Africa is perplexing. It seems one cannot understand it until he sees it (and not even then, really), and so it is with our lives; until we “walk a mile in another’s shoes” we do not know what it is like to be them.
Recently there has been a rash of teenage pregnancies affecting those we know and with whom Heather has worked for many years. As an outsider, it is very hard to understand why these girls would risk everything for something so momentary. They risk contracting HIV, various other STD’s, loss of financial support, being kicked out of school and ostracized from their friends, and yet, they go for it.
I’ve been asking myself many questions in regard to this, as it simply seems to me that they have so much more to lose than a young woman in the states. It has been impressing itself over and over again that risk is not that which will keep us from sin; it is only the power and grace of God and the support of those around us.
I have learned in African culture that women are worth much less than men in almost everyone’s eyes. It is also so, that what a man wants, he gets. Most kids are raised entirely and exclusively without fathers, by mothers who also had them at a very young age. What seems like insurmountable odds to me, have been overcome and dealt with by women here in every village. Though I see people simply surviving, this cycle has been their reality for several generations.
Satan has his strongholds for us all; in our families, cultures, countries and world; to those of us who know Jesus Christ, we are no longer slaves to this type of thinking and living. He has set us free from the law of sin and of death, though we are often convinced otherwise; this is true in every culture of the world. I write this so that you will be more informed of the dynamics these young people are facing, and how you might best pray for them.
It is common for us to be able to look on at others and think of how we might do things differently, but I tell you, I don’t know how any of us would respond if our families were a broken down unit of randomness, sin, disease and poverty. It is devastating, and we cannot completely fathom it. Though things are often horrible, there is hope and God has made a way for many of these young people to get out of this vicious cycle. We are begging you to pray on their behalf, and as you do, will you look to your own heart and see if there be any wicked way in it? We must first be the change we wish to see in others.
We cannot thank you enough for interceding on our behalf, as well as in the lives of these young people!