Thanks to all for their prayers and support for the most recent trip to South Africa. The team made it back to the US in one piece (despite overnight delays in Chicago!!) I just wanted to share a couple stories from this trip that touched my heart and will hopefully show you the heart of the young people that we work with over there.
One of our 12th grade boys pulled me aside shortly after we arrived, and with great embarrassment he showed me his school uniform pants which were supposed to be black but were very faded to a light grey. They take great pride in their school uniforms in South Africa, washing and pressing them and polishing their shoes regularly, and to have pants that were that faded made him stand out from his peers. He was so humble when he asked if there was anything I could do to help him…he is not one who asks for handouts, so I knew that it was hard for him to ask for help. Later that week we went shopping and got him a new pair of pants. That afternoon, one of our American teens noticed him on his knees praising God for his new pants (which only cost $11, by the way). To know that such a small cost could have such a large impact on one of our young men, and to know that his first reaction was to thank and praise God is why we serve these amazing young people. God has a plan for this young man’s life and I am excited to see him follow God passionately.
I had another amazing experience with another one of our 12th grade boys. One of the students had a DVD of their time singing with the African Children’s Choir when they were younger and this young man wanted to make a copy of the DVD but didn’t have the ~$1.20 for a blank DVD. He asked me if I could buy him a blank DVD, and I told him that while we try very hard to provide them the things they need while we’re over there (textbooks, calculators, school uniforms like the story above) this was really a want, not a need. (We are very careful not to spoil them and create situations where they think we will provide them anything they ask for). The next day when we were doing group devotions, this young man said that he really appreciated that conversation I had with him because it modeled Christ to him…how Christ provides what we need but not necessarily what we want. The spiritual maturity that it takes to relate being told no to something he wants to a scriptural application is amazing and I am so proud of him!
While tutoring and mentoring these youth can seem less fun than some of our other projects and activities, I know that every day I spend with these students I am impacting their lives and they are impacting mine and I couldn’t imagine a more worthwhile calling.
For the glory of His name!