Today we woke up and went to Pastor James' church. Pastor James is the pastor who runs the Apostolic Faith Mission Social Development Division (AFMSDD), the organization that runs the Foster Homes that Bracelet of Hope supports. Rather than have children in an orphanage, or on the streets, the children are brought to the foster homes where up Foster Mothers or parents care for them and their siblings. We aim to have eight children in each home, however there are some homes with more, and some homes with less. Each home is linked to an Apostolic Faith Mission congregation where a church committee oversees and supports the homes. The Foster Parents receive a stipend for their work. An incredible social worker, named Samuel, is employed and also supports all six homes, supports the intake for new children and the psychological,
social and emotional needs of the children.
social and emotional needs of the children.
After meeting some of the church attendees and many pastors who had come for a visit, as there was a Family Conference happening at AFM, the service began and people started trickling in. There were about 150 people and the music was remarkable. There were great musicians, and incredible male and female singers.
The kids did not have Sunday school that day, so they sat in the back of the church for the entire four hours, YES, four hours of church. They were so well behaved. They would get up to dance or wiggle but there were no interruptions from the kids, they stayed in the back and enjoyed the service.
There were three young girls whose voices blew me away. One was Samuel's niece, and another was Pastor James' daughter. I didn't get the opportunity to meet the third young lady. They sang a song with the lyrics "I don't mind waiting, I don't mind waiting, on the Lord." It was a beautiful song and they sang with such passion and power for three young girls.
What is remarkable about this song is the lyrics. It speaks to how sometimes in life, you are faced with a situation where you don't have any answers and cannot find anyone or anything to help you. This song speaks to waiting on the Lord for support and strength and how you need to learn how to wait, that it will come, to have faith. In a country with such despair, with 1 in 4 HIV+ and 200,000 orphaned children, with such tragedy in life, it is hard to understand how they can have such strength and security that the Lord will provide for them. I find myself amazed by the faith they have. I look at these circumstances and I look at these children, and I am often angered. Why do these children have to suffer? Why did they lose their parents or why did they have to lose their spouses? Why was I so fortunate to be born in Canada, rather than Lesotho? Sitting in church for four hours can bring these tough questions to the forefront of your mind.
After a couple hours of singing and some speaking from other pastors in the region, Pastor James came up for the main teaching. He is a charismatic, passionate and engaging speaker. What was incredible about it as well, was he had an interpreter with him so when he spoke English, the interpreter would speak in Sotho for everyone to understand. At times, the interpreter and Pastor James would switch back and forth between English and Sotho, and the interpreter would switch depending on what language Pastor James was speaking in. They did it with such ease and such smooth transitions that you generally did not notice.
The church service went until about 3:30pm. After church there was a delicious meal of samp (dried corn kernels that have been stamped and chopped until broken, but still large, unlike corn meal), chicken, cabbage, vegetables and rice. We ate at the head table with Pastor James and his wife 'Me Matsepo and had a great conversation.
We left the church and returned to the nun convent. I did some cleaning and some laundry (in red bins with a Sunlight bar of soap) and hung the clothing out to dry on the clothing line. I wandered to the hotel across the street to check for a wifi connection with no luck. I enjoyed a Fanta Orange pop outside in the sun.
That night I went to bed thinking about the message of the day that stuck with me- to be patient and grateful. It is hard for me to think of the children in this country, so many of them left alone and waiting for someone to care for them. There are 200,000 orphans in the country, and we are only caring for about 40 of them. We need more support for the country, more support for the children, and more care for the situation around the world.
Sometimes it can feel like you are not making any progress, you are struggling to make it up a giant hill with no help. You feel like you are just a small drop in the bucket. Then, you realize that drop in the bucket that you feel is not doing anything at all HAS made an impact. Maybe not on the world, maybe not on the country, but to someone. That drop in the bucket means something to someone. Imagine if we all put a small drop in the bucket, how full it could get, so quickly. If we all work together, if we all put a small drop in the bucket, we could overflow it.
If we all work together, no one would have to wait. We are strong together.
Hearts on sleeves, and shovels in hand, let's get to work, so no one has to wait.