There is no language barrier with Love. Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for love and kindness.
After a long journey, [our Team] landed in South Africa, bright and early “on the third day”. Instead of heading to our accommodations to freshen up, as expected, the plans had changed. We were fed a deliciously prepared breakfast “a la carte” off the top of the luggage trailer before proceeding to our first stop, One Accord Christian School: A small school run by Pastor Ida. I believe I can speak for the Team in saying that we were not prepared for the amazing reception we received! As we turned onto the dirt road that led to the school, ALL the children came running out waving signs and cheering for joy. It brought tears and excitement to see how deeply these children were anticipating our arrival. An experience that will always be close to me heart!
Pastor Ida’s husband had build a worship space just for us! We felt so honored. Each grade prepared a “performance” for us and they were awesome~such strong, bold, self confident voices from such small children was heartwarming. We then ministered to them with songs, puppetry, prayer and small goodies which were all received with joy filled hearts. Our interpreter expressed how this special day would be remembered and spoken of for years~the day the Americans came to visit. It’s a very humbling thought. These people who have so little found great spiritual favor in the opportunity of our visit and to be prayed over. WE were so blessed!
From there our trip was a whirlwind of visiting schools, creches and orphanages, with groups as small as 20 to as many as 2400+ children. It was a wonder to share in what God is doing there. A few of my favorite things were hearing the power of thousands of voices of children singing praise and when we coaxed some of the kids to dance for us! It was remarkable. We shared the message of how a masterpiece is an artists best work and that each and every one of those children were indeed a masterpiece of God’s hands.
Another main part of our mission was to help plant gardens. With a population that is highly unemployable, fresh produce is key for their good nutrition as well as a possible means of income. In one location we erected several “Vegitunnels”; screen greenhouse like structures that aid in shading the plants from the hot sun, pest control, fertilization and are designed to require minimal water for optimal growth. These enable the farmers to be more self sufficient and feed their families.
In another location, a men’s homeless shelter, we assisted in planting gardens in the ground. Being a gardener myself It was disappointing to see the extremely poor condition of the soil. It was breaking my heart to think of what MAY grow in such conditions. It was then the Holy Spirit prompted me to teach them about mulching and COMPOSTING! My heart jumped as I shared my excitement with our Team Leader. With a full go ahead, I got the audience of the lead gardener. Within minutes they were ALL anxious to learn how to create more nutrients for their garden soil and how to keep their precious water from evaporating so quickly. I have never seen people more enthusiastic to learn. I pray that the Lord blesses that garden abundantly!
All in all the mission experience was priceless and life changing. I so enjoyed the culture, the fellowship and testimonies, bonding with my Team and most of all being the hands of God~DOING the work, blessing others and being blessed. And my spiritual highlight was being led by Gail to being baptized in the Holy Spirit. With a heart brimming over I praise God for an outstanding trip and can’t wait to do it again!
Phylis Barfoot – Team South Africa