look in their eyes revealed their hopelessness; through war and diseases
they have been cheated out of an existence worthy of human beings and
consequently have just about lost their courage to face life. Other
photographs show expectant faces of black children holding out their tin
plates to the workers in the soup-kitchens, where they are fed
some good and nutritious soup full of protein 2 or 3 times a week.
recalled the report of an American woman who had collapsed weeping when the
soup she was dishing out did not suffice for everyone, and the waiting children
were crowding around her in a state of near panic. For the hundredth time I
asked myself, "Am I really willing to see such misery with my own eyes?
How will our team of 18 Bible School students and graduates from rich
Western European countries deal with the sight of such boundless
suffering?" Every time I had seen reports of disaster areas on
television, I was moved with sympathy for those poor people - yet I forgot
them rather quickly again. Now we were to fly to such a place in order to
help a team of Christians who year after year, renounce a life of ease in
Western civilization in order to care for orphaned children, for the sick
and the hungry.
our arrival in Johannesburg we first spent a few days at the mission base
where we cleaned hundreds of tiny window panes and
helped prepare and put together evangelistic literature in the Portuguese
language. After that we flew to Mozambique where we were
picked up by a transporter and taken to our destination. Eight years
earlier, the founder had started
building this orphanage, and today the place consists of many
buildings made from hand-made cement bricks, some covered with thatched
roofs and others with corrugated iron sheets, in which the children live
together with their foster mothers as well as the staff of the
were divided into different groups according to our abilities. The 3
nurses among us were a valuable help in the clinic, others worked on
different building projects. We waved baskets, sorted second-hand donated
clothing, rearranged storage sheds and planted, in all, about 5000 onions.
Our two electricians repaired faulty appliances and installed a power
supply independent of the main generator of the hospital. By the way, they
had to dig a ditch over 100 yards long for the cable! We worked side by
side with the local people and learned to communicate with them by sign
language. However, in the end we had picked up a few scraps of "Tshitsua"
as well as an African chorus.
experience which probably impressed all of us the most were the visits to
the soup kitchens run in surrounding villages. Each time a group of us,
together with the nurse and her interpreter, went with the Pastor an his
wife to the different villages, where the soup barrel had already been
prepared in the early morning. It took 3 hours for the 200 liters of water
in the former oil-drums to start boiling over the open wood fire. After
the soup-powder had been mixed in, the soup had to be kept at
boiling-point, stirring occasionally for another 2 hours before it was
ready for eating. When we arrived at the village, the children were
already there waiting for their soup. The Pastor and his wife made use of
the time by singing Christian choruses with the children and telling them
about Jesus. We "malungos" (white people) were invited to sing a
few German children's songs to them. After that our pantomime group played
first an amusing piece and then an evangelistic piece, which the Pastor
subsequently explained to the listeners. Even before the soup was dished
out, the Pastor was able to pray with several children who wanted to give
their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.
soup was to be distributed, the children stood in line one behind the other.
To our amazement they stood there waiting patiently until it was their turn.
No pushing, no shoving, no shouting. The scoop was a Coke
tin with a wooden handle; the children's containers fitted many beggarly
descriptions; leaves from surrounding trees were used as spoons - yet the
children were so thankful to receive their portion. They never complained
about the taste nor the fact that it was "chicken soup again". For
us Europeans who are so spoilt and pampered, to see such a thing constituted
a real challenge. One cannot but question seriously some of one's private
"faith projects" which may have seemed absolutely vital.
the members of our group have come to the same conclusion: this journey
has truly changed our lives. Not only have we been exposed to a different
culture and met with rather "unusual" hygienic conditions, but
every one of us has experienced something which has greatly enriched his
or her own life. We have seen the love of God in action through the team
on site caring for the poorest of the poor, and this love has impressed us
deeply and taken root in our own hearts, so that we were able to come home
with a new understanding of the huge importance and urgency of missionary
then, each time we see pictures or hear reports from Africa, we are
stirred in our hearts and cannot but exhort ourselves as well as others,
to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Even if you can't go yourself in order to help
the people with your own hands, you can always support the
missionaries and the ministries who do!
work is the heartbeat of God, for He gave His Son for each and everybody,
even for those who eke out a scanty living in the furthest bush. These people
must also hear the Gospel - the good news that Jesus came to heal the
blind and the lame, to set at liberty those who are bound and to give to
them, too, eternal life!