Two weeks ago, in Letsitele in the Limpopo (more stories on this outreach later), we were privileged to be able to do a missions/HIV presentation in a village church. About 20 people from the community came along, and we were able to share about God’s heart for the nations, the Great Commission, and also the need to be involved locally in HIV/AIDS care.
I am always amazed at what God does at these meetings. We can present information until we are blue in the face. People can agree with what we are saying, but then not choose to do something about it. Only when God steps in, and changes hearts, do we really see life change. I guess it is a bit like in 1 Corinthian 13, where Paul explains that you can do all these amazing things; but if you don’t have love, it will amount to nothing. In the same way, we can talk all day, but without the God of love being behind it all, it is a waste of time.
Alma, a South African lady on the team here, asked permission at the end of the meeting for us to wash the feet of those who had attended. We didn’t realise the significant impact that this action would have. I don’t know how much you all know about South Africa history, all though I guess most people will have a bit of an idea about the system of Apartheid that literally kept the “black” and “white” South Africans separate for many years. The laws have changed, but for many, the wounds still remain.
As we knelt at the feet of each of these people, carefully washed their feet, and stood to pray over them, many of them began to weep loudly. Maybe this was the first time that a group of outsiders (we were not all “white”) had ever humbled themselves to serve in this manner. We would need to stop quite regularly so that we could stand and embrace them , and they would continue to cry as we held them. I think God did a lot healing that day.
In the end, I think that this testimony of love, humility, repentance and respect did a lot to impress the words we had spoken upon their hearts. The churches invited us back for a youth meeting, and have asked for our help in not only becoming involved in the HIV pandemic, but also in sending some of their young people out to become involved in missions. Awesome stuff! And all because of the work God did in their hearts.