Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Shack City

I wanted to repost my story The Shack City from July 2011 because it demonstrates the people I go to in South Africa, Bringing Hope to Shack Cities. Thank you for Listening, Shannon

She had three small children and lived in a shack that smelled of pee. All she desired was a job and to stay healthy for her kids. Her oldest girl was in primary school. The littlest scarfed a yoghurt cup with her fingers – no need of a spoon for a hungry tummy. And the middle one’s smile brightened beyond her decaying teeth. Her hugs were given willingly – craving attention and love – probably.

The strangers entered their streets, on timid feet. Noses wrinkling and suppressing dank stenches, eyes wary of discarded items that had never discovered a garbage can. Watching for hostiles who’d want an easy dollar, and searching for those He had called – for He was not immune but responding to their holler.

They stepped out with “hi’s” and met potential eyes with kind and ready smiles, hopeful spirits, and a willingness to obey, they asked, “How are you today?” “Would we be able to pray?” With each “yes” and dialogue of requests their boldness grew and their hearts hurt. They hungered for they knew God’s call for these, the lost, and they understood there were more than a few.

The response was great…“for a job,” “to care for…” “to feed my family.” Basic needs were lacking in the Shack City, but the unspoken yearning was greater as hearts cried, “I need hope to light my dead eyes.” “I need a way out.” “I need a new life.” “I need someone to hear…to answer.” “Why?” “Why do I suffer?” “Why – Is this my lot in life?”

The strangers with timid steps were strangers no longer, but they were partakers in suffering, sharing the burdens – Givers of Life to the Dying and Thirsty. They were companions now to the broken woman and her three dirty but smiling children – never to forget the need for True Life in the destitute Shack City. 

Note: I visited a Shack City near Cape Town, South Africa and saw a glimpse of hopelessness and many do not know True Life. I saw those living in poverty, with no jobs, and little for their families. They live in shack cities, the slums, called “townships” in South Africa. There they live and die. There they laugh and cry and fight and love. There they have needs - to provide for their families and impact their communities. And there they need the transforming Hope of Jesus Christ. 

“O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; 
you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, 
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
~ Psalm 10:17-18 ~

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