Thursday, June 25, 2009


Today while walking around the township of Kayamandi we met this lovely lady. Her name is Leah. Kayamandi is home to 28,000 members of South Africa's Xhosa tribe, and today, like many winter days in Kayamandi, it rained a lot.

This is no problem for most Americans, because we live in actual houses, with roofs that work. Unfortunately for Leah, who's husband died years ago, tin shack 0183 is not waterproof and when it rains everything she owns gets soaking wet.

When our team first met Leah, the entire inside of her shack was covered in water. The ground was soaking wet despite the sea of buckets covering her floor. So we did what any group of people would do. We went into town, bought plastic to cover her roof and spent the entire afternoon making sure that Leah didn't have to live in a leaky shack, sleeping in a wet bedroom. It's my opinion that nobody should have to sleep in a soaking wet shack with rain constantly pouring in. But definitely not a sweet old lady, who's old enough to be my grandmother.

Nobody may care about what our team did today. But Leah cares, because she can sleep dry tonight. People may think that we made no big difference since there are several thousand shacks that are still leaky and wet. But there's one that's not, and to Leah we made a huge difference. Others may think making a real difference means building her a real home. But to Leah, tin shack 0183 is a real home. It's her home, she's lived in this shack for over 10 years, and it's always been leaky until today.

To fix Leah's shack cost about $12 and 2 hours of our time to listen to her story and fix her roof. All it really takes is caring enough to help meet people's needs. Everyone can make a difference in one person's life.

No excuses.
No pessimistic attitudes.
Just hearts of compassion and hands ready to serve one person.

This is the thing. And this is for you Leah.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mary Singing.

This girl's name is Mary. As our team left her school she wanted to sing for us. She sang in Zulu, the words of the song mean: "My thoughts are filled with the Holy Spirit." As I stood in front of her in awe I was finally able to put a name and face with all the staggering statistics we hear in America. From now on I won't think of the millions that live with HIV/AIDS in depressing poverty. I will remember one little girl. Mary's voice. Mary's face. Mary's name. I'll never forget her, I promise. I heard the Holy Spirit in this little girl's voice. I wish I had the words to describe it, but some things you just have to be there for.

This is the Thing. And this is for you Mary. Now that I have seen you I am responsible.