Friday, May 05, 2006

Heart For Africa

This is such a great description of what Heart for Africa does and offers. Although our trip last December was to South Africa, in July we will be going to Swaziland and Malawi. Read on to see the kinds of opportunities we will encounter. (this was taken from Heart for Africa's blog.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Dirty Fingernails: Journals from the Field - Ellen Genrich Volunteer

Africa ... was like nothing we had experienced before.

It enlarged our hearts, expanded our vision, stretched our faith, deepened our compassion and filled us with awe. The need in Africa is so immense and we were only a small group of 39 Americans. Could we make a difference? Could we help in a tangible way? Would it matter to a small settlement in South Africa called Motsoaledi? The answer? YES!

We came from all over the country, with different backgrounds and varied talents. We ranged in age from 16 to 81, male and female, black and white. We had several mother/daughter, father/son teams, one father/daughter duo, singles, college students, married couples, one engaged couple and one husband and wife who were expecting their second child. But we all came with one heart ... a heart for serving the people of Africa. And serve them we did. But what came as a surprise was what they gave back to us. A joyful spirit, hopeful hearts and smiles greeted us everywhere. Their gratitude for the small gardens we planted was overwhelming.

The children were endearing and completely captured our hearts. 70,000 seedlings later our small group had planted gardens throughout the entire settlement. We left knowing we had touched, been touched and would never forget the people of Motsoaledi. The Sunday church service was phenomenal. Powerful. Joyful. They expressed their faith in song, in dance and in prayer. There was no altar, no cross, no FLOOR. It was hot. It was long. But it flew by. Their love for the Lord was so strong it was almost palpable. They have so little, but they have what they need; hope in Jesus. We found His word to be resonating in the African settlements.

We had the chance to visit the Apartheid Museum where we gained new insights into the depth of South Africa’s struggle for freedom and a deeper appreciation for the democracy we were, by the grace of God, born into. Our half-day safari in Pilansburg showed us firsthand the beauty and wildness of the dark continent. We experienced a traditional outdoor African Bush Braai where we ate delicious, authentic, regional cuisine as the sun set over the awesome countryside and the full moon slowly rose. We also planted gardens at the Refilwe Orphan Project. Here we met the real victims of the AIDS epidemic; kids who, before being rescued by the orphanage, were living in garbage dumps, some as young as seven months. The week before we arrived they had found a seven year old taking care of two younger siblings. These are the true, heart-breaking, everyday realities of Africa.

This time we were called to go and others were called to give. Next time may be their turn to go. Whether here in our own backyard or across the ocean in Africa, all we have to do is say “Yes, Lord. Yes, Lord. Yes, yes, Lord!” He’ll do the rest.

Ellen & Carley Genrich

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