Usually an easy way to open up a conversation with a stranger in Africa is to ask questions about their family or kids. I wanted to talk with one lady and when I asked if she had children, she turned away from me, and refused to talk to me anymore. I could tell I had made a serious blunder so I asked one of the ladies to interpret for me and see what I had done to offend her. Apparently this lady had two little girls (ages 5 and 2) and no one from her family would agree to help her care for them. She left her little girls with a neighbor when she came to live out the last days of her life at Village of Hope. She didn't want to talk about them because she had no idea how they were or if they were being taken care of. Doesn't that break your heart? It sure did mine! It is hard for me to imagine being in such a desperate place, but it unfortunately is more common here than I originally realized.
God opened up opportunities for us to talk to some of these people and to say “Jesus loves you” in a way that could be received. One lady named Jostina told me that she was angry with God about being sick and lonely and I was able to tell her that this party today and the gift of being loved and cared for by us was evidence that God sees her and still loves her. She cried and gave me a hug. It was an amazing day!
The ladies from the church were so excited about how well the party went and committed to return every two months to do special days like this.
Since I know many of you are curious, Miesha does accompany us while we are doing ministry. However, in cases like this where she would be exposed to sick people, she stays in the car and Dan and I take turns staying with her.
Thank you for your prayers for us. They really do make a difference!!
This is what one of the team members said:
“My name is Kristen Lakjer, and I come from sunny California. Africa has been on my heart for many years. Through prayer and investigating different missions agencies, the Lord directed me to serve in South Africa with Dan and Janell Hartley. I didn’t know what God had in store for my journey to South Africa, but I had full trust that He would guide me a long the way, and He sure did!
I look back on my time here in Africa and there is one experience that stands out most in my mind. I have to tell you a story of Nkhnsane. I met Nkhnsane at Village of Hope, which is an AIDS hospice in Ennerdale. Nkhnsane is twenty-six years old with two daughters, ages seven and nine. What I noticed most about Nkhnsane is the joy she had. I could see the love of God shining through her face. Her smile was so bright that I too could not help but smile. The day I met Nkhnsane she was to go home for three days to visit her family. I was so happy for her. It was a blessing to me to see God being faithful to her, even though she was sick. She told me that everything in her life belongs to God, and that she gets by day to day because she has the love of Jesus in her heart. I was sad to say goodbye to Nkhnsane, not knowing what would happen the next day.
The next day we went to Finetown and made some home visits. One of the homes we happened to visit was Nkhnsane’s family’s home. It was such a joy to meet up with her again. I was able to meet her mother, father, and her two daughters. Even though my time was short with Nkhnsane, I was able to connect with her as a sister in Christ. I will always have her in my prayers and I ask that you remember Nkhnsane as well, because she is now back at Village of hope till she gets to go home again.”
This is her posing in front of the corregated metal shack that her girls and parents live in.