Yesterday was a full and interesting day on many different levels. We started it with another birthday party, where we had children from Molelowane, the village with which we will be working next week, in our backyard playing. The kids had a great time with beach balls, stickers, cake, and games. Many of them just wanted to be held for 15-20 minutes at a time. It was sad to see the results of malnutrition in many of them. One boy was eight years old, and he looked like he was three or four years old. A set of twins who looked like they were between 18-24 months old were actually four. There were a few children who were quite violent; they would take things from other children and randomly hit, kick, or beat with a chair the people around them. Those behaviors were a stark difference from the behavior of all of the other children we have met so far. They have been the kindest, most selfless kids I have ever known. If someone drops something, they will stop to pick it up. If two small children are fighting, an older kid will come and separate them and then walk away.
We were discussing the characteristics of God that we see in the kids last night, and I realized that the kids here model the love and longing of the father heart of God. When we arrive in the village, they chase the van we are in and gather around for us to get out. They can’t wait to see us, and they do everything they can to be with us for as long as possible. That must be God’s heart for people as well- longing to be with us and doing everything to make it possible.
We also played soccer yesterday afternoon. Thanks to some help from our driver (who played on our team and made the first goal) and the referee (a local pastor who made many a call in our favor), we only lost by 4. The final score was 7-4, with the Top Village team beating us. I had a lot of fun playing and was a little sad when it was over. At one point, there was a group of 7-8 boys sitting on the sidelines yelling, “Angela! Angela! Angela!” Who doesn’t want to be a soccer star (even a not-really-very-good one? :P)
Last night, we finished this week with a worship event at the church pastored by the Tessendorfs. There were four bands there, including the Chi Alpha worship team, the local young adult team, a village group, and a group from Jo-burg. The conga line started during the first set, and I was quite literally pulled into it. The whole service was more lively than anything I’ve ever seen (including concerts, rallies, etc.), but the conga lines ended in the first section.
Today is a day off, and we will watch a rugby game and eat South African jerky this afternoon. Tomorrow is church, which I’ve been told isn’t like the service last night. We’ll see…