Sunday, 12 July 2009

Gateway Training Week Three...

So the third week of our Gateway training has come and gone... It's strange to believe that we only have one week left and then will all be finished with our Mercy Ships long-term training!

This past week we looked at the three differing World Views (Animism, Secularism, and Biblical Theism), the Potential of the Poor, Tensions in Working with the Poor, and Cross-Cultural Communication. We also spent a fair amount of time looking at the difference between Relief and Development. Mercy Ships is a relief organisation with a strong focus on development. The main speaker this week was an old friend from the ship, Vincent Luwizhi of Zimbabwe. It was great to have a fellow African giving us a new perspective on these matters.

I found this whole week pretty interesting, and so it is difficult to summarise my main points. However, I will do my best to convey what my heart is wanting to say after this week. We had to do a presentation for Friday morning in which we highlighted an aspect of the week that had hit home - through either a poem or a written piece or song. In the end I chose to do a poem with a bit of an explanation, and I'll reproduce it here. But please know I am not a poet!


So much poverty, so much strife,
Countries warring day and night.

So much corruption, so much need,
Governments toppled by pure greed.

So much distress, so much sadness,
What can end this madness?

AFRICA! This is not what you were created to be!
You were made to SHINE!
There is someone proud to call you "mine".

AFRICA! You have wealth, you have resources,
But this alone cannot defeat the evil forces.

So much diversity, so much colour,
But something else will make life fuller.

AFRICA, my AFRICA, see your potential!
It was God who made you to SHINE!
It is the great I AM who is proud to call you "mine".

So rise up AFRICA!
Rise up my brothers and sisters!
Rise up AFRICA, for you are richly blessed!
Now go and take this blessing to the nations.

"if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7: 14 NIV)

This assignment was a really difficult one for me to do. Maybe it is because the situation back in South Africa is so desperate in places. It breaks my heart to see beggars at nearly every traffic light. Poverty is always a mere ten minutes drive away from where I live. And the fact that if Africa put its mind to it we (as a continent) - with God's help - could feed ourselves. We are so blessed with resources and natural wealth, and yet it feels as if Africa is under a curse. A cover of darkness hovering over the continent, waiting to devour. This is NOT how it's meant to be! We have potential here! We have wonderful people, eager for knowledge and education! We can make poverty history. It just will take a shift in perspective and mindset and a little help from God. And if my heart breaks about my home, how much heavier is God's heart - to see His creation in bondage. He wants to bless us. We must just, as it says in 2 Chronicles 7: 14, repent and seek His face. He will heal our land. He will heal Africa.

Photos here from the Gateway classroom and the Oasis Dining Room at the IOC.

No comments: