Amazing days. Wow…
Yesterday, for e-day, we only left the ship at 6.30pm. We went to a Methodist Church for the homeless meal they have every week. We did 2 dramas, someone told their story, and they sang a song too.
Just as we were eating (good food. A kind of vegetable soup/thing with some rice, and white bread.), all the lights went out. The church was quite hi-tech, and they had spent most of the time before that setting up their computer-powered power-point lyric projection for the songs they (the church) had planned for the evening.
I was quite glad the lights went off, actually, in the end, as it meant the whole program was a lot more simple. We didn’t use the music for the dramas, just did them straight. Which IMHO is often the best way. The music does make things seem rather too professional, which in a situation like that, you don’t really want. Many of the people there are in fact believers, but many are still struggling with drug addiction, and other problems, which the church is helping them with.
I was able to talk with one guy quite a lot afterwards, his name is Julian, and he had a broken leg. He was talking about his life, moving to South Africa (from the UK) about 30 years ago. He now does not have a job, since he broke his leg he cannot work, but he had such faith, and trust in God, saying “I really am so thankful to the Lord, He has never let me go more than 2 weeks without work.” And was in fact going back to work the next day.
As he did not have a job because of his leg, he had not been able to pay his rent, and so had been sleeping on the streets for the past few weeks. Talking to him helped me to understand a lot more of why there is still anger and racism. He was quite a nice guy, but in his talking was not friendly towards the Black and Indian people in S.A. During Aparteid, he had had a job, and had been safe walking around in the city after midnight. Now, any time after dark is too dangerous to walk around, and he has no job. He believed that it was because now that Black people have more rights, they want to be in charge, and to squash the Whites.
I was able to tell him that it is not just S.A, and nothing to do with people’s skin colour. Like how we in Cyprus are getting increasing crime and less safe, particually in Lemesos, and that there is now resentment in some Cypriots against Russians, because they believe it is them bringing in the crime. There are elements of truth mixed into all of this, but blind hatred and racism isn’t the answer, of course. We just have to treat all others as we believe Jesus would, and pray about what we cannot.
Anyway, it was quite encouraging to be there, and talk with them all. We had some sweet hot drink at the end. It was so sweet, that I still don’t know if it was tea or coffee. We got back about 10.30pm.
Then this morning, we met at 6.30am, and after praying, went to a hosptial waiting room. Not quite what I had expected. It was like a bus station, or train station. Outside, metal roof, london-style benches. There was someone singing when we arrived.
We then did a programme, talked about where we all were from, and then we did the sticky-chair drama. I really enjoy doing that. I did it last night, and this morning. Both times I got to play the main character, which is so fun. Simple, but fun. It is a bold and clownish story, and so you need to overact and be funny. I think I can manage that. So many drama classes and working at Antidote… I can see now why and how things like “The Frog Prince” were useful…
Afterwards in the car, one of the guys said to me “Wow, that was amazing, I’ve seen the chair drama before, but never quite like that!” And both of the English 40+ year olds on the team called me a “Dark horse”, whatever that means. I so enjoy doing drama and acting, and it’s cool when other people appreciate it.
After someone told their story, and someone else told them about the good news, one of the guys then prayed with and for them, doing the whole “Sinner’s prayer” type of thing, and afterwards, the lady who had been singing when we arrived asked for all those who had accepted Jesus to raise their hands. My goodness. You’d never do that in the UK any more! Or Cyprus.
Anyway. About 7 people did, which was quite a shock to me, and then they gave them copies of John’s Gospel, and told them to come back on Sunday. Every Sunday at 10am, they have a church meeting in that waiting room.
Then we got into the Doulos minibus, and went to an orphanage. It was in fact a small house which a lady lived in. She had taken in a few children from the street about 9 years ago, and now had 50 or so children, from 6 months to 13 or so! We helped to carry in some new beds which one of the churches had just brought, and talked with them a bit.
One of the helpers at the orphanage was Deaf. She was very good at lip-reading, and could speak a little. As we were all hanging around afterwards, waiting for some of the others talking about photos, I asked her (in American Sign) if she knew Sign Language. She signed yes! She told me her name D-O-L-L-Y, and told me that her mother was one of the other people working there. I introduced myself, and said I had learned a little bit of sign. We did not have much time to talk after that, but it was extremely cool to be able to sign to someone all the way out here in Durban!
Anyway. We got back to the ship at half ten, and now will be leaving again at 12:15, so I must rush off to get something to eat. This afternoon we are going to a school to teach some students some dramas and things.
Very exciting days!