Yesterday we spent the day doing ministry at a government teaching hospital. We were in the ward for HIV positive children, and played with them in the waiting room as they waited for their appointments. If I wasn't told that I was working with HIV positive children, I never would have realized it. The nurses continually shared with us how amazing the anti-retroviral medications are, and how it really improves the quality of the lives of people with HIV.
We started by singing a song, that has very silly movements to it. We expected only the children to sing and participate with us, but all of the parents/caregivers stood up as well and sang the song with us. By the end, everyone was singing, spinning around in a circle, sticking their tongue out & laughing hysterically. It felt really good to bring such joy to a clinic that sees such sorrow.
We did a puppet show about Joshua, and how God encouraged him to be strong and courageous, and promised to be with him wherever he went. Then we did a coloring activity. The kids were very into the puppet show, and some of the nurses and receptionists, came in to watch the silliness. We had to take short intermissions when the doctors came in to call the patients, which gave our arms a break from holding the puppets up for so long!
The kids had finished coloring, and so I started to show them a game which involves folding paper. I looked around for the kids old enough to play, and invited them to the table. Most of them came, and we all started doing the game. My sister Megan sat down next to one boy who kept talking to her. Here, there are so many other languages spoken other than English, and Megan assumed the boy was talking to her in his native language. As they sat together and colored, they talked away, the boy saying something (he was pretty hard to understand) and Megan imitating the words he was using. He was the first one to finish the game and began to write strange letters I had never seen before. He kept showing them to me, and I was impressed at the foreign letters.
As we were leaving, one of the doctors came up to us and said, "Wow, you guys did an amazing job! Even the deaf boy had a paper that was colored, and he looked the most happy and alive that we have ever seen!" Megan and I both looked at each other, realizing that the boy we were with wasn't speaking a new language, but deaf and mute and trying to communicate the best he could!! It was funny once we remembered how Megan had been imitating him, but on the other hand it was quite amazing to realize how much value & life a child can receive when they are loved. Perhaps this child is often rejected because of his disability, but because Megan was clueless, she treated him like she did all the other children and loved & respected him with the same love & respect the other children receive.
Overall the experience at the hospital was great for everyone! My sister Megan left this afternoon to return to Swaziland, but we had a great time ministering together and hanging out! Isaac went to get his visa today, but was told to come back on Tuesday for it. So we will be spending a few more unexpected days in Johannesburg, but our time will be filled with lots of ministry!