Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Street friends

Last week while we were with Sechaba we drove into a rundown part of town, and I was quite shocked at the location we stopped in.  There were a group of abandoned buildings- that would be condemned with police tape around them if they were in my country.  But this is Africa, where things are different.  Although Lesotho is clean, and looks very put together as one drives though the main parts of downtown, there are places in the city where no one would dare visit.  And that’s where we were.  As we got out of the car, we saw huge piles of garbage in front of us.  4 feet of rusted aluminum cans to my right, and heaps of trash to my left.  There were about 12 guys who looked older than they actually were.  Later on I found out that they are between 8 and 16, but all look to be in their 20s.  They are the street friends.  They have been abandoned or have run away for one reason or another.  A local man from Lesotho, Samuel, was our contact with the Street Friends.  He went through YWAM’s discipleship training program works with them daily so that they too can learn to obey all that Jesus has commanded and become a disciple of the living God.  He introduced us to them saying, “These guys belong to the…well they belong to God, but they live here on the street.  We are standing in their home.”
He then told us that earlier that day, the police had come to take out the corpse of a child that had been found in the garbage in one of the rooms.  So no one was inside the houses, and the garbage was being picked through.  They explained to us that a devil worshipping man from those parts was known for killing children, taking out their hearts, and going to a nearby mountain to do who knows what with the heart.  I know it sounds like science fiction.  But this is real- it is actually people’s lives and beliefs.  The man is now on the run, and all signs from the condition of the body points to him.  The street friends started joking about how they have been living with another person in the house and didn’t even realize it. 
As we heard what had been going on, we heard a grunt from across the property.  There was an older man lying on the ground, all wrapped up in blankets with a gun in hand.  “Oh, that’s just our soldier,” we were told. “If he looks at you with a mean face, just smile at him.  He won’t hurt you.”
Because I was the only female, things for me were quite awkward.  But it was truly amazing to see the local missionaries work to teach & disciple these friends.  They did games that seemed silly, and then gave a two sentence application of how it dealt with peer pressure & their lives.  I was so impressed by the simplicity & depth they brought through their games and quick lessons. 
I was inspired by what I saw.  The missionaries were willing to literally get their hands dirty as they went to these boys’ home to minister the gospel in a way that they could actually understand.  As we were crowded under a tree (which was the only shade) I imagined that if Jesus were walking the earth right now, that this is exactly where he would be- with these guys who more than anyone I’ve seen, need hope, Godly instruction,  and love.

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