Monthly Archives: November 2014

this is not ok.

I don’t quite have the words to express how I’m feeling right now. I don’t have the words to explain what I just witnessed, but I feel compelled to write, compelled to communicate what is happening so close to home, for many of us.

Everyone knows there’s gang fight in Manenberg, there always has been, it’s almost boring, right? At least that’s how it seems. But there is a war going on in Manenberg that is SO evil, SO unfair…so destructive to an entire community, and yet no one is taking any notice.

I’m calling the church to pray.

I don’t normally like to write so openly about Manenberg’s messiness, but we need you. We need you to know what’s going on.

On Monday morning, I woke up to a message, “be careful coming in today, there’s been heavy shooting this morning”. Great, no better way to start your week than a backdrop of gunshots. I got into the office as shooting broke out. Two of our staff members pulled up in the middle of the shooting and had to make the decision whether it was safer to sit in their car or make a run. They ran…cars really aren’t that safe, and in that split second where a decision was made, the thought also passed by “‘shit, I haven’t written my will yet”.

All a bit shaken, we had a check-in and began to worship. Let me tell you, there’s nothing sweeter than God’s presence when there is gang fight, and God meets us, we need him, we know we do, and it’s in that place of utter dependence we find our reserve to make it through the day. Worship and shooting continued for about an hour, continuously, and as the gunshots finally petered out, so we allowed our worship to draw to a close – energised and ready for the day, and thankfully, the rest of the day was quiet.

where it's all going down-not so picturesque today

where it’s all going down-not so picturesque today

Today one of my colleagues got half way to work only to be told to go no further, a lady had just been shot. In between moments of shooting, she ran to work and got safely to the office. We’re learning to become more aware of trauma and what it can do to our bodies, so we did a body scan and released a bit of adrenaline through dance…

We began the set-up of our 24-7 prayer room which is kicking off on Sunday. Outside we see a bunch of women start to salvage all the metal and “steal-able” items from building site of one of the blocks of flats across the way from our office where refurbishments have been abandoned because of gang fight.

A couple of hours later I find myself alone at the office working on relatively boring stuff…

I hear a commotion from outside – I look out the window to see close to 100 people out on the street, most of whom are young, male gangsters facing off at one another, with the same bunch of women and a few more mums and aunties joining in. The press are there with cameras.

The noise turns into shots, the police are there, they have their weapons out, the gangsters normally don’t shoot when the police are present, but all of the normal “rules” seem to have gone out of the window… In all the gang fights I’ve witnessed, I’ve never actually seen the police have to use their weapons, they are now driving their vehicles with one gun-filled hand pointing out the window. For the next 20 minutes this chasing of young men continues, the community pointing the police in all directions – I’m not totally convinced they’re helping. The press stands on the road and takes photos – he doesn’t seem to be afraid.

While this is happening, aware that one of my colleagues is out visiting our girls, I call her to tell her to stay put, she can’t walk this side anymore, another colleague is trapped between two places of shooting and is having to reverse the car up and down roads to find safety. He finally arrives back, visibly shaken and frankly, we’re both over being there for now. We close up office and move our work elsewhere.

IMGP0160All of our prayer weeks have had gang fight connected to them, we’re used to that, but for the first time in the history of 24-7 in Manenberg, I find myself questioning whether we should cancel it, or move it. Maybe this is the weakness of my flesh crying out, well, it definitely is that…but it is also the fact that THIS IS NOT OK. We know and believe that our call is to pray, and we will pray, we will pray our way back to hope, back to the face of Jesus, back to a joy that sometimes looks like laughing at the devil but sometimes looks like weeping until we can find Jesus again, but what happens on earth? We can only hope.

Hope with us. Stand with us. Let’s get the worldwide church praying with us, for Shalom for this community, knowing that this is but one community in Cape Town with the same issue. Pray that the gangs not yet involved don’t join in, pray for revival. Pray that guns would jam, pray that the heavens would open and some sort of rain would come and cleanse evil away, pray for safety. Pray that we as a team would know peace, find joy, and learn what it means to be fearless…

The answer is Jesus, and a church willing to cross the lines and love and love and love

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confessions of an ostrich

I didn’t mean to be underground, I honestly didn’t know I was for a long time…but then I looked up and saw it was November, not May, and realised I may have been hiding a little, weathering the storm like a good ol’ ostrich…with my head in the sand. One of the things I value in life is telling an honest story, and so haven’t felt particularly able to write because I haven’t wanted, or felt able to share the fullness of the story I’ve been living in. That hasn’t necessarily changed…but I do feel like I’m choosing to enter into spring a bit more intentional and lift my head up.

These are some of the share-able moments of this last season:

The Good: 20141108_155225Despite the bleakness of this intro, there has been SO much goodness, learning and joy in the last season amidst the hard stuff. One of the most fun parts has been almost daily, falling more in love with the hubbie, realising what an incredible person he is, and seeing him realise a bit more of who he is and what has been placed within him. He really has been a place of (very patient) refuge, support and pushing me back into healthy, happy spaces. Those who know me, know how seeeeerious I can get, and Lloyd is so a perfect partner for me in helping me move from those deep places of pain, that I’m called, and are my joy to carry, back up to a place of finding hope and God’s goodness.

I also had the opportunity of travelling to Madrid for the 24-7 prayer gathering, with the leadership team of our wee church family, Tree of Life. This was an incredibly redemptive time of remembering dreams, remembering my passions and re-engaging with bigger picture Kingdom stuff that had slightly gotten pushed to the side with the hardness of life in my small locality. I was reminded of my love of intercession for the nations, being part of movements of people doing amazing things around the world, and hearing stories of hectic moves of God in my homeland 🙂

The Bad: One of the things that has been hardest in the last season is watching my little butterfly girl struggle through incredibly hard life circumstances, and how she’s landed up in very broken places of addiction and abuse. It’s been a time of me feeling completely out of my depth and simultaneously, completely believing I’m in the right place a
t the right time. I’ve had to step into a parent role for an 11 year old, and at times, for her family too…I’m at school meeting with teachers and principals, having to make decisions about this little treasure’s future and so desperately just wanting her to be free and happy. Thankfully, I’m not alone on this journey, there are a bunch of “big sisters” fighting for our girl, there’s an amazing play therapist pushing into the hard places with her, and a group of praying people who have our backs. I long to be writing a different story about her this time next year.

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The Ugly: I started to write about what I’ve found most ugly in this last season, but I’m actually done giving it more voice than it needs…especially when I have processed, I’ve cried out to God, and I know he hears our cries and answers. And so I’m leaving it there. I’m trusting in the kindness of my father that calls people back to him, that restores weary hearts, that starts little families of families, that fills me with hope, that gives me what I need…even when it’s not what I want, or think I need! I’m choosing to look to the wonderful partnership God’s given me in Lloyd, the opportunity to journey with my little butterfly and the incredible family in Manenberg who call me into my best self and lift my head back up when it has fallen.

More than ever, I need your support and prayers…I’m living in the deep end and while it’s terrifying, it’s one mighty exciting adventure!


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