Although apartheid fell as a regime sixteen years ago, the work of racial reconciliation there is an ongoing process (just as it is Stateside). We loved to see that the church has taken such an active role in that reconciliation process. During our trip, we partnered with Amor Ministries to build a home for a family who had been waiting & praying for fifteen years for this house. The family had been living in a shack thrown together from rusted corrugate metal and scrap wood. One of the interior walls was basically a large flattened box. The son explained to me that, when it rained, the roof was so leaky that it felt as if they were outside. Their new home provides better insulation, and we finished off the roof and hung the doors the morning we left.
Amor has spent several years cultivating relationships with the local pastors fellowship. This housebuild created an opportunity for both white and black South Africans to work side-by-side. It was a genuine privilege to be part of a team that acted as a catalyst for local change. Local pastors, church members, and high school students were able to join us throughout the week to serve together. From what we heard, as local Christians saw our team from the States travel halfway around the world to build this home, they were challenged to serve in their own neighborhoods. For some of the local people there, the past week was the first time they had ever set foot inside a township (outlying areas in which homes are scrapped together from corrugated metal, scrap wood and cardboard).
As Asian American followers of Christ, the history of racial reconciliation in South Africa spoke deeply to us. For both black and white South Africans, living with the repercussions of apartheid has created a complex web of identity, culture, and cross-cultural interaction. We were privileged to hear many stories of redemption and transformation. Our story intersected with so many there: learning to navigate fluidly between cultures, developing the ability to see from multiple perspectives simultaneously, feeling not quite at home in the country in which we were born (I’ll share in more depth soon).
The Story Continues
We want to live stories worth telling, to continue joining the work of God in our own neighborhood and, hopefully, to continue partnering with friends we’ve made in South Africa.