To be known…

 

Part of my practice of finding my way in Cape Town is to invest in the businesses around me and to walk up and down some of the streets every day. I get my haircut at the salon on the corner; I eat regularly at the restaurants right around me. I grab coffee daily from a café right near the church. Eventually something began to happen. Instead of waiting for me to order, the barista reaches for the mug I bring with me as I walk in. The servers in the restaurant run out on the street to say, “hello” when they see me. My hairdresser gave me a bottle of wine the other day because I listened to him. I find I am beginning to be known.

There was a moment a couple of months ago where I struggled with the way I was known and it has caused me to begin to shift my priorities a bit. Some pastors came together for what they call mission week. It is when they go to another area to serve to learn about life in another part of the country. We led a soccer camp with some of the kids. I was sitting with some of the younger ones talking to them when two of them said, “we know you.” I assumed they meant from church. I asked them, “do you know me from when I visited Sunday school?” “No,” they said, “Long Street.” Long Street is similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The kids knew me from Long Street because that is where they spend time trying to get some extra money begging and they saw me walking every day.

I looked at the kids more closely and realized I did know them. These same kids have been asleep on the sidewalk in front of the church. I saw them at a banquet the Church had out on the street where 500 people were fed. I sat with them just the other day and asked them as many questions as I could to just be in conversation with them and before I left, they gave me a hug and I found myself at a loss. They have a place to sleep. Yet, they choose sometimes to be on their own. In the midst of conversations with them, I have been more invested in the Children’s Ministry at the Church. The gift is that CMM is invested in this as well. There are a couple of lay people who have agreed to help lead a conversation on how we can build a sustainable ministry and I believe when we get the two and three together, God will surprise us with plans.

My hope is that we can build a ministry that will last. In the midst of praying about the way forward, what was affirmed for me was hope for the future. I have always dreamed of a better day and pointed people towards it. In the midst of the pointing and the dreaming, people rise and they find their place in the building. This is what has been happening. Several lay people have sat with me to begin to plan how to strengthen the church’s ministry to young people. It is the work of this generation to build a better tomorrow for the next and so, this is my story of light from 2015—that there is a beginning and one that brings me hope not just for the children, but for those who say, “yes” to the building of a better tomorrow.

As we enter this New Year, I give thanks for those of you who hold me in God’s radiant light.  I have been in Cape Town for six months now.  In some ways this is a long time and in other ways I feel as if I am just breathing in the new life that is opening for me here.  Mainly because of answered prayer.  I asked some of you to pray that I might find people to commit to the journey with me.  People who will ask the question of how it is with my soul and care for me well.  It is what we all need.  Just last week, three people committed naming it as a need they had as well.  I have also finally found a spiritual director.  It is a gift to have someone committed to leading you into the place of rest in the Spirit and I am thankful, thankful, thankful to those of you who prayed with me as I searched to find the right one.  May this year unfolding be one where you find strength for a deeper walk and a fuller love being born in you.

With you on the journey,

Michelle

***Salary support can be received through the donation button on this blog site.  You will be directed to the United Methodist Advance–a tax deductible way of supporting mission work around the world–check it out!

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