29 July 2022
We had driven 2.5 hours from Joburg to a township on the outskirts of a large agricultural town in Mpumalanga. The townspeople were incredibly friendly, but the poverty of the farm town was evident. We were told the town owed R1.5 billion to the electrical company as well as other utility providers. Therefore, no electricity, no drinking water, and lots of potholes! We inquired about what fun things we could take some kids to do…the answer….leave town! However, we had no interest in doing that as our purpose for visiting was to check in on 30+ kids that Bokamoso helps support. We had heard that they were in need of blankets and food, and so the trip was planned… and the Lord provided miraculously, down to the very cent we needed for our own gas.
To help us with the group, we had brought two girls along from Joburg. Ages 12 and 15, they had never left their informal settlement before. Tear came out as they left the city, not from fear but pure excitement! Upon entering our guest house, we realized this was a first for them. Had they used a shower before? No. (I think they showered a few times!) A microwave? No. Eaten out at any fast food place? No. This was truly a fun adventure – ever watched a kid drink a milkshake for the first time? – Pure glee! One of the girls said she lived in a three-room house with 18 other relatives…needless to say, she loved the guestroom’s double bed!
After we had spent time with the group of Bokamaso children – sharing tips on staying safe, staying healthy and the importance of knowing Jesus. We distributed the lovely goodies, bible tracks, blankets, and food parcels that we were blessed to be able to pass on to them. Upon everyone heading home, one young girl hung back, she normally walked an hour home, and now with a heavy food parcel, blanket, and school books, she needed help.
As we waited for the others to be dropped off and for her turn for a ride, I made some small talk. I inquired if she lived with her mom or grandma (we rarely ask about the father due to such a high level of single-mom families). She said she lived with her mom and then started to sob. Through her tears, she explained that her father had abandoned her as a baby. “He said I was not his child. But my mom said I was. He did not care. I was not wanted.” I thanked God that He had brought this precious girl across my path and some time to pour His love into her.
The Holy Spirit gave me an idea. “What’s your name?” I asked -“Do you know the meaning?” “No,” she replied, “No one has ever told me.” We looked it up – “Gift from God.” I explained how God was her Father, one who never leaves nor forsakes her, and how He wanted her to know that she was His special, wanted, a much-desired gift. Her tears turned to the biggest smile, and her eyes shone with joy. After we hugged goodbye, I knew that our trip to that off-the-beaten track was worth every minute and cent for one of God’s children to know that she is a wanted daughter and has a Father who loves her.