"You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.' - Diana Vreeland"
What an honour it is to be writing an article in this "special month" that South Africa celebrates as Women's Month. Every single day should be celebrated; never ever wait for a special day to celebrate life, as it is a precious gift from God. I have lost count of the number of trips I have gone on with Every Tribe Mission as all have just been phenomenal! God amazes me all the time. I went on this trip not knowing what to expect but I was expectant and as always, knew the Lord was going to do something amazing and He did. He makes all things work for our good; even though I was not leading my own team this time like before, I got an opportunity to spend time with all in the group on different days.
When we entered the first house, there was young man sitting on a sofa. He told us that he was ashamed of himself because he was unable to walk, from a condition called "elephantiasis gigantism." He was born with big bones so his legs and his hands are bigger than the rest of his body. He was not able to finish school as children in school used to laugh at him all the time. He uses a wheelchair sometimes and there are times that his hands hurt, so he really felt like that there was nothing he can do in this life. We asked him how he sustains himself and he said he sells drugs. He said he likes selling as it makes him feel like a man." He now has the necessary funds to buy things and does not have to rely on his mother or siblings for financial assistance. I asked him what if he gets caught and end up in jail for breaking the law. He responded by saying that he does not force the people to buy the drugs so he is not doing anything wrong. He has also been in jail many times before, it does not bother him.
One of the lady's in the team felt led to share how her dad was a drug dealer and almost lost his life as a result because the friends he trusted, tried to kill him because he was making so much money. Her dad ended-up in hospital and the family was left with nothing but prayer. He lost all the money he had made, in just one night! They could not even pay the hospital bill. The family prayed for him and God healed him. He accepted Christ as his Lord and saviour and they now own the biggest supermarket in their province. I asked the young man what his dream was and he started weeping. He told us he likes computers and wants to study IT. As we were talking to him we felt led to ask for the drugs or whatever he may have in his house as he made the decision to come to Christ. Just as we were about to receive the drugs, one of his customers came in and then another three more came.
"1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 2 By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures. 3 A poor man who oppresses the lowly is like a driving rain which leaves no food..." - Proverbs 28:1-3 (NIV)
The mother of the house came out of her room and was listening to everything we were saying. She told us that she is desperate for her son to stop selling drugs and only wants the best for him. She also received Christ as her Lord and saviour. The "customers" were waiting outside and one wanted to come in as he was in a hurry and kept on disturbing us. The mother was so angry and she told him that he needed to stop disrespecting her house like that and that he must go away. She was so bold and speaking with so much authority. We left a blessing in the house and know the Lord changed them as only He can change people. The young man refused to let us confiscate the drugs but he did give us an undertaking that he will stop dealing in drugs as soon as that particular batch was sold. It was disturbing and frightening to be in a drug dealer's house, but we operate in faith and not in fear and we know the Lord was with us, so we left the house with peace in our hearts.
On my previous trip to Alexandria in November 2013, we visited a Children's Home and this young girl came up to me and just would not leave me alone, it was the sweetest thing ever. I always carry nail polish with me on missions (sweets don't work as I end up eating it all before I get a chance to hand it out!) I gave this little girl my glitter nail polish and instructed her to paint the other girls' nails as well, she was so excited. Sadly, that was the last time that I saw her. When we got to the Children's Home earlier this year, I was so surprised to see this little girl and best of all, she recognized me! I gave her the biggest hug and we sat together until a teenage girl came to sit with us.
Sadly, this teenager is unable to speak. I took out my lipstick and gave it to her. A smile spread across her face and she was really excited as I helped her apply the lipstick. I could see that she felt so special in that moment and her inner beauty shone through her beautiful smile. Perhaps all she needed was a little bit of my time and prayers. I trust the Lord will give them peace in their hearts and that they will grow up to be women that will make a difference in this world and reflect God's beauty.
"3 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. 4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." - 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)