Follow Chronicles on Facebook

Friday, August 27, 2010

paint away the pain

This weekend my sisters came to visit. To give the context, I live in Ocean View, a township that is the worst area in the South Peninsula and where the majority of our LifeXchange guys stay. The Flats, where the worst of Ocean View live, is just around the corner. From my years working in the area and from the individuals that I’ve grown close to, I know the true stories that are true behind these walls. Stories of abuse, rape, murder, fatherlessness, and the home of criminals, drunkards, gangsters, drug merchants.. and that which I know is only a small part of what there is to tell.

I anticipated my sisters to be taken aback by the harsh reality of what they saw, by the obvious poverty, drugs and disease that hangs around The Flats like thick city smog. But the pain of these lives had been painted over in a fresh coat of crayfish pink; masking the scars of graffiti, of dirt, of dilapidation, covering up the deep turmoil of lives lost in injustice, and leaving only a hint of the slum that it really is. Looking out the car window of my Pocket Rocket, their response was, “oh, this place doesn’t look so bad!”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

why do you never drop us?

This week Monray (a LifeXchange member on his way to achieving great things), stood observing as the LifeXchange girls began to offer up feeble excuses for having dropped me in some way or other over the past week or so. With them walking away my parting words were ‘ I’ll be there just don’t drop me’. Once the girls were out of earshot Monray stepped forward and asked me with a look of confused amazement, “Mandy, why do you never drop US?” I looked at him, unable to give an answer off the cuff because the idea of it doesn’t even feature; it’s not even an option. “Do you understand what I’m asking?” he continued after I had not responded.

Later it hit me, what LifeXchange does is merely practise the example of discipleship that Jesus showed us and that this IS the gospel in action. We strive to love these young people unconditionally, to always be there, to never drop them or disappoint them, to see them for the beautiful person God created them as and not for what and where they’ve been in life. And if this is just an example of Jesus relationship with us, how much greater is His love! Our pasts are all ugly and yet he sees in us only beauty even though we still continue to drop Him, continue to mess up, continue to push Him away, deny His love yet He is ALWAYS THERE, unfailing and unfaltering. And why? Because the idea of the opposite doesn’t even exist!

It says constantly that those who know his name and trust in Him, He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31v6, Joshua 1 v 5, Psalm 9 v 10, Psalm 37 v 28, Psalm 94 v 14, Isaiah 41v17, Isaiah 42v16
“For the LORD takes delight in his people Psalm” 149 v 4

Sunday, August 1, 2010

simple sillyness

Last week Saturday, 24th July, a group of ladies from Kommetjie Christian Church held a pamper party for the LifeXchange girls. So to keep them sober and off the heavy drugs I arranged a decoy, a Friday night movie night at my house.. only my house is in Ocean View, the same neighbourhood as theirs and just a stone’s throw away from the Friday night party. So more decoys were put in place to prevent them wandering off soon after they arrived.

The decoys consisted of a huge sit down meal at my house, some music and sober sillyness (such as sliding down the passage in our socks, breakdancing, piggy in the middle), then off to McDonald’s for ice creams and onto the late night movie at Blue Route mall. Most had not been to the cinema before and those who had, had only been because a LifeXchange mentor had taken them.
A big laugh for me was when we left the cinema and I turned around to see no-one following me. Eventually the girls walked out nonchalantly with arms loaded with popcorn and coke. They’d collected everybody in the cinema’s leftovers and were eating it happily, completely oblivious that this isn’t correct social behaviour. I just laughed, and fell in love with them even more.
Getting to bed at 3am and waking up at 6am was a toughy, but we all ‘made it to the church in time’! Phew! At last they were there, the hard work was over, I could finally relax.
The Pamper party was a blast! Starting with learning how to do our own facial, a foot massage, cooking demonstration by a renowned cook (who revealed her secret brownie recipe), a talk on correct eating and dinner etiquette, followed by a 3 course meal and ending with a talk on inner beauty.
But it’s hard to read the expressions and the body language from a culture that hasn’t learnt how, their faces seem to reflect a look of disinterest. Completely wrong! Rochelle commented, “it was the best weekend of my life”. Another girl, Chone, said, “I wish I could rewind till when we were sitting in the movies”. She also said something so simple, her highlight was the part where we just chatted (at 2am!!). It wasn’t anything significant, just normal girls talk. But I realised that it was different, normally the topic of conversation is on ‘other matters’, or they’re drunk or drugged. Chone is one of the quietest girls, it’s hard to get much out of her at the best of times, yet here she was going on and on about the weekend saying she wishes it had gone on until Sunday.