Soweto, AIDS, Families, and Prayer
After a puppet show in Soweto today, a lady came up to me and asked me to pray for her. She is HIV positive and has an 8 year old daughter. I held her hands and prayed for her.
Many, many children came forward after a second show in Soweto asking only for prayer. Some had broken arms, assorted smaller aches, but many had AIDS and wanted prayer.
The health minister of South Africa has publicly announced that the proper treatment for AIDS is a special diet. She tells people as the official position of the government that if they have AIDS, they must eat lemon, garlic, beet root, and African potato. The people die. Medicines that might truly help these children are not available.
Posters are everywhere in Soweto promoting "safe sex" not abstinence. Large billboards read "AIDS loves skin on skin." Children are daily raped by men who believe that they can cure themselves of AIDS by raping a virgin. In this atmosphere of ignorance and darkness, the greatest need is Jesus. Only when a child experiences true forgiveness, can she forgive the people who hurt her.
Families don’t exist for many children. Many people do not marry but choose to live together. Men often have more than one common law wife. The grandmothers raise the children. Children do now know what a family looks like. It is only the Gospel the can address these problems.
One million children have no parents. On the weekends, people line up at the black cemeteries to bury their dead. Our friend works in a place where every second corner has a funeral parlor and 8 to 10 people are inside waiting to be served!
There is so much death here, but today at 3 puppet shows in Soweto, we were blessed to tell hundreds and hundreds of children, teens, men, and women about the life that Jesus gives. In such a dark place, His hope shines as a bright light. There is no other light.
Lawn Street is the worst place for drugs in South Africa, with over 31 drug houses. All kinds of people live here, crossing all racial lines. After sharing at a church Sunday night, we drove through the neighbor hood so that we could better understand the area that the church is serving. Teenage prostitutes were on every corner. Most of these girls choose this lifestyle for economic reasons. Please pray for Rosettenville Baptist church for wisdom to know how to address this problem. Please pray for all the churches in this area who regularly gather for prayer walks that they will know how to best impact this place for Jesus.
When a bride marries in the black community, the lobola must be paid. This is the bride price and it is usually prayed in cows. When a family member dies a cow much be bought and cooked for all who want to come. With so many funerals, this becomes a big financial burden for the families who have so little.
Imagine how strange we must have looked to the people in Soweto today. Some of us climbed in the back of a pick up truck to go and gather the children for a show. This is an entirely black community and I am sure they never expected to see what they saw today. The pastor from the local church came with us, along with one of his church members. In Zulu, he used our speaker to invite the children. Sam, wearing his cowboy hat, held the speaker. A wonderful clown named Lisa joined us. She and her husband, Collin, arranged these shows and the children’s conference that we shared at on Friday and Saturday. They asked me to come with them and bang my gong. We had so much fun, doubled the size of our show, and made many people smile.
Please stay on your knees! Tomorrow we have a training session and on Wednesday we have 3 school shows.
In Jesus, Linda for the team
Sam, Hadia, Anna, James, and Lynne