Well I'm sure that
many of you people out there know that I went on a trip 2 South
Africa at the end of June. And if you didn't know, well...now you do.
I went out with a
group of about 34 students from Derryvolgie Halls, the Presbyterian
Hall at Queen's Belfast in conjunction with a charity called Habitat
for Humanity. Sorry, trying to get the boring bit out of the
way...this may actually get interesting soon...hang in there.
The main purpose
of our trip was to build 6 houses for people who were living in
shacks in a Township called Wallacedene. I was part of a team made up
of 8 students from Derryvolgie and 6 students from South Africa and 2
South African Builders. You may ask??? 'but Mark why the flip did you
go to do this?' Good Question. I shall answer...well the core reason
is God. God made us all, equal. He loves each and every one of us the
same. He loves me just as much as he loves you and just as much as he
loves a poor, black South African with Aids! Crazy ain't it.
But I hear you
cry...'What does that have to do with you old Markus?' Well I'm a
Christian and it's my duty to show everyone I can reach God's love.
And well you can't TELL someone who has such a poor quality of life
as the people in the townships in South Africa that God loves them,
what reason they have to believe me saying that. I need to show them
God's love in a practical way and well...what better than to give
them a house.
So yea the women I
was building for was called Lindiwe. Lindiwe got up at 7, every
morning to go and sweep the streets so she could afford a house. She
has a daughter, 14 years old, called Asanda. Imagine...you are 14
years old, you live in a hut, and you don't have your own room, no
privacy...no dignity...that is not the life a person deserves! So
basically yea in 5 days we built her a house, it wasn't the biggest
house ever, nor the best looking house, nor was it the best built
house ever but it was a palace compared to what they used to live in.
'So Mark, what did
you learn from this experience' I hear you cry well. Firstly...it
says in the old biblio 'Blessed are the poor'...and let me tell you,
yea it's true. Despite living in awful conditions and have no real
worldly possessions to their name and no money...the people in the
townships of South Africa are truly blessed. What is important to the
kids in South Africa is a one balloon, one sweet, even more
important...someone to play with, someone to hug, and someone who is
willing to show them love. The kids in our country are obsessed with
sweets, the latest DVD or games console. I pose the question to you.
When or if you ever have kids or maybe you already have, would you
rather the most important thing for them being a ps2 ? - or would you
prefer it was a simple hug and a tickle or spinning them around,
having someone to play with???
What else have I
learnt...well the phrase 'do not deny others what you demand for
yourself' is forever in my head? I bought 30 sweets, ate 3 and gave
the rest away to kids and the joy they got from maybe one sweet was
far past what I would have got from 30 of my sweets. Far greater than
I would get from a whole new outfit, the new Razorlight album and 100
bags of sweets. The poor, ill, miss-treated people of this world
deserve just as much as we have. How can we ever justify spending
money on new clothes of a new DVD when people I have seen with my
very own eyes can't even afford food??? DO NOT DENY OTHERS WHAT YOU
DEMAND FOR YOURSELF!
Please check out
my pics. You will see therein examples of a Fair-trade house and a
non-Fair-trade house. Pretty scary ain't it! If you want to make a
difference to people's lives in a simple way, buy Fair-trade. Thanks.
DO NOT DENY OTHERS
WHAT YOU DENY FOR YOURSELF
BLESSED ARE THE POOR
SO, MY DEAR
BROTHERS AND SISTERS. BE STRONG AND STEADY, ALWAYS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT
THE LORD'S WORK, FOR YOU KNOW THAT NOTHING YOU DO IS USELESS. 1 Cor 15v58
BE ON GUARD. STAND
TRUE TO WHAT YOU BELIEVE. BE COURAGEOUS. BE STRONG. AND EVERYTHING
YOU DO MUST BE DONE WITH LOVE. 1 Cor 16v13+14
Thank you all for
your support and prayers before, whilst and after I was away. To God
be the glory.