Abaana's Second team
Written By Scott Baxter
We have now taken two teams to Africa (a total of 28 people) to allow them to experience first hand the needs there, and also to give them the opportunity of working in the local schools and churches.
Now this years team has returned and they are starting to settle back in to life at home. Each person will have stories to tell, stories of tears and stories of laughter. When we set off over six weeks ago, we had many expectations. The team put so much work into fundraising not only for themselves but also for the projects in Africa.
I will share just a few experiences off the team. On the last Sunday, we had probably our busiest day, but in some ways possibly the most rewarding. We took part in two church services, the first of which was starting at 8am. This meant that we had to get up for 5.30am, which obviously was a real joyous occasion. After taking the two services, we then went into Katanga slum for a barbecue (of sorts). The team allocated £200 towards buying two cows. This paid not only for the cows, but also for the cutting up of the meat. Then with the help of the church, the meat was barbecued, on sticks (which was a massive task) in the centre of the slum. Children came around to see why, the white people had come and where the smell was coming from. The church set up a sound system and we had an open air, in which both the church and team members took part in, giving testimonies and sharing about our faith. Once the meat was cooked, we distributed it amongst the people who had gathered. As I stood and watched the crowds gather and watched the children sit beside the open sewers, I couldn’t help but thinking that if Jesus was here today, this is where he would be. Not just for an afternoon, but this is where his heart would be. With the oppressed, with the destitute, with the prostitutes and those with no hope. And then I had to ask the question. Why does the church not do this daily? In the west we have never had as much material possession in our history. Young people today have no shortage of toys and computers and spare cash. Most families have several cars. But why do the homeless and the single parents not flock to the church for help?
One of the days we went to Banda slum, we were shown a mining community, in which the women where forced to work. In this particular culture the men sat about and drank, while the women crushed stones, with a small stick with a lump of metal on the end. They called it a hammer. If this were not a degrading and medial task enough in itself, the payment would be. Each woman would receive 6p for filling a 20-litre jerry can full off stones. I was introduced to one of these ladies called Grace. Grace seemed tired due to the work she was carrying out, however after I heard her story I learnt that the expression on her face was not due to tiredness alone. When the women come to work, in the mines it is also their responsibility to look after the children. On hot days the women would seek shelter for their children and often this would be in a hollow off a cliff face, where the machine had last cleared the soil. One day Grace chose the hollow, to place her child, but instead of receiving safety from the sun in the coolness of its shade, the child died, when the side of the cliff face gave way and it was buried at the foot. This is life for many who struggle just to survive in Uganda.
Our hope with Abaana is that those who have now come back from the team, will never forget the things that they have witnessed. That they will be walking closer with God, and when they see poverty, injustice, and need they will not look at it in despair and ask the question why? Our hope is that each team member now will view the needs across the world, even in our own society as an opportunity. An opportunity to give, an opportunity to share Gods love!
Please continue to pray for the team members. Please continue to pray for Abaana as we look at ways of helping with the Dwelling place, at Banda Slum, with the school children and at the medical centre, and share Gods love in Africa.