This is Africa:

Isaiah 58:6-7, “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”

I want to dedicate the majority of this post to letting you all know what Erika and Louis Lingenfelder, our hosts at the BEAM House, are up to.

I spent the majority of this week assisting Erika in her office and assembling “Life Skills” manuals for the teaching program BEAM (an acronym for “Biblical Education and Ministry”) runs. The time spent working on those manuals was really the first time I was able to have a one-on-one discussion with Erika, and I am so thankful to have had that opportunity.

Her heart is pure gold. She has a passion for life and a love for the broken-hearted and forgotten people of South Africa. Along with the help of her husband Louis, the couple started a program that affirms the worth and the identity of the South African people. Most of the people in the program are coming from three generations of unemployment. Along with the rise of HIV/AIDS, low life expectancy, a suffering education system, and general state of poverty, it is easy for these teens to feel like there’s nothing worth living for.

That’s where BEAM comes in. Their Life Skills Program equips the kids (through math and English education, primarily) to help them find jobs, and also provides them with insight into cultural diversity, financial planning, HIV awareness, and much more. Perhaps the most important thing BEAM does, however, is their faith-based teaching. They devote the majority of their program to teaching the Gospel and helping the kids learn about their identity in Christ. They focus on breaking down the lies that they’ve been told regarding their worth and reaffirm their value instead.

They tell them that they matter.
That they’re priceless.
That they’re loved.
That they’re capable.
That their lives have a purpose.
That they’re sons and daughters of a King who loves them and is proud of them simply because they are who they are.

The work Erika and Louis are doing is changing lives in real, powerful ways. I’m grateful to be a part of it for even this short while. And P.S., American friends- they’re looking for interns if anyone’s interested!

Now on to a completely unrelated story about my week that I found to be pretty funny- my visit to the doctor’s office.

I have been coughing and whatnot for about two weeks now (bronchitis, remember?) but did not go to the doctor until yesterday to get officially diagnosed and get some prescription medicines. Before my appointment, I was at the grocery store with my team leaders. We were loading the bags into the car when a glass jar of marinara sauce fell and busted into a pile on my right foot. Direct hit to the big toe. I wasn’t hurt aside from a little cut, but my Chacos were covered in sauce. It was an onion and meat marinara sauce, too, so it looked pretty gory. You’re welcome for that mental image.

As it turns out, there wasn’t an opportunity to clean my foot or my shoe off before my appointment, so my dirty marinara foot got to bake in the African sun for a good while before we visited the doctor. The smell was incredible.

The appointment was going well until the doctor asked me to lay down on the table so he could listen to my breathing. He was mid-sentence when he caught notice of my foot and practically screamed (in broken English) “OH DEAR WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR FOOT?!?!”

He didn’t understand what I was trying to say. All I could do was laugh. Never in my life did I think I would be in a doctors office in South Africa attempting to explain to a frazzled doctor that my foot was covered in chunky marinara sauce and not blood. Poor guy.

We will be traveling to Swaziland next Saturday, so it is likely that I won’t be able to post my next blog (or another fun foot story) for a little over a week or so.

Love you all. Keep us in your prayers-

Prayer Requests:
1. Matthew Baker and Family
2. There is some controversy surrounding property rights to the church that we partner with in Mamelodi. Another man is claiming to own the land, and is trying to prevent the children from coming to the after school program. If it doesn’t get resolved soon, the whole program could be in jeopardy.
3. The rioting in Mamelodi- things have been relatively calm this week, but Erika and Louis believe that the rioting
will get worse before it gets better
4. Health for the team
5. The South African government
6. My teammate, Andrew, has asked for prayer for his family

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