Mission Issues

Thinking and re-thinking missionary issues

When charity surpasses all human understanding

I experienced something today which left me dumbfounded.
I went out to one of the home-based caring projects in Swaziland. As it is winter at the moment where we are, we had been collecting blankets and warm clothing, some new and some old and started distributing it among those who are the worst off. On Sunday, after our morning service, one of the groups asked if I would mind accompanying them today when they hand out the clothing and blankets. I agreed, so this morning I drove off to meet them (about 120 km = 75 miles from where I stay). This was the first time that I had been at the place where we were to meet each other, somewhere on a dirt road where I had to travel mostly in first gear and negotiate the ditches in such a way that I don’t damage my car.
I had been told that the group of volunteers had been helping someone to build a home. I assumed that it was someone who was too sick to care for himself and for some reason I never really asked about this. The meeting point was at the place where they were busy building the house (not a house – a small room, perhaps 6 square metres, made of sticks, stones and mud with a thatch roof!) We started speaking and obviously I enquired about the man whose house they were building, assuming that he was lying somewhere and wanting to pay him a visit. To my utmost surprise they told me that the man was at the sjebeen. Now, a sjebeen is nothing other that a bar. I thought I had misheard them: Do you want to tell me that you are building this man’s house for him and he is at the sjebeen!
Yes, they answered. He’s a drunkard. I could not believe what I had just heard. This is so stupid, I thought.
Why do you build his home if he’s a drunkard? I asked.
Because we want him to see that God loves him!
Building a home for a drunkard, because we want him to see that God loves him!!!
Driving back to my home today I could not help saying over and over to myself: I was wrong and they are right!
If we are serious in becoming the hands and feet of Christ, then we are going to have to do things which surpasses all human understanding!

Thursday, July 26, 2007 - Posted by | Mission, Theology


  1. I hear you on the “first reaction” and am right with your brothers and sisters in their “actions.” We have a food warehouse in the middle of a moderate city in an area with hundreds of homeless people. Our neighbors are very upset with the environment it causes. My husband and I like to make our “test batches” and take them around and give them to the folks by the tracks. This simple action has given us hours of conversation with our three girls about “where is God” and “what should we be doing.” Christ’s compassion knows no boundaries. It is a good lesson to remember.

    Comment by CGross | Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Reply

  2. I usually experience three responses to the work we are doing. The one is made by people who think we are mad and don’t want anything to do with it. They usually have blank faces when they hear about the problems. Then there is a group which tells us that we are doing wonderful work and God will bless us for this and we should keep it up. But then we also have the group (a small minority) who will support us, contact us to find out what we need, etc. May God really encourage you and your husband to persist in spite of what your neighbours say (or think).

    Comment by Arnau van Wyngaard | Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Reply

  3. […] him to experience the love of God as well.” If you don’t know this story, you can read it here. On Saturday we drove out to a black community some miles from Tzaneen. They had shown interest in […]

    Pingback by My weekend in Tzaneen « Mission Issues | Monday, March 10, 2008 | Reply

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