My friend Lindsey and I rode two of her horses along the beach yesterday. As we headed back to her house, walking through the fynbos that divides the shoreline and the main road, Lindsey pointed to some rubber laying in the sand. "This used to be a dump," she said.
I was surprised that such a beautiful piece of the earth was once a wasteland.
Then she told me a group of people even tried to informally squat on the land at one point. "A group tried squatting here, but the community's wealthy got together and had them dropped somewhere else... made them someone else's problem."
"That's crazy," I commented. "Yeah, totally hectic," she replied.
My mind started spinning. The economic situation in South Africa, like in many other countries, is complicated and deeply layered. It's impossible to point the finger at one reason why things are the way they are, but the situation never fails to challenge my perspective and understanding.
Tony and I venture in and out of very poor areas and very rich areas on a daily basis. That kind of change in scenery is difficult to process, and as Lindsey and I rode on, I briefly expressed my struggle.
Masiphumelele (where Tony and I serve) and Noordhoek (where Tony and I love to eat lunch) are only minutes apart in distance. But when it comes to culture, wealth and status, they might as well be on different planets.
Many of my hows and whys about this world and the way it works have yet to be answered, and at this point, I'm not sure if they ever will be. But I do know this: Challenging your perspective and understanding through serving people who are different from you is a good thing—a life-changing kind of thing.
And in my opinion, there's one surefire way of doing it... Get out of your box, routine and comfort zone. Put yourself in a new situation (whether that's feeding the homeless in your city, going on a short-term missions trip or working as an English teacher in a rural village), and I promise, you'll be amazed at how God will move in and through you.
If you live in Knoxville, TN or Cape Town and would like some ideas on places to serve, please send us a message. We'd love to help connect you somewhere!
Photo credit: landlopers.com, beta.eatout.co.za