Somebody once said: “Jesus didn’t come to make life easy, but to make people great.”
In 2004 I decided to believe it is possible.
Vision Africa started as a result of trying to give physical shape to the values and hopes I treasure for the people of this magnificent continent. I was raising an unimaginable amount of money in order to afford the opportunity to study theology and writing in the United States of America.
Through a number of miracles which involved normal people like you, God made it possible for me to move away from my beloved country, live the life of an alien in another and spend three years of weekly visits to a soup kitchen in one of the world’s superpowers. Before I left South Africa, I was unaware about my ethnocentric prejudices. I was blind to how judgmental my heart was tuned towards fellow South Africans who emigrate and apathetic Christians in the First World. By my third year living in Dallas, Texas, I felt like Jonah, sent to the people who I thought deserved judgment.
Now, two years back in South Africa, I can see that part of my exaggerated perceptions of how evil even my own friends appeared, was normal symptoms of culture-shock. Apart from a heighten tendency for suspicion towards my fellow sinners, I had insomnia for two years, vertigo and a few panic attacks. Ironically, I was cared for by some exceptions to my stereo-typed version of ‘ignorant and arrogant Americans’ in such a beautiful, loving way which would later help me understand the concept of grace for the first time ever.
In my own self-righteousness, I was determined to educate every American who came into earshot about how many ‘Katrinas’ occur daily in Africa. During the summer breaks of 2005-2006 I brought two groups of people from the US to participate in outreaches from my South African congregation to a rural community in Mozambique. The Americans who came over to join us, were mainly from the local church in Dallas where I worshiped God – with all my grudges and resentment. Isn’t His patience amazing?!
Somehow on each trip, everybody survived each other, the local criminals and transport systems. Going on outreaches together either kills your relationships quickly and relatively painlessly or it almost bleeds itself into cardiac arrest just to be resuscitated months later through honest reflection. Sometimes it takes years for people who shared a trans-cultural experience together to come to terms of what really happened to themselves and why while they were together.
Most of the projects of Vision Africa relate to intentionally creating opportunities for people who are very different from one another to have the chance to spend time together serving each other or a third group of strangers.
You have the choice each day to cross boundaries. You can either play it safe and continue to live your life in a small, predictable environment where you believe your own understanding of the universe is the only way of viewing the world or you can dare to step outside the lines in your mind.
I invite you to question everything you think is fixed and certain. I challenge you to trust God more than ever before and risk personal growth and discovery. But be warned!
Change always involves friction. It is going to get hot and uncomfortable before you morph into the fullness of what you were originally created to be!
Vision Africa started out as an African who wanted to show the rest of the world how beautiful her world is. Four years later, she has discovered her own true beauty through the unconditional love from those she thought unworthy of it.
‘Jesus didn’t come to make life easy, but to make people great.’
How? By leaving His heavenly court and becoming a rejected human being who dared to walk alongside those who had lost their own vision for life and His universe.
Come and see where Jesus still walks today.
Taste the new wine He is still making at parties with the strangest guests imaginable. Hear His eternal promise echoes through corrupt border posts and forgotten refugee camps: See, I make all things new…