This is Andy's wrap up from his most recent trip to South Africa. And yes, he brought Tony. They were part of a team that included three other kids, so it was not as crazy as it may sound! This trip is in partnership with ACM (Africa Christian Ministry), lead by Isiah and Mercy Mafu in eSikawini, South Africa.
Dear friends and family -
We have been home from South Africa 10 days now. I jumped straight into 10 days of call and haven't had much time to think! This morning was my first day off and I was sitting on the back porch enjoying the quiet, the sun, and our Philip Yancey book about Grace. CS Lewis once said it is the one belief unique to Christianity. What is so amazing about it? A Father who swallows his pride and filled with compassion RUNS to the son who hated him, humiliated him, wished he were dead (I want my inheritance now, thank you), not even giving his son a chance to speak before expressing his joy at the son's return. What had the son done to earn or deserve that kind of return? Nothing. Our God loves us with amazing grace. It was nice to have a morning to just sit and think about that......
Thank you for your prayers and support. Tony and I had a wonderful trip. He was amazing, so well behaved. And I surely needed his company and his infectious laugh as we dealt with typical "hiccups" along the way. (Delayed flight out of Greensboro, overnight stay and up at 0430 -- broken clutch and a 5 hour tow and van replacement). I was reminded many times by Tony or through Tony that when I lose my temper it is usually because I am too stressed or anxious or hurried to show grace. How often does our loving Father lose His temper with us? Tony was "SO EXCITED" to see the animals at the game park -- smart mommy packed some Diego binoculars that he treasured just for that purpose. He laughed and squealed in the waves and tumbled and rolled down the sand dunes at the beach. He whispered "I love you" at night even though deep down his heart still ached for his mom back home. Frisbee, piggy-back rides, tag, climbing trees. We spent more time together during this trip than ever before and I will always treasure it.
The trip was another success by many standards. We were able to hold most of our planned clinics - 5 in all. We saw around 1,000 patients including a record 419 kids on pediatric day. We handed out pain medications, vitamins, glasses, and every patient was prayed for. We shared the gospel at every clinic. No one got hurt. The vans made it up and down the mountain. The elephant we upset decided not to crunch or roll our van. The biggest impact for me was seeing the ACM ministry grow and multiply through the years. What started as an after school Bible Club in the Mafus garage so many years ago is now reaching 1000+ kids. Some of these kids are now adults like Sabelo who are evangelizing teens in the area through Impilo. This past weekend they held an outreach at a local high school and expected over a thousand teens - Sabelo preached on God's love. I have so enjoyed watching the youth grow up in the ACM ministry and have been challenged by the Mafus commitment to Jesus and sharing the gospel. I will always remember Mercy's motto "You can sleep when you're dead" (followed by her unique, spirit-lifting, and sometimes mischeivious whole body laughter). Cari and I are both looking forward to our time in Chad and wondering about a children's ministry like that where we will be staying. We have always enjoyed being involved in youth ministry and wonder if God will continue providing opportunities for it in the future.
So thank you for not just this year but 5 great years participating in these South Africa trips. We pray you will live and walk and work and talk and grow in the knowledge of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our God who sees us from a long way off and has compassion on us and RUNS to us, though we haven't earned it and don't deserve it, and sometimes don't understand it. Grace and peace be with you always.
Andrew and Tony (and Cari and Drew) Robertson