7 a.m. rolls around and I’m prepping food for my morning excursion with about half of our apprentices. We were preparing to meet up with our friend Maxie to look at one of their ministries in Mabopane. The ministry is an orphanage known as “Mama Mary’s” named after the instigator herself, Mama Mary.
After a few hiccups getting Maxie’s team from Pretoria East together, we finally connected with her just outside Mabopane and followed her the rest of the way to Mama Mary’s. As we pulled in, we were greeted with Mama Josephine & Mary (interesting names huh? Josephine, Mary…) dancing at the entrance. I hopped out of our station wagon and went to introduce myself. Before I could do that, I was getting hugged from either side by these amazing women of hope.
Mama Mary’s orphanage has grown from 40 kids sleeping in Mary’s home to over 130 kids on 2 properties. By the end of the year, they will be set up to house over 300 children, and are working with a couple to start another orphanage in Hammenskraal (pseudo connected to Mabopane).
As we drew near to the inside of the orphanage, I heard singing. But this wasn’t singing like you’d hear anywhere else. It was like a choir of angels singing. I very much think this is the sound that will take place in heaven. About 80 orphaned children ranging in ages 6 months to 18 years were singing… loud… and amazing praises to Jesus.
As I found a seat, a few young boys found their way to me and made sure I picked them all up at the same time. After a song or two would pass, I would lean over and ask one of them their names, only to be given a huge smile and a hug. After the service, I asked a few why they were here at Mama Mary’s.
One of the boys’ mother had passed away thanks to AIDS and he, come to find out, had just been diagnosed with the same virus that orphaned him. He sang praise to Jesus today.
One of the girls had been raped by her step father. Multiple times. She led the choir in the most beautiful rendition of “my Jesus He loves me”.
Another young boy had been dropped off and told to leave. He was two when that happened. He’s 6 now. Maxie began filling in more and more of the gaps for me on this story.
It speaks very significantly that these young people, who have dealt with more hardship in their short life than I will ever see in my entire life, sing with tears in their eyes of the love they have found in Jesus. They know Jesus in a way I so long to know Him. I believe what I witnessed today is a picture of the kingdom of God on earth. When the broken sing louder than the healthy because they’ve been touched by the healing power of Jesus in their lives.
A few of our apprentices are strongly considering working with Mama Mary and Josephine. My prayer for each of our apprentices is that as they have been so diligent in listening to what God is leading them towards, that they would now move into our second posture of submerging well into those places. I pray every day that as they move towards these things, that God’s kingdom would become reality wherever they tread.
Please join me this week as we complete our first section of training on the posture of listening and move into our second phase on the posture of submerging.