Thursday, February 28, 2008

Deeper and deeper

Hello everyone!

So it looks like Casey and I will both be updating the blog when we can, and sharing our separate stories of what we are experiencing here. We want to thank you for your responses on the blog – they always make us smile! We love you all!

While some of our experiences are shared, we are already getting involved in some different ministries here to use our different gifts. I am working with a social worker named Jess at the Living Hope clinic here. It is a clinic for people who are very sick, most with AIDS, but also other life threatening diseases. Today I had a meeting with the doctor, social worker, and head nurses about each of the patients and their development. Their goal at the clinic is to rehabilitate the patients and move them back home or to anther more permanent medical clinic if needed. I have met most of the patients at this point, but it is so challenging to actually do what I have been called here to do! I know that I must sit, be present with these people, get to know them, and love them in the name of Christ. But wow, it is so hard and uncomfortable, and I think I would rather be building a home!! My eyes are already opened to our attitudes towards ‘missions’ and our goals of accomplishing so much. Maybe some of the greatest gifts we could give the people we serve is just to be present with them and love on them a bit. Tough stuff!!

I also went on Tuesday afternoon to a township called Oceanview where they hold a weekly support group for parents living with HIV. It is staggering to see how many people are either infected by the disease or just AFFECTED by the disease, like family members and children. It is everywhere here. I am reading a book called “The AIDS Crisis,” and it gave me some shocking statistics:
·38.6 million people were reported to be living with the virus in 2005
·Africa has only 10% of the world’s population but bears almost 64% percent of the global burden of AIDS
·The problem of AIDS is heaped onto the already growing problems of poverty and ethnic conflict, among others
·South Africa reports that 18.8% of the population is affected with the virus, and approximately 30% of pregnant women are HIV positive
·Today South Africa has the second largest number of people with AIDS in the world
·It has been claimed that the AIDS epidemic will go down in history as one of the greatest pandemics of all time

So weekly I will be at a health clinic in the Oceanview township working with a nurse to lead this support group of HIV infected parents. I went on Tuesday to meet the group members, and it was such a humbling experience. First of all, I felt incredibly overdressed, clean, and ‘together.’ It just feels silly for me to be in this environment, as I know I have no experience with this disease, and I feel completely inadequate to be ministering to these people. BUT I truly do trust that the Lord is putting me where He wants me and will use me for his purposes. And I am already learning so much from these people, as one woman shared with the group that having HIV has taught her that the first and most important thing in her life is that she is at peace with herself and with Jesus. Amen, and that is most important in my life too.

Please pray that God would give me wisdom and grace as I begin to meet these people more and more and care for them. I pray that I will be able to love them well and believe in the abundant lives that God still wants for them, infected or not.

Love you all!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for being so open with us in your blog comments. I feel like I am there with you because you are able to put into words what you are experiencing and feeling. Not many people can do that. I love you, and will continue to pray for you :) Thanks for the scarf, pants, and photo album!! I love them all, and I love you guys!! ~Lauren

Jim Collins said...

One of the experiences I hope to have is to be so humbled by God that He is the only place I can turn. I can't help but think that is where we all need to get. Sarah, thanks for sharing your heart. I am so deeply touched.

I love you both! Dad

kusloan said...

Hey Casey and Sarah! We're all glad to hear about Africa and the wonderful things you've been doing there. We love you and pray for you to have a great experience and come home safely!!

Kara, Tim, Hannah, Henry, and Ward :)

kusloan said...

Hey again! My mother is practically going crazy. Haha. She wants so badly to come to Africa with you!! Well...maybe next time..but for right now she's staying here buried under the stress of moving and raising three kids. So have fun and send more pictures..she loves them and so do the rest of us!!! We love you!

The Sloans

Jeff Hancock said...

Hey guys- I miss you around these parts. Please know we are praying for you and will keep doing so. He is in you guys and will keep showing up. Thanks for keeping us up to date with what He's doing in your hearts- too bad about the toilet. It would have been nice to have your cheeks share the seat with the great man.


Branham & Penni Stovall said...

Hello you two! We are so thankful you guys are there safely. Watch out for the Baboons! We wanted you to know we think of you two and your ability to step out in Faith to do God:)s work. The two of you are an example of how most of us say we want to do this but never follow through with it. Thank you for being bold and following God's will in your life. We are blessed to know such great followers of Christ! Be strong and faithful as you already are and we will continue to pray for you and miss you back home. How can I send you some money for the soccer balls or anything else you may need?

Kristy said...

Hello Casey and Sarah, this is great to be able to read about what you get to do each day.You seem to be enjoying the experience. Take care- Cameron

Kevin said...

Wow - amazing stuff. Lauren and your dad, Sarah, said it best at how you just have a gift of sharing your heart and it's like we are getting to talk with you face to face! You know we love ya and are praying all the time for ya. The people there are so blessed to meet and meet the Lord through you!
~The KBell's
P.S. Next time you go - please take Roy Williams and the rest of the Heels with you so State can win a game.