Saturday, February 23, 2008
Too Many Bergesons
Hello friends and family!
Well now we are REALLY here, where we are supposed to be. We spent the day Friday in Johannesburg, but we will be living in Cape Town for the next three months and we are finally here. But I wanted to share some stories from our tour yesterday in Jo-burg (what cool people call it, didn't you know??). So we were picked up in the morning by our new BJF (best Jo-burg friend) Dennis. I have really been looking forward to touring this town because of all I have learned about it at Duke. I took a class at Duke on South Africa and apartheid and a great part of the struggle happened in this town. Apartheid was the legal separation of blacks from the Dutch who has taken over South Africa. It lasted until 1993 and is a horrific part of our world history. We toured around Sowetto, which is township that had a great deal of violence and rioting. We went to a museum commemorating the fighting there, and it was incredible to see in the pictures how YOUNG these kids were. And yet they risked everything to fight for their dignity. Beautiful stuff. Then we went to Nelson Mandela's house - the man who became the first black president of SA. We had heard about this place and were particularly excited about one part of the house, the toilet. But there were too many Bergesons... A friend gloated that he was able to sit on Mandela's toilet and I was really looking forward to connecting with the leader in that way, but the toilet is taped up now... After that we went to the Apartheid museum which was incredible, as well. I would encourage you to check out the museum website at www.apartheidmuseum.org or for more info on South Africa's history check www.sahistory.org.za. I think this quote by Nelson Mandela sums it up well, "To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
What is so interesting about this quote is that I have been thinking about this ideal, and the horror of apartheid as I have been observing the people here. I can't help but wonder about these people, and this society that allowed such atrocities to go on for years? And immediately this thought takes me to my own heart of sin, and the ways I enslave myself and hurt others, as well. I hope that I can live in this place without judgement, but learning from their past in order to inform my own future. Ultimately, I have the prize because I know I am forgiven by the blood of Christ and redeemed by His life. What a great gift to share - and these people need it!
So I am feeling good today, although I can't take it in that we are here. So awesome. Our apartment is great, and I can't wait to see what God has for this weekend and first week.
Thanks for all your love and prayers!