We should have posted this and requested prayer for these people over a week ago, but I'm just now thinking of it.
South Africa is struggling right now with a giant case of xenophobia. Xenophobia is basically when you have a fear or hatred towards things that are foreign. In the township areas of South Africa many foreign refugees are making their homes there. They are leaving politically unstable and war-ridden areas like Congo, Nigeria, Somalia, Malawi, and especially Zimbabwe. Recently the local South Africans have been threatening violence and mistreating the refugees because they are taking some of their jobs. It's known in these communities that often the refugees work harder and are more trustworthy then the locals because of their desire to create a new life for themselves and their families. Many local South Africans forget that during the worst periods of Apartheid that their citizens found refuge in these same nations that are now counting on them.
Because of this rise in violence that grew over the last two weeks many refugees are feeling pressured to return home. Many have sought shelter and safety in churches in their areas.
What was amazing at the end of last week and this weekend was that regular people started standing up and saying that this mistreatment wasn't right. They held marches and demonstrated. The churches really came to people's aid and provided for them. (King of Kings, the church that started Living Hope, hosted around 150 refugees.) But there is still a lot of unrest and bad feelings. Please pray that God would move in that situation and that communities can come together.
We were able to get pretty close to some refugees during our time there. One woman, Angela, from Zimbabwe, and Antoine and his wife Matty from the Congo. They are special to us but they are really trusting God now. They left really dangerous situations in their home nations hoping to find refuge in SA. We hope they will find it there.