I am taking our wonderful interns through a journey that I call "Look, Listen, Love." It's what God has taught me through living in Ocean View and has become a key piece in my ministry (you are going to hear MUCH MORE about this soon!). So with the interns, we are walking through each of those steps while they are living in the Ocean View community. I wanted to share some of their thoughts with you because they are amazing!
As I go and listen to people from Ocean View there are many tragic stories of drugs, alcohol, violence, apathy, job loss, and the list goes on and on. While these stories were eye opening and difficult to hear, it was something else that stood out to me. In the midst of so much darkness, there is light. In this past week I have had the privilege of talking to several people in the community who are daring to go against the grain and fight for something bigger than most people in the community are willing to settle for. One particular family we talked to, the James family, is doing this everyday. While talking to them about what life is like in the community, I saw that they recognized the problems in the community and the pressures they continually face, and it was clear that they had made a decision to not give in to these pressures. Their stories were inspiring and they are all working in different ways to encourage and strengthen those around them. It was amazing to me that in a world where so much is going wrong, their love for each other, their community, and God was so apparent. It reminded me of Matthew 5:14-16 when it says “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” The James family is just one of many lights in Ocean View and they offer hope that this community can transform and live up to their potential.
There are a couple things that stand out in my mind with the people here in Ocean View that I’ve heard. The first is that they are not quick to take the blame for anything. After spending much time with the Ubuntu kids, listening to programs on TV about Cape Town, and from people in Ocean View, they all blame their struggles not on their doing but on the doings of others. That may be partly true because of the apartheid and the prejudice and segregation that still holds strong here, but it has been years since the apartheid ended, and it continues to receive the blame for the lack of change in the more poor communities. The young kids find no fault from their own actions when they’re late to events or aren’t prepared for activities. The blame is put on their parents or on the taxi’s who provide some of the kids transportation, etc. When I compare what I’ve learned from “Looking” at Ocean View to what I’ve “Listened” to here in Ocean View, my desire to see young men rise up to be leaders in the community is desired even more. I don’t see and hear a community who can’t change. Instead, what I see and hear is a community who won’t change.