John and Bethany Arndt

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Monthly Archives: April 2009

say Chubby Bunny

April 18th, 2009 by | 2 Comments

For Easter this year, we had a celebration with all the members of All Nation simple churches ( from all the surrounding communities). Then  that night Dan, Regina, and I borrowed a van and went into Cape Town, with 8 kids from Masi. We took them to Hillsong church for a big Easter performance. They had never seen anything like it, an LOVED it. They devoured the chicken & chips we brought in the car, and of course delighted in the Mcdonald’s ice cream cones in our way home.

Chubby Bunny

from my 'too close for comfort' neighbors. -yum!

Chubby Bunny

Chubby Bunny. except no marshmellows in her cheeks.

Chubby Bunny (me).. i look like I am harboring marshmallows in my cheeks.

Chubby Bunny (me).. i look like I am harboring marshmallows in my cheeks.

life during death

April 4th, 2009 by | 4 Comments

Today was not a day that left me unmoved. I traveled to a place far from where I live. It was an urban area, much different than the township I work in. I was led down an alley in the middle of two warehouses; the buildings were shackled with barbed wire, and we slipped through a rusted chain link fence, and it was in this strange outdoor hall way of sorts, that I found nearly 30 Congolese refugees. These women wore bright colors, some had on Islamic head coverings, and many were nursing babies or had them tied tightly on their backs. I was greeted by these strangers with hugs, amazing smiles, and gorgeous features that differ from the Xhosa people I know.

I was taken by a friend to connect with some of these refugees and to see if there was any way I could help with a few situations involving children who were being neglected, and in need of foster homes. Sia is one of them, he is 7 years old. At first glance I saw a typical precious faced little boy, but looking at him only seconds longer revealed a deep sadness. He was sitting alone on a box, looking at the cement, while everyone buzzed around him.

After meeting an eccentric French white woman who pays the rent for over 50 refugees from the Congo, I was led to Sia’s dying mother, Sue. I entered her small room. She laid on a bed, eyes sunken, almost swallowed by her cheek bones; her exposed limbs looking more like skin and bones than legs and arms. I was already sweaty, as it was extremely hot day, but the room proved sweltering. I ignored the bowl on the floor, half filled with urine but it was the flies landing on me that were harder to disregard. I am not sure if one ever gets used to the smell of poverty, then again I never hear those trapped in it complaining. There seemed to be hundreds of bottles of medicine and ointments that lined the window sill and table that bordered her resting place. I noticed an open Bible nuzzled in the bed with her. I quickly imagined her lying alone in the heat, day after day captive by severe pain, groping for relief from God’s words to her.

As we visited I learned that she is conflicted over what will happen to her son, after she passes. The most I could offer Sue was a prayer of comfort and peace in the midst of the unknown. I was moved to tears in doing so, because she became quite emotional. I felt strongly God’s words for her in Isaiah, “when you pass through the waters I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.” I was surprised when she explained how she was just reading that passage the day before.

When Sue was first found, she was very sick and was neglected in a dark corner of a house; completely uncared for, lying in her own waste. The French woman was now paying someone to care for her daily. I left there feeling paralyzed with compassion as I imagined her loneliness, pain and grief; as it was almost tangible in that hot room….Or was it?

The more I think about it, Sue was comforted by the presence of Jesus, sitting by her bedside around the clock. While her situation was startling and dismal in my eyes, Sue actually seemed to share Paul’s thoughts in 2nd Corinthians… “While outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Therefore let us fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.”

This experience has reminded me of God’s ability to actually transcend misery, and how He is there in the bleakest of situations…how His peace can coexist with pain and how what we see, what we experience now, all of it is momentary.