Monthly Archives: July 2013

Snapshots of Africa

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THIS IS AFRICA from Benjamin Dowie on Vimeo.

This beautiful short video of snapshots of Uganda and Tanzania brings back memories of moments and cameos from my recent trip and hopefully gives you a glimpse of the sights and sounds I experienced.

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Opportunity to partner with Fusion

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There are currently full on gun fights in the streets on a regular basis in Manenberg. That’s not near where I live but friends of mine do live there.

Please pray for peace in the community. A friend of mine, Jonathan, is trying to gather the community together to work towards peace. He is part of the Fusion community, which I have written about before. There have been times before when prayer from that community has brought dramatic breakthrough in the fighting. We need to see that again, and a longer term solution to the conflict.

As I’ve mentioned before, Fusion is a wonderful and inspiring community that mentors and supports high risk youth in Manenberg, helping them to come off drugs and out of gangs, into a positive, Jesus centred community and identity. There have been incredible stories of young adults lives being turned around. If you didn’t see the video of the story of one young man’s turn around, do watch it here.

They are inviting people to PRAY for Manenberg from 11am Friday 26th July (this Friday) until 11am 27th July. If you are in Cape Town you can find them on facebook and book a timeslot. During that time, Fusion Manenberg will be hitting the streets to shower the community with red ribbons to pray for and promote peace. They are inviting Manenberg residents to join them for prayer walks and the ribboning of Manenberg.

On 27th July (safety dependent), Fusion are running 14km through Manenberg to raise money for running costs for the next year. Wherever you are and whether you’ve experienced living in that kind of fear or not, why not join in and partner with these people who are giving their lives to love this community and be channels of God’s transformation there.
If you want to give, here is the link to follow:
http://www.givengain.com/cause/1976/projects/10422/

A thousand stories

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St Augustine says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” But when we do travel, the pages fly. Each moment a new story, each day a new chapter. And without each one, the book is not complete. And so I soak up every word, every face, every name. Each pair of eyes I look into is another line written in my book and another way I will never be the same again.

Burundi was many things. It was Love in a glass of water. It was Peace in a litter of piglets. It was Hope in a marketplace being rebuilt.

Fiona Lynne

storyteller

I want to continue to share with you a few posts by friends who traveled with me in Uganda and Burundi. Mostly because they write so beautifully but also because I haven’t managed to write up as much as I had hoped yet and I don’t want you to have to wait too long before hearing about our experiences.

So here is a post by Fiona Lynne about the many people and stories we encountered in Burundi.

Home

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Home is where the heart is

They say

But what if your heart is in two places?

Where people I love live.

Sounds painful.

But I don’t feel

Like my heart is torn

Split, divided

It usually feels more peaceful than that.

More full

Even more rich

Than if my heart was in only one place.

When I am in one, I love and enjoy the people there

And when I am in the other, I do the same.

And yet

There is often a little tug on my heart

Reminding me of the one far away.

Tugs of variant force and persistence

Sometimes easy to ignore

Sometimes a bit sharper

Making my heart a little sore.

I try to listen to my heart when it feels that way

And reach out to connect across the oceans

It’s a small price to pay

For the privilege.

I’m truely blessed to feel at home in both places.

Cape Town, the city and community I love

And primary home for now.

London, where family and friends

Also make me feel known, loved and at home.

So I’m grateful.

For home is where the heart is

And I just happen

To have two.

Holy Ground

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This poem is related to a previous post about simply being present with those who are suffering.

Blood

So much blood

And a precious bundle in carefully folded bright blue cloth

Through the mess

I see my friend

My sister

Who I love deeply

She smiles and says she’s so glad I’m there

She clings to me

A safe arm I guess

A privilege to stay with you, to not rush away

To hold your hand tight

To stand with you

Through the shock, weakness, questions, pain, tears, grief

Nowhere in the world I’d rather be than right here.

A holy moment

The three of us,

You, me

And this tiny tiny baby

Red and not yet fully formed

Yet with perfect little finger nails

As you name your baby

And release his spirit to God

As you weep and I hold you

I am humbled that I’m allowed in

To be this to you right now

To show you love, tenderness, care

To give what isn’t my own to give

Nothing draining from me

To be a channel

Simply a channel

To be available.

Holy ground

And we both know it

God is here, with us

I can feel it

Your bed attended by angels

I sing over you gently

Peace abounds

Strangely peaceful

Unnaturally peaceful

Supernatural peace, in fact

A gift from Him.

 

All poems and original writing on this blog are Copyright © Hilary Murdoch 2013

Simply being present

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“How about this? How about when someone is before us, a real, live person, suffering, we be a person?…in that moment, when they are feeling their humanity so acutely or they have shown themselves to be a regular person like the rest of us, how about we surround them with the grace of being seen, being heard, and simply being loved?”

comfort

This is a brilliant piece by Sarah Bessey, which expresses something I so strongly believe in. The art of simply being present and being human when someone is suffering. I also love this post by Kathy Escobar about being ‘with’ and alongside people.

This is so hard to do. Everything inside us feels we should give some answer, some wise words, but usually there is none to give and if we try we just sound insensitive and trite. But what the person often needs is just other people walking alongside them, being present and being themselves. Some companionship on a dark road even if few words are spoken.

When a close friend of mine’s mum died suddenly, I felt maybe I should go and be with her. But everything in me was fearful. I didn’t know how to be with someone in such suffering. What would I say? Persuaded by a few friends to take courage, I decided to simply jump on a train and turn up, just the day after the tragedy. I stayed with her for a few days and then returned for more time later that month. It was easier than I thought. Lighter than I’d thought. I was just coming to be with her, not to offer answers or solutions, as I had none to offer. But I could offer myself: a shoulder to cry on, a friend to walk with, a praying presence in the house and a helping hand for the practicalities of living that have to continue, even when you feel the world should have stopped. And it was received and appreciated. It made a big difference to her and her grieving. It was a huge lesson for me that just offering myself is enough. I learnt that I carry peace within me because the ‘Prince of Peace’ is in me and so I can walk into a situation and inject peace and hope into it, often without even trying. That may sound arrogant but in fact it’s the opposite. It’s the realization that I have both nothing to give from myself and yet everything to give because of who is inside me.

But I didn’t always know that was the thing to do. I learnt the hard way. Another close friend of mine lost her mum a few years before and I mistakenly thought she didn’t need me or want me around. I was wrong and hurt her deeply. That’s one significant regret in my life.

Another situation happened more recently when a friend of mine who lives on the streets near my home had a miscarriage. I went with her to the hospital and simply stayed with her, prayed with her, held her hand through the pain, grief and bloody mess. It felt a huge privilege. We both knew we were on holy ground. We could feel the presence of God, bringing peace. I wrote a poem about that experience which I wasn’t sure whether I would share on the web but maybe I will. Watch this space.