One question I’m often asked is, “What is it like on the mission field!” My response is always the same.
“I can’t answer that question.”
“Mission Field” includes many different continents, countries, cultures and languages. One description won’t apply to them all.
But I can give you a glimpse of what it is like on this mission field, or at least our small corner. This short letter isn’t long enough to describe every detail of “A Day In The Life” but it provides enough space to focus on one reason we need to be here and why we need you to pray.
Crime! Every kind you can imagine.
South Africa doesn’t have the worst crime rate in the world but that may be because many crimes are never reported and there is plenty of evidence to show that it is pervasive. It’s everywhere. There are no safe areas to hide in. Even gated communities are vulnerable.
To illustrate the point, I have included the headlines from a weekly gazette that covers just our small community. Most of the listed events occurred over a two week period. Sorry for all the bold lettering:
Criminals Target Female Motorists
Criminals remove license plates from parked cars and follow the car when it drives away, signaling the driver to stop for the plate as if it had fallen off. They occasionally follow the driver home and use the license to gain entrance.
99 Arrested for Sexual Offenses
This occurred during the first three months of 2013 and in our province only. South Africa is referred to as the rape capital of the world where women are more likely to be raped than educated and many rapes go unreported. There is a high incidence of infant rape.
Robbers Tracked Down Via Smart Phone
Corruption Report Countdown
This report exposes high-ranking municipal officials and politicians of financial irregularities, fraud and corruption. It demonstrates that shady activity is not confined to poor or underprivileged communities. It pervades every economic level. It’s everywhere.
Elderly Couple Attacked
This couple was attacked in their beds at 4:45 AM. It was a miracle they weren’t killed.
Pedestrian Stabbed To Death
This happened on the side walk in a busy up market business district not in a dodgy downtrodden area.
Four Arrested For Jewellery Heist
Criminals Target Beach Goers
Body Washes Up On Beach
Gas Station Attendant Tackles Criminal
Community Turns On Robbers
Elderly Pedestrian Tackled and Mugged
To further put this into perspective:
- Every person in our church has experienced some type of theft: home break-ins, car break-ins, car theft or mugging, in many cases more than once. We’ve even had purses robbed at church.
- Every one of our immediate neighbors have been broken into and I’m not aware of any in our entire neighborhood that haven’t lived through this experience. Again, in most cases the break-ins have happened multiple times.
These break-ins occur in spite of the fact that every home in our vicinity has armed response security systems, burglars guards over windows, burglar gates over doors, boundary walls and electronic gates for driveways. These are necessities not luxuries. It’s difficulty to get insurance without them.
- We have personally met several rape victims.
- In this last year, the wife of one neighbor was shot at work by a police officer – not fatally. She was protected by body guards 24/7 during the trial – story too long to share. Another neighbor’s home was broken into while they slept. They were tied up and held in the bathroom while the robbers cleaned them out.
- Unfortunately, enforcement isn’t helping too much. Over 900 died in police custody in 2011-12, neither by natural causes nor by capital punishment.
You might be wondering why I would share all this negative information in a prayer letter. I’m not being ugly or down on South Africa. South Africa is a great country with highly capable people. The problems are being addressed and I’m sure things will get better.
But, remember this. The Gospel shines brightest in the darkest environments. The Good News of the Great Physician is still the best medicine.
Please keep us and South Africa in your prayers.
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