Here is a story from our years in Africa to want to share with you. The point of it is that you can take any group of people, no matter how dysfunctional and impoverished and teach them value for themselves and others ( which is of course a value straight from the character and nature of our amazing God) through gathering together to eat. The transformation we saw in these women and in their families was astounding. And a large part of it was in the skills we gave them in how to prepare simple meals and sit with their friends and family on a regular basis ( not just holidays!). This model of gathering weekly to cook and eat with people with whom you want to grow and share Jesus with is easy to duplicate.
At University:? Gather with your flat-mates or throw a carpet picnic with your classmates from down the hall. Want to reach out to a family across town you have noticed is struggling to hold it together ? Invite them for dinner, then invite them the next week, and the next. Cook together, allow your lives to be messy as you just open your door and welcome them in, no matter if you have the perfect dining room set or not. These women in Oceanview had nothing… and we learned so much together:
For 3 months while living in Cape Town, South Africa, my friends and I ran a course through Babysafe (www.thebabysafe.org) called ‘Motherhood is Beautiful’ , with a community of women in Oceanview ( a community with high levels of domestic violence, drugs and gang activity) . The goal was to offer life skill and job training to equip them in embracing motherhood and leadership in their homes and community.
3 days a week they have worked at Thanda Scrubs ( thandascrubs.com) where they learned to sew one of a kind BUNTING! Hope-tions bunting (www.easy.com/shop/hopetions/about ) has grown from this, providing employment for ladies, with discipleship in the ways of JEsus right alongside it.
2 days per week they have classes in Nutrition, basic medical health, time and budgeting etc. I taught the Nutrition classes, and OH MY!! What a joy and what a privelidge.
Our focus was taking traditional dishes and spices, then boosting the nutrition and vitamin content of those foods through adding vegetables and changing up the cooking method to decrease processed ingredients etc.
In addition to te basics of nutrition and cooking together each week, we have made a priority to learn together the power of the dinner table. Our homework was to gather our families around a meal, to look each child in the eye, to engage our families in discussion and sharing about our days and the Lord where possible. This is beginning to change the culture of Oceanview one family at a time.
And yesterday we GRADUATED these 4 strong women! They were faithful to come day in day out and are applying so much of what they learned.
One lady said, ’ I am experiencing the favor of the Lord in every area of my life! I am managing financially, my friendships are growing, I am connecting with my children because of our times at the dinner table, and I know the Love of the Lord in my life. ‘
I am so proud of these women! They are some of my heroes!
these photos are from our graduation ‘morning tea’