South Africa’s history has led the Rainbow Nation to its present. Once “One Man, One Vote” was achieved, the real work began. After so many years of brutality and lies, there had to come a time of healing. Or at the very least, a time for those White South Africans to align themselves with the rest of the nation in the belief that all people are equal and should be treated as such. That is where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can into existence.
Nelson Mandela, the charismatic leader and first Black president, never speaks of the mental or physical torture that endured while he spent 27 years in prison for being, what the government called, a terrorist. However, he did understand that there were countless stories that must be told by the people of South Africa. The story of an event has three sides; the side, or view, of both parties involved and the truth. The question is how close to the truth are each person’s view.
The TRC was designed to allow victims and perpetrators of crimes against the people of South Africa to come and tell your story as a way of cleansing your soul. This idea was supported because if some pathway of healing were not taken, then there would be the potential for revenge to take hold of people’s hearts. If you research Steven Biko, a lesson in how the people who operate your government can cover-up wrongs to maintain their power over you will be taught.
As a result of the TRC, many White South Africans were able to sympathize with what Blacks and Coloreds endured through the Apartheid. From a Christian standpoint, hearts were transformed.
See, television was not available in South Africa until the 1970’s. Even then, television was controlled by the government. This control of the flow of information meant that the government spin on the Black uprising led many Whites to believe that the Blacks and Coloreds were rebelling against a good and just society. Trough the work of the TRC, we now know that to not be true.
Members of our partner congregations are hosting our missionary team. That means we are living with our partners and learning from them as they learn from us. A missionary is charged with, first and foremost, of sharing the love of Jesus Christ. One of my hosts on this trip has done just what Jesus asks us to do. Glenys and Robin, who are White, met me when they journeyed to the US two years ago. Both are very active in their church and preach the word whenever asked. Robin shared with Mac and me his testimony on why he still worships at his church, St. John’s.
St. John’s has been in existence for over 100 years. The congregation of the church was once 100% white. Recently, the congregation of the church started to change and is now 80% Black and Colored. White flight may even occur in GOD’s house. The easiest thing for Robin to do would have been to find another White church to attend, if he was so inclined. Robin was raised in St. John’s and has worked had in its service. For a while, Robin drove 30 km each way to attend morning and evening services. This had to take its toll on him. Yet, Robin said GOD spoke to him and told him that St. John’s is where he should be. Following GOD’s will is powerful. So powerful, said Robin, that it led him in ways he had no ides existed.
For instance, Robin said he was at a gathering in another land and the crowd was mixed. Whites, Blacks and Coloreds were fellowshipping. Robin said that everyone was hugging each other when they greeted one another except him. Looking back on that fact, Robin says he was not taught how to do that. Well, the Lord took care of that. Robin is the biggest hugger I have ever seen in my life! He has truly allowed GOD to transform his heart.
Peace and LOVE!!!!
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