Ministry of interuptions
by Laurie-Ann Copple
Tony's off doing important errands, so I, L-A, decided to pop on the blog to share a bit. John Lennon once sang in the song "Beautiful Boy" that life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans." This is often true. The Holy Spirit brings us times where we must 'stop for the one' in sometimes different timing than we expect. There are always, always needs, especially in townships like Avian Park. It's not the only place with need, but the poverty is sometimes downright depressing for those who are trying to escape it.
We were in this township at least twice a week before covid-19 hit in March 2020, and we were supposed to return to Canada for my breast cancer surgery (which I had here in Worcester instead). We also did a lot of ministry elsewhere in the town, including in Worcester Primary School with Legacy Relay, the Alpha Course in Brandvlei Correctional Centre, kids clubs and so much more. Then lockdown hit and we couldn't leave the country. We were fortunate that we could continue to stay in our home, until our recent move September 23rd, 2020. Yet for those on the edge, the already difficult lack was worsened when the lockdown and pandemic shut down many industries and their jobs. For those with SASSA grants, some were able to manage. Yet those who didn't have their jobs, had no recourse other than soup kitchens - which aren't enough.
So the girls that we mentored in the past, along with their families turned to us to help them. And so we attempted to help. However, we sometimes were overwhelmed with so many requests, with multiple trips into Avian Park, that it was too much. Add to that relief work,there were three hospital taxi trips, with emergencies both day and night. The ambulances won't go into the township at night without police support and the police don't want to go. So, at 2 am, Tony went and picked up the mother of one of the girls, and got her to hospital, away from a domestic spat.
Since there is so much need, sometimes it's hard to hear when it is Holy Spirit who is doing the directing. However, there are still times we have heard the nudges. Twice I received word to buy one girl a netbook for scholarship studies. I can't say which girl here, but this was confirmed and we are working out the set-up of a Mobicel laptop. Tony received word to buy another girl a phone for her internet access for studies. He fulfilled this nudge by purchasing a basic South African made Mobicel phone, which is quite adequate.
One of my favourites was a nudge from Holy Spirit where I was drawn towards a photo of a small boy we often meet in Avian Park. He is the nephew of one of the girls we mentor. He was always peeking into our car to say hello without words, and he was so sweet. After I drew this, Tony scanned it, printed a copy and pasted it onto cardboard as a faux-piece of art for the family (his picture is posted above). The family were delighted. While the drawing will be in my second colouring book, this copy is unique. This was a ministry of interruption. It's so lovely when we get those little nudges that direct you to a different kind of ministry. If you're already in a ministry position (such as the priest and Levite were in the parable of the Good Samaritan), then you can miss the interruption opportunity that's right there. In that story, it was a man who was beaten up and lying in the road. Wouldn't you want to pick him up rather than just leave him there? Are you and I in that much of a hurry? Often we are. But the Samaritan stopped. He saw the man and did not ignore him. I pray that we don't ignore the interruptions that come our way. Offer up an arrow prayer to God and confirm that interruption is actually a divine appointment. It's YOUR time to stop for the one.
Here's a photo of Tony at our old home in Hooggelegen Retirement Village just days before we moved into DaVinci apartments in central Worcester. He's preparing food parcels/care packages for the families that we work with.
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal
TONY'S POST MISSION JOURNAL