Hope on the bridge…

It’s Thursday and that means tonight we are going to be going out onto the streets as usual to visit with some of our homeless friends. We normally get together at 7pm, share a meal together, have some devotions and then go out between 9pm and 11pm to visit our friends as they go to the places where they settle for the night. We find if we go before 9pm, our friends are too busy and we cannot spend quality time together.

Tonight we are going to do things a little differently. We are going to do our devotions on the streets at the spot where Natasha was held up at gunpoint last week. Natasha has been volunteering in our learning centre and coming out with us quite often on a Thursday night. She is a special needs teacher and has used her connections to get our friend Pritchard, a 14-year-old child with cerebral palsy, whose family are refugees from Zimbabwe, get into a new school. Pritchard’s grandmother, Mavis, was also given work at Pritchard’s new school. All of this is a miracle and has been a sign of hope to the small Zimbabwean refugee community where the family has been staying. Natasha has recently moved into our volunteer flat during the week days so she could be closer to Hillbrow and assist Pritchard and Mavis with transport, get more involved in the learning centre and in other community activities.

On Thursday night last week, before going onto the streets, we read together the chapter on Civil Disobedience in Red Letter Christianity. We then watched the movie, the Bonhoeffer 4 and then had a stirring discussion on the implications of Jesus’ teachings on non-violence and enemy love into our sometimes violent context. We discussed what faithful Christian witness would look like into South Africa currently caught up in consumerism, materialism, greed, individualism and racism.

On Friday, on her way back from dropping Pritchard and Mavis off, Natasha was held up at gunpoint near the Nelson Mandela bridge. We are told this is a hijacking hotspot. She had her cell phone taken from her.

So this brings us to tonight – as a result, we will be going onto the streets to the place she was held up to perform some individual acts of love and make some prophetic declarations there. We will, for example, be distributing flowers and signs that talk about Jesus’ love, we will have a time of worship and breaking of bread there and ”sowing love where there has been violence”. Please pray with us that it will be a victorious moment for Natasha as she claims back this place and that she will find grace to forgive and love in response to what has happened. We are trusting with her that what we do will help re-frame the story into one of hope. Please also pray that on the night opportunities for reconciliation will occur and that our prophetic act would result in lasting change in that area.