I asked Ray Haakonsen, Oceans South African Ambassador, to share this touching story of how even in times of painful loss the Father’s love shines through.
As a high-energy individual I’m generally drawn to activities that require robust contact, are fast pace and involve sweat! My wife Sue on the other hand, is a patient, keen, and skilled “stitcher,” preferring cross-stitch, but also interested in tapestry. It has always amazed me when I investigate a tapestry or cross stitch design, she is busy with, whilst the front is normally an exquisite design, the back just seems to be a chaotic, colorful jumble of threads, with seemingly no shape at all! Life can feel like that at times.
A recent story reaching across an Ocean expanse, reminded me of such a tapestry. Raven, a lady I know from the suburb of Cape Town often challenges people who can, to partner with individuals or families in very difficult circumstances. On her Facebook Group – Goodwill Donations she mentioned a family of 6 with both parents facing unemployment. The 9-year-old son had won a place in a boys’ soccer team, and needed a substantial amount of money to purchase the kit and pay for costs associated with participating in the tournament. However, the family was struggling just to put food on the table (especially at this special time of the year), to pay money for their son to continue to play the game he was good at and brought him great joy did not seem possible.
With Raven’s permission, I posted the story on my personal Facebook page with the agreement of not mentioning any names. Within minutes I heard from a family I know from Michigan USA. The Kroll’s had volunteered with their three children for 6 months some years back at Beautiful Gate, the Care Center Sue and I ran for abandoned and HIV/AIDS babies.
This family had experienced unimaginable pain with the tragic loss of their youngest teenage son Zach, 4 years ago. Then just 3 weeks ago their nephew, Keaton, at age 16, with dreams to one day become a pro soccer player, collapsed whilst playing indoor soccer, caused by a blood clot in his leg that travelled to his lungs. Another bright, passionate, loving young man in their family lost. How do you speak into and comfort families, who have suffered such heart-breaking loss?
But when Lori Kroll (the Mom of Zach) messaged me, she told me the family were being sustained and ministered to by the faith of Christ, the God they love and serve and felt helping this young boy (and family) in an over-populated, drug and gang engulfed area, would be a way of honoring the loss of these 2 precious teens, who are so close to their hearts. The Kroll’s willingly agreed to meet the full cost for the pre-teen South African to participate in this tournament.
Raven, who initially posted the need, met with the family struggling financially, and the recipients of this kindness were overwhelmed and completely stunned by this gesture. They repeatedly thanked Raven (who they know well), for sensitively making their son’s need known. I picture in my mind, the smile of that young boy and imagine the racing of his heart, first when he puts his kit on, then runs on to take part with his team at the tournament.
Hearts have been torn apart, broken, challenged, and knitted together, across the Oceans, forming a human Tapestry through the circumstances of families in Cape Town and Michigan, spurred by love amongst strangers. It is so amazing to see how our Creator God is interested in and involved in the details of our lives. Behind the messiness there is a beautiful tapestry.