Blog Written by Anita Geurink
I came to Fish Hoek as a chaperone for the Holland Christian Team, from Holland, Michigan. I spent 7 years of my life living in Maseru, Lesotho where I was able to serve God by helping to run Beautiful Gate Child Care Centre. I have been back in Michigan for 4 years, and I am beyond thankful that God gave me the opportunity to come to Fish Hoek to Oceans Retreat Centre.
I spent some time at the Oceans Care Centre helping in classrooms, washing dishes, preparing meals and playing with kids. These kids come from some of the most dangerous and broken homes you could imagine, yet they smiled and played with us with such joy. I was amazed at their resilience, but as I thought deeper upon what we learned, I realized that they were desperate for the only hug they might get all day. They were desperate to be seen and noticed because they come from a place of brokenness, abuse, gang violence, and poverty. Johann, who started the Oceanview Care Centre, shared insight into the lives these kids face outside of this safe place and it is heart breaking. Getting a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus and sharing the love of their precious Heavenly Father was a blessing, and I feel honored that God would entrust us with such a responsibility.
We spent other parts of our trip in a township called Jim Se Bos. We helped make a meal for 600-700 people living in the township. We learned that there was a devastating fire (I think 200 houses were destroyed in the fire and others damaged) there about a year ago and while some homes have been rebuilt thanks to the work of Pastor Raymond, there are many families who are still displaced. We also had the opportunity to help Pastor Raymond with getting 20 kids set for winter. He had some donated clothing that our team could look through and then find some shoes, socks, and sweatshirts for the kids to wear this winter. When we looked at the condition of the clothing that we were giving to the kids, it is clear that they were given out of love and out of poverty. One of the most encouraging things I encountered was that the communities have some people who are working hard to help one another out even though they barely have enough for themselves.
After we washed, clothed, fed, and played games with the 20 kids from Jim Se Bos, Pastor Raymond decided that we needed to do a little dancing for Jesus. Pastor Raymond, a former Fire Chief, has such a contagious joy! He got a speaker and started playing some loud Christian music and we danced and laughed with the kids. There were several adults from the community who came with the kids, and they were laughing and dancing too. As I look back at that time, it was just a small moment where they could be taken out of their daily struggles and have a little extra joy. We cannot imagine the depth of their pain and needs but having a moment to share God’s love through giving, and joy through singing and dancing was special.
I walk away from this trip with so many thoughts and it is hard to express each one. I am broken by the abuse and violence that they kids go through in their townships. As I played with kids, I had a moment where I just cried thinking that 25% of the boys could one day join the gang violence, and countless girls raped or possibly trafficked. I had to stop myself and really take control of my mind because I don’t really think those numbers (current statistics in these townships) are going to be true. I see God working in those townships. Oceanview Care Centre is blessed to have teachers who instill in these kids that they are VALUED and SEEN by their Heavenly Father, and they are never alone, THAT is going to change some of them forever. Having people provide food and love will show them that they matter, and they are special. I see both ministries as an opportunity to change the lives of these kids, as well as the teachers and volunteers that are involved. I see God showing up for the children and being the perfect, unchanging, loving, and never leaving Father that they all need. I am thankful that I got to experience just a small part of who Ocean’s Ministries is partnering with, and to witness God bringing hope to some communities who are in desperate need of His hope.