When Jill and Karl Monnick visited South Africa in July with the Sunbury Baptist Church Team, they were deeply impacted by their community visits. The team spent much of their time in Sommerset Community, but also had the opportunity to spend two days in Beeskop Community, near the Swaziland border.
In Beeskop Community, Jill and Karl met and spent some time with one-year-old Sibo* and his 19-year-old aunt, Patience*, in their home. When Sibo was born, his mother left, leaving him in the care of his father. His father was left with the difficult predicament – to stay home and care for the baby or leave home in search of work to financially support his baby. Thankfully, Sibo’s grandmother is able to care for Sibo while his father searches for work. Sibo’s grandmother is also a Care Worker in Beeskop Community, and daily cares for the most vulnerable children in her area, selflessly sacrificing her time to love others.
Sibo’s aunt Patience also helps look after him when she is home. During the school term, she is away studying to become an electrical engineer and has one year left. Sibo is blessed to have an aunt and grandmother who love him so much! This, however, does not negate the challenges him and his family face. Living in a poverty-stricken community in the rural hills of South Africa, they have very limited sources of income. Their mud home hosts broken windows and one chair, and the family hopes the rain will stay out of the house when the rainy season comes.
Patience feels the weight of her responsibility in caring for her nephew and balancing school studies. She has a fortunate opportunity to be in school, but the burden of her family’s workload is a great trial for her. Jill and Karl shared a few verses from James which greatly encouraged Patience. James 1:2-4 (NIV) - “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Jill was challenged by her time in Beeskop Community and shares, “Having to go down into the valley and get water from the river and carry heavy buckets back up the hills was confronting. We have so many luxuries back in Australia and yet we complain and grumble – we have nothing to complain about! Spending time at the local office in Oshoek, bucket bathing and sleeping on the floor is a great way to remind me that there are people far less fortunate than me. I will continue to advocate for Hands at Work back home in every way I can. The injustice of us having so much and these people having so little is always unsettling. It is so easy to get on the treadmill and work harder and faster and not take time out to be quiet.”
*names have been changed