In Acts Chapter 9, Paul’s conversion is described as scales falling from his eyes, his sight being returned, and his life being lived in a completely different way. What beautiful imagery. His eyes can no longer look at the world in the same way. It is only with this story in mind that I can speak of 10 Days of Hope.

What a privilege it was to take a
small group up to Hillbrow, Johannesburg to join the 10 Days of Hope outreach

at MES (Mould Empower Serve). We met up with a larger group of about 40 students and young adults from all over South Africa, including local young adults who have done or who are currently doing a gap year through MES, to help out and serve were needed. Our days start- ed at 6h30 with a devotional and praise and worship. From there on we would spend the morning either doing Bible studies, dancing, crafting, and scripture memorisation with al- most 500 children, or going out with MES’s teenage dance group into the streets of Hillbrow where they would perform dance routines that

are nothing less than exceptional. These dancers hope to inspire people and other youth to join their dance group and offer them a new and hopeful future off the streets that they have found through MES. This al- so gave us an opportunity to speak to the people who gathered to watch the dancing.

After lunch we would go to the local school, I.H. Harris, where we repainted a classroom, and built and planted new vegetable gardens for the school. After dinner, on some nights we would go on prayer walks through the streets of Hillbrow, stop at places such as Constitutional Hill, and pray together for the future of our country. Other nights we would help out with their weekly soup

outreach where we would hand out soup and bread to the homeless in the poorest areas imaginable.
But here’s the catch. I have never experienced so much contentment, a sense of community, and safety in what would be described as one of the poorest and most unsafe areas in South Africa. This

is the third time I have joined in with 10 Days of Hope, and I am reminded of this truth every year. When the scales have fall-n from your eyes, you seem to find beauty in the most unimaginable places. Walk- ing through the streets of Hillbrow, Berny turned to me and said: “This is probably the most real and beautiful experience. There is no money here to cover anything up”.

I return to the imagery of the scales falling from Paul’s eyes after his conversion. He cannot see the world in the same way. And therefore, he can also no longer go on living in the same way. It is not a life lesson that he has under-

gone but a complete paradigm shift. I believe that that is exactly what takes place at 10 Days of Hope. We have returned to our community, not with a 10 point plan on how to develop and execute the perfect outreach; rather we have returned with new eyes, fresh hope, and lives that are ever willing to be vessels for the Gospel message.

In closing, I would like to share one more experience. Having gone on 10 Days of Hope as a student, I knew that it would be exceptional if I could share this with our congregation here in Stellenbosch and take a group of young adults up to Hillbrow. I knew, however, that this would be a matter of prayer (and con- stant surrender), not only because Johannesburg is a 151⁄2-hour drive away, but because fuel is expensive, and I did not know if anybody would be interested. As expected, things started to fall into place. Funding, however, remained the elephant in the room. One morning, with the elephant still dancing around my mind, I surrendered the matter to God in prayer. The next day, we received a sponsorship from a student’s father for the exact amount for our fuel.

I would therefore like to thank everyone who played a role in getting us there and back safely in one piece. Thank you to the Bainskloof Fund and Mr Holger Maul for the donations, everyone who gave food packages for us to take with to MES, and lastly thanks to Berny, Thomas, and Jana. Without your open hearts and willingness to serve, there would have been eight less hands to help out in Hillbrow. We serve a powerful living God, who makes a way when there seems to be none.

Ingrid Kassier

Before going on the outreach, I was sceptical of it, which was in part because I didn’t know what it entailed and what I knew of Hillbrow did not exactly inspire a sense of security. Even now there is no doubt that Hillbrow is an incredibly un- safe area in South Africa and walking around it without one of the locals accompanying you is not advisable. Having taken part in the outreach, 10 Days of Hope, my perception of life in Africa has changed. Before I was aware that there are people who live in significantly less privileged circumstances than I; however, walking in Hillbrow and serving those in need have given me a new perspective. Now after having seen probably only a small part of their reality in Hillbrow, I have gained skills and experiences which I will be able to use for the rest of my life. It was very tiring and, in some cases, emotionally challenging but also immensely rewarding. I have met a group of amazing people who I am sure will try to do God’s will to the best of their abilities. I thank God for calling me to 10 Days of Hope and I intend on taking another Cape team on the outreach next year. Bernhard Schiele

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