I sat under the tent, in down town Pretoria, with the subtle smell of urine been carried on the gentle evening breeze, surrounded by the sound of snorting nostrils still trying to try and shake the effects of their lunch time ‘fix’. This wasn’t a usual way to spend a Friday evening.
One hour earlier, I had been waiting for friends outside the theology faculty on the meticulously clean Tuks campus, quite a different scenario. I was waiting for my lift to the coffee house, a soup kitchen initiative run by AL-Harvest Ministries. I had been a member of Tuks Missions student society for almost four months now, but in all that time I had never got my act together to join the guys going every Friday to help feed the homeless of Pretoria. Along with me there were two other guys going for the first time and the atmosphere in the car on the way down was one of excitement but also a slight reservation of what to expect for the evening ahead.
I won’t lie, on arrival I did feel a bit awkward and unsure where I was meant to be and what I was meant to be doing, but I was kindly shown to a chair and briefed on the evening ahead. From there on the awkwardness faded away and the evening just flowed along with the power of the Spirit. Shaking hand with the homeless and praising the Lord shoulder to shoulder with them just has an indescribable power. It is most defiantly true that “whatever you do for the least of men and women you do for the king” Mt 25:40. For in that moment it was a true privilege to be praising the Lord with those that could give in praise. Seeing the humility in those that we so often cross over the street to avoid; seeing the same desire to know the Lord in those that you though only desired to find enough to afford the next fix; it was a real eye opening and humbling experience. Society had conditioned me not to be associated with such people, to avoid them and only care as much to say, “ah shame”, as I gazed out of the window of my air-conditioned car cruising along to the mall. But now I saw society was wrong, “ah shame” was not enough and it only took a ten minute drive in that air-condition car to start to make a difference, to go give 3 hours of my time to someone who really needed it.
After a touching sermon the service drew to an end and everyone mucked in to get the table and chair ready for supper time. You know I said earlier about that awkward feeling going away for good, well that wasn’t exactly true, it did creep back up a bit at supper time. What do I say to the gentleman sitting round the table with me? What topic of conversation do I strike up? Well the Lord soon showed me my stupidity and that all it took was a “bon appétit”, when supper was served to strike up a conversation that just flowed; talking about home, the change in weather, the difficulties of learning a language, all those sorts of topics you would find been discussed over any old cup of coffee. Soon supper was over and with that the night, after washing dishes and collecting the left over bread our guest went out to face another night on the streets of Sunnyside, to do what all of us are trying to do, survive and make the most of our situation.
This had been my first time at coffee house but I can assure you it will not be my last. It was so easy to get involved, all it took was one simple ”can you give me a lift?”, and it was sorted. So many of us desire to make a difference to the world and to a better society, we dream big. But we don’t have to go far, raise thousands of Rands or wait till the end of varsity to go big. You can make a big difference today! Get involved with Tuks Missions, it’s our mission to place you with reliable companies in the Pretoria area that will give you a window into missions, give you the experiences to find what you are called to do and most importantly, give you the platform on which you can make a difference to the world today. It’s so easy to get involved. If you haven’t yet been to coffee house yet – GO! See the world out there meet the people that will value three hours of your time more than you could ever know. Make a difference today.
We go every Friday! See you then.
If you’re interested in getting involved with Tuks Missions or a project in the Pretoria area please contact one of the team to find out more. Like us on Facebook and drop us an inbox message, we would love to connect!
We usually meet in front of the Tuks Theology building most Fridays to go as a group to help the guys at coffee house, however in holiday and exam time there may not be people going so please contact us beforehand just to check and so we can arrange adequate transport.
For more info about this opportunity, visit the “Weekly Outreaches” tab on this website.
–Jonny Womack (in charge of Outreaches of Tuks Missions Student Society)
Contact Jonny: firstname.lastname@example.org