For months and months now, Travelling Tuesdays have brought you the beauty of South Africa. Well a small slice of the beauty anyway. I really hoped you’d get a different perspective on Africa. There’s more than one story to tell. More than one picture I hope will resonate in your mind. There is indeed devastating poverty. There’s also great beauty. And I’ve been hoping to share both.

I unwrapped an unexpected gift this Easter Sunday, that I thought you might enjoy seeing and hearing about this TT. I didn’t wear a dress. The Bear didn’t munch any peeps. And we didn’t have a spiral sliced honey-glazed ham. Sigh. But we did enjoy something really special this Easter. We visited a church in one of the townships nearby, and I measured up the feet of some kids who will be receiving new shoes in less than two weeks.

We are really excited about our first distribution taking place this month. About finally getting to do some of what we came here to do, after months of paperwork and fedexes, P.O. Boxes and charity-registering-signatures, and lots of heart-tugging tough moments, we’ll finally be blessing people with a message of hope and a new pair of shoes.

What unexpected gift have I to share this Travelling Tuesday? Don’t worry, first the photos and then I’ll explain!

Before we visited the church where we’ll be hosting a distribution, the pastor gave us a whirlwind of a bumpy tour through some different parts of the township. These are some areas where some of the children who will be receiving shoes live. I suppose it’s a little slice of the Africa you’ve been expecting to see all along. But I hope you’ll let it touch your heart in a fresh way.

Just for perspective’s sake I’ll remind you these shots were taken while riding along in the pastor’s Kombi. (What South Africans call a big 15 passenger van.)

It’s hard to know what to say. I’ll let you come up with your own captions a little.

Coca-Cola is everywhere.

This children’s centre had brightly coloured outdoor potties that I really wish I could’ve gotten a picture of. They were green and yellow polka-dotted. Just close your eyes and imagine!

This church was very holey — not in the religious sense of the word.

Sometimes unexpected colour brings me unexpected joy.

Where did that horse grazing way back there come from?

And this is part of the group of kids who’ll be receiving shoes soon. Shhh! They’re at Sunday school!

(I’m in the corner getting ready to measure some footsies!)

So…in between the stray dogs and barbed wire, the bare feet and the bright colours, I unwrapped an unexpected gift. The gift was a glimpse of the lovely things God is going to do in South Africa through Samaritan’s Feet — lovely things that I get to be a part of. I received the gift when my hands were tickling the bottoms of rough little feet, bearing toes that had been squished into too-small-shoes for too long. I untied the ribbons when the Sunday school teacher told me some of these kids borrow a pair of shoes just to have something to wear to church. I gently pulled back the paper as I came face to face with the scenery I’ve been riding past for months, concerned that my heart might be growing insensitive as these months have worn on. I peeked inside as I lifted these precious children onto a chair, removed and replaced a shoe, and gave and received sweet smiles.

It was a gift to be reminded what all these struggles have been about. What I hope to be a part of doing here. The hope of having a great impact in the lives of even a few children — that’s the hope I’ve been missing for a while. And along with the gift of the Resurrection, a constant remembrance for an Easter Sunday, there was the gift of remembering that Jesus lives in me. What a gift and a privilege to be hands and feet to a world in need.

Was that the Africa you’ve been expecting all these Tuesdays? I hope it still touches a spot in your heart, to make you grateful for what you have, perhaps moved to do something for others who don’t. We can find unexpected gifts all the time, if we’re willing to look.

I hope you’re enjoying the journey of today this Tuesday!


I shared this post today over at Chatting at the Sky’s Tuesdays Unwrapped. I recommend a venture over to enjoy some more reminders of the giftedness of life!