Next weekend we will be having our missions focus. I am looking forward to hearing stories of what God is doing in other parts of the world. We specifically will be taken to the countries of India and Rwanda. The heart of compassion and love because of God’s forgiveness in our lives is the core message of the gospel. In this story below we see how people reached out in love to bless those who cannot help themselves. This story is from South Africa.


Charlotte is severely mentally and physically disabled, but far from being helpless, her story has changed the lives of many. At six months she was literally thrown in a garbage can by her family. Being disabled from birth in an African culture, Charlotte was seen as a curse from the ancestors. To be born disabled into a family where the worship of ancestors is practiced is much more than a stigma. It is a matter of life and death. So, rejected by her family, her religion and her society, and without a voice to cry out against the injustice of it all, Charlotte was left for dead.


But in spite of the apparent hopelessness of it all, there was hope. Someone took Charlotte to the local doctor in the Ivory Park township of North-East Johannesburg, Dr. Moses Thindisa. Dr Moses saw the plight of the child but saw beyond Charlotte and resolved to do something for all those who are severely or profoundly disabled in the area.


He was a medical doctor without the tangible means to do anything, but he believed that he should and that God would enable him. That was back in 1996. Today, Tumelo Home stands as a purpose built children's home with facilities to rival any similar set-up in the West. The most remarkable thing about the home, apart from Dr. Moses himself, is the stark contrast of this brick-built, super-clean structure complete with a first-class play area, and the appalling, 'temporary' corrugated iron homes that house the rest of the 40,000 strong population that surrounds Tumelo home.


It is almost an amazing statement of intent from the Lord: 'These children who have been rejected by their families and their society, are accepted and loved by me.' Tumelo means faith and this is certainly a work of faith. On the day that our group of students from the Presbyterian Chaplaincy at Queen's University, Belfast, visited the home, there had been no electricity. No electricity meant no food could be cooked and no hot water. We had brought cooked food with us, enough for all the children and the staff too. When we arrived with the news and dozens of smiling white faces, the staff broke into song (and dancing!), praising God for His provision.


We were able to play with the children and give them gifts after they had eaten. Some of the team fed those children who couldn't feed themselves. Words mean nothing to these children, but they speak the language of touch. All of them were delighted just to see new people and have their attention.


After a sing-off between the staff and the students, who, to the delight of the staff, had learnt a worship song in Zulu, Dr. Moses was able to share something of his story, but the most remarkable revelation was still to come. Later on, in conversation with one of the leaders, Dr Moses shared that he had told the electricity company to send their repair man, but, he shared, 'I knew I didn't have a cent to pay them.' The team was able to respond to this need and we gave him a gift to cover the expense of the bill. Thanks to the generosity of churches and individuals across Northern Ireland who had contributed to the trip, we were able to be God's hands and feet when He needed them.

Today Tumelo Home has a waiting list of nearly two hundred children, as well as a vision to create a new home for over sixteens, since when the children reach this age, they cannot stay at the home. They are still unable to fend for themselves however, hence the need for the new project.


Charlotte is now sixteen years old. She is still profoundly disabled and will never be able to speak or walk. But one day, when she has received a new, perfect, resurrection body in heaven, hundreds of people will be able to recount to her how the Lord used her helplessness to change lives.