We’ve been pretty busy lately, trying to establish ourselves & get ourselves ready to be able to start serving full time with the kids on February 2nd. Getting ourselves ready has meant getting our home furnished, getting my classroom at the Joseph Project ready, figuring out where to have the baby here, finding a doctor, and getting a car. Life without a car has been a challenge. We’ve walked all over Johannesburg & have become quite accustomed to public transportation. We are the only non-black people using the public transportation, and people often stare at us with a disbelief when we get in the taxis. Most taxis here are not private- they are 16 passenger vans called “combi taxis” where the combi has a route that he drives, and people can get on and off.
On Tuesday we had an appointment in an area of Johannesburg that we don’t know well. A friend dropped us off, and then it was up to us to find our way back home. We got on a combi taxi after walking for several miles- because we knew if we made it to a certain road the combi taxis would go in the direction we needed to be going in. A man who was also waiting for a taxi helped us get on the right one that was going to Johannesburg center. As we started driving, we realized we had no idea where we were. The man had told the driver we needed to be dropped in Ghandi Square- but we didn’t even know what Ghandi Square was. Isaac prayed that God would protect us and guide us, and that it would look there were 4 of us, not just 2 people trying to get home.
We were now in the middle of Hillbrow- the area of Johannesburg with the worst reputation, and 2 guys in front of us said, “Um I don’t think the driver is going to take you to Ghandi Square- it’s better that you just get off here and walk.” Accepting the little help we were offered, we got of the combi and looked around, totally lost. The 2 guys suddenly got off, came to us and said, “We don’t mind taking you where you need to be.” And they started walking. We looked at one another and began following them. They walked fast, and occasionally glanced behind to make sure we were still with them. We told them that we actually didn’t need to go to Ghandi Square- but Commissioner Street. “No problem,” they said, “we’ll take you there.” They walked with us for 30 minutes until we got to Commissioner Street, and once we were there they asked us if we were safe enough now to make it home. “Yes,” we told them, “and what about you guys? Are you guys going somewhere here?” They told us no, they were going to walk back to Hillbrow to catch another bus to get to where they needed to be. We were stunned. They went out of their way- walking for 60 minutes round trip, just to help strangers. Did God send them to walk with us? Isaac had prayed for us to ‘look like 4 people and not just 2.’
One thing we are sure of, is that God is with us wherever we go. He leads us and guides us, and has used the fact that we don’t have a car yet to show us the kindness of people in this huge city. The kindness of others results in us having an even greater love for Johannesburg- and an overwhelming gratitude for how God is always providing for us what we need exactly when we need it.