South Africa holds the distinction of being ranked #4 in a list of 2012’s most dangerous countries. Sadly, we also hold the title of rape capital of the world with 118 rapes per 100,000 people, and the murder rate is among the highest in the world.

Most of the time, we don’t really focus on these troubling statistics or even think about them at all.  However, Carl does occasionally send me e-mail links to newsjust to help me stay alert.  We do not live in fear…but sometimes when the crime strikes close to home, it causes you to evaluate where you are and why you are here.  

We returned to South Africa in January of 2012 after 6 glorious months in Canada – (not on any list of dangerous countries!)  Crime has not hit us directly this year, but rather has hit people close to us.

Our pastor and close friend, Gareth, has had his home broken into twice this year, once when his housecleaner was working.  This lady also works for me and is a dear friend of mine.  She was held at gunpoint for 1/2 hour while the men cleared the home of anything valuable.  Gareth was upstairs with headphones on listening to music while he worked.  We believe God kept Gareth oblivious to what was happening downstairs, because the robbers were all armed and said at one point to my friend that they would “take care of Gareth if he came down those stairs.”

My daughter’s teacher at school is a lovely Christian woman who helped Marae so very much with the transition from homeschooling into a mainstream public school.  We were so very blessed to have Mrs. W. to help Marae handle such a big transition.  In October, Mrs. W. was also held at gunpoint up against a wall while her purse and car were stolen.  In South Africa, this is a common occurrence, but it doesn’t change the jarring emotions that come after such an encounter.  Marae was shaken up after her teacher experienced this trauma.  Mrs. W. handled it with grace and prayerful guidance for her students, but shared with me personally that she was struggling with nightmares and obsessive safety checks.

The very next month, my children’s swimming instructor was riding her bike on a road two blocks from our house.  She was accosted by two men (thankfully unarmed) who tried to pull her from her bicycle.  They told her they didn’t want her money – they wanted her!  She fought them and got away – without becoming yet another victim and rape statistic.

Reading about crime in SA is different than experiencing it.  We have only had one run-in with violent crime personally, and that was Carl’s hi-jacking in 2008.  But we are ever mindful of the risk of living in this country, especially when our friends experience the trauma of violent crime.

I am reading John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Life right now and he talks about risk.  No matter what the risk, no matter what the outcome, no matter where you are – – a life in Christ is not a wasted life.  Our prayer is that our life here in South Africa is lived totally for the glory of Christ crucified.  “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Please continue to pray for us as we serve Jesus in South Africa.  We’re grateful for your prayers for our family’s safety, and for our Seed of Hope staff and friends.

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