Saturday, May 21, 2022

Weir: Sharing one’s faith and love with Africa

Bob Weir and Barbara Magee, photo and video by Netsky Rodriguez.

You may be a true believer, or, you may doubt the existence of God, but, one thing is certain, some people are so imbued with the Holy Spirit that they freely devote their time and effort in service to those in need. A group of 13 women from Gateway Pink, varying in age from 26 to 62, left on October 17 for Johannesburg, South Africa to stay at Impact Africa’s main missionary location. One of those women, Barbara Magee, is a dear friend of mine. I truly admire Barbara because she, like several others in my orbit, is a devout Christian who seems to know exactly who she is and what her purpose in life is.

Not one to proselytize, Barbara would rather simply live her faith, thereby, influencing others by her genuine examples of compassion and sacrifice. During the video interview, Barbara talks about the missionary trip to Africa and what it was like to spend a few weeks in a world that most people will never experience. The following was provided by Barbara in her own words:

“Our goal was two-fold, to grow in our own faith and relationship with Jesus and to become his hands and feet, no matter how or what that looked like by serving, loving, and teaching just as Jesus did when he walked the earth.  is the organization we partnered with and I can tell you they were amazing people. Impact Africa was founded by Rich and Michelle Franzen in 2004. What their website won’t tell you about them is that they are humble, loving, and genuine. Their vision is amazing and their heart is truly filled with the love of Jesus for the African people. As of right now they have five areas they focus on to help those in the poorest communities: Impact Kids Preschool, Impact Baby Rescue, (3 babies a DAY are found abandoned in trash cans, fields, or abandoned buildings) Impact Mission Adventures, Impact Students, and The Mission Experience Program.

“During our trip we participated with Impact Kids Preschool and Impact Baby Rescue, visiting the medical clinics as well as walking Diepsloot, a shanty town filled with cardboard, plywood, buildings with corrugated metal roofs.  Walking through these areas, calling out to those who were home; “Sawubona,” which is “Hello,” or, “Co Co,” slang for “Knock Knock!” The little children, dirty and bare footed, holding out their thumbs and saying “chap” (kind of like a “High Five”) and giggling as they ran away, barefoot, down the dirt pathways covered in rocks, broken glass, and other trash. We stopped to talk to everyone we met, offering to help wash laundry, clean up, or just sit and pass the time; asking them about their knowledge of Jesus and sharing our own testimonies of what God has done in our lives. Praying for them, many for God’s provision of a job that would supply food and other necessities; we prayed for healing of the sick, and we prayed for God’s grace and love to be received by each person we spoke with.

“Jabulani Kids, a fun time of singing, dancing, hearing a Bible story and of course a sweet treat for the children, ranging from barely walking, to 8 years of age, who live in Diepsloot, but, do not get to go to school because their parents can’t afford the cost of a school uniform.  It happens every Friday and, as we move through the shanty town during the week, we remind the children to come to the big lot and have fun with us!  They are eager to touch us because we are different, but, also eager to be touched, hugged and kissed, because they desire the love and smiles we willingly give. During Jabulani Kids, I painted red hearts on dozens of beautiful brown cheeks, holding their chins up and looking into the deep brown eyes of each one, telling them, “I love you.” Their faces, going from solemn and serious to an instant smile; kisses to my cheek and off they ran.

“As we finish singing and dancing, it is story time, so I sit down on the dirt beside a little girl, maybe three years old, who looks up at me.  I smile at her and she doesn’t hesitate to crawl into my lap to enjoy the story with me. I kiss her and then rest my chin on the top of her head.  I am in love, in love with the opportunity to so freely show love.”

Bob Weir
Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

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