our backs and work for our freedom."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
But the reason we need relationship is that it is such a powerful and unifying tool. And in anything that is so good, we must work hard for in order for it to be in our lives. It most definitely isn't easy to have deeply rooted friendships with other people, as we're all human beings that make mistakes. But good relationships propel people to grow and become better. This change does not come easily, but is most definitely worth the fight and the struggle. And in this fight and the struggle, you come to appreciate the importance of relationship more.
A lot of people would say that this fight isn't worth having deep friendships. But the thing is this: the health of your relationships directly influence those who look up to you. The picture I painted above was inspired from this train of thought that I've been on in the past couple of weeks. People, especially children, are greatly influenced by the way they see others treat each other. And this is why I feel that relationships are key in ministry.
Ministry is basically completely ineffective without relationship. If a person comes to change a community or impact the world without the intention of forming deep relationships and having fellowship with those around him, he will get nowhere. Fellowship is vital in order to impact others' lives. But the most amazing part of being willing to invest in others' lives in order to impact them is that in the end you are the one that is changed and impacted for the better.
This has already been such an amazing thing for me to be a part of as I meet people here in South Africa. With each new person I meet, I get the chance of forming a deep relationship that will change both them and me. I get the chance to straighten my back and work for the freedom that is gained when people are changed for the better. I get the chance for a struggle. This is especially in Mbonisweni. Every Tuesday and Thursday I get to be a part of an after-school program where kids are constantly seeking friendship and attention. There's an amazing group of ladies there that teach, tutor, and prepare the food to feed the kids. Many of these women also are starting their own small businesses. And I have the chance to work alongside these amazing women and form relationships with them. The kids will see and be affected by the relationships that I form with both the women and them. So it is worth the struggle. I am not here to change the way things work in South Africa. I am here to have fellowship with those in my community in a way that changes both them and me for the better. It takes work, but it is far more worth it than to blindly believe that my way is the best and I am to change everyone around me in an inevitable way. Thank goodness life doesn't work well that way, because it would be very lonely.