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The End Of An Era

I know I’ve been bad about my blog lately. Honestly, it’s been quite hectic with all the end of the year stuff going on here at Living Hope and getting ready to fly back to the States. One week from right now, I will be about to board the first flight for my 29 hour jaunt home. Prayers appreciated.

But bigger things are happening here. You might think that living in Cape Town and with the world events of the weekend that I’ll be writing about the passing of Nelson Mandela. While it’s true that his passing has had a great impact on this country and he did an incredible amount for race equality here, there’s an even bigger shift that has just taken place.

Aunty Joan, a woman synonymous with Living Grace, has retired. Living Grace was Aunty Joan and Aunty Joan was Living Grace. She was one of the first, if not the first, volunteer with Living Hope before it was even Living Hope. She might be a small, grey-haired 71 year old “old woman” but she has more energy and tenacity than anyone I’ve ever met. She began her work with the homeless of Muizenberg in the 1980s and has been feeding and meeting their needs ever since. And she isn’t going to take any crap from anyone. That finger a waggin’ as she walked towards the gate if someone dared come asked for bread during devotions. Heaven forbid you show up without a bag to collect your food parcel. She’d let you have it right then and there….and then sneak you a little something anyway. Never would any of the rough street crowd dare try anything with her around. I’ve seen her go up and ‘nudge’ a sleeping homeless man with her foot next to the train tracks just to fuss that he wasn’t keeping his area clean. “Once you clean it up, come get some bread. Here’s a broom!” You gotta love her, even if you were delegated the most slimy of kitchen tasks by her.

She did all this not because she had nothing better to do, but because she knew that the bread was a means for them to hear the gospel. She was a woman who prayed for every soul she met. She knew the “least of these” and saw in them their potential. She worked hard to get them to see it in themselves.

She loved these men and women and they loved her back. Aunty Joan we all love you and look forward to having you come back and “volunteer” with us anytime. Even though you will be running the show even then.

Below are some pictures from her retirement dinner Friday evening. As I drove away she was still working, running of course. Bless her.

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