A monthly column on purpose, passion and power in Jesus.
It’s hard to ignore the many challenges we’re going through as a country.
A lot of people in South Africa are scared right now.
For good reason.
The majority of the conversations I’m having with people, regardless of their cultural background or skin colour, are around their plans to leave the country.
It’s an issue of enormous concern and one that seems to be getting more desperate each day.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend who’s in ministry.
Her and her husband have been doing remarkable things in a community that’s rife with financial poverty, prostitution, all kinds of abuse and various substance addictions.
As a family, their ministry has done much for the community they serve in.
They haven’t been there long but already significant changes have taken place in that community — as always happens when God shows up.
However, yesterday when I spoke with this friend, she told me they were applying for jobs to leave South Africa.
I rarely think it necessary to mention people’s skin colour, but to show that this is not just a “white” issue, I must say that this couple is not white.
On one hand I really understand why they want to leave — on the other hand I cannot help but wonder what will happen when they leave the community that has benefitted so much from their work.
And it’s not just them.
There are other amazing people, from different backgrounds who are doing great work, but are feeling tremendous pressure to relocate.
On Facebook the other day, I saw an agency recruiting for South African nurses to relocate to the States.
Out of interest I scrolled through the comments to see what the response was — the majority of nurses who were requesting more information on the application process to move to America were black.
This year, each time we had to see a doctor, I noticed how much longer we had to wait — at a private clinic.
I wondered if the abnormally long waits signalled a growing shortage in doctors?
Australia and New Zealand, which are top of the list for South Africans wanting to leave the country, are snapping up health care professionals, math and science teachers, as well as other skills we need in this country.
And they are not alone.
Countries like Ireland and Canada are recruiting vigorously too.
With Canada establishing programmes that offer funding to certain industry start-up entrepreneurs wanting to relocate there.
At my last doctor’s visit, my gynae was telling me about his plans to relocate to Zambia.
He’s not white.
Young people, with great potential, are also leaving in droves.
While many of our matriculants feel their prospects are bleak, Australia for instance has a programme that invites high school leavers to work in various vocational positions across Australia.
I don’t say any of this to add to the fear that’s already there — I share to say the notion that only white people are “fleeing” the country is absolutely false.
Many people, regardless of their skin colour, are feeling the pressure; those with sought after skills overseas are leaving.
The problems we are facing in this country are not limited to race — we are all in the same boat.
For many it feels as though that boat is sinking fast.
But God is for us. All of us.
When I look at all that’s happening I know He is the only One who can get us out of the mess we’re in.
If ever there was a time for the Church in this nation to rise, it’s now.
Rising might mean different things to different individuals and to different ministries.
Pray, show genuine love — for all people.
Understand that we don’t have a chance to restore what’s being lost if we don’t do it together as the Body of Christ.
In my own time involved in various ministries I have seen how divided people in the Church continue to be — based on what we look like on the outside.
We are as guilty of it in the Church as people who don’t know Jesus.
Many of us, including myself, have been guilty of seeing through eyes tainted with colour instead of seeing through God’s heart that tells us that He is our Father and we, all of us, are His children.
For decades we missed the ball as the Church.
Many of us got caught up in the hysteria of “Us and Them”.
God forgive us. And help us save what we have left.