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Johannesburg, South Africa

… Country of Contrasts.

Seeing a small child playing in the streets of a slum in South Africa is an unforgettable site. The difference in lifestyle compared to that of a westerner is so great that it is hard to fully comprehend. Yet no matter the circumstances, a child is still a child. Many children in this world may not have the latest set of hi-priced sneakers—in fact, some have no shoes at all! - but children still manage to have fun at whatever state they find themselves. Wherever you go on this earth you can almost always witness the type of simple, exuberant joy that beams from the face of a child. But try to imagine the South African setting imprinted in the memory of any visitor: Tiny 8 x 8 ft shacks, cobbled together from rusty pieces of corrugated tin. Looking across these endless crammed groupings of shacks, a splash of muted colors reflect from the pieces of metal and other materials that have been scavenged and used to put together their meager existence. But the color that stands out the most is a lifeless brown— coming from the dusty, garbage-ridden dirt between the “homes” and the rusted metal roofs. Often, you will see items on top of the tin holding it down—old car seats and other car parts, batteries, rusted out bed frames, and stones. Smoke fills the air, rising from distant piles of burning garbage. There is no running water and often no electricity. Using a car battery to power a television for a few hours each evening is considered a luxury. This is what millions call home. But South Africa is somewhat different from other African countries. South Africa is a land of stark contrast, having been to other parts of Africa and rural areas in those countries, it seems as if South Africa was an intertwining of typical African country with a modern western touch. Several contrasts particularly stand out. South Africa is a story of great wealth and immense poverty—robust economies and faltering infrastructure—state-of-the-art and a widespread epidemic of AIDS — Mercedes driving yuppies and endless intersections lined with beggars—peaceful gated communities and rampant crime. It is described this way: “It’s an old truism that South Africa is a land of two realities. It has never been more than a short drive from lush gardens and modern shopping malls to tin shanties and open sewers.” - What America is to the world— so South Africa was to Africa. Now South Africa is rated as a 3rd world country. Statistics speak for themselves One visit to any African country cannot provide the full perspective, background and context needed to understand the conditions there. However, South Africa has been the subject of international news for years. In the early 1990’s and previously, the nation hit world news because of the system of apartheid and the drastic change from it that followed. Then, as the years progressed, other news came from South Africa. Stories of violent crime—rape, robbery, murder and mayhem, car-jacking, hi-jacking individuals in malls, shopping centers and at gas stations and banks are commonly reported. Consider some of the latest facts: 1. On average, 50 people are killed each day in Johannesburg, the capital city, which is one of the most violent places on earth outside a war zone. 2. A staggering 150 women a day report being raped. One can only imagine the numbers who do not report this atrocity. To place this statistic in a more vivid perspective, S.A. Police reports “one in four girls faces the prospect of being raped before the age of sixteen...” Or put another way, it is a fact that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped, than learning how to read. 3. From 1992—2002 sexual violence against children has increased a staggering 400%. uncommon and not a new phenomenon either ! And baby rape is not

4. As of the year 2000, 50% of the 43 million South African citizens live below the poverty line. (Continued next issue) … … ...

We are well into 2009, with some resolutions still intact, others already broken, America made World News Headlines, with the US Airways flight 1549, safely landing in the Hudson River, no lives lost– the Pilot and Co-Pilot are Heroes, with family members and friends eternally grateful for their skill, experience and calm handling of what could have been a terrible disaster. America has written another page in History—the Inauguration of the 44th President— with all the splendor and the world watching live television broadcasts, internet clips, newspapers, magazines all reporting with pictures and information to the last detail. Life is short, and passes by quickly. We are reminded of God’s promises in Isaiah 41:13 “For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” and Isaiah 59:1 “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” People are crying out to God every day for help, salvation, healing, friendship. food, clothing, and for a hand to hold in time of death and sorrow. People need comfort and prayer, others need money to exist. God hears and answers the prayers of the sinners for Salvation and the saints for Strength. In 2009 much prayer will be needed all over the world for the Gospel of Good News to go forth into cities, ghetto’s, home missions and foreign missions. In Mozambique Africa, and several countries on the east coast of Africa, during the hot summer months, there has been an epidemic of sand fleas. This causes a lot of discomfort not only for the people, but also for the animals. After being bitten by the fleas, and much scratching to stop the itching, these bites get infected, and the people with weak immune systems are experiencing fever and are feeling miserable. This is especially hard for the children, many of whom are orphans with only an older sibling to take care of them. Malawi, a land-locked country with many refugees crossing the borders, has problems with people cutting down trees to make a fire to cook for their families, and keep warm. Countries like Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa are experiencing the same problems—with the influx of refugees, who have no place to go, weary, tired, hungry and many afflicted with malaria, Hiv/Aids, tuberculosis, they often stop wandering around, and form “Squatter Camps” where they set up a village on the outskirts of any town, to just exist for a few days or weeks until they succumb from illness, or hunger. This is the reason so many people resort to stealing, car-jacking. Many truck drivers are reporting that bands of thieves are blocking the roads in remote areas with long stretches between towns, and force them to open their trucks and unload the contents. Some truckers get murdered in the process. This is why the Gospel must be taken to the uttermost parts of the earth, so that those who have not heard, can hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, and receive salvation, baptism, be discipled and trained to go out to win precious souls for the Kingdom of Heaven. A missionary couple from England went to a remote area near Mapai, on the border of So Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. They lived in a tent with their 3 children for 4 years next to the Limpopo River. Asked by a British Journalist why they would do this ridiculous experiment. The missionary’s wife answered : “To lead the people to Christ.” He asked her how many? “One boy and his mother” was her reply. To many that would seem a waste of time and money, but in the sight of God, 1 soul is worth more than gold and riches. Anita and I are reminded of Proverbs 3: 1 – 35, especially verse 5: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Verse 9, “Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase:” & verse 10, “So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” That boy became a preacher winning Souls for God!!!

God sent His Son to die for the entire World — Not just for Africa !
No man can solve all the problems of the world and of South Africa. “Even with the best of intentions, one can only help in a small way. But God has a plan that includes all the peoples in Southern Africa. Thank you for your prayers, finances, and support to help reach Africa. Be blessed. E-Mail Address: Thanks for responding with your e-mail addresses. Email: sacfaim1@hotmail.com to receive N/Ltr’s. If you do not have e-mail, we will continue sending your newsletter by mail.

Christ For Africa Mission is a faith-based Mission John & Anita Newton