28 Jan 2008
Opening: Tswane skyline and transition to
Overlay: Gabriel Bizamenyamungu
Gabriel on camera: My vision is to start a church, which would never sleep. What do I mean is because the internationals most of them are people who do not have a permanent accommodation so, therefore, they need to be somewhere they can just seek God the face of God.
The international community, living in Tshwane the capital of South Africa, has many challenges and opportunities. They struggle to create a new life while separated from their extended family. Crossing of cultures including that of church involvement provides access to a new family the family of God.
This elegant and historical city is a place where tourists, as well as foreign diplomats, mingle with refugees and permanent residents. They can enjoy a hamburger at McDonalds or visit the museums and many shops. The culture, places to go, and things to see and do are consistent with many of the home countries of the diplomats assigned to South Africa. Over 100 embassies and high commissions have been established representing countries from all the continents.
The city never sleeps, as many of the diplomats must maintain the time schedule of their home country.
The streets, the sidewalks and the green lawns in and around Church Square, are a place common to people of influence as well as those who barely survive day by day. These are people who travel side by side on the sidewalks and streets. Some talk on their cell phone while walking. Others stop as they call home from an improvised cell phone terminal. Many of those walking the streets are refugees from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, and other African countries. They keep their hope alive while searching for a better life for themselves and their families. Some sell craft items from their home countries while others haul trash. They work alongside South Africans as security guards, food vendors, and at sidewalk outlet shops. Some are crippled. Some are desperately poor living on the sidewalk. Some call a green spot of grass their home as they wait for a job. At this historic gathering place, families enjoy the time together and a time of freedom. Others, however, with a long face, just sit in dark despair.
The Central Monument in Church Square honors Paul Kruger, the head of state a century ago. He was a hero to the white Dutch settlers, the Afrikaners. However, the blacks see him differently and consider the desecration by the pigeons roosting on his statue as a more fitting tribute.
Things have changed in this city as well as the whole of South Africa. Tshwane has replaced the former city name, Pretoria. Apartheid is gone and all are free to share this space and time together.
Many of the diplomatic community as well as the upper echelon of African society enjoy a life of luxury. They live in homes located on a hillside away from the busy traffic and crowds of people. They shop in the best stores and enjoy the best food and vintage wines. They depend on communication with the world through an array of microwave and satellite relay systems. But, for the refugees, many have no home, little food, and search the newspapers for an occasional job.
Yet all of these people in Tshwane rich or poor, diplomat or refugee, white or black need a hope for peace in their lives a hope for today and for tomorrow.
Gabriel and his wife Rachel are refugees from Rwanda. He speaks five languages. His ministry of teaching and sharing Gods Word provides hope for diplomats as well as refugees for new residents as well as those who were born here.
Gabriel - on camera: So far we have five Bible studies. One here in Muckelneuk,, another one in Sunnyside, two in downtown and a fifth one is in Arcadia.
The church that never sleeps is a reality! It is now a place where the Family of God can meet. It is located only a few blocks from the apartment where Gabriel, his wife and children live; a place surrounded by high-rise apartments, offices, and by busy streets. It is in the shadow of the reserve bank of South Africa. Known as Sunnyside, this district includes a high school with a tree-lined campus. Churches, shopping centers, and buildings used by the University of South Africa are also here.
The church now has an address, a place for peoples from all over the world to meet. It is a place where people can go and seek the face of God. But, in reality, all realize that the church is not a place or location but people who know Christ. Wherever they go, these people can share Christ and minister in the name of Jesus.
Gabriel, Rachel, and their family need your prayers as they guide the church that never sleeps; a church that is open 24 hours a day.
Gauteng how TANG
Tshwane tSWAN ee
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