Text Size: Zoom In

Worlds Apart

Have spent a lot of time indoors with the exception of some early morning walks along beautiful Indian Ocean beaches.

Am hoping in the next couple of days to get out into the city and some rural districts.

Have heard  stories about parts of South Africa that have lost a whole generation to AIDS. Children are raising children many of whom are themselves HIV positive.

There is so much wealth here, with gated, security guarded homes, not far from high crime neighborhoods. There’s a community of squatters’ huts right behind the building in which we are staying.

Other than a neighborhood monkey, only animals I’ve seen so far have been sand art like this.

The real story here, as everywhere, is the people.


Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+13 rating, 14 votes)

35 Responses to “Worlds Apart”

  1. poohpity says:

    I agree so much it is all about the people every where, in all the countries around the world. The journeys some who may not have asked to be a part of but have had it thrown at them and now have a future of adversity from even before birth. Choices that have to be made with out even understanding what the word choice means. :-(

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends,

    South Africa is famous for its transformed government and society – coming out of apartheid and into a more just way of life. Yet, what you describe, Mart, sounds like many other places in the world “discovered” for their extraordinary wealth in natural resources. Mines and rich farmland are in the hands of power brokers. As a result, fabulous homes and beautiful public buildings are surrounded by squalor and want. What does the one world have to do with the other?

    The rich and the poor in major cities appear on the same city block – but they are worlds apart. There are “our” churches, and “their” churches – our ways and their ways…I was sharing with some folks from the church last evening. We expressed a desire to include all the peoples of our area in the worship and ministry life of the congregation we serve. The theme of the conversation seemed to be: “What does it take?” We did not solve our dilemma, but we concluded that we need a new vision. Our understanding has been limited. We as a congregation have not taken the part of the addicted, the hungry, and the homeless among us in a meaningful way.


  3. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Mart for the update and pictures. As you stated the real story there is the people.

    This is true everywhere in the world and always has been. The Bible is a story of people and God’s interaction with them. In the time we now live nothing has changed concerning that. We all are still a story of people and God interacting with us.

    There is something in error in Africa as it is filled with natural resources and rich farmland yet millions starve to death within its borders. It is constantly in political turmoil and there is no limit to cruelty and death. Even pestilence and the locust have their evil way seemingly unchecked.

    As beautiful and filled with promise as Africa is it almost seems to be cursed.

    I look forward to more from you as your time allows.


  4. florida7sun says:

    God bless you on your travels, Mart.

    What struck me in your posting from Africa was, “There is so much wealth here, with gated, security guarded homes.” That is so true, in Africa and elsewhere throughout the world. Then I read this morning’s ODB offering by Joe Stowell.

    It seemed to me that the wealthy… caged in enclosures of their own making, are the poorest of all. Hidden behind strongholds of enclosures, designer labels, masks of make-up and sweet-smelling perfumes, they live lives of illusion and suffer in so many secret ways.

    They are protected by keepers as in a zoo: security guards, publicists, counselors, therapists, and so many other handlers. Of course, there is a huge difference between their public and private personas.

    The birds of the air and the lilies of the field truly display the beauty and freedom available to all in Christ Jesus. They are what they are… beautiful in reflecting the handiwork of Almighty God.

    I picture the monkey you saw was also (hopefully) free enjoying the abundance of God’s provision.

    Reflecting on Joe Stowell’s devotion entitled “Building A Life That Matters,” I remembered that prior to the modern LEGO building block many of us older kids created masterpieces using Tinkertoys and Erector Sets, Lincoln Logs and just plain wooden blocks.

    Soon we discovered that having the right materials to construct with, while building on a strong foundation, makes a world of difference in the permanence and quality of craftsmanship.

    That is also true in the governance of a country, a state, a city, a home and a life.

    As our Creator, our Father in Heaven gave us His blueprint through His Word, along with every building block needed for success. All we have to do is study the schematics and adhere to the Builder’s Plan. He does not desire we live in caged houses behind walls and bars of steel… but to be free in sharing His Word and His abundance.

    Nothing can happen to us apart from His will.

    In Christ Jesus, like Elsa the lion, we are “Born Free.” The shackles of sin have been broken. We have eternal life… free to enjoy His presence.

    “Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty. We are free at last.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

  5. oneg2dblu says:

    I agree, “Free at last” is where Christ and Christ all followers live. But all a man’s ways seem right to him, and those Christ followers who abode in ivory gated towers also feel free from the dirty poor people in the streets as they look down upon them from their lofty distance. As Christ stated we will always have the poor among us. So for the rich among us, great walls are built with the great homes within them, and the free people who gaze through their bars on those windows are looking out upon the poor world around them and thanking God they are free as well! Both claiming the same foundation but living much different lives. To think that our government with its great ever opposing parties still feels it has the right solution for what the multitude needs, and that is proof enough to me that all things are not built upon that same foundation. Government is built upon the desires of man an each man feels he is right in his own way, but they are really worlds apart. What is wrong in the world is also wrong in the church and in the government, because it is run by man, and until man builds something for God instead of himself, all mankind will continue to suffer and be poor. If only God living inside of man can really change that, then where is that change other than in the right thinking ways of man where the walls go up and the ivory towers stand tall? It is sometimes hard to see that God is also inside those towers. Gary

  6. poohpity says:

    It seems that the apartheid still exists in the hearts of many of those who have the power because when colleges are seen they are for the peoples to be taught servitude roles. They have colleges on how to serve in hotels, the safari inns, restaurants and more roles that really do not show any change in who still runs the country. There are many who are still pushed back from the mainstream because of color. It is not as bad as it once was but it is still bad. God has heard their cry and I trust that there will be changes with the help of the church.

    It has always been a problem when one group of people think of themselves as better than another and there is a wide difference in people who treat others as better than themselves (Phil 2:3NLT) and those who feel they are superior.

  7. remarutho says:

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Have heard stories about parts of South Africa that have lost a whole generation to AIDS. Children are raising children many of whom are themselves, HIV positive.”

    Who among the wealthy is now gathering these children for treatment, nurture and education? Who loves the children who are the future of South Africa?

    For me the question is: Is the body of Christ answering the call? The extreme separation of the heavenly minded and the worldly minded is already depicted in the prophets and other scriptures. (Revelation 7:9, 10, 11, 12) and (Revelation 13:4, 11, 12, 13) The difference exists as much in the 21st c. as in the days of the prophets such as Isaiah and Jeremiah.

    Attractions of worldly wealth and prestige seem to outweigh justice, mercy and obedience to God for some. For others, speaking out against persecution and greed is the chief motivation of life on earth. Personal choice matters today. The crucial difference is between talk and action (my own and others’)! And I know I am sometimes fooled by hypocrisy. How often do I trust those who declare that they are doing something about children raising children? Meanwhile the work is before us.

    We must care for a healthy, educated and evangelized generation to grow up ready to lead African countries ten or twenty years from now. (Matthew 25:35-36)


  8. foreverblessed says:

    Maru, your comment with the Revelation references made me think of something I read last week:
    Two groups of people
    Revelation 7:10-12 the people who worship God
    Revelation 13:4 the others
    I read this last week and want to share it with you:
    Say the love a person has is divided in 666 parts:
    the people who worship God, give 600 parts to God, 60 to their neighbour, and 6 to themselves.
    the others give 600 parts to themselves, 60 to their neighbours and 6 to God.
    Made me think, if we are people of God, do we give much of our meditation first to God, and then 10 times more to our neighbours then to ourselves?
    So to speak, would we be making a lot of effort to help the poor, the weak, go out and tough them instead of living behind our gated homes.
    If we put God at the forefront, we could ask ourselves:
    Would God want us to build big churches, would He have any need of them? Or would He rather that we build places where poor people can come and eat. Places where poor people can come, and not asking any money from them?

  9. poohpity says:

    Maru, there are many who are answering the call to those orphans. I was one who went and was part of a ministry that is helping the children get education, daily meals, clothing by helping the different villages to have the support needed to keep the children within their home villages. To have running water, shelter, and church leaders to serve in each village township. We were part of having more than 50+ of those adult children to receive Christ. To receive school supplies, uniforms, and tuition. There are many churches that have been directed by God to go. God has heard their cry and has put many on the ground to wash their feet and hold them when they cry. Praise God!!

  10. poohpity says:

    It is those who are in leadership in that country who need much prayer because of their oppressive, self righteous and subjugate mentality, as in many other places in the world, that God will heal their hearts and humble their spirits.

  11. remarutho says:

    Foreverblessed — The multiples of six is a real personalization of the mark of the beast, isn’t it? I have not heard that before. It makes me think about what serves God and what serves the cult of self.

    It seems to me there is a lot of self-serving spirituality in our culture today. I do not judge those who do what they believe is the best thing to do. I do question, as you point out, the measure: x100 for God; x10 for brothers & sisters; x1 for self. Perhaps it is an inkling of “O magnify the Lord!” (Psalm 34:3)

    I give a little each month, but I often feel I do not do enough for this effort. By this measure, I definitely don’t do enough…


  12. davids says:

    Godspeed, Mart, on your journeys.

    Some have remarked about racism in South Africa, and it is widespread for historical reasons. But examples of societies with a small upper class and a vast impovershed class abound.

    Those that enjoy inherited privledge usually find some way of justifying their position through some cultural means: tribal, religious, caste, racial. Even in North America and Europe this is true.

  13. davids says:

    I want to go off-topic and put in a prayer plug here. Please skip it if you are not interested.

    Our congregation in Belgium was established by US Methodists in the 1920s to train missionaries to Africa. After WWII, it turned into an American Expatriate Executive congregation.

    Wealthy US expats have become pretty rare, and our congregation now includes many people that prefer to worship together in English (Belgians, Dutch, UK, and other East and West Europeans, plus Africans, and others).

    More than a year ago we were pushed off the campus of an international school by those that resent the mixture of the secular with the holy. We ended up sharing a clubhouse where the worship space is just too small, although beautiful and comfortable.

    We now have found a possibility to share premises permanently in a Catholic Church. The Church Council voted unanimously for the move. The congragation will vote in three weeks.

    Please pray that this will be resolved without division, and that whatever decision is reached will allow us to effectively minister to all His people.

  14. remarutho says:

    Hello Davids — Will pray for your congregation. It has always amazed me how, sometimes, the seemingly unimportant issues such as worship times, venues and length of service can erode unity. Your congregation sounds most amazing in its international character!

  15. foreverblessed says:

    Davids, I will pray for your church, and the people, being not so wealthy is maybe a blessing, as we are wealthy in God. If we are rich in this world, we often do not rely on God so much, but the poor know that they have nothing in this world and trust God more.

    Maru, the measure is not given to make you feel inadequate, neither is it a measure of money given. But a measure of where our love goes.
    For many of us, we first must measure how much love God has for us,
    How can we give Him love if we are not sure weather He loves us. But we can be sure He loves us very very much. (1 John 4:19,10,9) as it is that He gave His Son for our redemption, we can see how much and how great His love for us is. We cannot give God any love if we do not receive any from Him. So ask for more love, maybe first for more faith in Him and His Son.

    But that mark identifies a lot of self love in the world. Do we want to be part of that? No we don’t.
    If I worry about my life, then a lot of my devotion is not going to God, but to my own welfare. I can ask God to relieve me from worries, and be free to love Him. Because He promised to take care of me. Why do I not trust in that more and more. Many women worry, and so do I have a trouble with it. When I totally rely on God to take care of me and my personal welfare, I do not need to worry, spend no thinking time on myself. So then the measure of 1 for self, 10 for others, 100 for God will make good sense. As we are confident we will not have any deficit, as God so cares for us who believe. Have faith in Him, without faith it is impossible to please Him, or love Him.

    (If in many poor areas people, and especially the leaders, see that they should invest their love 100 to God, 10 to others 1 to self there would be much more wealth).

  16. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    Here’s the thing, Forever, once that word is out there — we cannot change or predict the way in which another will take it. I have already shared that x100, x10, x1 measure with quite a few people. I will be changing the amount I share monthly (still not an impressive figure) with the ministry to children in Africa. The thing is done. The entire ministry will not percieve the difference in real terms. Only I will say, “Thank you, Lord for my changes!” Now you also know — along with our friends on this blog.

    Guess we will just have to let it be. It is the Holy Spirit who makes use of our witness in the hearts of those who hear us. I am grateful. If the words we speak and the meditations of our hearts are pleasing to God, then others are blessed — the kingdom advances — God smiles. :-)


  17. SFDBWV says:

    I read a quote in the paper a few days ago I should have written down, written by a historian philosopher in the late 1880’s it said, roughly, “that the thing about mankind is that they don’t learn anything from history”.

    For as long as there has been civilizations there have been those who rule and those who serve, or as some like to think, those who have and those who have not.

    The very Word of God teaches us how to prosper in life if we live by the precepts written there as well as how to share and give alms to the poor.

    Jesus said that we will always have the poor with us (Matthew 26: 11) that means also that we always have a disparity and division of wealth between people.

    The problems exist when the poor among us are kept poor and suppressed so they can not rise above their situation. History bears out what happens when this is allowed to continue. Civil unrest and in time the collapse of the society that embraces it.

    The idea that in order to right civil wrongs those who have are forced to hand over to those who do not, are just as wrong as the act of suppression of any people.

    We must be careful to know the truth before we form opinions in any matter.

    Racism is wrong anywhere it is practiced, but Christ teaches us not to give evil for evil but to learn to live with an attitude of forgiveness and transformation from evil into Christian love. As many can testify this sometimes doesn’t happen instantly, but can over time.

    Davids these are perilous times for the Church and I too pray for your needs to be filled by the will of God.

    A cool morning in the mountains, as the lilacs fade from their glory and the rhododendron begin to take center stage.


  18. poohpity says:

    That is so true Steve. The same people who caused the divisions in SA who run the government are now trying to get birth certificates for those in the little villages so that now they can get on welfare. Another form of dependence on those who caused such harm in the first place. I have been praying that the churches will help them to be dependent on God and rather than giving them a hand out they will give them a hand up.

    David, I join in the prayers for your church.

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all…100-10-1 to me, is another formulation of man who tries to figure how to please God through numbers. As with 666 and all its configurations it never replaces what man needs to know about numbers, for putting Christ as number one in your life is the only equation I know of that really changes a man.
    I used to direct all my giving to missions, every penny I directed for many years, and it was a substantial amount. But God changed that by telling me in no certain terms,” Who are you to direct what is mine? Your place is to give and not direct where. I’ll direct where, and I’ll direct you in all things as well.” So, I listened, and changed my behavior, now I can no longer say I supported missions exclusively, as if giving myself some sort of pat on the back.
    He also changed my view of where the mission field actually was for me, as it did not lie on some distant shore, but was right in my face daily. My mission is to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life, and apply it to the world immediately in front of me. Distant shores were no longer in my view as a primary concern, but now as a part of the whole which God alone prepares in advance for those he will call. Missions are everywhere we step as we follow the leading of the Master.
    David, I trust this issue will soon come to pass as He directs. Blessings, Gary

  20. davids says:

    Thanks to all for your prayerful concern.

    Gary, wise words. Although I give thanks for those that work to spread the Word in distant places in difficult conditions, we can also find a mission field very close by.

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Davids… Yes, praise God for those who are called and will go out into the distant places in difficult conditions as well. I will always support them in what they do. Gary

  22. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    I am struck as I read your observations, Mart, that you have seen firsthand the very closeness of two distinct worlds in the coastal city where you are in South Africa. (Durban? Port Elizabeth?) You wrote:

    “There is so much wealth here, with gated, security guarded homes, not far from high crime neighborhoods. There’s a community of squatters’ huts right behind the building in which we are staying.”

    From the picture you sketch, it seems to me the closeness of a gated community to the squatters’ community would be a point of prayer on morning walks. To go with an open heart is a great gift from the Lord. Though I have not visited South Africa, it seems to me there are still two worlds there – just as there are two worlds in the U.S. and other 1/3 world nations.

    The problem with the two-world or the two-thirds-world view of reality is that the voice of God contradicts it (Ps 50:12) – as well as the voice of the psalmists (Psalm 24:1; Psalm 89:11) praising God. I often pray to be given God’s vision for his kingdom right here, right now. I also ask the Holy Spirit to allow us to discern the body of Christ. (Romans 12:4, 5; Ephesians 2:14, 15, 16))


  23. BruceC says:

    “Worlds Apart”

    Reminded me of a news show I watched several days ago. The anchor was interviewing a spokesperson for the Occupy Wall St. movement. This young man had worked at one time but now was attending graduate school. He basically thought that the government should pay for most of the things his life and everyone else’s also. When pressed about getting a job he basically said he would not take one unless it paid what he thought he should get. I was amazed at his ingratitude for what he had. If only God would pluck this young man up and put him down in Nigeria, Sudan, or amongst the Karen peoples of Burma and show him what hardship truly is!!! And he WHINES!!!!! Talk about world’s apart!!
    It is true we all complain at times; but some are making a movement of it. I am sure that many in the third world would gladly take a job that was capable of just putting food on the table and clothes on the backs of their families.
    In ODB today it said that 15 MILLION people die year each from hunger or hunger related causes.
    When I compare that to the complaints of that young man there is not much sympathy for him; only in the fact that he is blind to God’s truth and ungrateful to the One who provides so much for him.

    May the Lord keep all in His Church mindful of those who cannot help themselves, be willing to help, and to have hearts of thanksgiving for what He has given us and done for us.

    Soli Deo Gloria!!

  24. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bruce, is it ok that we “all” just complain and whine “sometimes”? I have been struggling with the very same mindset. I have been Convicted of trivializing my offenses and magnifying the offenses of others. I made copies of something I posted some months back and put one right above my pc screen to remind me of my mission. I intend to retype it and add things like “just like me” and “as can I”. What is our obligation to this “ungrateful” young man? Can he help himself? Is he lost? If he knew Christ would he SEE things differently?

    People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;(just like me) Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; (as can I) Be kind anyway. If you are successful you will win some false friends and some true enemies;(just like me) Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;(just like me) Be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;(just like me) Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you have anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It never was between you and them anyway.

  25. poohpity says:

    narrow, that last paragraph is just beautiful and so humbling. I do not have a printer but I have a pen and paper and I will be placing it where I can read it many times.

    We may not be in places like Africa but when we step out our front door each day we have a mission field set before us. I must be open to hear that gentle tug on my heart from God to be His hands and feet where ever I am and wherever I go. Father help us to hear those whispers so you do not have to hit us over the head.

  26. narrowpathseeker says:

    Poohpity…Amen! And I will be printing yours and placing it along side the one I have.

  27. poohpity says:

    I just came back from the vet I had to put my dog Pooh down. She had seizures over the last 2 hours until her back legs became paralyzed and she could not stop having seizures. My heart is so broken. I know she was only a dog but she meant so much to our family over the last 11 years and I will miss her so very, very much.

  28. davids says:

    So sorry to hear that, Deb.

  29. narrowpathseeker says:

    Poohpity, I’m sorry for your loss. Losing our pets is much like losing a family member, especially when they have been with us for a very long time. I will try to find a poem that we were given when we had our dog put down last Summer and post it for you. It was very comforting.

  30. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… what a hard day you had today. You are in my prayers, that a peace you will find, knowing that pooh is no longer suffering. Our pets do fill a place in our lives where loss prevails for them. May it come to pass this very hard time you are having today. Gary

  31. narrowpathseeker says:

    I’m sorry Pooh, I can’t find that poem. I think I may have given it to someone who had lost his dog soon after us. I will be praying for you to be comforted with the peace that only He can give.

  32. remarutho says:

    Deb —

    I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I pray your dear memories of Pooh will sustain you as you grieve for her. May her love for you and your family sustain you in the coming days — and may Jesus comfort you all.


  33. BruceC says:


    Sorry to hear you lost your friend. My wife and I have had that happen many times in our life. The little fellas seem to grow on ya!


    If that young man knew Christ; yes he would see things differently and our obligation to him as believers is no different to him than anyone else. Preach the Gospel and help those in need. “Those in need” is a phrase that carries many meanings. For some it is physical, financial, medical help; etc. For others it is to see the truth. Some see it; some don’t want to and reject it. I mentioned “plucking up” by God because that is what it takes for some.
    Let us as believers make our requests known to God “with thanksgiving” for what He has done.

    Please keep my wife in prayer. Mother’s Day can be difficult for her at times because she had so many miscarriages and we have no children. Also her mom is in a home and has been a little mean to her the last few times we were there. But she lights up when her “favorites show up”. My wife sadly has been treated more as a servant than a daughter or sister. And I don’t mean servant in the Christian sense either. Please pray!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  34. InHisHands says:

    Dear BTA friends,

    Just checking in to let you all know (who are world’s apart from me) that I read the comments and pray for you all each day. Was so glad to read that those of you undergoing physical trials are on the mend and continue to pray for you and your families. I have read of those of you who have had family trials and pray for GOD’s continuing work in those family members and Praises for those who have turned to HIM.

    This blog has been part of my morning devotions – for I believe that part of knowing GOD, is getting to know the people HE lives in and keeping them lifted up in prayer.

    Thank you to those who pray for me.


  35. poohpity says:

    Bruce, will you tell your wife that is how my mom treated me too but she knew that it was me she could trust in to always be there for her no matter how she treated me or what was going on. Her mom may feel she can get out all the ugliness to her because she knows she will forgive her and the others may not. Sometimes thing are not as they seem. God knows.

    Children grow up and tell you they hate you but she has you and from all these years of reading about your journey, I can tell you love her very much which is more than many others have in their marriages. Children leave but husbands still hang around. She is so blessed to have you. Love Deb

    Having children sometimes is not all it is cracked up to be and heartache comes from those little buggers more than you will ever know. The one lesson children teach us is how not to be selfish while they throw up, go potty on us, spit on you and that is when they are teenagers there is much more gross things when they are younger. They are not as faithful as dogs are. You can really understand when God told us He uses the meek and lower things of this earth to teach us the greatest lessons. Hope that brought a little humor to the day.

    Thank you all for your condolences those furry creatures sure show unconditional love and acceptance. It is amazing what a little tail wag and lick can do to ones spirit. She will be greatly missed. I wish I could get the torment she was going through out of my head but I know it will soon be gone and all the good stuff will remain.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.