This piece was written for a site that got hacked and wrecked before it could be posted. So, I decided to run with it here.
While on a trip last March, I was blessed to meet two lovely daughters of South Africa. Both agreed to take time from their busy schedules to sit down with me to answer a few questions. Both spoke to my heart. And both have the most lovely accents. Wish you could hear them.
First up is Thuli Sannie, wife of Stembiso, a local pastor, and mother of Blessing, a delightful toddler that entertained me one afternoon with his laughter and silliness.
What was it like growing up as a woman in South Africa?
I think it was good. I'm happy to be a woman in Africa. I'm proud of it. I think it is very good.
Was there a hard time for you growing up?
I never had a hard time growing up. I had the support of my parents. I'm number five in my family so I had the support of my brothers. We had twelve at home. Six girls and six boys. Thuli is the third girl.
Do you think it is hard to be a man or a woman here?
It depends. It's how you grow up. Men have to work hard to get food and clothes to support the family.
What is one dream you have for your community?
To see the women be independent, having their own business that they can teach others and not have to depend on men. Not having that makes us poor.
What is one dream you have for your family?
To see my family safe. I'm praying for that. For us to love one another, to know each other deeply.
What is one dream you have for yourself?
To help people, to see people have hope, especially the women. Sometimes they don't have hope. My prayer is that God can help me about that. Thuli also desires to help the teenagers not turn to sex so easily. She wants to be courageous in teaching them a different way to live.
What are some of the lessons you think need to be passed down to younger women?
They need to be independent, go to school, not drink and not do drugs. Girls fall pregnant so easily and children grow up without fathers. We need to teach that it is okay to say no to sex.
Annika is an artist, wife of Zach and mother of Ariel, Zoe, and Charlotte. She is on staff with Ten Thousand Homes, an organization dedicated to the orphans of South Africa.
Annika feels she lived a very safe, sheltered life growing up which made for an easy childhood. Her parents were not racist, so she knew very little about apartheid and the horrors that were happening in parts of South Africa. It wasn't a subject covered in school. Because of her family's beliefs they had no qualms when the schools were desegregated.
One of her dreams for the community is to see her sewing project, SOSEW, expand for women struggling to feed their kids. It would give women a skill they enjoy. They would be able to use God's creativity while making a difference in their lives.
She dreams of her family continuing to minister together, that they will always have a heart for what God is doing and engage in that together.
One of the ways Annika connects to God is through her painting. She would love to be able to paint on a regular bases and someday have a gallery of her own. Her artwork can be found hanging in various locations on the Ten Thousand Homes base. The Ten Thousand Homes logo is based on one of her pieces.
When asked about what one lesson she thought needs to be passed down to younger women she answered: The greatest thing you can find is peace with yourself and how God has made you.