Brokenness Behind the Smile

We visit the township of Alexandra every week and hear story after story of brokenness.

The pastor of that church down the street molested children, so they burned down the church.
Those siblings were locked in a closet for days by their alcoholic aunt.
That young girl was burned with scalding hot water by her uncle.
That six year old girl is now the head of her household, ever since their mother committed suicide.
That boy raped his little sister, because rape is all he knows.
That young woman was forced to get pregnant, to prove that she was fertile.

And the stories crash into one another in my mind and I cannot seem to comprehend.

How can such brokenness be hidden behind these smiling faces?

My heart hurts for the people of Alex, and I ask myself how God must feel.

In Africa, I tend to see people’s physical needs before I recognize their spiritual needs. But both must be addressed, and I don’t know what that balance looks like quite yet. Or if I will ever fully know.

I want to give everyone begging on the streets money, food and clothing… I want to hug every suffering child and tell them it will be okay… I want to rescue them all from their despair and give them better lives. But a shirt on their back, a full belly, and a hug will not be enough.


One day, I will leave this place. And I will ache to be back here. To hug on the babies at Lambano and laugh with the boys at Ratang Bana. And I will pray that they remember me. But I do not want to be known as the person who gave them biscuits or made valentines with them. I want to be known as the person who brought them Jesus. The only One who can rescue them.

So I am asking the Lord to fill me with a sense of urgency and to give me the courage to make hard decisions. My time here is short in comparison to eternity, and I long to make the most of it.

“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:16-17

5 thoughts on “Brokenness Behind the Smile

  1. Haley, we pray you will have power from the Holy Spirit to share & show Christ to all you come in contact with. We know your heart breaks for them. We all have to have that same urgency here in our country, too. Praying daily for you & we love you. Sandra & Jerry

  2. Thank you Haley for serving the Lord through each life you touch! You have been a great impact in my life; as I watch your faithfulness to God. Love is all any of us need. God Bless you as you love the children and our Lord.

  3. Hayley, your words are from a heart that is filled with Jesus. Through the years I have read many hundreds of accounts of those who are being molded and broken in near and faraway places. Your insight is so honest and pure and you are being so impacted by the Holy Spirit’s workings within you. I cannot tell you how this is touching others beginning with me. Keep on…keep searching and sharing…what you are doing is the only important thing. Nothing in this world is so attractive as one heart loving and giving like Jesus created us to do. I pray for you and for your work and I am sooo thankful for who you are and what you are doing.

    1. You are too kind, Ken, and your prayers mean the world to me. Thank you constantly encouraging me and my family, and being a blessing and inspiration to me! Pray you have a wonderful Easter.

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