Two words I thought would never come from my mouth are these: Candlelight…again? The event that was once a fun, romantic, and certainly an anticipated occasion is no longer a special event – it’s a downright necessity. If you are not familiar with the term “load shedding,” let me explain.
The electricity company of South Africa is no longer able to provide enough electric to effectively service all those who need it. The reasons are varied and often disputed, and the topic will most likely get someone in the room angry if it comes up in conversation, so we’ll not debate that issue in this post; I’ll just say this…It is what it is. Whatever the reason, we need load shedding more than ever.
Here is how it works, generally 2-3 hours of “blackouts” are assigned to each community and it can occur at any time of day. In fact, just this morning at the beginning of the worship service we lost all our electric. We quickly pulled out the old hymnals and Tom reworked his message, minus the PowerPoint slides!
That’s so bad, you say? I agree, but I recently had the opportunity to be involved with a completely different kind of “load shedding” that was amazing. Mountain View hosted its second women’s conference called Hope and Help for the Journey, A Woman’s Walk with Depression. You may think I’m crazy, but I see similarities between the two.
There are a variety of reasons people, especially women, suffer with depression, and not everyone agrees on the reasons why depression is on the rise. It’s likely that people, especially Christians, will get angry or defensive when discussing the topic and many will avoid the topic completely. At the end of the day, it is what it is, and we need load shedding more than ever.
That’s why so many women come to a conference like this one…they need to share the heavy load of carrying their burdens alone. At the conference we addressed the various reasons for depression. We didn’t avoid any part of the conversation just because it was difficult or possibly divisive. And we did it in love, without judgment, with emphasis given on the source of our true hope and help, Jesus Christ.
Providing the opportunity for women to share the load of this burden in a safe and loving environment opens the door to sharing the gospel, as well as encouraging, edifying and also equipping believers for ministry. One young woman said to me as she left the conference, “I haven’t been in a church for so long. After today, I think I’m ready to give it another try.” Another woman shared, “I’ve needed godly counsel about depression for a while, but no one at my church ever wants to talk about it. Thank you for having the courage to share this conference with us.”
It’s a privilege to love one another and bear one another’s burdens within the body of Christ. “But all suffering is intended to train us to fix our eyes on the true God. Therefore, depression, regardless of the causes, is a time to answer the deepest and most important of all questions: Whom will I trust? Whom will I worship?” A Quote from Ed Welch, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness
Thank you for supporting and praying for conferences and outreach opportunities like this as we make our way into a new community to plant a church.