When you live in a country like South Africa you come across many NGOs and community projects that try to help society in various ways. But I've seen few that achieve lasting changes and it's easy to get disillusioned. The desire to help and uplift others is often corrupted by the budding selfish inclinations of people who see opportunities for themselves.
But one organization has certainly stood out for me: the African Children's Choir. What they do might seem to explain why, but there's more that blesses this endeavor than meets the eye. The way it works is, they go into destitute areas around Africa, identify a village that is most needy and create a boot camp for the orphans/children in the region. From those children they will pick the 25 most promising performers and turn them into a choir, by adopting those who have no parents and getting permission for those who do. The children are trained in singing and performing, live in a boarding-school type environment and get all the benefits of love, food and education. They tour the world, raising money with their heart-warming songs and return home with the prospect of tertiary education and support for their home communities.
It is absolutely breath-taking to see the changes in these children, as they go from weak, dazed and dirty tadpoles to flowering, strong, confident and loving individuals who are willing to give back to society.
But there is one component that makes all the difference: faith. These children's hearts and souls are transformed by faith and the people who help transform them are motivated purely by faith. It is in their love for God that they are able to render selfless service.
Now some will role their eyes and say 'well faith seems to do more damage than good these days' – and I can't blame them for thinking that. But remember that people who preach faith but act with hatred are the poison of society, wolves in sheep's guise. All they're doing is using religion as a front for their deep Godlessness.
True faith manifests itself in actions – not words. And this is what the children truly witness and give testimony to. This organization is run by Born-Again Christians. No matter what religion motivates people, it can be the cause of the greatest good. It is only when we put ourselves and our selfish needs above those of others that we manipulate religion, or science or any other God given gift.