“I’m not limping, I’m walking without crutches!”

These photos are no works of art, but they tell a touching and an encouraging story, and send a beautiful message: make the best out of what you have.

A classroom: the walls are bare, on the bottom you can see the exposed brick. The congregation in Ledig in north-western South Africa does not have much, but it has a choir—its very own. .

Most of the choir members are children, and they sing their hearts out. They don’t even have music, let alone a hymnal. But there is a sister who teaches them. She teaches the children the melody, and then in one hand she holds up a sheet with the text on it and directs them with the other one.

A gift from a surprise visit

This small choir loves to sing. District Apostle John L. Kriel was absolutely amazed by it. He knew this was not being staged for him. They sing like this every Sunday.

As a matter of fact, the District Apostle was on holiday and decided to pay a surprise visit to this small congregation in the Rustenburg area. And this is how he discovered this small choir who learns every hymn by heart—and not even in their mother tongue Setswana, but in English.

Achieving much with few resources

Although the choir’s singing was not pitch perfect, it moved District Apostle Kriel deeply. What was so remarkable for him was what this choir leader had achieved with so few resources. He took a gift home with him: the insight that it does not take much to achieve amazing things.

“Work with what you have.” This was the title of a presentation the South African District Apostle gave at NAC Talks, an exhibition hosted by the New Apostolic Church USA in Washington over Pentecost. He not only talked about his surprise visit to this small rural congregation, but he also shared a personal story.

From a motor car accident …

“Why are you limping?” What a question! As a result of a serious motor car accident as a young man, John Kriel had to walk with crutches. His prospects for the future: walking with the aid of crutches for the next forty years. But then an orthopaedic surgeon was able to repair his damaged hip, which enabled him to walk unaided. The advantage came with a disadvantage: his right leg was shorter than the left one, and he had to wear a shoe with a raised sole.

And then a friend asked him this question. Without thinking, John Kriel answered, “I’m not limping, I’m walking without crutches!” Anyone who wants to do something with the means at his disposal should not groan about what he does not have, but concentrate on what he actually has.

… to a half marathon

After changing his approach and no longer focusing on what he could not do, the District Apostle started to train to fulfil a dream he had: participating in the Two Oceans Marathon in Cape Town. Well, okay, he did not run the entire distance, “only” 21 kilometres. And since he could not run, he walked the distance. But by focusing on what he could do, he completed the race within three hours to qualify for a medal.

District Apostle Kriel’s message: Many times we want to work in ideal conditions. We say we don’t have this and we don’t have that. But when we look at what we have we can achieve amazing things.

“I’m not limping, I’m walking without crutches.” With such an approach you can even successfully complete a half marathon.

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