Let’s Play!

Learners from Elkanah House High School adopted our project on a Philippi farm, where we run a weekly play group with desperately needy children.

It was extra special this past month as the Elkanah Grade 11 learners and Vanessa, Cassandra’s mom, had a jungle gym installed.

On the day of installation, the children were not supposed to use it for 2 days to allow things to set. Can you imagine a worse form of torture? 🙂

The children are ecstatic about their new playground and we would like to thank Chelsea, Cassandra, Oliver, Holly and Ethan, all Grade 11 Learners from Elkanah House High School, for making this possible.

Change in the midst of darkness

Blondy remembers the turning point that led her down a road of destruction and chaos so clearly.  She now speaks of these events from a perspective of triumph and gratitude.

It was the night of the school beauty contest and all the girls attending were so excited and dressed for the occasion.  Blondy had a dress that she tried to mend for the evening.  She carefully sewed the torn parts under the arms, but it was still clumsy.  That night, she was the laughingstock of the school.    

She was used to going to school with broken shoes.  Since her father died when she was only 11 years old, and her mother remarried a man who wanted nothing to do with her children, Blondy had become accustomed to playing the mother role to her younger brother, who was also asthmatic and deaf.  

That night after the event, she was crying when she came home, only to find her brother, sick and hungry.  She decided that night, that she had to take a stand and turn things around for them.  She made the decision to leave school and go to the people in her community, who she knew had status and money.  They taught her the ‘short ways’ of life.

Starting with fraudulent cheques and bank frauds, Blondy soon had enough money to care for her brother’s medical needs and ensure that they were comfortable.  Gaining influence in the underworld, she started recruiting many people to do the same job.  By 2007 she was considered a syndicate and on the Hawks ‘most wanted’ list from Cape Town to Joburg.  2002 was the first year Blondy found herself in prison and in 2012 was sentenced to 33 years, all concurrent up to 12 years with a suspended sentence.  Whether inside or out of prison, Blondy was a leader, and became ‘unmanageable’. 

In solitary confinement one day, they threw a Bible at her and she found herself reading it like a novel.  “I’ve heard your cries, now I am here to rescue you”.  These were the words she read and she became so aware of the mask that she had been wearing and for the first time, believed that there was a God and He was speaking to her.  She made peace with God and with herself. 

Blondy served 6 years and is now a field worker with City Mission.  She is on an amazing journey of transforming her own life and also reaching out to many broken, rejected and shunned women who battle with the stigma of prostitution and being ex-offenders.  “I want God’s grace to help me save these women and bring back their dignity.”   

Help us change the stories of women like Blondy, by making a financial contribution to these programmes. (Reference your donation as: Res-W)

To access our services or for any further information, please call our office or drop us an email at reception@citymission.org.za.

Meal packs to feed 10000

During Winter this year, over 80 Volunteers rallied together to pack 48 Boxes which makes up 10 368 pre-packed meals that will feed many destitute homes this winter … & had lots of fun doing it.

We’re so grateful for every effort that was made to pull this off.  Every financial gift & every person, young and old that invested into this event, has contributed to make a change in someone’s life this Winter.

These meals are highly nutritious and comprises of rice, soya, dehydrated vegetable mix and fortification pack that contains 23 essential vitamins and minerals specifically formulated to combat malnutrition, complying with the UNICEF standards.  

As with all our interventions, these meals opens doors for City Mission to build relationships and continue work with recipients on an ongoing basis, with the purpose of developing individuals who are ‘whole’ and ‘healed’ in every aspect of their lives.

Entrepreneurial Development for Change

We hosted our second intake of students for our Micro Business Start up Programme in partnership with Chris Black from Hi-Eye-Q Training & Consultancy, that is generously funded by the DG Murray Trust.

One of the most significant challenges for our programme participants is being able to substitute negative sources of income for positive ones. This programme is specifically designed to equip entrepreneurially-inclined unemployed, to start and run their own businesses.

Our main goals is to assist our staff and clients coming from backgrounds of crime, gangsterism and prostitution with skills, resources and the ability to substitute their negative income source with a positive source of income, enough to sustain their personal livelihoods and provide for their families in non-destructive ways.

The first programme was a pilot for around 15 clients and field worker staff.  Participants were taken through a supported and monitored guided programme right from start-up of their business and will be monitored and supported for a period of 1 year.

In addition to this, 4 of our Field worker staff, will continue onto the ‘Train the Trainer’ component of the programme that will allow City Mission licencing to offer this training as part of what we do.

Ultimately this assists us to achieve our mandate to bring about lasting transformation in communities in need and the bring valuable means to margenalised and disenfranchised people.

Thanks Chris for a great 6 weeks of learning. Thank you DG Murray Trust for making this possible. We value you.

Tygerberg Hospital Feeding Programme

In 2014 City Mission developed a partnership with the Slick Restaurant Group and Tygerberg Hospital’s Ophthalmology Department to feed approximately 150 patients per day with a sandwich, fruit and beverage.  The Slick Restaurant Group donates corneal transplants that they are importing from the USA for people in need.  This will undoubtedly improve visual acuity amongst people of all ages, who would otherwise not have this opportunity.

However, many of these people are from communities in need, living in destitute conditions and are forced to queue and sit for hours waiting to be treated.  Sadly many people who come for treatment have used their last financial resources to get to the hospital and have not eaten all day. 

With this in mind we supply a little meal pack of sandwiches, a fruit and juice for approximately 150 patients twice a week. (Tuesdays and Wednesdays).  

An average of 300 meal packs per week are prepared by volunteers, most of who come from an aged Care Centre in Hanover Park.  Feeding is not the final goal and this allows us opportunities to engage with people, offer emotional support and develop friendships that lead to changed lives. 

For every field task we seek an intentional outcome.  We often get feedback from recipients and every engagement gives us an opportunity to bring hope to and change someone’s life for the better.

“Good morning, I’m Johanna;  Today I’m here at the eye clinic at Tygerberg hospital and what a lovely surprise when your friendly angels pitch with a lovely meal pack and a icy cool drink much appreciated and grateful for. Thanks for the sponsors and willing hands that prepare it. I’m trusting God for 20/20 vision in both my eyes its already improving.”

One recipient of a meal pack at Tygerberg Hospital says;

“I had such a huge surprise when I was sitting at Tygerberg Hospital when someone handed me a meal pack … and I didn’t have to pay for it!!! Wow, that’s all I could say …. It was the first time in days I had something substantial to eat. It was wonderful and I felt soooo blessed.  I do work but my income is not enough and after paying everything, money to buy proper food is not there so we eat something small every second day.”

Impacting Ermelo

The City Mission field team were privileged to be asked by various organizations in Gauteng, to speak with groups engaged in the work of reaching out to broken and hurting people.  From homelessness to the offender, ex-offender and addiction space to impoverished disused mining communities.  The first engagements took place in Benoni, Fourways and Centurion and included training in the basic principles of Disciple Making Jesus’ way.

Then we drove nearly 3 hours to the NG Kerk in Ermelo Oos.  We were asked as a team, to join them for 5 days with their outreach programs and to talk them through Disciple Making strategies to reach the brokenness all around their church.  It was a humbling and awesome experience.  We engaged daily with their team listening to their heart cry for their town. And we engaged daily with broken and homeless young men and women who have been sucked and swallowed into Nyope and other addictions, human trafficking and prostitution.

The conversations we had with young men and women on the streets were heartbreaking.  Much prayer is needed as they engage the needy with services and as they find the worthy persons or Persons of Peace that Jesus talks about as His entry strategy into communities.  The victory will come out from the harvest, of that I have no doubt. 

Our combined heart cry is “O Lord, only YOU can make this happen.”

We pray for great Kingdom victory in Ermelo, Benoni and other parts of our majestic country, and that God will reward their hearts for the lost and bless the work of their hands.

The Walking Wounded

By Riedewaan* (name changed to protect identity)

I cried when I was born, the evidence shows why.

At the end of 9 tedious years in prison, I woke up every morning

And I realized, I hated myself and the life I was living.

An unpleasant odor followed me whichever way I turned.

The smell of a deep set wound in the deepest recesses of my heart.

Because it was unattended to for years, too many to count.

I believe it was an injured part of my being,

And all I that I knew was an incurable heart beat

Pacing at a dying rate each and every day.

And I, was walking around wounded.

Leaving behind the scent of an easy pain

Yet threatening and sinister enough,

To fend off whoever wanted a piece of me.

During my upbringing, I experienced immense difficulties at home.

My primary habitation that should have provided the comfort, security and tranquility of a living home,

Was the very place I was most unhappy, lonely and restless.

I was delighted to put the blame on my parents

For the unstable environment that I found myself in.

The nonexistence of my father was too hard to bear.

My father never left me. 

He just never had time for me, or any word of encouragement.

Not receiving any blessing or expression of praise was far worse than not receiving any substance of necessity.

I remember as a boy wanting my father to die and feeling immense guilt for having such a desire.

He spent his entire life making himself the center of attention.

Thus, we might reason that I am who I am today, not just because of my own actions but because of the void left by him.

I acknowledge that it hurts.

And I choose to extend forgiveness to my father.

I am probably indebted as well anyway.

But how many of us can truly point a finger to our fathers.

For he too lacked in his father, what I longed for in him.

As one of the walking wounded, I was trotting along with this target; Bulls eye on my back

Constantly on high alert, my rivals fixated on me

As if from a shooting range.

If this fatal wound to the very core of my soul wasn’t enough to kill me any quicker,

I had to find a way to end it myself.

And what better solution I had than playing in the face of danger.

Like playing cops and robbers.

And sad to say, toy guns, were not going to do.

Not only was I a robber of wealth and riches,

But robbing people of their lives and peacefulness.

A menace to society.

Sending boys my own age far too early to their graves was the bravado of my gang culture.

Another one bites the dust, with no hope beyond the grave.

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives.

And giving back a man’s heart is the hardest mission on earth.

Because he first has to admit that he lost himself.

For me, it took longer than most.

I believe if we want to establish character, we need to set boundaries.

I contend that it teaches us to be strong within the confines of our reality.

These wounds can cripple one for life.

If he refuses to seek aid, becoming vulnerable and letting one’s guard down isn’t easy.

But if we are able to release ourselves from these walls we erected,

We need to let go and let God.

It is scary to think about the potential life changing decisions we make every day.

We remember very little about the past and we know absolutely nothing about the future.

But we are called to accept that which we cannot change.

In the road to discovering myself, I was able to identify, no matter how deep the wound to one’s soul, words that will lighten one’s soul are more precious than any jewels.

And living a life without meaning is madness.

And to put meaning into one’s life is the torture of restlessness and mad desire.

It’s a home longing to live, so that which is broken is made whole again.

In truth it determines not my destination but my life.

What you are journeying towards, is freedom, healing, and authenticity.

Are you still walking around wounded?

I believe that when you hold a candle to light another one’s path

You brighten your own.

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Handing over the reins

I tried to think of a way to capture my 52-year journey with City Mission in one short paragraph, but I gave up trying. It needs a book.

But believe me, the God stories over these 5 decades have been transformational and dramatic in countless ways. I was tasked with driving Discipleship strategies as a core function of City Mission 10 years ago and I believe that God has firmly placed City Mission as a driver and catalyst in this space, not just in our City but in our nation.

Coaching Disciple makers and disciple making strategies is my lifestyle and my passion. I am thankful that I will be able to continue in this dedicated role within City Mission, without the CEO type functions, as we solidify leadership development from within and take the ministry into the future.

 

 

 

 

 

City Mission is excited and thankful to announce this change in leadership.  As of 9th January 2019, I will be handing over the functions of CEO to Mrs. Carmen Daniels.  I am thrilled that we can make this appointment from within. Carmen started her journey with City Mission as a volunteer in 1998 and came on staff in August 2000. She is married to Andre and they have a beautiful daughter Kendra.    

Carmen has served us competently and faithfully for the last 20 years, in various roles, including Senior management and Board levels.  She has also produced our marketing and publication materials for many years.  Carmen is a gifted administrator who understands and fully supports that Disciple Making Movements is at the core of what we do and that the transforming power of Jesus is evidenced through changed lives that impact their communities.

Do stop by in the new year or invite Carmen to chat over coffee and get a sense of her heartbeat.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stories of Change: Blondy

FROM PRISON TO PURPOSE

My name is Blondy, I grew up in Guguletu. My childhood was sweet, until I began to surround myself with negative peers, because I so much wanted to fit in. I started partying till early hours of the morning and my behavior changed completely. My parents gave up on me.

The worse part of my life began in 2002 when I started committing crime and getting involved with serious fraud syndicates. I was in and out of prison and ended up with numerous warrants for arrest. In June 2014 I was arrested and convicted for 17 counts of Fraud, corruption and money laundering.

In 2015 I was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment. Then I found myself all alone. My friends vanished, and I was drafted to Kroonstad prison, where I had no one to visit or bring me any comforts. One day while I was sitting on my prison bed, I looked back where I came from and I realized that the devil had stolen so much from me and with my permission! That is when I decided that when I get out of prison, I want a new life.

I prayed to GOD for forgiveness of my sins. I came out of prison in May 2018. The vision that I had is to influence and save lives that are still in darkness. I did not know where to start. While I had this mind, I was introduced by a friend to City Mission and began to do volunteer work.

I enjoy helping with the meal provision to the Eye OPD at Tygerberg Hospital. I also go to farm to spend time and play games with the farm laborer children to show them that GOD loves them. The children really enjoy this weekly visit. My vision is to help people who are still going in and out of prison especially women who are living in darkness. What a wonder that If you turn to GOD, HE will not hold your previous life against you.

HE accepts you with your burdens and you will be at a place of peace.  That’s where I am now.

 

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Touched by Love

The urban farms that make up the Philippi Horticultural Area are part of the Cape Flats, and only 20 minutes from the city centre. It is here that 80% of Cape Town’s vegetables are grown and cultivated and then sold to us through the retail giants, fresh produce markets and informal traders.
As we work with the farm labourers and their children through the years, it saddens me that they are largely such a forgotten people. Yet we live off their hard labour and forget them because we don’t see them.

Thanks to Logos Church we had a wonderful time just blessing the hands that serve us through their labour. The ladies’ hands are rough from hard work. Gentle loving touch from partners or others is not their everyday experience. So, what a delight for them and for us to treat, manicure and caress these hard-working women’s hands and just bless them as we talked and prayed with them.

 

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