On June 28 we will have our five year anniversary in South Africa. With less than a month to go now, I feel I should do a little series of what God has shown us as we have journeyed with Him these five years. He has called us and He keeps opening our eyes to His plans and purposes. When Christina’s parents were here last month, we talked quite a bit about defining vision, mission and purpose, giving words to the things we feel in our spirits. Continue reading Why are we here?
Sit back and relax. We now have online giving options! They are super easy! Now everyone can easily join the fun and help spread the LOVE!
Our 2017 budget is in need of 35 people to commit to $50 a month, or some such configuration. It’s never been easier to join! We’d love to partner with you! Click the friendly baboon or GO HERE if you prefer.
A friend of mine in South Africa posted this video on Facebook. It is an animated, abridged version of a TED talk given by author Johann Hari. He wrote a book about substance abuse called Chasing the Scream. He realized he had a number of addicts in his life and didn’t know how to help them. He went on a journey to find answers and wrote about it. I haven’t read the book, yet, (I have started.) but I think his findings are worth considering.
Addiction is a major factor in our community. (Today I was praying with two young moms whose own mothers are addicted to crystal meth. These mothers no longer have relationships with their children or grandchildren.) In many cases, the shame and isolation method of treatment isn’t working. It is making it worse. This author postulates that love and community may be much more effective tools in setting people free, which resonates with where we see God leading us.
Yesterday was the two-year anniversary of the Grade R (kindergarten) at the Ocean View Care Centre. I had no idea until I arrived. The excitement was abundant because it was truly a day to celebrate plus, God had provided a free trip to the circus for the school as a birthday present! Two years of miracles are certainly worthy of celebration.
The story is remarkable. The school was born in pain. The founder lost his young son to cancer at the end of 2014. He decided that he was not going to allow the children of Ocean View to be lost through lack of academic preparation. He couldn’t change what happened to his boy, but he could change the paths of the children of Ocean View who seemed to be falling through the cracks because they were on the streets when they should have been in a Grade R preschool.
The school was started with a simple decision. We will do it and God will provide. There was no building and no budget. These children’s families could not pay for this school and yet these children needed nutrition if they were going to learn. He found a retired teacher to do the teaching, and they rounded up about 20 kids who were Grade R age but were playing in the streets during school days. On February 10, 2015, the school started outside in the corner of a building. It rained that day while kids sat huddled in a corner of an abandoned building.
The school started to grow. More children came and so did more volunteer teachers. In April, the school and Ocean View Care Centre received 16 used shipping containers and were allowed to put them on a plot of council land. Now the school has its own classrooms and kitchen. Playground equipment was donated and a small support staff feed and care for the students.
Every day is a miracle here. Everyone is a volunteer. There are no salaries. When they come to serve, it is a miracle. The children are fed breakfast, lunch and a snack every day with no budget. Miracle. 85 children completed the first year. There was a total of 98 who came at some point during that year. Miracle. That was overwhelming so they capped enrollment at 55 the second year with a smaller staff. Miracle. This year they have about 40 students. Miracle. Almost 200 children’s lives have been impacted over this two years. Miraculous.
During our morning prayer meeting, I found myself praising the “God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous.” He has made a school out of shipping containers and a vacant lot. He has fed and taught almost 200 children and prepared them for a better future. He has changed the lives of countless parents, observers, and volunteers who He has touched as we watched Him work with willing hearts and no budget.
The crazy thing is this is only the beginning of the impossible and preposterous things we expect God to do in Ocean View, in the Fish Hoek Valley, in Cape Town, in South Africa, across the African continent, and around the world. Get ready to participate with the God of the Impossible; God of the Preposterous.
“That is not a massage. No, it’s not a massage. I was telling my neighbor, what happens is… healing. Three other people this week say the same thing. It’s healing, that’s what it is.“-Aunty Eliza
It seems unlikely, I’ll admit. This is the last place you’d visit for a spa experience, with these sun-faded sheets and shattered windows. I’m the last person you’d want give you a massage. I don’t even like feet.
I don’t know exactly when the idea took root. It swirled around in my head after I was given a massage with essential oils by my friend Ginger over three years ago. It was glorious, relaxing, calming and undoing. Continue reading Why Essential Oil Massages in Ocean View?
Please read this article. Please pray for Ocean View.
On the evening of Jacobs’s funeral on Tuesday, her family pointed to some young juveniles called “bokkies” who they said helped kill her, but would not speak to the police because they were afraid they would be next on their hit list.
Residents say the child hitmen, recruited to commit murders, are feared even though they are as young as nine.
“I am heartsore about Linkie’s death, about the messy way she was killed. She did not deserve it. Everyone knows who killed her, but no one will talk. If you lived here and have seen people drop like flies for even speaking to police, you will understand the fear,” a family member said.
That’s Bernie. She won’t be too thrilled about this picture. But, let me tell you the story. I (Christina) was supposed to go to Bernie’s flat for tea, but “on a whim” (God’s idea) I said, “Why don’t we go out for lunch?” So we did. We went right across the street from the entrance to Ocean View to a hippie, organic-type, trendy place called Imhoff’s Farm.
I recommended the club sandwich (also pictured). It’s delish.
Halfway though our meal, tears started rolling down her face.
“Just this morning, I said to God, ‘I haven’t ever been to that Farm across the street. And I don’t know when the last time was that I ate bacon. Now, here I am, at this beautiful place, eating bacon. God is just so good to me.”
When the waiter came over to check on us, Bernie said, “My compliments to the chef. This is the first time I’ve ever been here.”
“Oh, are you from Johannesburg?”
“No, I’m from Ocean View! I’ve lived there 18 years and this is my first time here, ” she proudly proclaimed ( Did I mention it’s literally, RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET).
Then we talked about the goodness of God and He brings people together.
“Yes, I never thought I would sit and have lunch with a white person from another country. But God brings people together. God hears. He sees.”
Yes, He does.
It’s so hard to describe what live is like for residents of Ocean View. This news article does a great job, even though the facts are hard to stomach. Please give it a read so you can see what every day life is like for the people we love here.
Welcome to Ocean View – a township where scores of people have been gunned down since December in gang-related violence.
Ocean View is home to 30 000 people, of whom at least 60% are unemployed, say community workers.
The latest crime statistics show there were 26 murders and 231 drug crimes reported there between April 2014 and March 2015. These stats only reflect cases reported to the police, and community organisers say the murder rate is much higher. Continue reading Living in ‘Gang Hell’