Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lukhanyo Community Care Center...

This Wednesday, our weekly team prayer meeting was held at Lukhanyo. Located in the heart of Silvertown community in Mbekweni. Lukhanyo, which means "light" in Xhosa, is exactly that... a source of light in this wonderful community that also needs a lot of care and help. Sydwell Magqazana has been the center manager for the past 5 years and he has an amazing heart for young and old here.
This year, the Monte Christo Miqlat team is working on building a whole set of great programs that Sydwell will oversee out of the newest Community Care Center. Wednesday, our team gathered to pray over the center and we were joined by the group of local elders who gather each day to work on their crafts, garden and keep the center clean. Our group broke into teams of 3 and went into each room and outside to pray over all the great things that are going to happen here. Computer labs, arts room, library, social work center, bike repair shop, spaza shop, and bathrooms with showers are going to be bustling once we get our funding and the work has been completed. We KNOW it's going to happen and we're waiting for the good news as to WHEN.
Needless to say, after this day we didn't want to leave - as Sydwell said... this place is now home to our whole team! Amen.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Democracy in South Africa

Sometimes you stop and realize what a privilege it is to live here. Today was one of those days. Today is voting day in South Africa... and yes, it is a national holiday in recognition of the fact. Two of our community centers, Tiffany's and Lukhanyo, served as voting centers for their communities. We also had two members of our ministry family running for their respective ward counselor positions. Kathy Sias and Sydwell Magqazana are now waiting to hear how they did.
Democracy is alive and well in our community as well as our country. At each voting center 7 or more parties had tables, banners and music going in support of their respective candidates. It was very festive and the lines to vote were sometimes very long... but blessedly peaceful and fun (at least at our locations). We actually had Monte Christo Miqlat staff manning more than one party booth!!! In the next few days we'll find out who our new municipal leaders are. But for now, we can sit back and rest in the joy of knowing that the people do determine who is leading this African country... that truly is something to celebrate! It's also nice to know that Monte Christo Miqlat is such an active participant in the community - regardless of which of the many parties our staff supports.

Our Leadership Team

We are amazingly blessed to have such a gifted and called leadership team. At our meeting this week, we had our full leadership group of 16 present. When it came time to share what's going on in each area, we started with "one awesome thing that happened last week." It took an hour and a half to get through it... that's what a blessing it is to be involved in Monte Christo Miqlat. Yes, we have many, many challenges... but compared to what is happening in the communities we're serving, they are nothing at all.
Just take a look at this group, yes, we're as diverse as we look - yet we share the same passion and the same conviction - to do all we can to fulfill the commandment to serve those in our community who need help. What a great thing to be able to spend your time on. Please pray for us! Thanks to all of you for your support!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Meet Peter Dennis George Whittaker

Peter is blessed to be a graduate of our Full Circle Homeless Program, and at 68 years old, has had some challenging circumstances in his life.

Peter was 9 years old when his father passed away at 42 years old. His mother, then 37 years old, was forced to work two jobs in order to put food on the table for Peter and his sister and 4 brothers. Peter was able to get through Standard 6 (Grade 8) level of schooling before he had to go to work to help earn money for the family. Over the years, Peter has worked as a laborer in the building trade, an upholsterer, and as a fisherman in the fishing industry. More recently, he earned money by doing freelance garden work, painting houses and cleaning gutters.

After his mother passed away in the early 80’s Peter did not want to stay with his family any longer and in his own words, became a street person. He continued to work in his areas of expertise and would basically sleep on stoops or in night shelters when he could afford it. Five years ago a social worker brought him to Paarl because Paarl is home to one of the largest night shelters in the Western Cape. Peter was able to get enough work here in Paarl to be able to afford (along with his small pension) a bed in the night shelter. Peter became involved with our Full Circle Homeless Program two years ago, and very quickly moved from street sweeper and cleaner to a foreman. After working in this capacity for several months, he began to provide additional assistance to the MCM Coffee Shop which is located next door to the Full Circle Homeless offices. He quickly worked himself into a part time custodian of our Coffee Shop and regularly shows up to work at 5:00 in the morning to make sure that the property is swept and cleaned and our tables are set out before our breakfast clients arrive each morning. He also maintains the gardens and does other tasks as needed.

As a result of this job, and some additional freelance gardening jobs that he continues to manage, we are celebrating with Peter his one year anniversary of having moved into his own flat. He shared in his interview that he feels blessed that God has given him good health, surrounded him with good people and friends and given him the ability to continue to work to make a living to support himself. He also shared his lifetime dream...that God would give him his own house before he dies. He is trusting God for that.

We are the blessed ones to have Peter as a member of our team. And may his story bless you too.