Shifting Paradigms.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of twelve aspiring entrepreneurs from the Lamontville community, graduated from our Paradigm Shift Business Growth course.

In this eighteen week course, members are trained by volunteers and assigned mentors, both of which are christian, business professionals.  The entrepreneurs are coached and discipled on business topics as well as spiritual topics so that they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to run a successful business, whilst keeping God at the centre of their work.

We are so proud of the group that graduated and excited for the new batch of entrepreneurs that have just started the course  in KwaDabeka.



The Story of Gogo Mchunu.

She had three sons and a daughter. One son was unemployed, one had an alcohol problem and the other was in and out of jobs. In June, 2011, she lost her twenty-eight year old daughter to HIV/Aids – the disease that has claimed so many lives in our country. Gogo Mchunu did not even have enough money to organise a funeral service for her beloved child.

Suddenly she had to raise her two grandchildren- an eight year old girl and an eight month old baby boy.  The little girl had psychological problems because she had been raped several times when she was younger.

This is not the situation Mary Mchunu, fondly known as Gogo Mchunu, would have chosen for herself. It’s not the situation any of us would choose for ourselves.

The CAST team met Mary through home visits conducted by volunteers in Lamontville. The team soon realised she was in need of food parcels and through this system they were able to provide some sort of financial relief. A relationship was built with Mary and she soon got to know about Lamontville Baptist Church.

The church organised money to pay for her daughter’s funeral and it was this small action that opened her eyes to the love of Jesus. Here were people that didn’t even really know her and yet they were willing to help her and her family.

In the Zulu culture, there is a belief that when a family member dies, the mourner should stay indoors for almost a month, leaving the house only to buy food.

But after only a couple of weeks, Mary came into Lamontville Baptist, shared her story with the congregation and soon after that became a member of the congregation.

Last year, in 2012, she was baptised.

Gogo Mchunu suffers from arthritis, hypertension and diabetes and should be resting all day, but she loves the church and the people so much, that nobody could keep her from spending time their with everyone.  God has been working through the CAST team and the church so much to bring change in this woman’s life.

Her grandson, who was also found to be infected with HIV/Aids, is growing stronger through the proper nutrition he is receiving and her granddaughter, after attending church, receiving counselling and meeting with missionary volunteers has also shown a huge improvement in her mental state.

Sbusiso Cebisa – the CAST area coordinator and counsellor in the Lamontville area – has been working closely with Gogo Mchunu and her family, trying to help them understand the situation they are living in and helping to empower and equip them to do more with their lives. He tries to help them identify their problems and then work at directly solving those problems.

Gogo Mchunu now sells vegetables to the community as well as packets of popcorn for the children in Lamontville. One of her son’s has also secured a job, so the family has some form of income now. It’s not much, but it’s a start, and the journey of Gogo Mchunu is not over.

From being desolate and scared, feeling like her world was falling apart, she is now an active member of the church, living with purpose and a huge love for Jesus and the community.

All it took was the willingness of volunteers, the love of the local church, and the provision of food parcels to change a life.

And at the core of it all, was Jesus.


Have an Eternal Impact.

Every Tuesday night, Cheryl Robbins walked the streets of Durban with the rest of our Street Ministry team, eager to see the four young boys who had captured her heart. One of them, Maxwell, would run up to her with his arms outstretched, shouting, “Mom!”

That’s what happens during street ministry. Relationships and bonds are formed. Why would a young, black street child regard a white woman, whom he sees once a week, as a motherly figure?

It’s because, in Cheryl, he sees love like he has never known; love that is unconditional, unassuming and without expectation or judgment.  The racial and class divides no longer exist. It has nothing to do with Cheryl or Maxwell, and everything to do with the love of God.

Cheryl clearly remembers the night she met Maxwell. She and the team were walking in Durban central when four young boys happened past them. Spontaneously, Cheryl approached them and started up a conversation. It was during this time that one of the boys opened up to her, telling her about a tough life that no child should have to endure. This boy’s vulnerability prompted another boy, Maxwell, to come forward and tell his story as well. Cheryl soon discovered that these boys were being isolated by their community and her heart broke for them.

She and the rest of the team realised it was time to turn this into more than just a once-off conversation.

They organised to meet up with the boys the following week in the same place. Cheryl baked chocolate muffins and took a basket of food as well hot water and soap. She had made each boy a bag which was filled with a blanket, a bible and three sets of clothes for each of them.

When the boys arrived, Cheryl noticed that they looked a lot cleaner than they had the week before – they had washed and bathed themselves for this “special” occasion.

Through the night, other kids joined in with the feast that the team had prepared and towards the end of it, Cheryl gave the four boys their bags and bibles. On the inside of the bibles, she had written “a letter from God” to each of them, reminding them how special they were and how much Jesus loves them.  The group prayed together, the boys read a little of their bibles, and they made plans to meet up with each other again.

Following that wonderful time, Cheryl met regularly with the boys, got them connected to the Umgeni Community Empowerment Centre as well as Umthombo Children’s Home.

But as we can all imagine, life on the streets is never easy.

The boys would often bathe at the showers on the beachfront promenade, washing the clothes they had been given and making sure to keep their bags and bibles with them always. Sadly one day, all their stuff was taken from them and they were beaten badly.

It was after this that three of the boys lost touch with Cheryl, falling back into their old habits and living patterns… but one boy still remained.

Maxwell continued to pursue God. He started attending surfing lessons and eventually was granted a scholarship. He still sees Cheryl, or “Mom”, regularly, his arms always outstretched. And even though the other boys do not have the same story to tell as Maxwell, seeds have been planted in their hearts, they have encountered God and their journey is still unfolding.

One night, one spontaneous encounter with those boys was all it took for a relationship to develop. And it had nothing to do with Cheryl or the Street Ministry team, but everything to do with God and his unfailing, unchanging love and merciful grace for the poor, the broken and the thief.  Out there on the streets, where it’s scary and unfamiliar, God met with a group of normal people and used them to have an eternal affect on the lives of rejected and hurting children.

When we step out of the comfortable environments, we are able to join in and get involved in the work that God is already doing in the uncomfortable ones, and this WILL result in an eternal impact

To volunteer and be apart of our Street Ministry team, get in touch with us. We cannot wait to meet you.