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The Ripple Effect.

It’s a one night commitment a week…but it could change a life for eternity.

About one and a half years ago, the CAST Street Ministry Team met a man named Johan at one of their weekly visits to The Nest shelter in Durban Central. Many of the team warmed to Johan’s friendly nature and dry sense of humour and over time he became a good friend to the team. He had not had contact with his family for years, and would never tell the team why, choosing instead to treat them as his family.

“He often had the ability to lift us up and encourage us when we were trying to do the same for him”

Johan was not a healthy man though. With ulcers on both legs and respiratory problems, he was an outpatient at Addington Hospital. After a while, his condition deteriorated.  He was admitted to hospital where he was diagnosed with stage four cancer of the larynx, which was inoperable, and underwent a tracheotomy.

Once he was discharged from the hospital, Johan found he had nowhere to go– The Nest refused to have him back and he couldn’t afford frail care on his insufficient grant. Eventually the Street Ministry team managed to find a shelter that had space for him, although the conditions were shocking. The state of this shelter led to Johan’s health deteriorating even further and the team could only pray that somehow a miracle would happen in terms of better accommodation.

One of the ladies in the team continuously phoned all the institutions and homes she could think of until finally the Hillcrest Aids Centre agreed to take Johan into their care. The difference between the shelter and the Aids Centre was unfathomable: He was surrounded by Christian staff who loved and cared for him; fed nutritious meals daily; sleeping in a spotless general ward and given medication which included morphine. It wasn’t long before Johan had developed friendships with the staff and other patients, and on their frequent visits, the team would find a cheerful and positive man sitting in his wheelchair in the Hillcrest sunshine. The home was an answer to prayer.

Sadly, the cancer spread and on the 3 June 2013, Johan passed away in a beautiful and comfortable environment surrounded by loving friends. CAST rejoices in the fact that Johan had accepted Jesus as his Saviour and given his life to the Lord and that he did not have to suffer on the streets or in a dirty shelter.

Despite not being in contact with his family, the team managed to get in touch with them and invite them to the memorial service, which was held at Westville Baptist Church. His death has actually reunited his family and the team hopes that as a result of their friendship with Johan, they will have the opportunity to connect more with his family…who knows what ministry opportunities that may bring.

We see this story as a success, because Johan’s journey and the commitment of the team can teach all of us about how to love God and still have faith through suffering as well as show us the ripple effect that happens when we invest time and love and effort into the life of just one person.

If you think that God is incapable of using you to create a ripple effect of impact, then come and join the Street Ministry Team on a Tuesday night and let them prove you wrong.

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Big Dreams, Small Steps.

The electricity in the township is out again. The residents cannot cook food for themselves or for their families and the nearest store is a decent walk away. Besides, walking in the dark of the night is never the safest option for anybody.
Nokuthula Ngcopo was tired of seeing this incident happen over and over again. This was a community she was born into and had grown up to love and so she came up with a business idea that serves Lamontville.
This is how “Fuza’s Fast Foods” came to be.
But starting and running a business is never an easy task especially when there is little to no capital, and you have no business experience. Although Nokuthula quickly gained customers, she would never know if she was making much of a profit or covering her expenses because she hadn’t learnt how to record her finances properly. It was also difficult to be efficient when she couldn’t afford the necessary equipment such as a frying machine and a chopping machine.
But, as the breadwinner of her house – with four kids and a mother to look after – she had to continue working.
Eventually she heard about the Paradigm Shift Business Course that’s run by CAST and started attending the weekly forums.
“Through Paradigm Shift I was able to get a loan to buy a frying machine. The course also taught me how to save, how to record my finances and how to handle customers. The spiritual aspect of the course helped me a lot too. Now I have started to pray every night and every morning which I never used to do before.”
Since being involved in the Paradigm Shift Course, Nokuthula has noticed a dramatic improvement in her business. She is selling more on a daily basis and her customer database has increased. She estimates that she is earning a monthly profit of between R1200-R1500. She is now able to employ another lady to assist her which helps her business to run more efficiently and effectively.
“My dream would be to open different fast food branches in other communities and in town.”
And now that she has acquired business knowledge and experience, that dream has more potential to become a reality.

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Add Some Drama To The Mix

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For a number of years, CAST has been running an after-school homework club at Addington Primary School. Volunteers assist small groups of children with their homework and provide an alternative to spending the afternoon on the streets. Children are referred by their school teachers and a lot of them have severe learning problems.

This year, one of our interns, Rebecca Benn, decided to add something extra to the Addington Primary Extra Curricular programme. As well as assisting with Homework Club, she has started up an after-school Drama Group for girls.

Not having any indication as to how well-attended the group would be or if there would even be anyone interested in coming, this venture was a courageous one.

“I expected there to be about 5 girls attending the first lesson and instead, I was faced with 15”

So it was a good start and it got even better, as every week the Drama group grew and grew. She now meets every Wednesday with about 24 Grade 6&7 girls and is looking at starting a Friday class for the Grade 4’s and 5’s.

This kind of extra mural activity not only keeps the children off the streets but also provides them with a platform and the freedom to express themselves which they may not get in their home environments. For girls who battle with anger or depression, drama is an effective tool in allowing them to deal with their emotions in a stable way.

With regards to Homework Club, Rebecca aims to do more for the children that have severe learning disabilities as well the children who don’t understand or speak English.There are a number of children who come from DRC and a lot who only speak Swahili or French. It’s hard for our volunteers to help these children with homework because of the language barrier, so we are looking at running one-on-one basic literacy classes with these children in the mornings before school.

So far, we are so pleased at the impact our homework club and drama group are having, but we can definitely do more.If you are keen or know of someone who wants to help out in any way with this ministry, please get in touch with someone from CAST. We always appreciate suggestions and support and we love seeing people in our community getting involved hands-on. Small things can have an eternal impact.