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Why Not?

DSC_0363.jpgWhen Timothy Mohlala, CAST’s KwaDabeka Community Coordinator, recruited volunteers at KwaDabeka Baptist Church to help out with CAST’s programmes, Senkie’s first response was, “Why not?”  Originally from Johannesburg, Senkie moved to KwaDabeka with a friend and was quick to join KwaDabeka Baptist Church and get involved.  He now also studies Business Management at Ilanga College.

Senkie believes in the power of giving back to others.  As he explains, “It is possible to change someone’s life.  Helping is very needed.  It’s about being there for people, and not just yourself.”

Even though Senkie is not an original KwaDabeka resident, he is still passionate about developing the community.  He believes there is much to be done that can change the lives of individuals and families in the community.

One way Senkie gives back is through volunteering with CAST’s food parcel programme in KwaDabeka.  Once a month, CAST and KwaDabeka Baptist Church host a Ministry Day to encourage food parcel recipients through prayer and fellowship.  Food parcels are also passed out to recipients during this event.

Senkie is motivated to volunteer because of his faith.  Before he came to KwaDabeka, he was unsure what to believe.  However through his spiritual growth at KwaDabeka Baptist Church, he was motivated to reach out in his community and show others the love of Christ.

If you also have a heart for making a difference in your community, volunteering with CAST is a great way to utilise your God-given talents and abilities for the Kingdom of God.  If you especially enjoy being on the ground and interacting with people, why not volunteer with CAST’s food parcel programme?  Once a month, Ministry Days are hosted in each of our partner communities, and provide an amazing opportunity to meet people in the community who are impacted by CAST’s programmes and the local church.  For more information, please contact Dale at: dale@cast.org.za

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Too Much Power in Chibini

When you ask Baba Khumalo about how he likes his new bakkie, the first thing he says is, “Too much power!”

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Baba Khumalo and his wife pastor a church in the rural community of Chibini.  CAST partners with this church to help run its thriving children’s ministry.  During the past two years CAST has partnered with Chibini Baptist to run holiday clubs, which has brought tremendous and sustained growth to the Sunday School Programme. The Sunday School has become so popular that kids from other surrounding communities want to come and join. However the distance and rough dirt roads prevented the children from coming.

That all changed when a generous donor provided a bakkie to the Khumalos. Now Baba Khumalo is able to pick up an extra 15 children every Sunday from the surrounding communities.  The Khumalos now average 85 children for Sunday School, an impressive number considering the small size of the community.

The bakkie also enables the Khumalos to do home visits and outreach in the community, making connections with the families of children who attend Sunday School.

A vital part of the their ministry is providing a meal for the children every Sunday from their garden.  Having access to the bakkie has allowed the Khumalos to sell their produce to local tuck shops and make a bit of income in order to grow their garden and feed the growing amount of children in Sunday School.

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Another blessing for the Khumalos has been their bore hole. Earlier in the year the same donor provided for the bore hole to be dug. This water source has not only enabled the Khumalos to continue growing food for Sunday School during dry season, but has also benefitted the entire community during the recent drought.

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As we come to the end of 2015, CAST wants to thank our Saviour for the blessings He has provided our communities with this year, especially in Chibini.  God’s provision has not only transformed Chibini Baptist Church, but also the surrounding communities!  Please continue to pray for the Khumalos and the children and families involved with Sunday School as their ministry grows.

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Holiday Fun in KwaDabeka

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This past week, CAST partnered with an American team from Lake Pointe Church in Texas to organise a holiday club for the children in KwaDabeka.

On Monday, the team did training with local volunteers and invited kids from around the neighbourhood to come to KwaDabeka Baptist Church for holiday club.

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Though it was very cold in the beginning of the week, kids showed up to learn more about how God loves them and wants a relationship with them.

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As the weather warmed up, over 100 kids showed up for holiday club on both Wednesday and Thursday. The messages and activities focused on perseverance through trials and serving each other. The American team and local volunteer team were able to model a practical example of service from the Bible by washing the feet of the children.

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CAST is incredibly thankful for all the volunteers who made this holiday club possible!  Special thanks to the team from Lake Pointe Church who came all the way from Texas to reach kids in our community with the love of Christ.

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Rural Happenings

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CAST’s Appelsbosch Community Empowerment Centre

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Pastor Dube and Coach Ostrich

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Appelsbosch

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Appelsbosch Baptist Church

A few weeks ago, we heard from Ostrich, CAST’s Sport & Youth Development Intern in Appelsbosch.  Since that last update, the outside painting of Appelsbosch Baptist Church has been finished, and the connecting CAST Community Centre Office has been completed as well.  Appelsbosch community members now have a formal place to go to access CAST services.

In regards to Youth Development in this community, Ostrich organised 38 children from Noodsberg Primary School for a development rugby team.  For the older guys, Ostrich has put together a district team for 23 players from Appelsbosch, Noodsberg, and Chibini.  They recently played in a local tournament and won.

During the school holidays, the Vikings Rugby Academy from Norwegian Settlers Church will be doing a coaching clinic for the rugby teams in Appelsbosch.

In our other rural communities, Noodsberg Baptist Church and Chibini Baptist Church will be hosting a Fun Run/Walk this weekend.  There will be a 5K Walk and Run, as well as 10K and 20K Runs.  Medals will be awarded for winners.

Make sure to check out our Facebook page to see photos from these exciting upcoming events at: http://facebook.com/CAST_ngo

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Meet the Coaches: Sibu & Jackie

In honour of the upcoming Youth Day holiday next week, CAST would like to introduce two of our new coaches working with youth in the community:

Sibu

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“Our aim is to change lives.”

Sibu’s heart for the boys in his community is evident.  Growing up without a mom, Sibu is able to identify with many of the boys in Noodsberg who don’t have a parent actively present in their lives.

Originally from Tongaat, Sibu ended up in Noodsberg fifteen years ago after he became very sick.  A gogo took him in and after Sibu recovered, the gogo saw Sibu’s potential for farming and encouraged him to pursue growing mealies.

When CAST brought Paradigm Shift to Noodsberg, Sibu was quick to join.  It was at business forum that Sibu learned all about networking, which motivated him to ask Bongani, CAST’s Noodsberg Area Coordinator, about volunteering with the boys soccer team.

Sibu knocked on Bongani’s office door at the CAST Community Centre and said, “Give me your boys!”

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Sibu (back row, on the right with soccer ball) and his team

True to his word, Sibu began training with the boys every weekday.  He coaches a large group of boys, ranging from 13-23 years old.  They train on a very small, informal pitch on the side of a field.  The boys barely have enough room to run, but they have come to really enjoy being part of a team and having a consistent coach.

Despite all the challenges, Sibu says of coaching, “I like to be among people and tell them how life is.”

Sibu also has a desire to give back to his boys by teaching them how to farm.  He wants them to not only be part of a team, but also develop a life skill they can use in the future.

Jackie

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A year ago, CAST started our very first sports team for girls.  This initial tennis team in KwaDabeka has led to another girls basketball team in that community, as well as a girls netball team in Chibini.

One of the challenges CAST’s Youth Development Department has faced is finding female coaches for these teams.  After posting a notice in the Westville Baptist Church bulletin for a tennis coach, CAST finally heard from a community member who was interested.

Jackie first approached CAST after hearing about the coaching opportunity from one of her friends who attends Westville Baptist Church.  Interested in development work, Jackie was happy to utilize her experience in tennis.  Under the direction of a new coach, the girls have grown in their tennis skills.

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CAST relies on volunteers like Sibu and Jackie, who are passionate about reaching out to youth in the community.  Without these volunteers, who consistently give of their time each week, CAST would be unable to run our youth programmes and offer sports opportunities to the youth.  All of our programmes at CAST are “grassroot” by nature, being run by ordinary people, for ordinary people, but in ways that bring extraordinary results.

CAST is still looking for a girls basketball coach in KwaDabeka.  If you are interested in coaching, please contact George Mwaura at george@cast.org.za or 0795967364.

In addition, this coming Tuesday, 16 June, CAST will be hosting a Youth Day Celebration at KwaDabeka Baptist Church from 10am-2pm.  Please feel free to join us as we celebrate the youth of KwaDabeka!

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Coach Ostrich

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CAST’s Youth Development Team (left to right): Shaun (KwaDabeka Intern), Ostrich (Appelsbosch Intern), and George (Youth Development Manager)

Originally from Appelsbosch, Mazisi (also known as ‘Ostrich’) is no stranger to the challenges that face his community, especially for the youth.  Appelsbosch is located in the Ilembe district, neighbouring the other partner CAST communities of Noodsberg and Chibini.  High rates of teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and lack of activities and work opportunities keep the youth in this community from realising their potential.

As Ostrich explains, “Most youth from this area are not doing anything.  Guys finished with Matric are not going to college.  Their mindset is to go straight from Matric to work – that is all they know.”

After attending school in Pietermaritzburg, Ostrich decided to move back to his home community to make a difference.  Ostrich is a talented rugby athlete with extensive coaching experience.  This year Ostrich joined the CAST Team, and he oversees CAST’s sports teams in the local communities of Appelsbosch, Chibini, and Noodsberg.

Ostrich works from Appelsbosch Baptist Church.  An impressive 90 percent of the congregation is made up of young people, ranging from 15-25 years old.  Many of the church attendees are from the local college in Appelsbosch, a campus of Coastal KZN TVET College.  When George, CAST’s Youth Development Manager, provided two buckets of paint for Appelsbosch Baptist, Ostrich was able to organise these young people to paint the church walls.  P1020232

Ostrich still faces many challenges in launching a formal Youth Development Programme in Appelsbosch.  There are no fields in the area for sport, and Ostrich has struggled to get involved with youth in the schools.  However, he remains optimistic and realizes there is a need to meet with community members to build trust – specifically parents of the youth.

Please be in prayer for this exciting new opportunity to reach the youth of Appelsbosch!

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Salt of the Earth

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Two years ago, Ann’s career was one of her priorities in life. Since she was 19 years old, Ann had put a lot of time, effort and energy into working full-time and studying part-time to achieve a successful career as a Chartered Accountant and become a Financial Director in a world where the clock never stopped. Even as a mother of two children with a busy household, Ann took no break from her fast-paced life.

In 2012, Ann took the time to re-evaluate her life and asked, “Do I want to continue on this corporate road, and if so, why and for what purpose?”

The answer to this question came in the form of a self imposed “sabbatical” from her career and the corporate world. In 2013, Ann left her position as a Financial Director with a conviction to pursue her own personal interests, spend quality time with her two teenage children and tick items off the bucket list she always dreamed of fulfilling.

For the first time in her adult life, Ann experienced the simple things in life like driving in the sunshine during a weekday, picking up her kids from school and taking a proper vacation with no work involved and no backlogs to worry about. During this time, Ann heard Lee Moyo speak about CAST’s Business Development Programme at church. Realizing that this was one item on her bucket list and she had no excuse not to share her wealth of business experience, Ann decided to write her name down on the CAST volunteer list in the church foyer.

In her former career, Ann had always been actively involved in community projects, but they lacked the personal involvement that she desired. Ann started to volunteer with CAST in March 2013 as a Business Forum Trainer. While she was out of her comfort zone at first, Ann found a sense of purpose and belonging at the end of her first 18 week course. Instead of dealing with highly educated and wealthy people, many of whom had big egos, Ann found humble, sincere individuals in the townships she describes beautifully as “the salt of the earth”.  With no hidden agenda, these individuals had no desire other than to learn how to improve their quality of life.

Ann believes in the ripple effect of the business forum, that even if one person from each business forum is successful, that difference is felt in the greater community. By giving individuals skills instead of handouts, Ann believes you can create greater opportunity for those individuals and their communities.

As Ann says, “The impact is much greater than the one hour training. Life is meaningless if you cannot share your knowledge and experience with others.”

If you interested in getting involved with CAST’s Business Development Programme just like Ann, please contact Lee at: lindelwe@cast.org.za

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Lindo & Rowan

Lindo from KwaDabeka

Lindo from KwaDabeka

A bright student and talented artist in KwaDabeka, Lindo has always excelled at school. However, this past June Lindo’s life started to fall apart when he developed a serious eye infection that impaired his vision and entire nervous system. As Matric exams neared, Lindo was forced to stay home from school for 2 months because of the infection, which made it nearly impossible to see clearly or stand upright.

Eventually Lindo was able to get the treatment he needed. Soon after, Lindo was paired with a mentor from Westville through CAST’s Youth Development Programme.

A successful businessman from Westville, Rowan Oom came into the mentoring relationship not knowing what to expect. He questioned whether he would connect with Lindo, especially coming from two very different cultures.

However, Lindo opened up to Rowan as the father-figure he never had. And contrary to his assumptions, Lindo learned that Rowan had worked hard to achieve his success.

In the words of Lindo, “I have adopted Rowan’s way of life. I thought I should just get a normal job after school, but now I want to go to university.”

They often meet at the McDonalds in Pinetown with no agenda other than to chat about life. Recently, Rowan gave Lindo homework to research and make a decision between graphic design and architecture, his two study interests. Rowan also invited Lindo to his home so that his son could help Lindo with maths.

Rowan finds that mentoring Lindo is similar to talking with his son.

As Rowan explained, “His needs are no different from anyone else’s. He just needs direction within that. Lindo is not a victim of his hurt; he wants to overcome it. He has a vision of where he wants to go.”

CAST’s Youth Development Programme believes in empowering young people to become productive citizens who make a difference in their community. To achieve this goal, CAST needs older mentors who can guide young men in CAST’s Youth Programme. If you would like to make a difference in the life of one of our guys, please email George at: george@cast.org.za

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Patricia

“She doesn’t even say goodbye to me anymore! She feels so comfortable around you!”

Patricia from Chesterville

Patricia from Chesterville

This is what Patricia often hears from parents of the children she cares for.

A typical day at Patricia’s crèche in Chesterville begins with warm porridge, followed by smiles, laughing, and playing. Although Patricia has a limited amount of toys and resources, she loves making the babies and toddlers at her crèche feel happy and safe. After a small snack for lunch, the kids have a chance to sing and dance. They always brighten Patricia’s day and make her laugh.

Before finishing the day, she cleans up the children, changes their messy clothes and dirty nappies, and feeds them one last meal. Then it is time to send them home, tired from a long day of play, yet excited to come back tomorrow.

Patricia remembers almost four years ago when she started watching her neighbour’s grandchild. Little did she know that it would grow into a way to support herself. Although Patricia lives in a small RDP house, she found a way to make use of the space available to her.

Recently, Patricia attended CAST’s Business Forum in Westville. Business Forum has enabled Patricia to dream big about the future. While Patricia finds great satisfaction in caring for the children on her own, she also has dreams of building a larger house and employing others to help accommodate more children in Chesterville.

Patricia is finding the support she needs in CAST’s Business Forum to grow her crèche. This is exactly the heart of CAST’s Business Development Programme: To create opportunities for people to find employment, develop businesses and further their careers in order to earn a decent income and provide for their families. If you would like to get involved with CAST’s Business Forum, email Li at: lindelwe@cast.org.za

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An Alliance of Churches: CAST’s History

The work of CAST started about 40 years ago, when Westville Baptist Church developed a relationship with Ephraim Mzobe, a young milk-delivery man in Westville and a strong Christian. Westville Baptist Church assisted Ephraim in pursuing further education. After Ephraim had studied for the ministry at Union Bible Institute, he went back to his home in Noodsberg and established the Noodsberg Baptist Church. Since then Westville Baptist Church and Noodberg Baptist Church have been sister churches in spreading the kingdom of God throughout the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Noodsberg Baptist Church

Noodsberg Baptist Church

It was through Pastor Mzobe that a more than 20 year friendship and partnership developed with KwaDabeka Baptist Church, and later with Lamontville Baptist Church – this was the beginning of an alliance of churches, working together to find solutions to poverty, as well as to social and spiritual problems.

KwaDabeka Baptist Church

KwaDabeka Baptist Church

Sixteen years ago a social worker from Westville Baptist trained a group of community health workers in Cato Manor—the problem, they told her is that we give the people their medicine, but they have no food and they cannot take it on an empty stomach. As a result, CAST’s Food Parcel Ministry was born. Since then, CAST has distributed 30,000 food parcels—about 3 million meals.

Ten years ago, a few key individuals from Westville Baptist Church also began a ministry to the Durban inner-city: services for the homeless, street outreach, Tuesday evening programmes, and holiday clubs for the kids. Soon after the Clothing Ministry was started by a group of our young adults.

Clothing Ministry

Clothing Ministry

Then in 2006, Westville Baptist Church decided to employ a full time director of Compassionate Ministries to help the whole church move forward strategically and deliberately in the area of poverty relief and social development. Early in 2007, Jean-Ray Knighton-Fitt was employed in this position. At that point it was just Jean-Ray and and one other staff working together. They consulted, planned, and started to look for ways to synchronise and make sense of the existing ministries.

In 2008 CAST added three more staff. CAST’s Counselling Ministry and Sports Ministry were born, and later that year, the Business Forum. The vision God had given Westville Baptist Church started to take shape, but it was still embryonic, a lot of people still struggled to understand who we were and what we did.

At the start of 2010, CAST had just formally launched as an NGO with its own identity and six staff:

We had one Counselling Centre,

a Sports Ministry in one community,

one Business Forum,

a Street Ministry and Youth Ministry Programme on Tuesday nights in town,

a small and rather chaotic Homework Centre in Addington,

we supplied about 180 food parcels a month to five communities, but we had no community workers and no proper way of monitoring who was getting the parcels,

and we had two church partnerships and two school partnerships.

However, 2010 was a big year of growth for CAST. Especially when we mobilised over 100 volunteers and took the streets of the city by storm during the World Cup. CAST’s projects grew, new projects were started: we built a soccer field in KwaDabeka, we opened our very own counselling room—we started to develop an identity.

KwaDabeka Soccer Pitch

KwaDabeka Soccer Pitch

2011 was an even more tremendous year of growth for us, with nine staff, and about 40 volunteers.  Our partnership with Cato Manor Mission Church was established, and in Durban Central we employed a Community Coordinator at Addington Primary School. We expanded our programmes in Noodsberg through Sports, Counselling and Food Parcels, and we built a Counselling Centre there.

In fact, that year we established four new Counselling Ministries, with three new Counselling Centres.  CAST also employed a Counselling Centres Manager. We got our own space for the Homework Centre and completely revamped it, and later our counselling room in Addington.

Our Sports Ministry built up the Lamontville soccer team to be one of the top teams in their league – unbeaten the whole season and they played in the SAFA champs. Sports Ministry also expanded into Addington and Noodsberg, and boys2Men camp ran for the first time.

Our Clothing Ministry went from being in utter shambles to being well organised and effective with a team of volunteers which we still have today. The size of our Food Parcel Ministry dramatically increased and we started the process of what would eventually become Hearts to Hands.

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Hearts to Hands

We started 2012 with 13 staff, more than 120 volunteers and offices in all five communities except Lamontville—that was set up during the year. The Business Forum took on a proper structure for the first time with a Business Development Coordinator and was also launched in Lamontville.

Business Forum in Lamontville

Business Forum in Lamontville

In 2013, we built a new container at KwaDabeka and had a great team of social work students. We started to work at doing a better job of integrating our programmes and made some good strides forward in that area. We started the process of merging with Joy Chapel / RidgeCity in Mariannridge through a Community Coordinator.  We also had the beginnings of a new Business Forum in Noodsberg.

Joy Chapel in Mariannridge

Joy Chapel in Mariannridge

CAST started 2014 with 20 staff.

One of the more exciting developments this year has been the merger with West City Fellowship (WCF) and programmes in Chesterville.

During this year we have also:

started a Business Forum in Durban Central,

opened a Community Centre container in Chesterville,

built a larger, more formal Coummunity Centre in KwaDabeka,

and started a girls’ tennis team in KwaDabeka.

With all the recent expansion, CAST’s new focus is on one key principle:

The Kingdom of God must become the central theme of everything we do.

Micah 6:8 was adopted as our theme verse:

“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”

If the Kingdom of God is our central theme, then what we do is never primarily about us, or about CAST, or even about the poor and suffering.

It is about Jesus. It is about his ways and his standards, it is about his thoughts and his emotions and his agenda, it is about his rule and his Lordship and his glory.

And when he is king and the principles of his kingdom are lived out by his people, the church, then the darkness will flee before him: the darkness of addiction and abuse, the darkness of crime and corruption, and the darkness of depression and disease, of poverty and witchcraft and fear.

And the light of justice and mercy and equality will break forth like the rising sun.

This is why we are here. This is the heart of CAST.


“State of the Alliance” by Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt at CAST’s AGM 2014

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