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Moving Beyond Charity: Making a Spiritual Impact

During the past month, CAST has witnessed tremendous spiritual growth in the lives of our participants, both through special events and regular programming.

Holiday Clubs

During the October school holidays, CAST had the opportunity to partner with two local churches, Joy Chapel Ministries in Mariannridge and Lamontville Baptist Church, to host holiday clubs in these areas.  The clubs provided a unique opportunity for CAST to assist the local church in providing a few days of fun, faith and fellowship in a safe place for children within the community during the school holidays.

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In Mariannridge, 80 children aged 4-14 years old attended the holiday club.  For this event, CAST was able to partner with the Mariannridge International Citizen Service (ICS) Team, which is a programme offered by Tearfund and Zoe-Life that brings together volunteers from South Africa and the United Kingdom to work alongside local organisations in projects aimed at helping children in vulnerable communities to become more confident and skilled in order to inspire hope in their communities.  The ICS team worked alongside CAST staff and volunteers to ensure children were cared for and experienced the love of Jesus.  After working in this community for several months, the ICS team has seen the damaging impact of crime, alcohol and substance abuse on families in Mariannridge.  However, the team also experienced the power of reaffirming Christianity and spirituality in the lives of children during the holiday club when 60 children gave their lives to Christ.  The Lamontville holiday club had similar success, with 178 children attending.

Boys2Men Camp

Also during October, CAST hosted our eighth annual boys2Men camp.  Sixty-nine young boys (Grades 8-11) were selected from CAST’s youth programmes to attend camp.  The camp was facilitated by thirteen leaders currently involved in CAST’s Sport & Youth Development programmes in each community.

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This year’s camp theme was centred on “Abiding in Christ”, taken from the passage in John 15:4-5.  The boys were encouraged to experience God through worship, prayer and quiet time in God’s Word.  In response to an open invitation to accept Christ, 35 boys made first-time commitments to follow Jesus.

In the past few weeks following boys2Men camp, CAST has been able to follow up with the boys in each community regarding their spiritual journey.  The question everyone is asking each other is “Are you abiding?”

Below is a testimony from a camp leader:

Coach Bongani Tshabalala attended the recent boys2Men camp for the first time this year, where young men from local township communities came together to learn what it means to be resilient and walk together in their spiritual journeys.

As a facilitator at the camp and in his community of KwaDabeka, Bongani actively encourages the youth to develop their relationship with God, “Because He is the one that is always there for you.” Through implementing the uBabalo programme in his soccer coaching, he has seen how ongoing mentorship and support has positively impacted the young boys’ lives. Since beginning the programme last year, the boys now occupy themselves with training, playing soccer matches, attending church and meeting as a study group. 

Bongani’s dream is for the boys to grow spiritually and learn to be self-sufficient, productive members of their community.  

Food Parcel Ministry

At the end of October, CAST’s food parcel recipients also experienced what can only be described as a spiritual revival.  Each month CAST’s Relief Services HOD and Community Co-ordinators organise Ministry Days for the food parcel recipients.  At the Ministry Days, recipients not only receive their food parcels but are also encouraged to use their God-given skills and talents to lift themselves out of poverty.  Every month when CAST has Ministry Days, we faithfully pray that God will transform the lives of food parcel recipients, heal families, and provide for their needs. This month, CAST had the privilege of having guest speaker Tryphena, from Vukukanye Children’s Home, lead devotions at Ministry Days. Thirty-eight food parcel recipients came to know Jesus and committed their lives to Him. God’s spirit was very present, working in the hearts of those we serve! 

22730380_1464772373611468_6368805972482206700_n22730485_1464772400278132_2685624964510935931_nHere are some ways you can join CAST in praying for programme participants:

Holiday Clubs

  • Pray for Joy Chapel Ministries and Lamontville Baptist Church as they continue to disciple children in the community who made first-time commitments to Christ.
  • Pray for the children who attended holiday club, that they will continue to experience the love of Jesus.

Boys2Men Camp

  • Pray that the boys will continue to abide in Christ, spending time with Him through prayer, worship and devotions.
  • Pray for CAST’s community leaders as they continue to mentor these young men in CAST’s ongoing Sport and Youth Development programmes.
  • Pray for volunteers that are able to disciple the boys on a regular basis.

Food Parcel Programme

  • Pray for CAST’s Relief Services HOD and Community Co-ordinators as they provide support to food parcel recipients in reaching their individual and family goals. Pray that God will provide for the food parcel recipients and their families.
  • Pray that the food parcel recipients and their families will grow in their walk with the Lord.
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Ayanda

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As someone who never liked school, Ayanda made the decision to drop out of Grade 9 in 2010.  It wasn’t until two years later in 2012 when Ayanda joined the Clan and met Lawrence Nkomo, CAST’s Youth Development Intern at the time, that his life changed.

Ayanda with the Clan

Ayanda with the Clan

Later Ayanda was invited to Boys2Men Camp by George Mwaura, and there his eyes were opened to the importance of education.  He made up his mind to pursue a B com in Accounting, and applied at University of Pretoria.  However, when his plans didn’t work out, he went to Durban University of Technology to apply for whatever was available.  Then after studying six months, Ayanda was unable to secure government loans (NSFAS) and was forced to drop out.

These challenges did not stop Ayanda from continuing his education.  Instead, Ayanda looked at educational opportunities outside of Durban, where there were more openings for learners.  He also worked a part-time job during the holidays to save money for university and help out his grandmother, who cares for his three siblings.

Now Ayanda has started his first year at the University of Zululand and is studying logistics management.  Ayanda was able to use his savings from his part-time job to cover his registration fee entirely, and CAST assisted him in reserving accommodation.

As Ayanda explains, “Moving away from home has been a great experience.  It’s what I always wanted and I’ve learned to be independent.”

CAST believes in encouraging young people to pursue further education in order to equip them to be self-sufficient and productive in their communities.  We believe that communities are transformed when young people are able to pursue their education and give back to their home communities.  While Ayanda has worked very hard to cover most of his university expenses on his own, he still needs some support with the additional cost of textbooks, stationary, etc.  If you are interested in empowering Ayanda to pursue his education, please contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za

 

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Fighting Fatherlessness, One Step at a Time

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Determined, committed and consistent, Michael Pieterse is faithful to any goal he pursues.  Comrades has always been on Michael’s bucket list, so when he decided in March 2015 to prepare for Comrades in 2016, he knew it would be his biggest challenge yet.

With the help of a coach, Michael has been training and building up to qualify at the Deloitte Challenge this year.  Everything was going well until last month when Michael had a serious bike accident and injured his arm.  He was unable to train for six weeks.  However, he has been gradually easing back into training as he gains more mobility of his arm.

Michael is no stranger to facing obstacles.  Growing up with a dad who battled with alcohol abuse, Michael learned how to take care of himself from an early age.  He paid for his own education and was forced to become a man without the guidance of a father-figure.  Despite the challenges, Michael learned to have confidence in himself because of his relationship with God.  He discovered that God was his Father, and with that confidence Michael learned to dream big about his life.

Michael is passionate about fighting fatherlessness and helping boys discover what it means to be a man.  As a result, he has decided to run Comrades to raise support for CAST’s 2016 Boys2Men Camp, 30 Sept. – 3 Oct.

This camp came about as a response to the overwhelming need for father-figures in the lives of young men involved with CAST’s Youth Development Programme.  The initial camp took place in November 2010, and the aim of the camp was to give the boys a real father-figure experience. During camp we discovered that 75 percent of the boys in attendance did not have real fathers in their lives. There was a desperate need for guidance, advice, affirmation, and a way for young men to discover their identity. Boys also had an overwhelming spiritual need as most of them did not grow up in Christian homes.

Since 2010, we have hosted Boys2Men Camp annually, and more than 400 boys have had the chance to attend. It has become one of the most impactful short-term programmes at CAST, even attracting international volunteers. Boys2Men’s focus has become transforming boys to men. Every year we have seen many young people give their lives to Jesus. The ongoing sports programme has provided continuing discipleship for the boys and our community churches have also become instrumental in providing spiritual homes for the boys.

As Michael explains,”Running Comrades means nothing unless you do it for something worthy.  Why not use it to change someone’s life for eternity?  I want to help a few boys discover God as their Father.”

Michael wants to send 20 boys to camp (camp costs R350 per boy), and in order to reach this goal of raising R7000, we need your help!  If you are interested in getting involved, here’s how:

  1. You can give R4 per kilometre that Michael runs.  If Michael finishes the entire 90 km race, you will have raised enough support for a boy to attend camp!
  2. You can also give R4 per kilometre that Michael runs for the distance of a marathon (42 km), which is about half of Comrades (R168).

If you would like more information, please contact George Mwaura at: george@cast.org.za

If you want to give directly by EFT or Givengain here are our details:

Nedbank, Branch: Westville Mall/138026

Account: CAST Trust, No: 101 7717 672

Givengain: https://www.givengain.com/cause/4933/campaigns/16861

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Vision

Habukkuk 2:2-4

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain in tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.”

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For the past four years boys2Men camp has provided a way for boys in CAST communities to discover their identity and purpose in Christ. This year was no different, with a focus on discovering God’s vision.

In a survey of young men attending camp this year, CAST found that 75 percent of the boys have no father at home, and 45 percent of the boys are growing up without either of their parents at home. This lack of direction and support at home leaves the boys feeling lost and hopeless about the future.

The need for father-figures and a place to discover God’s vision is more important than ever. Boys2Men camp’s theme for this year was: “Discovering God’s vision for your life”. Boys were challenged to pursue God and His vision in the different sessions, discussion groups and quiet times at camp.

At camp, older men from Westville and other CAST communities came to disciple and mentor the boys. One of those men was Timothy, CAST’s new KwaDabeka Community Coordinator. This was Timothy’s first year at camp, but he jumped in as a group leader. He was amazed by the growth in his boys at camp, despite the many challenges. First, his group had a wide age gap, with boys ranging from Grade 6 to Matric. Second, Zulu is not Timothy’s first language, so he had to find creative ways to explain concepts and English words in the Bible. Thankfully, his group had a lot to share and showed a lot of growth from the discussion times.

One of Timothy’s group members was Nkululeko from KwaDabeka. Although Nkululeko is soft-spoken, he is always up for an adventure and camp was no different this year, with river rafting and hiking. Nkululeko is a four year camp veteran and a loyal long-term member of the CAST Youth Development Programme and basketball team. Many of the boys in the programme struggle to raise funds to attend camp, however Nkululeko managed to find someone to sponsor him at KwaDabeka Baptist Church on his own. At camp, Nkululeko was awarded a medal for being the most consistent and disciplined individual in the programme. Not surprisingly, he took a lot away from camp, and was especially challenged to have his own quiet time and read the Bible daily.

This is only one story among many others of changed lives through the impact of boys2Men camp. Every year camp challenges boys to become men through leading in their families and communities. CAST would like to thank everyone who sponsored a boy or volunteered their time at camp. Your donation made an eternal impact by allowing boys in CAST’s Youth Development Programme to deepen their relationship with Christ and discover God’s vision for their life.

Here are some reflections from others who attended camp:

Tukiso Nketsa (Participant): You know in life we need to grow physically, mentally and in spirit.. For 20 years my physical body has grown. But in this camp I saw that my mental and spiritual me hasn’t grown enough… Thank God I saw that. Thanks for giving me that chance .. my life has a direction now.

Sam Lindah (Participant): I have a different picture about the world now. . . it is full of joy and the mindset of changing the world #Cross=>3

Simphiwe Mbeje (Leader): If we have boys who love God so much we are guaranteed to have a better South Africa with real men.

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Nathi the Noble Cake-baker

noble /ˈnəʊb(ə)l/
adjective
Definition: having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles.

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Before boys2Men camp, Nathi was a not-so-noble teenager, disrespecting his parents and drifting into friendships with not-so-good guys.  The kind of friends that smoke things they shouldn’t and drop out of school.  But then last year Nathi signed up for boys2Men camp, not sure what to expect, and unaware of how camp would radically change his life.

Aside from playing soccer and hanging out with friends, camp provided Nathi an opportunity to reflect on his life and walk with Christ, and make the necessary changes.  Nathi came back from camp with a different attitude, ready to help out at home with tasks that he used to deem as “the stuff that girls do”, like washing the dishes.  As a young man growing up in a rural community such as Noodsberg, boys are expected to help with things outside the home, like caring for cattle or goats while girls help with the housework.  However, as one of nine siblings, Nathi found plenty of housework to help out with at home.

Nathi took things a step further when he began to invite his old, “not-so-good” friends to Noodsberg Baptist Church.  Some of those friends even organised a group (with the help of some ladies in the church) to bake cakes for the community.  Nathi became the “Noble Cake-baker” by allowing God to transform his life at camp.  This decision not only impacted Nathi and his family but also his friends and the greater community.

Nathi believes that, “Even though we are still young, we can do something.”

Now, Nathi is 18 years old and in Matric.  Excited about the future, he can only narrow down his career options to four areas of study: nursing, teaching, agriculture, or correctional studies.  This coming weekend he will be attending boys2Men camp for a second time, where Nathi will hear about God’s vision for his life, the theme of camp this year.

Nathi is one of 60 young men from CAST communities that have been specifically selected for their leadership potential and ability to give back to their communities.  Please be in prayer not only for the boys attending camp, but also for the older men who will play a father-figure and mentor role for our boys at camp.  Over the years, CAST has been working to break the cycle of fatherlessness through the impact of boys2Men camp.  Our prayer is that the young men in CAST’s Youth Development Programme will become noble men of character, who love God, their families, and greater community.