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Holiday Club Season 2016

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This year CAST took our annual holiday club season to a whole other level by partnering with local churches to host clubs in five of our communities.  A total of 1100 children were reached with the Gospel.  The adventure started off in the rural communities where kids came to learn more about Jesus at Noodsberg Baptist Church.  Then, the attention turned to Durban central, where CAST continued our long standing partnership with Addington Primary School to host a holiday club for learners.  Volunteers from both Westville Baptist Church and local partner churches were key to the success of the programme.

This week CAST made a new record of hosting three simultaneous holiday clubs in KwaDabeka, Lamontville and Mariannridge!  CAST was only able to accomplish this through the hard work of volunteers from Lake Pointe Church (Texas, USA), KwaDabeka Baptist Church, Lamontville Baptist Church and Joy Chapel Ministries (Mariannridge).

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Below are the stories of two high school students from Lake Pointe Church who gave of their holidays to volunteer with the clubs at Lamontville and Mariannridge:

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Paige, a volunteer from Lake Pointe Church

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Kylea (on right) with a local volunteer

Paige and Kylea came to South Africa for the first time last year.  They served at the holiday club in KwaDabeka, and fell in love with the culture and people.  Despite the language barrier and challenges of running a holiday club in a different setting, Paige and Kylea felt the Lord calling them to return to South Africa this year.

As Paige explains about serving, “You have to prepare your heart and be open to learning new things.  You also have to be open to the flow; things don’t always go the way you planned.”

Kylea also shared, “Even coming to the other side of the world, the same God is Lord everywhere.  You have to get out of your comfort zone.  I’ve learned how to be a better leader.”

CAST’s partnership with Lake Pointe Church is also vital for community volunteer training.  Instead of just implementing holiday clubs once-off, Lake Pointe has the long-term goal to empower church volunteers to serve their own communities.

Last year Lake Pointe provided volunteer leader training for local community members in KwaDabeka.  This year KwaDabeka Baptist Church was able to implement their own holiday club with entirely local community volunteers.

CAST would like to thank all our partners, volunteers and donors who made this holiday club season such a huge success!

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Photo Credit: John Benn Photography

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Sinikithemba

 

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At CAST’s Community Empowerment Centre in Chesterville, Nomakaya Mpambaniso (CAST’s Chesterville Community Co-ordinator) leads a counselling support group for those in the community.  Every week the group comes together for support, sewing and knitting projects, as well as fun games and activities.  Most of the group members receive food parcels from CAST, which helps to supplement their diet.  This past week Sinikithemba celebrated Youth Day by having group members dress up in school uniforms and playing school games to encourage staying active.

Below is the story of how the Sinikithemba Support Group has impacted the life of a group member, in her own words:

My name is Lindiwe Dlamini. I love God, and am very much appreciative to God for sacrificing his only Son Jesus Christ, and I am also in love with my community and my people.

I heard about the Sinikithemba Support Group (meaning ‘we bring hope’) and CAST, and volunteered there. This is where I met Mam’Glad, Carol, Lizzie, Mam’Njazi, Makhosi, with social workers and others – good people I met.

When I met these people on this particular day I was happy, excited and blessed to meet them. I listened attentively that everything they spoke about had Christian values and principles; they spoke about helping needy people in the community, respect, giving faith to the faithless and also assisting the needy with food parcels.

I was led by a Bible verse from Psalms 23 that says, “The Lord is Shepherd I shall not want.”

So I thought about the initiatives that were spoken about in the meeting and I had faith again and went out to the community to tell people of CAST and the Sinikithemba Support Group. More people were interested so Mam’Glad spoke to social worker that assisted a lot in the community.

People that are assisted in this community have hope, faith, respect and love. CAST has also led them closer to Christ.

We also assist people with counselling and refer them to the clinic, as well as helping the disabled and cleaning their homes if there is no one to help.

We thank you for the help and assistance, as well as the education and training, and the love we receive.

With this programme, you get all the assistance you need, even the ones who are on chronic medication have something nutritious to eat prior to taking treatment/medication.

We even visit schools to find out what problems they are facing and see where we can help as a group through the assistance of CAST.

In conclusion, we ask that CAST continue supporting communities like us because it makes a difference in the community and people gain hope, faith, and start living again and themselves go out to help others. We thank you for the great work and we love you guys.

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Learning about Homelessness

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This past week CAST had the amazing opportunity to host Steve Walkup from the Denver Rescue Mission (DRM), a Christian NGO serving the homeless in Denver, Colorado for over 100 years.  Steve is DRM’s head of Programmes, and visited CAST to train community churches in the Manna of Life Programme, which is focused around sharing the Gospel of John.  Over 100 community church members attended at both Paran Church (a refugee church in Durban central) and Appelsbosch Baptist Church.

On Monday, the Denis Hurley Centre hosted a Homelessness Forum in partnership with CAST as a learning and networking opportunity for those interested.  Steve Walkup shared how DRM is tackling the issue of homelessness in Denver, and the approach to their programmes.  The Human Science Research Council (HSRC) also shared their initial findings from a recent survey about homelessness in Durban.  Local NGOs, faith-based groups, government and corporate representatives joined this forum to create a more integrated response to homelessness in the city.

 

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Township Tours

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Have you ever been curious to see what life is like in a township?  Then don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to go on a CAST Township Tour!  We look forward to hosting you on a tour where you can see some of the communities in which we minister.

This tour aims to give participants a rich understanding of the history, culture and people of these communities and how they are tied to the surrounding suburbs and city. We focus on the role of churches, missions, schools and businesses, past and present, while also experiencing the culture and meeting interesting people.

There are two tour options:

DSC_0438Durban Central, Addington, Chesterville & Cato Manor (Tuesday 9am-4:30pm)

Experience the best of cultural diversity in “Durbs” by checking out the famous Warwick Indian Market, while also learning more about the historical roots of the Apartheid Struggle through Cato Manor’s local museum, as well as current development work and the ministry of CAST in the ever-evolving township of Chesterville.

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Clermont, KwaDabeka & Mariannridge (Wednesday 9am-4:30pm)

If you’ve ever wondered what everyday life is like in a township, this is the tour for you!  Come join our CAST team for home visits to meet local families in Clermont & KwaDabeka, as well as visiting local schools to meet the youth.  In Mariannridge, take a walk through this small community to meet locals and hear more about the issues facing this township.  Learn more about CAST’s programmes and partnerships in these communities.

Cost: R180 per person (includes lunch & refreshments)

CAST’s Township Tours will be run regularly on Tuesdays/Wednesdays, based on need (min: 8 people, max: 14 people).  Pick up and drop off is at Westville Baptist Church, and all transportation is provided via the CAST Bus.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience our neighbouring communities!

To book or for more information, please contact Dale Nunes at: dale@cast.org.za or 031 267 1716

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Fools for Christ

Every morning at CAST’s Head Office, the staff gather around to encourage each other with a short devotion.  The office busyness slows to a quiet at 8am, and everyone takes a few minutes to start our day with Christ as the focus.

Today was no different.  However, when Stuart Talbot leads devotions, it is never boring!  We were told to dress up for April Fools, so with our funny outfits, we took some time to reflect on the following Feast of Fools material from Jim Cotter’s book “Love Re-membered: Resources for a House Eucharist”.

Approach (shortened)

God of Joy, we rejoice in you.

You run to meet us like a welcoming friend,

you laugh with us in the merriment of heaven,

you feast with us at the great banquet,

Clown of clowns, Fool of fools, the only Entertainer of jesters.

God of Joy, we rejoice in you.

Reading

1 Corinthians 1:27 (NLT)

God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.  And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

Dedication

Let us be fools for Christ’s sake:

In facing the truth, may we be set free from illusion.

In accepting our wounds, may we be healed.

In embracing the outcast, may we be redeemed.

In discovering our child, may we grow to maturity.

In seeking true innocence, may we no longer harm.

In yielding to dying, may abundant life flow into us.

In vulnerable risk, may we know love’s pain and joy.

In the release of laughter, may we hear the chuckle of God.

In the folly of the Cross, may we see the Wisdom of God.

Shared from Jim Cotter’s book “Love Re-membered: Resources for a House Eucharist”

Most of the time we just think of April Fools as a fun day of pranking our friends, co-workers and family members.  But the Feast of Fools has a much deeper message: “Be a fool, for Christ’s sake.” As CAST seeks after the Kingdom of God, we pray that we won’t be afraid to do what appears to be foolish for the sake of Christ.  Jesus himself was never inside the box, and he calls us to do the same.  By living outside the box, we free ourselves to truly love our neighbours and fulfill the call of Christ in our lives.

In the words of Brian Wren’s hymn,

Christ, in our darkness risen,

help all who long for light

to hold the hand of promise

till faith receives it sight.

How can you be a fool for Christ?

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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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The Power of Food Parcels

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Eighteen years ago a social worker from Westville Baptist trained a group of community health workers in one of CAST’s communities — 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.

Currently there are 326 families on CAST’s food parcel programme.  Each food parcel is designed to feed a family of four for ten days.  The parcels include basic food items such as maize, samp, beans, morvite, oil, peanut butter, soya mince, stock cubes, and soup mix.  In the communities where CAST works, households are assessed by CAST community workers who work closely with schools, clinics, and churches in the communities.

A household qualifies for the food parcel programme if they:

  • Live below the poverty line according to MDG Standards
  • Have a disability or critical illness (e.g. HIV)
  • Are child – headed
  • Shack dwellers/ informal housing
  • Short term crises relief due to fire, flood, etc

CAST’s food parcels are a lifeline for the most vulnerable in the community – oftentimes widows and children.  Below are a few stories of those who have been impacted by the food parcel programme in KwaDabeka:

IMG_7001Joyce is a gogol who is the sole caretaker for her four orphaned grandchildren.  Battling to support the entire family solely through her pension, she sought help at the children’s school.  Joyce was referred to CAST’s Social Worker, Samke Mbatha, who assisted her with school fee exemption and being put on CAST’s food parcel programme.  With the additional food from the food parcel, Joyce is better able to care for her grandchildren.  The children were also excited to receive Lovebox gifts at Christmastime!  While Joyce still battles to provide for her family, she has big dreams for her grandchildren – that they will finish school and find great jobs.

Elizabeth is a pensioner who supports seven individuals – mostly children.  Even though it only lasts for two weeks, the food parcel is vital to her household.  Her youngest grandchild was abandoned by the parents at birth because the mother was smoking whoongah.  Now two years old, the child has no birth certificate and is staying with her. On top of everything else, Elizabeth lives in fear because a man staying near them who abuses drugs often steals the keys for her home and robs their household.  Despite all these challenges, Elizabeth is a Christian and believes in the power of God.

James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  God calls us to care for the most vulnerable in our communities – those who can easily be taken advantage of and who are the victims of injustice.  Both Joyce and Elizabeth are examples of why the food parcel programme is so vital in the communities where CAST works.  How can we share the gospel if those we are preaching to have no way to feed their children?

The goal of CAST’s food parcel programme is to empower households to be self-sufficient through the support of CAST’s holistic programmes such as business development.  However in the meantime, CAST food parcel programme assists households to get back on their feet.

With the rising cost of food, the cost of one food parcel has jumped from R140 to R180 in the past month.  In order to assist individuals such as Joyce and Elizabeth, CAST needs to raise additional funds to continue the food parcel programme.  Please consider partnering with CAST  in caring for the most vulnerable in our communities by living out the call of James 1:27.

If you are interested in giving towards or volunteering with CAST’s food parcel programme, please contact Amy Benn at: amy@cast.org.za