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One Step Further.

IMG_7894{ Themba and his mentor, Denis de Chalain }

Themba Dlamini, one of the great success stories to emerge out of CAST’s business development programme, has taken his car-wash business to the next level.

With dreams of expansion, Themba set out with a mission to purchase a container for his business. This would allow him to have a spaza shop running alongside his carwash so that while customers were waiting, they could hang out, purchase food and drinks and socialise with one another.

Last weekend, the passionate entrepreneur held an Open Day to celebrate the new development in his business. Denis de Chalain, who is a business mentor to Themba, works for the Imana Foods Group and organised for them to run an Imana promotion in conjunction with the Open Day. They required a core group of people to cook their food samples on the day and this was done by several of CAST’s Business Forum volunteers. This partnership helped contribute to the days success and drew in bigger crowds who were curious to see what the hype was about ( and wanted to get some free Imana promotional products).

Despite the rainy weather, a significant amount of people turned up to support KwaDabeka’s favourite businessman and the atmosphere was full of celebratory joy for Themba.

The next step is to develop his Car Wash business further by adding a “shisanyama”, or a braai area to the mix. He is looking forward to future events where other companies will be partnering with him to market his business as well as their brands, so watch this space.

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Brighten Up Kwadabeka

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On Tuesday, the 24th September, 100 members of Westville Baptist Church along with 120 members of the Kwadabeka community, came together in a beautiful portrayal of Heritage Day.

An initiative powered by CAST- a social outreach non-profit- and Westville Baptist, “Brighten up Kwadabeka” was a day aimed at painting, fixing, cleaning and repairing Sithokozile Secondary School, handing out food parcels and making home visits to the food parcel recipients of the community, and running a children’s programme for the young ones at Kwadabeka Baptist Church.

The day ran from 8am until 12pm and ended off with a massive community braai, in celebration of South Africa’s National Braai Day. In every classroom, a group of people could be found hard at work, covered in paint, and out on the field there were people sanding down pillars, replacing gutters, hosing down the roof and cleaning up litter.

The partnership with Sithokozile Secondary School and Westville Baptist began 1994 when the church opened a soup kitchen for needy pupils. Since then, Sithokozile became the first township school in KZN to receive a new soccer pitch, made from synthetic grass. This initiative, along with the opening of a counselling centre at the school, was organised by the Church Alliance for Social Transformation (CAST).

The relationship between CAST and the Kwadabeka community has developed over the years and now includes an ongoing and effective food parcel programme, a sports programme and a business development forum.

It was an honour and privilege to have had another opportunity to serve this community, and to see so many people of all colours and ages, come together.

 

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Move Beyond Charity

Many of you may have seen our new slogan floating around the social media realms and wondered what the inspiration behind it is.

“Move Beyond Charity” is our way of expressing what the core beliefs behind our organisation are.

We believe that extreme poverty can end, that mindsets can be changed, and that love is a necessity.

We believe that changing the world requires more than just a handout, more than just charity; it requires action…. it requires MOVEMENT.

Watch this video to learn more about how we are taking active steps to ending poverty, empowering communities and keeping Jesus at the centre of it all.

And feel free to join us.

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Christmas Lovebox Drive.

Hearts to Hands is holding a Christmas Love Box drive, where we aim to give 800 + under privileged children in poor families a Christmas present.We invite “YOU” to take part in this exciting and fun project to make a difference and bring a smile to a poor and needy child’s face this year.
How can you get involved?
Bring a wrapped shoe box and fill it with presentsas per suggestions on list below.
Collect from us:
· Hearts to Hands wrapping paper to wrap lid
· Name, Gender, Age, Shoe Size, Clothing Size
· Copy of list detailed below.
Suggested list of gifts for love box:
· Item of new clothing
· Some sweets/choccies/biscuits/yummy
spoilsthat they would not normally have.
· Toys or age appropriate gift(i.e. for teenagers)
· Toiletries: toothpaste/tooth brush/soap/facecloth/
shampoo/deodorant/sanitary pads etc…
· Stationary for school/ crayons/colouring books
· A personal note of encouragement to the child
that will inspire hope
· Anything else that you want to add is very welcome.

Please hand the Christmas Love Box back to Rachel
at Hearts to Hands as soon as its filled, or latest
30th October.

Venues to hand in the Christmas love Box is
CAST/Hearts to Hand Office, Westville Baptist
Reception,2 Church Place, Westville.

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More Than a Ball and a Hoop.

KwaDabeka Sports Day.

Getting the youth more involved in the church was a vision for KwaDabeka Baptist this year and it seems the vision is becoming a reality.

To commemorate June 16th, Youth Day, CAST coordinator, Lungelo, organised for a Sports Event to be held at the church – an opportunity for the youth to socialise and enjoy their community beyond the weekly Friday night meetings. The KwaDabeka sports teams were joined by teams from Isaiah House Church in Molweni making a total of about 150 youth. The program ran from 9am until 4:30pm, with the youth participating in basketball, netball and soccer tournaments throughout the day. During the intervals of the sports programs, the crowds were entertained by ice-breaker activities and humorous commentating.

At lunch time, the coordinators took the opportunity of the gathering to give a short talk to the youth on “Awareness “– a topic which included points on drug abuse, teenage pregnancy and underage sex- and then do a salvation call at the end of the talk.

25 young people committed their lives to Jesus.

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Addington Sports Week.

The school holidays can be a scary time for the children of the Inner City because many come from neglectful households and dangerous areas. Without the safety net of going to school every day, many of these kids are left to roam around the streets of Durban Central. The risk of them getting involved in inappropriate activities is also very high during this period.

CAST, held a Sports Clinic for the children to attend from the 8th -11th July at Addington Primary School. The aim of this week was to provide the kids firstly with a safe space to come every day, and secondly, for them to be in an environment where they are free to just be children. A volunteer team from Lake Pointe Church in Texas along with volunteers from Westville Baptist took part in coaching basketball, netball and soccer everyday for the kids.

“The day was very eye-opening and fulfilling, and it was awesome to see joy in its rawest form.There definitely is a benefit to the community from outreaches like this because the children have an alternative outlet during the holidays”IMG_7789 IMG_7808   

Sports Ministry is about more than just kicking a ball around or shooting hoops. It’s an opportunity to form lasting relationships with kids and youth from the Durban communities and to have an impact on their lives that goes beyond a friendly game of soccer. Let us know if you are keen to be a part of this!

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Transforming A City.

“The Street Ministry can be challenging and even distressing at times but victories like Mary’s* make it all so worthwhile knowing that God is omnipresent in our endeavors and is busy changing lives for the better and giving His people hope and a future”.

When the team met Mary at The Nest shelter in Durban Central, she was in a bad way. Suffering from epilepsy and on constant medication, she came across very judgmental and self-centered. She had not heard from her siblings for years and her relationship with her father had deteriorated to the extent that they were not on speaking terms, something which made her quite bitter.

However, the team persevered with her, through regular visits and times of prayer –specifically around the issues she had with her family. When Mary’s phone was stolen about five months ago, the team gave her a replacement phone and SIM card which obviously meant that she had a new number. Mary was adamant that her family know her new number, so that they could get in touch with her in an emergency.

Fortunately, one of the volunteers on the team knew Mary’s family quite well, and made a plan for the phone number to be given to her brother-in-law. It wasn’t long before she received a phone call from her sister who subsequently took her out for lunch on her birthday. This was then followed by a call from her brother, and finally a phone call from her father.

These events had a transforming impact on Mary. As a result, she now speaks to her family regularly and is a happy and caring person. She recently attended a church in Durban with one of the team members and then went to a service on her own. She also befriended another lady in the shelter and has not only been praying for this woman but has helped her to obtain a much needed Government grant.

“Sceptics may say that the theft of her cell phone and the re-uniting of Mary with her family is all pure co-incidence but we firmly believe that it is God’s work and another example of how He can turn a bad experience into a blessing”.

Join the Street Ministry team on Tuesday nights and be a part of transforming our city. For more details, contact us online!

*not her real name

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The Love of a Child

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Imagine walking into a school and having the most beautiful children in Durban come running towards you and jumping into your arms even though they have never met you before in their life.

Well, that’s exactly what Addington Primary Holiday Club is like. Within mere minutes you will have one or two children adopting you for the week: wanting to play catches with you; giving you an endless supply of hugs; playing with your hair; sitting on your lap; and just generally giving you love.

But at the end of the day that is not the point of our holiday clubs, which we run annually during the June/July school holidays. The purpose of these holiday clubs is for kids- most of whom live in the poor and dangerous areas of the Durban Inner City- to have a safe place to come to during their holidays, to experience love and kindness that they may not get in their home environments, and to learn about God. Addington is one of the communities that CAST is associated with, which is why we choose to run a holiday club in that particular area.

This year our holiday club title was, “Mzansi- Where Friends Meet”, where the kids learnt what it means to be a friend and how they should choose their friends. We also had the opportunity of teaching them that Jesus wants to be their best friend and this saw many of the kids asking God into their hearts.

Something that was reiterated amongst the leaders during the week was the fact that we do not realise how something simple -like being a part of this holiday club for one week- may change the lives of these children for eternity.

Yes,  the running of the holiday club is tiring and requires a lot of energy and effort, but at the end of the week you leave that school wishing you could stay longer, because loving those children and being loved back by them is the easiest and most natural thing in the world.

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When In Doubt, Paint!

Armed with a box full of paint, a giant sheet of metal, a pair of scissors and some red ribbon; the CAST staff made their way to the community of KwaDabeka.

Once a month, our staff has what we call, “CAST SUNDAY”. This is a day when we head out to one of the four communities that we partner with and we join the church in that community for their Sunday service. This is a way of unifying our staff and volunteers throughout the communities and experiencing the different churches that we work so closely with.

On our first CAST SUNDAY, we visited Noodsberg Baptist Church and celebrated the opening of the Borehole and the completion of the roof for another church that we have built in ApplesBosch. It was such a rewarding experience for us and afterwards we brainstormed ways of making the next CAST SUNDAY even better. We wanted to come up with something that would symbolise the unity of our communities.

When in doubt, paint!

As a staff, we have decided that on every CAST SUNDAY, we will mobilise the community and church members and create a hand-print painting of the CAST tree that will be displayed either on the office wall or counselling centre wall of every community. It’s an activity that everyone gets to feel a part of, and it’s a colourful reminder of the unity of the churches and communities.

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So, on the 29 April, we ventured to KwaDabeka Baptist Church and joined them in their Sunday service. Jean-Ray preached on compassion and serving within the communities and we had an amazing time of worship. The church was full and it was awesome to see people of all ages so passionate about Jesus.

 

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Afterwards, everyone piled out of the church and rejoiced as we cut the red ribbon and officially celebrated the opening of the CAST Counselling Centre. We pray this centre will be a beacon of hope in the community for those suffering from depression, trauma and grief, among other things.

 

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And then finally it was time to paint. Chaos ensued as mothers and grandmothers and children eagerly grabbed paintbrushes and covered their hands in the CAST colours, ready to leave their mark on the tree. Amidst a swirl of red, green, brown, orange and yellow, emerged a beautiful painting- a symbol of community, love, and Jesus.

It was such a momentous occasion, and we are confident that the next CAST SUNDAY will be just as rewarding.

So, if you are keen to come along and visit the communities, keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and our Website for dates and info. The more the merrier!

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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.

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