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Remembering Ernie

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CAST Sunday at Noodsberg Baptist Church, 2013.  From left to right, Bongani Mkhize (CAST Noodsberg Area Co-ordiantor), Ernie Calder, Pastor Jean-Ray Knighton Fitt (CAST Executive Director), Pastor Ephraim Mzobe (Noodsberg Baptist), Debbie Calder

Often we think that “social transformation” is all about big events, speeches and important people. But in reality change happens gradually through many, many seemingly insignificant conversations, friendships and acts of love.  It is these consistent, daily acts of love that make an eternal impact in the Kingdom of God. About thirteen years ago, two volunteers began to reach across the economic and cultural divide and develop friendships with people and churches in Noodsberg and KwaDabeka.

Year after year Ernie and Debbie Calder delivered food parcels, driving their bakkie out as far as Noodsberg (90 minutes away) every month, providing hundreds of thousands of meals every year.

But it was never only about the food, deep and lasting friendships developed between the Calders and members of these communities. Over time these relationships evolved into training programmes and food gardens. These were the beginning of CAST’s programmes in these communities. As CAST ministries spread out from Noodsberg into the surrounding areas of Appelsbosch and Chibini so the legacy of the Calders grew with them – now serving almost 2000 people every month in these communities, through nutritional support, educational programmes, children’s ministry, and the development of farming and business.

Last year Ernie celebrated his 80th birthday, but Debbie and Ernie continued to serve as core volunteers with CAST right up until the end of 2016.

Last week, the CAST team were deeply saddened to hear that Ernie had gone to be with the Lord on Monday after a seven hour heart operation. While the CAST team is heartbroken, we will always remember his humble, serving spirit, genuine love of others and concern for our neighbouring communities.  Debbie is also in our prayers.

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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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A Garden for All

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Last Sunday, the children of Promise Land got their hands dirty!  Recently, CAST started up a community garden for those in need.  With the drought and rising prices of food, many people who are living on the streets or battling to find employment come to CAST’s Westville offices asking for assistance.  The community garden is a great opportunity for those in need to come tend the garden, and take some veggies home in return.

But CAST needed some helpful hands to weed and plant the garden.  The kids of Promise Land were happy to volunteer, and spent Sunday learning about how God uses even the smallest members of the Kingdom of God to take care of God’s Creation and to help our neighbours.

If you would like to help out with the CAST garden and support this great initiative, contact Amy Benn at: amy@cast.org.za

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Showtime 2015

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Every year Westville Baptist Church, CAST, and an amazing team of volunteers partner to put together a fun and exciting holiday club for children who attend Addington Primary School.

This year was no different!  The theme was “Showtime” and the kids were part of the ‘live’ show. The theme focused around how God loves us and all about how to be a good friend and have good friendships.  The messages centred around making real life applications from movies clips.

Daniel from the Bible also came to visit our kids at holiday club, and shared all about his story!

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Lastly, CAST hosted a Parent Evening last night at Addington so parents could come and see what their children had been learning at holiday club.  Parents also received special gift packs, and were encouraged by guest speaker, Moira Longe.

Please be in prayer that the kids at Addington Holiday Club continue to grow in their relationship with God and are able to be an awesome friend to the people around them!  Thank you to everyone who gave of their time and resources to make this holiday club possible.

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Advancing the Kingdom: Promise Land Style!

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At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Oftentimes we can learn a lot about the Kingdom of God from children. Some of the children in Promise Land at Westville Baptist Church have decided to show the love of Christ to their neighbours in a very practical way.

It all started with learning about helping the poor. As the children learned more about the needs of those around them, they decided to act. With the help of their group leader Wayne, the Grade 1-3 children in Promise Land made a plan to raise R500 by Christmas to donate towards CAST food parcels.

As Wayne explained, “They bring offering every week, but they are not sure where it goes to.”

The goal of this project was to encourage the children to bring offering for a practical cause they learned about in Promise Land – helping the poor in our community.

CAST food parcels cost R140, and contain enough food to feed a family of four for two weeks.

As the children brought in their weekly offering money to Promise Land, they tracked their progress towards R500 on a chart.

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One child brought his entire allowance for the first term, a total of R150, to give entirely towards food parcels!

Recently, these children reached their goal of R500. Meeting their goal earlier than expected has encouraged the children to continue to give towards food parcels.

Jesus rightly said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

So often we make excuses for not giving towards the needs in our community. What a great challenge from the Promise Land children to use what we have to advance the Kingdom of God!

If you would like show the love of Christ to a local family in need through a food parcel, please contact Amy Benn at amy@cast.org.za or 031 267 1716 to find out more about the Snowflake Drive. Let’s follow the humble example of WBC’s children in Promise Land and give with a cheerful heart!

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CAST AGM 2014: Building the Movement

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On Tuesday, CAST celebrated what God has done in 2014 through our Annual General Meeting.  The focus of the night was on CAST’s commitment to building a movement of Christians and churches who build the kingdom of God every day, in simple, ordinary ways by bringing peace, justice, compassion and salvation to everyone we touch.  CAST celebrated our staff, volunteers, donors, and members, and their commitment to becoming part of the movement.

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Before the AGM, everyone enjoyed a light dinner of soup and bread.  Then attendees were entertained by two local choirs from Lamontville who performed songs in both English and Zulu.

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If you missed out on hearing this amazing choir, make sure to check out this link:

https://www.facebook.com/murry.pieterse/videos/vb.624348453/10153311216693454/?type=2&theater

In addition to hearing updates from various CAST staff, attendees also had the chance to hear a few testimonies from individuals who have been empowered by CAST, including Mbali Sontsele, a woman from Lamontville who lost her home in a fire, Lydia Gayiya, an Addington CAST volunteer, and Sizwe Blose, a young man from KwaDabeka who has been mentored.

“Give Your Brain a Hand” artwork, created by students from Addington Primary School, was displayed in the foyer for guests to see.  Most of the artwork was created from recycled materials.

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Overall the night was a great success, celebrating what God has done in the lives of his people.  Thank you for being a part of the movement!

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Food Parcel Sunday

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This Sunday is Food Parcel Sunday at Westville Baptist Church.  Listed below are some interesting statistics that show the growth of the food parcel programme at CAST over the past three years:

2013 Stats:

Average amount of food parcels per month: 220

Total number of food parcels given: 2640

Total number of meals: 10,560

2014 Stats:

Average amount of food parcels per month: 300

Total number of food parcels given: 3460

Number of recipients discharged: 12

Number of new recipients: 35

Number of people on the waiting list: 41

Total number of meals: 13,840

Goals for 2015:

Food parcels per month: 330

Total number of food parcels: 3960

Total number of meals: 15,840

Thank you to all who contributed towards food parcels & the Snowflake Drive! CAST still needs funds in order to accommodate individuals on the waiting list who are in need of food parcels.

Are you interested in sponsoring a food parcel for a local family in need?

Speak to Rachel Engelbrecht by phone: 0312671716 or by email: rachel@cast.org.za to find out more about how you can get involved.

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