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Abdullah's Story: Found in the Lost City


Imagine a world where since birth you’ve been taught to fend for yourself. That you’re a “nobody” and will remain a “nobody” unless you break the pattern your family and community has been following for generations – a concept so foreign it may as well be impossible.

Then introduce a sports program that challenges you, a literacy program that empowers you, people who believe in you and are willing to take the time to show you a loving, kind and embracing God that wants the absolute best for your life.

Abdullah, who was 13 at the time, and his brother joined our sports program 2 years ago. I remember the first time I met him — He was an overweight, introverted boy, who when spoken to, would mumble a few words in response and then look away. He gave us the “tough guy” approach, as the community where he was from instilled in him a belief that he had to fend for himself from the day he started school.

Abdullah stays in Tafelsig, which borders the “Lost City” – one of the most affected areas in Mitchells Plain – ravaged by drugs and gang violence. He was raised as a Muslim by his mom and uncle and followed in the ways of the Koran, going to mosque regularly and fulfilling all his religious practices. At a young age, Abdullah’s father left their family and hardly contacts them to this day. His uncle, however, stepped into the role of a “father-figure”, helping Abdullah’s mom after her husband left.

Through attending the sports program and building a great relationship with our leaders and coaches, Abdullah started opening up as a person and asking a lot of questions about this “Jesus” character we were always talking about during the devotional/encouragement part of soccer practice. We invited him to church, where he accepted Jesus into his life and is now completely passionate about his God-given call.

Most kids would be content with putting their hand up, getting saved and attending Youth on Friday nights, starting their journey slowly, but not Abdullah. That very next week he made the decision, he started evangelizing in his school, talking to people about Jesus and trying to get his hands on every bit of resource that he could. He would ask to meet up weekly to learn more about the Bible and what it means to be a Christian. Every night he would research scripture and write sermons. To this day, I still get a message every week or so saying “Hey! I just wrote a new message”. Evangelising in his school turned into preaching during break-times which led to him giving a word of encouragement at his school assembly.

Through his relationship with God, his entire immediate family (mother, brother and sister) converted from Muslim to Christian and they now attend our Mitchells Plain campus regularly. His mom has also just completed the Discovery course.

Abdullah serves faithfully in every area he can in church and attends Youth every Friday in Mitchells Plain. He is currently an integral part of the Arrivals team and is an Arcade and Youth leader too. He did the “Have a Go” session last year during the 5pm service and even brought an entire 20min word of encouragement at our annual Hillsong Sports Camp last year. From not knowing how to kick a soccer ball when we met him to being the vice captain of the Hillsong U16 football team now, he is an integral part of our team.

Abdullah, who was once a shy, insecure, broken young kid, has turned into one of the most promising, confident, Godly and anointed men I’ve ever met. And I believe that the best is yet to come for Abdullah!