Our adventure in Mitchells Plain started in September 2011 in the Lost City neighbourhood. The community is riddled with gang violence and every kind of injustice that comes from poverty/hopelessness. We went out armed with a vision to see the community come to know the power of Jesus’ transforming love.
We started by loving on people and building relationships, we set up a nutrition centre and still provide meals to over 800 of our friends every Wednesday. Three weeks into our program we found another venue in the Tafelsig neighbourhood. We launched a youth program at this venue. Five months thereafter Pastor Phil, our Lead Pastor here at Hillsong Cape Town, said he felt we should start church in Mitchells Plain. Things have and never will be the same again. We have seen so much change, both in the community as well as in ourselves. For example seeing children that have very little give gladly to a friend with even less taught us to value what we have.
The fact that people have little has a significant impact that we can learn from, it builds a community that relies on one another, your neighbour’s door is always open. This sense of community is similar to the church we see in the book of Acts where people care for one another no matter what. In so many affluent neighbourhoods this sense of community has been lost, up to the point where people don’t even know the person who lives next door to them. I feel privileged to be a part of the work God is doing in the community of Mitchells Plain and continue to learn from their solidarity.
Through launching many new programs like Literacy Programs, a Soccer Academy and School Interventions the momentum of change in the community is sustained. Here we will see our talented soccer boys and girls get world class training in order to make sure that their talents in the sport don’t go to waste. We also have some great employment opportunities coming up to see more families able to provide for themselves.
Focusing on the men in this community we have also recently started a program on a Thursday afternoon/ evening. Included in this is a prison ministry focused on men coming out of prison. The aim is to provide a safe place for them to continue learning about Jesus, as well as all facilitate continuous positive change in the lives of these men.
Paul White , Hillsong Africa Foundation
For more information on Hillsong Africa Foundation and our initiatives, please visit HillsongAfrica.com and follow us on Twitter @HillsongAfricaF, Facebook.com/HillsongAfrica and Instagram @HillsongAfricaF