register(); ?> Night outreaches: Visitors and co-workers share their experiences on Straatwerk

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Night outreaches: Visitors and co-workers share their experiences

“We joined Straatwerk on Friday evening. We were overcome by the hospitality and warm reception; the energy, commitment, joy and love was tangible. We were introduced to Straatwerk’s areas of ministry, we worshipped together and then had two opportunities to reach out. It was clear that this ministry is much respected and appreciated on the streets. The focus isn’t primarily on preaching or making converts but on sharing love that is rooted in Christ; to bring Christ himself to the people through the sharing of words and deeds of service and giving.”
Visitors from Montagu

“How surreal is this? I was standing in the city centre – a place I know like the palm of my hand – wearing a bright yellow bib. It read: Valuable to Jesus – STOP abuse, prostitution and pornography. I have been living in the city for many years, and I couldn’t help wondering whether these street outreaches and bib-wearing efforts were effective in making a difference (this was my second outreach). The group I was with continued to pray, when three men started to approach us. Real metro-men: well-groomed and ready for a night out. They came and stood next to us, waiting for us to finish praying. Judging from their appearance, they didn’t seem to be in need of prayer. They introduced themselves, and also shared their prayer requests. A moment when I saw Godly appointment had just presented itself, right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t believe that it could make such an impact.

“I can’t recall when the last time was that I spent so much time in prayer … and none of the prayers were for myself. Bright bibs, street outreaches and prayer rule!”
Friday night co-worker

Come join the bright bibs and prayer rule! teams. Contact us on 021 930 8055, or lisa@straatwerk.org.za

 

Night outreaches Night outreaches
The team is ready to reach out to women trapped in prostitution. The team from Montagu takes to the streets, with one member confined to a wheelchair
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6 000 Easter eggs and bunnies later…

I recall a sermon that made a great impression on me many years ago. It is contained in the book, If I had just one more sermon. Therein Dr Johan van Schalkwyk poses the question: Busy with Easter bunnies?

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

He tells the story of his children’s grave disappointment and shock when they broke off the top of a chocolate Easter bunny. The promise of the gold wrapper, the smell of the chocolate, the enormity of the bunny … filled with nothing but air!

Dr Johan writes: “This is what the book of Ecclesiastes is about: the person who only wants to occupy themselves with the pleasurable things in life is busy with these ‘chocolate bunnies’. This book teaches us that true joy and happiness can only be found with God”.

It was such a privilege to be able to share this truth with people in Heideveld on Wednesday afternoon, Voortrekker Road on Thursday evening, and on the streets of Cape Town on Friday night. The extra Easter eggs were distributed to Tygerberg Hospital and petrol stations; everywhere where people were busy with their daily routines.

We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who donated Easter eggs or contributed in any other way. It surpassed our greatest expectations! Thank you, Jesus.

 

6 000 Easter eggs and bunnies later 6 000 Easter eggs and bunnies later
Approximately 100 kids from the Zoë Trust Kids’ Club in Heideveld celebrated Easter by serving the community. They took to the streets with garbage bags and picked up papers and other litter, and spoilt the local residents with Easter eggs.
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Written by admin
Action Immanuel in action

Belinda Bekker

God has never asked us to save the world, as He has already overcome it. He has, however, asked us to share what we have received – THE TRUTH.

John 8:32: “…the truth will set you free…”

The Action Immanuel team consisted of about 30 volunteers, aged between 11 and 70 years. We stayed at Straatwerk headquarters for the duration of the outreach, functioning as a spiritual family under one roof. As the body of Christ, we moved and breathed as one. We had the opportunity to press pause on our own fast-paced lives and, with our Father’s guidance, walk into the reality of so many others.

We walked and talked with those we met on the streets of Cape Town and Parow, making ourselves available to listen to the stories of whoever wanted to share them with us. But how do you find the right words to penetrate the fortress that broken people have built around them?

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart…”

There was one moment that is imprinted on my mind. I saw a young teenage girl involved in prostitution and approached her. I embraced her with open arms and, instead of exchanging many words, she released her bottled up tears. And as her hot tears rolled down my back, I whispered over and over again: “God loves you…God loves you…” Action Immanuel was a time of joining hands and reaching out to those who normally go unnoticed, ignored and passed by without a second thought.

Thank you to everyone who made this outreach possible.

 

Christmas party: The kids of Heideveld had heaps of fun at their Christmas party.
   
Ophelp party
Left: Relaxing under the trees in De Waal Park at Ophelp Projekte’s year-end function. Right: Straatwerk’s Fourie Truter, hands a
special award for excellent work in 2013 at Ophelp Projekte to Aubrey Dambusa.
Radio Tygerberg
It was an evening to remember when some of the Action Immanuel team shared their testimonies at Radio Tygerberg 104fm.
Outreach teams
Off they go – outreach teams, armed with ice cold mineral water, take to
the streets of Cape Town.
Women’s event
Women were treated to PEP Stores gift vouchers and food parcels from CCFM!
It really was Christmas.
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Bang, bang, bang

Lisa Truter

Train your kids in the right way, because you will have to face whoever they become in the future.”

It was with mixed emotions that I placed the telephone back on its receiver at 23:00 on Christmas night. The past ten days of Action Immanuel were so blessed and we have experienced so many holy moments, divine appointments and fun parties.

“Lisa, Romano* was shot. And his cousin, Chadwin*. And Chantal*. A few minutes ago.” You could have knocked me down with a feather. It was Christmas, after all.

Romano decided to become a member of the underworld of drugs and gangster activities a year or two ago, but I will always remember the 14-year-old boy who helped us renovate our house in Badsberg Close before we moved in, an older Romano who always wanted to wash the Quantum van to earn some pocket money, and the recent Romano who scurried around to deliver drugs on time and at the right address. And now, at the age of 19, Romano is dead.

Chadwin I saw from time to time and didn’t know him well but he also died too young. He was 23 years old.

Chantal is part of the Monique group, the support group we have for teenage girls in Badsberg Close. Chantal is 17 years old and five years ago she had to witness her dad being shot dead in cold blood. It was the same man who was responsible for the murder of her dad who fired the shot to kill her, but Chantal’s life was saved. In her deepest hour of need, she called out to the Lord and within seconds a “bright white light” pushed her over and the bullet just grazed her.

These events on Christmas night made me think of a song by Tracy Chapman: Bang Bang Bang. Here are some excerpts from the song:

What you go and do
You go and give the boy a gun
Now there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run…
And if he finds himself to be
A reflection of us all
Bang bang bang
He’ll shoot us down

I wish the song wasn’t true, and I can’t help to wonder for how much longer we are going to do this to our children (for the whole song go to: http://youtu.be/TqU3nQkkpxM).

*pseudonyms are used

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Small beginnings, big results

He asked them: “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” When they found out, they said: “Five – and two fish”. (Mark 6:38)

A simple answer to a very complex problem. There was a crowd of hungry people and a little boy with five loaves of bread and two small fish. The disciples were desperate and tired. They had just returned from an exhausting missionary journey, suffered from sore feet, hunger and were at the end of their strength. Now they were confronted by a crowd of hungry people and it was expected of them to feed the people.

“Lord,” they protested, “must this now really be on our agenda? Is there no alternative? Can the people not use customary practices and buy food at farms and villages? Lord, please just send them away!”

We could take this argument further, a person should surely be more realistic. Note the realities of the situation, the statistics. Do you see what is happening in our own country, and in your own environment, one can add. On the one hand five thousand men, and if you add the women and children, most probably ten to fifteen thousand people gathered in a remote area. On the other hand five loaves of bread and two small fish, the small donation by a little boy. The simplest contribution by the smallest of the small.

I think we all know the powerlessness and despondency of the disciples and of ourselves. Will my simple contribution make a difference? What can we hold onto in 2014 in terms of this miracle? Miracles do not always start with angels descending from heaven. More often than not it life. A miracle does not only happen on one level. Jesus provides in the basic need of these people, appeasing their hunger. Another hunger is also appeased, a hunger for the Bread of Life. When Jesus breaks the bread before their eyes, He also offers Himself as broken, but as the Living Word to them.

In verse 39 it states that a large number of people were sitting in groups on the green grass. Up to now virtually everything that transpired in the gospel of Mark happened in the context of the desert. To Mark, this was a symbol of the way the church is reflected in the world. On a mission and always ill at ease. And here, all of a sudden, people sit on green grass. Do you remember Psalm 23?

This is an image of people whose hunger has been satisfied and an image of the true life – with God. It all started with five loaves and two small fish and a small little boy who brought his little bit to the Lord. Small beginnings result in big gains, big results. It all has to do with your and my willingness to get involved – and, in the first instance, what Jesus does with what we offer.

Greetings from Fourie and everyone at Straatwerk

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A pair of second hand flip-flops or sunglasses for your birthday…

A few days ago it felt like my birthday in Badsberg Close, although it wasn’t. I received the most beautiful letter with the words: “Lisa, I love you. You are my best friend. I hop (instead of ‘hope’) you will come to visit. I love you my best friend. From David.”

I could see on the letter that after numerous attempts and lavish use of the eraser, he managed to get the letter up to this standard. A few moments after I received the letter, Tammy came to me and gave me three weed flowers that she must have picked somewhere on her way from school.

A little while ago Lewena (our housemother) celebrated her birthday and one of the children drew her a picture of the prettiest birthday cake and stuck it against the door of her room. With the “Happy Birthday” and “love you sis, Lewena”, there was also a warning: “Don tyk it ov”. And believe me, not one of us took the risk and the picture is still against the door. Birthdays or no birthdays, the children always make us feel very special.

Most of the children’s birthdays look a bit different… often they would shyly come to us and whisper that it’s their birthday. No cake, no gift and no party. Many of them are familiar with the empty promises of party packets, gifts and new clothes.

In our simple manner we celebrate with second hand flip-flops (two sizes too big), sunglasses (that reach their upper lips), hugs and the “Happy Birthday” song. It makes them happy that we know them by name. And it makes us happy that there is a God who knows them much better than we do.

Isaiah 43:1b – “I have called you by name; you are Mine.

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All forms of prostitution, irrespective of the surrounding circumstances or environment, deeply damage every individual involved. The South African Law Reform Commission is working on new legislation concerning prostitution. The options under consideration are criminalisation; partial criminalisation; legalisation; and decriminalisation. Currently there is strong support for decriminalisation*.

Jesus came to bring abundant life to each person who receives His gifts of forgiveness and new life.

Please pray with us:

“Dear Lord, You stand against every form of prostitution, because You know how precious You have made each of us. We believe the laws of our country have to communicate the worth of each human being; protect against anything which degrades and damages human beings as well as strongly support healthy family values. Dear Lord, may prostitution stay criminalised in South Africa. May we, as Your Church, live and share Your abundant love and life!”

Please contact us if you would like to have further information.

*Decriminalisation refers to the removal of all laws relating to the operation of prostitution.

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‘One doesn’t sell something that you love’

She is friendly, energetic, interesting and a symbol of a God that can make people’s lives new, but it wasn’t always like that…

 

Amanda grew up in Ravensmead and at the age of 24 she started to flirt with the dark world of drugs. She wasn’t a user, but a drug courier throughout South Africa. She was caught and sentenced to six years imprisonment, of which she had to serve three and a half years.

At the age of 29 she was despondent and depressed and started to use drugs. One thing led to another and she ended up being trapped in prostitution to support her drug habits.

Meet Amanda, a very committed co-worker:

Where did you hear about Straatwerk?
I saw the people of Straatwerk when I was still walking on dark and dangerous roads. After I met the Lord, a pastor of a church in Brooklyn told me about the outreaches of Straatwerk and that I could participate in reaching broken people.

How did you get involved with Straatwerk?
I called Straatwerk’s offices and joined the outreach team. I believe that the Lord has awakened this passion in my heart to reach out to women who are trapped in the destructive lifestyle of prostitution.

What does a Friday night outreach mean to you personally?
I really enjoy going out on the streets to speak to these women. I get to share that all is not in vain and that there is a better life for them. Many times I get to share my testimony, especially when they say: “You won’t understand” and “You don’t know what I am going through”.

What is your greatest joy?
To wake up in the morning, drug-free, knowing that Christ has saved my soul.

What is your greatest sadness?
Homelessness. It was one of my biggest fears too. I have never been homeless but I always knew that it could easily happen due to my lifestyle.

What is your favourite Scripture verse
?
1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

A last thought:
One day a man said to me that I love sex. I just shook my head and said: “One doesn’t sell something that you love”. In Christ I have learnt to love myself.

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‘Oupa’, the young man and the lady…

What do these three people have in common? All three have searched for a place to belong and have found it at Straatwerk.

For years Oupa walked to the Straatwerk Ophelp Projekte depot to make a difference in his quiet, peaceful manner. He couldn’t participate in the strenuous cleaning shifts because the hard and tiresome work was physically too difficult for him, but he was serving all the participants by keeping the Jesus Saves bibs in an immaculate state, and by cleaning the benches where everyone came to rest after a hard day’s work. At the beginning of the year Oupa, at the age of 90+ had to retire since he is almost completely blind. Oupa is still an inspiration to all of us.

At the age of 17, Ashley’s life started to lose direction. He chose the wrong friends, drank heavily and started to smoke marijuana. Finally his circumstances at home forced him to the streets. He became addicted to a life of loitering without responsibility and work.

One Friday night Ashley was aimlessly strolling in Green Point (then 25 years old), when the Straatwerk-van (a familiar sight in the middle of the night) drove passed him. The outreach team spotted Ashley and went to talk to him and his friend.

Ashley and his friend weren’t really interested in the conversation and reluctantly took the Straatwerk information card. Two weeks later Ashley saw that his friend still had the card and he made a decision to go and see what this Ophelp Projekte was all about. He was exhausted, desperate and tired of a meaningless life.

The storeroom manager of Ophelp Projekte reached out to him, signed him up for a shift and said: “It’s over and done with, you are now part of Ophelp Projekte!”

Now, Ashley is a foreman at the Mowbray depot and an example to all the participants. He testifies: “I’m very happy that Straatwerk found me, or did I find Straatwerk? Either way, the project gave me a second chance at life. No going back.”

Jennifer Solomon was recruited at the City depot and started to participate in Ophelp Projekte on 22 April this year. At the time, she was staying at Napier shelter and told many of the residents about Ophelp Projekte. The Ophelp management noticed this good gesture and Jennifer was awarded a R300 bonus for setting a good example in recruiting people for shifts and taking it upon herself to talk, encourage and bring others to participate.

Jennifer recently paid a visit to our City depot with gratitude and a big smile; she got a job and is now on a one year contract at the fire station in Roeland Street! She testifies: “Jesus saves, Jesus has saved me. Had it not been for Ophelp Projekte, my life would still be a mess, but I have learnt valuable lessons at ‘the school of life’ and Jesus helped me through.”

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Miyaans’ prayer

Denidia Kilbourn

The power of prayer comes in every shoe size…

I once again realised this as I heard little Miyaan (3) say grace for the sandwiches we were about to receive.

Miyaan and her brother, Abu Bakr (Bakke, as we call him) have been part of our It’s Amazing Kids Club in Heideveld for the past two years. Every Tuesday and Wednesday they join us to get something nice to eat, some love and playtime with other children of the area.

The rest of the week they regularly come to visit our housemother, Auntie Lewena, where love overflows and a bowl of food is always available. These two, among others, have crept into our hearts. They are growing up in very difficult circumstances and it’s remarkable to see how fragile, yet strong they are. Bakke (5) has taken on the role as Miyaans’ protector. Wherever Miyaan goes, Bakke goes and wherever Bakke goes, Miyaan goes. Anyone can see from a mile away how strong and inspiring their brother-sister love is.

A while back, like every other Wednesday, as we gathered to wash hands and eat a sandwich, we asked the children who would like to say grace. Miyaan immediately put up a hand and asked if she could. Miyaan is usually very shy and definitely not a crowd pleaser. We think it’s thanks to teacher Magdel that Miyaan discovered her voice. (Magdel is our most recent addition to the team and runs the preschool playgroup.)

Miyaan closed her eyes, folded her hands and started to pray: “Lord, bless the food we are about to receive. Let us never forget who You
are. Amen.”

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