When Claudine shared her story with some at-risk
high school girls at a camp this year, she told them how
she had gotten pregnant at 14 years old and dropped out
of school. Overwhelmed with the challenges of life, she
became addicted to drugs (tik..crystal meth) and no longer
wanted to live.
she was lying on her bed, not moving for days, she told
God, “If you are real...help me.” He did...she
got off of drugs cold turkey and today she is a different
Unemployed for several years, I was so proud of her when
she decided to take the Sisterhood of Success job skills
class this year.
For many women in Ocean View, signing up for a
class like this is a BIG deal. It means they are willing
to draw a line in the sand and say, “I want a different
life...I want to change.”
Since you can’t paint your house in Ocean View without
your neighbour saying, “Oooo! You think you’re
better than us? Painting your house?” it takes a lot
of courage to decide to work hard for a better life.
I am so impressed with my friends Claudine and Elriza...they
took the job skills course and decided they wanted to change
their thinking from the mindset of poverty...to the mindset
When they graduated...they both got new front
teeth – another symbol in their community that they
were ready for change...ready for God to revolutionize their
Note: Claudine, who has been out of work for several
years, has had a full-time job since May.
one of our Ubuntu soccer games, we set off to the local
McDonalds and KFC to enjoy a meal before the big event.
That big event was youth night at Hillsong church.
As the worship rang out from the front, it was
amazing to watch the different reactions by the boys.
Some looked around to see what the others thought. Some
looked at all the girls. Some lifted their hands in worship.
You could see that many already had a true love for worship
and were not afraid to show it in public or in front of
their friends and teammates. The message that night was
"God has a plan for you".
I (Karl) was touched that before Ubuntu, some
of these boys had never been told God loves them and has
a plan for them to better their lives. Some of them listened
intently as the message was shared.
. WOW! How amazing is that!
Ubuntu's mission statement says..."To introduce
the young men of Africa to Jesus and His transforming
love through soccer and to inspire and equip them to be
the most excellent men (of God) they can be". I saw
this played out in a real way that night.
I (Julie) was picking up some of the students for
our Sisterhood of Success job skills class and this was
the discussion going on in the truck with our young women
from Ocean View:
Beth didn't show up to go to class this morning...one
of the other students. She told her friends she was sick…but
they are concerned that she lied about being sick and that
her abusive boyfriend is holding her captive in her flat
(an apartment complex like “the projects” in
the States). A gangster and drug addict, he doesn’t
want Beth taking the Sisterhood of Success class –
he’s terrified she’ll realize she can become
successful without him…a REAL-LIFE “sister of
success,” if you will.
They convince me to weave the truck around the back alleys
of the flats and talk her into going to class today. I don’t
usually roam around the flats – overrun with gangsters
and drug addicts – but I tell them if the three of
us go together, we can do it.
Trooping up the deteriorating stairs, we quickly knock
on the door and she answers immediately…fully dressed
and ready to go - hoping we'd come back. Apparently her
4 year old ran out of the house when they started fighting,
afraid her dad would beat her mom again.
Now we’re off to find the 4 year old girl! Somewhere!
We track her down at a neighbor’s house and take her
Back in the truck, I ask the girls…"What is
your happiest childhood memory?"
- Mia says, “I remember being in
school and going on field trips to museums. That was fun.
I didn’t know then how hard life could be.”
- Lisa says, “I remember walking
with my sister hand in hand on Christmas morning –
through our neighborhood to my grandmother’s house.
That was a nice memory.”
- Beth says, “I don’t have
any happy memories.” Choking up… “but
I know Jesus can change my life.”
- I say (still driving), “Beth…Jesus
was there with you when you were a child – all those
times you cried…He cried with you. He was there.
He loves you.”
There wasn’t a dry eye in the truck.
I've (Karl) met quite a few guys who beg for money on the
side of the road. One of those guys is named Shane. I usually
see him at a stoplight and will ask him questions while waiting
for the light to turn green. "How’s the family,
what can I pray for you about, have you found work lately?"
I usually end it by reminding him how much God loves him.
Here is my interview one day with Shane: