Over the next week, I have the privilege of being in Cape Town, South Africa walking alongside Deo and his team of youth ministers. This group of seven leaders represents an amazing answer to our prayers that Alicia and I have prayed since 2006, when we first visited the 6th Avenue Squatter’s Camp in Kensington- a suburb of Cape Town. Young people living at 6th Ave are often marginalized and excluded by their surrounding community and many of the face the desperate poverty and domestic turmoil that can lead to abusing drugs, joining a gang, dropping out of school, becoming pregnant and so on.
During the three years that Alicia and I focused our ministry at 6th Ave, we prayed that there would be a team of local youth ministers who would build relationships with the youth there and share the love of Jesus with them. While this never came to fruition while we lived in South Africa, things started to change last September, and Deo and other young adults in the community began to be drawn to 6th Ave. Under Deo’s wise and innovative leadership, this has grown into a team of seven youth leaders who are regularly heading to there and building relationships with the teenagers and children there. There are also several key people in place who are supporting this team in various ways. Big things are happening. I am so encouraged.
This week, I’ll focus on walking alongside this team in any and every way I can. Deo and I are working on getting this ministry established as a local non-profit. I also get to facilitate relational ministry training and strategic planning times. We’ve already med once, and it was a time that was so very encouraging as I heard stories of these leaders helping kids that I know get their first job or just have a friend who listens to them; and so heartbreaking as I also heard stories of yet another boy that’s dropped out of school and another that’s begun using.
I would appreciate your prayers that I would have the wisdom, presence and heart to be able to encourage, equip, empower and sustain these leaders who are doing amazing ministry in a very challenging place.
Thank you for all of your support and prayers and love that make it possible for me to be here, walking alongside these folks, and continue to be a part of ministry at 6th Ave.
Answers to prayer: Jennifer, Tanya, Colleen, Barry and Deo (plus Marvin and Jason) make up the team of leaders who are working with the youth and children at the 6th Ave. Squatter’s Camp, the community where Alicia and I spent three years ministering.