Interviews

Thulisile New:: Napo :: Margaret :: Stacy Pierce ::

MY STORY by Thulisile

My name is Thulisile I am 16 years old. When I was 8 years old I was brought to the Center by an aunt and I have stayed here ever since then.

Sadly my mother passed away while giving birth to me and I was taken care of by my grandmother. I have never seen my father and don’t know if he is alive or dead as he abandoned us at birth.

Since my granny was a pensioner and had others to look after life was tough and we lived under very poor conditions with very little to eat. I remember travelling long distances to school sometimes without breakfast and coming back with very little or nothing to eat. Then tragedy struck as my granny passed away which left me very sad and caused lots of pain as she loved me very much. My life was shattered and I was scared what would happen to me in the future.

It was then that we heard about the Care Centre and I was brought here. I also met many children here who had similar experiences like me and they became my new family. The staff loved and cared for me providing all my needs especially sending me to school. I also began to learn about God and that Jesus loved me. In the beginning I struggled to understand about Gods’ love as I had no living person to call my own. Gradually I began to enjoy life, as the Center met all my needs and I am now looking forward to a bright future.

However pain came again last year when I had a cough that was not healing. After an X ray it was discovered that I had TB. That was not all after having blood tests done I was found to be HIV Positive. Once again my hopes were shattered, I became very negative about life and my performance at school dropped.

It was a difficult time in my life and as I look back the staff of the Centre and counselors at school played an important part in helping me overcome this situation and gradually I am now beginning to look at life positively. My faith in the Lord has deepened and I have a very good group of girls here who encourage me daily.

I am presently in Grade 11 and next year will be completing high school. My passion is to do further studies in Interior Designing which I think will be my future career.

My grateful thanks to all who are helping to make this dream a reality.


MY STORY by Napo

Life has been great for me for the last 9 years as the Care Centre has been taking care of all my needs which include accommodation, education, counseling etc. I love going to school and it was here that I came to know and enjoy God’s love. I love going to youth fellowship.

However it was not always like this during my childhood days. When I was 3 years old my mother died and I never knew my father. I was told he came to the city to look for work and was never seen again. It became my granny’s duty to take care of the 4 of us, 2 of my elder brothers and a sister. We grew up in poverty and my poor grandma struggled to provide for our needs. I remember going with my brothers to collect water from the river which was far away.

My grandma left the rural area and came to the city with the hope a better life for all of us, but sadly things became worse and we all lived in a little shack, depending on neighbours for help.

It was then that my granny heard about the Care Centre and she brought my sister and I here in 2007. I met others who were in the same situation like me, some even worse. The staff began to take good care of me. I enjoy going to school  and love swimming. It was here that I first heard about the Lord Jesus and am slowly understanding his love for me. I love going to church. I am in Grade 9 and my sister Puseletso who is 17 years old is in Grade 11.

I am free from the worry of poverty and can now focus on my education. I really want to work hard at school finish my high school and study maybe accounting or business. I know with the help of people at the Centre and supporters I will reach my dream.

 

MY STORY by Margaret Mazibuko

My name is Margaret, I was born very close to Johannesburg. My mother worked very hard to provide for me and my brother as we did not have a father. Sadly she died when I was eleven and for the first time I was afraid as there was no one to take care of us. For a while we lived together in the shack depending on neighbours for help. Unfortunately we were unable to attend school. My aunt, my mother’s sister, took us into her care but things became worse as she began to abuse us in many ways and I cried many times thinking how we can escape this miserable life.

In 2008 a social worker discovered our situation and brought us to the Centre. I was 12 years old and in Grade 6 and my younger brother Solomon was 9 years old. We both were warmly received with loving staff and were introduced to other children who came from the same background. Immediately we were enrolled in school and I enjoy my studies and am in Grade 11 and my brother is in grade 9. I love sports and have taken part in soccer and netball. I was selected to represent my school on many occasions. The Lord has been very good to us, I love him and enjoy reading the Bible. Many times I share the gospel with friends at school and a few of them listen and want to know more. Sometimes we girls get together and speak of our background remembering the hard times we all went through and the new home and care we discovered at the Centre. We are always thankful for all the donors who make it possible

I am now focused on studies and I hope to study some engineering when I leave school.

Natasha Gumbo
Natasha with Nkuleleko, Sibusiso, Simangele, Nhalanha Simphiwe and Olewethu

STACY PIERCE

Stacy Pierce is one of our new volunteers from the United States. Originally born in Louisiana she has until recently been living in Santa Barbara. She majored in English at university, and was working as a pre-school teacher before she resigned to come and volunteer at the CCC for three months. She is a member of the Hope Community Church there, which sent out a team to the CCC a few years ago, and have a new team arriving this December. Having heard about the trip, Stacy decided to come out a few months earlier to help with the children and with their end of year exams. She is finding the work so fulfilling that she has changed her plans. After going home for Christmas, she now plans to return to South Africa in February to stay and work at the Centre for a whole year.

In the mornings she helps Margaret who is the Centre’s pre-school teacher. They are currently working on the Christmas play, which also serves as a graduation for the little ones who are moving on from pre-school. In the afternoons Stacy helps with spelling and reading during the study sessions for the older children. She is having a great time at the Centre, and really loves the children. The most difficult part though, is hearing about their backgrounds. She finds the children here have to work much harder because of their disadvantaged backgrounds and less exposure to English. She has enjoyed building up relationships and in particular, is enjoying getting to know the teenage girls who are starting to open up to her. The little ones run up and hug her and call her ‘teacher Stacy’!

She finds life in Hillbrow fascinating, she is a very keen photographer and she would like to spend some time taking photos of the area. She has also been to some of the more wealthy suburbs, and says the cleanliness of the streets there really shows the contrasts of living in South Africa. The BBC have taken the children on some outings and she has got to know some of the youngsters who belong to that church. They recently had a Selah (a retreat) where she was able to interact with and socialise with other like-minded people in their 20s. On a Sunday she attends church with the children at the Christ Church in Hillbrow. She says that getting there is something of an eye-opening experience! (one can imagine how this might be the case for a new arrival). She eats with the children, and says pap is definitely new, but that she has gotten used to it.

Stacy has a blog where she is covering her experiences at the Centre, the address is http://wearilesswanderer.blog.com/. She's a wonderful new addition to the Centre and comes across as a warm, caring person. Volunteers are the heartbeat of the CCC, and it's thanks to people like Stacy that we are able to keep on running. We're so pleased to have her with us, and are really excited about her decision to return next year.



PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF MARY–ANNE LIEBENBERG THE SECRETARY OF THE 5CEES.

Five years ago Rosebank Union Church ran the bible study by Rick Warren called Forty Days of Community. Our bible study led by Craig Pournara was asked by RUC to consider developing the Pre-school classroom at Christ Church Christian Care Centre. Our Bible Study painted walls, improved lighting, put in shelves and brought in new and old toys, fixed the playground, planted new grass, put up fencing and shade cloth over a two year period. Most toys, puzzles and books are still being used in Teacher Magret’s Early learning programme for children of 3,4,5 and 6 living at the centre. Magret is a phenomenal person with the most incredible gift of encouragement for children and volunteers. We went in with the aim to build a bridge with the care centre children but God built bridges in our relationships with each other in the bible study as well. In most bible studies people come and go, but the depth of the relationships we built with each other during the time of community service became a very strong glue. Our bible study, as well as our involvement with Christ Church Christian Care Centre goes on. In December our bible study under the leadership of Jenny Cane went with the children and our families to visit the Monte Casino Bird Gardens. We all had fun and learnt a great deal.

Christ Church Christian Care Centre provides for the needs of about forty children between the ages of 2 and 22. About half the children are orphans. It was started in 2002 by Mike Sunker the then Pastor of Christ Church Hilbrow. God called him to open a children’s shelter and with very little material goods, but a lot of faith he obeyed his call. Sarah Sunker, Mikes daughter in law is the Project Manager. Nancy is the social worker and Magret is the educational co-ordinator. Ayanda Sithole, also someone who attends RUC has recently joined the staff at Christ Church Chrisitian Care Centre as our fundraiser. She has joined us on a commission only basis and I really pray that as she has taken a huge leap of faith to serve the poor that God will meet her needs according to His good purpose. The Care Centre has run for 10 years through donations and without any form of government grants or help. The building in Berea was an old hotel in desperate need of constant repair. Today the care centre is still an old building with much life, love and hope. It is fully paid off. The centre is blessed to have a bus and a bakkie. Amy Quiding from RUC has volunteered as the treasurer far longer than my involvement. Amy is a wonderful person of prayer and she is a woman after God’s own heart. Christ Church Christian Care Centre was one of the projects that Rays of Hope used to be very involved in before their focus strengthened in Alexandra. Rays of Hope does continue to be involved through providing counselling and therapy funding and from time to time they pass on food parcels and easter eggs. As financial times are tough RUC donated money towards Staff Bonusses at the end of last year. Over the last four years some of the Care Centre children have had the privilege of attending Rose-Act. Two of our girls who attended Rose-Act have matriculated. Bongekile gives back by being involved in Jenny Young’s Girl Guide group for Khaya Lomuso as a leader. She studied Tourism last year.

In 2008 as an exhausted teacher, I decided to give up teaching and wait upon God to redirect my steps. As a child I was miraculously healed from an abnormality on the left side of my brain which caused epileptic fits. My family came to know the love of Christ through His healing power and they were saved. I thought I would give God time to use my testimony and faith to pray for others. I have been involved on the Healing Prayer team which meets every Wednesday in the Cry room. As I still had too much time to spare I went into the Care Centre with a plan to do something for them but God’s plan was to restore me into the fullness of His love through the love of the children and staff at the Care Centre. For the last five years I have spent much time in prayer seeking God’s face for myself and others, but more importantly God spent much time shifting my paradigm. Growing up as a Christian I always asked God what He wanted me to do for Him. Now my question is “Lord where are you at work, May I join you in service and see the work of your hands?” As a Christian I grew up to believe that giving was more blessed than receiving. This is true but we are not whole unless we can give and receive love unconditionally. Through the children at the care centre God has taught me to receive love not for what I do but for who I am . I am a child of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit loved by God and His children. I am a mom to Genevie and Tascha and wife to Allan Liebenberg. God’s love through the love of the children has made me whole. I am a teacher. From being a human-doing I have become a human-being. God has restored the strength of my being. I pray that God will continue to help me be motivated by His love rather than by success or by selfish ambition.

Over the last five years there has been many people from our church involved. As a closing I would like to share with you a mentoring programme which we have at the centre called Give Me Wings. It is based on the story of the Talents in Matthew 25. With our Gifts and Talents God expects us to serve, but the children at the centre also have gifts and talents with which God expects them to serve. Very often people from different cultures or socio-economic groups or religions battle to connect but as we serve with our gifts and talents God does a wonderful thing. He grows us into the fullness of His love. The Give wings programme connects children and adults with similar gifts and talents. Through the sharing of lives, skills and knowledge God gives us His hope for the future. We have had people who are passionate about beads connect with children who are passionate about beads. We have seen adults and children learn to plant food gardens. Whatever talent a person has can be used by God to build a community and restore our lives into the people God planned for us in advance to be. He created us to be. Many people’s wings are weak for lack of education and mentoring and for lack of serving others with their gifts and talents. God has given us wings and as we wait upon Him and serve each other with our gifts and talents we do rise up on wings like eagles. I have seen broken children and adults made whole through serving God with their Gifts and Talents, and through the love of Christ we share.

All this has been through God’s guidance and to Him we give all the glory. Great things He has done. We can trust is His unfailing love. God does Father the Fatherless.

Regards

Mary-Anne Liebenberg