May 31, 2016
Written by Autumn Pendergras
Autumn is enrolled in the East Mountain Residency Program. She lives full-time at EM's Community House & Retreat Center and ministers at a school in a local township.
As I write this I am sitting in Trinity Church in Beacon Valley. It is nine at night and I have been here since nine this morning. I have taught phonics, played dolls, lost foot races, had my hair pulled my a dozen little girls, and heard my name over a thousand times since this morning.
This is my place. I don't fit in. I'm not the right color, I don't speak the right language, and many people call me the crazy white girl. But it is where my heart is.
I have been partnering with Trinity Church and Trinity Children's Center for the last ten months and every day that I am here I fall more in love. I look into the eyes of a laughing child and the girls in our middle school group come up to give me a hug and tell me the latest drama and I can't imagine wanting to be anywhere else.
The Summit interns from East Mountain came with me this week to play with the Trinity Children's Center kids. KeKe coached some soccer and all of the kids had the opportunity to read in small groups with the interns. It is so amazing to watch the influence of positive role models in Mitchells Plain.
To see the partnership between Trinity and East Mountain flourish has brought so much joy to my heart. Trinity's wholistic view of each child and person that comes through their doors combined with East Mountain's desire to train leaders has led to a great partnership. The church has run out of seats the last three weeks and the Thursday night Bible study at the church dives deep into the truth of scripture every week. I see the light of the gospel going out in a place that the world calls forsaken.
May 24, 2016
Written by Servaas Hofmyer
Servaas is the East Mountain Resident Advisor, Facilities Manager and general host to all who visit the community.
At the intersection...
What is the fastest way to travel from point A to B? When one has ground to cover with limited time and resources available, this is a crucial question. What is the most efficient way to travel the world in order to experience a variety of cultures or serve among other peoples, for instance? One way to confront such a challenge is to construct an algorithm, directing one along a journey from place to place, experience to experience, opportunity to opportunity. However, should we consider culturally shaped spaces and the encounters therein as expressions of the human heart, we are presented with another alternative altogether: positioning oneself at an intersection.
Through East Mountain I find myself living at a constant intersection.
Encountering "the world on your doorstep" is not an unusual experience when living in a metropolitan city like Cape Town. A hotchpotch of cultures finds expression in people from all over roaming the streets and tourist hotspots of the city. They all gather here. Some temporarily; dotting down to take in the sights and sounds before soon taking off again with a bank full of memories (on which airlines are fortunately yet to place a weight restriction). Others again, arriving with not much more than memories; having migrated from somewhere with a desire to establish something of permanence in the Cape of Good Hope.
Although a local, I often find myself among these 'incomers' as I play the role of tour guide; and, in the fortunate position of observing the cross-continental, cross-cultural, cross-lingual shoulder rubbing that takes place.
I, however, do not live in Cape Town.
I enjoy the privilege of living near Stellenbosch, and through East Mountain have been given the opportunity of encountering "the world in my living room" - something that hit me as I considered the variety of fluid containers which found their way into our kitchen cupboard through the past few years (see picture). Firstly, instead of saying, "an Englishman, a German and a Frenchman", one might as well say "three South Africans" and possess the same cultural diversity necessary to tell a proper (or improper for that matter) joke. And so, in having three South Africans in the house, one can very easily encounter three nations in the process of living here. Then, apart from my own countrymen, the community living room is a place where, if you wait around long enough, you will encounter American diversity, the odd Englishman, other Africans, Asians and who knows, maybe one day a stray Australian?
It is at this intersection where my ministry happens. It is here that I learnt what ministry could look like. It is not always about going out but also inviting in. 'Receiving the sent', if you will. It is a strangely easy but also tough task. Both highly enjoyable and at times tiring.
My conclusion: it is possible to encounter and impact the world by opening the door to your living room.
May 3, 2016
Written by Lutando Macopozo
Lutando is currently in his second year of East Mountain's Residency Program. He lives full-time at EM's Community House & Retreat Center and ministers in a local township. This is his story...
I grew up in a small township called Kayamandi which is about a five minutes' drive from Stellenbosch. It's occupied mostly by blacks and other black tribes from South Africa. The most-commonly spoken language Is IsiXhosa. Kayamandi is a very disadvantaged and underprivileged community where poverty is a norm. It is an unsafe neighborhood where most youngsters are addicted to alcohol and drugs. It is also a place where crime is slowly growing.
Like so many others, I also became addicted to alcohol, but by God's grace I became a Christian when I was 19. Despite becoming a Christian I always failed to overcome my alcohol addiction, mainly because of the environment I remained in. In 2015, I joined East Mountain and moved out of the township and had a chance to enter into a new journey and see where God was leading me.
I joined East Mountain and moved out of the township and had a chance to enter into a new journey and see where God was leading me.
I am in my second year at East Mountain continuing with the Residency Program. The first year was very challenging and interesting. One of the challenges at East Mountain was that I lived with other ethnic groups like Afrikaaners, Coloureds, and Americans. This was my first encounter to live and share life with other ethnics groups in one house. I was assigned to work in an Afrikaans-speaking, colored community - guess what - I can't speak Afrikaans! I had to minister in English, which is my second language; I'm not fluent in it. I grew up speaking IsiXhosa and now I had to primarily speak English for the entire year. I struggled a lot and had to adapt to other cultures. There were times I wanted to give up because of the language barrier and sometimes felt that the message I was sharing was not delivered clearly. I prayed a lot and the Lord revealed this verse to me as a reminder that I was not alone. Deuteronomy 31:6 says
What was interesting was that over the course of last year, I learned a lot about that culture having slowly learned it.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
This year I work in one of the biggest townships in the Western Cape called Kayelitsha. It is about ten times as big as my hometown(ship) of Kayamandi. Alcohol, drug abuse and crime are very high. Every weekend approximately 85 to 120 teenagers are admitted to the local hospital having been shot, stabbed, or raped (and been left for dead). I work for a church called Christ Church-Kayelitsha. I lead a men's ministry and also run home Bible studies two times a week. In the next few weeks I will also begin overseeing the worship team. I will lead some worship using one of my God-given talents, which is to play the piano. I enjoy my work a lot and one thing I love about working Kayelitsha is that I can relate to them because we are from the same culture. I use my home language of IsiXhosa to minister the Word of God. I work closely with Pastor Bheki Dikeni who is the associate pastor of the church.
It's a privilege and honor to work in a church that puts God's word above all things. Matthew 28:19 says "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." One of Christ Church-Khayelitsha's goals this year as the church is to reach as many young people as possible. As the Book of Matthew tells us that we should go and make disciples, we believe as the church, Kayelitsha is the place to start in sharing the Gospel, especially to those who face these aforementioned addictions.
I have faith in God, that he is going to do great things in Kayelitsha.
I pray for all those teenagers who suffer from overcoming their addictions.
I pray for the church leadership to trust and have patience in God when they work with all of those who are in need of the Gospel.