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.