This is the heart of our organization. It is here where you can see exactly what impact your generous donations and contributions have on the people in the community.
Through my eyes… Asanda Pepu, testimony of a benefactor
I am Asanda Pepu, 27 years old. I live in Masinenge informal settlement. In 2014 I had a stroke while I was pregnant and gave birth to a premature baby. During that time Shirley from Abounding Hope assisted my family while I was in hospital. You gave my mom hope and strength and even transported me from place to place because I couldn't walk but now I am glad I can do everything by myself.
My wish is that you will never stop but continue helping other people. I just want to say thank you and this is the only way of showing my appreciation to you, Love you alot.
What an eye opening experience!
For some time now I have felt deeply on my heart that we as Christians sometimes choose the easy way out. We toss up a prayer when faced with the plight of peoples’ needs, something like, “Oh Lord, bless and help them,” and then we go on with our lives, our conscience momentarily appeased. We go back to our little worlds, watching our favourite series, on giant flat-screen TVs, which are not quite as big as we’d like, griping about the issues that intrude into our comfort zones.
We are so caught up in our own little worlds, that we are even blind to the fact that we are blind to the plight of the needy. Yes, we know there are poor people out there, and yes, maybe we donate food and money to support helping organizations, but until you come face to face with the stark reality of the poverty some people live in we have no idea how selfish and self-absorbed we really are.
It is when we meet people whose only concern is where their next meal is going to come from, when the entire contents of a kitchen consists of three potatoes, that our own challenges pale starkly in comparison. Our stone walls and soft beds compared to those living in plastic, wood and corrugated iron shelters. How small minded and self-absorbed we are! The ugliness and poverty around us ironically reflecting the ugliness and poverty of our own souls.
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to visit kwaMasinenge with Abounding Hope community Development. I had no idea what to expect, as it was my first time in an informal settlement. I suppose one expects garbage lying everywhere, the stench of raw sewerage permeating the air, danger lurking behind every corner waiting to pounce. Imagine my surprise to discover the area being relatively tidy, a friendly, uncomplicated people, polite living with dignity, each shack furnished into a makeshift home. It’s not the Ritz, but each host welcomed us warmly and offered us freely to share in the meagre comforts that they had. The most striking for me, was their vulnerability. We are so incredibly privileged living in our big houses, with electrified fences, burglar bars and alarm systems with private security companies and two big dogs in the yard. These people live in a wooden frame with corrugated iron and not even a proper bolt to lock the door. If someone wants to rob or harm them they are virtually defenseless.
The people too are surprisingly hospitable, there is a simple humility about them which is very touching. You hear testimonies of healing which
encourage, you hear plights of woe which move you, and you hear horrible stories of the way they sometimes treat each other. It is raw humanity at its best and worst. They have no veils and the trappings of wealth and success to hide behind. They are just very real people trying to survive from day to day. Born into families and lifestyles purely by chance, just as we are. It opens the eyes to see how utterly blessed we are, shaming us for our former ingratitude.
It is a journey I would recommend everyone should undergo at least once. If nothing else, it will remove the blindness of our eyes to be grateful for what we have, and hopefully motivate us to do a little more, than to just offer up a “quicky” prayer on Sundays for the plight of the poor.
As always we go into Masinenge with great expectation of what God is going to do regarding everyone we meet and come across, bringing Glory to Him and Him alone. With every person we met and who's place we visited, God was there as always. His presence hovering over us and empowering us in love and in Spirit.
We prayed for restoration healing of a baby boy who's broken bone has not been completely healed. (This particular baby was physically abused by his previous caregiver and was in full body cast for several weeks). The Lord has made way for the boy to get the much needed physio that will lead to full restoration and healing.
We were invited into an old mans home, who lost his life partner a few days ago, whom HOLY Spirit not only wanted to comfort but also had plans to bring him to salvation.
The old man gave his life to the Lord and the Holy Spirit was truly tangible, as Jesus was proclaimed as Lord of this humble, hurting old mans life. We blessed him with some groceries to add onto his list for the funeral. What was truly touching was us asking this weeping, broken hearted man what he knew about Jesus before his salvation, he tells us he sees Jesus in all the love shown by the team and through His works in the community.
We laid hands on a lady suffering from a hectic case of ulcers. God revealed to one of the team members that she has very bad nightmares which lead to her have anxieties and panic attacks. But we serve a God of whom nothing is impossible for Him.
Our last visit was to a household where the wife is a cancer survivor and the husband is recovering from TB. She mentioned the difficulty she's experiencing with her throat as it closes up at times when she tries to eat her food, have her medication and even drink water. We laid hands on both her and the husband and prayed for healing and prayed for their home.
Touching lives for the Kingdom of God is what we at Abounding Hope Ministries live for ...
Volunteering With Abounding Hope Community Development
My Name is Philiswa Lwana, I started volunteering with Abounding Hope at the end of 2016.
Every time I had free time, when I was back from university, I started walking around the community and praying for people with Shirley and helping those in need and I fell in love with the community of Masinenege.
My heart broke for the children and teenagers in the area, and so I committed myself to being involved in every way possible to help Shirley with her vision. It’s honestly been full of laughs, tears and every other emotion in between. It was difficult of course, like any other work environment because working with people has its challenges, especially
because the people of this informal settlement battle with trust issues and their situations have made them people, hard of heart. They ask a lot of questions which is good as by nature the people of Masinenge are always suspicious and very cautious.
Praying for people and walking with them through their journeys, has been most fulfilling. An example of this was when the community caregivers spoke to me about six teenage girls living together in a shack, with no beds, like nothing was in their shack.
I had a privilege of meeting with them and asked their ages and how they got to the informal settlement.
I’d get answers like: “I got tired of staying at home and came to look for a job” (16)
“I quit school and my gran couldn’t support me” (14)
“I fell pregnant in grade 10 and I couldn’t continue with school” (17)
As the year continued, I asked them if they would be willing to go back to school! A few loved the freedom of not being home and some were prostituting themselves, so it was not easy for them to decide to go back home to a family structure.
I managed to get one girl to go back to school and the other girl to reconnect with her family, whilst still working with the ones that decided to stay in the informal settlement.
I organised house work for them and they are doing great, they attend church and they are hopeful again. Now with the youth program that is starting it is my desire and hope to get them involved and hoping they are able to grab the chance to claim they lives back and restore what the enemy tried to steal from them.
However, helping Shirley with the crèche registration challenged me the most, because the parents were not cooperating at all. We had countless meetings before we could even form a crèche board. It stretched my level of patience to new levels and learning to relax and sometimes just having a good laugh would get us through the challenges.
My faith has been stretched in ways I could have never imagined. God has been faithful and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing organisation.