There are two things that the end of a year brings: reflection and expectation. So, as our team wraps things up before the holiday season, we thought we would share some of our 2021 reflections as we stand in great expectation for the new year.
2021 brought similar themes as the previous year: lockdown, pivoting, and a whole lot of overcoming. We are grateful for that, but 2021 was far from being a replica of 2020, and for that, we are even more thankful. So, here is our round-up of the year:
Our local lockdown had put a bit of a damper on that ‘start of a new year‘ feeling for us, but coming out of the year 2020, we learned the art of being flexible and innovative. Therefore, our 2021 planning retreat became virtual, and all of our staff gathered around their laptop screens as we planned our goals for 2021. This led us to launch our theme for the year, ‘Surrender,‘ a necessary and powerful posture in the time we live in.
Having survived the lockdowns and taking necessary safety measures, we were so excited as Gangstar Café Mowbray reopened their doors. In this same month, the ever-smiling and joyful presence of Sinawo joined our Gangstar Team. We also launched two online series, Grief and Grace and Higher Live Season Two; both video series reached a more significant number of people than we could have in-person, and we’re so grateful for the impact they both had. The negotiations of our purchase of the Parkwood building also began as we made an offer.
Our creative missions could finally return to Citrusdal, and we were able to be on the ground again with the young people, a highly celebrated moment! Another big moment that called for celebration was when Xhanti Phetshwa officially became the Nyanga Hub Coordinator. And since we became so acquainted with Zoom through lockdown, we hosted our first virtual event with our US team to raise funds for Nyanga Hub Phase Two.
As we slowly settled back into the normalcy of being in-person, our Academy and Academy Night School launched, and we welcomed some incredible students to our team for the year. We also saw three graduates complete the Red Band Barista Training, such special times!
The fifth month of the year brought both the winter season to Cape Town and some exciting moments at the Message. These moments included our first Work4ALiving course, which 17 ex-offenders attended. We launched our Parkwood Higher Tour, held another online fundraiser for Nyanga Hub with the UK, and started a new ‘leadership’ Advance group with reps from across the country. Like we mentioned, some inspiring moments!
June and July
We’re officially halfway through the year, and it came as quickly in real life as it did in this newsletter. Starting on a high note, our offer for the Parkwood Building was accepted! We also concluded our Higher Parkwood Tour with 100 kids present and 50 kids responding to the gospel. Then lockdown hit us again, but our mission work continued through the incredible tool of the online world as Higher Live Season Three launched. We also started our building renovations, opened the Nyanga community garden, and hosted a virtual Message Night. And this momentum kept going!
August and September
These were two exciting months here at the Message as they both encompassed some key moments. To kick things off, our Message family grew as our Communications Coordinator, Stacey, and new Oaks home manager, Frans, joined our team! We launched Nyanga Hub Phase Two and hosted our first ever Bloom event for teenage girls. We also saw 12 youth leaders graduate from night school and 15 students from Work4ALiving. Lastly, we hosted two amazing events, our Virtual Partners Lunch and our first-ever coffee tasting at Gangstar.
Hello, newly renovated office, and goodbye to remote working, our staff moved back into the building. Speaking of our office, our Message family kept growing as Ingrid, our Office Manager, joined our team. While welcoming new people to our team, we also said goodbye to our 2021 Academy students as they graduated and concluded their year of mission. Our Creative Missions team had a great month of reaching young people through another Citrusdal mission and Higher Tour in Lansdowne. They came face to face with over 1000 young people! Our Prisons and Enterprise team also had a praise report as they were back in Goodwood Prisons with Work4ALiving this month, and our Community Transformation team hosted a Leadership Camp. What a month full of in-person mission work, we were so grateful!
November and December
The final stretch! There have been so many highlights from this year, and we had to do it justice by ending it off strong, and our teams did just that. Our Higher Collective released their first EP and hosted an exciting in-person event for its launch. We also started the first-ever barista training in Goodwood prison, a significant highlight this year! We hosted both our Heroes Night and Genetiks Parkwood Showcase online. Now, we dream again for 2022!
That wraps up our 2021; a year of many significant moments that will be springboards for what’s to come in 2022. We are so grateful for your support throughout this year. So, from our family to yours; we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!