25 Oct 2021

Coming Full Circle

For many young people living in the toughest neighbourhoods in South Africa, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting involved in gangsterism. But we know this isn’t the plan that God has for them.

With youth unemployment rates across South Africa at 43%, it’s easy to see why turning to gangs is what so many young people do. But we want things to change.

Message South Africa are doing everything they can to break this cycle and help young people discover all they’re meant to be in Jesus. Through their Community Transformation Programme, the team give young people access to education, employment training and safe places for community and sports activities, all whilst nurturing their faith!

As our team are Jesus’ hands and feet, they’re seeing the lives of young people transformed – lives like Xhanti’s.

Xhanti (on the right) at soccer club

‘I grew up in Nyanga where crime and gangsterism are part of everyday life and thought this was the path that I was heading down. But God had a different plan! Through friends I got involved in a local church and realised that my way of life wasn’t how God wanted me to live and I started to want more. I found myself involved in the Community Transformation programme where I got stuck in without having to worry about getting in trouble with the police or what those around me were doing.

‘I also got help with my education, developed lots of new skills, and through it all, missional teams told me about Jesus. So as well as spending time mentoring me and equipping me practically, they helped my faith grow too!

‘This had such an impact on me that I decided to volunteer as a soccer coach and after-school tutor in the programme so that I can help reach out to children from backgrounds just like mine, helping to stop them going down the wrong path. My journey has taken me full circle. I now help run the education, mentorship, discipleship and sports programmes, seeing young lives transformed by the love of Jesus. Each week, over 90 kids come along with many also coming along to weekly Bible studies and church services!’

Xhanti and the team also spend their time giving back, investing in the next generation just like previous teams invested in them. At the moment, they’re discipling eight young people to become transformational leaders themselves and go full circle to help others transform their lives through Jesus!