At The Message we are committed to seeing young people flourish in every area of their lives. It gives us great joy to welcome Nathan Hans to our team! Nathan will be working in our Soft Machine business at Gangstar Enterprises. He will be responsible for driving our ice-cream food truck and serving at events. We met Nathan through our Eden Salt River team’s relationship with Beth Uriel Home for young men in Observatory, where Nathan stays.
Get to know Nathan below in this short interview with our Operations Director Mark Slessenger.
Mark: Welcome Nathan to The Message Trust! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
Nathan: Hi Mark, my name is Nathan Hans and I am the last born of six children. I was born and raised in Seawinds which is on the Cape Flats in Lavender Hill. I attended Steenberg primary school and Crestway high school in Retreat. I regard myself to be honest and hardworking and I adapt well to new environments. I love playing soccer and enjoy all kinds of sports.
Mark: That’s great! At The Message we have four values which are passion, church, innovation & community. Tell us what you passionate about?
Nathan: I am passionate about various things which range from sports, work, and my studies. I am also passionate about helping where I can and inspiring people around me.
Mark: It’s great to hear your passion for these things. Can you tell us a bit about the church you belong to?
Nathan: I have been attending Jubilee Community Church for around four years and I really like it there. I grew up in an Anglican church but I have enjoyed Jubilee and the way they worship as a community.
Mark: You mentioned above that you are from Seawinds, in Lavender Hill what does community mean to you?
Nathan: Community means to be connected, to unite, and be in a family like environment with your neighbours, this is what I long for in Seawinds.
Mark: We are so happy you are with The Message Trust and joining our Soft Machine team. What was it that specifically attracted you to join The Message?
Nathan: What attracted me to the message was all the ways they reconnect people back into community. Also I love the way The Message are providing unemployed youth in South Africa with opportunities to develop skills whilst learning and receiving a salary for their efforts.
Mark: It’s great to see a young person like you focusing on positive things.If you could say one thing to the youth of South Africa what would you say?
Nathan: I would encourage all young people to focus on their potential instead of the limitations that they face. This is what I am trying to do in my own personal life.
Over 450 people attended our third annual Vision Night banquet hosted at Jubilee Community Church. Through the amazing cooperation of the Department of Correctional Services, 21 students from our in-prison Message Enterprise Programme (MEP) were among the guests. Angus Buchan, our key note speaker, had been into the prison earlier that day and shared the Gospel with around 300 offenders, as well as spending some time with the MEP class. “When I look at these young men I have hope for the future of our country… they’ve got fire in their eyes!” he told the Vision Night guests.
Vision Night provides The Message with an opportunity to share stories of what God is doing through the organisation, as well as show appreciation for our partners and supporters.
KineticIV kicked off the evening giving the audience a taste of how they share the Gospel with young people in schools and youth groups across the city. Following Uncle Angus’ inspirational address, Tim Tucker (Message SA CEO) shared about our goals to empower young people, equip the church, eradicate gangsterism and expand into Africa. “We want to see young people become role models, build strong Christian families, become constructive and positive citizens, and be empowered to shape the future.”
Chumani Ndzala gave insight into what this looks like in reality. He works in one of Message’s micro-enterprises – Gangstar Furniture. “My job reminds me of my life. I turn old wood into beautiful products… the things people cast off as rubbish, still have amazing potential. And that is what God has done with my life.”
The evening culminated in a powerful and emotional performance by the MEP students who led the guests in two worship songs. Many in the audience were in tears as they witnessed first-hand the transforming power of the Gospel in the lives of the young men.
Message UK CEO, Andy Hawthorne, closed the evening with a rousing challenge to support The Message and partner in raising up generations of urban heroes.
ON THE 25TH OF FEBRUARY 2016 THE MESSAGE TRUST HELD IT’S THIRD ANNUAL VISION NIGHT. THE MESSAGE TRUST VISION NIGHT IS A YEARLY EVENT THAT SHARES STORIES AND UPDATES OF WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH THE ORGANISATION. ONE OF THE BIGGEST JOYS OF THIS YEAR’S EVENT WAS HAVING 21 STUDENTS FROM OUR MEP CLASS COME TO THE VISION NIGHT. OUR STUDENTS PERFORMED TWO SONGS WHICH DEEPLY MOVED OUR GUESTS ON THE EVENING. ANOTHER HIGHLIGHT WAS HAVING ONE OF OUR STUDENTS CLINTON LE ROE AS THE MASTER OF CEREMONIES (MC) FOR THE EVENT.
HERE IS HIS EXPERIENCE OF VISION NIGHT IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“The man who fails, to fail, to failure, stands up and embarks on the journey of a thousand miles. On vision night I felt as if I reached my destination and stepped into my future. It was all playing out before my very eyes, many people listening to me, the guy with the mic. Never before have I been received by such a great audience as the guests who were at vision night. It was my first time to play the role of MC to such a large group of people. All I could see on the night was a dream coming true and despite my current status (of being a prisoner) I was not shaken or moved by fear, I accepted the challenge and faced every listener. It was an opportunity to show case the potential and gift God has placed in me.
I was humbled to be placed on such a platform receiving the respect of so many big names and people from abroad. One of my biggest highlights was being able to share the stage with Angus Buchan and knowing that my mentors at The Message Trust had my back.
The Message Trust has become my window of opportunity and given me a second chance to rectify my wrongs. I am still overwhelmed by the magnitude of Vision Night and what God allows me to step into, it’s shows his amazing favour upon my life.
The future leaders and our MEP class performed fantastically on the night and were a massive source of strength to me, they are my brothers in arms”.
Written by Clinton Le Roe – MEP Student and MC on our Message Trust Vision Night.
Meet the newest member of The Message Team Ruan Toua.
Ruan has been employed as our Gangstar Enterprises manager and will oversee all our Gangstar Apprentices and Employees at The Message.
We are excited to welcome him onto the team!
1. Ruan welcome to The Message Trust! Tell us a little about yourself and your family.
I have two amazing parents and a younger brother, and grew up in the northern suburbs, Parow. As a family we love camping and have been camping for as long as I can remember. I have always been very technically minded and love gadgets and building just about anything. I grew up in the NG church, and gained a lot of bible knowledge. I love spending my free time playing rugby or squash but mostly spending time in nature doing something that gets my adrenaline going!
The four values of The Message Trust are passion, church, innovation & community.
2.Tell us what you’re passionate about?
To be a Warrior for God. To grow His kingdom.
I have a massive heart for people and have always found people interesting, especially the uniqueness of every individual. I love working with people reaching out to others whether it’s in a group or as an individual. I have a strong background in teambuilding and love to watch the dynamics of a group. Teambuilding is my absolute passion, as I love games and seeing people have fun, learn and overcome obstacles.
I have a great passion for evangelism and outreach, as well as shepherding and developing others to be able to carry over what they have learned. I am involved in a number of ministries such as Straatwerk, Prison Ministry and CBMC (Christian Business Man Connection).
The Lord has laid on my heart to purse unity in South Africa through encouraging one another and mentorship. As the future of South Africa, our youth have a critical role to play in uniting our culturally diverse country. I believe that the diversity of our culture holds the potential of South Africa as our greatest asset. We have a lot of groups doing their own thing but we need to unite in God’s presence and fight the good fight together.
3.Tell us a bit about your church?
Urban Edge in Durbanville is my church community and spiritual anchor. The church has such a powerful vision which is “Connecting people to people and people to God”.
I am part of a Connect Group, and serve often. From the first moment, I have felt absolutely welcome at this church.
4.You mentioned you are from Panorama what does community mean to you?
I have moved around a lot which means that I have developed a broad perspective for community. My church is in Durbanville, Straatwerk is on the streets of Cape Town, CBMC is in Bellville and Kraaifontein, therefore community means “unity” for “the broad circles” I live in, to come together, to develop and thrive for the Kingdom of God. South Africa is my “Community” and I believe in the unity of this amazing country.
.The Message loves developing new innovative ways to reach youth – what was it that specifically attracted you to join The Message team?
Prison ministry; I wasn’t aware that The Message was working in the same prison that I was volunteering at, as a facilitator for the Alpha Coarse (at Drakenstein).
What stood out for me the most was Christ Centered Enterprise, incorporated with the goal of ‘Raising up generations of Urban Heroes’ by the joint effort of the 4 streams in The Message.
As an evangelist you often get faced with the question: “What happens when the Individual in prison gets saved? What type of support does someone that lives in poverty have that can help them grow to become the man that God wants him to be, rather than ‘back-sliding’ due to surrounding peoples influences and circumstances?”
A question that I asked myself so many times has been “What can I do to make a difference? What can I do to create more support for someone that comes out of prison or lives on the streets?”
One thing led to another, (“a chain of unexplainable coincidences”) and the Lord led me to The Message Trust, while I was doing prison ministry with Alpha.
6.If you could say one thing to the youth of South Africa what would you say?
You are the Future! No one can make a difference alone, but with God as our center and guide, together – “we can do this”!
For me, there has always been something captivating about South Africa. Before my trip with The Message, I had visited the country on other occasions and had fallen in love with its people, its landscape, its heartbeat. So when I made the decision to spend three months volunteering with The Message – a charity I also love – in South Africa, I was expectant that I would see a great move of God happening. The trip exceeded my expectations!
The Message SA operates out of a little office space in a business park, which in no way parallels the scale of the charity’s vision. I was immediately welcomed in to the Message SA family as if I had been part of the team since it began. The Message in South Africa follows the pattern of The Message UK, with its unashamed focus on evangelism and the power of Christ to restore but adapted it to be relevant to the culture of Cape Town.
Gangsters to gentlemen
Prison ministry is a major focus here because of the powerful grip of gangsterism on South African society. I had the privilege of attending a session of the Message Entrepreneurial Program in Drakenstein Prison. This is led by Jennifer Belcher, a trained lawyer who has been completely captured by the need of the young inmates in South African prisons and spends her time training them to be entrepreneurs. In this class, the men were discussing their own business models and learning to think like CEOs – they were incredibly articulate and most of what they were talking about was way beyond my knowledge level! I was deeply impressed. Some of the men also stood up and shared about their past experiences and were treated by their inmates with encouragement and respect. There was such a feeling of unity within the room. When they led me around their cell, a small room where around 25 of them stayed, I noticed Bibles neatly tucked under pillows and Hillsong posters on the walls. You can imagine how different this must have been to their previous lives.
I was so happy to meet with the guys again for their graduation ceremony, which happens when they have successfully completed a year on the programme. This was such a joyous event, with plenty of family and friends present in the audience and many sweet old mamas tearing up at the sight of their sons in graduation robes. The most memorable moment for me was when all of the class held hands and sung at the top of their lungs, ‘My chains are gone, I’ve been set free…’ It was so powerful seeing young men who were in true physical bondage, jubilantly proclaiming the freedom they have found in Christ.
What I truly love about The Message is their desire to provide support for these young men once they have been released from prison. This is not only spiritual, but practical help. I became close friends with several of the ex-offender that now work under The Message running small enterprises. These include a clothing range, an ice cream company and a furniture business. It was eye-opening learning about their stories – not only the struggle of township life that led that many of them to make poor decisions, but the fact that some of them used to be South Africa’s most wanted men. I couldn’t connect the violent, dangerous men they told me they were to the softly-spoken gentlemen that I knew them to be. Every time I spoke to them, I felt so proud to be part of an organisation that offered men like this such a radical second chance.
Community up close
A third area that The Message focuses on is community transformation, known as Eden. To me, this was all about restoring hope to communities that had long felt forgotten about. I was part of leading a club called ‘Thursday is Girl’s Day’ where the young girls from the local area were invited to the Eden team leader’s house after school. Instead of wandering the streets or sitting alone in their run-down houses, they were able to find a safe haven to socialise, share their hopes and dreams and make rainbow cookies! This soon turned into a Bible study, which was actually what the girls were most excited about.
Eden also partners with a local church to deliver the most amazing feeding scheme for homeless women and their children, the majority of whom live in the most appalling conditions under a railway bridge. The women collect recycling all week and are then able to trade this in for points to spend on toiletries, clothes and food items. This system is especially effective, because it gives the women a sense of dignity as they have worked hard collecting items all week in order to earn points. It further enables them to choose what is most necessary for them at that particular time, rather than being handed a general package. Even though the actual day of points trading was noisy, messy and absolutely chaotic, it was one of my favourite things to be involved in. I loved seeing the delight and appreciation when these women found a little shirt that perfectly fit their child or their favourite flavour of soup was on offer that day.
A dream come true
I also got a chance to see a childhood dream come true and pretend I was part of the Message South Africa’s first mission band, Kinetic IV. I travelled with them to the rural community of Citrusdal to partner with Hebron Community Project. Here, I saw them perform to 250 unbelievably excited children at Paardekop Primary School and lead a three-hour creative programme. The next day, we opened the doors of Hebron’s community centre to the whole village. Tiny infants, high school kids and grandparents came from far and wide for the time of worship, dancing and prayer. I was able to anoint sweet old ladies with oil and pray for healing, despite my inability to speak a word of their language! After our trip, when reflecting on the impact of this mission to Citrasdal, Neil Hall, the Chairman of Hebron exclaimed, ‘The Valley will never be the same again!’ It was evident that the message of Christ had stirred hope and excitement in so many hearts that weekend, and the villagers felt united to one another in a way they had not experienced before.
A final memory for me that I feel is worth mentioning was taking on the Three Peaks Challenge. As The Message’s annual fundraiser, we challenged ourselves to climb the Three Peaks of Cape Town (Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain) in one day – which is an extremely physically exhausting task. There were around 60 of us that attempted at least one mountain and there was such an incredible team spirit present the whole time. I valued every minute because as I climbed, I was able to learn many people’s personal stories – whether ex-gangsters, the charity’s director or an international volunteer just like me. Everybody pushed themselves to their own limit and we raised much-needed funds in the process. Reaching the top of that last mountain was an experience I will never forget and reminded me that achievements worth having take time, effort and overcoming hurdles.
I am forever changed by my experiences with Message South Africa and I am certain that I will one day return to this country and the people that I love so deeply.
If you would like to do a short missions trip with the Message Trust or a one year internship, please email email@example.com
On the 22 of October 2015 Kinetic IV (KIV) were invited to perform at the prestigious annual “Cape Carols” at the Cape Town Parade. KIV performed alongside some of Cape Town’s hottest artists such as Jonathan Rubin, Grace Town, Swiff D, Tracey Carter , MC Sundae and many more.
The Team arrived on the parade and excitedly awaited their call for sound-check. The atmosphere was loaded with excitement and expectation from the crowd and the band was ready to end the year with a BIG BANG!
The show started at 5pm and at 6pm the band were introduced by CCFM presenter and Message Prison Leader, Preston Jongbloed. The team were excited to perform and deliver yet another electrifying performance in Cape Town.
KIV started their set with their hit song “More Than This” and the crowd responded enthusiastically. They continued to energize the crowd with the rest of their music and finished their performance with “Storm” which turned out be the crowd favourite.
After performing, the crowd cheered Kinetic IV as the band walked off stage. The team spent the rest of the evening backstage with the other performers and enjoyed the rest of the acts.
What an amazing way to finish 2015 at The Message Trust and for KineticIV as they shared songs of hope to over three thousand people.
We are looking forward to all God will do in and through KineticIV as they continue to perform in 2016, reaching out to young people in schools, prisons and churches across Cape Town.
This year’s Proximity Conference was held from the 23rd to the 24th of October. This was the second Proximity hosted by The Message Trust since we launched the charity in February 2014. The conference was held at the Warehouse in Wetton, Cape Town and was the first time we included a youth event on the Friday evening before the main conference on the Saturday.
The purpose of the Proximity conference was to gather like-minded Christians who are passionate about reaching urban youth in the toughest communities across Cape Town. It was encouraging to have many church representatives from some of our most challenging communities.
The Friday youth event was amazing! We had over 100 young people attend from all over Cape Town. The evening started with a session of inspirational worship led by a worship band from Common Ground Church. During the evening we also had our own Message SA band Kinetic IV perform a number of their songs to the young people in attendance.
Andy Hawthorne (founder of The Message Trust) gave an appeal for all young people to rise up and imitate the great heroes of the faith of recent years and commit themselves to becoming “Slaves to Christ”. One exciting outcome of the evening was 5 young people indicating that they would be interested in joining one of our 3 Eden Cape Town teams!
Saturday’s conference began with worship by the Jubilee Community Church band. Our two keynote speakers were Vuyo Nyabaza and Brett “Fish” Anderson. Both speakers challenged the audience to live authentic lives and match the gospel that we proclaim. The conference also hosted four seminars discussing topics around Urban Mission in Cape Town.
The afternoon of the conference included a panel discussion which was made up of all key note and seminar speakers and was chaired by Alastair Buchanan. The panel discussed questions from the audience which were texted in throughout the conference. The panel was followed by another stunning performance from KineticIV and was followed by an inspiring challenge by Andy Hawthorne about following in the footsteps and example of the Salvation Army in serving urban poor in Cape Town.
The conference closed with a rallying call from Tim Tucker our national director. Tim ended the day by inviting the whole conference to come up and pray for our latest Eden team who were commissioned for mission in Pelican Park with our partner church, Cape Gateway International Church.
Proximity illustrated that God is moving across Cape Town and stirring the hearts of his people to move into some of our most needy communities to share the love of God through word and deed. Eden teams are always planted in partnership with local churches with the goal to assist them in becoming more missional amongst young people in their community.
“God has His hand reaching out to every one of you, and all you have to do is take it.”
Twelve24 is one of Message Trust’s associate bands and they are based in Manchester England. The group consists of three inspiring individuals from three different countries. Josh from England, Christina from Ghana and Ryan from America. All the band members have unique stories, passionately serving one God, and sharing the same heart to see change in this generation of young people.
The Message South Africa had the pleasure of hosting the band at the end of August. The duration of the tour consisted of school visits, concerts, prison and community outreach and the filming of their all new music video “Nobody But You” – check it out below!!
The first half of the tour consisted of going into a number of schools and performing and promoting the planned weekend concerts to hundreds of youth. Watching them interact with the school children and the energy they exuded 100% of the time was inspiring. Not only did the kids absolutely love the music, but you could tell that Twelve24 were enjoying their first ever tour in Cape Town, South Africa.
Twelve24 also had the opportunity to perform in Drakenstein youth prison where The Message Trust runs the Message Entrepreneurship Program. That morning KineticIV and Twelve24 both gave outstanding performances that lead to one young man responding to the message given by Josh (Twelve24 band member). It was encouraging to see the boldness of one young man, as he stood in front of his peers and made a public decision to not let his past determine his future.
KineticIV, our exciting new Message South Africa Band, had the privilege of working with Twelve24 during their 6 month band training at The Message Academy in Manchester. KineticIV were able to open for Twelve24 at all three concerts and this was great exposure for our new band as they begin to work with churches, communities, prisons and schools across Cape Town.
During the tour Message South Africa organised three large concerts for Twelve24 and KineticIV to perform. The three main concerts were well attended by youth from across Cape Town and to say transformation took place is an understatement. At Grace Performing Arts Center, Josh gave a testimony and said, “God has his hand reaching out to every one of you, and all you have to do is take it.” It showed the passion and faith these individuals had in the Christian message of hope they brought to young people and and the mission/purpose God had placed on their lives.
Another exciting element was Twelve24 filming their new music video, just released, “Nobody But You” in Cape Town. The youth impacted through the tour were excited to hear that their city would be the location of their new music video.
I can personally say The Message Trust was truly blessed by their presence in South Africa and we will welcome them back with open arms anytime.
Written by: Beth Ann Bielik
Check out Twelve24 new single and video filmed in Cape Town whilst out on tour!
MOBILISING EDEN TEAMS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL CHURCHES
Read the latest news from the Eden-Network!
South Africa’s Eden teams work with young people from some of Cape Town’s hardest-to-reach areas. Read the latest news from what is happening through the Eden-Network as we seek to mobilise teams to work with churches across Cape Town.
EDEN SALT RIVER
Keanu’s home is in a row of houses that overlook the local soccer club in Eden Salt River’s area. On one particular Sunday Keanu’s neighbours could look out and see that one of their neighbourhood’s own kids was the cause of many people playing on the local community Salt River football fields.
It was a fund-raiser organised by Eden Salt River for Keanu and Zalen, one of Keanu’s Salt River mates. They needed money to pay for air tickets to get to a church youth conference overseas. The 14 teams involved were in a 5-a-side soccer tournament. Each team had to pay R350 to play.
Later that day when Grant Porthen, the Eden team leader was asked why were they doing this event, he said simply, ‘We’re a bunch of friends that want to help them.’ So, while each team member has been encouraged to help their partner church (Jubilee) in their active outreach programme, the focus of Eden as a team has been to first build the trust of their neighbours. This event was a great way to get to know people in the community and help two young people fulfil their dream to go overseas and represent Salt River in the UK.
EDEN PELICAN PARK – In Development
We’re thrilled that the latest applicants to join the Pelican Park team include a University of Cape Town student living Pinelands and a teacher from California! Here (together with our newly signed-up partner church, Cape Gateway International) we have just begun our final interviews with the other 11 applicants for the team in Pelican Park. The outreach in the community has, so far, involved doing a lot of prayer walking and chatting with people on the street!
As with Salt River, the Eden team has been getting involved with the church’s energetic evangelism in the area and has begun building links with the youth and schools in Pelican Park. Visiting Message bands have performed concerts at the church and Eden Pelican Park is currently seeking to get our SA band KineticIV into the local school as well. We can’t wait to have a team on the ground to really make an impact among young people in the community.
EDEN NYANGA – In Development
We’re all set to sign a Partnership agreement with New Crossroad Baptist Church to bring our third Eden Team to Nyanga. Vuyo Nyabaza, the church’s youth pastor was preaching the gospel to hundreds of school kids at an outreach with Message’s new band, Kinetic IV. We are very excited to have two converted ex-gangsters among the applicants to join Eden Nyanga!
Recently Kwanele, the pastor of New Crossroad Baptist Church met with the local Ward Counsellor, who was very positive about having a racially mixed Eden team in this predominantly Xhosa-speaking area.
Keep following the Eden-Network as we keep you informed of all God is doing as we seek to share God’s love and truth in communities across Cape Town.
Article Written By: Alastair Buchanan
For more information on Eden-Network check out our webpage and email Alastair on Alastair.Buchanan@message.org.za
The Message Trust South Africa are excited to announce that UK-based band Twelve24 will be in South Africa from 28th August – 8th September. They will be performing in schools, prison, churches and at youth events across Cape Town. All concerts will be free of charge. Twelve24 will perform songs which have become popular around the world. Their music is not only catchy and ‘feel-good’ but is informed by their personal stories and a positive, inspiring message for young people.
The tour also serves as a launch-pad for our local Message Trust group KineticIV who will be the supporting act at all the Twelve24 concerts.
Appearances, performances and concert details will be released soon. Three confirmed concerts are as follows:
Friday 4th September: Jubilee Community Church, 21 Nelson Road, Observatory.
Saturday 5th September: Life Church, 30 Main Road, Sea Point. 7pm
Sunday 6th September: Grace Performing Arts Centre, Parow. 5pm.
The Message Trust South Africa was launched in February 2014 and is part of The Message Family, a global movement committed to holistically developing the hardest to reach urban youth.
Our mission and vision is to raise up generations of urban heroes by creating opportunities for tens of thousands of urban teenagers to hear the good news of Jesus in word and demonstrated in action. We do this through the following four programme streams: Prison Ministry, Christ – Centred Enterprise, Community Transformation and Creative Mission.
Visit our home page for more info on The Message Trust.