For two weeks in the heart of Cape Town, South Africa, 15 Christians who God called from different parts of the United States through Believers World Outreach, linked arms with The Message Trust in the work that God is doing through them.
During our time serving with The Message, they put together a wonderful programme whereby we were able to serve alongside their Eden teams in the communities of Nyanga, Woodstock, and Pelican Park. Through an optical clinic we conducted in these areas, nearly 700 people were provided with free eye examinations and spectacles. We also ran a vacation bible school where children heard the Gospel message. We had the opportunity to minister at youth events where some teens accepted Christ for the first time, while other re-dedicated their lives to Him to be the author of their story.
Lastly, we participated in a day at Drakenstein prison with the Message Enterprise Programme, witnessing how prisoners are being transformed into mighty men of God who will lead their generation. Their freedom has brought liberty in our own lives; and their hope for the future inspires us to similarly persevere in hope.
During the two weeks, we witnessed the deep growth of discipleship in these communities and within the prison walls. The Message Trust is impacting this generation of young people, which is not only helping to transform their country, but has also ignited a fire in our hearts to bring this impact back to the U.S.A.
This experience has been so powerful and has changed our hearts forever. Having seen it with our own eyes, we are convinced that there is an expansive work of God happening through The Message! Heaven’s doors are opening wide and many are running to His open arms. We are so honoured to be a part of God’s great work. Until next year my friends!
On Friday 4th March, KineticIV departed the shores of Cape Town to participate in The Higher tour hosted by The Message UK. 19 hours of flying time later, we finally arrived in an icy Manchester, to a warm welcome by Tim Owen, who had waited patiently while Border Control cross questioned us for 2 hours!
Our first gig took place on Sunday 6 March at the Lighthouse Church in Trafford as guests of Paul Hallam. We performed to about 150 people who so enjoyed our performance that we were asked to perform an encore at the end of the service. KineticIV was then invited to do a video interview (documentary) for a college that attended the service
On Monday 7 March, we had an early start as we headed out to our first school, namely Kingsway School. This was the very same school that Nick Shalavi from Vital Signs (one of our Message UK bands) had attended and from which he got suspended! The first day was quite a “culture shock”: we had all the kids stand and join in the performance, but the moment we started ALL the students sat down again. We quickly learnt that we needed to amend our approach, so it was back to the drawing board. With Tim’s guidance we developed a new formula which proved successful with the remainder of the schools we visited. The schools we visited and our other activities for the rest of our stay included:
8 March 2016
Hindley High: together with Twelve24 we performed to around 500 kids.
9 March 2016
Kingsway School (again); the afternoon was spent at The Message offices helping out at Genetik sessions.
10 March 2016
Kingsway School (3rd time!), this time to 200 kids; later we had studio time at The Message office, before an evening performance at Thursday Night Live.
11 March 2016
Spent the day in studio, followed by the evening on the Eden Bus
16 March 2016
Ramillies, a special needs Private school; we did a dance workshop and mini performance.
18 March 2016
Manchester Grammar, our final school performance.
The team were really blessed by their visit to Ramillies where Mr Colin Richards was our contact. The kids welcomed the training workshop and the performance was also a hit. The teachers were amazed to see how 2 learners in particular reacted to the music. One of the boys had severe autism and the other suffered from cerebral palsy. The teacher told us that the boy suffering from autism had run out of the hall the last time they had a music act, while the boy with cerebral palsy only ever moved when he walked to his classes. Both boys were on their feet dancing and screaming “We are enjoying this”. The teacher was really blown away by this, to the extent that he called his colleagues and kitchen staff to witness the miracle as it unfolded.
The Higher Tour took place between 16 and 20 March 2015 and was hosted at the 02 Apollo. Over the four days we performed to approximately 5,000 young people. The highlight of the tour was Friday evening where we experienced the Apollo packed to capacity. We witnessed about 1500 people respond to the Gospel that week, even an 83 year old lady. YES, 83!!!!
The organisation has existed for two years, assisting youth out of prison and gangs with job-training, mentorship and entrepreneurial support. GANGSTAR ENTERPRISES is a registered PTY Limited Company which is owned by The Message Trust South Africa (NPO) an organisation established in 2014 which is a Christ based organisation, which exists to raise up generations of Urban Heroes.
The launch which took place yesterday 31st March 2016 at Artscape, was to enlighten the public about GANGSTAR ENTERPRISES and all its initiatives. This year’s Artscape Spiritual Festival theme recognised the problem that many poor socio-economic communities face. GANGSTAR ENTERPRISES believes that all ex-offenders have the potential to go from being a problem in society to becoming the solution. The event was attended by business leaders, media personalities, government officials and the general public.
GANGSTAR ENTERPRISES main objective is to provide employment opportunities for GANGSTARs who have graduated through the Message Enterprise Program. We currently run three businesses:
·The Soft Machine: a gourmet soft serve food truck made from a reclaimed caravan
·GANGSTAR FURNITURE – furniture from redeemed wood/materials
·GANGSTAR GEAR – youth orientated socially conscience street wear
We are excited to collaborate and partner with like-minded entities.
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.
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 protected]
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.
If you would like to find out more about Eden please contact our Eden Regional Director Alastair Buchanan on [email protected]