Mar

7

Ignite South Africa is operating in enemy territory.

On a daily basis our coaches are confronted with shocking stories. Cases that include child abuse, molestation, rape, negligence, and violence. In fact, a large percentage of our students, grades 7-9, have already experienced some or all of these atrocious injustices.

The 2017 crime stats feature Phuthaditjhaba (Qwa Qwa) in the Worst 10 Precints in 2017 in terms of sexual assault, rape, and sexual offenses. (Crime Stats SA)  These statistics are based on crimes reported at police stations. What is tragic is that in Qwa Qwa these crimes are so familiar that most of them go unreported. Imagine growing up thinking sexual molestation is a way of life.

That sexual assault is acceptable.
This is how the enemy operates.

He comes to steal our innocence, kill our hope, and destroy our life.

Recently a 15 year old student from one of our schools opened up to a coach. She shared that she ran away from home and slept on the streets for 2 days. This was done to escape  an abusive stepfather who attempted to rape her and tried to kill her mother. She and her mother finally went to stay at her grandmother’s house, ending up in yet another abusive situation.

The living conditions at her grandmother`s are marred by poverty, violence, and alcohol abuse. When she requested basic necessities, her mother instructed her to prostitute herself so she could buy them.  She is currently staying with a friend.

Another 13 year old also faces physical abuse in the home. Her response was to find a boyfriend. This boyfriend tried convincing her to participate in a satanic cult and sacrifices. He told her blatantly he worships Lucifer, and even took her to the mountain at midnight where they have their gatherings.

Though she is 13 years old, this boyfriend is trying to convince her to fall pregnant and have a child with him. This life she lives has led her to being suicidal.

We are grateful that this young girl felt safe and able to share her story with us.
Praise God that we were at this school, at this time able to share His love, bringing hope, help and guidance.

These stories are from one class, in one school, on one day.

This is the type of stories our coaches come across on a daily basis.
It is the work that Ignite South Africa is involved in.

In addition to teaching, our coaches meet with students one on one to provide support and refer to organizations, or the authorities, respectively.

One can only imagine how many others are dealing with similar and/or worse cases. How many young people are questioning their existence, have become dispondent or suicidal because of the condition they find themselves.

This year we plan to reach 22 schools and all the students within. While we are grateful for this, our hearts break for those whom we are not able to reach due to financial limitations. Our reach is not even 10 percent of the number of schools in Qwa Qwa. Yet, we refuse to let the enemy win.

You can help!

A gift of as little as $10/month will help expand our reach and counter the works of the enemy.  Use these links to request more information or partner with us today!

Feb

27

We finally did it!

Our first Hope mobile pregnancy clinic  was held on the 15th and 16th of February.  We have been particularly excited about this initiative because of our holistic approach.

While the Hope Clinic offers free pregnancy counseling and testing, it has two standout features that are unusual.  The first is our ability to offer limited sonograms on site.  We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity this provides and joy it brings to new parents.

The second is our classes. 

Health education classes are rare to nonexistent in the area of pregnancy, childbirth or parenting especially in rural areas.

As a culture it is often thought that these issues are too personal or private to discuss. In addition, so many are without a mother who might “hand down” birthing and child-care tips. Amanda also points out that in most African cultures you are not taught how to parent or deal with parental issues, you learn as you go.

While the public clinics would like to do more education and prevention, it is simply not possible because of the sheer number of people needing help and time limitations.  

Therefore, to augment the work already being done, we developed curricula to meet these needs in our pregnancy/childbirth and parenting classes.

As the Hope Clinic, our focus is holistic and designed to ensure we have time  for these additional essentials.
Therein lies our excitement…

 

 

Update: We discovered an additional level of approval with the Health Department was required for testing.  Therefore, our Hope Clinic only provided classes to those attending as we await final approval. Please join us in praying that approval is expedited and available by March 23, our next scheduled clinic date.

 

Feb

19

Our Flashpoint program is a needed help for many schools  

After an introductory school assembly last year, we received repeated invitations from the Principal to schedule our classes.  The primary reason was a concern about the emotional well-being of the students. She believes our program will help.

You see, this school is in a very remote area of Qwa Qwa with no form of recreational activities for the students.  In fact, due to their location and size, they shared that it is rare any organization visit them to offer support or services.

One of the teachers voiced concern as well, sharing a recent incident in which they found students engaged in sexual activities inside the school toilets.  One of the children is now pregnant.  

Though the toilets are now patrolled and teachers involved, they state they need more help.

This term we brought our classroom program there.

Our coaches confirmed that what the Principal feared was true for many. Upon introduction of curriculum and explanation that God has a purpose for their lives, students quickly disagreed.

Two students stated that they came to this world by mistake.

One said she is a product of teenage pregnancy (and was named in regards to that mistake).
The second shared that she was raped by her stepfather, and because of that believes her life is also a mistake.

It is these stories that make our work as Ignite South Africa crucial.


Data and testimonies reflect that 
through our program students lives are impacted by truth and changed forever.
That s
tudents begin to understand God has a purpose for them regardless of the past.

We have personally witnessed the lives of students (and families) in previous schools altered forever by HOPE.

Because of that, we look forward to witness the transformation in the lives of students here as we teach in grades 7-9: Living on Purpose, Save Sex, and Break The Silence. 

We can only do this with your prayer support and financial backing.
To join us in reaching this school, and many others, pray about becoming a financial partner.  

* Sponsor one class per month for $45/month
* Sponsor one coach teaching in one school for $85
* Sponsor a whole school for $300 – $550 (cost varies on school size and number of coaches teaching)

To specify your giving as noted above, just leave a comment in the donor form linked above.

Feb

13

Let the whole world know what God has done…

The strike has ended with surprising speed. Reports indicate that Vusi Tshabalala has stepped down as Mayor over Maluti a Phofung district.

Today, schools are back in session.  Word is that we will be able to resume our Flashpoint classes tomorrow.  What an answer to prayer!

We also plan to move forward with the Mobile Pregnancy Clinics in both Mmakwane and Qholaqhwe on Thursday, Friday respectively. Please pray that word gets out and that people respond and take advantage of the classes and services we are offering.

We ask for continued prayer for our district, and the country, as there will be many changes in leadership on all levels over the coming weeks.

Thank you for your partnering with us, prayer absolutely changes things!

Feb

5

 

Imagine this…

as a child of 11 or 12 years you are playing with friends when one notices that there is blood on your pants.  Home you run feeling confident that you are now dying. You stop before your mom who quietly states, “you are a woman now. Do not sleep with boys or you will be pregnant. Go and clean yourself up and use this cloth to protect your pants.”

That’s it. That’s all you get.

No explanation at all about what is happening in your body.

Unfortunately, this is an all-too-often occurrence for many girls within the villages of Qwa Qwa. Culturally parents do not discuss body changes feeling it far too personal. This leaves many youth alone when trying to understand, and care for, their body.

A principal in one of our schools identified that as a problem for his youth and asked we talk to the boys and girls separately prior to beginning our formal classes.

Our first class we did just that- divide the boys and girls. Our coaches talked about puberty including body changes and personal care for both males and females.

Due to a donation of reusable panty protection packs from Listowel Baptist Church in Canada, we were able to explain proper care and provide the means to over 50 girls.

In addition, we took that time to talk about sexual abuse, molestation, and respect toward the opposite sex. With National statistics reflecting 1 in 3 youth in SA have been sexually molested/raped we knew it was something we needed to discuss.

Once again, thank you to all our partners who make our work possible and practical!

Follow the links to see more photos from the day, learn more about Flashpoint, or become a partner.

 

Jun

19

Educators, regardless of where employed, have a challenging job.

To accomplish their goals to teach and prepare students for life and advanced education, they must take many things into consideration.  For example, they need to incorporate various teaching-learning styles to enhance learning. They take time to identify learning challenges in an effort to help the student succeed.

However, what happens when significant challenges are discovered?
Working within an impoverished area in any country holds unique challenges.
How do you teach a child who is hungry? Alone? Abused? In an unsafe environment?

Many educators find themselves asking the questions . . .
What is my role? How can I help a person overcome such insurmountable obstacles?
After all, I am only one and the problems so very great.

Yet history clearly reveals ONE can create great impact.

Just look at Moses, Mary, Ghandi, King, and Mandela as a few examples of people who gave of themselves regardless of the cost.

With a passion to impact came boldness, love for others and a willingness to sacrifice.

The work here is hard and daunting. The number of students that are orphans or living in housing (hostels) with little adult supervision is overwhelming. Bullying, abuse and sexual predators are rampant and the list goes on.  Needless to say burn out for teachers is on the rise.

Our Educator workshops the past couple of months were filled with facts and truths as we lead them through self-discovery of purpose and passion.

Here are a couple testimonies from the school of Phahameng:

“I did not know how to speak positive words to learners if they did wrong. In fact, I was talking bad words and was easily angered. I even rebuked one in front of everyone!

I now realise the power of words and have learned to control myself, no longer speaking negative words. I know how to talk to the learners and have seen things change in my class just because I have changed the way I speak!”  ~Mme

“Prior to this workshop I saw my work as a job, as a way to pay my bills.

Lately it had become hard for me to work, I would get tired and want to go home early. I took my work simple. I did not know these were symptoms of burn out or what could be done to help.

The workshop showed me that though I may not have “chosen” my profession, it chose me!
I now see my purpose and have a heart to help, to impact the lives of the learners. 

Because of this workshop I have changed my life and am choosing to live out my purpose through my work!”  ~Ntate

Our Flashpoint youth programme collaborates with the schools to help students succeed in life. We  offer these services because of and through the support of our partners and friends.

If you are passionate to help youth overcome and be positive impacts regardless of their past, please consider giving a gift!

Jun

12

I ran my first full marathon in South Africa and it was grueling. The course was all hills and it rained the whole time. I was pretty much last – I only saw one guy behind me and he was walking because of an injury. To be honest, I was just happy to finish upright and not to be the last one.

No one wants to be last.

In Matthew 20 Jesus tells the story of some laborers hired to work in a landowner’s field. The men hired in the morning worked hard all day in the hot sun. As the day wore on, the landowner continued to bring in more workers. Then at the end of the day, he called them in last-in-first-out order, and paid them each a denarius for their work. The men who had worked all day were angry. They didn’t think it fair to get the same wage as those who worked less, and even worse, they were paid last.

No one wants to be last.

Jesus uses this parable to describe the Kingdom of God where the last shall be first and the first shall be last. (Matthew 20:16) But how is this possible? When is being last actually winning rather than losing? When we exalt God rather than ourselves. When we surrender our will to His will.
When we love, serve and sacrifice for others.

The morning laborers failed to do this. Instead, they compared themselves to others growing angry, jealous and discontent. They doubted the landowner’s wisdom, motivation, character and sense of justice. Then they powered up to get justice for themselves. As the first ones hired they wanted special treatment – payment befitting of being first.

They wanted what they thought they deserved.

A mentor of mine says that forgiveness is the oxygen of the Kingdom. It sustains life. It makes Kingdom living possible. If that’s true, then perhaps comparison is the carbon dioxide of the Kingdom. It sucks the life right out. It steals our joy, faith, trust and love, and turns our focus inward. It defeats and implodes, and out of the dust rises pride and insecurity. And it hinders us from receiving and demonstrating God’s love. That’s why comparison is such an effective scheme of the enemy.

The landowner ascribed value equally and unconditionally, just as our Heavenly Father does.
We can’t earn value through works, or attain it by comparing and striving to get ahead. Instead, we must put God and others first. That may mean last place for us, but there are both great lessons and great rewards to be found there.

I’ve never heard of a race where athletes train and run in hopes of finishing last. But then the Kingdom of God isn’t a typical race, and Jesus isn’t a typical coach.

Here’s to hoping for a photo finish with all God’s people tied for last.

What does training and aiming for last place look like for you?

Mar

27

In Matthew 14:22-31, the disciples left by boat while Jesus stole away to the mountainside for alone time with God. By the time Jesus was ready to rejoin the disciples, it was near dawn and the boat was far off, being tossed by the wind and waves. Jesus went out to them, walking on water. I love how that part is thrown in so casually and matter-of-fact, like he could have just as easily been walking down the street.

The disciples saw him and were terrified at first. It’s not every day you see someone walking on water. But today wasn’t going to be like every other day. Jesus called out to them, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” And that’s when Peter, empowered by courage and faith replied, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus did, and Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water towards him. But then Peter saw the wind and became afraid, and that’s when he started to sink.

So often with this story we focus on Peter’s crisis of faith, the fear that crept in, how he took his eyes off Jesus, and Jesus’ rebuke. Maybe it’s because we can best relate to this side of the story. I know I’ve had times when I’ve bailed out on my faith, afraid of the winds and waves around me.

But there’s another side to this story.

Peter hoped for the best. Better yet, he expected the best.
And even better yet, he actually did it! I think this side is harder to relate to because so often we hope for the best, yet expect the worst. We stifle our faith with a myriad of worst-case scenarios and back-up plans.

What would our lives look like if we retrained our minds to hope for the best and then truly expect it? The Bible teaches that through the power of Christ we can move mountains (Matthew 17:20), accomplish more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), and do even great works than Jesus Himself (John 14:12).

But only if we both hope and expect it to happen.

 

What is God calling you to today?
Are you expecting the best, or hoping for the best while expecting and planning for the worst?
And if it’s the latter, what does that reveal about your faith and trust in God?

Feb

27

A desire of Ignite is to help leaders (of all ages) dream big, discover their gifts, and pursue God-sized goals. Goals help us move forward, focus on what’s important, prune away distractions, overcome obstacles, and ultimately accomplish great things. Goals are a good thing.

But what makes a good goal? What should be the goal of our goals?

First of all, our goals should bring glory to God. Not ourselves, not anyone else. 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches us that no matter what we do, we should do it for the glory of God.

As Pastor Rick Warren says in Transformed “Any goal that causes you to trust Him more, to depend on Him more, to love Him more, to love other people more, to serve God, to serve others, to be more unselfish”, that’s the kind of goal that honors God.

Anything and everything – from housework and yardwork, to going to school, raising children, even leading a multi-national corporation – can be done for God’s glory if done with the right motives.

Do your current goals honor God in this way?

Second, our goals demonstrate God’s love in the world. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” That is what love in action looks like.

When we operate in love, we put others first, treat them well, partner with them, and accomplish so much more than we could ever accomplish on our own. An old African proverb says,
If you want to go fast travel alone, if you want to go far travel together.”

Do your current goals reflect the love of Christ in this way?

God won’t further goals that are motivated by selfishness, pride, jealousy or fear. But he will get behind (and in front of and alongside) goals that are motivated by glorifying Him and sharing His love with the world.

Goals are a good thing. And if our ultimate goal is to become more like Christ, then doing everything for His glory and His love is the path to success.

So, what goals are you currently pursuing? And are you pursuing them with right motives and right ultimate goal in mind?

Feb

9

Isn’t due to location, finances, smarts, or even who we know. Becoming more…

begins with a thought.

Who we are today and tomorrow begins with a single thought.

In fact, what we think is the foundation
for every action we take, our actions develop into habits, habits evolve into a lifestyle and thus our lifestyle propels us toward our destiny.

Common knowledge you say?

If so, then why is it that we allow all the negative talk, discouragement, and bitterness to reap havoc in our thoughts and emotions.  If we truly know that our thoughts direct our outcome and destiny, why is it that our failures and disappointments are the focus rather than our destination.

God instructs us to renew our mind with His Word for a reason.  He knew that our greatest battle, the only one that can overcome us, is in our mind. Whatever we focus on is guaranteed to become larger whether it be a problem or the solution.

Our focus ENLARGES and leads.
Our focus directs our life and penetrates our heart.

We are invited to focus on the following for purpose.
Whatever is true and noble, right and pure, whatever is lovely and admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

Our purpose in life is to be directed by God’s truths.
His truths about you (You are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works).
His truths about life (Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, soul and mind).
His truths about people (love your neighbor as yourself).
Even His truths about disappointments and hurts (forgive as I have forgiven you).
His truths will guide you and ensure you accomplish your purpose in life (seek His will in all you do and He will direct your path).

So once again I lay a challenge before you.
Throw out the garbage and lies you’ve allowed yourself to ponder.
Discover what the truth truly is in those areas (hint: Look in His word and email me if you can’t find it).

Then.. think on them daily, speak them out loud and live the life you were purposed to achieve!