Earlier this week we, the volunteers, had a break and were able take part in the work already occurring here in Cape Town. A scenic bus ride inland and over a mountain took us to the campus of a local ministry called Living Hope. Founded by John Thomas in 2000, Living Hope has grown to four main branches: drug rehabilitation, healthcare, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, and economic empowerment.
Within these four branches lie numerous other ministries. According to our guide, Carryn, Living Hope had the privilege to minister to over 50,000 individuals in the past year. Carryn took us around the fairly expansive campus and told us stories of how God had so richly provided.
Toward the end of the tour, we got to see the economic empowerment aspect at work. In the newest part of the campus are four greenhouses where students practice agriponics. The smell of damp loam and ripening tomatoes hit us as we drew near. Carryn introduced us to a young man named Longa. She explained to us the intense training process that individuals like Longa go through. There are four levels of training these students must complete; these trainings not only include learning about agriponics, but also include marketing techniques.
Once we were introduced to Longa he explained to us the way he goes to numerous restaurants in the area to sell his tomatoes. Additionally, level four students hire and train lower level students. This program teaches many life skills and allows students to really take ownership of their work; it empowers them. The proud smile on Longa’s face communicated joy so much joy. Please join us in praying for Longa as he is about to represent his region in a agriponics competition.
After the tour we made our way into the healthcare center; Amy, an attendee from the first retreat, got to opportunity to orient us. It was a beautiful opportunity to be with someone we had just gotten to pour into as she turned around and selflessly poured out in this healthcare center.
With 24 beds, the healthcare center seeks to partner with, not replace, the government hospitals. The lack of medically trained individuals and available facilities leaves Cape Town with and overcrowded and underfunded medical environment. Amy reported that there are only two MRI machines in all of Cape Town (population: 3.7 million) Additionally, many people suffer from more extreme cancers in this area due to the averse waiting times necessary to seek care. Living Hope has been able to stand in the gap and provide a loving environment; most of all, they offer their services for donations or completely free.
We entered the two women’s wards equipped with nail polish, hand lotion, and the power of The Holy Spirit. I met with an elderly woman named Anita. When I first met her, she was panicked. After taking her hands, upping her oxygen, and praying with her, she became visibly peaceful. She requested red fingernail polish; her friend, Viola, proclaimed, “Oh, Mrs. Anita, you are a dangerous woman!” There was laughter, a holy sound. Through physical touch, prayer, and attention to detail, we volunteers got to partner with Living Hope. I am so thankful for their ministry; I am so thankful that they persist in “bringing hope and breaking despair.”
If you want to learn more about Living Hope, you can visit their website at livinghope.co.za.