I will survive!

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The young people we work with are survivors. I guess many people who come from hard places, have no choice but to survive. However, what makes these students special, is that they haven’t taken the easy road, they have chosen the narrow road to success. They have done all they can to do it the right way.

One student, let’s call him Blue, were abandoned by his parents when he was very young. He soon found himself living with his uncle whose ways were somewhat questionable. The uncle started sending Blue out to do his dirty work, forcing him to break into houses and steal. He was a young boy of probably around 6 or 7 when he entered this life of crime. He never felt comfortable with it, however, but when he didn’t comply, his uncle beat him severely. Everyone was scared of this man, so no one said anything.

In his mercy, God intervened and Blue ended up at a children’s home by the time that he was 11, and was taken in as a son – loved, protected and believed in. His life changed around, He found God and he became determined to make a success out of his life and to do it the right way.

Blue is a young adult now. He is well on his way to achieving his goals and is an amazing young man. Many good things have happened to him and the Lord has shown himself ever faithful.

However, there is always a battle over our lives. The world glitters at times, making us believe that it’s better out there, that the forbidden fruit is what we need. We have seen this battle rage in Blue’s life from time to time. We need to remain on our knees for these young people. As long as we are on this earth, there is always an enemy who brings a second voice, another plan for our lives. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

Trust the Lord with us that students like Blue will remain on the straight and narrow, choosing to follow the One who rescued them and has empowered them to survive – the One who said that He will complete what He has started.

Even a little means so much

Just the other day, it was Purple’s 21st Birthday. In South Africa that’s a big thing. When you turn 21, you usually have a big party as you celebrate your official first steps into adulthood. Purple is an orphan who spent most of his life in child-care organisations. He is an amazing young man who joined Home-Base last year in order to finish his schooling and hopefully, enter university in 2016.

We gave Purple the choice whether he wanted to have some people over for dinner for his birthday or go out. He asked to go to Monte Casino, an exciting complex with restaurants, theatres and yes, gambling (we didn’t go there) – a place he finds fascinating.  It’s been styled after an old Italian village, with fake washing hanging out of fake windows galore.  There’s lots of lights and a sense of excitement.

We sat outside near the musical fountains and enjoyed a dessert and milkshake together. It was fun, and Purple especially enjoyed the musical fountains (they were amazing!).

We know it wasn’t much of a 21st and felt bad that we couldn’t do more. Yet, the next day Purple came knocking on our door to say thank you. He said he has never had such a wonderful birthday and was so blessed by it.

How his thankfulness touched our hearts. A simple milkshake and dessert for his 21st birthday – and he was beaming.  We once again realised how much the little things mean to those who have nothing. And how ungrateful we can be who have much. May we have it in our hearts to give, to bless, to share – even a little bit can mean so much to someone.

Everything new – again!

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It’s a new year, and everything is new again. Life is like that. The four Home-Base students nervously took their first steps into another new beginning. Two of our students, *Mauve and Teal, started university in January this year. It wasn’t just a big step – it was a leap of faith for both.

Mauve is creative. She’s studying fashion design and daily rubs shoulders with incredible creative and talented people. This makes her feel insecure and inadequate at times. I know I would feel that way.  Mauve, you see, never had formal art lessons. She just has raw talent – and a lot of it. Working alongside fellow students from mostly privileged backgrounds is not easy for Mauve. She’s had it rough. She’s had her fair share of life already, and she’s only 20. Her being here is in itself a miracle.

We see it in her face sometimes. The insecurity and fear. Yet, Mauve has been brought this far by a very gracious and faithful God. She has been prepared for a time such as this. She’s ready.

But it takes hard work. It still doesn’t come easy. It never falls into our lap. It’s now up to her to give it her all – really her all – and to trust the Lord with the rest.

We stand by her, we cheer her on. We know she can do it. We so believe in her. And we are not the only ones. Thank you to everyone on the stands. You are truly the wind in her sails.

* Names have been changed to protect the students.