Photo above: Karl with some Living Hope fresh tomatoes – by Jenneth Graser
My husband Karl lost his job a couple of months ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As you can imagine, we were on the coronacoaster with everyone else, completely disorientated and having our plans turned upside down! Like so many nations, we too went into enforced lockdown with many restrictions placed upon us and didn’t know how to proceed. We considered our options, and felt that this was the time to make a positive difference in any way we could while we continued looking to God for discernment to help us know how to move forward. Together with so many people around the world in the same boat at precisely the same time! Unprecedented times of uncertainty call for unprecedented leaps of faith. And so…we took a leap!
Karl decided to turn our massive life upheaval into an opportunity – to go and volunteer at a local non-profit organisation (NPO) in the deep south of the Western Cape. Initially invited to come and visit the NPO by friends of ours, Karl was introduced to this incredible organisation a few months ago.
Living Hope, the name itself spoke to us from the outset. And, of course, their vision:“Bringing Hope, Breaking Despair”. Together with a staff of about 230 people and many volunteers, they work tirelessly to reach out with practical care into the local impoverished communities of the southern suburbs of Cape Town including Masiphumelele, Ocean View, Red Hill, Muizenberg, Capricorn and surrounding areas. With the head office in Capri where the farms are situated, they grow vegetables by means of various farming techniques including hydroponics and aquaponics in greenhouse tunnels and open vegetable gardens. These vegetables are then sold to help self-sustain and also provide food for the surrounding impoverished communities.
Living Hope provides life skills training, a health care centre, an 18 month agricultural training programme, a substance abuse rehabilitation programme, charity shop and food distribution programmes especially during the Covid-19 crisis. Chronic medication is delivered everyday to between 100-120 patients covering a wide geographic location during the pandemic, to ensure the False Bay Hospital clients are able to adhere to their medication schedules and to protect them from the risk of contracting COVID-19. And they are looking to extend the farms especially to help meet the increased needs, so they can take on more students for the agricultural course which will enable them to feed more people and hugely increase sustainability.
The feeding programme during the crisis of COVID-19 means that many hundreds and thousands of mouths are being fed where people especially in the impoverished communities have lost their jobs and are therefore hungry and in desperate need. Many donations of food have been given to Living Hope by a variety of different organisations particularly during this time. Masiphumelele community street leaders have been trained by Wonderbag (foam-insulated slow cooking bags) to cook for and provide food for their neighbours who are sick, elderly, children and those who are hungry. Collaborations like these where companies make donations to Living Hope enable this extensive feeding programme to continue.
This Mandela Day, a large donation of frozen chickens has made it possible for the Wonderbag ladies to feed many of their neighbours in need with nutritious meals. It’s amazing to see how the communities come together in this time of crisis to help each other.
Nelson Mandela himself said… “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” And “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
What an incredible privilege to be able to partner with the heart of Living Hope at a time like this. As Ralph Abernathy said, “I don’t know what the future may hold, but I know who holds the future.” Trusting God to provide for our needs when we no longer have a dependable income or job to rely on means that we have to look to God to open doors into what might have previously felt impossible.
As we look to God together during this time of uncertainty, I believe we will see the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, we will see the feet and the hands of Jesus, yes we will see miracles in the land of the living. I’ve been reminded of this scripture so often recently, “Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always.” Psalm 105:4
Even though we’ve lived in Cape Town for most of our lives, we didn’t know anything about this wonderful place. I’m so glad that’s changed. Karl has been helping with marketing and fundraising, with a substance abuse programme, with the chronic medication distribution, interviewing people, taking photographs, videos and sharing their amazing stories which have started bringing in much needed donations to help sustain these incredible projects. With God all things are possible!
We’ll see where the future takes us. We didn’t imagine anything like this could happen a few short months ago. A global crisis has certainly forced us into a new season, one that we didn’t anticipate or expect. However God can take our plans and rearrange them entirely, keeping our dreams in his care during this time of great uncertainty, learning to trust him like never before and allowing him to shape our days and plans in the way he knows best. We practice our believing one day at a time, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, in step with the leading of our Great Shepherd
Please take a look at their website: www.livinghope.co.za or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LivingHopeSouthAfrica to find out more about how you can get involved.
You can watch this documentary film to get a better picture of the vision and heart of Living Hope. When we watched it recently, we were reduced to tears.
Wonderful story. Made me think of Jesus words in today’s lectionary “the good seeds (Karl) are the children of the Kingdom” sown on the world by Jesus. God bless you, Living Hope and the people you serve.
Thank you so much Rodney, amen!