by Summer Kelley
Stone Hill, or kliphuewel, is a settlement outside Cape Town, South Africa. Although not far from scenic, beautiful Cape Town, Stone Hill is a world all its own.
It's a world where subsistence living is a way of life, many would-be families are never formed - much less broken apart, and life is cheap.
Stone Hill, South Africa
Most in Stone Hill live on bare sustanance.
But in the midst of heartbreak and struggle, hope is beginning to shine anew. A few years ago, a group of believers - many from Durbanville Community Church, pastored by ITMI's Mark Parris including ITMI's Charl van Wyk - adopted the Stone Hill settlement.
It started with some women doing regular outreaches for a few young girls. It grew to include a similar outreach for young men. This happened as regularly as possible under the circumstances.
Now, there is a facility - made of 3 shipping containers in a U-shape - where outreaches can be held year-round, a kitchen to help provide for the hungry, and a weight room to keep young hands busy that were once idle.
The shipping container ministry base in Stone Hill, South Africa that allows outreaches and events to happen in the community year-round.
photo credit: Josiah Trust
Stone Hill girls who participated in an outreach program proudly display their craft.
Recently, an ITMI supporter made a big impact in Stone Hill by providing mattresses and Christmas gifts for many people there. (Many people sleep on the ground inside make-shift shelters or sleep 2 or 3 to a mattress.)
New mattresses for Christmas!
Charl van Wyk with the mattresses and some Stone Hill residents.
Stone Hill girls with Christmas "love boxes."
Stone Hill Boys Camp
Recently, they took 20 of the young men from Stone Hill to a church-owned camping facility. A ministry associate of Charl's, Ron Kronz, was the camp speaker.
He explained the Gospel and the victory Christ offers simply, challenging those who know Him to live victoriously in Jesus. The boys also heard specific examples of what living victoriously looks like in every day life.
In a recent blog post, Charl described what being at the camp meant to the boys like this,
"The excitement was almost too much for them. Imagine your home being a tin shack with no indoor plumbing and your daily meal amounting to little more than bare sustenance. And then you attend a camp, being blessed with two nights away, three meals a day, two tea times, toilets and showers in your dormitory, your own bed and mattress, and electricity in your brick built room."
The excitement was almost too much for them!
The boys listen as the camp speaker, Ron, explained the gospel simply.
Ruminate on this awhile: for many of us, "church camp" or any "camp" means "roughing it" - at least as the accommodations and compare to our regular homes. But for these boys, those same church camp accommodations and provisions meant living it up in the lap of luxury.
Often, our first flinch is to respond to information like this with guilt. But Paul says, "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1)
So we respond to new perspectives such as this one with thankfulness for God's blessings. We respond with trust in Him who has been good to us to be good to these boys and their families as well. We respond with prayer for Him to bless them, too. And we respond seeking what He is calling us to do, who He is calling us to bless and how.
And if we are led to give, we give from a place of overwhelmed gratitude for the blessings God has given us that leads to a desire to bless others.
(If you are, you can partner with the believers who have adopted Stone Hill here.)
Regardless, our prayers for restored lives and His flourishing for the people of Stone Hill are making an impact, but still so needed.