This article was originally published in the August 2017 edition of ITMI Monthly.
This might be a small thing, but it tickled me.
I should have known better when ITMI’s Charl van Wyk asked me how many thumb drives we had. Charl doesn’t look at things like most people. He sees a need and no matter how big or small it is, when God leads him to get involved, he ignores the size of the challenge and just knows it is going to somehow work out.
There is a small, unincorporated and previously destitute community outside Durbanville, South Africa, that has been revolutionized by Charl, ITMI’s Mark Parris and their team of loving servants.
Stone Hill is not much more than a muddy mess of 50+ thousand people jockeying for a few feet to erect a make-shift shelter made of whatever they can find or even steal.
Raised in highly dysfunctional families with little supervision or parental guidance, few communal virtues or common wisdom circulating, those growing up in Stone Hill are left on their own to figure out life.
Without experiencing this start in life, it is almost impossible for those of us who have been so blessed with so much more, to even begin to comprehend the emptiness, hopelessness and fear they suffer.
Yet, Charl and his team of understanding and compassionate believers have put in the hours and the quality time to break through many of the rock hard self-generated walls that African kids have learned to erect.
With hours of love and compassion, Charl, Mark and their team have broken through the rock-hard walls African kids learn to erect.
ITMI's Charl van Wyk and Mark Parris lead youth of Stone Hill in studying the Bible.
The ministry facility made of shipping containers in Stone Hill, South Africa, with the help of ITMI supporters and others.
ITMI Board Member, Jon Dekkers, had graciously given me a small box of thumb drives that he would normally sell in his local grocery store, to be used for our partners in the mission field.
We normally give the thumb drives away as a gesture of thanks for one of our partners or for someone that has helped us along the way. But Charl had a completely different reason for wanting the drives.
Thumb drives from Jon Dekkers.
Most of the youth in Stone Hill face too many challenges to their survival to complete school. The challenge of school without proper equipment and materials is too great. Most end up giving up.
So, when Charl asked me how many thumb drives we had and if he could have “some” to help the at-risk youth of Stone Hill with their schooling, we counted them up and reported back. There were 31.
“Can I have all 31?” he enthusiastically responded. Charl is anything but bashful. We know each other well enough that we can put aside formalities and speak from the heart.
Still, it tickles me that Charl wanted to take all the thumb drives. That he dreams big and asks boldly.
The kids use these drives to save their assignments and take them to someone with a printer so they can turn in the homework.
Most couldn’t begin to imagine how they would purchase a thumb drive. Jon probably didn’t think much about their value, as we Americans can buy them easily whenever we wish.
But God used a little thing in our minds to do a great thing in Stone Hill.
Stone Hill students with their thumb drives.
If we seek to be obedient to God’s leading, willing to do the small as well as the large things, we may have the pleasure of being part of modern day “fish and loaves” stories!
ITMI has a seemingly small but impactful need that maybe you can help with. With the growing needs and numbers of our partners, we need to add a staff member.
We really don’t have the budget for the type of employee we need, though. If you would like to help us help our partners, we know right where it could be used for the most good.
Please do commit to pray with us that God will bring us the right person at the right time. Thank you for helping us with the large things…and with the small things.
In His Service,
About the Authors
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.