While Wendy Ryan was on furlough this summer she stopped by the offices of EAPE and spent some sharing about the work of Evangeline Ministries in South Africa, the “the new challenges [of] hunger, poverty and disease” faced by the women with whom she works, and her hopes for the future.
Wendy is an inspiring and magnetic woman, who, with God’s leading and the generous support of EAPE’s donors, has established one of the most successful models of socio-economic uplift programs in the developing world. She is worthy of your support, and we’re grateful that you have entrusted us with your resources to invest in Evangeline Ministries’ holistic work.
Below you’ll find a few stories that Wendy sent us about several of her students – the remarkable women who participate in Evangeline Ministries’ training, education and Bible programs. If you have any questions about Evangeline Ministries and the difference we’re making in South Africa with your support, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.
Greetings to you all from Cape Town, South Africa where we are anxiously waiting for the cold and wet weather to make a complete change into spring which signals the arrival of warmth, flowers, trees blooming, and a general feeling of lightness. The year seems to be passing by quickly as we are well into training our second Evangeline class of 22 students and they are on track to graduate in December. Every class is different but we learn to adapt to each one and to the challenges they pose. In this newsletter I want to introduce you to one of our current students and then follow up on two graduates whose stories I have shared in the past.
While almost all of our students come from the township of Masiphumelele, sometimes we enroll one or two from other townships. Nolonwabo Matshaya is one of our current students. Twice a week, she travels an hour each way from Khayelitsha, the largest township in Cape Town city to our location in the southwestern part of the Cape. This is possible as EM pays for her taxi fares because, like almost everyone else in the class she is unemployed. Nine years ago Nolonwabo left the Eastern Cape and came to Khayelitsha looking for a better life. The mother of two children, she
initially found work in a factory but was laid off. One of EM’s graduates told her about the program and she enrolled. “I need help to find a job and I want to start my own business” she says. “I am so excited because this is my first time to learn how to use the computer. It will help me find a job.” Please pray for her as she continues her studies toward completing her goal.
Three years ago, Matolwandile Ntwana was among the December 2010 graduates. An outstanding student and one of the few males who have attended EM classes, he struggled with his health but he persevered and completed his graduation suit. Andile, as he is called, remembers he was “desperate” when he came to us through the Living Hope HIV Aids support group. “I came from the Eastern Cape to get a job so I could take care of my children and parents,” he said. “Instead I found myself in and out of Fish Hoek hospital because of my health. I was roaming about the streets of Masi when I met Mkapi an HIV support group leader. I joined the support group and Mkapi told me about the Evangeline program.” After graduation, continued ill health caused him to go back to the Eastern Cape but last year he returned to Cape Town and is now able to sew, making enough money to help his children and parents. While he continues to struggle with his health, he is determined to work. He designs and makes clothes for himself and clients who have seen and appreciate his work. He is also a part of the Sewing Café, established last year and run by Athene who use EM’s graduates to do the sewing business that come into the “Café.” They are busy with orders for all kinds of sewing projects. Andile loves to cut so he is their star ‘cutter’ but he is also learning to improve his sewing skills. “I want to learn more and more so I can have my own business,” he said. “Even though I am not making a lot of money, every little bit helps. It is the only thing I have to put food on the table,” he says. It supplements the small government grant he receives because he is HIV positive. He also needs your prayers as he struggles to find balance between his health needs and providing for his family.
Evangeline Ministries seeks to give students hope based on the love that Jesus Christ has for them. “You have changed my life,” says Nosiphwo who graduated in July 2011. “When I came to you, I was not even going to church, I was so discouraged. Then you taught me that “the Lord is my Shepherd and He cares.” I held on to that and it has made a huge difference in my life. It has helped to me keep going even when things are not going well. I love Jesus and today I am active in my local church.” She too sews for others but recently expressed a desire to start a home business typing resumes for people in Masi. One of our supporting churches made it possible for EM to purchase two new computers so Nosiphwo was able to use one of the old ones and God laid it on the heart of a donor to give her a printer. On her own Nosiphwo could never afford this equipment but through your giving and the generosity of people who know about EM’s work, she can begin to build a small business for herself and her family. My prayer for her is that she finds patience to stay the course toward success.
Evangeline Ministries cannot thank you enough for your prayerful support, and encouragement that makes it possible for us to minister to “the least of the least.” With apartheid gone, one leader summed it up this way: “the new challenges are hunger, poverty and disease.” All three are connected and with your help and support, Evangeline Ministries works to help disadvantaged women and some men find hope and help by giving them some basic skills and pointing them to the Savior who loves and cares for them.
May God bless you in every way!