Spring into Education: Ministering to the Least of These in South Africa

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.


September 2023

Wendy Ryan

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.


Nolonwabo sewing

Evangeline Ministries’ students receive certified training in sewing and design.

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.



Matonwandile at sewing station

While Evangeline Ministries primarily serves women, some men also participate in the training and education.

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.


Nosiphwo with computer

Students are equipped with sewing machines and access to markets to sell the goods upon completion of their training. Because of Nosiphwo’s computer skills, Wendy arranged for her to receive a computer to pursue typing business.

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!

Wendy Ryan

Mission Year: Who Serves, Why & What Do They Do?

Mission Year, one of EAPE’s Core Ministries, is a yearlong opportunity for Christian young adults to live out their faith by serving as urban missionaries. Mission Year team members come alongside what God is doing in the city by partnering with local churches, providing over 84,000 hours of service to ministries and non-profits, and reaching out to hundreds of neighbors with the love and hope of Christ.

Who Serves?

Mission Year has 70 yearlong young adult team members living and serving in 10 under-resourced communities in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia.  You can learn more about 4 of these urban missionaries here:

Sophillia Hubbard

Sophillia Hubbard
Lynchburg, VA
Mission Year City: Philadelphia
Neighborhood Placement: Southwest Philly
Service Placement: Calvary Christian School
What breaks my heart: Hatred and closed mindedness
Why I’m giving a year: It will add a year of wisdom, understanding and experience to my life.


DeMyron HaynesDeMyron Haynes
Shreveport, LA
Mission Year City: Chicago
Service Placement: Breakthrough Urban Ministries Youth Department
What I’m passionate about: Seeing people come to know Christ.  I am passionate about relationships being restored, community being formed and seeing people of all different cultural backgrounds worship together.
Why I’m giving a year: I feel lead to do so.  It’s another chance for me to do life with other believers and watch how God unites us to serve a beautiful place.


Sara Contreras

Sara Contreras
Springfield, VA
Mission Year City: Atlanta
Neighborhood Placement: Pittsburgh
Service Placement: George Justice Project
What breaks my heart: When people are mistreated and no one stands up for them.
Why I’m giving a year: I want to love on people and show them that everyone is valuable.

Heather ChappellHeather Chappell
Hometown: Greenwood, SC
Mission Year City: Houston
Neighborhood Placement: 5th Ward
Service Placement: Pleasant Hills Community Development
What breaks my heart: Lost teenage girls that don’t know the love Christ has for them.
Why I’m giving a year: I want to minister through art, and present Christ in a loving way to a lost nation.

What Do They Do?

The Mission Year Network, launched this year, has an additional 70 yearlong volunteers that we provide training and leadership support in Memphis, Charlotte, Oklahoma City, and London.

Mission Year provides 84,000+ hours of community service to over 40 local organizations and ministries saving them $800,000 each year.

Mission Year is working in areas of education, homelessness, human trafficking, food justice, legal aid, healthcare, and public policy to give hope and bring about lasting change in our communities.

Diversity is a commitment for Mission Year. While the average percentage for ethnic and cultural diversity in Christian mission organizations is between 3-5%, Mission Year is at 25%.

Mission Year team members are encouraged to share their faith in authentic and relational ways.  Team members share their faith by praying with people (81%), sharing their personal testimony (62%), inviting someone to church (62%), leading someone to Christ (2%), leading a Bible study in the community (19%), having spiritual conversations (89%), and sharing the gospel through actions (89%).

Mission Year team members seek to meet holistic needs in their neighborhoods.  Team members mentor youth (46%), start community gardens (44%), visit elderly neighbors (81%), help neighbors find jobs (25%), visit people in prison (15%), have meals with the homeless (85%), and connect neighbors to resources (64%).

Mission Year impacts the lives of our team members by strengthening their relationship with God (84%), helping them see the world differently (88%), using their gifts and talents to make an impact (67%), helping them become more appreciative of diversity (78%), and becoming more aware of injustice and their role as Christians in addressing it (86%).

Last year, 50% of our team members continued to live in one of our Mission Year cities after the year ended (8 are doing the Eastern Masters program, 8 are doing Mission Year’s second year leadership program).

When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, like Mission Year, and make it possible for urban missionaries like Sophillia, DeMyron, Sara and Heather, to impact lives and communities in Jesus’ name.

If you have questions about Mission Year, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.

What if the Homeless Man on the Bench Was Jesus?

One of our Core Ministries, Red Letter Christians, is built on the voices of individuals young and old who aim to take Jesus seriously by endeavoring to live out His radical, counter-cultural teachings as set forth in Scripture.  RLC has become a platform for some of the leading voices of Christianity to address some of the most pressing issues facing Christians as we wrestle with what it means to follow Jesus.

No one disputes that Jesus was homeless.  In one of the most startling accounts of the cost of discipleship, the Gospel of Luke records Jesus explaining to a “certain man” (possibly the rich young ruler outed in Mark’s and Mathew’s accounts): The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).  For a more recent account of Jesus’s homelessness read the late singer songwriter, Rich Mullins’s, poignant lyrics to: You Did Not Have a Home.

That Jesus was homeless and taught that we may encounter Him in “the least of these” – the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, widow, stranger and imprisoned (Matthew 25:35-40), is the basis of what Tony calls the Whole Gospel and informs EAPE’s holistic ministry.  And it raises questions for the Church and every Christian: what should be our response to the homeless and to “the least of these”?

One answer is found in Aquila Way, one of the many effective ministries we invest in with the gifts of our donors, which we shared about in our September Newsletter.  Among other comprehensive services, Aquila Way provides safe and loving homes for women aged 16-30 and their children, as well as short-term accommodations for those in need.

Another option is to the feed the hungry, according to Jesus’ dictates in the Gospels.  Shane Claiborne and our friends at The Simple Way, have engaged the powers and principalities at City Hall, when the mayor of Philadelphia announced a citywide ban on “outdoor feeding” to the homeless.  Our friend, Doug Johnson Hatlem, a Mennonite pastor to the homeless in Toronto, has been a fearless advocate for the voiceless and marginalized.  Let us know how you’ve been involved with serving the homeless or leave a comment about someone whom you know personally that has inspired you by their extraordinary care for the poor and oppressed.

Hugh Hollowell in discussion with officer

When Hugh asked the officer why he couldn’t feed the homeless, the officer said that he was not going to debate him. “I am just telling you what is.  Now you pass out that food, you will go to jail.”

A few months ago Hugh Hollowell, founder of Love Wins Ministries, took to the Red Letter Christians blog to explain why and how he was almost arrested for feeding the homeless at Moore Square in Raleigh, North Carolina.  You can read what happened on Saturday, August 24th, when Love Wins volunteers and staff tried to distribute coffee and breakfast sandwiches, as they have for every weekend for six years.   And Hugh’s update in September about “An article released [September 13th] by News & Observer reporter Colin Campbell revealed that City of Raleigh officials at the highest levels plotted for months to find “legal” ways to keep people who wish to help the poor out of Moore Square Park.”

Finally, as we remember that Jesus also said “the poor will always be with you” (Matthew 26:11), let us not forget to look around and ask “Where are the poor?” to see if the poor are among us.  As you wrestle with how to love and serve the poor and oppressed, please keep our missionaries and teachers in your prayers as they seek to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

When you give to EAPE, you invest in a network of innovative, holistic and effective ministries, like Aquila Way, that provide services and support to the homeless, and Red Letter Christians, that amplifies the prophetic voices of those asking and answering, in word and deed, the critical questions facing Christians today.  If you have questions about Red Letter Christians, or any of the ministries we’re investing in, please call EAPE’s office at 610-341-1722 or use the “Contact Us” form below to send an email.

The Importance of Education for Holistic Ministry

My daughter started third grade last month, and I shared in her excitement for the new school year – the joy of reconnecting with friends, the awe of learning new things, and the awareness of beginning this next chapter of her life and dreaming of what the future holds.

Working with EAPE reminds me not to take my daughter’s education for granted.

As a sociologist, Tony has always understood the importance of education as a means for lifting people out of poverty.  This understanding has informed EAPE’s holistic vision for ministry, which has made education a cornerstone for much of our work.

In September, when the City of Philadelphia started this school year with 23 fewer public schools, Cornerstone Christian Academy began its 25th year of providing quality, Christian education in a safe and loving environment for low-income children in southwest Philadelphia.  Cornerstone was ready to welcome many new students to its classrooms.

School children in Haiti

Through Haiti Partners we’re equipping Haitians to change Haiti by educating children, teachers, community leaders and disciples.

In Haiti, where nearly 50% of school age children don’t go to school, more than 1,000 children returned to Haiti Partners elementary schools and the new Children’s Academy and began to realize their hopes for a better and brighter future for their country.

The work that Tony began over 40 years ago would not be possible today without the generous support and prayers from friends like you.   

I invite you to spend some time here and peruse our redesigned website, which features new stories, photos, and announcements about Cornerstone Christian Academy, Haiti Partners, and each of our other Core, Supported and Affiliated Ministries.

This year we’re investing in a total of 20 innovative, holistic and effective ministries, programs and special projects and we’re counting on you beginning, continuing, increasing or renewing your support this year to meet all of our ministry goals and objectives.

Throughout the coming months we’ll keep you informed about the inspiring work of our urban missionaries and teachers, and of the impact their service—and your gifts!—is having on the children, youth and families we minister to across North America and around the world.

I’d love to hear from you, so if you have any questions about our ministry and how you can begin or deepen your involvement in our work, you can reach me by email using the “Contact Us” form below or toll-free at 855-612-EAPE (3273).

With gratitude and hope in Christ,

Robert Gauthier
Managing Director, EAPE

Celebrating 26 Years of Promise in Camden

Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of UrbanPromise with a banquet that featured Tony and a keynote address from Diane Sawyer.  Ms. Sawyer has been a guest of UrbanPromise before and featured their work in Camden in her 2007 special report for ABC News program, 20/20.Diane Sawyer and Urban Promise Students

Prior to last year’s banquet Tony reflected on how UrbanPromise began and praised Bruce Main for his leadership and accomplishments over the years.  As Tony said “Giving birth to UrbanPromise is one of EAPE’s most notable achievements and we celebrate their 25 years of hard, but glorious service for Christ and His Kingdom.”  Click here to read all of Tony’s thoughts about the first 25 years of Urban Promise.

Tony Campolo and Bruce MainNow it’s time to celebrate the next 25 years of Promise in Camden, and we hope you’ll join us on Thursday, October 24 for An inspiring program of personal testimony, a word from Dr. Bruce Main, dance, music, and more by UrbanPromise youth; and a gourmet dinner prepared by local chefs and restaurant owners.

If you live in the Greater Philadelphia area, I encourage you to attend this event – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll leave with renewed hope about all that God is doing in Camden.

Click here to learn more and register for tickets.

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