Spring 2008 Volume 40 No.4 Creative investments Money hidden under the mattress? Unit trusts? Shares? All my life I have been struggling to save a few rand for our old age; and now I have to watch it depreciating day by day. The return on my investment does not keep up with the rising rate of inflation. This topic is often the main point of discussion nowadays. Jesus tells a parable about a man who wanted to go on a journey. He called all his slaves to entrust all his possessions to them. He gave five golden coins to one of them. Another received two and yet another received one. He gave the coins in accordance with their abilities and then he left on his journey (read Mathew 25: 14- 30 about the dividends on this man's investments). A “talent”, in those days, was an old Greek coin, made from one talent of gold. It has no connection with talents as we know them today. Remember, this is a parable. With this, Jesus wants to teach us something about His Kingdom (possibly, you have always thought that the owner was unnecessarily strict with the third slave who had only received one coin). Very well, you might think. We should be trustworthy. This does not sound like an unreasonable request - but what does this mean? With what exactly did Jesus entrust us With what exactly did Jesus entrust us? before He left us? The great gift that God has entrusted to His church is the gift of God's Kingdom. He has left the treasure in our hands. He gave us Redemption in Jesus Christ; the wonderful advantage to be able to leave the control of our lives in the hands of the King of heaven and earth, with the knowledge that He always knows what is right and what is best. Many Christians decide to rather, like the third slave, try to play it safe. They do not want to take any risks. That is why they would rather hide away the treasure that God has given them. Except for the fact that we should dare to hand over the management of our lives to the Lord Jesus, we should also take a risk in another aspect. We should make the most of our talents that the Lord has entrusted to us. Invest them in the lives of people in order for them to pay dividends. Do not try to hide them. Financial advisers will say that if you want to double your investment (like the first two slaves) you need to invest it well with creativity and business savvy. In this issue: Creative Outreaches Creative Outreaches (continue) Women’s Day A cruise around the world... Affordable Accommodation 2 3 3 4 4 With this newsletter we want to thank every pair of women's hands (and men's) who have creatively invested in the Kingdom of God by knitting more than 16 000 small dolls for the Valuable To Jesus Campaign. Each group of visitors from various denominations who come to walk the streets with us on weekend nights (being visible with the JESUS SAVES message) are investing in the Kingdom of God. Each one who is contributing financially. And so we can continue... It is so true what Jesus said: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will find it. (Matthew 16:25) Greetings from Fourie, and everyone at STRAATWERK Pray with us throughout this news letter! Page 2 Creative Outreaches The other day we came across her and she had a broken ankle. She had seen the doctor, but had decided that the plaster cast had to be removed, because she had to go back to 'business'. With an aching foot and a very tired body, she again met us on the street. “I need some rest”, were her words to us and we managed to arrange for her to go somewhere in order to get some rest. But a place to rest was not the biggest problem. It took some trouble to get all her possessions together. She did her best to explain to us behind which rock we would find one of her bags. Then we had to go to a squatter's camp to find some more of her possessions under a bed in the smallest, most dilapidated, leaking little room. So, what did she have to show for many years of prostitution? Bits of shoes here and pieces of clothing there and a piece of soul here, a piece of her heart there and a bit of a child here and pieces of nothing that were spread all over. Prostitution destroys the lives of people. In high-risk areas, one out of every three children is being sexually abused. It is also said that a female born in South Africa is more likely to be raped than to learn to read. About 95% of women involved in prostitution have been sexually abused when they were in their childhood. This is a sad downward spiral but even sadder is the fact that people have the potential to hurt others to such an extent. We detest this old sinner in ourselves that we cannot get rid of. When we walk on rocks, we grind tiny little shells beneath our feet. On the open road, we often drive over small birds. While we appreciate nature, we are inclined to flatten small flowers underfoot. Sometimes we realise or notice this, but sometimes not. Guess what??? How long will it take to knit 15 000 dolls on you own? It will take you approximately 5 hours per doll, thus 75 000 hours. Or 3125 days or 8.6 years. If you knit for 24 hours per day, for 8+ years you will reach your goal of 15 000 dolls! Thank you for not counting the hours but making these dolls with love! . ... shattered shells ... dead birds ... trampled flowers ... In spite of our helplessness, the Lord calls us as His children, to bring the gospel to those who are misled, those who are tired and dejected and those who have lost all hope. At STRAATWERK, we are amazed about how the Lord uses people in creative ways to reach out to others. The Valuable To Jesus Campaign has touched the hearts of many people. Many women (and men) have taken the opportunity to stand up against sexual abuse, prostitution and pornography. At this stage we have already received more than 16 000 little knitted dolls and we have handed out more than 12 000 dolls at various schools. A special woman, in Pretoria, started to produce doll parcels complete with a pattern, wool in various colours and stuffing. All one has to do is to knit the little doll and return it to her. Her aim is to distribute 1 000 dolls and slowly, but surely, she is getting there. Here is an extract from the local newspaper in her area: She immediately had the feeling that she should start with this project, in which knitted dolls will be given to children to make them aware and warn them against prostitution, sexual abuse and pornography. Even before Leonora Mosz of Sinoville, had the pattern describing how to knit a doll, she went to buy the wool. Searching on the internet, she was led to the Valuable To Jesus Campaign. Leonora supplies parcels with all the necessary material and the pattern for knitting the dolls in Pretoria. All that is needed to help is time and knitting needles. - Rekord Moot, 1 Augustus 2008 A group of women gathers in Gansbaai every Friday to knit, stuff, and decorate the little dolls. They do this and have a cup of tea with something to eat while they get together as friends. Who said that it is always difficult to reach out? Creative Outreaches (continue) The Gansbaai ladies did not only knit dolls for us at STRAATWERK, but they decided that the children of Gansbaai also had to be reached. Here is a short excerpt from their local newspaper: The STRAATWERK team of Parow, assisted by Gansbaai volunteers, brought valuable messages to the learners of the primary schools in Masakhane, Blompark and Gansbaai. All the dolls were knitted in Gansbaai and surrounds and the co-operation that we had from the ladies is unbelievable. About 1 330 little dolls were handed out at schools. Gansbaai Herald, Wednesday, 22 August 2008 (translated) Page 3 The most special women that I know... When you pass them, you would possibly not look at them twice. Industriously and diligently, they clean up where we litter and make a mess. Every cigarette butt, every scrap of paper, every matchstick. They arrive early for work and arrive back home late at night, after a day's honorable labour on the streets of Cape Town. I love JESUS SAVES! It puts my daily bread on my table. On Women's Day, August 9, 2008, you would have looked at these women dressed beautifully, some in their traditional costumes, others in their most feminine attire suitable for Women's Day. Even the men of Projek OPRUIM / JESUS SAVES were amazed and one of them called out: “Ladies, you are beautiful!” “Stop! I am special”, is one of the six slogans that the STRAATWERK team taught the children of all three of these communities. The children were given valuable demonstrations and information and each of these children received a special knitted doll. Gansbaai Courant, 22 August 2008 (translated) In Volmoed all the women had to take part whether they could knit or not. You just had to see to it that dolls were given. Hundreds of dolls (later, far more than the goal) were delivered all the way traveling in the boot of a Mercedes Benz. One of the dolls had a little letter attached: From an aunty with a patch on her heart ... The Dutch Reformed Church of Worcester North had to go to the Caprivi in Namibia and these dolls spoke to their imaginations. This imagination caused the aunties to grab their knitting needles and the result a wonderful outreach to children in need, with a life-giving message. In Hartenbos, they reached out to the children with the wonderful message that they are not for sale and the aunties pray while their needles are knitting. More creative outreaches: The Outreach Portfolio of Jan van Riebeeck High School combined their creativity and the compassion of the principal and then arranged a “civvies” day. With this initiative they managed to raise R2 700 for STRAATWERK and second hand clothing as well. One of our ex-team members used her creativity and valuable knowledge about Projek OPRUIM / JESUS SAVES (the rehabilitation program for the destitute) and then organised a Yellow Glove Day through the Dutch Reformed Congregation of Pietersburg East. Here is an excerpt from their local newspaper: They have launched a new project, namely the Yellow Glove Project in which members of the congregation and any other interested parties may join and help to clear Polokwane's streets, by picking up debris and clearing away the mess. In this way, they literally, as Christians, want to bow down to serve the community. Our congregation also wants to help the unemployed of the town to earn extra money by letting them clear the surroundings. Projek OPRUIM / JESUS SAVES also serves as an inspiration for the first session of our night outreaches. We pick up papers and bottles outside the many nightclubs in Cape Town, while we are praying for the city and its inhabitants. The bright, visible JESUS SAVES wraps attract lots of attention and afford valuable chances to be able to attest that Jesus had come to clear up our lives (like we are picking up the papers and bottles and other such things). With our second session of reaching out, we give small presents and a special message to those people who are on the streets late at night. Is it not amazing and wonderful to be totally overwhelmed by the idea that we have been called by God? Let us LIVE this PASSION! Doughnuts and a cruise around the world... I do not know why, but the Lord often sends me to cross Minette's way. If it is not in the centre of Green Point, it is in the centre of Sea Point or on Cape Town station. At these encounters we chat quickly or sometimes have a cup of coffee. Before today, it was about a year ago since I have seen Minette. I have actually been wondering what could have happened to the poor girl in the meantime. Today was one of those days on which we met. I was really looking forward to having a doughnut and there really is only one place to get it - melt-in-the-mouth doughnuts with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and an owner who is SO proud of his doughnut business. I had bought three and was making my way to Adderley Street and guess who I ran into? Minette! I offered her one of the doughnuts and invited her for a cup of coffee. To my amazement, she agreed without complaining, and we sat down in one of the coffee shops and stretched our legs. Minette had been in Durban for the previous year. There she worked as a receptionist at an escort agency. Amongst other duties, she had to take care of the linen of all the rooms, as well as see to it that the club was neat. What a job. What a responsibility. Minette herself had been a prostitute and had always refused to work from the flat where she stayed. She always had a separate room that she called her office. “Men did want to book me, but I was just not interested. But I can tell you - it was almost a year of hell. My boss was sniffing cocaine everyday, all day, while we were making her rich. I have decided to come back and from tomorrow, I will be back in business. I have placed my ad in the paper, R 300 you know! And I have a place to stay for the next three weeks. Can you believe it? I have to start all over again. Anyway, I don't expect to have hundreds of clients a day. If I was younger, yes, but at 58? No, my dear. One has to be realistic.” We chat about all her old friends in Sea Point the fortune teller, the man who invites her to dinner every evening, the young lady who wants her to move in with her and who knows who else. I wonder about many things. I wonder how it feels to be born as a male and to become a female at the age of 21 and now at 58, Minette has been a woman for longer than she had ever been a man. I wonder how she feels about all the men who had visited her and about all the men who she had visited and about all the begin-from-the beginning (start all over) episodes. I wonder how it feels to have lost the ability to get attached to people. Minette has so often been close to men, one with men that she has no more closeness to give. I decide to take a deep breath, take the bull by the horns and ask the one question that is uppermost in my thoughts. You see Minette also doesn't allow me to get near to her, one just does not ask certain things. “Minette, don't you get tired of all the men, their needs and their demands?” “What can you do my dear?” she asks and touches my cheek. Her eyes grow dreamy and she shares her dream with me. “I want a man who needs company and a hug now and again. I want to look after him and make him laugh. I want to go on a world cruise with him and dress pretty.” She looks deep into my eyes, touches my hand, as if to stress the importance of the next sentence. “I have been dreaming about this for the past year. Maybe God will grant me this dream, but I am grateful for what He gives. I have always had enough clients to have a roof over my head; for food and clothes and of course, for cigarettes. God has been good to me. You know that, don't you?” God gives you food, clothes, somewhere to live, plenty of clients and cigarettes. And that makes Him good? An invitation: For the past couple of years STRAATWERK has been giving a particular service to congregations by meeting groups to take them with us when we reach out to people who go to the nightlife in Cape Town. 1. We would gladly visit your congregation to talk to your congregation and give visual feedback regarding the work STRAATWERK does. 2. Bring your confirmation class, your church council, your cell group or any other interested group who want to come to be part of our outreaches on Friday nights. ACCOMMODATION We are on the web! www.straatwerk.org.za In 2009 STRAATWERK will again have accommodation available at reasonable rent (single rooms and shared bathrooms) which will be available specifically to young Christians who want to live in a safe and Christian atmosphere (as well as in very beautiful surroundings). Breakfast as well as lunch is available from Monday to Friday. This is specifically geared to young people who come to Cape Town for study or for work. The STRAATWERK building (Avondale & De Tijger area) is very near the Tygerberg Medical Campus, Northlink College (near Panorama Hospital) and also near a railway station transporting to the centre of Cape Town. Please contact us at 021 930 8055. We thank the Lord everyday for you... To be sacrificial is part of our lives as stewards. This reflects the truth in the Bible that states that we are not owners, but we are only stewards of everything that we have received from the Lord. Stewardship is far reaching and surrounds us and involves all of usour time, our talents and our money. At STRAATWERK we are privileged and very thankful for all co-workers who have been giving their time serving (everyone who prays for us, who walks the streets with us and for everyone who gives financially). For those who would like to support us financially we have enclosed a debit order to make it easier for you. Straatwerk An Outreach ministry to people in need in Cape Town PO Box 910 Parow 7499 Tel: +27 21 930 8055 Fax: +27 21 930 7690 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Registration Number: NPO 003 276 ABSA Branch Code: 502 110 ABSA Account Number: 450 800 457 The love of Christ compels us!