South Africa

Team Vision
The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands: "See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God." (Micah 6: 8)

As a community of followers of Jesus, InnerCHANGE South Africa’s vision is to compassionately serve our neighbors who are poor, marginalized and outcast.

We endeavor to extend the blessing of Jesus and His Upside Down Kingdom through demonstrations of love in word and deed with the help of the Holy Spirit. Serving alongside the local church, the government welfare institutions, the local Non Profit Organizations as well as pioneering new and organic expressions of services are the means by which we aim to extend the blessing of the Upside Kingdom of God.

InnerCHANGE South Africa was birthed out of a NieuCommunitites presence in the city of Pretoria. NieuCommunties and InnerCHANGE are both ministries of CRM (Church Resource Ministries). For some years, NieuCommunities staff and apprentices had been involved in various ministries in the township of Soshanguve. Luc Kabongo was part of NieuCommunities for three years and served in the community of Soshanguve along with fellow staff and apprentices. With what was developing in Soshanguve, God confirmed through the president of CRM, Sam Metcalf, and the founders of InnerCHANGE, John and Deanna Hayes, that there was a need for the incarnational presence of CRM in this township.

In 2007 a team of NieuCommunites and InnerCHANGE staff conducted a one-week exploration in Soshanguve to discern how God could use an InnerCHANGE team in that particular area and context. 
Their involvement in NieuCommunities helped prepare Luc and Petunia Kabongo to pioneer an InnerCHANGE site in the township of Soshanguve on the north side of the city of Pretoria. The Kabongo family relocated to Soshanguve in April 2008.

Currently we focus on reaching and empowering children and youth. Our programs and ministry activities include:

After-School Tutoring Program
There is a great need for educational assistance for children in the township, whose schools are underfunded and overcrowded. After months of parents asking us if we could start an after-school program, the Lord opened the doors for us by providing a space and start-up funds in early 2011. With the help of community volunteers, our entire team is able to serve children from 2nd to 12th grade, as well as some adult students who are completing their studies.

Kids Club
Most children wander and play unsupervised during non-school hours, as their parents are often working long hours away from home. Seeing an opportunity to engage these children in positive activities and provide adult role models for them, Petunia began teaching them to bake. We now invite the children regularly to join us in baking cakes or cookies, playing games, singing songs, and listening to Bible stories.

High School Outreach
We have a heart for partnering with people in our community who are already seeking to make a difference in Soshanguve. One of those partnerships is with Learner’s Christian Movement, a student fellowship in local high schools around the township. Johannes offers leadership development, encouragement, and assistance with the services they hold at Soshanguve High School, encouraging high school students to stand firm in their faith and encouraging positive Christian community.

Bible Study with Teenage Boys
In partnership with a local Ethne missionary, Johannes co-leads a Bible study for teenagers and young men, offering mentoring and giving them a space to learn what it means to follow the Lord in their context. He has been able to build relationships with many of these young men, encourage them to follow the Lord and make positive decisions, and empower them to seek positive change in their lives.

Sports Ministry
In general, most people in the township do not have much to do outside of school or work. Basketball and other sports provide an outlet for positive activities. Luc has been able to build relationships, encourage skills development, and be positive adult role model to young men and women through a basketball team and a soccer team in the neighborhood.

Outreach to Vulnerable Children
We partner with the Father Smangaliso Mkatshwa Center, a local government shelter for orphans and children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, to offer various programs. We have a Saturday tutoring program for the high school students there, in which the entire team teaches student accounting and math and helps them with their homework. Julie, Emily, and Rebekah lead games once a week with some of the younger children to foster healthy relationships, teamwork, and positive attitudes, and build relationships. They also lead a Bible study for the high school girls at the shelter, and seek to mentor and advise them well. Finally, we organize the weekly Sunday services at the center to provide teaching and preaching for the children.

IC South Africa is looking to recruit potential team members
What kinds of people would we love to have on the team?

  • Those who feel called to work among the urban poor in a cross-cultural environment.
  • Those who are flexible.
  • People who can pioneer new ministries, and those who would not mind being a part of the on-going ministries listed above.
  • Men and women who value people and relationships over tasks and activities. A fine balance between people and activities would be ideal.
  • People who value living in a community focused on mission and continual learning as the followers of Jesus.
  • Those who desire to use their skills, talents and gifts as a blessing to the poor for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

The Photo Contest

Back during the spring I had trained Melanie Avila on how to use Peachtree Accounting Software. The Guatemala team bought a copy of the software in the US and took it back to use locally. Later in the summer, I received an email newsletter from Peachtree saying they were having a summer contest that involved taking pictures in an exciting, exotic place. This happened to be the year of the CRM Worldwide Conference in Malaysia - exotic to most and I was going to visit Cambodia before hand - even more exotic, so I thought I'd give it a shot. And I won - BUT not in how we had expected . . .

Soshanguve, SA

Luc & Petuna Kabongo describe how God used Nieu Communities to help prepare them for their current ministry with InnerCHANGE in Soshanguve Township, near Pretoria, South Africa.

Learning the Game As I Go

On my third day here, after baking with the neighborhood kids, I was recruited for a backyard game. I didn’t know what I was getting in to, but I was just thankful to have not been the last one picked on the team. (Petunia and I were the oldest ones playing by at least 20 years). The game involved bouncing a tennis ball to hit the opposing players, stacking tin cans on top of paint buckets (in descending size order), saying a magic word, hopping on one foot, knocking the tin cans down, running around, and of course celebrating when your team won a point.

The Message of Presence

Sometimes God pulls you towards certain people; other times, he pushes them to you. This is the case with Miriam, a young girl from our block who has taken a special shining to me. Miriam is an orphan, and lives with her step-mother, who neglects her in favor of caring for her own children. In addition, Miriam has mild mental retardation.

New Micro-finance Social Club

By Petunia Kabongo, in South Africa

Sometime last year, while I was still serving with a local home based care NGO, through conversations with the caregivers, I learned that most of them were borrowing money from local “loan sharks” on a monthly basis to cover some of their living expenses. Anna (our British former intern) and I started conversations on saving money as a way of long-term future planning to improve one’s standard of living rather than borrowing.

God is moving in Soshanguve!

by Johannes, in South Africa

Following in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus is very crucial in my journey. I am part of a group of six boys from my neighborhood that meets every week. I am mentoring them in different areas of life.