Thanksgiving – Angels Care KZN

Angels Care KZN. Thanksgiving

Psalm 103:1 – Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Dear friends of the Angels Care KZN Centre!

History

This shelter for the homeless started like so many of them do: very informally! Normally someone who has been homeless himself or herself finds a place and then starts to open up to others. Who else would be prepared to live with homeless people 24/7 and 365 days a year? In Paddock, KZN an old dilapidated house became available. For some 7 years, this was the home for many. It functioned as a satellite shelter under the auspices of another similar shelter called Angels Wings.

Through the involvement of several donors and churches, it was decided to begin with a more formally structured shelter with its own NPO-number and governing body.

Shortage of water and an increase in demand were the main reasons which finally drove the shelter to another old farmhouse in the area. The shelter had grown to over 100 people. At this stage the shelter went through a deep crisis: at the core, a dispute with the landlord over ethical values resulting in having to move another time. After long and serious deliberation the governing body decided to stay on board rather than to dissolve the shelter! What does it help to carry on booting homeless people from town to town?

This decision, to book the crisis as a learning curve, for all involved, paid out! The levels of trust increased so much that at the new temporary premises in Elysium the shelter entered its most stable and ordered phase.  Although, in general, the landlords and the public in the new area treated the shelter well, soon complaints were raised against its location. In a meeting with the Municipality, it was decided that by the end of December 2016 the shelter should be relocated. Hence, the search for a more permanent location in an appropriately zoned area intensified.

Miracles do happen!

Who seeks will find, and thus management followed a lead and the governing body decided to do its best to purchase this property in an appropriately zoned area in the little town Sezela, KZN. On the meeting between the governing body and estate agents, we all folded our hands asking God to provide for the necessary funds. At that stage no funds were available. The cut-off date was identified. Approximately two days before the cut-off date would have transpired, a man came forward and said that he was willing to help with the funding! The unthinkable had happened! A true miracle of God! The money was available with built-in incentives to keep the financial state of the centre transparent and auditable at all times! Soli Deo Gloria!

Thanksgiving

Today, we are gathered here to give thanks, thanks to God for opening so many people’s hearts, wallets and giving support in so many numerous ways. We also want to say thank you for each and every one of you participating in the Open Day today. Thank you for your prayers and support, small and huge. It takes a whole community to run such a Homeless Care Centre, especially if the government is not involved. Such a centre is quite important for a community because it teaches a society many vital lessons. Above all, it reminds us all of the fact that we all are beggars before God, whether rich or poor. We are Lazarus before God. We depend on Him for everything. Every good thing we have is a gift from Him!

Homeless people should not be ostracised or excluded from our societies or chased from municipality to municipality, we should not pass the buck – hopefully, they would leave. Here and in many other places is an opportunity to practice sacrificial love, to invest love without expecting anything back. That is what Jesus did for us when dying on the Cross. Remember, that Jesus Himself was homeless during His earthly ministry. It is better to have people in a shelter, where they can be cared for, as a group, than having them all running loose on the streets!

And when you practice this sacrificial love without expecting anything back, there is always a surprise waiting for you, you do receive back, more than you give! That is my experience! We give thanks to all businesses, hospitals, local newspapers, schools, municipalities and other social organisations that are supporting and have supported the centre throughout these many years. You are God’s hands in feeding and providing those who cannot help themselves! Thank you for all who helped with the buildings in all the places we have been, how many French drains etc. and vegetable gardens and Wendy houses etc. have not been built.

Then I need to mention the fact that in all these years, spiritual food and pastoral care was provided to the Care Centre by more or less the same core of congregations and pastors. That was a constant. We have a preaching list, which didn’t change much – through all the very difficult times the church has abided with the centre. For this, thank you to all involved and above all, we have to say, thank You, Lord! Thank you also, members, of FELSISA, who have carried this ministry in prayer!

Finally, I want to mention the management of the centre, members of the governing body, long-standing members and new members, thank you for your compassion, time and effort, and the willingness to take risks. This is especially true with regard to two very special people in our midst today, Jandre and Carlin. For the last, I’ve lost count, some 12 years or more, you have been looking after others who cannot help themselves. Often those whom nobody else wanted to deal with anymore. You have taken responsibility 24/7 for 365 days, for all these years. Now, if you would give me one week, I could tell you some of the stories, sad stories, really sad, hardships, good times and really funny things these two endured in this Care Centre. Thank you for your perseverance, mercy and strictness at times, when necessary.

Thank you for all those residents of the centre who worked very hard to finish off the ablution blocks, to paint the buildings, for the ladies who prepared the food and those who help with giving special frail care to some residents. Thank you one and all, but above all thank the LORD from whom all goodness flows. Soli Deo Gloria. To You O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit we give all Glory. Amen and thank you!

This was the speech given by Pastor Kurt Schnackenberg on a special thanksgiving day as the inauguration of the newly built ablution blocks & the centre as a whole on the new premise in Sezela, KZN.

 

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