Partnering with thembela
What is Thembela?
What once was an idea turned in to fruition in May of 2018.
I have always been drawn to Missions, but never had the opportunity to dip my toes into the water. That is until I had met a friend in the United States from South Africa. Here is where I became connected. The start of something beautiful.
I was given a chance to fly to South Africa to meet and stay with Family. Exploring two sides of East London, South Africa. One week in Gonubie South Africa and another week in Amalinda South Africa. While in Gonubie I met my first family, going into multiple churches to work inside the youth groups and Lead Worship. This experience brought me into the closest of friends I now consider my family.
The following week I stayed with my second Family in Amalinda. This week I was picked up and dropped of by the Mintors who are Missionaries who have set up a Base at the Cresh called Global Mercy Missions. I was picked up, brought into the School and taught what Missions is. Welcomed in with open arms as if I were known my whole life, not just mere seconds. Here is where I learned what Global Mercy Missions heart is about. A quick overview, there is a school made out of shipping crates. Fenced off from the community and cleaned of trash and debris.
Where parents of this community are able to search for Jobs to provide for their families. Where Children are safe from harm for at least 8 hours a day. A place where food is fresh, diapers are changed, preschool is taught and medical provisions are given.
This place changed me. A week. Changed me.
As I came back home I reflected. How can I combine my love for music, and my love for children. More specific, my love for these children?
I tried a year later to donate a small percentage of income to the Global Mercy Missions from Merchandise sales. Unfortunately I came to the realization that wasn't going to provide hardly anything.
One night it hit me.
"If I don't go back and try again, this door that was open once will close."
Then the idea trickled in. What If we just made bracelets? Something fun for the Children to do? What if we did this, and donated ALL the proceeds back to Global Mercy Missions? I could sell these at my shows! What if?
So I sent that What If Question to Josh and Rachael Mintor, and they simply said to "Come".
So in a second leap of faith. I flew back for three weeks. First week back was simply enjoying and reconnecting with each child and staff there at the school. Rekindling relationships once more.
Second week we began making the bracelets! Each child was placed in a small group during a portion of the week days. Having fun, making beads we loved. Each child Got to make one for themselves and one to give back. They LOVED it, and so did I. These moments created a bond. Gave them something special, something new and something JUST for them.
At first I was concerned, Knowing some kids had bracelets and others had to wait for the next day. I wondered if it would cause any fighting among the children after I left. Morning rose and we returned for Group two. As I greeted and hugged each child, I noticed one wasn't wearing their bracelet. I asked, "Where is yours?"
The Child pointed to a friend who hadn't made one yet.That friend was wearing the bracelet.
They were sharing without hesitation. They were spreading the joy they felt with no second thought?! It was AMAZING! Their faces lighting up!
By the third week all children had a bracelet, and now it was time for the staff. So during nap time I sat with the women who cook, clean, watch the children and come there daily. Some who live in the community, and others who come by train to work there.
I was nervous. I don't speak Xhosa Language very well yet, and wanted to make sure each woman knew that they were loved and beautiful. So we sat together and beaded. As they were chit chatting I would sit quietly and smile. Once they were ready I finished their bracelet with a tie and asked to take a picture of them in their bracelet.
So after I captured their beauty, I showed each Woman their picture with instant reactions of smiles, laughter and the "OH my gosh!!! I'm so pretty!!"
When in the Xhosa community, you receive a name if you are known long enough. I was given the name THEMBELA meaning : to have hope.
I thought that was the most fitting name for me, and for this project.
To have hope.
That is what Thembela is. Having hope in every circumstance.
Thembela is more than just handing out money. It is creating relationships that change us. Better us, and pave our next path ahead.
Money doesn't change people.
Relationships change people.
We will be doing this mission Annually.
From what started as a what if, has turned into something bigger than I ever imagined possible. Thats What God does. He takes our faith, and multiplies the blessings.
Bracelets are sold online on Facebook - Thembela Designs
All proceeds go back to this community.