From 21 – 30 August 2023 we had the wonderful opportunity to reach out to schools and communities in Tshwane and the surrounding towns. The team was able to visit over 80 schools in Hammanskraal, Atteridgeville and Tshwane during that period, as well as some prisons and a university.
The need amongst the youth is overwhelming. At some schools, many learners are on a ‘high’ after break time due to smoking dagga, which makes learning and teaching in class extremely challenging. Many are burdened by social ills and come from broken or abusive homes. At some of the schools where we were given the opportunity to address the learners class by class, many made peace with God. They came forward spontaneously, sometimes in groups, together requesting help with their drug abuse.
What worked particularly well was the testimonies of the ex-drug addicts who were part of the team. They could provide a message of hope to the learners, and many learners flocked around them after presentations.
Furthermore, we were faced with the great physical needs of many learners. Learners undergo hunger at home, a situation further aggravated by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic whereby breadwinners had lost their jobs. It was wonderful to see the efforts made by some schools to curb malnutrition. They have started with vegetable garden projects at school to instill the love for agriculture and develop the skill of growing own food.
Various other areas of concern came to the fore and presented opportunities to bring solutions. The Life Orientation curriculum, for example, appears to have negatively affected especially the Grade 7s. Through the Gospel message and the sharing of testimonies, we were able to equip learners to make choices that will not harm but benefit and protect their future. We also warned against suicide, a message that proved to be necessary. Through encouraging learners that there is hope in Christ, many expressed their need for exactly this message and their gratitude for the hope offered.
The schools we visited confirmed that they found our presentations to be educational and of great value to the learners. Many principals requested us to revisit them soon, stating that they need these outreaches.
We then had the opportunity to address university students. The presentation centred around the science behind pornography addiction. The warning was clearly relevant and necessary, and the message was well received.
The outreach allowed us to network with many ministers and preachers of the Gospel, and strengthen and encourage them in their tasks. We were also pleasantly surprised at the support we received from many teachers and even independent preachers of the Gospel, who also visited the same schools and reiterated our warnings, supporting the message from Scripture. We could see how God is working among the various communities, bringing unity among Christians across church borders to work together.
We were again reminded of the verse, “Let the little children come unto Me and do not hinder them.” In schools and institutions where this is not taking place, drug abuse, rebellion, decline in morals, and ill-discipline are largely noticeable. Please pray for the youth across our country, that they may return to Biblical-based values and to Christ.