In my first few days of being here, I have witnessed Light Providers do so much in the community on a budget most organizations would use to pay their electricity.

We sputter around KwaNyuswa in a little, red car with my knees shoved up in the dashboard developing programs with schools, local businesses, and sports teams.

The individuals who have been leading this organization aren’t exactly what I expected to find.

The Expectation

It seemed every time I had a conversation about Light Providers, it always ended up with people saying “these are some of the best leaders I have ever seen”.

Over time, I began to develop a vision of what these leaders had to look like.  Middle-aged men, full of experience, filled with God’s Spirit, and fearlessly leading the charge into AIDS crisis in their community.  When I finally stepped foot onto Light Providers soil, I was anxiously waiting to meet these men.

On my way into the main office, I was introduced to guys, around my age, who I thought were volunteers for the day.  Vusi, the founder of Light Providers, was going through my orientation and soon left to bring back the leaders I would be working with this summer.  My excitement and expectation were at an all-time high as the moment I was waiting for was finally here.

Msizi and Njabulo acting like they always do. One goofy and the other in deep thought.

Finally the door opens, and the two “volunteers” I met earlier walk in.

I was taken aback by who was standing in front of me because it had completely shattered my expectation of what these men had to look like.  After our introductions, Njabulo, Msizi and I were out the door, and I was eager to learn at their feet about how God is using them in the midst of this chaos.

Country Music in South Africa?

They gave me a tour of Light Providers, along with the surrounding area, and we hit it off right from the get go.

We did the typical cross-cultural questions, asking about each other’s cultures to figure out what we had in common and what we were clueless about.  I never imagined the aspect of American culture they were most excited about would be listening to country music.

We returned back to the Light Providers office and headed into the library where I found all three of us have our own work station in the corner for the summer.  By this time, the workday was over, and we would begin working the next morning on all of our different projects.

Life Skills

Starting my first full day at Light Providers, I was very interested in learning just what Msizi’s and Njabulo’s jobs were.  Typical first days are pretty laid back allowing you to adjust to your new job.  Not here- we dove headfirst into all different ways Light Providers is reaching the community!

Msizi is in charge of setting up life skills training for the local community.  His life skills programs are one of the main ways Light Providers is trying to change individuals in the community.

Msizi talking to a local high school teacher to promote awareness to his students about the upcoming small business workshop.

They set up these life skills classes to begin people on the road to bettering themselves and giving them options in the world.  He isn’t assisting someone in this program; he leads it.

Whenever God shows up, it doesn’t matter who is leading the program nearly as much as who is willing to follow Him.

Unlocking Potential

Njabulo is in charge of the Student Debate and Drama (SDD) program for Light Providers.  We have begun to set up some future debates and dramas this week – bouncing around, often down dirt paths, in our trusty red car going from school to school.

We show up at the school and get a chance to meet the teachers.  I listen to Njabulo and the teacher set up a meeting trying to catch at least one word they are saying in Zulu.  Then we walk away, and I ask him how it went and what we are doing next.

We spend some time every day figuring out what questions would be best to challenge high school youth in the debates.  The hope is that these debates and these questions would strike into the heart of the kids and widen their worldview.

I asked Njabulo why he works here.  His response?

“It gives me a meaning and purpose in life.  I get to reach into the heart of the youth and show them their potential.”

Njabulo doing his best not to laugh in the middle of this picture.

The debates are more than just a couple questions to keep them entertained.  It allows students to truly see their potential and allow them to begin a transformation into a light in the community for the Kingdom of God.

Proof of Transformation

In the short time I have been at Light Providers, some of my expectations have been shattered.  However, what I had envisioned about Light Providers is still standing strong.

The main vision I had was an organization that was passionate about raising up the youth to become leaders in their community.  I haven’t been here too long, but I have seen the how they are impacting their community.

Light Providers spent time pouring into a relationship with Msizi and Njabulo and now the fruit of their labor is showing up right on their own staff.

Enjoy this post? Get future updates sent to you for free! Join by email or RSS

Next Steps
    • Read the book “28”. Reading this book will contribute in your understanding of AIDS and how it affects individuals/communities.
    • In what areas of life are you allowing expectations or doubt to prevent you from taking action? Consider spending time pouring into a young individual in your life.
    • Pray for young leaders to continue to be raised up in KwaNyuswa as well as in our own communities.
    Next Steps

About the Author: Tyler is a summer intern with World Next Door for 2012. He is currently studying Social Work at IUPUI. He has a hope to see social justice take place in this world through the transforming love of Christ. He loves working out, playing sports, and sometimes thinks he is still going to be a professional athlete. He also listens to Taylor Swift more than he cares to admit.

More posts by Follow Tyler on Twitter


Comments

  1. JimM said... 

    Reply

    June 25th, 2012 at 8:40 pm  

    Interesting, you have my attention…What life skills and how does that weave into the HIV pandemic.

  2. Terry Ave said... 

    Reply

    June 26th, 2012 at 4:08 pm  

    Ty,

  3. Laura Stump said... 

    Reply

    June 27th, 2012 at 2:30 am  

    “Whenever God shows up, it doesn’t matter who is leading the program nearly as much as who is willing to follow him.”

    Thanks, Tyler! I’m excited to read and hear more about your ever-intensifying experiences with this incredible group.

  4. Jeff Rasley said... 

    Reply

    July 2nd, 2012 at 9:34 am  

    When I was in SA a few years ago it seemed apparent to me that there is a great problem with an easy solution. There is not a system of free public education for all children. The rich-power-elite do not want to bear the cost of creating a true system of public education. They prefer to pay $$ for walled compounds and gun-toting security men rather than spend the money to reduce crime and grow the economy through the long term benefits of free public education. Shame on them for depriving so many beautiful children of the joys & benefits of systematic learning.

Leave a Reply