During the day at Light Providers, there is a whirlwind of activity.  We are always having meetings in the library, walking or riding (if we are lucky) to deliver messages to schools and leading netball practices in the courtyard.  Most days I am scrambling to create a meal of peanut butter and whatever else is lying around the kitchen. (In hindsight, that peanut butter and egg sandwich wasn’t my greatest idea.)

But in the evenings, when the gates are locked and all the programs are over, the Light Providers campus gets quiet.  At this time, the Light Providers staff takes a moment to breathe and talk about life together.  Many nights Vusi, the founder of Light Providers, and I often end up the only ones left out in the living room drinking our tea, talking and joking.

The other night, in the midst of a conversation about our hopes and dreams for the future, I asked him a pretty basic question…or so I thought.

“How did you get here?” I asked.

He calmly said, “I will just tell you in the morning.”

Prayer & Prison

The next morning, I asked Vusi to share his story.  Shortly after our morning tea, I followed him into his office, which sat full of files and a wide variety of books.  He smiled softly, sat back and began.

Vusi at work in his office.

“Well…..when I was between the ages of 15 and 24, I had been in out of prison several times for theft and robbery.”

I had to let that statement sink in for a minute.

My mind couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but my face kept a calm, cool composure.  All I could think about was Vusi had been to prison?

This man; who leads Light Providers – joking all the time, and one of the jolliest guys I have ever met – had been to prison? I couldn’t believe it!

One More Surprise

Vusi began to talk a little bit about his life when he was younger.  A life completely embedded in crime, violence and drugs.  He told me, “I didn’t want to be a criminal, but circumstances created it.  Without knowledge and opportunity, I had no purpose.”

By this point, I had lost all composure and just sat there shocked at what I was hearing.

While he told me about his time in jail, Vusi spoke of a prayer that changed the direction of his future.  Sitting in his prison cell, he prayed, “God, if you just get me out of here and provide me with a job, I will live for you.”

The Light Providers Campus

Living for God.  This sounded familiar.  I could finally relax as Vusi began to sound a bit more like the man I had come to know.

However, there was one more surprise still waiting for me in the story of Vusi’s life.  He began to speak about the Life Skills class he was planning to attend at World Changers Academy.  That was the light bulb moment I was waiting for!  He would sign up, attend and be forever changed, right?  Not exactly….

He did sign up, but only to devise a plan to steal the computers from the classroom.

This story wasn’t unfolding quite like I had expected.

A Turning Point

During that Life Skills course, the class leaders began to speak about having a vision in life and being used for God’s purpose.  For Vusi, whose father died young, who was raised by extremely impoverished grandparents, who grew up believing that he would never amount to anything, this was a revelation.

LP library that started out as just a few book donations. Now they have to turn some donations away.

We had FINALLY reached the turning point of his story.

For the first time in his life, Vusi saw his life had a purpose, and he liked that idea.  As he spoke of this newfound vision, I could hear the passion return to his voice and the certainty he normally speaks with.

After the Life Skills class ended, Vusi joined the World Changers staff for three years. And then he set out on his pursuit to fulfill the vision God had written on his heart: to create his own leadership development ministry.

With that, Vusi started Light Providers in 2005 with nothing more than a small building and a manual for teaching the same Life Skills class that changed his life.   His hope: to provide opportunities for people to reach their potential even in the midst of the AIDS crisis.

Light Providers began to reach out and focus on the youth in the community.  Vusi created programs from sports, to dance, to choir and started taking book donations to start a library. Out of this one building and one class, an outpouring began to occur in kwaNyuswa.

A Job to be Done

Today, Light Providers’ Life Skills classes have transformed the lives of hundreds of people and their many programs have touched thousands.

Light Providers staff meeting. Yes, we are in Africa. It gets below 50 degrees and winter coats come out.

Vusi spends most of his time working to create new opportunities to reach the community of kwaNyuswa.  For most, they would be perfectly content with how much impact Light Providers has already made. Not Vusi. He realizes the giant they are up against.

AIDS is still affecting the lives of people in kwaNyuswa.  Therefore, Vusi feels as if he still has a job to be done.

This job is to provide others with the same hope that God provided him.  Out of Vusi’s redemption, God is using Light Providers to restore the community of kwaNyuswa.

This restoration began with a man from prison.  He prayed, “God, give me a job and I will live for you!” And God took him up on that challenge!

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Next Steps
    • Seek out places in your life/heart where you need God to come in and give you a new purpose.
    • Pray for the continual growth of Light Providers. That LP continues to be a light in the middle of kwaNyuswa.
    • Check out the music video that Vusi appears in. He is the speaker in the intro.
    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.

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Comments

  1. Barry Rodriguez said... 

    Reply

    July 4th, 2012 at 11:05 am  

    Awesome story, Tyler! It’s amazing to see how God transformed Vusi’s life. Not just ending his life of crime but using him to transform his community. Amazing!

    • Tyler Perrott said... 

      Reply

      July 4th, 2012 at 1:01 pm  

      Thanks Barry! No matter how far we go we aren’t out of the grace of God. He wants to redeem us both personally and use us to redeem other people and even other communities.

  2. Terry Ave said... 

    Reply

    July 4th, 2012 at 12:16 pm  

    Still impressed with your writing skills and experiences. This one sounded a lot more positive than the last communication. The prison story hit home (with Matt being incarcerated)! Strange isn’t it God doesn’t give up on his children!

    • Tyler Perrott said... 

      Reply

      July 4th, 2012 at 12:59 pm  

      Thanks Terry! God continues to pursue us even into the darkest of places. He still wants to deliver us and use us to further his kingdom! Thanks for your support.

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