Mzamomhle is a township, on the outskirts of Gonubie which is a suburb of Buffalo City in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, housing approximately 40,000 people.
Gonubie Baptist’s story
At an elders retreat in 2007, the Gonubie Baptist Church leadership felt a strong obligation to Mzamomhle had died out. Gonubie Baptist Church decided to approach the school in Mzamomhle and ask them how they could serve them. That resulted in the men’s ministry building a netball court for the school and, later Gonubie Baptist Church started a breakfast feeding scheme at the school. The scheme was then incorporated with a government feeding scheme a year later. Through Gonubie Baptist Church’s partnership with Chets Creek Church they were able to place a youth worker at the school who taught Life skills and Bible classes. This ministry progressed and a congregation was established in the township.
In 2008, Heather Deyo and Gwen Morris visited Mzamomhle in the hope of finding a partnership for Chets Creek Church. It was on this trip that Heather and Gwen went to Gonubie Baptist Church where they met David Lock, as well as another NGO working on the border of the township. Chets Creek Church was invited to bring a mission team to work with the NGO and Gonubie Baptist Church in 2009. Chets Creek Church began their partnership with Gonubie Baptist Church at the beginning of that year and has continued to grow that partnership since.
In November of 2011, David Lock organized for Heather and Dr Ana Alvarez to visit Living Hope in Cape Town. It was during that trip that they first met John Thomas and the idea of coming under the Living Hope umbrella was born. In the realization of the benefits of being under Living Hope, and the benefits of partnership, the conversations since then between all the parties have cemented the desire to partner. It has since been agreed that the ministry in Gonubie/ Mzamomhle should be run as a Living Hope branch.
Living Hope’s story
After many churches and socially minded people asking Living Hope to help them start organisations such as Living Hope in their area, the Trustees decided that we would widen our umbrella to incorporate those who were interested in being part of our mission and vision. One of the first churches to contact us after this decision was made was the Gonubie Baptist Church.
A memorandum of understanding was drawn up and the management issues, staffing, curricula and activities were aligned with the activities of Living Hope in the Western Cape. Initially an American volunteer couple, Don and Beth Chin and their family from Chets Creek Church, managed the project and then in April 2014, Pumla Madliwa, who was working with Living Hope in the Western Cape, and had excelled in all that she did, was transferred to be the project co-ordinator of Living Hope Eastern Cape.
Pumla has climbed the ladder within Living Hope and has had practical experience as a health care community worker, a Lay Counsellor, a Counsellor team leader, the facilitator of IACT and other HIV and TB related educational sessions, has attended many workshops and training opportunities as well as several management related courses and is a qualified training facilitator. Pumla is a passionate member of our team and has continued to share all that she has learnt and experienced in her new role as project co-ordinator in Gonubie.