Luc & Petunia Kabongo
InnerCHANGE South Africa
As a community of followers of Jesus, InnerCHANGE South Africa’s vision is to compassionately serve their neighbors who are poor, marginalized, and outcast. They endeavor to extend the blessing of Jesus and his upside down Kingdom through demonstrations of love in word and deed with the help of the Holy Spirit. Serving alongside the local church, the government welfare institutions, the local Non Profit Organizations, as well as pioneering new and organic expressions of services, they aim to extend the blessing of the upside down Kingdom of God.
Currently the team focuses on reaching and empowering children and youth. Their programs and ministry activities include:
After-School Tutoring Program
There is a great need for educational assistance for children in the township, whose schools are underfunded and overcrowded. After months of parents asking us if we could start an after-school program, the Lord opened the doors for us by providing a space and start-up funds in early 2011. With the help of community volunteers, our entire team is able to serve children from 2nd to 12th grade, as well as some adult students who are completing their studies.
Most children wander and play unsupervised during non-school hours, as their parents are often working long hours away from home. Seeing an opportunity to engage these children in positive activities and provide adult role models for them, Petunia began teaching them to bake. We now invite the children regularly to join us in baking cakes or cookies, playing games, singing songs, and listening to Bible stories.
High School Outreach
We have a heart for partnering with people in our community who are already seeking to make a difference in Soshanguve. One of those partnerships is with Learner’s Christian Movement, a student fellowship in local high schools around the township. Johannes offers leadership development, encouragement, and assistance with the services they hold at Soshanguve High School, encouraging high school students to stand firm in their faith and encouraging positive Christian community.
Bible Study with Teenage Boys
In partnership with a local Ethne missionary, Johannes co-leads a Bible study for teenagers and young men, offering mentoring and giving them a space to learn what it means to follow the Lord in their context. He has been able to build relationships with many of these young men, encourage them to follow the Lord and make positive decisions, and empower them to seek positive change in their lives.
In general, most people in the township do not have much to do outside of school or work. Basketball and other sports provide an outlet for positive activities. Luc has been able to build relationships, encourage skills development, and be positive adult role model to young men and women through a basketball team and a soccer team in the neighborhood.
Outreach to Vulnerable Children
We partner with the Father Smangaliso Mkatshwa Center, a local government shelter for orphans and children who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, to offer various programs. We have a Saturday tutoring program for the high school students there, in which the entire team teaches student accounting and math and helps them with their homework. Julie, Emily, and Rebekah lead games once a week with some of the younger children to foster healthy relationships, teamwork, and positive attitudes, and build relationships. They also lead a Bible study for the high school girls at the shelter, and seek to mentor and advise them well. Finally, we organize the weekly Sunday services at the center to provide teaching and preaching for the children.
InnerCHANGE South Africa was birthed out of a NieuCommunities presence in the city of Pretoria. NieuCommunities and InnerCHANGE are both present now in this area of South Africa. In 2007 a team of staff from both ministries conducted a one-week exploration in the township of Soshanguve to discern how God might use an InnerCHANGE team in this particular area and context.
Luc Kabongo, the team’s leader, was part of NieuCommunities for three years and served in the community of Soshanguve along with fellow staff and apprentices. He and his wife, Petunia’s involvement there helped prepare them to pioneer an InnerCHANGE site, and they relocated with their family to Soshanguve in April 2008.