Facing overwhelming challenges, the destitute often find themselves facing a bleak future. A future where hope is but a dream. However, for those who find themselves in a place of darkness, there is a glimmer of hope.
Raphah Ministries began in 2008, acting initially as a shelter for homeless and destitute people in Newcastle. When it opened its doors, it was known as Raphah – A place of healing. It was in 2017 that the organisation’s name was changed to Raphah Ministries.
The name change follows the organisation evolving with the times, focusing not only on helping the destitute, but also offering additional services.
These services include assisting its residents with life skills, parenting courses/training/exposure and childcare. The services also include budgeting, obtaining and securing social grants from the Government for pensioners, the disabled and children. As well as assisting with school-related issues, mental health issues, health in general, social and welfare matters/challenges.
Playing an integral role in the Newcastle community, Raphah Ministries currently houses 10 people. All of whom have found solace in the organisation’s premises.
“With the lockdown, we cannot take more people in at the moment. This is to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” explains Pastor Sonja Luus of Raphah Ministries.
Furthermore, Pastor Sonja adds that financial donations have dwindled. She explains this is due to the financial difficulties faced by scores of people during these trying times of the lockdown.
Despite facing its fair share of challenges during the lockdown period, Pastor Gerd Luus adds that him, Pastor Sonja and the residents of Raphah Ministries have not gone to bed hungry.
“We are currently beautifying the premises and growing our own vegetables,” he says. By growing their own vegetables and thanks to long-term sponsors who have donated food, Pastor Gerd says Raphah Ministries has been able to endure through the lockdown.
“We are also fortunate to have been able to assist homeless people and others in need, who have come looking for food. We share our vegetables with them, where we can,” he says.
Playing a pivotal role within Newcastle, Pastor Sonja says Raphah Ministries would like to invite the community to their premises once the lockdown has been lifted.
“We want to create areas where people can come take photos, to picnic and where children can come play. We would love to become a community centre, which people can enjoy,” she emphasises.
However, Raphah Ministries will still remain true to its calling and purpose. A calling which sees Pastor Gerd and Sonja reaching out to those in need.
If anyone would like to assist Raphah Ministries, be sure to contact Pastor Gerd and Pastor Sonja on 034 315 2637.