Emo­tional tes­ta­ment tells how God saved fam­ily

Talk of the Town - - News - ROB KNOWLES

IT WAS dif­fi­cult not to be­come emo­tional as mar­ried cou­ple Nico and Lisa Becker re­lated their story of drug ad­dic­tion and the prob­lems it caused them and their fam­ily when they spoke at the Chris­tian Men’s As­so­ci­a­tion break­fast on Saturday morn­ing.

“We started by tak­ing drugs just on week­ends,” Lisa be­gan. “It wasn’t such a big deal – that was un­til Nico lost his job and we lost the house we were stay­ing in.”

Lisa said she, her hus­band and four chil­dren, one still a babe in arms, had to stay with her mother while they looked around for other work.

“But the drugs had cap­tured us and we found our­selves ly­ing and steal­ing from my mother in or­der to buy more drugs,” she said. “Even­tu­ally my mother told us we had to find some­where else to stay.

“I was so an­gry with my mother, par­tic­u­larly when Child Wel­fare came and took our kids away,” she told her fel­low Chris­tians.

It was then time for Nico to take over the nar­ra­tive.

“We trav­elled from Pre­to­ria down to the East­ern Cape where we had rel­a­tives,” Nico said with a tear in his eye and a crack in his voice.

The jour­ney was long and la­bo­ri­ous and the cou­ple spent many nights out in the open, strug­gling to find a safe place to sleep and to get food.

“We would pray ev­ery night that the Lord would pro­tect us from dan­ger. And, for the most part, that’s ex­actly what God did,” ex­plained Nico.

Af­ter some time, the cou­ple found their way to Port Al­fred where they met Tony Bryant who, although by his own ad­mis­sion was a lit­tle scep­ti­cal, helped them with an el­e­ment of sta­bil­ity.

He in­tro­duced them to the Cel­e­bra­tion Cen­tre with pas­tors Eldin Ru­dolph and his wife Lyn.

“The drugs had got us to the low­est point in our lives, and it was only through God’s grace that we man­aged to keep go­ing,” Nico said.

“But we had to get our chil­dren [four girls] back.”

To this end, the Beck­ers, hav­ing re­frained from any fur­ther drug use, looked for work.

Nico, a qual­i­fied se­cu­rity guard, was even­tu­ally em­ployed by Clin­ton Mil­lard of Mul­tiSe­cu­rity and is now a se­nior man in the com­pany.

Now, only about a year af­ter their fall, they are back on their feet and the en­tire fam­ily lives to­gether once more. A LIT­TLE-KNOWN soup kitchen in Bathurst has been qui­etly feed­ing vul­ner­a­ble neigh­bours for the past two years.

Val­ley of Hope Soup Kitchen (VHSK), lo­cated on 2674 Nolukhanyo Town­ship in Bathurst, is man­aged by Zoleka Marais, who started it along with Andiswa Ses­man, Suk­iswa Rach, Non­tando Makasi and Vuy­ol­wethu Siy­olo.

Marais’ be­lief is that hunger knows no race, gen­der or cul­ture. Be­cause of that VHSK is dish­ing food to who­ever is in need, home­less and poor. “We do not dis­crim­i­nate in terms of race, gen­der or cul­ture,” she said. This state­ment is sup­ported by the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s motto, “Hunger knows no bar­rier”.

Marais said at this stage VHSK op­er­ates once a week, on Thurs­days, serv­ing one meal at 2pm. She said their goal was to op­er­ate three days a week, and serve two meals on those days, but this is hin­dered by lack of funds.

“We want to serve break­fast and din­ner be­cause we be­lieve that those are the cru­cial times for a meal,” she said. She be­lieves that one can­not have a pro­duc­tive day hav­ing wo­ken up starv­ing. The same ra­tio­nale ap­plies when it comes to go­ing to sleep, she said.

A fur­ther chal­lenge is re­ly­ing on wood fire to cook. VHSK mem­bers col­lect wood from the bush in or­der to en­sure that their mis­sion of feed­ing the vul­ner­a­ble is ful­filled. Not hav­ing elec­tric equip­ment, they use a three-legged iron pot.

Marais said they have been knock­ing on many doors for any form of do­na­tions but have not been for­tu­nate to get any as­sis­tance. “We have been ask­ing for do­na­tions from var­i­ous spon­sors but we never got any help so we thought com­ing to Talk of the Town for pub­lic­ity might make a dif­fer­ence,” she said.

Marais said they ap­peal to the pub­lic for as­sis­tance with any form of do­na­tion which could pos­si­bly in­crease the ef­fec­tive­ness of VHSK.

VHSK can be con­tacted on 073-296-3627 or 073-838-4889. It was reg­is­tered as a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion on April 12 last year and is there­fore op­er­at­ing le­git­i­mately, Marais said.

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