The Cyrus Trust, in partnership with East Mountain and the Shofar Institute, recently held its second Biblical Response to Poverty Workshop (Level 1) in June this year. East Mountain is a “ministry of United World Mission” and is “dedicated to developing Christian leaders for global” missionary service while the Shofar Institute focuses on training leaders within the church for ministry. The aim of these workshops is to provide a biblical understanding of poverty, its causes as well as ways to respond to poverty appropriately. One of the participants during the June workshop was Christine du Plessis, a 23-year-old bookkeeper who is originally from Bloemfontein but is currently based at Shofar Cape Town. Gerardus Adema, the Network Coordinator of the Cyrus Trust, met up with her in Cape Town to find out what she learnt from this workshop.
Gerardus: How did you hear about this workshop and why did you decide to attend it?
Christine: Juliet, who works at the church, told me about it. She knew that I would be interested because we discussed this topic at Bible School. I signed up straight away when I heard the title of the workshop.
Gerardus: What did you enjoy about the workshop?
Christine: I enjoyed the interaction between the participants and found that the course gave me a good basic understanding of poverty.
Gerardus: What did you learn during this workshop?
Christine: That the root cause of poverty is broken relationships. I also learnt that I need to equip others with the skills to help themselves rather than provide them with a solution by giving them advice or resources. When I do the latter, I create dependency without addressing the root problem. Many of the principles I learnt during the workshop only made sense much later upon reflection of what I had been taught there.
Gerardus: How will this workshop on a practical level change the way you relate to someone living in poverty?
Christine: There is this guy that attends our cell group on a regular basis. He does not have much. He is still in school and needs to work as a car guard over the weekends to get by. I want to apply the principles that I learnt from this workshop to help him get out of poverty.
Gerardus: You will be attending our next Poverty Workshop. What do you expect to gain by attending that workshop?
Christine: I have come to realise that the answers are not that simple. I hope to get more answers that I can apply in practice. I would also like to find out how I can get involved in poverty relief projects.
The Cyrus Trust will present the next Level 1 workshop at Shofar Durbanville on 7 November. The Poverty Workshop (Level 2) will be offered early in 2016 and will focus on various methods to address poverty.