Life in the townships was hard on Phumlani…

Things got even harder when his father walked out, leaving his mom to raise him and his sister on her own. Making one poor choice after another, Phumlani started drinking and doing drugs early in life. By his teenage years, he’d joined a gang. His bad decisions led him down a dark and frightening road that eventually landed him in jail.

Upon his release, Phumlani knew he needed to make some big changes. Having tried everything else to pursue positive change—and failing—he finally decided to go to church. “God met me there,” he says as he remembers back to that pivotal season in his life. “I felt the love of God for the first time, and my life changed completely.”

Phumlani became active in his church, starting youth events that quickly grew to a massive movement, with several hundred young people gathering to worship God. While excited about his growing youth organization, he knew he needed to be equipped further in order to lead well—so he joined our leadership development course, EPIC.

“God worked in my life through EPIC in so many ways! One thing that challenged me down deep was our studies about the Father-heart of God. Despite my upbringing and my own family situation, I now know that I have a Father who loves me, hears me, and leads me. I also learned how to walk in humility, be a better leader, and relate with people in a healthy way.”

Since graduating from EPIC, Phumlani has further developed his youth organization. They now run community outreaches, visit the ill in local hospitals, lead ministry events at churches, and care for the poor. He is also back in school, pursuing his dream of being a journalist in radio broadcasting.

Did we mention Phumlani is only 21 years old? He is.

He has come so far and accomplished so much at such a young age, and we are grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to pour into his life.

This past October, we had 9 EPIC students from the Xhosa communities, from diverse church and personal backgrounds. We have been very encouraged to see the hope, joy, and confidence in Christ grow in each…