180° Turns

July 27, 2020

As we look forward to cautiously welcoming students on base again and classes start back up with respect to social distancing, we reflect on previous students and the stories they’ve shared here. We anticipate more incredible stories to arise from our impoverished community as they continue to experience opportunities, empowerment, and spiritual growth.

Let us introduce to you one of these stories—the story of Lewis.

Has your life ever taken a 180° turn for the better? Like you didn’t see a way out from your current circumstance until some event or some person came and everything changed?

Lewis experienced a 180° in his life when he found hope at Hope Africa Collective.

After his father passed away from kidney failure, Lewis admits how he did nothing and his life felt like nothing.

“I had depression and couldn’t sleep at night.”

It was in this season of life that a friend invited Lewis to the Life Development Program at Hope Africa Collective. At first, Lewis declined the invite, thinking it just wasn’t for him. He struggled with believing in himself, that he could rise above his current circumstances, until he gave in and joined the Life Development Program.

“How this place (Hope Africa Collective) has changed me. It changed me in a way that I never imagined before. Once I came here, it changed my purpose and it changed the way I see things. I was messed up and depressed. I would say to myself, ‘My life is ending. I didn’t plan life this way.’ So I came here like I was lost in a dark world.”

Although Lewis started the program very nervous, closed off, overwhelmed, and filled with shame, his demeanor began to noticeably change.

During one of the class exercises, students pair up and one leads the other blind-folded around the base. This exercise has been found to be very transformative for these students, who experience many relationships of broken trust in their lifetime. Lewis had much anxiety performing this exercise, however it was exactly what he needed to open up and share his story with his partner.

Over the course of the program, Lewis grew in self-confidence, spiritually and socially. He is now known as someone who voluntarily walks up to strangers and begins conversations about his testimony and about God!

In sharing with us about his relationship with God, he said:

“I used to ask myself, ‘Why me, Lord? I don’t see the reason to live.’ And I was asking God, ‘What is the purpose of me to be here, Lord?’ Because I didn’t plan my life to go like this. But God spoke to me and He said, ‘I don’t mind you to wait. Be still, and know that I am God.'”

When asked if Lewis had anything more to add about his life story, he shared a word that he heard from the Lord:

“Your journey is still continuing, my son. There’s a long way that you need to go. Keep on fighting, keep on believing. I believe that you have potential. You are my son, and I’ve called you by name. You are the one that I have chosen; you among all the others. I have fearfully and wonderfully created you. I love you.”

May this be a word to you, to ourselves, and to our world that there is a God who cares and has great purpose for your life. Some of the best stories include a 180° turn; stories like Lewis’.


Liza Lightfoot|April 9, 2022
Lewis is now working with us at the Kidlinks Small Farm Incubator in the E. Cape province. He is such a great addition to our team. His positive warm smile lights up the room and his cooking is delicious! We are so honored to work with Lewis and to train as small organic farmers along side him. Whatever happened for Lewis at Hope Africa, his has transformed into an engaging and warm character with a very bright future.

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180° Turns