Ikhaya Le Themba: 17 Years & Counting!

By Ikhaya Le Themba 

Ikhaya Le Themba (IKLT), a ministry of Joshua Generation Church (JoshGen), has been operating for 17 years this year! God has been faithful every step of the way. With so many stories over the years of God’s power, provision, faithfulness and restoration, here are just a few of the many highlights.

The beginning

IKLT started as the dream of Ian and Theresa Richardson, who felt the call of God to minister to the neediest of people in society. Their desire and heart’s cry was,

“Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” – Psalm 90: 16 -17 (ESV)

And God heard their prayers! When Ian and Tess submitted their dream to the JoshGen eldership, they were released to begin what has become an incredible ministry. Since then, what has followed, is a beautiful story of how God has powerfully responded to their hearts of faith, love and compassion, and blessed countless people throughout Southern Africa and beyond.

Ian & Theresa Richardson (IKLT founders) at IKLT’s 17th birthday celebration

The love of Christ in action

Ian and Tess initially focussed on training and equipping local people to provide home-based care for others with little or no access to basic healthcare. They saw incredible results as people experienced the love of Christ in action.

Medical care, however, was not the only means through which the majesty of Christ was displayed. Several miracles were experienced by those who came into contact with the IKLT volunteers and staff. Stories of miracles of healing and provision flooded back to Ian and Tess, as IKLT made an impact for the gospel in their respective areas of ministry.

Since the start, IKLT carers have carried out over 50 000 home visits to assist the vulnerable. They bring medical care, but perhaps, more importantly, they bring the gospel and the love of Christ to those they visit. As one of our carers said, “I love helping the people in need and to tell the people about God and the great things He has done.”

Providing hope and dignity

Many other projects have been kick-started over the years. These projects include a skills development programme, community garden and caring for a large number of vulnerable children. The desire of IKLT goes beyond merely providing charity to those in need, but rather creating something that is sustainable and uplifts the community, providing hope and dignity to everyone involved.

A young boy reaping the benefits of IKLT’s community garden

Joy has been a prominent experience for those involved in IKLT. Adults and children have spent hours in the community gardens being trained to plant and care for vegetable gardens, which provides healthy food for many families who would most likely otherwise go without.

Incredibly, IKLT has provided over 1 000 000 meals to various communities through soup kitchens, food parcels and meals. Countless medical supplies have also been provided whilst the skills development projects have enabled many people to begin to earn an income, helping them to further provide for their families.

For the past 11 years, IKLT has hosted play dates and youth gatherings for the many vulnerable children and teenagers in the communities that they assist. Their regular annual Christmas Parties have also seen an incredible outpouring of generosity from believers who have donated gift boxes for the many children who attend. Over the years, IKLT has had over 69 000 interactions with precious children, reflecting the thoughts of one of their carers, “God’s heart is passionate for children”.

Reaping the fruit

The heart of IKLT has been and will continue to be, to empower locals to meet a practical need for those they serve while spreading the good news of the Gospel of Christ. This has led to them equipping the hands of 3 600 candidates in 21 different programmes, across 39 regions in Southern Africa. The fruit of such a heart attitude is witnessing and being involved in over 850 salvations, 120 baptisms and 3500 plus souls discipled through IKLT’s everyday activities. These remarkable works of God have ultimately led to JoshGen planting a congregation in Khayelitsha so that they can effectively disciple those who respond to the Gospel.

All of this takes an enormous commitment from the many carers who pour out their lives for others. They are individuals who are passionately in love with what they do, and Who they do it for.

IKLT carers & volunteers in the IKLT garden

Volunteers, donors and awards

IKLT has a number of volunteers who so generously give of their time, energy and finances with such joy. A vast majority of these volunteers and donors come from within the life of JoshGen, as well as other Four12 partnering churches around the world.

God has also provided in other ways! He has given IKLT amazing favour with secular organisations who see the excellent work being done. For example; for the past four years, Monica Gerstner Williams and Kirsten Alexander from Old Mutual have nominated IKLT for their annual, ‘Care and Share’ volunteer projects. Each year a team of volunteers from Old Mutual have arrived to give IKLT a helping hand in their gardens and Love Day projects. This year IKLT was entered into the bid to win Old Mutual’s 10th Birthday Staff Volunteer Award. By the grace of God, IKLT won a Gold Award valued at R35 000!

Ways you can get involved

Over the month of November 2020, IKLT is doing a Love Bag drive. This is a project to supply Love Bags to 210 families, helping over 796 beneficiaries with 60+ meals. Each family will receive a Love Bag in December and January and back-to-school kits will be distributed before school starts in January. You can participate in the Love Bag drive by connecting with your congregation’s IKLT rep to find out the details for what your congregation is collecting. If your congregation is not participating and you would like to make a donation, please contact Theresa Richardson: [email protected]. The deadline for collections is Sunday 29 November.

Follow IKLT on their Facebook Page for regular updates and information on projects they are involved in! There are annual Easter Egg, Winter and Love Bag Drives that congregations can get participate in.

If applicable, you can also nominate IKLT as a beneficiary on your Woolworths My Village card and/or as a CSR beneficiary in your workplace.

God has done so much through IKLT over the past 17 years. We look forward to seeing what the Lord will continue to do with the hands and hearts of the faithful saints and volunteers who give of themselves in abundance over the next season! It is with a grateful heart that IKLT thanks everyone who has been a part of the journey with them thus far, and ask that you to continue to pray for, and partner with them, as they endeavour to be the Lord’s hands and feet to the lost in the local communities they work in.

Ikhaya Le Themba

Zandi Hulley

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