Nathi, has many names. His name “Nkosinathi” means “God is with us”, but the staff calls him by his last name “Mashinini”. The kids in Sweetwaters call him “Malume” (which means uncle), but sometimes they call out “Hey Baby Shark!” when the see him walking in the community (after the camp song “Baby Shark”, which he has become famous for, thanks to the silly voices he uses when singing it with the kids).
Nathi has been with our partner ministry for about two years now. Originally from the big city of Johannesburg, sometimes the life of rural Sweetwaters seems slow, but Nathi loves the chance to mentor kids. He explained that he joined with our partner ministry because he wanted to be a change agent for the kids of Sweetwaters.
Nathi’s favorite part of his job is visiting children in their homes and meeting their family. “I personally think that’s where Jesus would be if he were here,” he says. Nathi is encouraged when he has chances to work with people in the community to bring hope, and is excited by developing young leaders through education and mentoring.
Nathi stays optimistic when asked about the challenges he faces, “I see challenges just as an opportunity to grow more,” but he confesses one of the hardest things about his job is the emotional and spiritual stress and pain of becoming very attached to children in struggling circumstances. “You find yourself so attached to the kids and want to protect them from the daily challenges they face, even though you know you can’t fix everything.” While our partner ministry does consult social workers, and report serious cases of abuse or neglect, using all their resources to help these kids, sometimes they do not have control over the outcome. Nathi still remains confident, however, that when situations are out of our control we can leave things in God’s hands--- because just like his name means, Nathi firmly believes that “God is with us.”
Ways to pray for Nathi this month:
- Pray for God to protect the kids in his Life Groups and Life Skills classes who are going through difficult circumstances (such as abuse, rape or neglect).
- Pray for Nathi as he walks this road with the kids, providing emotional and spiritual support.
- Pray for Nathis’s home visit days on Wednesdays and Fridays as he connects with kids and families.
- Pray for Nathi’s studies. He’s doing a BA in Environmental Management through an online university. He fits in 4-5 classes a semester (on top of his full-time mentoring work!). He currently has two semesters left. Pray for perseverance to reach this goal.