Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

A Light in Winter

By Emily Oppenheimer

As the coldness of winter sets in, I found a place that warms the hearts of the city. I ventured into a place with brightly coloured walls with a door that read “There’s a beautiful mess inside”. I assumed the sign was to let visitors know what to expect when entering these four walls, but I left realizing that sign was meant to be carried over each and every one of us. Life can feel overwhelming, chaotic, and simply messy at times, but God sees beautiful.

This haven is known as Beth Uriel, meaning “House of Light” in Hebrew. Beth Uriel, a residential facility, has become a light and a beacon of hope for the 26 young men between the ages of 18-24 that call it home. Beth Uriel envisions each and every young man being independent, self-suficient, and one step closer to obtaining their dreams.

Photo Credit: Stewart Harris via Flickr cc

Photo Credit: Stewart Harris via Flickr cc

Beth Uriel desires to give quality educational opportunities at both the secondary and tertiary levels to each individual in their program. Beth Uriel sees every young person just as that, an individual, with unique talents and skills. No two of God’s creations are the same, and Beth Uriel seeks to give each person the opportunity to discover their own passion and decide on a career they wish to pursue.

Wilson Johnson, a 24-year-old resident at Beth Uriel, is excited to pursue a career in Human Resources. Wilson said he has always been a people-person, but now has the excuse to dress professionally while doing what he loves. Another young man by the name of Sipho, has decided to become a pilot for South African Airways, and Beth Uriel gladly plans to encourage and equip him in his pursuit.

Beth Uriel doesn’t stop at meeting the basic needs of these young men. Instead, they ask how they can help develop their capabilities. How can we help these individuals become the men that God intends them to be? The greatest investment we can make in this life is into the lives of others.

If you are asking yourself how you can cross paths with these young men and help them along their journey? Beth Uriel is looking for tutors to help strengthen and sharpen their skill sets, whether it is in maths, Xhosa, or Afrikaans. Tutoring might seem small and inconsequential, but actually it can be the greatest gift given to another. It is one small gesture can change the direction of a life. It might be only thing needed for Wilson and Sipho to change a dream into a reality.

As a tutor, maybe you will meet Wilson or Sipho. Soon after, you might discover a new friend – somebody to partner and walk with on the road of life. Managing Director, Lindsay Henley, captured this truth as she pointed to a sign above our heads that read, “He who wants to bring about change, has to learn to be changed by those whom he wants to change first.” She said this would be her advice to potential volunteers. We must always listen and lay our assumptions aside when our paths cross with another one of God’s creations.

For more information on Beth Uriel or how to become involved with tutoring or mentoring, please email Info@commongood.org.za.

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