A spoonful of giving mixed with a serving of faith

Brother Charles de Kock_ProfileBrother Charles De Kock of Johannesburg Central congregation is no stranger to the fact that with faith, kindness, hard work, and determination, a person can change their life for the better. This is what he hopes will inspire the hospitality students at RLabs Jozi where he volunteers every Saturday.

Having started as a cleaner in the laundry section at the then Clinic Holdings (Netcare Garden City Hospital) and having worked in every department of a kitchen, Brother De Kock has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and is currently a Project Catering Manager for Compass Group South Africa at Netcare Milpark Hospital.

He says from a very young age he was interested in cooking, peeping through the kitchen window when his mother made food. “My taste buds tickled me when I saw my mother making food and I knew at that time what my career path will be. My mother makes the best green bean curry and cabbage stew and even today I cannot master the art of making those two dishes. I guess I must have not peeped enough through the window.”

After he finished schooling at Northern Cape Technical School, he moved to Johannesburg to look for a job. He then found a job at the Garden City Hospital, and after a few months in the laundry section, he was transferred to the kitchen and worked as a cleaner. “While cleaning I used to watch what the chefs were doing and I assisted them in various tasks like peeling and cleaning vegetables. I was then promoted to a vegetable chef and received promotions such as meat chef, cold kitchen chef, menu coordinator, catering supervisor and as they say the rest is history.”

Give and it will be given to you

Given his life’s journey and his passion for his work, Brother De Kock now volunteers every Saturday at RLabs Jozi where he gives hospitality training to the community of Westbury, Newclare, Mayfair, and Coronation, and even as far as Soweto. The centre is a non-profit organisation in Hursthill which provides free training to the unemployed youth and adults. It employs a holistic approach and serves people from all walks of life, striving to address the educational, emotional and physical needs as and when required.

He says it is very important for him to give back to the community because he comes from a home where his mother always taught them to be humble and teach the next person. “I feel that I need to do my bit for the community and assist where and when I can. As they say it is better to give than to receive, and giving back is also good in enabling the community to help themselves and their families.

“I want to make a positive impact in the lives of the students,” he continues, “as I want to help strengthen communities. Often what a great effort needs is a great leader and I want to lead by example, I want to share my expertise, to improve the skills and experience of someone else so they can benefit.”

He highlighted the Bible verse from Acts 20: 35, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’’

And adds: “We find God in all things. It is being in a place where we are more aware of the small, everyday moments of joy, light and human connection that we become true witness to God. Giving is a blessing. I feel very blessed.”

Helping people grow

Having started with RLabs Jozi in 2014, Brother De Kock has trained a total of 60 students and has also managed to get employment for 10 of them. The hospitality training includes classes on being a chef, waitron and hostess, food hygiene, food costing, as well as designing menus. In addition, the training ensures that students carry out their practicals at South African hotels and restaurants.

He said by changing how people feel about themselves, through little moments of mentoring, can have great impacts on people and their communities as he has discovered with his students. “I engage students in conversation and provide constructive and supportive feedback. It is important to give honest advice as gently as possible.”

He adds: “Looking out for the students’ growth is very important as I understand their background and I can relate to it. Having someone supportive when things go wrong is the difference, in my mind, between and adequate mentor and a great one.”

A believer of always bettering oneself and growing, Brother De Kock has obtained numerous certificates, the recent being an International City and Guilds Diploma from HTA school of Culinary Arts. He has also won numerous cooking and chef of the year competitions such as Netcare Chef Competition Winner 2006, 2009 and 2012.

Pictured is Brother Charles De Kock (right) of Johannesburg Central congregation with his students Cynthia, Ernest, Josephine, and Joseph, who did their practicals at FWC, Indaba Hotel as well as Olives and Plates as part of their training.

Pictured is Brother Charles De Kock (right) of Johannesburg Central congregation with his students Cynthia, Ernest, Josephine, and Joseph, who did their practicals at FWC, Indaba Hotel as well as Olives and Plates as part of their training.

* Article by Rivonia Naidu-Hoffmeester

* Article originally appeared on the New Apostolic Church-South East Africa website 


Jeandré rescues a woman from a burning building

Jeandré Potgieter, from Elspark congregation in Germiston, has become a local hero after he scaled a two-metre gate to rescue a woman from a burning house. He was also named Lead SA’s Gauteng Youth Hero for the month of May.

The 15 year-old, who suffers from asthma, said he was not scared when he ran into the burning house on Saturday, 16 May 2015. “It was adrenaline that took over me as I didn’t want the lady to die. But I can only thank God that he protected me and kept his hand over me.”

Jeandré’s grandfather, Deacon Corrie Potgieter, and his uncle, Cornél, are members of the Elspark community policing forum (CFP). When they heard the emergency call about the fire, the three raced to the house.

“We were the first members of the CPF to respond and arrive on the scene.  When we arrived, a lady came running towards us shouting that the resident of the house was still inside. My grandfather and uncle tried to open the gate but at that stage as it was locked.”

Jeandré says he realised it was now or never and jumped over the precast walling. “I first tried to go through the front door but the flames were blazing and it was too hot for me to enter. I then saw a side gate and ran around the house to try and enter through the back.”

The kitchen door was open, he continued, and he could see the owner of the house, a widow in her 40s, standing in her kitchen. “There were flames around her, so I ran in and just dragged her out. By then the other people arrived on the scene. Some of them came to help me as we exited the kitchen. With the grace of God the kitchen roof collapsed just as we got outside.”

The fire spread quickly through the house, with not much remaining apart from the walls and a few scorched onions, said Jeandré, adding that both him and the lady, a widow in her 40s, were taken to hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation. “After receiving hospital treatment, we went back to the house and the lady’s son thanked me for saving his mother; he was very grateful.”

Following the incident, Jeandré has received much attention in local media. His mother, Vanessa Potgieter said he has been over whelmed with all of the attention as he is a shy child. It was never about the media attention, she said, it was just an act of saving a life.

“Jeandré is a very humble child.  He is very caring and selfless.  He is always willing to help others and if the opportunity arises he goes with my father to assist with the local CPF. We are fortunate to be living with my parents.”

Vanessa said even if a call comes in for help at midnight, Jeandré will be the first to wake up, ready to help.  “He has a passion to work with people. As a single mother I realised that having such a child made the journey not only rewarding but made me thank the Lord even more for blessing me with such a courageous young man. I pray that he will be an example for his siblings and other children. I am truly blessed.”

She said when she received the call to go to the house; she was not sure whether to scold her son for not thinking about his own life or thank him for what he did. “In the end I can only applaud his act as that is the way he was taught. Never ever put your own needs first. Always think of others and what they need.”

After Jeandré was discharged from hospital on the same day of the fire, he started, with the help of his uncle, that same night, asking residents to donate clothes as the family had lost everything in the fire. “When he talks about what that day, he talks about it with tears in his eyes. The day he received his Lead SA certificate was one of the proudest days of his life,” said Vanessa.

She added: “We were raised to know that we need to honour God and thank him for all our blessings. I can only encourage my son to grow up in the work of the Lord.  He was confirmed this year and I can only thank his leader for laying a solid foundation in him.”

Singing his grandson’s praises, Corrie said: “Jeandré has from a very young age always helped and attended church functions with me as I help with the parking at the major events. He is always eager to learn the work and I pray that one day he may be a servant for our father.”

* Article originally appeared on the New Apostolic Church-South East Africa website

* Pictures by Beeld and Lead SA

Video from Pentecost 2014 in Munich, Germany

Millions of New Apostolic Church members on all continents experienced the Divine Service of Pentecost with their Church leader, Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider. The chief apostle addressed his brothers and sisters with the thought to become stronger in the love for God and for the neighbour: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Click here to watch a few parts of the divine service.


Best of luck Bradley and Avril

Priest Palmer - CopyMidrand Congregation said farewell to Priest Bradley Palmer and his wife Avril Palmer on Sunday, 27 April 2014. Priest Palmer is relocating to Cape Town for work purposes.

I would like to share with readers his personal story.

He told me this story a while back and in saying farewell and wishing Priest Palmer and Avril God’s richest blessings, I wanted everyone to have a glimpse into his experiences of faith.

“The first time I attended the New Apostolic Church divine services was the 25 December 1996 at Silvertown (Cape Town) congregation.  The officiant was District Evangelist Desmond Barnes, even though the congregation was full (over 1000 members), it felt like the whole service was about me.  I was under the impression that Avril had spoken to the District Evangelist about me but this was not the case.  Since then I started attending services regularly.                  

“I was baptised in JHB Bezuidenhout Valley congregation in 1997 by Shepherd Schoonraad and was later sealed in Lyttleton congreation in 1998 by Apostle Wilson. We then moved back to Cape Town in 1999 and I was ordained as a Deacon in 2004 for Goodwood congregation by Apostle Matthew Arendse, during the ordination the Apostle made special mention about my stutter, referring to Moses and how the Lord used him as a mouth piece. This was done even though the Apostle did not know about my stutter.  Yet another wonderful experience of faith. 

“In 2007 we moved back to Midrand and was ordained as a Priest in June of 2009.  It was the love for my wife that got me into the doors of the New Apostolic Church, but it was the experiences of faith and the love of God for me that kept me coming back.  All the experiences of faith have taught me that we are nothing without the love and grace of God.  My favourite sayings are ‘As for me and my household we will serve the Lord’ and ‘a servant is not greater than his master’.”


Ralph’s faith flies high

Ralph's-storyFrom the age of about five, I dreamed of becoming a pilot. As a result of eye problems it was not be possible to become a fighter pilot and as I believed for many years even to become a pilot. Four years ago when on holiday as a result of poor weather I purchased an aviation magazine and after looking at the pilot training adverts and the adverts for aeroplanes I realised although it is expensive to be trained as a pilot I could afford it.

I then started to research the local flying schools and get quotes for a private pilot licence. I then contacted my rector, the then Evangelist Lance Smith and explained my dream of getting a private pilot’s licence and he said that God would grant all my dreams. I then decided to first complete the aviation medical, expecting to experience problems with my eyes during the aviation medical. After completing the aviation medical eye test the aviation doctor asked if I wanted to continue with the medical saying that if I stopped the aviation medical at this point he would not charge me for the medical as he does not expect I will pass the medical.

Knowing that our Father will open the way as per the words form my rector, I insisted that we continue with the aviation medical and then go to an eye specialist to get the required written report for the aviation medical review board which will decide if I will be granted a medical certificate. At the medical board I am declared medically fit to train as a private pilot by the grace of our Father in heaven.

The next test of faith comes in February 2010 on the intro flight, when my instructor and I returned to the Grand Central airport and he asks me if I can see the airport, which I only identify when we are alongside the airport. My instructor James then worriedly said that he had never experienced that a student did not see the airport. Although this weighed on my mind I hold onto the word from my rector and I continued with the pilot training.

After completing all the required written exams and practical flying tasks, the flight exam was set for 14 June 2011 and on the day, after preparing the previous two days, I arrived at the airport for the pre-flight test which would be followed by the flight test. The instructor who was to test me then told me that the visibility was very bad and that he did not want to put me at a disadvantage as a result of the poor visibility and suggested that we possibly postpone the flight test to another day. I checked the visibility while completing the pre-flight checks on the aeroplane and then remembering the blessing received from my rector I thought that our Father in heaven would not have chosen this day for me to complete the flight test if I could not complete it successfully so I decided to complete the test. After we took off and headed out to the first way point the visibility, the weather improved, making it a really good flight culminating in the successful completion of the flight test and the issuing of my private pilot license.

Our Father in heaven throughout the entire time of working to the private pilot license has always been there to remind me of the promise He gave me and then on the day of the test He was there once again to open the way for me.