The Reluctant Volunteer

CrossRoads is an educational and evangelism strategy that responds to international social epidemics [such as HIV/ AIDS, teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse, and violence] through the development of values and character and helps communities connect their felt needs with the hope, life, and truth of Jesus Christ.

Mpume Mthembu’s first encounter with CrossRoads came quite unexpectedly. The energetic South African native was looking for a job in marketing when her pastor, Gerald Goba, invited her to our character education strategy training.

Though she loved what she learned, she was reluctant to move into education after seeing the struggle her father went through as a teacher–a lack of resources, no electricity and a very low salary. It wasn’t until Mpume (pictured above) taught her first lesson to students that the calling of her life began to change.

“The first time I stood in front of the kids I knew teaching was my passion,” she said. “They didn't have to ask me to volunteer after that because I was drawn to those kids the first time.” Since 1995, CrossRoads has formed partnerships in over 60 countries, working with government, non-governmental organizations, educators and health professionals to bring this unique approach to the local level.

Mpume recently joined CrossRoads staff in South Africa. We asked more about her experience:

How are you feeling about the HIV/AIDS crisis in South Africa?

“It is very sad for me to see so many people infected and affected by HIV in our country. I have seen quite a number of people close to me suffering because of it as well. It is heartbreaking and there are times when I wish I could help but you can only do what you can.”

What has God taught you during this process?

“To learn to listen to Him and to trust Him. I also learned that God's plans are far better than what I desire for myself. I may have wanted a typical job like everyone else but he had a better job for me to do.”What led you to join CrossRoads staff?

“I was honestly led by the Lord to join staff. It was never in my plans to do full-time ministry. For a while I tried to avoid talking about joining staff even when the truth was staring me in the face. It took me a while to accept what God wanted me to do. I had so many fears, especially about raising support, but through all of that the Lord guided me to do what He wanted me to do.”

What drew you to CrossRoads?

“CrossRoads gives me the platform to help other people in different ways. I don't just teach students about good character, my character also develops in the process. I build closer relationships with young people and talk to them about life and a relationship with Christ.”

The strategy of CrossRoads can be adapted to any culture and taught in many different settings, such as schools, prisons, drug rehabilitation centers, or orphanages. This highly-interactive 30 lesson curriculum teaches life skills and character development, helping people to make healthy choices and avoid high-risk behaviors. If you’d like to know how you can get involved contact jim@jimwunder.com.