Faith Worked Out: Carita, LIV Village
A few weeks ago we posted an interview with Joan Smith, about the amazing work she and her husband are doing in LIV Village, South Africa. This is part two of our series on LIV Village, this time an equally inspiring story from Carita, who works in Marketing for the LIV team. I am continually inspired by this organisation!
Tell us about your background…
I grew up very much in the white Afrikaans community of South Africa, but when I was 8, my family moved to a smaller town where I really interacted with mixed races. Mum started taking me to feed the local community, and looking back today, I know that planted a real seed in my life.
When I was 18 I had an amazing encounter with God, surrendered my life to the Lord, and joined a fantastic church in Cape Town. One day, I had a bag of chocolates left over from a fundraiser we did, and I gave them to the children’s pastor at my church to take them to the kids at the township she worked at. She looked at me and said: ‘I think you should come with me’.
On the first day, driving into the biggest township in Capetown with more than a million people squatting, God absolutely broke me and showed me where I should invest my life. Weekly visits turned to daily visits – sometimes even on my own. After three years working in the community, my pastor offered me a job running all community projects.
I worked doing this for 4 years, and through this I met Tich and Joan Smith. We visited LIV when they just bought the land, toured Durban with an orphan choir to raise funds and awareness and attended their banquet to launch the vision of LIV. But I never thought I would work for LIV one day, because I loved my church and Cape Town.
In September 2011, two girls (9 months old twins) were left at one of the pre-schools I worked at in the community. With no doubt, my roommates and I took them in and I signed up as their foster mom.
In November 2011, God woke me up in the early morning hours and I could clearly hear him say that my time in Cape Town had come to an end. I met with my pastor and resigned, not knowing what lay ahead. They were all so supportive, and stood in prayer with me for the next journey.
What happened next?
After weeks of doubt, I said: God, what now? I have been so faithful, and now I don’t know where you are taking me. After waiting on God and prayer, Tich phoned to offer me a job with LIV!
My life is truly a testimony that God works everything out for good. He knows the rest of the journey, and looking back– I couldn’t have even imagined where I am now. Plus, the two girls are now adopted by my housemate in CapeTown who is an incredible mom to them!
At the beginning of 2012, I joined Tich and Joan, when there were only 20 children and 4 mums. I joined as part of the Marketing team – assisting with social media, videos, photos and marketing strategies. Today, I am part of the Marketing team still, but I also head up volunteers, work closely with the women in the factory to design the crafts and other products, organize LIV choir bookings and tours, starting a gap year program with my husband for LIV and most importantly, I do life with the LIV Moms, Children and people in the community.
I even met my husband at LIV! He came over as a volunteer from England, and we got married in the village by Tich with all the moms and children there. It’s really amazing – God works everything out for good for those who love him! My husband and I live on site and we could not imagine our lives anywhere else.
How do you hear God speaking to you?
This is always a hard one to explain but I believe it starts with your prayer life, spending time with Jesus and in the Word, to know how He speaks and to learn His voice.
For instance, I know my husband’s voice. As our relationship has deepened, I can recognise his voice more and more clearly – even in a crowded room. His voice is different to any other voice. This is how I feel about listening to God: the more I have grown in Him, the more clearly I hear His voice. Sometimes other voices scramble for my attention and confuse me, but I go back to the Word and I ask Him to speak.
Regarding decisions in the past – I have never heard God speak in an audible voice, but every choice I made, I either felt it in my spirit which I knew God was speaking to me. But also in His Word – a light to my path it has been so many times!
What has God been speaking to you about over this last year?
There is a really interesting scripture in Acts 19 about Paul, and how God did the most insane things through Paul’s hands. Let me explain why I am sharing this scripture…
When I joined LIV, Tich asked me what I wanted to do, and I said I wasn’t here for a title or position – I just wanted to serve. I had absolutely no training in Marketing or video work, but Tich bought me a camera and computer to make videos for LIV, and it has been an absolute testament that God has used my hands for His glory. Today, I look in awe what God has done! God has used these same hands for His glory!
Last year, I thought of making handbags from donated fabrics, and they sold really well. Handbags grew to a number of crafts, and today we raise many funds for LIV through the craft department!
I have never done crafts – I don’t even know how to sew (!!) – but He has used my hands for His kingdom in amazing and wonderful ways! With these products we can share God’s kingdom in a number of places. Opportunities are opening up; for example, a national chain store wants to stock our products from September! Even this morning I reflected again and was just overwhelmed with what God does with our lives when we place them in His hands.
The reason I am sharing this, is that God can use anyone to do anything, He is just looking for a humble person to trust him with their life. To serve His Kingdom and surrender their life for the church. God has been speaking to me about how small I am, and how big He is – and how right that is. I stand in awe, and I take no credit. And to anyone reading this, never doubt the potential that is in your hands!
How was your faith as you were growing up?
As a family we went to church, but were not very religious. We went through a hard time in our family but through this, my Mum found Jesus. For 7 years she prayed for us as a family, but we still carried on with normal life. However, we saw a miracle 7 years on – my brother got saved at university, and invited me to come to church. A week after, I was saved - and the week after that, my Dad committed His Life to the Lord.
Through her faithful prayers over 7 years, our whole family turned our eyes to God. Today, all 4 of us serve God wholly and fully – we all absolutely commit our lives to His Kingdom.
Another thing – my name Carita means ‘charity’. Little did my parents know, but by naming me Carita, they were speaking my calling over me. I want to encourage everyone that God knows you in your mother’s womb, and from day one He has a plan for you.
How do you find the courage to step out of your comfort zone?
Well… I always go in blind! Haha! I just do, and don’t think too much about it. If I know God has spoken, why should I doubt? I think that sometimes we just have to let the flesh die in order for God to take over.
I also think we have to allow God to remove anything holding us back. So, be open – if you don’t make time for God then you will never be able to step out for Him.
And for me, moments will come when the Holy Spirit prompts me to do things that feel uncomfortable or unnatural to me – but God those are the times God uses me the most. Will I trust Him when He speaks?
It will never be easy – it is still a challenge for me. But we have to go in blind, to try not only to see what man sees, but to see what God sees. We should not miss a moment we could be His hands and feet!
And finally, how can we support and pray for you in your very important ministry at LIV village?
I often pray the same prayer as Solomon for us as staff: for wisdom and knowledge. It’s so easy to walk in your own strength, but we need to walk in His. And we always encourage people to pray for our Moms and kids – We want them to walk in the fullness that God has in store for them!