Personal Story – Avril EdwardsMelanie Mokgatla
Testimony of a Lifestyle of Justice
by Avril Edwards
As a Christian, I have always believed that justice is integral in my faith walk. With my background as a coloured person in South Africa, I’ve seen and understood the history of struggle and know that justice plays a prominent role in change. Personally, I knew my life’s calling to do justice was bigger than my secular job or just attending church. I was called to something more.
About seven years ago after reaching the peak of becoming a director and shareholder in a medium sized company, I left full time employment and started a few businesses of my own. I thought this was where God wanted me. But something was still missing.
Early in 2018, I attended a Justice Journey course with Common Ground Constantiaberg. During the course, I was reminded of the social justice calling on my life. Throughout the course, I felt God saying He was going to lead the way and do something with my learnings and heart for justice.
Soon after the course, I was approached by a potential buyer for my businesses. This happened without me advertising and without even putting it on the market for sale. This all seemed like God was hard at work without me trying. All my business ventures were sold and I decided to embark on a deeper understanding of how I could participate in doing justice in my career.
I took a few months to meet with as many influential justice-minded people as I could – those in ministry, NGO’s like Common Good, and businesses that have a strong justice mission. While this was a leap of faith, I knew God was leading. I spent time daily in prayer seeking God’s face. It was great to build that connection with God during this time. I learned that sometimes we depend on our salaries and not on God for our existence. Humbled, I kept researching, listening and praying. I did not want to move without certainty that God was leading.
One of the companies that I spoke to during my research journey was Fix Forward in Muizenberg. The founder goes to our Common Ground congregation and I met him at a Social Justice Mission Diversity Dinner at church. Fix Forward works with skilled laborers from low-income communities to help grow their business skills while introducing them to professional networks and marketing. In listening to his story, I realized I had skills they could use. I began volunteering as a mentor to serve his skilled laborers while I waited on the Lord to direct me toward my next career step. Little did I know that this volunteer opportunity would lead to part-time employment with Fix Forward.
I am amazed by what God is doing in my life. I gave myself 6 months to find employment but God provided a part-time income in 3 months. I’m able to give time to other justice-mission projects with my other time and continue seeking God in faith. I still don’t know if this will be my permanent career home, but God knows. The only thing I am sure of is God wants me in the Social Justice sphere and has changed my entire work-life so that I can pursue meaningful work while doing justice. This is only the beginning of my social justice journey.