Building relationships with street vendors

A worker in Cape Town seeks to reach street vendors with the Gospel and spends his time with foreign traders from all over Africa.

Paul* is a member of the Diaspora Hope team, which seeks to reach refugees and immigrants in Cape Town. He lives as a witness of the Gospel to street vendors from other faiths and spends most of his time meeting with foreign traders from all over Africa in markets around the city. He easily begins conversation and has built relationships with many.

Paul shared that a few weeks ago he was walking across the Green Market Square when a young man named Kelvin, from Zimbabwe, called out to him. Kelvin works in the market. Paul had known him for several weeks but hadn’t yet taken the time to talk for long with him. The men sat on a bench, and several of Kelvin’s friends joined in. “In a little over an hour,” shared Paul, “we discussed topics of racism, Rastafarianism, drugs, flirting, poverty, cultural differences and townships—where they live. This is just one example of a discussion on various topics of life in which I can explain the teaching of the Bible.”

Paul purposely avoids talking to the men about his faith all the time. “I try to be a witness of Jesus Christ by my behaviour, by what I say in discussions on any area of life, through my friendship or simply by my help,” said Paul. He pointed out that he desires to obey the commandment in Mark 12:31 to love one’s neighbour as oneself.

Every conversation Paul has is different and he adapts the discussion to each person according to his or her knowledge and experience of the Christian faith. He wants to discover what will motivate each person to draw closer to a relationship with Jesus.

*Name changed


By Bonnie Mentel