Alex Carpenter, a 23 year old hair stylist from Seal Beach, California, had no idea when she ventured to Kayamandi, South Africa in July of 2010 that Pretty and Peace would rock her world.
Little did Pretty and Peace know how God would use Alex to change their lives forever.
Pretty and Peace are two of the teenage, abandoned girls living in our Tapestry Safe Homes. Pretty (whose native Xhosa name is Koelimate), 17, never knew her father and grew-up on and off the streets of Kayamandi, a squatter community of over 40,000 people living in one square mile.
She remembers seeing her mother struggle to support them or to find a man to take them in who wasn’t abusive or an alcoholic. As a young girl, Pretty even witnessed one of her mother’s boyfriends try to kill her mother.
Peace (Noxolo), 15, grew-up in a broken family. She occasionally spots her half brothers and sisters throughout Kayamandi, and she has even passed her father on the street–but they barely give one another a half-nod.
Prior to moving into the Tapestry Safe Home, she did what she could to find food, and she lacked any real supervision. She suffered from intense abuse, which landed her in the hospital for a short time.
By the end of that missions week back in July 2010, Alex had become particularly close to Peace having spent endless hours getting to know her and the other Tapestry girls.
When it came time for Alex to say her good-byes, Peace was purposely nowhere to be found. Abandonment is a wound for these girls, and trusting anyone has all too often ended in unbearable disappointment and pain.
As Alex tried to process the pain and trauma that had scarred the young lives of Pretty, Peace and the other Tapestry girls, she could feel God tugging at her heart.
Was God calling Alex to use her interpersonal skills and inner-healing training to help these wounded girls repair their own hearts?
In July of this year–one year later–Alex left her job as a hairstylist, settled her local affairs, left her family and friends and the sun and sand of Seal Beach, rejoined the Tapestry/Threads Mission Team, and she did what few people would ever consider—she moved to Kayamandi.
Here’s the rest of Alex’s story in her own words:
“The first week upon my return, I led a Threads of Discipleship weekend with all of the girls of the Tapestry Safe Homes. They were asked to create a timeline of their fractured lives. Peace didn’t make it half way through before breaking down in tears.”
“About two months after I moved to Kayamandi, Pretty, Peace and I sat on a blanket on the grass outside the safe houses with our Bibles, and we talked for several hours about what the Bible says and everything about God.”
“I soon realized that even though they said they believed in the teachings of the Bible, the two of them had never accepted Jesus as their Savior.”
“That following Sunday, Pretty and Peace came with me to church and Pretty answered the alter call and accepted Christ.”
“The following week Peace did the same. On October 30, 2011 they were both baptized along with 12 year-old Ongezwa, another girl from the Tapestry Safe Homes.”
“This November Pretty and Peace both received certificates for completing their first year of the art and photography program at Kuyasa, and Pretty received a certificate and award for being the most improved student at Film School Africa.”
“Pretty wants to continue her work in film and has dreams of becoming an actor, director and producer–she’s very ambitious.”
“Peace has joined the leadership development program at Kuyasa called Hats and Glasses, and we are constantly getting reports of her being “the life of the party”.”
“She brings at least one new person to church every week, and she started a Bible study with her two roommates at the safe house.”
“Peace sent me a video in which she said, “I used to think about killing myself, but since you got here I don’t think about that anymore because I have experienced God’s love. I know I have a purpose and I want to finish this journey.””
“Pretty and Peace constantly strive to be the best they can be, and they have a great deal of influence on the young people around them. I have no doubt they will play pivotal roles in expanding God’s Kingdom. By the time they finish their journeys, Kayamandi will never be the same…the WORLD will never be the same.”