They called her the shebeen queen. She made a welcome environment for the people in her community to feed their addictions, drown their sorrows, and pass out stone cold drunk if needed. The people loved her, respected her. A woman of influence. The money she made selling was nothing to sneeze at either.
But God created Sophie for something different. He saw her and choose her before she was even aware. And He was orchestrating an encounter that would change her life forever.
The year was 1995. A fair-skinned, solitary woman was driving through the South African township of Mamelodi, a rare occurrence even in the nascent post-apartheid years.
On the street, amidst the thousands of other people, was a dark-skinned woman carrying her 3-day old baby on her back. Sophie was laden with the packages in her arms and the burdens of her heart.
That’s when Avril saw her. It was the same African woman she had seen in a dream. She stopped her car. She gently offered to carry her bags. Suspiciously, Sophie released her burdens. Avril walked her to her house, and a beautiful, culturally divergent friendship began. This friendship was the bridge for the message of the transforming power of Jesus Christ to come to Sophie. She surrendered her life and future to God and was baptized.
It began to dawn on Sophie that God had a greater purpose for her life. She counted the cost and decided that following Jesus was worth more to her than the thousands of Rand she made selling alcohol and she gave away her license to sell. She wanted to create a place where the struggling in her community could find help, hope and freedom.