Three Lessons from Champ and Lerato Thekiso, South Africa

Each month, we introduce you to a Christian who is on the generosity path, and we ask them what God’s taught them about giving.

This month, meet Champ and Lerato Thekiso from South Africa.

1. Giving Is Caught, not Taught. 

“I came from a family of four boys and we always had visitors in our home,” explains Champ. “My parents had big hearts and unofficially adopted other kids, so we had to make space and we enjoyed serving that way as a family. I used to play football with a friend, and he had challenges with his own relatives, so we invited him over. He still regards our family as a second home. We grew up playing soccer together and came to know the Lord together.”

When Champ and Lerato got married, Lerato says, “we were on the same page in terms of desire to expand the Kingdom of God through the marketplace with resources that come our way.” But “we were not on the same page in terms of whom to support at a point in time. We had to find causes and passions together.” Champ says, “Each year, we do a marriage retreat to enrich our marriage and we set our core values. Giving is one of them.”

God has been gracious and faithful and our giving is a form of gratitude for the love bestowed on us.

2. Giving Is Living.

“God has been gracious and faithful and our giving is a form of gratitude for the love bestowed on us,” says Champ. “For us, giving is living!” The Thekisos have two young children, so I caught them just as Lerato was finishing the bedtime routine one night. On the home front, “we serve as a family,” Champ says. “We spend time at the child care center and support it with some Christmas goodies. It is important for us to inculcate the culture of giving and instill it as a value in our children’s lives. We want to support a cause as a family.” Lerato says, “Giving is one of our family’s core values.” At work, Champ is an advisor in the financial space; Lerato is an attorney who advises companies on how to optimize their growth within the confines of the law. “We are looking at the impact of our work in the marketplace in order to ensure that it streamlined and seamless,” says Champ. “We’re both eager to share what we have,” says Lerato, “It’s just about structuring it to make it most fruitful.”

3. God Keeps Supplying.

When I asked Champ what he’d like to tell other givers, he said, “There’s a lot more where that comes from!” He went on to say, “Let’s manage against giving fatigue or struggling with ingratitude. The more we’re faithful with the seed in our hands, the more God will give us to have an impact. There’s seed time and harvest.” Lerato added, “There’s enough for all of us. God never runs out.” Champ concludes, “Be comfortable that you won’t solve the world’s problems. Your role is to serve those God has given you a burden for, and be content with doing that to the best of your ability.”

Champ and Lerato love to give to:

Lerato together with a group of other women in South Africa founded the Unleashed Woman Foundation, focused on caring for women and youth. Lerato says, “Whilst I’m in the marketplace full-time I make time for Unleashed.”
Champ adds, “It’s working with the poor and those who are excluded from the mainstream economy.”

How did it start? Lerato says, “God birthed this vision in us in our first year of marriage, I was seeking God and wanted to create a context to unleash women to fulfill their potential. It really caught fire. Before we knew it, we were hosting conferences and it has really grown.”“We’ve now expanded beyond women and are undergoing a name change to Unleashed Development Foundation,” says Lerato. “Givers and corporates stand behind us and our job creation initiatives. It’s all Christ-centered because it’s only Christ who can really unleash us. But we have found favor with corporates. We are clear about Christ and what we believe. We bring people from the margins into the right work opportunities.”

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