The boy who shared His confirmation

Dressed in a suit and tie, and wearing smart shoes, La Grah is standing on the road and handing out food and cake parcels to the homeless. Today is a special day for him: he is celebrating his confirmation—in his very own way.

Confirmation usually looks like this: first the blessing in the church and then a delicious lunch with family and friends. Not for La Grah Trout from Atlantis, a suburb in Cape Town (South Africa). After the confirmation service on 6 February, he and his parents drove through the city to bring food to the homeless.

Confirmation celebration on the street

La Grah and his parents started along Table View police station and worked their way along Parklands to Melkbos Beachfront with 200 parcels of food.

When asked if he had ever done anything for the poor before, he said no. But at primary school he did once share his lunch with a homeless man, he said. His mother remembers more: “He would always take the leftover food from sports events to give to this homeless man.” La Grah became very attached to him. And then his homeless friend died out on the cold streets. He was very sad about this. A plan matured in him to do something good for the homeless in his neighbourhood. La Grah’s own family is not rich. “We are rich in Spirit,” he says. But they have a house, even if it is small and La Grah has to share a room with his grandmother.

Jesus as role model

He has a heart for the suffering of others. His parents and the members of his New Apostolic congregation taught him to help those in need. Jesus, who helped the suffering and the needy, is his role model.

A year before his confirmation, he approached his parents with an idea. “He told me that he wants to share his confirmation with the homeless, as most people who come to confirmation parties have food at home,” his mother Chandré says. “And there are people out there who do not even have a house or anything to eat, so he wanted to share it with them.”

Between shock and a mother’s pride

At first, the parents were shocked. “Because he is my first-born son, I wanted to give him a memorable confirmation celebration,” his mother says. She feels blessed, she says, to have raised such a generous young man.

La Grah also received recognition in other ways: “If you did this deed out of your heart, you will be blessed,” his rector told him. The young man only told a few about his plans. Those members who heard about it, expressed their admiration. “They said it was very generous of me and also wanted to do something similar in the future.”

Out of the goodness of his heart

This is what makes La Grah so happy, because he did not do this to be admired, but to help and “to be able to see the joy on the faces of those who received parcels, and to know that they didn’t have to go look for food to eat that day”.

A local newspaper got wind of his action and wrote an article. La Grah sent his mother to the interview. “I asked to be excused as I did not want any publicity.” Otherwise, it would have felt as though it had not really come out of his heart.

Did he miss anything on the day of his confirmation? “No, not at all,” says La Grah. “My day went exactly as I wanted it to be.” And he would do the same thing all over again. “It felt very good to be able to share with those in need. There was one very special experience in particular that he loves to talk about. “My parents and I gave a cake parcel to a man at a traffic light. The food parcel was in the boot of the car, and we couldn’t hand him food. But he jumped for joy when he saw the cake. He was overjoyed because he could not remember when last he had some form of food without having to beg. It was such an emotional moment and brought much joy to all of us.”

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Katrin Löwen
Congregational life