Monday, February 25, 2008

Celebrating with angels

What a wonderful blessing, as once again the Westville ecclesia was able to celebrate with the angels in heaven as two more became children of God. Phinda and Sylvester were both baptised this past Sunday into the saving name of Jesus. It was a beautiful start to a glorious sunny Sunday, as we all gathered around the pool to witness their public confession. Their baptism now brings to 5 the number of brothers and sisters from nearby Marianhill. Every Sunday the Westville meeting is swelled by people from Marianhill as both children and adults attend.



The excitement and fervour that has been generated in the community of Marianhill has led to plans being put into place to set up a new ecclesia in that area in the near future, God willing. We pray that our Father will continue to bless the work in Marianhill as this community is drawn to the power of the Kingdom of God - this indeed it living proof of Paul's words - "For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." (1Co 4:20)

But what is equally exciting is that our new sister, Sylvester, has been a domestic helper in the homes of several brothers and sisters for many years. How wonderful it is to now have her as a sister. It makes us realise the joy the people in Bible times felt when the message was received by the whole household -

One of those who heard us was Lydia from Thyatira, who was a dealer in purple cloth. She was a woman who worshiped God, and the Lord opened her mind to pay attention to what Paul was saying. After she and the people of her house had been baptized, she invited us, "Come and stay in my house if you have decided that I am a true believer in the Lord." And she persuaded us to go. (Act 16:14-15)



Saturday, February 23, 2008

KMPBEC

Hi All

 

Well, what a week we’ve had – just about a week 3 of P2P. Jessica Russell, Alissa Sillars and Becky Brown teamed up with Liezl Scheepers and what a team they turned out to be!! Jess is a natural with little children and turned the crèche at Ubuhle into a very constructive place. With a lot of creative ideas, games and activities the kids were really kept busy whilst having fun and learning. On top of all that a manual is in the making to help the mothers who look after the children to continue the structure that Jess has established. Alissa, Liezl , and Becky were also amazing with the way they interacted and played with the little ones. Today (Friday) the kids were taken to the zoo. When we arrived at the Creche all the children ran to the 4 girls to meet them with great excitement. The day at the zoo was great fun and laughs.

 

One of the kids at the orphanage, Lucas, is physically and mentally impaired but it is amazing how is interaction with the other children and the attention that he got these past two weeks has made him a lot more self sufficient and attentative and he participates a lot more in activities now. He also went to the zoo ad enjoyed it thoroughly. Jess has made some improvements to his wheel chair (seatbelt and sponges under the feet rests) to help him develop his muscles better. Here again it is just amazing how God helps us even in the littlest of detail. We went to a scrap yard to look for a seatbelt , even just a part of it. The man there, when hearing what it was for made sure we get a totally complete seatbelt and gave it to us for free, The next thing we were looking for was the right type of foam for the feet rests on his wheel chair. We could not find during the rushed “scouting sessions” fitted in between the rush and busy schedules of the week. On Friday however, in the afternoon at 6pm we went to a lady who had received a leaflet that the P2P group dished out on the streets in January. She phoned us and asked us to come pick up some old bibles and clothes for the KMPBEC. When we arrived there and collected the goods it turned out that they sell foam – exactly the kind we needed for Lucas. After that we managed to get him new boots as well that will help him to walk more on the souls of his feet than on his toes. It is amazing how God is just showering blessings on the orphanage and we thank him for using us as His instruments.

 

On Wednesday we took all the older children for a shopping day. The Christadelphian home for the elderly in South Port (UK), via sister Vinca had very kindly donated some funds specifically for the children to buy themselves new clothes – something most of them have never done before. It was really heart-warming to see how these children enjoyed doing something we take so for granted and how thankful they were. Sister Alissa was an absolute star on the shopping day as her phenomenal PA and maths skills came to the fore. She kept track of al the children’s expenses and made sure we stayed within the budget.

 

You can find photos of the two events at the following URLS:

 

Shopping day : -

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=14852&l=b881c&id=514937389

 

Day at the Zoo : -

   

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=14901&l=b1c41&id=514937389

 

During the week we also received a donation (trailer load full!) of toiletries that we had to unload and pack and redistribute/store. It was hard work and all the sisters pitched in. Becky however impressed us no end with her strength that she must have developed in the days when she worked as a landscaper. Look deceive as this pretty young lady can sure trough some heave bags out of a trailer.

 

It never ceases to amaze us how everyone has strengths that is just what is needed for the job at hand. How wonderful that opportunities are now created that enables many more to use their particular skills in the new wider preaching “arena.”

 

Work at the BEC and for the Bec also continued as we gave Bible classes, and also bought stock. Preparations for our first Bible Truth Study day on 1 March  also got underway.

 

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Durban BEC News

The Durban BEC has been going well. Last week Bro. Marcus McGilvray came to the BEC and did some one-on-one HIV/AIDS counselling. Last week we ran a seminar on the topic of the trinity. It went so well that more than half of the attendees said they would definitely come back next week. We have also now started compiling a list of shelters to refer people to when they come in with serious needs.

The reason that we are compiling a list of shelters started off because of an interesting visitor that came into the BEC a couple of weeks ago. He came in, almost in tears, asking about life after death. This question took me completely by surprise so I asked him to tell me what was wrong. After I asked him a few questions he told me that he was 17 and that he had run away from Zimbabwe to South Africa. In Zimbabwe he had lived with his older sister and his two brothers. However his sister gave them all poison and then took some herself. He somehow managed to survive all this and has come right to our doorstep, looking for answers to the truth about life.

I allowed him to sit with us for the day and do some bible courses. He looked everything up straight from the bible and was very interested in more. We never know what God has planned for us. The BEC might very well be the answer to this young man's prayers.

Bro. Kyle Clopton

Kempton Park BEC - the work continues - full steam ahead

We are still riding the wave the P2P groups James and John caused here in January. Sisters Jessica Russell, Alissa Sillars and Becky Brown have been with us for the past two weeks and have continued the work at the KMPBEC as well as at the Ubuhle Bezwe Orphanage.

 

Last week Jess and Alissa visited the Orphanage every morning and established a structured morning activty schedule for the creche. Jess has been flat out busy compiling a manual for the creche so that the mothers there can keep the children busy constructively every day. The manual is almost complete and will be a very useful document in the future. It has been heartwarming to see how one little child in particular (Lucas), who is somewhat mentally and physically handicapped, has been responding to the work the girls have been doing and the attention they have been giving him. He even attends Sunday School now on Sundays and is able to understand a great deal of what is going on.

 

Work at the BEC has been ongoing as well and we had three very interesting and rewarding Lunch Time Bible Classes last week with three students. With all the helping hands the BEC also got a face lift and a new window display with “Love” as the theme. We have changed the BEC interior to facilitate a table and chairs for people to relax around and discuss Bible matters. It has already been put to good use and we had an interesting discussion with a Pastor about marriage.

 

This week, God willing, there will be the same work going on but in addition we will be distributing leaflets and fetching and distributing some food and other items that have been donated to the Orphanage.

 

We praise God for all the opportunities He is giving us and the way He is helping us to preach his word in so many different ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, February 17, 2008

New ecclesia at Mariannhill

There has been a very significant development following Amanzi and P2P in South Africa in January. Last year, Mitch and Miri Hardy spent a lot of time with a group of young people in Mariannhill using the Kingdom Youth FC program that they developed. Following this they invited about 5 of them to the Amanzi gathering. As a result of Amanzi, Kheta, Precious and Dumisani all got baptised about a month ago. They are all between 16 and 20 years old. Team Stephen (P2P) did amazing work at Mariannhill which helped encourage these young people to be baptised. John Pople also did a lunchtime talk out there which about 35 people attended.
Since P2P and Mitch and Miri leaving South Africa we have been picking up a crowd from Marianhill each Sunday and bringing them to Westville. This crowd seems to be growing bigger each week. The latest development is that God willing. next Sunday, Phinda and Sylvester Cele who are the parents of Kheta and Precious will be baptised. They had to overcome concerns of their aged parents who are Catholics but the Good News of the Kingdom of God was too much for them. 'We don't want our kids to be marching into the Kingdom of God ahead of us and we're folding our hands', they siad to me.
The numbers now are getting too much for Westville and so God willing Ilse and I will be joining the Mariannhill ecclesia when it forms in April. Amanzi and P2P was an amazing experience for us and now it is going to change our lives in a very exciting and fulfilling journey with this new ecclesia. Praise and thanks be to God who has done much much more than we could imagine.

Tim Genders

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A visit to a brother's school in desperate need

Sometimes we do not quite appreciate the gap between those who have and those who don't - until we see it once again. Last week a few people were privileged to heed the request of a brother and visit his school. Bro Dumisani (Westville ecclesia), invited us to come out and visit the school where he is the Principal.

After meeting his wife (Sis. Nonhlanhla) we followed her through areas of KwaZulu-Natal where we had never been. Soon the tar road gave way to gravel as we continued for over an hour over hills and through valleys.

We were amazed that Bro. Dumisani would travel this far on such poor roads to get to his school every day. The rain was pouring down as we finally arrived and parked our car next to a small rural hut. In the shelter of the building stood Bro. Dumisani, dressed smartly and proudly in his tie as he stood ready with umbrellas.


We then set off along a muddy
track, the road being too poor for a car to navigate, and we finally reached the top of the hill where the school is located.


We were first greeted by a rather interesting sign at the gate....warning us that no guns, sharp objects, drugs etc were allowed. It seemed rather strange as this is probablly the last area where the kids would have guns, and drugs etc....it's just far too poor.

Emakheni School caters for about 200 children from Grades 1 to Grade 7. This is the only school in the area for these children - and how poor we were to soon discover the conditions to be.

The first building to welcome us was the toilet block. This is a row of toilets (3 for the girls on one side and 3 for the boys on the other side) set about 100m away from the school buildings. However it is not this that is the issue, but rather the condition of the toilets. The toilets are simple pit-based toilets (no flushing - just a hole). Most of them have no doors or the doors were broken. The smell (well you can't do smell with words).


Finally we reached the main school buildings. There are 3 rows of buildings with each grade having a classroom. The headmaster's office and store room is also a classroom - making it rather cluttered and problematic. Firstly we were struck by the fact that there is no electricty at the school. Even although there is an electrical pole in the property their electricity supply was cut of many years ago because the school could not afford it - little wonder - we discovered that even now the school only gets R10,000 (approx. $1300) for the entire year. This must cover all school expenses (electricty, water, outings, teacher training, etc)


During a period when the school could not afford to lock the school or have a caretaker on the property the school buildings were vandalised. Now many years later all the classrooms have broken and missing windows, and most dont have doors. Unfortunately the small R10,000 budget cannot be used for these items and so they just make do.
However worse still was the storm damage. A huge storm about a year ago destroyed the most of the classroom's rooves. Huge gaping holes in the rooves mean that the classrooms are wet when it rains (as was the case on the day we were there). The teachers have positioned bukets and makeshift gutters inside the buildings in an attempt to catch the water.

We also learnt that their water supply is not reliable and often their is no water for the 200 children. Even although there are water tanks, these too stopped working many years ago and there has been no money to have them repaired.

Looking around we were struck by the fact that there was no where for the children to play. The areas between the 3 buildings was a dirt area (mud on the day we were there). There are no jungle gyms, no field (although there is an area which could become a field if it were levelled), no bike track, no shaded areas....nothing!



As Bro. Dumisani led us back to his classroom/office/storeroom, offered us a glass of juice, and proudly introduced us to his teachers, we were struck by their love. Their love for God and their love for their children. In halting English or in Zulu, with Bro. Dumisani as the translator, each one of them expressed their sincere thanks for us visiting. Sitting there, feeling like we had done nothing, we felt somewhat overawed by their gratitude as they said "You give us hope. We have never had someone visit our school. We have never had someone come and see what we have. We pray God will bless us and help us make our school better for our children."



And so we left, in awe of how much we have when others have so little. In awe of the love and dedication these teachers have to work in these conditions. In awe that in these simple surroundings it is the all powerful God who is most relied on.

We are now in the process of seeing if we can get some corporate sponsors to help us improve the condition of this school. What other opportunities may arise here we do not know - but already we can see that our brother has set a Godly spirit in this all but forgotten place.
























































































































Friday, February 8, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

WOW - What Growth



It's post-P2P, post-Amanzi, and WOW what amazing things are happening by God's power.

Just 1 month into the year and at the Westville ecclesia (one of the places where the P2P'ers were working from) we have experienced the mighty hand of God at work. We would never have thought that things could change so dramatically as they have over the past 18 months and especially this last month of January.

But then maybe we do not take to heart the words of Paul - "Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph 3:20)

In little over a year our ecclesia has grown from approx. 35 members to 65 members! And this past Sunday the Sunday School hit an all time high growing from about 25 children to 41! Many of the new Sunday School children are from Marianhill and other areas (see photos in previous blog) where the P2Pers and other 2010 activities have been taking place.

It's so big that the brothers and sisters running the Sunday School say it's like running an entire Kids Church, with all the issues of venues, social activities, teaching etc. In fact plans are urgently trying to be put into place to construct additional accommodation for the classes (and the constant stream of volunteers who also live at the hall).

This past Sunday also saw our youth group grow from 4 to 15 and the launch of an adult Growth Class (for people preparing for baptism and newly baptised brothers and sisters) that had 3 people attending.

The growth, by God's grace has been hugely encouraging, and many Sunday mornings are now seeing 90+ people (including visitors and some children) in our hall which before would only have had about 45 people.
However with the great growth comes many new challenges. There is now a huge need for more people to help with teaching , outreach and pastoral issues (as the Westville members are now extremely stretched). There are also new issues around funding to try and build additional facilites for teaching venues, rooms to house the volunteers (who are vital to the continued sustainability of the work), people to asssist with transport of the many new Sunday School children, interested friends, and new brothers and sisters from neighbouring areas.

So we appeal to people to pray for the work that is continuing in South Africa, and also if possible to consider giving their time as part of the volunteer program. It's hugely rewarding (as can be seen from the slide shows and videos in the previous blog posts) and has a great impact on the many willing ears within South Africa. If you're interested in helping out in anyway, please visit the 2010 website for more information.

All praise be to God who continues to do "exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think".


A Photo Tour of the P2P Projects

This is an amazing photo tour, by Bro. John Pople, of the work undertaken by the 10 P2P teams as they spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God all around South Africa. It'll give you the opportunity to join them as you share with them their visits to remote rural areas, poor townships, and busy city centres.

Click the arrow at the top of the viewer, or simply scroll down (within the viewer), to move forward through the presentation.


Friday, February 1, 2008

P2P in SA in MultiMedia

It is not really possible to capture the experience that the P2Pers had during their 2 weeks of preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of God in South Africa. While the words and the photos give a glimpse into the life-changing impact this had on the P2Pers and the people they came into contact with, the experience is still much much more than you imagine.

However the P2P groups did put some video presentations together that give another insight into their experiences. Attached to this blog post are 3 videos that tell the stories of 3 of the teams.

Team Thomas spent week 1 at the Durban BEC and week 2 at the Lamontville PreSchool/Youth Centre.

video

Team Phillip spent their time at the Lamontville PreSchool/Youth Centre and Margate BEC/Creche/Youth Centre.

video

Team Andrew shared the Good News of the Kingdom of God at Umlazi township and at Candu in the Eastern Cape where we have an ecclesia and a creche running for the local community.

video

Farewell Mitch and Miri

It is with sadness that we bid farewell to Mitch and Miri Hardy. They have spent the last 9 months working on the 2010 campaign in South Africa. They have made a huge impact on the lives of many people in South Africa (see previous blog).

They were involved in numerous projects from teaching Sunday School to 100+ children at Sherwood to helping at the BEC in Durban, to running Seminars, to running Kingdom Youth Days. However the biggest contribution was the Kingdom Youth FC program.
Equipped with only the seeds of an idea they designed the entire Kingdom Youth FC program and then ran it all over South Africa. Kingdom Youth FC is a program that used soccer to teach young people about the Good News of the Kingdom of God. For example there may be a session where the young people are asked to play a game of soccer but the goal posts are removed. After a while the begin to ask what the purpose of the game is. This then leads on to teaching them about the importance of goals in life, and the ultimate goal of being in God's Kingdom. And so the program continues teaching them all the key aspects of God's Good News through the living parable of soccer.

Mitch and Miri have run this program for hundreds of young people in many townships around South Africa. Their major focus has been in the Marianhill area (about 15km from Durban). And it is here that they have built up a very keen following among the young people. A following that has already seen the first fruits as 3 of them were baptised last week.

It was beautiful to see the tribute the young people paid to Mitch and Miri on Sunday (knowing this was the last time they would see them). They enacted the teaching program they had received, giving a beautiful glimpse into what they have learnt. And then in a show of ultimate acceptance into their family they had them sit down and presented them with a blanket.

And so with hardly any dry eyes we all bade farewell to Mitch and Miri.
We pray our Father that he will bless them as the contiue with their good work back in Australia. And we also pray that the Lord will send others to continue the good work they have started here and help bring many more, who eagerly thirst for the Good News, into God's family.
"And now, (our) friends, good-bye!....(may) the God of love and peace will be with you." (2Co 13:11)

Fruits of Amanzi & P2P

WOW - how great our God is! Not only did 2008 start with the first ever International Youth Conference, and then the amazing work of the 100 P2Pers in South Africa, but the blessings still continue. January 2008 has seen God calling 8 young people to Him. It's been all too amazing to comprehend. I suppose the words of Paul are appropriate...



"To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of" (Eph 3:20)



The second week of January saw Kerry, Mary-Jane and Warren Boyle all being baptised. What a wonderful gift to Rose and Ryan.



"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (3Jn 1:4)



In the third week of January Paul Jardine was baptised and then then because God can do much much more than we think or imagine, the fourth week of January saw 4 more baptisms - Carmel Woodman and then 3 young people (Kheta, Precious and Dumisani) who are the fruits of the labours of Mitch and Miri Hardy with Kingdom Youth FC in Marianhill.



Our God is working powerfully in our land, and we thank Him for it and pray that he will continue to send more and more workers into his fertile harvest fields.

P2P South Africa


The 2nd two weeks of January 2008, following the International Amanzi conference saw 10 P2P (Prepared to Preach) Teams preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God all around South Africa. The P2P team members had spent approx. 1 year going through an intensive training program in Australia and America, and their trip to South Africa was the opportunity for them to put into practice their hours of work.

10 teams of 10 members in each were deployed in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Port Elizabeth. The teams spent 1 week on a project and then moved to a different project for the second week. There were a range of projects including Thembisa Orphanage, Kingdom Youth FC, Lamontville PreSchool, Mason Lincoln School for Disabled, Umlazi Tent Ministry, Maragate Creche and BEC, Candu, Bible Education Centres etc.

It was amazing seeing people and cars everywhere you went branded with the "Good News of the Kingdom of God".

The P2Pers preached both in word and action. Using a Touch and Teach approach these young people made meaningful contributions to the lives of hundreds of people, while also teaching them the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

It's hard to quantify the success of the P2P campaign. The mere fact that 100 young people from around the world spent 2 weeks preaching around South Africa is both a first ever, and an amazing achievement. However more than this the impact that this preaching had both on the young people involved and the communities they were working in was huge. Besides 100 young people working full time to spread God's good news, literally hundreds of people were taught the gospel through seminars, music, Kingdom Youth, Kingdom Kids, Kingdom Youth FC (football).

To get a sense of the impact this had on the P2Pers involved here are their words...

"P2P was incredible, I never imagined it would have such an impact on me and my life. Even tho everything has been happening in my country I was quite apprehensive to get involved. I now feel so much more confident when telling people about The Kingdom of God...." (Rachel Bamber)

Talking about a seminar run at the Durban BEC - "I remember how we discussed the fact that we may run into problems with either enough seats, or in providing lunch, which we offered as well. What was so awesome about this was that I was sitting there, and the biggest problem we could think of was that we might have too many people! And if that is our biggest problem, we really don't have a problem." (Eric Lange)

"The Kingdom of God on Earth. That is what my time in Africa gave me a glimpse of! The smiles, the willing and helping hands, the hugs, the constant conversations revolving around our LORD and his plans, the praise, the laughter, the joy! I just cant wait to see what more God has in store for us!! :) My magic moment was in the form of a tiny little boy. We were running a holiday "Kids Club" for the Umlazi kids and one of the activities was a prayer group. We asked the kids to say the one thing that they would like to pray to God for...more than anything else in the world. Instead of wanting to be a better soccer player, or to be rich, this little one's hearts desire was for "every man to be with his God." (Melody Kingston).

"I think one of the things that has impacted me the most is that, it has taken me to travel half way across the world to become close to people that live an hour away from me.....But you know what I think that unspoken connection is? Its this connection that we know we've already experienced some of the kingdom. The harmony we shared with people everywhere, the immense happiness we found in helping people and all the smiles on the africans faces as they were so willing and eager to learn about God. To me, this experience cannot be explained in words. All I can say is it was much much more than we could ever imagined and even greater must the kingdom be." (Mikki Pogson)

And the response of the people?

"I'm unable to say thank you to you all for what you've done. One thank you is not enough for everything you've given me and my church....I wish I had a thousand mouths, so I could give you a thousand thank you's...What is most amazing about what you've given us, is that you came here spending your time, energy and skills in service. You could've just sent a cheque...but instead you came here to see the children, and to lend your skills. And your skills, especially in this country, are priceless." (Nick Morgan on behalf of Leonard from Umlazi)

And so while many of the P2Pers have now returned home enriched by their experiences and enthused to continue the good work of preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, we in South Africa have before us a huge harvest waiting to be brought.


"I tell you, take a good look at the fields; the crops are now ripe and ready to be harvested!" - Jesus (John 4:35)