Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tears of joy - "I'll remember it for the rest of my life"

Possibly the most moving experience of my trip (and possibly my life) so far was on Wednesday night at Mariannhill Bible class. I was initially pretty apprehensive about going as I’d never been to a township before so going at night sounded a bit scary for a first experience. When we were driving though, if I’m honest, I tried not to look outside as I didn’t want to scare myself. I kept asking which building the hall was, though when we turned up it was fairly obvious. I could see through the window a man dancing, which initially I found pretty funny. I was a little bit scared about going in, but I’ll never forget the moment I walked through the door. 

I heard a massive cry of “Hallelujah! Let us praise the Lord” followed by the most beautiful singing I’ve ever heard. People were smiling, clapping, banging their bibles (!) and dancing. I’ve never experienced such joy before. I’m not an especially emotional person (I haven’t done the colour test yet but I don’t expect to have a lot of blue), but I have to admit that in the first prayer a few tears came out. To think that a few months ago, this church didn’t even exist and these people didn’t know Christ, to hear them now praising God in this way was inspiring. I felt privileged to be able to join in with their praise and will remember it for the rest of my life. 

The talk by Bro. Otto van Rensburg was on the parable of the master and servant (Exodus 21) and how the master served the servants. This was a parable of how God serves and provides for us. It was especially poignant considering that a lot of them actually worked as servants. The people were also really friendly, greeting us all individually with beaming smiles. I didn’t want to leave, in fact, when I did it was driving back in a car with 4 Mariannhill members. It was a great way to end an evening I’ll never forget.  

James Dean, UK 

At Dumisani’s school I was struck by just how grateful everyone was for our week’s work and the impact it brought on raising awareness to the wider community. Journalists came to photograph and write about what we were doing, as white people had never come to do anything like this before. The students put on a very touching farewell show with singing and Zulu dancing and afterwards, the staff cooked us a braai. One of the teachers gave a speech, asking us all to tell everyone back at home about this disadvantaged school and send more volunteers to come out and help. 

Shona Taunton, UK

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Marvellous Moments at Marianhill

ThumbnailGod has a special affection for those who are poor in this world, but rich in faith.  Many witnesses saw Him at work once more in the calling of Nokuthula, who joined God's family at Marianhill, on Sunday, 9th August.


recently purchased, land, (and already expanded!) meeting room at
Marionhill was full of brethren, sisters, friends and young people as
they shared this special day.  Sister Nokut
Thumbnailhula was received into fellowship, and joyful songs of praise filled the air.  Brother Matthew Blewett's inspirational exhortation touched the hearts of all those present.  The occasion was brought to a close by a meal of celebration at the home of brother Phinda and sister Sylvester Cele.


ThumbnailMarianhill ecclesia now numbers twelve members.  That
may not seem many, but as that tiny bank of dedicated disciples changed
the face of Jerusalem
two thousand years ago by its dynamic preaching
of the Word, so this small committed ecclesia is changing the face of


David White

Monday, August 18, 2008

Goosebumps on goosebumps and Hearts shared

Some more blog-etts from P2P July/August.....

Something that really inspired me happened on a cold, misty day in the middle of a township, in a disadvantaged household. I was giving a class on Ruth on the Sunday morning, in a crowded back bedroom. The children were all crammed onto two little beds or sitting on the floor. We started making sandals as an activity to end the class with. All of a sudden someone started humming. After a while, everyone was singing “We glorify your name….sia kudumisa….”. Gradually more and more children from other Sunday school classes joined. When I looked up after cutting the cardboard, the room was chock-a-block with people of all ages, races and countries. It was hectic. I had goose bumps on top of my goose bumps. It was definitely a moment that we all wanted to last forever! 

Christy Beyers, South Africa  

While in Mariannhill, teaching the Kingdom Youth course, one of the children gave me his R10 to look after, which showed that he trusted me even though we had only been there for three days. Another of the children called me “teacher” which made the rest of the group laugh! Giving out the t-shirts to the children was also amazing. It was great to see the happiness on their faces and to see them all wearing them not only on the Friday, but the Sunday as well. 

Whilst waiting for food at Mariannhill, we all took groups of 15 kids and sat them in circles. I had to keep telling some of them to sit down, which they did straight away, but then some more would stand up and I would tell them to sit down. Eventually, it turned into a game, which they loved. It was amazing that such simple things as standing up and sitting down could make them so happy. 

Mark Whale, UK

While there are many moments from my time in Gauteng that stand out, two in particular come to mind. Each morning, Liezl, Lucas and I would drive into Tembisa township to pick up the children at Ubuhle orphanage. Over twenty of them live in a two-bedroom house. I spent each morning teaching English classes to the older ones while the rest went to the hall for a holiday club. Besides the eagerness of the children to learn, despite it being school holidays, my favourite moment came  once we began writing poetry.  

Often asking them to write me a poem for homework, many of them came in with three, four or five poems each. After class, the girls huddled around me, reading their work. Poems about living with aids, surviving abuse, poverty and hardship. But the poems were also filled with so much hope. They praised God for His care for them, spoke of the choices they had in responding to their circumstances and expressed gratitude for the small things in their lives. I thought to myself, if these children could express hope and faith even as they lived with such challenges, how much more should I be praising God for all I have? 

After class, Mpho and I drove back to Tembisa, squeezed together into the front seat of the van. In a quiet whisper, she continued to read me her poems and tell me her stories for the entire 30 minute drive. I couldn’t save her from a childhood in this place, but I could teach her that someone does care and wants to hear her story. 

Keren Robertson, US

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A very fruitful week at the Kempton Park BEC

A very fruitful week at the KMPBEC was rounded off by a busy Saturday morning earlier today. We have four new ladies attending the lunch time Bible Class. Today bro. Brogan was on staff duty privilege and he enrolled 5 students for the God’s Master Plan course. Quite a few students visited returning their course questionnaires and we had some discussion with some of them. Andrew Chavalala arrived as he had said he would and we could discuss further matters pertaining to his preparation for baptism. He is getting closer and closer to making that final commitment and asking to be interviewed. He was the first to receive a handy book that we have compiled with a lot of aspects relating to preparing for baptism. Frans, another regular student, who is also contemplating baptism attended the Bible classes this week and informed us that he would be bringing a friend to the ecclesia tomorrow. Most Sundays at our ecclesia are very rewarding now as there are always visitors there because of their association with the Bible Education Centre.


God continues to use us to get people connected with his saving invitation as found in the Gospel message of the Kingdom – we thank him for this privilege.

Loving greetings from all the brothers and sisters from Kempton Park.     

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sunday School continues to grow

This Sunday past we had a new record of 17 young people coming to our Sunday school from Tembisa. We had to take two cars out to Tembisa to fetch them all. Four of these children live in a different area that the Ubuhle Orphanage but got to know of us through Bro. Tebogo’s children. Two of them went with us to Graskop a few weekends ago and now love to come to Sunday school. Last week they took the train themselves (4 girls of 10 years only) to get to our meeting. It is amazing how rewarding community outreach work turns out to be. Years ago we would drop leaflets in the post boxes of the neighbourhood around us and never got any response. Now we have an average of 26 children at our Sunday school and it continues to grow – all because we were prepared to go out to the people and help them in whatever small way we could. One of Bro. David White’s favourite quotes is so true i.e. “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care”


Although we have to fetch these children and drive them to Sunday School it creates immense potential once we, by God’s grace, start an ecclesia in Tembisa. There will already be half of an ecclesia (the Sunday School) right there J



We thank and praise God as He continues to bless us and gives us the opportunities to reach out to others.

Love from all the brothers and sisters in the Kempton Park ecclesia.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Hills are alive with the sounds of the Good News

Working with children, who have nothing, yet they are the happiest and most loving people you could ever wish to meet. Whereas we can often approach the future with anxiety and apprehension, despite our endless opportunities, they look forward with smiles and laughter despite the difficulties they will face, and that should be an example to us all. I came with the idea that I was here to teach and lead others. I leave with the sense that I have been the one who has been lead and that they have taught me more than I will ever realise! George Kitchen, UK

One of the most moving moments for me was walking through the black settlement a short drive away from Margate ecclesial hall. We went there to “touch” by picking up litter but it was clear that our efforts were only just scratching the surface, as the whole place was like a rubbish dump. The people there had to suffer these appalling conditions every day of their lives, and the children were running around on dirt, broken glass, rusted cans and who knows what else! I would guess that a lot of them had never seen white people before, as we got a lot of stares. One lady there, who told us her name as Doris, asked us to pray for her. The next day, we cooked a breakfast braai on the corner outside the settlement where people were literally waiting for someone to give them a job. We handed out leaflets for the talk and told them we would pick some of them up for it. Last night we had the talk and, although we had spent two days leafleting in the mall, in the end the only visitors other than Christadelphians were those we’d picked up from the settlement. Brother Nelson translated what Brother Kyle was saying so that everyone understood. He was talking about how we can become part of God’s plan and his kingdom. Nelson told me afterwards that one of the men who had come had said he was ready to commit his life to Jesus. So hopefully this will be the start of a new growth for this small ecclesia which has diminished so much in numbers over the years. May God bless all the efforts at Margate! Shona Taunton, UK

While we were walking/leafleting around Mariannhill, we stopped to talk to people outside their houses. One guy, when he saw our t-shirts with the “Good News of the Kingdom of God” message, said “Ah, the kingdom of God. We want to know everything about that. We need God here.” Another incredible moment was handing out the GNOTKOG t-shirts to 250 children on the football pitch and then seeing the kids running all over the Mariannhill valley wearing them. An amazing witness and really moving. Hannah Parker, UK

Monday, August 4, 2008

"Will you be my mother?"

At Mariannhill, we were working with an incredible amount of children, so many that, though I recognized many, I still did not know all of them! The second morning we were there, one of the little girls who I didn’t recognize came up to me, pulled at my hand and asked sincerely, “Will you be my mother?” The question threw me off balance and filled me with compassion and sorrow that this anonymous child so desperately desired love and kindness that after one day of crafts and games, she was willing to entrust herself completely into my care.

Ana Tucker, US

With the “Gauteng team”, I went up to Graskop, Mpumulanga. We went with some orphans from Thembisa, Johannesburg. These orphans had never been outside of the townships in their whole lives, so they were amazed to see what the rest of South Africa looked like. The children were wide-eyed as we went up into the mountains, through mist and saw amazing waterfalls. It was fantastic to see their smiles and happiness. There was one particular orphan, Jazzy, who really stuck in my mind. He told us the story of his childhood and how the Christadelphians had changed his life. He was so appreciative of hearing Bible talks and learning more about God. It was fantastic to hear how God-fearing he was and his desire to learn. To see the joy on the kids’ faces gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I thank God greatly for the opportunity to see people so happy about His Word, and for all the love that was shown on that weekend and throughout our time in Gauteng.

James Hughes, UK

I have always thought it is not possible to quantify the work of the Spirit by numbers; I think the strength of a person’s faith is a much better marker. Working in the BEC this week, I was inspired by one person in particular who came to the seminars - a guy called Charles. He spoke to me about such beautiful faith, he answered questions with such powerful conviction, he desired so much to see the things in the Bible….it really moved me to hear his words and witness beautiful faith. “Listen my beloved brethren, has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith”.

James Dean, UK

Friday, August 1, 2008

Loving monsters and Amazing Shared Trust

Below are some more beautiful lessons learned and stories from P2P July 2008....

A lesson that I had always known in the back of my mind, but never really appreciated was that of “the more you have, the more you take for granted and the less you appreciate”. 

We spent a week with children who had grown up with nothing in comparison to ourselves, very few material possessions, food, education and in many cases, no parents or family. 

Yet, these children were smiling and friendly and loving and they appreciated the life that they had; many were being cared for in an orphanage and even at a young age, had grasped the lesson of appreciation that I had missed. 

Katherine Noakes, UK 

If I had to name the one thing that has inspired me most about the last two weeks, it would be the amazing bond we all made as a group. In a world where people are naturally wary of other people’s motives, it was a joy to be confident in trusting my team. This came out in many different guises, from just knowing that people would pull their weight and play their part in team activities, to being comfortable sharing our thoughts on God’s word together and praying so openly when we finally got time all together late at night. I’ve had conversations with people I’ve only known for two weeks about things some of our best friends don’t even know about. Put simply, the trust which has grown up out of shared faith and a shared mission to teach God’s kingdom is both phenomenal and invaluable. 

Tom Ryder, UK 

In Mariannhill, I took the 6 and under boys to play soccer each day. I called them my “monsters”. After about the second day, it was hard to go anywhere without a couple of monsters attached – holding my hand or sitting in my lap. It touched me in a profound way.  

Kyle Tucker, US 

In a lunchtime talk at the Durban Bible Education Centre entitled “Christian Living”, the discussion afterward turned to doctrinal issues, not because the Christadelphian views were forced on the people who attended, but because throughout straightforward and logical study of the Bible, these issues presented themselves. 

To slowly watch the realisation on peoples’ faces as they looked at what the passages of the Bible really said, and reach the same conclusions was amazing to see and helped me as much as it helped them. This wonder soon turned to excitement and enthusiasm for continuing to study the truth in the scriptures. 

Also, a great learning experience for myself was the BEC concert in the middle of the city, singing and playing music in praise in front of so many people. I thought I would be terrified but I loved it! 

Naomi Reed, UK