Monday, May 18, 2009

Afrikhono is now online!

Afrikhono is now online! To check out the ways you can support your brothers and sisters in South Africa by ordering their handmade creations, go to


“Ikhono” is the Zulu word for skills. There are many brothers and sisters living in South Africa who are out of work and live in circumstances of great need and poverty. To help our family in Christ earn a living whilst keeping their dignity, we have started Afrikhono.

Afrikhono is a COP Trust initiative and part of the 2010x2010 preaching campaign. Afrikhono works with brothers and sisters in disadvantaged South African communities to develop their skills, their ikhono, and help them reach their potential. Afrikhono aims to assist these individuals establish and maintain a sustainable means of employment and income so that they can support their families.

Afrikhono involves brethren, sisters and youth in disadvantaged communities creating a variety of hand-crafted, beautiful, African flavoured items and the COP Trust then selling these to various individuals and organisations. For production efficiency reasons, it is intended that these items be purchased in bulk and on-sold by the purchaser in order to cover the initial cost of the purchase.

Afrikhono has commenced with one project, Project Greeting Card, and it our hope to expand to other types of projects such as beading or sewing as the initiative develops. Project Greeting Card involves handmade greeting cards with African flavoured beading and artwork being designed and created by individuals in local South African communities. These cards are sold by the COP Trust to create sustainable employment for our brothers and sisters.


The entire income generated from the sale of these items goes towards benefiting the brothers, sisters and ecclesial communities of South Africa; there are no fees taken out by the COP Trust for administration of the initiative.

The income received from the sale of these cards goes both directly to the brothers and sisters making the cards and also into a fund for use exclusively for meeting welfare needs in the very ecclesial community which generated the income. These needs are met through initiatives such as feeding schemes, provision of education, transportation to meetings and medical treatment. As such, it is anticipated that with God’s blessing, this initiative could become a real support to the growing ecclesial community by providing a sustainable means of nurturing our family in Christ.

Afrikhono was first implemented by 2010 volunteers at the end of 2008 when it was trialled in the rural and quickly growing ecclesial community of Mariannhill in KwaZulu Natal. This initiative is now based at Mariannhill Good News Centre as part of the operations of this skills centre. Afrikhono has also recently been implemented with individuals from the Durban ecclesia. The initiative currently supports 27 brothers, sisters and youth from these two South African ecclesias

The Afrikhono volunteers will continue to work with local brothers and sisters throughout the country and involve as many as possible in this scheme to uplift, develop and sustain our family in Christ who desperately need our support.


The success of Project Greeting Card in helping our ever-growing number of brethren and sisters in South Africa with welfare issues will rely completely on the love and generosity of their brothers and sisters overseas.

Firstly, you can support Afrikhono by purchasing these beautiful, handmade cards when you see them for sale or by encouraging other individuals or ecclesias to do so. Each set of 5 cards contains 5 different card designs in keeping with a specific design thread (African Life, birthday etc). The cards are packaged in clear plastic packets, each card with an envelope. Each set of cards also comes with an insert at the back of the plastic packet which gives a short life story of the person who has made the cards and a message from them as to how they will benefit from your support in buying their creation.

The first way you can help is by buying a set of these beautiful hand-made African cards—your purchase will go towards feeding and supporting the family of a brother or sister in South Africa (information about the person you are helping is included in the set of cards)

The second and most sustainable way you can help the project is to either commit yourself to buying a batch of cards or helping your ecclesia to participate by purchasing a batch of cards (perhaps even on a regular basis). These cards can be on-sold to recoup the original cost of purchase. A “batch” of cards consists of 40 sets containing 5 cards each (a total of 200 cards). The cost of these cards is USD320, AUD470 or GBP220 (this may vary as the USD moves) and cards can be ordered and paid for online at - go to “orders”.

To support Afrikhono and make a lasting difference in the lives of your brothers and sisters in South Africa, please speak to a representative, go to our website or email the Afrikhono team at

Thursday, May 7, 2009

AMAZING BEC Award Ceremony

Brothers & sisters - Just wanted to let you know that the "graduation" this afternoon (about a week ago - sorry for journalistic delays ;-) was terrific! (Actually, we're trying to call them "certificate award ceremonies" now, to try to avoid an implication of a qualification--and to try to dissuade people from renting caps & gowns. Seemed to work! No gowns, even for the 2 people who had said they were going to rent them.)

We had 32 people who completed courses since the last award ceremony, of whom 9 had completed more than one course. Twenty of them came to the ceremony, and we had 40 total visitors (most people brought a friend or a family member, or two).

Most exciting, two of the students are very close to baptism. Almita, an older woman who has done all the courses, has been talking about baptism for some time. Her sister has been trying to talk her out of it, but today she said to Mary that she wants to go forward. Mary will have a class with her on Tuesday as a final "do you appreciate what you are taking on" session, but I expect there to be a baptism next Sunday morning. The other student is a man named Crispin, who has completed 3 courses and is mid-way through Bible Basics. He just seems to be on fire. Today besides asking me how he would go about being baptized, he made a financial donation to the work. (The two weren't related - it's just clear that he believes in the message and wants to support spreading it.) He is going to come to meeting tomorrow (God willing), along with his family, and we will establish a convenient time to have some classes in preparation for baptism -- but I don't expect them to go on a long time; he is ready.

The Lord is indeed blessing the work here! There are other positive things happening. Bro John Gumede's niece has asked for baptism preparation classes, which Mary is going to arrange with her. She will probably not be far behind the other two. A man named David has resumed The Way of Life classes with Bro David. A young guy named Zipho, who had been very keen, but whom we hadn't seen in the BEC for some time, was at the ceremony and had a great conversation with Barry and Steve Motley. Almita has a friend who has occasionally attended in Pinetown, and who came with her today -- and wants to start attending more regularly. Another young guy named Jerom has done all the courses and has been attending regularly in Durban. A woman named Nokuthula is mid-way in Bible Basics and attends regularly, and has said when she completes BB she wants to talk about baptism. On and on. God be praised!

Many thanks to Jane for all the food shopping and prep, and helping with the certificate presentations. Many thanks to Bro Barry for the talk, the music, and the A/V help. Thanks to Wendith & Christy for the help in the kitchen. And of course to Mary (who unfortunately won't get this), for her ongoing work with these students, as well as for contributing to the ceremony today. Thanks to Cam and to Steve for fetching people, helping with the setup, and to Steve who acted as usher/doorkeeper. And thanks to David, Dieudonne, Charlotte, Rose, and Mhloli for attending & supporting the effort.

It's been an exciting day. Please join us in praying for the students, for God's direction in their lives and for their continued spiritual growth. And for laborers to work in these white fields.

God bless you all. Love in our Lord,
Paul Zilmer

Missionary Appeal for Margate (South Africa)

The Margate ecclesia is situated on the lower South Coast of KwaZulu– Natal, South Africa. The ecclesia, consisting of five members, has embraced the goals of the 2010 project.

During 2008, as part of the 2010 initiative, two of the members, Brother Nelson and Sister Cecilia Msani and their family, moved into a small cottage attached to the ecclesial hall. In April 2008 a crèche was opened as a means of community outreach and to generate income for the Msani family. Currently ( April 2009 ) there are 10 children registered at the crèche. The crèche is situated within the ecclesial hall.

Also attached to the hall is a small Bible Education Centre from which Brother Nelson runs Bible Correspondence courses.

Brother Nelson has also opened a Sunday School.

Much of these ventures were very new for Nelson and Cecilia and we were blessed in having various brothers and sisters come to Margate at various times during 2008 to help them in the running and development of the crèche, BEC and Sunday school.

What has become apparent during this time is that Nelson and Cecilia need ongoing help on a daily basis. So we are putting out an appeal for a full time missionary couple to come and help in Margate. The couple would need to commit to a period of at least six months full time service. Their role would be to work closely with Nelson and Cecilia on a daily basis to promote the Good News of the Kingdom of God. This would involve helping :

· Nelson conduct and administer Bible correspondence courses
· run Bible seminars
· Nelson with the development of Bible talks
· Nelson to become computer literate
· Cecilia with the crèche children and establishing ongoing links with the crèche parents
· with the Sunday School
· Nelson and Cecilia’s children to grow in the ways of God
· the ecclesia with Bible classes and exhortations

The volunteer couple would also need to have their own accommodation and transport. Very adequate rented accommodation is available near the hall at around R3000 - R 4000 per month.

If you are interested please contact Brother Lucas Scheepers at:

Monday, May 4, 2009

Positive growth

The graph above shows the number of brethren and sisters in South Africa for the past 29 years. It reveals a few interesting trends/facts.
  • For the first time in 29 years the number of Christadelphians in South Africa has surpassed the 500 mark.
  • Since 2005 (shortly after the 2010 campaign got underway) there has been a steady upward climb in the figures.
  • The increase from 2008 to 2009 is the biggest "from-previous-year-increase" in the past 29 years.
It is particularly interesting that the two ecclesias who has shown the most growth (Marianhill and Yeoville) both have the following aspects in common :
  • Taking the Gospel to the people locally and having a permanent presence there.
  • Local brethren/sisters (specially being able to speak the local language) being committed and very active.
  • Living the truth in context of the culture that is prevalent in the area. 
  • A strong emphasis on the "touch and teach" approach with a lot of activities related to reaching out to the communities and the needy additional to more direct preaching efforts. 
We thank our heavenly father for
  • enabling us to preach on such a much broader, practical "hands on" front
  • all the opportunities to reach out to communities
  • the help He has given so that the projects could be established and sustained
  • the wonderful blessing and benefits that has come to us as a community because of our additional preaching methods
  • the growth that has taken place.
We pray that God will continue to bless us with health, strength, pastoral wisdom, opportunities and everyday miracles that we may continue with and enhance the growth path that has now been set in motion. To God be the glory - for indeed "great things He has done!"
Your brother in Christ's service