Friday, November 27, 2009

Don't blink! Amazing things are happening here in South Africa!

Mat and I had an amazing day at the Mason Lincoln school for the disabled (aka Happy's school).
We had a delivery of 4 more wheelchairs (5 last week) and also spent about 5 hours repairing existing wheelchairs for many students. Mat, myself and the Happy's school maintenance men got to learn many things about maintaining wheelchairs, as Thula was teaching us right on the spot!

This is Thula. His Zulu name comes from being a loud baby and his mom wanted him to be quiet. Thula means "be quiet" in Zulu. We discussed if this shouldn't be my new Zulu name. I think he liked the idea. Hmmmm....
Thula is an amazing gentleman who sells wheelchairs. He not only sells the chairs, but he also decided to help us repair many of the chairs that we already have, many in poor condition. I really enjoyed working with Thula as he clearly is passionate about getting to help people, especially the disabled kids!

We not only got new wheelchairs, but the following picture is of old wheelchairs which we were able to use. We found wheelchairs in a state of disrepair, and we patched together several good chairs from the myriad of broken chairs. Thula taught us much about wheelchair repair, and you can also see several of the school's maintenance men working (in the back corner) with us to assemble usable chairs. Most excellent!

In this picture, Mat and I are repairing the brakes on one of the wheelchairs. Mat says "It's amazing how many parts of the wheelchair can be fixed with a hammer and a good 'whack'"! How true it is Mat, how true it is!

I love this picture. What you see here is a wheelchair that has had the following:
1. New back cushion
2. New seat cushion
3. New wheels
4. Adjusted brakes
5. Seat brackets
6. Oil and Lube and new windshield wipers...

(Just kidding on the O&L)

Look closely to see if you can spot the custom "Spoon holder"

It's amazing the difference this makes in the usability of the chairs. Prior to the change, these seats were wired to the frame and the brackets were broken. This means the young person had seats that moved back and forth, and wire rubbing against flesh. Not pleasant at all...Also the tires were torn up and not in-round, which means the chair wasn't smooth when rolling. Not even pleasant...

And here is Thandika, who has just gone from a full-size wheelchair that is clearly too large and uncomfortable for her, to a smaller wheelchair that is just her size. The smile says it all!

It is also notable that Thandika is also one of the students of the Happy's Bible class that meets twice weekly, and is always in attendance when we are able to get the Happy's students to one of our youth weekends!

It is so amazing to be able to help others in this fashion. There is nothing quite contributing in a way that is real and effects immediate change in the welfare of others, especially when it is truly appreciated.

Thank you for your sharing in our efforts and God Bless you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wow, so much has happened in the past couple of weeks!

Let’s start at the beginning.


There was encouraging news from Pietermaritzburg that they wanted to get involved with the 2010 activities. So we sent a team down to do a praise and worship morning – following the same formula as Margate. On the Friday, we went up to hand out leaflets in the mall with Bill, Justice and Zai. We had a good response and promised to go to the Grange – the local township – to pick people up the following morning.
Saturday morning was a success and the hall was the perfect setting for the audience of around 35 people!


We love Candu! So we arrived in Candu unannounced late on Saturday night!! Oops.
No worries though. Templeton and family gave us a really warm welcome and put us straight to work the following morning. People were picked up from literally miles around for the meeting and Mat gave an exhortation to a full hall.
Then in the evening we went to have another breaking of bread with three sisters out in THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! It was such a brilliant evening! It was lovely to know that even in what feels like one of the most remote parts of the world we can come together to share fellowship with people who have the same faith and the same amazing hope as us.

There are some crazy life stories in that place!
We stayed for a few days and were kept busy helping out with the crèche and fixing a hose from one of the water tanks so Templeton could water his vegetable patch! It was so good to be there to spend time with Templeton and his family…especially his son Siyanda who spoke to us about his plans for baptism!


Mariannhill Gospel Choir concert has been a highlight of this past week. The 2010 team came together with members of the Mariannhill ecclesia to spread the word of the concert. Led by the amazingly enthusiastic choirmaster, Mdu, the choir put on a brilliant show to an audience of 90 adults and around the same number of children.
The Centre was buzzing with energy! Everyone felt that the concert was a huge success and we have high hopes that now people know we are there it will increasingly become a central focus for the local residents as we open it up as a community centre.

Workshop Concert

Phew. So we’ve finally reached yesterday. We booked out the Workshop – an open air space in town by a busy shopping centre and market. We all headed down there for the afternoon to sing songs and hand out leaflets. It’s the perfect place to advertise the BEC, being only a two minute walk away. It was definitely worthwhile, we got some good audience participation in ‘Walk in the light’ and about 7 people signed up for the God’s Master Plan course!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Durban BEC graduation

Saturday was an Amazing day! We hosted a BEC graduation in Durban and about 30 students showed up with Family and Friends to receive their certificates for the classes they had completed. The graduates and their guests enjoyed a motivational Bible talk by Barry Van Heerden and shared a tea and cake fellowship directly after the ceremony. But wait, we aren't done yet ;-)! There are an additional 60 certificates that haven't been handed out because some graduates were not able to attend. Many of these students will come in to the BEC to receive their certificate. This will provide more great opportunities to share their successes and encourage them on to greater studies and additional correspondence courses. It is absolutely amazing to go through this journey with these students as we study the Bible together and come to learn the promises and hope that are written in the pages of God's Word! It is also SO inspiring to see the excitement that these students have when they begin discovering that the truth of God's word is something they can connect with and that is within their ability to understand.

There's very little that compares with the enthusiasm of a new student, especially one that has counted themselves as "Christian" most of their lives, who begin the correspondence courses and have the Word of God come to life for themselves!

Praise God!

Friday, November 6, 2009

How many people can you fit in a Bucki?

Last week was another amazing testament to God's providence in supporting all our 2010 endevours.

On Wednesday morning we sat down to hit the Yellow Pages to find somewhere that was willing to donate a few tyres. We are going to build a retaining wall at a creche in Mariannhill and create an obstacle course for the kids at the Good News Centre there!

The FIRST place we called gave us 400 tyres...AND THEY DELIVER!!
It was a result we were not expecting on our first attempt. So we kept going...
The next place we rang was a shoe shop. WEe needed shoe boxes to put Christmas presents in for the creche kids. They said they could give us 40-50 PER DAY!

Thanks be to God...And of course, Christy's 'seriously' good telephone skills!

The highlight of the week however, was our trip to Margate. We headed down there on Thursday morning to have Bible class with Nelson, Alistair and Eddie. Mat talked about Moses and did hand-outs complete with beautiful illustrations of the staff turning into a snake!

After dinner at the Waffle House we planned a Praise and Worship morning for Saturday. We went out into the nearby township and to the local mall to hand out leaflets and invite as many people as we could.

There was a brilliant response and on Saturday morning...after a few trips to pick people up from the township...there were 45 people ready to sing praise to God!
The following morning we wet again to pick people up and were so excited to see how many people wanted to come back. The hall was full with 60 people joining us for the Sunday service...There wasn't a spare seat in the house!

It was a fantastic feeling to see everyone there and to see Nelson grinning as he translated the parable that the guys acted out for the exhortation!

It was an uplifting and encouraging weekend for us all and we are determined to go back to Margate more often to sustain the interest there!

So watch this space...