Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First Sunday School at the new Aphiwe community center

For almost 3 years now we have been building a relationship with 22 children from a suburb in Tembisa called Essellen Park. Faithfully they have attended Sunday School, youth camps and day outings.  Now came the test.  We were always doing the fetching and dropping off – so it was easy – just wait at a certain spot for the GNOTKOG volunteer – and you would have an outing, a treat, and a meal.  Now it was going to change.  After prayer and deliberation it was decided to move Sunday School to Aphiwe in Tembisa.  This meant that the children from Essellen Park now had a 20 minute walk (no more fetching and carrying) – and it wasn’t an outing to town (so to say) anymore.  And we had moved Sunday School to 8h30 – a whole hour earlier.  Just how many were going to make the effort, we wondered?

What a joyful sight met our eyes on Sunday morning.  It was 8h20 – and already there were already 20 children playing soccer in the street in front of Aphiwe – waiting for us to arrive!  Brother Andrew and Sister Otilia had set up the hall, and so we could quickly offer each child a cup of soup (winter has crept into our doors up here in Gauteng – and it is round about 10 Celsius at this time of the morning).  Most children would only have had a slice of bread or a fruit for breakfast – so this is only a small way of trying to nourish them – both physically and then spiritually.

Singing got going with gusto – and before we knew it there were 34 children in the hall.  What a vibe, what excitement, what a noise (a joyful noise?).  Lucas did a study with 6 young people (ages 15 to 18) in the side room, while Sister Leona and Brother Itayi did a study on “the Lord is my Shepherd” with an audience varying in age, languages and genders.  Quite a challenge.  Try and lead a simple Bible story where more than half the children do not know what a lamb is (became a baby-sheep); never heard of a wolf (became a lion-dog); cannot visualize a sheep-pen, shepherds crook, mountains . . . as I said “quite a challenge”.  We take so much for granted in the first world – and just our everyday exposure and experiences builds up a vast reservoir of knowledge that does not exist in the township kids.  But Itayi got the children involved and participating with great enthusiasm – drawing many word pictures.  The main lesson was understood – and one that many of these children would cling to – Jesus is always there – ready to love, protect and care for you.  Daily you might go hungry, get cold, be abused – but God has promised, and will deliver, a better world – where there will not be pain, hunger or fear. 

Sister Otilia was a true “Martha”.  While we gave class she got all the practical work ready (they all made a sheep) and some fruit and juice for tea-time.  Too soon it was 9h30 and we had to tidy up, lock up and rush back to town to attend the memorial meeting – starting at 10h00.  All rush, rush, rush – but what a way to start a day! 

Enjoying all God's wonderful blessings
2010 Team Kempton Park 

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