Monday, November 22, 2010

Mariannhill skills course

Phil, Adam and i are running a skills course in the church in Mariannhill township. The idea of it is to provide the unemployed will skills so that they can be self employed. Its a 4 week course, one day a week. Phil is teaching a group how to screen print, Adam is teaching how to make earrings and im teaching them how to make greetings cards. At the end of the 4 weeks we are taking the products they have made (along with them) to the craft market to sell what they have made. This then we hopefully show them how its done and how easy it is! They must then go out themselves and find shops to sell their products etc and we will do a follow up after 2 weeks to see how they are getting on or any problems they might be having. Its quite exciting!

Incase your wondering GPFTF stands for "Gods plan for the future". Its a class been set up in recognition that there isnt any support for the newly baptised or interested contacts. Its every saturday morning. It was run by David white and Ben topham - wise brothers. They have both now left as have all the other volunteers so this week i volunteered to lead it. I had been the previous week and led the first 20 mins as cam wasnt around, and it was really enjoyable! I arrived this week to see 3 new faces, bongani, pilile and bekka, of whom had come as a result of being drawn into the bible education centre because a bunch of us were singing zulu songs outside the shop. Kwanda had told them about the class on saturday morning and they came! So that was awesome to see. We sit in a group around a table and this week we looked at a bunch of verses about the ressurection of the dead and the idea that christ is coming TO the earth and the dead shall be raised, which then gives a good basis for not believing in heaven when we die. To be honest it was quite intimidating at first, there were 5 people older than me by a good few years and from a different culture and every sentence i said i just hoped that they would agree and come to the same understanding from what we had just read, and didnt have any wierd traditional or cultural views on the matter! Im 23, i hardly have a wealth of experience in teaching! But my strength isn't my own, my strength comes from Christ who fills me up and helps me, its from him i was able to teach!

God moments

Monday: I had a list of things to do...the kind of list that could go very wrong and take a long time to get everything sorted. But God WAS with us and it was so evident.

The day started with going to the visa office to see what the requirements were to extend our visa. The car park was the tiniest ever, and the place itself was really busy, and it was the centre of town, but there was ONE car park spot left and we got it. There was no where else to park within a mile radius because it was on a main road so we were bless with that one. Then I expected to stand in line for a couple of hours waiting to see someone to ask what the requirements were. As soon as I walked in there was a lady standing there just waiting to speak to me. She handed me a piece of paper with the requirements on and a form. Basically I just need to fill in the form and hand them a bit of money. Again, I was expecting to have to provide medical reports, police reports etc so I was in and out within 10 minutes!

Ten we had to find a Pharmacy in town because I had to buy a wheelchair - which is a story in itself. To cut it short, I felt moved by the Spirit to go and speak to a man whilst there was a group of us singing in a hospital ward. I always find it a bit hard to speak to the men in the hospital - its not one of my greatest talents as I don't really know what to say. But God lead me there because this man needed something that he couldn't provide for himself. He was discharged from hospital but couldn't go home because he needed a wheelchair. It just so happened that we had some surplus money from fundraising, money that we could buy this wheelchair with. So we were driving through the busy streets of Durban and we found the Pharmacy without getting lost. AND there was one car parking spot right outside the doorway of the shop! in the middle of Durban! This is rare. I was expecting to have to order a wheelchair, but again, God was with us. We just bought one there and then, as easy as buying a tin of beans. And it was affordable! The guy brought the wheelchair in the box down for me and asked where the car was parked. HA! Right outside the door...

I was just so amazed at how smooth everything went that morning. It felt that we were doing the right things that God wanted us to do and so He was with us and made everything run smoothly.


Lamontville Holiday Club July 2010 from the Beeler family

Lamontville Holiday Club July 2010

The kids and I were privileged to spend time during the World Cup school holidays at the Lamontville Good News Centre.  Africaid was hosting the local kids to come each day and have a meal, do some activities and play some football (not the American kind!)  The team of volunteers put together a great program using soccer as the core guide to teach biblical principles.  Concepts like sizing up your opponent (battling sin), relying on your team (fellowship), training (perseverence), having goals (the kingdom!), etc.  A sponsor had even provided satellite tv for the community so that they could watch the World Cup games on tv.  
Each day the kids would have their face painted and join a team.  The team would stay together throughout the day's activities.   These kids were great!
We learned many new songs and zulu hymns  
 and lots of World Cup facts during trivia games..
and some smooth soccer moves...
Each day we would walk down to the fields through the local neighborhood.  Even though I had been at the Lamontville Good News Centre many times, I had never been around to the local homes.  It was quite an experience.  As we walked down the hill we would pass the gogos (grannies) doing the washing.  In the photo above on the left is the communal shower behind the white door.  The trail past the wood, cardboard and tin roofed homes was littered with an array of food wrappers, bottle caps, plastic bags and the like.  Electricity lines were illegally split off and dangerously attached to houses.  I almost ran into one with my head.  As I curiously peered into the open doorways we passed by, I was amazed at how tidy and spotless the rooms were.  I wish I would have asked to take a photo.   
These boys had made up their own game with bottle caps.

Here is the view from the bottom of the hill.
At the fields ready to play soccer!
This little one was worn out after the walk!
Spending these days in the township taught me a lot.  It taught me that I can't go on Sunday for 2 hours and expect to understand this community.  To truly know a people, we must experience their lives, their struggles and their needs.  These kids are braver and more knowledgeable about life than I'll ever be!  I learned to put aside some of my fears and trust in God's protection as we walked through their neighborhood.  Thank you Lord for this experience!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Good News of the Kingdom of God to Clermont

 We are bringing the Good News of the Kingdom of God to a township called Clermont. We were directed there by God and are continually being made aware of his presence and interest in the area. One of the ways we are trying to preach the Kingdom of God is by simply sharing coffee with the community. This has ordinarily taken the format of opening up the room we rent and going to find people who want a drink to then bringing them to our room for them to share time together in the hope that they will realize we are interested and care for them. This week we realized that this whole process could be made far more simple and effective by taking a table and some chairs down to the road and offer drinks and biscuits to whoever passed by. This is evidence of the fact that sometimes you have to think outside the box.. or hall in this case
- Phil Ashcroft

Clermont Wall-Verse Painting

God taught me a very basic lesson this past week when Dani and myself set out to paint verses on any walls we could find in the Clermont area. We set out on foot and began asking every person that had a fairly big wall if we could paint a verse on it. The main problem was that the people who were at the houses at that time were not the owners but the renters and of course they all said it would be fine, but we weren’t too sure of this. So instead of lugging our paint & brushes around on foot, we got in the car and drove around Clermont. After 40 something houses and 1 hour had gone by, we went back to the main Clermont church building and low and behold the very house next to it was just too delighted for us to paint a verse on their house! It just goes to show that sometimes the people in need are right next to us and we pass them by because we’re so busy looking out ‘there’.

- Christie Beyers

New Wheelchairs at Happys!

Friday 22nd October, finally we see the result of months of hard work and effort of fund raising as we arrive at Happys to meet thula, our wheelchair supplier. God had also helped organize the day for us too, when we arrived the entire school were together in an organised assembly sort of way (a very rare thing) and there was a company there (im not really sure what they were promoting) with an entire PA system which gave us a platform for presenting the wheelchairs and turned it into a ceremony. It couldn't have worked out any better! thank you God!

The state of some of the wheelchairs were just not worth thinking about, ripped seats, ripped back rests which meant thy had no back support, broken wheels, no foot plates so they had no where to rest their feet, they really were disgusting! But there was nothing more joyful to see them lifting themselves out of these wheelchairs and into a brand new one whilst the urban beats were pumping out the speakers and the other students were cheering at the joy of their friends.

Nozipho also recieved her electric wheelchair and almost lost her hearing at the same time through the amount of screaming and clapping. Thula lifted her out her chair and into her new one and showed her how to work her new chair. Understandably she was incredibly nervous at using it for the first time as she was centre of attention in front of the entire school including the teachers "Hamba, hamba" they were all screaming at her (which means go). For the first time since she was 15 (shes now 29) she was able to move for herself, to get to where she wanted to on her own, what an incredible thing! She also has leg rests, before people would accidently knock her legs and she couldn't do anything about it.

It was such a beautiful day and i feel very blessed to have been a part of it and witnessing their joy as they received their new chairs. I know that they are very thankful! 15 chairs were delivered in total and there is still more money coming in to buy a couple more!
Tomorrow Thula is coming back to start and fix the 18 chairs that can be fixed...

Clean up morning at Clermont

Last week we had a ‘clean-up’ morning at Clermont – the grounds outside of the building in which we meet always tends to be covered with litter and broken glass – despite Team Duma installing an enormous (and very brightly coloured) bin by the building. The weather was awful – it was rainy and cold – but we cracked on with it and before long, things were already looking better. 

As always, there were a few of the younger children hanging around and playing games together (one of which involved walking round in circles in 3’s with their arms linked round each others shoulders, the objective of which is still not clear to me). Soon, the children abandoned their games and started copying us and picking up litter as well! It made me realise that we as volunteers/Sunday school teachers/friends, or in whatever form we are seen by the people we come into contact with, are important role models – especially to the children. It is our responsibility not only to show God’s love through our behaviour and actions but also to teach and encourage. These are always things that we know we should be doing anyway, but it’s always more powerful to experience that realisation first hand! 

Esther Abson 

A trip to the movies

I thought I’d write a short blog to update everyone about the after school club that we’ve been running every Wednesday at Clermont for several months now. It’s been a hit with the kids right from the start and we regularly have 20+ attendees. We also get a lot of the same kids that come to Sunday school. They really look forward to it and we see the same faces week after week. We’ve run various activities from craft activities (e.g. bead lizards) and cake baking to juggling and party games. Wherever we can we try and work in some kind of Biblical slant to the activity although we try not to overdo it as it’s meant to be a break from school.

Last week we decided to have a movie day. We managed to procure a white sheet, projector and a set of speakers so we could project the movie on the wall just like a real cinema. We even handed out popcorn to all the kids! It was a perfect day for a movie as it was rather damp outside and by the end of the movie around 50 kids had trickled in (word spreads fast when something exciting is happening in the township!). If they all come back next week then we’re going to be very busy!
- Adam Brooker