Since we came to live in Margate at the beginning of November, we have had plenty to thank our heavenly Father for.
The ecclesia here is very supportive of our work and we have had 2 meetings with the whole meeting (which now numbers 9 with us!) to ensure we have their approval for our plans. It is our aim to involve them so we are working as a team to reach out to the local community.
Our Good News Crèche, which provides 10 children from the Masinenge Informal Settlement with free preschool education, had a lovely closing day function, despite a power cut, with many parents attending.
One of our primary goals was to increase the youth activities available from our Good News Centre. The Sunday School has grown from 2 to 9 (400%!) and we had a very successful Kids Club in the first week of the summer holidays, with 25-30 children attending every day. Thanks to Phil and Naomi, who came down from Durban to help. Great friendships were formed at the club, and this helped to fuel our first CYC night which had 12 teens attending to watch a movie & discuss what they wanted from their CYC next year.
We have made links with 2 community projects in the area, which we are hoping to support via the COP Trust in the New Year. The first is Masinenge Informal Settlement community, which runs a soup kitchen for TB/HIV patients, a food garden and a crèche. We observed the soup kitchen, where proper hot meals are handed out to about 35 registered patients (checked by the Community Health Worker). It is very well organised but they are struggling with a camping stove and the new shed donated by a local church cannot be used until some money is found to finish concreting the floor. They would like to offer the patients a place to come and spend time sewing or beading etc, but currently do not have the funds or materials. Their food garden is used to provide vegetables for the soup kitchen but needs more workers to keep the weeds at bay! There are lots of areas we feel we could support these kind-hearted community volunteers.
Brother Nelson and Caz spent an afternoon weeding – the sight of a white lady working in a black person's garden raised a few comments – hopefully the GNOTKOG logo on our T shirts and car were noticed too!
The other project is Usizolwethu Community Development Association, which has recently started a Care Centre for orphaned and abused children, and a crèche. This crèche was started largely to bring some income to the Care Centre, but the teachers are untrained volunteers. The care centre is struggling to pay utility bills and badly needs furniture and training for the caregivers, and advice on approaching commercial organisations for funding. Again we feel that advice and capacity building are key areas we can work on with these people, by sourcing skills development and helping them become a more efficient organisation.
Caz is hoping to start the CUDDLE project, as run with considerable success in Kempton Park, in the New Year, God willing. This will benefit the crèche held in our own Good News Centre as well as numerous other facilities in the area.
Ben is hoping to offer a similar service to primary schools and remedial educational facilities soon. He will start God's Master Plan seminars in January with brother Alastair Clark; we have already had 8 people register their interest.
Please keep these projects in your prayers, and if you know of any donations of 2nd hand goods that can come to Margate, particularly: large cooking pans, children's furniture, clothes and toys, pre-school educational materials, gardening tools – please let us know!!