Monday, February 22, 2010

CUDDLE project - Weekly Bible Classes for the little ones at Zelda's crèche

Liezl and Hendri gives a Bible class for Zelda's pre-school children on a weekly basis. The children love it and it is great fun while the children learn valuable lessons from Bible stories. It is very encouraging that quite a few of the ladies who attend the crèche course have requested that we come and give Bible classes at their crèches on a regular basis. We have 5 crèches on the request list at the moment and it will grow as the crèche course is given to more teachers. We thank God for this wonderful opportunity that is growing where we can be actively involved in teaching the children about his word.

Crèche course in Tembisa - 3rd week and still on 100% attendance.

We are into our third week of the crèche course. All 37 ladies turned up again making it a 100% attendance for three weeks in a row. And they were all 15 minutes early. It is also wonderful that the ladies have asked Leona to open and close the sessions in prayer. This has given Leona much more opportunities to use scripture as examples in her teaching. The practical work for this week was to show how easily one can use throw-away material to make teaching objects at no cost or at very little expense. Making a spider out of egg holders and paper proved a little more challenging to some of the teachers that we thought but is was all great fun.
The course is getting a good reputation via word of mount in Tembisa. We already have 116 ladies officially registered for the next courses which will follow in April, God willing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We Candu it

Five of us volunteers (Tim, Ben, Roxy, Katie and Ellie) just went on a week-long road trip to visit our brothers and sisters in the Eastern Cape. It was an awesome experience.

Aiming for Candu, we got a little bit lost in the rural wilderness and without knowing a word of Xhosa we decided it was high-time that we prayed. Thankfully and amazingly God led us to a shepherd (of all people) to guide us to our first destination: Candu.

Local brother and sister, Templeton and Dorothy gave us a warm welcome and they soon showed us what needed doing on site. The general maintenance list included: painting walls, fixing up the toilets, the showers and the electrics and giving the jungle gym a new lease of life. There were some simple fixes (namely: flipping a switch or changing a light bulb) which made us appear like superheroes in Templeton’s eyes. We couldn’t take all the glory so we came clean: no we didn’t rewire the whole electrics; we simply changed a light bulb etc. Nevertheless we were happy to help where we could.

Some of the highlights of our time in Candu included witnessing an epic rain and hail storm. Apparently Candu hasn’t seen rain like it in twenty years. Templeton was rejoicing as his prayers for water had been answered. The lightning continued throughout the distant valleys for hours following and we stood awestruck by God’s mighty power.

Another magic moment in Candu was talking to Siyanda (Templeton’s youngest son) about his wish to be baptised and follow Jesus. Praise God! We were so excited to hear this news that we wanted to plunge him in the rainwater there and then, but we had to hold-back as Siyanda wishes to wait to share his baptism with all of his friends at the Easter gathering soon God willing.

Finally, another memorable moment in Candu was being welcomed into the home of a family who were grieving the recent death of their young son. It was a very moving experience to share God’s hope with those that need it the most: the broken hearted. Templeton identified this as a great preaching opportunity, especially seeing as its Xhosa custom to provide comfort in the homes of the grieved. In an area which is rooted in the folklore of their ancestors, we pray that Templeton’s efforts to share the gospel of peace will touch hearts.

Next up, P.E. Brother Mike and Vanessa made us feel right at home and after some much needed post-Candu showering, we led a Bible class discussion on “thankfulness”.The conclusion: even in times of trial we can be thankful for life itself- Every breath is a gift from God!

We also enjoyed having some quality time with Luzoko, the only young brother in P.E who is largely responsible for the BEC. It was clear to see that P.E could really benefit from the power of prayer and the energies of more people (P2P volunteers and ecclesial members) to get things moving. The BEC is in an ideal location, bordering on a number of townships. The potential for outreach is huge.

After P.E, we roadtripped back to KwaZulu-Natal to meet with some more volunteers (Jude, Julie, Phil and Nay) plus those from Margate eccelsia. A good handful of people joined us on the edge of the Oribi Gorge, including our five Wild 5 friends, to sing praises and learn more about God. What breathtaking surroundings! Last up, we had a great praise and worship session the following morning with lots of people from the local settlement and our newfound friends from the Mugg and Bean restaurant. God is working so let’s continue to put things to prayer!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

*Valentines special*

For the fourth time, I saw the same small forearm find its way 50cm from my eyeballs. “It came off again” she says. I apply the henna pattern again to her arm and tell her once more it is wet and she must not touch it until it has dried.
         Last minute cancellations sparked an idea for a relaxation spa day at ‘Happy’s’ for the girls, a day where we could show we cared for them.
         There was music blasting out (mainly beyonce as requested) coupled with matching voices, feet flailing in the air waiting to be washed, hands being massaged, a crowd around the nail polish table blocking the passage way making it impossible for anyone wanting to get through and crazy requests for henna including African names I could not spell!
         Bookmarks were made the evening before with bible verses on which were given out.
         It was a Saturday, the day before valentines day, a day normally spent lolling around or socializing on beds. So our surprise spa day was really appreciated. One of the girls said “It is good that you show your love in this way” which is exactly what we wanted them to know. They come from a culture which is not always accepting of disability so we want them to know that they are worth caring about as a child, as a black person, as a disabled person and to have the feeling of being pampered and the feeling of being a lady.
“ People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care”

Bible verse bookmarks

Lamlile showing off some henna
Ellie and laura painting nails
Julie and katie washing hands and massaging feet

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Street Fun with Kids in Esselen Park

Once a month, the Kempton Park preaching team holds a “Street Fun” event on Saturday mornings with the kids in Esselen Park. We select a low-traffic street near where the KINOS (Kids In Need Of Support) from our ecclesial Sunday School class live and invite them and all their friends to join us for fun and games in the street. Yesterday, 70 children showed up and we had a great time together with tug-of-war, sack races, pig-in-the-pen dodgeball, three-man plank racing, soccer, and jump rope. Sis. Liezl, Sis. Lilande, and Sis. Megan provided face painting for the children and we closed by singing praise songs together and giving them a snack to eat.

This type of event offers us an opportunity to spend time with the 30 children in our Sunday School class outside of a bible study setting having a good time together. It also allows them to show their friends that Christadelphians are fun people to be with. Working directly in the neighborhoods of the townships help show the children that we care about them and it helps integrate our preaching work with the community. This community involvement will become even more valuable as the new Aphiwe Community Centre opens in a few weeks there in Tembisa. There is also the potential this could become an ecclesial meeting hall someday with enough interest from the community in bible truth.

70 children showed up for our second “Street Fun Event” in Esselen Park.

The children all had a great time playing games with the Kempton Park preaching team and their friends.

The sack races were a big hit with the kids.

Bro. Lucas Scheepers cheers on one boy who is airborne in his sack.

Games in the street like this offer the opportunity to integrate with the community to build trust for preaching efforts.

Sis. Liezl Scheepers and Sis. Lilande Scheepers provided face painting for the children.

Sis. Megan Sabo paints a heart on one little girl’s face.

One little boy proudly displaying his face paint.

Bro. Lucas Scheepers joining in on the tug-of-war match.

We passed out several bottles for the kids to blow bubbles.

I felt like a human amusement park ride. The kids were quite content to get carried around the street by the tall American.

The boys were naturals at the three-person-plank races.

The girls had the jump rope down pat!

From right: Bro. Hendri Viljoen, Sis. Liezl Scheepers, Sis. Lilande Scheepers, and Bro. Lucas Scheepers lead the children in singing praise hymns.

The children munch on a snack as we close out the Street Fun Event.

Sis. Lilande Scheepers poses with some of the children from the Street Fun Event.

Your brother in Christ's service,
Bro. Jonathan Sabo - Kempton Park, South Africa Ecclesia

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Durban P2P Jan 2010 : Team Ruth

Wow! What a fortnight. We’ve had such an amazing time here, coming together from all over the world for one purpose: to learn more about our awesome God and share our hope with others. Allow me to introduce ourselves - We are “Team Ruth”(cue the Dad jokes “Are you Ruthless?” etc ): Steve and Jess Russell  and Ben and Roxy Topham from Oz; Jude Norcross, Julie Machacek, Tim Morse and Ellie Bilton from the UK; Katie Schlageter from the States; Steve Le Duke  from Canada and, of course,  our honourary team members - Kwanda Mzulwlini and Christy Beyers from South Africa.

It all began at Mariannhill. The word was out that a Kingdom Youth Soccer match was about to begin and so we were soon bombarded with energetic kids from all over the township. We had fun running off some steam with them teaching some Bible principles: focus on the goal of the Kingdom, run with endurance and work together. Stumbling through the long grass our next project suddenly became clear: to blitz the playing field with weed whackers.

In typical African style we hired out some weed whackers with no health and safety guidance and started flogging the field barefoot and without ear or eye protection. Two days later, our ears were ringing and we were all grassed out. Thankfully, lots of people from the community took an interest in what was happening and reached for the rakes themselves to get amongst the grass. God blessed us with hard workers and opportunities to talk to new people about The Good News.

Next up, Happy’s. We foolishly told Happy we’d re-vamp all the bathrooms in the girls and boys dormitories in the space of a day, thinking that only a lick of paint was needed. Our hearts sank when we saw the true state of the bathrooms and thought about what the kids have to live with day in day out: mould, peeling plaster and the stench of urine. We soon realised that this was to become an epic project in need of some good financial backing (donations very welcome people!). Despite the setback, we had some good quality time painting, singing and dancing with the kids at Happy’s.

If in doubt, sing and dance. Wherever God guided us and whatever time we had to fill, songs and dance always saved the day . At both the Mariannill and Lamontville Holiday clubs (think 80 hyperactive kids battling over hotdogs) dancing really unified us. Similarly at Margate’s Praise and Worship evening, dancing served as an awesome ice-breaker with some people we’d only just met. God richly provided us with many people from the local area: namely, the local township and Oribi Gorge (Yes, The Extreme Five boys) so thankfully, all our billing and talking felt incredibly worthwhile.

Above all, the best thing about the whole P2P was gathering together at the end of each day to reflect upon our “magic moments”: times that made us laugh or things that touched our hearts and made us simply stand still in awe- “wow God” moments. It was a great team bonding exercise and it made us feel so thankful for all the experieces we'd shared together everyday.

One beautiful moment was seeing the faces of the kids at Happy’s light up as they watched the dolphins leap at uShaka aquarium and knowing that one day, by God’s grace, they will also be leaping and no longer bound to their wheelchairs and crutches. Another key moment was  witnessing Steve Le Duke’s refreshingly uninhibited faith - going into places where many white South African wouldn’t  dream of venturing (Durban taxis and shacks in townships). Finally, the opportunity to simply work together as one family; assembled by God. Who else could have brought together so many different people from different countries for one fortnight of crazy-beautiful life-changing stuff? God has made everything beautiful in it’s time and we just pray that He continues to guide us and bind us wherever we are.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Apihwe Good News centre in progress

The COP Trust's newest project is now well underway. A house is being modified to serve as a community center where a  pre-school will function, Bible education and life skill courses will be given and various other outreach activities will be provided. We will keep the blog updated with the progress and as to when the launch will happen. God has blessed the progress thus far and we pray that He will continue to work with us to bring the good news to the community in a variety of ways.
With abiding love.
The 2010 team in Kempton Park