Wednesday, May 26, 2010

One more crèche upgraded - many more to go :-)

Ruth's crèche (Bambino crèche) is the 6th crèche on the official upgrade list of the CUDDLE project. Soon this list will grow to 12 and after the 4th and 5th crèche courses the list will grow to about 20. We had the wonderful privilege of 5 super volunteers joining us to do a lot of the work we identified when we visited Ruth at her crèche a few weeks ago. Natalie Boardman, Ben and Charlotte Hurn, Roger and Amy Elfenbein and Hendri and Liezl did a fantastic job at painting, cleaning and tidying up two class rooms. they also fitted a ceiling in a third room , painted it and put down a carpet to give Ruth a third classroom. Ruth and her husband was absolutely delighted.

It was very rewarding to see the change our work made to the crèche. Most rewarding however was that Ruth kept on thanking God instead of us as she saw room for room upgraded. She fully believes that God worked a "small miracle" for her through using us. Some of the parents also expressed their delight with the way the crèche looked now. There is SO much work still to be done but we are happy, thankful and deeply touched by what God is doing through us in this community and the love it is spreading around.  

With abiding love from the KMP 2010 team

Monday, May 17, 2010

Changing lives becomes life changing

 "Each one should us whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:10)

How often have you felt that one can do so very little, and have few talents to offer the Lord.  Yet we cannot deny the fact -  we have FEW talents – not NO talents – and we all have DIFFERENT talents that we can develop for God's glory.  Life is ever-changing.  We grow older; our economics change; our relationships change – with families, peers and community; seasons come; seasons go.  And so, in each period of our lives, God will bring our talents to the surface at the proper time and the proper place.  He has so much work for us to do.  Often we feel we must use our talents in a religious context – and yet how often we read of our Master just serving and caring for his community – using every opportunity to give glory to God, and bring people to a knowledge of His Father and His promises.

We are discovering this on a daily basis as we get involved with the community in Tembisa township. 
We were presented with the opportunity to open a pre-school in Tembisa – and we thought "Fantastic – now we can help a few children who would otherwise not be able to go to a pre-school".  God said "No – why just help a few children?  Help 30; Help 200; Help 500.  Become an instrument in my service."  By various ways and means God sent a variety of people across our path – pre-school teachers, young children; leaders in the community, health workers, social workers – and the message was constant "we need education; we need guidance; we need positive interaction and encouragement."  And so – by the time the community centre "Aphiwe" (meaning 'A gift') was complete – we knew what God wanted us to do.  Open a "crèche for crèches."

The benefits have been enormous:
Here was an opportunity to educate the teachers of many formal and informal pre-schools – knowing that this education and guidance would filter down to constructive teaching and interaction for the various learners in their schools.
We were avoiding creating jealousy and favoritism amongst the other pre-schools, as our first-world crèche would have been threatening competition in their community.  Instead now – we have commitment, we work together, we laugh together, we share our goals and concerns.
Teachers and day-carers are popping up everywhere to do the course (as it is within their economic means – and run within their community), and the health care and social workers are using us as a channel to reach these ladies.
Our new approach relieves us from the concern of running, maintaining and financing a pre-school – and its teachers.  The service we offer is manageable, scalable and sustainable and of greater significance.
The various ladies who attend the 6 week pre-school course get to know each other.  They start working together and are learning to present a united front to parents and stand up to pre-schools who are guilty of overcrowding and not actually educating.
The selfless ladies of the crèches are learning to become more resourceful – with their talents, goods and time – and positive about their own abilities.  A little knowledge goes a long way in building self esteem.

And where did it all start?
Sister Jessica Russell put together some lessons ; which were refined and compiled into a manual by Sister Leah Egginton; and then implemented by Sister Leona in Tembisa.  3 different talents (caring, administrative, educating) over a period of 2 years - resulted in something that is having a major impact in Tembisa.  And it doesn't stop with the educating.  The CUDDLE project then kicks in.  We move into the community.  We show we "walk and act the talk".  Many pre-schools get donations of paint and wood – but they do not have the time, equipment or know-how to do something with it all.  So . . . we paint, we put up shelves, we clean-up, we decorate, we fix equipment, we redo posters, we sing while we work – we use talents that exist in many people just by virtue of their "first-world" background.

And where does it all lead?
            Each crèche course lesson opens and closes with prayer.  We, as presenters, are seen as being religious – and selfless with our time.  Questions are asked – opportunities arise to spread the Good News.
            Various crèches request us to lead classes in their individual crèches – and we do these with various volunteers – using the Bible as a basis for the lesson.
            We have become known for our honesty and commitment.  We are trusted.  Parents are sending their children to Sunday School; Adults are attending Bible study classes; People are signing up for the Bible correspondence course; leaders in various suburbs are asking us to come lead "Saturday Bible Studies" for teenagers and young people.
            The township in which we are active is noticing that Christadelphian volunteers are also actively contributing to the well-being of those in need. We are no longer "just another church meeting on Sundays somewhere."
            More opportunities for informal preaching present themselves daily as we come into contact with school groups; youth groups, the community (both old and young) who want to work with us to give life skill lessons and assistance to those in need.

Here in South Africa we live in a land with many contrasts and many opportunities.  As long as there are rich and poor; the knowledgeable and illiterate; the widow; the fatherless – Micah 6:8 will apply till our Lord returns to set up his Kingdom.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

With abiding love
2010 Team in Kempton Park

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 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

new wheelchairs coming soon...

Annie also did some wheelchair assessments while she was here. The kids desperately need new wheelchairs, they are way too small or way too big or way broken. Newbury ecclesia have donated some money for new chairs and the money raised from the happys website

is also going to new chairs.

but we still don't have enough money...we need 32 new chairs and 7 have to be specially assessed.

There is now a sister at the school. Nozipho...She got baptised on sunday and needs an electric wheelchair. She has rhumatoid artharitis and is unable to move her arms or legs. She is fully dependant on her friends at the school for getting around and feeding her, changing her etc. She is very bright and hopes to go to uni next year, she is worried about where she will live as she needs a carer. An electric wheelchair would give her so much freedom that she used to have before she got rhumatoid artharitis. So we plan to fundraise for this space! dontations welcome...

Sister Nozipho

Got my new shoes on

Esther absons mum annie is over here for 2 weeks (she's a physio) and has managed to bring over 24 pairs of special boots to help the kids walk. The trouble was every kid wanted a new pair of shoes! Apart from one girl that annie fitted, who wouldnt stop complaining and then as soon as our backs were turned she took them off. ha! There were some especially amazing pink pairs which the kids loved and we had to convince the teachers to let them wear them to school.

Annie with 2 suitcases full of special shoes!!!



This guy got my favourite pair of boots!!!!


On the same day anna, jess and allanah also brightened up the dull cell like corridoors with an awesome murel for the library:

This has inspired me to do murels ALL over the school. quite literally. im very excited by the idea.

Iv also had the vision to take some of the kids swimming, which would be amazing for them and very therapeutic. A couple of weeks after id been thinking about it esther mentioned her mum was coming over and did hydrotherapy. hallelujah! God really does send the right people at the right time! Esther and i prepared by hunting out some outdoor swimming pools and making sure they had disabled access, good changing room facilities and a hoist for getting them into the pool. But it turns out there are many issues with taking physically disabled people swimming, and its a good job esthers mum was here to point them out...Each child had to be assessed and a decision had to be made weather they could go in the pool or not. It also turns out that all the pools we found were too cold. they had to be around 30 ideally, otherwise it would be counter productive, their muscles would tense up and it can make their joints painful and also with not much movement in the pool we would all get very cold quickly! We hunted and hunted for pools indoors but they just don't exist in durban! We found 2. a public pool which has been bought by fifa for the world cup use so thats not open to the public and the other onewas in a gym up 2 flights of stairs, hardly suitable when all the students are in wheelchairs! The search is still on but it looks like our best bet is to wait till the football is over so we can use the public pool and when annie is back in september! :-(

Monday, May 10, 2010

Congolese meeting growing in Pretoria.

God has blessed us with wonderful new developments in the Congolese meeting in Pretoria. The brethren have shown great initiative in getting a place where we can meet every Sunday. They have also invited quite a few friends to come and join their Bible studies and the meeting on Sunday afternoons. This Sunday (9 May) we had 14 people at the meeting. We were eight brethren and sisters and six interested friends and students. Two of the students in particular are studying with the focus being on preparation for baptism. 
With abiding love.
2010 Team in Kempton Park

Wednesday Night Bible Class in Tembisa

Our Wednesday Night Bible Class at the Aphiwe center in Tembisa started last week the 5th of May. We had three visitors and they enjoyed the Bible class. One of the ladies (Mollie) is a crèche teacher that got to know us through the CUDDLE project. The young gentleman (Lota) attended the Bible classes when they were held in Kempton Park at the first BEC. Aphiwe is close to where he lives so it is easy for him to attend. All three of them stated that they will be telling and inviting friends to come next week

We also had two other people stopping at the Aphiwe center during the week enquiring about the Wednesday night Bible classes and indicating that they intended to join us this coming Wednesday. We are exited as to the potential the center has as a very suitable venue to increase the number of people that will regularly join us for Bible study.

With abiding love
2010 team Kempton Park

Sunday, May 2, 2010

touch THEN teach

Last week we built a jungle jim at a random creshe in marianhill township. I wasnt sure why the whole time we were doing it or how anyone had come into contact with the creshe to give us the go ahead with this. The whole team only found out we were doing this at 10pm the night before we were to do it. it was a bit crazy.
On the same plot of land there is a tiny wooden shed, a "tuck shop". The man who owns this helped us out with building it. He couldnt understand why we were doing this. The only reason we were doing it was because of God. We were trying to give some of christs love back. The man was called Lindo. We told him we had a church down the road and he said he would come on sunday. Now over here in SA when you hand out a flyer EVERYBODY says they will come weather its handing a flyer out for church or for advertising the bible shop we have in town or whatever. The response is always "ill come" "ill be there". But they never are, they never do. Lindo tells us "He will come".
But he did come! and he came the week after that! And he came the week after that too! He wants to know. Whats this space...