Wednesday, October 20, 2010

News from Durban

The fundraising dinner done by P2P groups at Bethel was to raise funds for Brethren and Sisters coming to the International Family Bible Conference.  Loads of fun was had by all, both in preparation and at the dinner itself.  It was a great opportunity to show love for God and each other -  not to mention a great preaching opportunity as some of the verses put up in the toilets had far reaching effects on visitors and family members alike.
The décor was very different to our normal dinners but an amazing tribute to what team work can do

 We are currently working with Happy's school and Wentworth Hospital to make special molded chair seats for those who need them.  Sis Annie Abson has been invaluable in this process and we hope to have the molded chairs before Christmas.  Here are a few photos taken on our first trip to Wentworth to meet with Technicians' that mold the chairs

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A typicalish week in Durban

It is typicalish in that this is Africa and thankfully nothing is set in stone. This last week in Durban, along with every other week, has had its fair share of ‘God moments’ and special times as well as the odd challenge. It is also my last week in Durban so savoring every moment was my theme for the week. With many of the P2P people gone and a few of the longer term volunteers leaving, the rest of us imagined we had a bit of a task on our hands and some big shoes to fill. As per usual God provided and this was seen at the Monday morning meeting where volunteer activities for the week are discussed and people put their names down to help. Monday evening there was a youth class at the Boyle’s house. We spent much of the night talking about our key moments from the International Family Conference and sharing messages about what it means to wear Jesus’ name with those who weren’t able to be there. We did this over cake, tea and knitting and I think everyone felt like they knew each other a little bit more by the end of the night which was a blessing.

Tuesday started with a Gogo’s coffee morning at Mariannhill. Gogo’s is a Zulu term used to describe a grandmother or elderly lady. This was a bit of an usual gogo’s morning because no one had been around the week before, so not many gogo’s showed up. 

Regardless of this we had some special time with them over coffee, biscuits and a bible study and they led a few songs which were incredible displays of praise for God. On Tuesday afternoon God’s Master Plan bible course is typically run at Clairwood Hospital for those interested in finding out more about God’s plan for the world. Connection was made with the hospital this year when a brother had to go to hospital for an extended time. Visits were made by 2010 volunteers and this led to some baptisms as well as strong relationships between the volunteers and the hospital. At the same time, in another part of Durban called Lamontville, some volunteers run an English reading class for kids aged 8-16 so that they can practice their English.

Wednesday is typically a big day with lots to get involved in. The day kicks off with some volunteers going to a township called Claremont to run an English class for adults. This is relatively new territory for the 2010 project. A house has been donated and is being used as a centre for a number of activities, including the breaking of bread on a Sunday morning. At lunch time a few of the volunteers went to the women’s ward of Clairwood Hospital to visit Sandra who has had contact with the volunteers for sometime now. Upon request we ran the first session of God’s Master Plan with Sandra and it evoked some interesting discussion about prayer and how prayer helps her in her life. It was inspiring talking and reading about God’s plan for the earth. We then hopped across to visit brother Siphiwe to do a reading with him. Siphiwe was baptised this year and volunteers initially met him at Clairwood Hospital. Siphiwe told us when we got there that he planned to start running God’s Master Plan course with 50 children from the community that he lives in. We were blown away by this news as it is truly a blessing from God that 50 kids want to dedicate time every week to learn about God. Each Wednesday evening as many of the volunteers as possible head to Clairwood Hospital to sing Zulu and English songs about Jesus and God to 5 or 6 men, women and children’s wards. This is one of the highlights of the week as we usually get a lot of people joining in and clapping and some of the nurses dance along while singing. As soon as the singing was done we jumped in the car and made a bee line to Mariannhill for dinner and bible class (it is in English on alternate weeks). Vester and Phinda host the dinner which is always delicious and the worship and fellowship with the brothers and sisters at Mariannhill is always a joy to be involved in.

Thursdays (and Tuesday’s) start with some spiritual spontaneity in the form of a reading and guided meditation. A great way to start the day! Thursday is typically a little quieter for everyone but this week I headed to the Bible Education Centre with Dani Pogson and Christy Beyers. Cam Beeler and Kwanda are there often so we got to spend the day with them as well. The BEC is a vibrant place with a lot of people coming in to look at and buy bibles and books as well as sign up to the God’s Master Plan course or delivering their answers from the correspondence course to be marked. We also spent a fair bit of our day knitting, which is something that most people are addicted to here (God willing we would love the rest of the world to get addicted to knitting as well so that we can make numerous blankets for those who need them). A great way to spend a day – I would recommend it to anyone!!

Fridays are another hectic day for the volunteers. Friday morning kicks of with Sunday school preparation. Everyone gets involved with planning the lessons for the youth groups on Friday afternoon and Sunday Schools. It is a great thing to be involved in because everyone is working together, discussing the lesson and making the necessary ingredients for the craft, regardless of whether or not they will be teaching. After it’s all done people quickly pack into as few cars as possible and head to the BEC for some singing. This event usually makes most people who pass by stop and look. It is also quite amusing to many that we are singing in Zulu. We know we are doing ok when people start joining in or taking videos of us on their mobile phones. This is a key time when we encourage people to sign up for a free bible course. This Friday we had 12 people sign up.

For Friday afternoon activities the group splits with some of the volunteers heading to Umlazi to do a youth class with Happy’s students and Lamontville youth and some volunteers heading to Mariannhill to do a youth class. This week we did a lesson on the fruits of the Spirit intermingled with songs and games and lots of hugs. {Photo of Happy’s juniors followed by photo of Lamontville Youth}

While many of the bible courses are done by correspondence, on Saturday morning God’s Master Plan and God’s Plan for the Future are held live at Durban Christadelphian hall. Around 5 people attend each course and two of the attendees were recently baptised at the International Family Conference. This week the last of the 8 sessions was run.

Sunday is again another big day. Volunteers are going here, there and everywhere picking people up from the city centre or Umlazi so that they can attend the breaking of bread, or running Sunday school and breaking of bread services in Claremont prior to the breaking of bread at Westville. This Sunday a BEC contact and recent graduate from the God’s Master Plan course held at Durban came to Westville for the first time and expressed interest in being baptised and putting on the name of Jesus Christ. After the breaking of bread the volunteers generally host those that come from afar for lunch. This week Nozipho, a sister who was baptised in May and lives at Happy’s school in Umlazi, brought one of her friends from school, Zandile. We hosted them for lunch and then took them to the Pavilion shopping centre for an ice cream and to have a look around a Christian bookshop. Fun was had by all!

Phew! Another full and blessed week in the life of those who are ambassadors for Christ in Durban, South Africa. Come and visit them sometime soon, it might just change your life. God willing, I’ll be back.

Carmel Mansfield

Friday, October 8, 2010

Unique event at the International Family Bible Conference

Our International Family Bible Conference was fantastic and unique in many ways. For the first time we had an outreach project as part of our Bible week! It was absolutely amazing to see over 150 brethren, sisters and children turn up on two consecutive afternoons to come and help with the huge amount of work that awaited us all! Everybody was keen to help with whatever task was handed them and the fellowship and bonding was wonderful to experience. It was great to see how people with a common goal of doing good got along so seamlessly whilst having good conversations and getting to know each other. The two afternoons turned out to be great fun and a huge "get to know each other" success event.

We were all pleased to see the end result and the staff of the crèche were over the moon with their "new" re-vamped crèche. It made our hearts glad and thankful that God and Jesus brought us together in this way to show their love to the people who were literally our "neighbors" for the duration of the Bible Conference. A HUGE thanks to all who gave of their time and goods so generously.

Hopefully some before and after photos below will give you some idea of the transformation that took place after only 10 hours of work!

Lucas and Leona Scheepers