Friday, September 23, 2011

First sisters class in a SA Township

The touch and teach dimension that we have added to our preaching since the 2010 campaign is a long term approach to preaching. It means that we first build relationships and trust with people through the works of love we do because of our love for Jesus and God that compels us to do it without seeking any reward. We know from experience however that this will increase our opportunities to share the Gospel with people on a more natural basis. The more holistically we live the truth the more our good deeds will so shine before men that they will glorify and seek God. 

A great example of this is the latest development of the sisters class at the Aphiwe community center in the Tembisa township. In 2005 there was no preaching or outreach work activity in Tembisa. Since the building of the Aphiwe center (a Community Outreach Program Trust project) we have established a presence and a continual outreach to the community. The CUDDLE project that provided pre-school teachers with quality training is one example. 

From our interaction with the teachers and the building of relationships came a natural outflow of inviting these woman to the sisters class that sisters Leona, Liezl, Lilandi and Otillia presented. At first some of these ladies were provided transport to the classes that was held outside of the Township. As the numbers grew the class was held at the Aphiwe center every second week and an average of 4 ladies attended.

Last Wednesday (21st September) sisters Rachel Price and Mary Gaston visited from the UK and sister Rachel presented the sisters class. Ten ladies turned up and Rachel taught them about Elijah while Mary with her artistic talent added great value to the class  with illustrations on the white board.

Afterwards the ladies enjoyed refreshments and then stayed to help with the (SNUGGLES) project that involves the knitting together of crochet squares (crochet by sisters in the USA) to produce blankets for needy children in many of the child care centers. It is a great and fun time for enhancing relationships and in a sense we have come “full circle” as the outreach work in the beginning led to an interest in the Gospel message which again leads to the local population also doing outreach work amongst themselves.  

We praise God for the wonderful opportunities that abound but that He has made us aware of and helped us to make use of, to practically demonstrate truthful living and in so doing grow spiritually. We pray that our continued example and preaching will lead those who are seeking salvation to take on the saving name of Jesus our King.

The KMP Ignite2020 team.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A new door opens in Margate!

We have been blessed to be given a more permanent venue for reaching out to the youth of Gamalakhe township, just outside Margate.  This has come about through our ongoing relationship with the dynamic Mrs Zama Mbele and her community-based group, Indumiso.  The local councillor offered Zama sole use of a local hall in which to run something for the community, and she asked Ben & I to be closely involved in starting the scheme.  At an opening meeting we discussed various options including life skills for adolescents, Sunday School, counselling, exercise classes, after school support and a community cafĂ©, but at the moment we are only able to offer 2 evenings a week and so we have started a youth club and youth Bible study.  In only 2 weeks we have had a great response with over 30 kids at youth club this week!

It is a lovely opportunity to reach out to a whole new group and teach them about God's love and wisdom for their lives.  Funds and manpower are a little thin on the ground at the moment so please pray that we heed God's directions in this new venture and those we come in contact with will see his glory!

Ben &  Caz Parsons
Ignite 2020 Margate team

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Grade R course making a huge difference in Tembisa

Every Tuesday Lilandi and I run GrR (Gr 0) classes at Aphiwe. We came to the realization on how desperately necessary these courses were when we were visiting the various play centres on Friday mornings.

Due to various circumstances a lot of GrR children do not receive formal preparation for school (be it due to finances, overcrowding at schools, transport problems, local primary schools not having the facilities, parents ignorance) - and thus when they are tested for school readiness they appear stupid, 'slow', unlearned. This is not the case. It is more because they have not been exposed to any of the tests previously; a language problem (for example words like second, third, before, after are not easy words to understand if English is not your first language); lack of proper worksheets and programs from the teachers themselves.
The GrR program that we follow then encourages macro-movement (through games, music, outdoor play) and a lot of singing (with accompanying movements and teaching new English words which are often used in school readiness tests (example: forwards, backwards, left, right, top, bottom, front, behind). We especially try to focus on concepts like sequencing, visual and auditory perception, cross-lateral movement, eye-foot co-ordination and balance. Each month we expose the children to a different area in the school readiness program. The teachers of the GrR's are encouraged to join in with all the activities and yet at the same time do observation and assessment of the abilities of their own GrR's. Quite a challenge - as it is a massive learning curve for all of them as well.

When we started we thought we would have 30 children max per Tuesday. The idea was that grR teachers (together with their GrR's) from various play centers would come to Aphiwe for a 2 hour session where Lilandi and Leona would run the classes - and then these activities would be practiced for the rest of the month back at the individual play centers. The new knowledge gained would hopefully also be exposed to the 4 year olds and give guidance to the teachers on what they actually need to focus on.
Well - we soon had to start rearranging our program. The need was so great that we ended up with a maximum of 70 (strictly enforced from our side) children per Tuesday (which we teach in 2 consecutive 2 hour slots) from 29 different play centers. In a month we thus teach on average 250 - 270 children. Our lessons also needed to be simplified even more - as many of the activities and concepts taught were totally foreign to the children and teachers. Every Tuesday we comprehend how blessed we are with our first world background, exposure to educational toys and equipment from a young age, encouragement of movement and exploration from a young age - and how vital this is during the first 6 years of a child's life.
We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves; the children love it; the teachers are exhausted (not used to having to hop like a bunny or jump like a frog!).

And most rewarding the feedback that we are getting : "You are making a difference." "The children are more confident when exposed to worksheets." "Us teachers are now more focused and have direction. We have a monthly goal to work for."

How thankful we are that we able to have a small role to play in the lives of these young children, and hopefully help them to become confident, responsible future citizens for our beautiful country.

Leona Scheepers


Friday, September 9, 2011

Saturday Bible Club at Tswelopele Community centre.

Life has taken on a new dimension for over 70 children in the Delmore Gardens township and surrounding areas since the Tswelopele community centre has been in operation. Every second Saturday Lilandi, Michael and Leona provide the children with Bible club. Previously these children had nothing offered to them in the neighborhood in terms of informal education or constructive leisure time activities.
 It has been very rewarding to see the happy faces of these children during the Bible lessons in which they enthusiastically participate as well as the smiles when we send them home again – usually with some item they made during the lesson. The Bible club lasts for two hours. The first hour focuses on teaching the three different age groups/classes Bible principles from a Bible story. After a short break during which the children get something to eat and a cool drink they then play some fun games.
The photos show a Saturday when the theme was on faith as a mustard seed.  Leona taught the junior class about the bible that is like a seed that should grow in your heart. Both Lilandi and Michael did the parable of the mustard seed with their classes and the children made a card and planted an actual seed in a little container that they took home to water and see it grow.
After some refreshments and games the children all went home with smiles on their faces. We feel blessed and privileged to bring God and Jesus into the lives of these children at such a young age.
With abiding love in Jesus
The Ignite2020 team in Kempton Park.