Friday, December 28, 2012

Sister Lerato's baptism

The 25th of December was a very special day this year. We had a lot of our ecclesia members around to Adieu to spend some family time together. The highlight was however the baptism of sister Lerato. Lerato is the sister of sister Jacky Laminele and she gave a very good confession of her faith shortly before she was baptized. It was wonderful to hear how she became convinced of the Gospel message through the help of her sister Jacky and Bro. Andrew Nyati who works at the Tembisa BEC every day. Lerato's logic reasoning, enthusiasm for the truth, certain conviction and mature understanding of the life that is before her as a delight to experience during her interview. We all experienced great joy when she was baptized and become a new member of our growing ecclesia in Tembisa.

With abiding love in Jesus
Ignite2020 team Kempton Park

Friday, December 14, 2012

Youth Week in Gauteng - Whew!

Any time you put learning about God and young people together, it is bound to be a great time. The Gauteng CYC Youth Week was a powerful week. 36 of the most amazing youth (ranging in age from 8 to 19) came for a week of singing, laughter, edification, learning, praise, and transformation. The vast majority of these kids come from the local township, Tembisa. Most of them come from situations that would make American poverty look like living in Beverly Hills.
      The gears of youth week have been moving for months now. <I never realized how much work went into a   youth week.> More than half of the cost of the camp is subsidized, knowing that the kids can’t afford much. Leona has been telling her Sunday school class since August to start saving so they could come to the week. (It takes 4 months for these kids to save up $30.) Every year, youth week is the capstone of the school year for the kids, the kickoff to their summer of freedom. Easy to say, Youth Camp is an eagerly anticipated time of year.
     The camp was more rustic than what I was accustomed to. The mosquitoes were lethal. The classes were given under a thatch roof. After it would rain, smells of sewage wafted by. (The hardest part was the lack of coffee.) But, I could tell that all efforts paid off in the end by the volumes of laughter, the superabundance of singing, and the myriad of midnight shenanigans. There was also heaps of time spent in God’s work. The kids learned about everything from Elijah the first prophet, to the fruits of the spirit, to studying the various names Hebrew and Greek names of God. In my class we asked ourselves some basic, but fundamental, questions about our faith; namely, Who is God? Who are we? Who was Jesus? Comparing us with Jesus, what would God want to do with us? And, ultimately, How do we come closer to the Father?
     By the end, Gauteng Youth Camp just seemed like an all around “Grade A” young people’s camp. We sang our goodbye songs, passed out Youth Week t-shirts, and went our separate ways. In all of the hustle and shuffle, I failed to realize how much the camp meant to these kids. I sat in the back of a 13-passenger van taking back a group of local Kempton Park kids. Sifting through the pile of kids, I could see one of the older boys in the back wiping tears from his eyes, trying not to let the others see. To my bewilderment, panning face-to-face of each camper, many of them had tears running down their faces, an unspoken understanding that the whole experience was the most beautiful long pause to their everyday struggles. This was unbelievable. At the end of the day, I walked away absolutely moved. These kids walked away savoring just a small taste of the Kingdom.
Matt Drabenstott (USA)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Amazing Youth Week in Gauteng

For me these last 4 days Ð the Youth Camp - have really been a "kingdom glimpse". We had 37 kids between the ages of 8 & 18 attend, with Matt Drabenstott & Lauren Ghent helping out with the lessons, and "aunty Leona" spoiling them with quality cooking and special treats in the kitchen.

We had a jam-packed week planned for them - 3 classes every day; with Matt & Michael leading the oldest group in a variety of studies, Lauren exploring the prophet Elijah with the middle group & myself exploring ways to "preach without using words" with the youngest kids. To set the tone for each day every morning started with a short devotional message before breakfast.

In the afternoons we had some friendly competition & lots of laughter completing an obstacle course, competing in a volleyball tournament, finding all sorts of objects in our biblical treasure hunt, and on those days that the weather permitted, enjoying some time in the pool.

Darkness falling didn't slow the pace - we spent the first evening playing all sorts of games (nothing beats fun & laughter for breaking the ice!), and the second evening was dedicated to praising God through singing and reading passages of praise from the Bible. Our last evening included a talent show, a quiz relating to the lessons of the last few days, and ended with a slide show of pictures taken during the camp.

For me what really stood out about this camp was the children's attitude towards each other. I have never experienced such harmony between such a variety of kids (regarding age, culture, income level, & race) before. Everybody made friends with everybody else, not a single child was excluded. There was many a tear shed during the good-byes, as even though these kids live within 20 minutes drive from one another they do not have the means to visit.

Another wonderful surprise was the co-operation with regards to the few rules we had - not even keeping curfew caused any complaints. It was really a blessing to be able to work together with such a great group of responsible young adults.

The positive experience we enjoyed at this camp has encouraged us to try & organize more opportunities for these kids to get together, whether it is through praise evenings or shorter weekend bible study breakaways.

This camp really gave us all a little taste of what it will be like when "all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD."
For the 2020Ignite team in Kempton Park

Saturday, December 8, 2012

102 years of Age

Today we went to drop off 200 food parcels and 100 gift bags at the GoGo's (Granma's and Granpa's) in Esselen Park and Tembisa. Each person gets a parcel of dry foods and a parcel of fruit and vegetables. Because of it being the festive season and the last parcels for this year we put together a little gift for them as well.

The local lady who chooses who gets parcels is Elizabeth, she gets the people together and we just arrive and give out the parcels. We gave out half the parcels at the first stop, Elizabeth then jumps in the car with us and we then went to see her grandmother who is 102 old. Amazingly she could still walk! She walks with a stick and moves very slow but still amazing to see someone of that age move on her own and still understand what you talk about and she had a few good laughs with us.

We then went to the second place to drop the rest of the parcels. After giving out the parcels we were asked to drop off 3 GoGo's who had to walk far to get home. We ended up having 8 ladies get in and on the car together with 5 volunteers. Luckily we didn't have to drive too far and we got them all home safely.

Liezl Viljoen
Ignite2020 team in Kempton Park

Party time with the kids

We were going to take Molly's crèche children on an outing to the park. On the day we were to go it was pouring with rain. We thought of canceling everything because we couldn't take 20 – 30 children outside to get soaked. We came up with a plan to take them to Aphiwe centre instead, most of these children never go on outings so it was a big deal to them. The centre was already set up for our jumble sale and completely packed with stuff, but Lauren and I started cleaning the centre while Hendri went to pick up all the children. Luckily it was clean enough to have children running around by the time they arrived.

Hendri entertaining the kids with a puppet

We were given some gifts and food for the children by a local company. There were party hats and masks which each child also got. Some of the little ones were terrified of the masks and once they were on their faces they wouldn't touch them, even when they were blocking their vision they would go walking into things rather than move it.

One of the children who won't touch the mask


    Too cute

Seun enjoying himself

The party started off with everyone sitting in a circle and singing some songs, we played some musical chairs which was lots of fun, especially when the kids get up and run all different directions and crash into one another. There was one girl who would always want to go sit back on HER chair, she wouldn't sit on any other chair.

Musical chairs about to start

Hendri trying to direct the children

Winners of Musical chairs

Obstacle courses were built for the children, sheets were used to make tunnels, balancing beams and hula hoops for hopping. It was so nice to see some of the elder children helping the younger ones. It made me think of our journey toward the Kingdom, how we as brothers and sisters help one another through this world (our obstacle course) to get to the Kingdom.

Older boy helping the younger kids

After we had lunch and the children got their gifts, they were all exhausted and so were the teachers. All in all, the day was very successful even though it looked in the morning like it was going to have to be canceled. Another day well spent with more of God's beautiful children.

Lunch Time

Hendri giving the balls to the children