Thursday, February 14, 2013

Our God is a Creative God

One of the first things we learn about our God in the bible is that He is a creative God. After all – He created absolutely everything that exists – even strange looking creatures like the platypus, or ugly ones   like the hyena. Not to mention that He created every one of us – He knew us even while we were in our mother’s womb, as the psalmist writes.

This is why I so enjoy doing creative projects with kids (and adults – but adults have already “learned” what is “right” and “beautiful” and this inhibits their natural creativity). If you create the right environment then kids delight in being creative – add some glitter, sequins, beads and lots of glue and you’re all set!

What really hits me every time is how you provide each child with exactly the same materials – and each and every end product is completely unique! It’s a miniature object lesson on how special and unique our Father has made each of us too.
Last week’s lesson was on the judge “Jephthah” and his rash promise of sacrifice to God. Each child colored and then decorated “Jephthah’s daughter” to help them remember his story.

Love in Christ

This was our last week with Matt & Adam – they will be missed by the kids and us! Thanks for your help guys!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday Bible Clubs at Tswelopele Community Center (Germiston in Gauteng)

 “About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" Jesus called a little child to Him and put the child among them. Then He said, "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. "And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming Me.” (Mat 18:1-5)

One of our most rewarding projects is the Saturday Bible Club that we host every Saturday morning at the Tswelopele Good News Centre. These kids have such an incredible amount of enthusiasm and energy it’s impossible for a little of it to not rub off on you. Jesus often speaks of the Kingdom of God belonging to “children” and especially “little children” and these kids make these passages come alive for us – the fact that these kids choose God’s Word, biblical songs and simple outdoor games over television, video games & pop music. In the way they are grateful for the few treats we can offer, but especially by the love they so freely share in their welcoming hugs and big smiles.

We have been working through the main biblical characters (most of these kids know “Jesus” but nothing of the Old Testament) and right now we’re having a lot of fun with the Judges! Who ever thought the bible contained such thrillingly gruesome tales – many would give some modern day movies a good run for their money!

An unexpected result of Saturday Bible Club has been one of the teenage girls asking to join our church - so as of this Sunday our youth has a new member - a blessing indeed! Her passion for God was quite evident when I told her she would need to be ready early (meaning 7am) and she promptly replied "No problem, I'm up at 4am anyway!" 

Here are some photos of these special kids and the various bible club activities:

Following the pillar of fire through the wilderness

Spies reporting "the enemy are giants!"

Bees to remember the land of "milk & honey"

The "walls" of Jericho collapse!

"Ehuds" ready for king Eglon

Ehud's left hand (yes I know that is a right hand... the idea that counts!)

Excited about God's Word - so much joy!

Sisera after Jael put a stake through his head

Cherish & Tshego - two peas in a pod!

“The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, "Praise God for the Son of David." But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, "Do You hear what these children are saying?" "Yes," Jesus replied. "Haven't you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, 'You have taught children and infants to give You praise.'"” (Mat 21:15-16)

Story of Gideon - clay jars

Story of Gideon - Fiery Torches

The "youth" class 

Trying to avoid the "wolf" and reach the "shepherd"

With love in Christ
Michael  Lilandi Furstenburg 
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so He could lay His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering Him. But Jesus said, "Let the children come to Me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children."” (Mat 19:13-14)

Gr R Theme Workshop - Me & My Family

We started off 2013's CUDDLE related projects with a Gr R Theme Workshop on "Me & My Family". These workshops provide the teachers that attend with a full month's worth of lesson plans, worksheets, crafts & songs aimed specifically at children aged 5/6 yrs.
We had no idea how many or who to expect - and it was a lovely surprise when many of our regular teachers from last year arrived (berating us for our "long" absence over the holiday period!) and we were encouraged to see many new faces from the last couple of crèche courses during 2012 join us too. The workshop ended up quite fully attended with almost 30 teachers all eager to learn. Another bonus was their excitement over our "new" (professionally printed) teacher's manuals which really do look very impressive.

As always we had great fun discussing the lesson plans, completing the worksheets and admiring how simple materials can be used to make clever and unique crafts and practicing the songs related to the theme is always a highlight with the teachers harmonizing even simple songs beautifully. After completing a month's worth of work in just 3 hours we all appreciated a strong cup of coffee and some chocolate cake!

While dropping off various teachers that had come from crèches some distance away one of our regular teachers - Matema - a very positive, energetic and passionate woman, shared with us that she had received feedback from one of the primary schools her pupils from last year were attending. The Gr 1 teacher had let Matema know that her students were the star pupils and leaders of the class, and Matema gave great credit to our course and workshops for this wonderful fact!

We are looking forward to another year filled with opportunities to reach out to the teachers in the community - knowing that every teacher's life we can enrich in turn enriches the lives of the many children she cares for on a daily basis. We are also excited about the opportunities we will have to present Bible classes to the children in many of these pre-schools and the relationships we will cultivate that could lead to some of the teachers joining our Bible Classes. 

Leona & Lilandi