Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Biblical Read-a-Thon: Psalms

7 hours, 24 pies, 4 cakes, 3 quiches, 2 milktarts and several liters of juice later - 150 chapters (whole book of Psalms) DONE!! Ch 117 took 21 seconds and Ch 119 took 24 minutes - but together we did it! 
When the Aphiwe & Kempton Park Youth took up the challenge of reading the entire book of Psalms in one sitting we had no idea quite what to expect - and were delighted to find it one of the most rewarding and enjoyable activities we had undertaken thus far!

God's provision - a huge donation of cakes, garlic rolls, quiches, tarts and pot pies to sustain us! 
These were our readers:
Keletso started us off with Psalm 1.
Sabelo has great difficulty with his eyesight but that didn't deter him from participating.
Michael stepped up to the plate for any chapters with more than 50 verses!
Taffi - between him & Sipho the others had to fight for a chance at the microphone. Their energy really drove the event.
Mokete. His reading ability is extremely poor so the others would scout ahead and assign any chapters with less than 5 verses to him!
Junior (the oldest of the Kempton park youth and a really lovely young gentleman eager for knowledge)
Siyabonga (which means "thank you" in Zulu)
Lilandi also taking on the longer chapters.
Happy who joined us after spending the whole morning at extra classes at school. The love for and excitement about God's Word that these children have is fantastic to be around!

Cherish - not yet able to read but she was an excellent little helper and "spirit-lifter"!

As we read we tabled the chapters and how long it took to read each one.

At this point - already a couple of hours in, it felt as though we had perhaps bitten off more than we could chew. Energy levels were dipping, readers weren't jumping up quite so quickly, eyes were glazing. However when we suggested that we only do 100 chapters it was unanimously decided that we would push on to the end. A life lesson in itself!
To keep ourselves occupied when not reading we had a side challenge going - to create a loomband that would stretch all the way around the Aphiwe Good News Center. Loombands are still very much a craze in South Africa and the kids were very excited to have access to a seemingly unlimited supply!
Lots of colors to choose from!
They kept their bibles close at hand so as to be ready for their next reading turn.
Relationships built and strengthened.
There are such beautiful friendships among these kids - we pray for these to last and provide a "God-based" support system as they face life as adults.
They made individual bracelets which we then joined together at the end of the event to create one long loomband.

This challenge too was met - at the end of the event we had created a loomband of 38 meters - more than sufficient to wrap around the Aphiwe Good News Center! Another life lesson - together we can achieve much more than when we try to do everything by ourselves!
It was a somewhat surreal, and incredibly uplifting experience - listening to the Bible being read for hours on end. We picked up on many "themes" and repetitions in especially the Psalms of David which you do not so readily see when reading them piecemeal. We concluded the read-a-thon by all reading Psalm 150 together - you can view the video of that Psalm on the Ignite2020 Facebook page. It really felt as though we had just completed a marathon - completely exhilarating!
150 chapters done!
The kids were already trying to decide which part of the bible we should do next! Spoiler alert - it will, God Willing, be the letters of Paul to the various ecclesias. Until then the Aphiwe/Kempton Park Youth would like to challenge all other youth groups (and even ecclesias!) to pick up their bibles and start reading!
With love in Christ
Michael & Lilandi Furstenburg
Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. (Jer 15:16)