WF Report – January-February, 2011
COPT Report for Margate 17/01/11
Praise God for his help thus far, and we ask all our plans below to be blessed by Him.
- Kids Club during the Christmas holidays was very popular and led directly to CYC starting up. These kids have also shown an interest in other activities run by ourselves.
- Sunday School has started up again after Christmas, with attendance of 8-10 children, mostly from the Usizolwethu Youth & Care Centre (i.e. orphaned/abandoned children).
- Materials and computer records for the Bible Education Centre are regularly being reviewed/updated. God’s Master Plan seminars start this weekend.
- Crèche teacher course starts in February.
- Contact with Masinenge informal settlement continues, & we are looking for ways to contribute to their soup kitchen project.
- Capacity building for care givers at Usizolwethu Youth & Care Centre starts next month.
- We are continuing to network with other local community projects.
As discussed and agreed by the ecclesial serving team, we are now using Zulu language songs during our services, and Ben and Alastair have given bro Nelson some support for writing talks/exhortations. He used PowerPoint for the first time last week with great success! We have introduced a public talk on a Sunday morning, for visitors, prior to the memorial service. We are trying to include bro Mphilo more in the Sunday Services. Mutual improvement classes for both brothers and sisters will run this year. Brother Alastair had to be away for a couple of weeks in December due to his mother’s illness so it was nice that Ben could step in to preside etc. while he was absent.
Kids Club ran for a week in the Christmas holidays, with between 25-30 children attending from the local area most days. It was run on the theme of Jonah. We were grateful for help from Phil & Naomi, and Craig & Matt Blewett’s families who supported us on several days. As a direct result of the contacts made here, we held our first CYC at the end of that week, with 12 attending. CYC has started again after Christmas, with 10-14 attending in the last 3 weeks. The kids seem to be having fun and have been bringing their friends. This is a big achievement as kids this age (13 – 20+) were not catered for at all at Margate ecclesia prior to this. Also Nelson’s older children have attended CYC the last couple of weeks, whereas they had not been attending any church events prior to Christmas.
Sunday School attendance is up and down, with the 7 children we had before Christmas, not turning up since the New Year. However we are bringing the children from the Usizolwethu Youth & Care Centre (10 of them) each week. They all attended Kids Club and so we are really bonding with these children. It is our aim to see attendance increase (especially in the teen age group) and stabilise. It appears many of our CYC children already attend another church on Sundays.
Caz is helping Nelson with BEC administration, including stock taking and a more streamlined approach to sales/contact record keeping. We can now offer a Junior Correspondence Course alongside the adult ones. Lucas Scheepers helped us to set up a bulk SMS account, and so we have taken all the correspondence contacts from the last 2 years and put them on a database, in order to notify them of new events taking place.
Ben starts GMP seminars this weekend. We have had an advert in the local paper, signed up people during the monthly preaching table in the local mall, and had about 6 replies to the bulk SMS message. We pray that we can really make those who attend feel welcome and wanting to know more.
Caz is helping sister Fezekile with English studies, and will continue to teach once a week in the Good News Crèche as long as other projects allow. The end of year function was well attended by parents. We had a clean up day at the crèche and discovered many items, donated previously, which are not appropriate/surplus and so can be used as donations elsewhere as the need arises.
Fezekile has been instrumental in getting her wider family involved in our youth events, and it has been lovely to see her grow more confident during our time here.
Caz starts the first crèche teacher course in February. We had 12 direct referrals from Social Workers, and 5 names from ladies we met locally, including the volunteer teacher at the Usizolwethu Crèche. (We attended their graduation just before Christmas and it was clear that little learning had taken place, unfortunately!) The teacher from the Masinenge crèche, who had felt threatened when our Good News Crèche took children from her area, is planning to attend. We had a very positive chat to her when we visited her crèche, and feel we could do much to help motivate her and her assistant.
We visited the Masinenge soup kitchen again this week, and handed out photos to the patients, which had been taken by Ben on our first visit. The community members running the project have plans for improvements and extending the support they offer patients, such as sewing classes and medical/motivational classes. We will offer other activities as appropriate. Nelson and Caz have used their time to help weed the food garden for a couple of hours most weeks, and the sight of a ‘white lady working in a black person’s garden’ has been noticed in the community! The soup kitchen members were very keen when I suggested training for the food garden in order to make more efficient use of their plot.
Our use of left over balloons from a sports event over the holidays, by handing them out to the children at Masinenge, received an article in the local paper, with the COP Trust being mentioned.
Ben made good use of all the corporate promotional events on the beachfront during the holidays, by managing to acquire donations of many childrens’ toys/goods which we can use in the future.
We had a good ‘managing expectations’ meeting with the director of Usizolwethu Community Development Association (UCDA) about their Youth & Care Centre, food garden and Crèche. We are hoping to implement informal training for the caregivers there, through Caz, plus food garden training through our local horticulture contact, plus fun educational sessions for the children through Ben, on a monthly basis. The teacher at the crèche, who is a volunteer, has enrolled on the crèche teacher course, and we hope that this will vastly improve the quality of education the children here receive, so that in turn the crèche will become a viable income source for the care centre. We were able to hand out donated presents to the children at the home, on Christmas Day, with help from Caz’s parents.
Ben starts working 2 hours a week at the local well-established orphanage (Give a Child A Family) from next week, to provide fun supplementary teaching after school.
We are starting an After School Club for teens, to offer homework support/tuition at the Good News Centre in the next week. Several of the CYC kids have expressed interest in this.
Caz continues to volunteer one half day a week in the local vet hospital, and has done some locum work for Dave Watson in a neighbouring town.
Caz Parsons 21/01/11