WF REPORT – December-January, 2010
My input into Soweto is very much as a preacher/teacher. I run a weekly Advanced GMP seminar series, and occasionally speak on Sundays and also at Bible Class, plus pastoral work and answering Biblical questions from members and friends. Bro Paul Verster has said to me, ‘ your work has made all the difference’, so I know my efforts in Soweto are appreciated. Gabriel, (below with brother John), one of our seminar students, was baptised recently.
I have promised to visit and ‘keep an eye’ on the Soweto ecclesia while Bro Paul and Sis Leonie visit New Zealand in March/April, God Willing. Bro Daniel, the only other experienced brother, has to work on Sunday on a rota basis.
The P2P Training for Gauteng ecclesias was held in early November. I couldn’t have wished for a better response. Much enthusiasm was displayed, and it kick-started both preaching and outreach projects in Yeoville.
I am very positive about developments in the Yeoville ecclesia, though I estimate a 2-year period before the young brethren will be able, and confident enough, to drive things forward with minimal support from me. Most of them are recent converts in their twenties, and their enthusiasm for learning, preaching and outreach work is impressive. I am looking forward to being involved with their spiritual development.We started a new class last week to nurture their latent talent. It was heartwarming to see them investigating Scripture, and we spent two profitable hours together. They are also keen for me to do written critiques on their talks for discussion with them afterwards.
Following the positive response to the P2P Training, and the enthusiasm of the young members, I produced an ‘I want to Serve’ survey which has been given to all members of the Yeoville ecclesia. This listed 10 possible areas of service. These are:
- Singing in old peoples’ homes
- Giving out leaflets
- Working at stalls, malls, street corners and busy places
- Open Air Meetings, including singing and handing out leaflets
- Serving refreshments at the BEC gates, inviting friends inside, handing out leaflets
- Discussing Scripture with friends and generally helping inside the BEC
- Activities with young people
- Being involved in seminars
- Involvement in inter-ecclesial activities
- Practical Christianity Projects
Members were invited to tick each area in which they are willing to help, and to indicate the times when they are available. I am hoping that nobody will be willing to return blank forms, which implies ‘I don’t want to serve’. The initial response has been good, with quieter members responding positively, though they had never previously taken the initiative to volunteer their services. I think this would be true of many ecclesias.
We now need to capitalise on this initiative by driving it forward in the New Year. I have been asked by the Elders to take overall responsibility for the various projects, delegating responsibility for various projects to members as appropriate. We shall be preaching and doing outreach work every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from now on. We start this Saturday with Open Air meetings in the local market.
Our first outreach effort was singing carols and giving the Good News message in the children’s Orthopaedic Ward for out-patient children and adults at the Johannesburg Hospital. It was an ‘eye-opener’ for our volunteer singers, who were applauded for their efforts. They all greatly enjoyed the experience. We hope that this event will lead to further work at the hospital. Several brethren and sisters in Yeoville expressed interest in joining us next time, when they saw the photographic display we later mounted at the Yeoville ecclesia.
Sister Rosy Munangai and I have been running a Holiday Club Programme for youngsters for three weeks during the long Christmas break. Between 10 and 20 attended each session.We focussed mainly on Scripture, Drama and Games, all of which were enjoyed. We held our final session last week.
Isobel, one of our interested friends at Yeoville, has been a faithful attendee at Sunday Adult Classes, Memorial Service, Paul Verster’s Monday Class, Bible Class and the new Friday Evening Class. She has applied for baptism, which we anticipate will take place in the near future.
Brother Wilfred Alleyne, an old friend of mine from the UK, will be based in Yeoville for two months, (13th January to 13th March), God Willing. He will take over my duties in Yeoville and Soweto while I am away for four weeks in the UK and Jamaica – a long-promised visit. He will also help at the Kensington ecclesia. We are looking forward to his visit.
Brother Lucas, sister Leona and I met recently and I was impressed with their wide-ranging activities. We hope to develop closer relationships between the Gauteng ecclesias and we look forward to more joint ventures in the future.
Finally, we had a very interesting Christmas Day! I invited three poor families, 16 brethren, sisters, friends and children in all, to spend the day with me. All went well until we entered the lift to take them home in the evening. The lift stuck on the 9th floor. The alarm bell failed, the doors wouldn’t open, and security didn’t notice that one of the three lifts wasn’ t moving. There was no airflow into the lift, and we were ‘stuck’ for almost 2 hours. Oxygen was in short supply and the temperature was very high. All 16 in the lift remained calm and followed instructions not to talk or move so that we could conserve as much oxygen as possible.
Fortunately, we managed to contact brethren and sisters by mobile phone. They raised the alarm, contacting the police and ambulance services. Bro Barry v H contacted Otis, the lift operators, and eventually one of their representatives came to unlock the lift. 17 of us emerged gasping for breath. Two of our young people had to be treated by paramedics : one for severe stomach pains, and the other had to wear an oxygen mask for half an hour before they were both stretchered into the ambulance. I took everyone to hospital in case of delayed shock. It had been a very dangerous situation . We appreciated the many prayers offered on our behalf, and God’s good hand in our deliverance.
The words of Jesus came readily to mind… “We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9.4 ESV).
Until then, we are greatly privileged to share in God’s mighty work.
With love in Jesus,
Brother David White