Greetings from the Beeler Family in South Africa!
Well, this is the third year of the Beelers in South Africa. We are so blessed by all of our family of faith to have the opportunity to be here, and to learn and teach about our place in God’s plan. It has truly been amazing, and we know we have a continual debt of Love and gratitude for what we’ve been allowed to do as a family!
As volunteers in South Africa, we’ve not had to work alone. In the last year, we’ve had the privilege of working with many short term volunteers and a great many longer term volunteers. Simon, Emma and their family, and Phil and Naomi are some of the volunteers we’ve worked with for most of the year, who have left in January. They have been sorely missed. Their contributions in Happy’s school, Clermont & Mariannhill have made a real impact in the lives of many people here in South Africa! We’ve also lost Esther Abson who was here for a great part of the year, and later, Adam Brooker joined up to help for a few months. Esther was a key contributor in the Happy’s group as well, especially related to the swimming OT work. Her mom did amazing things at Happy’s with obtaining wheelchairs for students who seriously needed them. Danny & Alyssa returned home late in the year. We also enjoyed the dedicated contributions of Tim and Helen Morse. We also had a couple of P2P teams out in 2010 who contributed in amazing ways to our regular mission efforts. Wow, as I think about it, I’m afraid I’m missing many people who were here and have left us. But what an impact they’ve all had! I am so thankful and grateful for all of the youth and families who’ve dedicated their time in direct service in God’s family! Thank you!
Also, for each person who has contributed financially, through ecclesial support, involved in bringing attention to projects that can bring God’s light in any mission area, etc, are also greatly appreciated as you also make it possible for others to be committed to these efforts! Together, as a family, we do make a difference as God draws us into the works he’s prepared in advance for us! Again, Thank you!
At this time, Durban is blessed to have Jude Norcross, Maggie Schlageter, Katie Schlageter, Mikki Pogson, Tamar D, as well as the local volunteer, Char Colburn.
Ben & Caz are nearby, in Margate, and they are doing amazing things there as well.
It is truly amazing to be associated with the mission activities that are in progress here in South Africa!
Siphiwe class update
Recently, Kwanda Mzulwini was able to get a job at an IT business, which is a great move for him. I am so excited about his potential there, as well as his continuing potential at the Mariannhill ecclesia! However, it means that the BEC in Durban was back to one person. As a result, the COPT agreed that I should enlist the help of one more local Zulu speaking person. We reviewed several people and finally agreed with Siphiwe that he would be our 2nd person, backing up Mary Wilondja. It has been amazing having Siphiwe here. He sits at the front of the shop and invites people into the store. Many times, he engages people as they are about to pass us, and much of his talking results in new students at the BEC. Siphiwe working with Mary has been the proverbial 1-2 punch that has proven itself very effective. Our current average per day in 2011 is about 14 new students per work day. This is improved from approximately 2 students per day in 2009. Just amazing what God is doing here!
Estimate the average daily new student count with Siphiwe outside in 2011 Jan thru Current.
Jan 14-31. 85 new students in 10 days – 8.5 students per day average
Feb. 207 new students in 15 days – 13.8 students per day average
March 1-17th. 139 new students in 13 days – 10.7 students per day average.
The next step, of course, is to find a way to help connect the truth to become their way of life…
Last report brought you the graduation of Siphiwe’s class from the God’s Master Plan course that he has taught to the group. Now we bring you the continuation – Siphiwe is teaching the 22 Lessons course called “Learn your Bible”. Key to the focus of the classes is the continued emphasis on The patriarchs and the promises made through them and how that applies through the scriptures – the Good News of God’s Plan for Man on the earth. There is excellent review from the previous material, as well as expanding on the specifics of God’s promises through the generations (Adam, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, etc). Great class materials !
I really enjoy participating as well as discussing Siphiwe’s class objectives with him. He’s led the students through the God’s Master Plan course in the September through December period. Now he’s decided that we need to assign each lesson to a group of his students and have them review the material with him and then let them lead the class with the larger group. Smart cookie that Siphiwe. I continue to be excited about the potential of the Reunion (township) studies and how those may eventually develop!! Please pray for us that this group of young people will continue to develop in the Truth of God!
It’s been a bit of a wild ride for Nozipho. She’s had many surgeries: Elbows, hips, shoulders, knees. It turns out that her bones have lost so much of their mass that the doctors were unable to put in artificial joints. While this has been quite disappointing for us all, Nozipho has kept a very positive attitude. She has benefited moderately as she has been able to loosen her hip joint (they actually removed the joint so the leg can move freely inside) so that she can adjust her legs some, allowing greater comfort in her wheelchair. Additionally, the Doctors have bent her legs at the knees so that they will be naturally bent in the wheelchair, as opposed to sitting with her back arched and legs straight out. This will make life much more comfortable for Nozipho as she is permanently bound to her wheelchair (until the kingdom, anyway…).
On another front, We are making progress with getting Nozipho in an assisted living facility called Cheshire home, that is also very close to Westville ecclesia and also accepts her welfare grants and is subsidized by the government. Not free, but a very good arrangement for Nozipho and, conveniently, our local brethren as well! Please pray for us and especially Nozipho as we continue to progress in getting her placed in Cheshire Home.
Kim and I and the kids spend about 1/2 of our Sundays at a new startup church in a community called Clermont. While the community has a reputation for being pretty tough as townships go, being here has been a blessing for us, and we hope we can pass on the blessings! We are working quite closely with several others who are also bringing value here. Funo, Mdu and Sizwe are three regular Zulu brothers who regularly contribute to the Clermont activities, including exhorting, and teaching Bible Classes in Zulu. In addition, we have Antonio (a Zulu sister) who regularly teaches the youth, as well as keeping them inline during our other meetings. Jude Norcross, another volunteer, and Maggie Schlageter are also regular contributors at Clermont, and really bring consistency and creativity to the Clermont meeting!
A recent Sunday School at Clermont. Slowly but surely our classes and Sunday meetings are getting more consistent attendance. Each week we have outreach efforts in this community that includes a Zulu Bible reading class on Tuesdays, some ad-hoc outreach during the week and then a full Sunday meeting each week and a First Sunday lunch after meeting, every month. On holidays, we usually have Holiday clubs for the kids and other activities to involve the local community.
On a related note, many of the volunteers are still involved in feeding the most impoverished and in helping out in the community neighboring Clermont. Kwadabeka is adjacent to Clermont. Kim and I regularly contribute to several of the projects that were initiated by Emma & Simon Palmer late in 2010. Currently, Jude is the principal coordinator of the Food Parcels project which sets out to provide the most impoverished families with a large sack of food-stuffs once a month. We work closely with a local clinic and have met with great cooperation in ensuring that the parcels are handed out in a fair-handed way to those who need it most.
We’ve recently teamed up with a Marla, a lady who also wanted to contribute in a local community, though she isn’t in our ecclesias. She owns a family catering business and wanted to donate a meal once a month to a local community. Working together with Marla brought an amazing synergy to our feeding scheme. We’ve experienced in the past that while people are appreciative of receiving food from us, that many times they don’t seem over-joyed. And I can relate to some extent – we’re helping them get through the month a little, but not really solving the greater problem….in any case, when Marla gave them and their kids a small paper plate with a basic rice-curry meal, the kids and the parents became very happy. Funny enough, when they had a little on their stomach and then received our gift of food, their enthusiasm was higher and they just plain look happy.
On a side note, we place a flyer in each of the bags of food that we give away that has some basic information about the location of our church and when we meet. Recently Dudu, one of the ladies who was a recipient of a food parcel, started walking to our church and she has attended all of the adult functions we’ve provided. She lives an easy 5 mile walk away, and she was walking both ways. We now arrange for her transport! Shortly after she started coming, she influenced Thozama, a friend of hers, to join her, and they bring their kids as well. This last week, they brought a another lady, and her kids, as well.
Exciting potential in Clermont!
Happy’s School update:
Our studies continue at the Happy’s school, though the recent round of Holidays was quite a disruption in our weekly classes with the kids. One activity that we are excited to be a part of…I’ve been excited to be a part of obtaining permission to take 50 students from the Mason Lincoln school for the disabled (Happy’s school) to uShaka again, planned for May 13th. While I will be unable to participate as I’m scheduled to teach a Fraternal weekend in Port Elizabeth, the remaining volunteers in Durban are very excited to help many students experience uShaka Water World for the first time. This is VERY COOL! We’ll provide them with a simple lunch and good quality time together. It is very rewarding to see the youth experience sharks, Jelly-fish and sting-rays (etc) for the first time. Even though I won’t be with them this time, I’m still very pumped to have helped get their approval to go 😉
Observations and thoughts…
On a non-mission related note. You know you are in South Africa when…
Check out the Police officer in the straight only lane with his Right turn indicator on next to the person turning right. No, there is no emergency, he just didn’t want to wait in line. He went around the cars in the turn lane and then cut off the person who had the right of way. He’s driving exactly like the taxis normally do, just cut off the traffic and go the way you want to…
Who’s gonna give him a ticket?
Spiritual Message that I’ve received…and would like to share…
I have several studies that I am finding to be exciting and offer incredible insights into ourselves and God’s expectations for us. Many things are also just plain curious.
I’ve learned an important lesson about myself over the last few years. Two points that I’m currently happy to share are as follows.
1. I (people) tend to a certain amount of non-spiritual distraction.
Originally I was going to expound on this, but maybe less is more 😉
We are all distracted by the things that are around us. No matter our occupation or skills, we tend to a certain amount of stimulation and distraction in our lives that isn’t specifically spiritual. While much can be said about these distractions, what I want to focus on is time committed to God. No one accidentally finds themselves dedicated and committed to God and His ways unless they first commit to it. No one reads the Bible every day unless they Decide to read the Bible every day and then stick with it, no matter the distractions available. No one prays regularly by being accidental in their affairs. Putting God first only happens when we make an active decision to put God first, and then REFUSE to allow distractions to get between us and Him. Much Debate can come from this observation, but within the bounds of faith and reason, we all should share the need to pursue God on Purpose. Jesus tells us that the Greatest commandment is to Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, Soul and Strength. Nothing gets in the way of this kind of Love. It’s something we do as a response of His Love for us, on purpose, and with specific intent.
Connected to the first thought…
2. We must seek opportunity to serve. It is true that we should all Seek to come to know God through Jesus personally in our lives, but the only way to accomplish this is to give ourselves in service. Even Jesus seems to attribute his Love for his brothers being seen through his service (Washing of Feet, instruction to love one-another, etc), while instructing us to follow his example. Do we? Ultimately, He sought opportunity to serve so that his disciples could learn this valuable lesson. We too need to place opportunity in our lives to serve others. Especially those who cannot help themselves. I also see the same message in Philipians, as something Jesus also recognized in himself…
“Phil 2:7 being found in human likeness (character) he (Jesus) made himself to be a servant, becoming obedient in all things, including death on a cross…”
Originally I would have said that we find God by reading His Word. Now I would phrase it that we find God when we Apply what we read in His Word, through service in our Lives. This is truly the exercise of our faith.
Final note: The Beeler’s enjoy hearing from our ecclesial family. I invite any who are interested or personally curious about mission work and our experiences here in South Africa, I invite you to contact me at my email: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternately, thru Skype “Cameron Beeler”. Keeping in mind that we are GMT −2 hours. This translates to 8 hours ahead of Central time in the states.
Love in Christ!
Your Brother, Cam