I have now been in South Africa for two months and it has been a busy time spent doing a wide variety of projects. The experiences I have had so far are amazing and eye opening and are a testament to the strong faith and hard work of many of the Brothers and Sisters that reside, or are also volunteering, here in South Africa. I have had the pleasure to spend my time here helping Brothers and Sisters Lucas and Leona Scheepers, Hendri and Liezl Viljoen and Michael and Lilandi Furstenburg with their many activities and projects they perform on a daily basis. This includes working with the Kempton Park Sunday school kids with homework club every Tuesday and music lessons with four Kempton Park Sunday School kids every Wednesday. Also I have helped Hendri Viljoen with his sports program at Thembinkosi School for Mentally Handicapped every Wednesday morning and assisted Brother Ronald (Molatte) Motsinoni to teach at the same school every Tuesday and Thursday. These are only some of the great works that these hard working Brothers and Sisters keep themselves busy with in Kempton Park and Tembisa Township.
The time spent at Thembinkosi School has been an amazing experience but also a frustrating one. It has also been a great opportunity to get to know Brother Ronald who is a young brother with amazing faith and a thirst for the truth. The system that is in place here in South Africa is very different than that which I experienced at home in Canada and that is especially the case when it applies to the black culture and with those who suffer with any variation of mental or physical handicap (at Thembinkosi there is a wide range of handicaps from severe to mild). This particular school is overcrowded with very limited resources so even with only a basic education and a positive attitude you can impact these kids greatly. It is very clear that Brother Ronald impacts these kids greatly as they are very comfortable with him and continually learn a great deal from him.
During the sports program on Wednesdays Ronald is also a huge part of what makes it so successful. Sports can teach many lessons that are applicable in our spiritual lives but only when there are good role models to lead the way. Brother Ronald and Brother Hendri do a great job at teaching these kids dedication, control, patience and many other positive attributes. They also have different personalities that compliment each other and bring the best out in these young guys that come out to play. It has been an absolute pleasure to see these kids grow and improve over the two months I have spent with them.
One of my favourite activities that I have had the chance to be a part of was teaching piano to two young girls from the Kempton Park Sunday School. These girls, Karabo and Talifhani, both 13 years old this year, have probably been able to teach me more than I could possibly teach them. Their personality and energy are amazing and they are very attentive to any piece of advice or understanding you can impart to them. I was very happy to have Talifhani play a song she had only just learnt to a small group of visiting Australians and it sounded amazing especially when you considered how recently she had learnt the piece.
While I have been teaching these two Brother Michael has been teaching two boys, Junior and Tumi, how to play the guitar. They also love the experience!
I recently had the pleasure to go with Michael, Hendri, Ronald, Junior, Tumi and another young man from Tembisa, Pride, on a fishing/camping trip at the Vaal Dam. This was a very special experience as none of these young men had ever been on a camping or fishing trip. Learning all that goes along with fishing and camping was fun and exciting for these four, even though some had their struggles with the new experience. Along with the fishing there was plenty of time to socialize and to reflect on the beauty of God’s creation and how he provides for us. As a whole the trip turned out amazingly and in the end every individual caught a fish, which was a great blessing.
Again these are only some of the experiences that stand out during an awesome two month period. These activities and projects illustrate the effort from those already here in South Africa and the need for any help that can be given, as there is plenty of opportunity for work to be done and for the spreading of the Gospel throughout this wide world that we live in.