WF Report – November-December, 2010
I came back to SA in early November after a short break in the UK and quickly got back to work! It’s a busy time of year – end of school year, everyone getting ready for the long holidays.
English classes at Mariannhill and an adult class in Clermont on Wednesday were continued and as Christy had gone to Jo’burg I also took on the Lamontville English class on Tuesday afternoons. Micah Strachan, one of the Westville youth came along to Lamontville each week to help out. He had to do a set number of hours of community outreach for school, but even when he had completed the requirement, he continued. He was great! Each week he prepared a comprehension exercise on a parable. He got the students to read a verse each aloud to the class, then asked them questions. He also translated for me when the class could not understand my flat northern vowel sounds!
Clermont adult English course had dwindled in numbers and Esther and I decided not to continue it in the same format into 2011. We are looking at other ways to help the community which will be better received and more useful. One idea we are exploring is a stand-alone 10 week English course for adults. Then we could advertise when we have resource and move to other areas as well. We found in Clermont that we had people arriving at different times throughout the lesson, and any time throughout the year, with massively different abilities, so each lesson ended up being a bespoke 1-1 service, and it was difficult to stick to a syllabus and therefore identify progress.
Emma had got her feeding scheme ready and had waited until I got back to start. Emma, myself (and others) went to do the tea and coffee mornings at the Kwa Dabeka clinic and Kim, Emma and I put together a rota with volunteers and locals and so far it has worked brilliantly. One local sister loves it so much, she comes every week to help with the soup kitchen, it provides her with fellowship, a morning out and an opportunity to serve others which she loves. Showing God’s love by serving people and showing them love and kindness has been a lovely experience, and it’s something I’ll be doing for the rest of my time in SA God willing.
We also started the food parcels for orphans. Packing and delivering is quite a job, the first month was a learning experience – Emma and I must have moved the 2 tonnes of stock about 5 times! – and now the process is much more streamlined. Emma enlisted a lot of help from Westville members and their children. This is something I will be continuing to do as Emma managed to secure funding for over 6 months.
In December things started to quieten down for the holidays so a few of us went to Candu for 3 days, it was a great time of fellowship with games, chats, Sisters Class and Bible discussions. Then on Christmas eve we went to Ndwedwe with Vincent and Jabu to drop off the food for the orphans they feed, and some Christmas presents we had had donated.
Westville Church had done some fundraising to try and make festive food parcels for some of the brother and sisters who don’t have much. We raised a fair amount, but there are a lot of brothers and sisters in need and we needed more money. I just added a note on my facebook status to say if anyone was planning on sending me anything for Christmas, could they just donate ￡10 instead – towards a Christmas food parcel. People were very generous and one of my cousins jumped on this idea and put together an appeal to me family – asking them to give me the cash they would have spent on cards this year – and give the card thing a miss this year! They were so generous – we managed to put 10 good food parcels together and had money left over – which will be used for some other form of outreach.
We had an amazing Christmas day. After the excitement of spending it with the Palmer children and Ethan, our SA family … Phil, Nay, the Palmers, Char, Ethan and myself – went to Clermont. Simon did a talk about Jesus and what his birth, life and death means for us, then we shared drinks and snacks and fellowship time. Then we gave presents to the children. We had collected second hand toys from generous members of Westville and Durban, cleaned them and wrapped them up. The children were really excited. My Mum had sent some party poppers so we had a little celebration and learned to say ‘Ukhisimusi Omuhle’ which means merry Christmas in Zulu – it is best shouted cheerfully and pronounced ‘o-kissy-moo-say ah-moo-clay’. It was a moving day, although we always have a family service on Christmas day at my church at home, this was so different.
A couple of days later, my friend Nana at Mariannhill had a baby girl, Nikita. I took Nay and some girls from Mariannhill to the hospital to pick them up and take them home. It was lovely to help Nana, and hold Nikita who is beautiful. When we got back to her place, Nana’s mother-in-law, Octavia insisted we stay and was very pleased to see us. She seemed amazed that Nay and I would go and pick them up from hospital and stay chatting. She doesn’t go to our church, but asked a lot about it and asked me to say a prayer for us all, especially Nana and Nikita. I’m hoping this will develop into another friendship and with Nana and the Mariannhill church we can help her get closer to God.
2010 has truly been an amazing year. It has been awesome to spend it all in SA working to spread the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and now the next stage is in front of us, and I pray 2011 will see more hearts and churches ignited across the world.