WF Report – January 2010
The past two months have been a mixture of feeling I am not doing enough, and being rushed off my feet! A lot of things shut down over the Christmas holidays and we were left with a lot of time on our hands to miss home! So it was quite a relief when the youth week arrived and we were joined by new volunteers for the two week P2P applied visit. We are all pretty exhausted now, but have had so many inspiring and awesome moments.
Over three days during the Christmas holidays, we ran trials for a guitar course designed by Laura called ‘Jamming for Jesus’. This follows the principles of Kingdom Youth FC, where children are taught the gospel through football. We were provided with ten junior guitars and covered topics like playing in harmony together, following Christ as our bass line and conductor, and the different parts of the guitar reflecting the different parts of the body of Christ, none of which would work on their own. These lessons ran alongside the Kingdom Youth FC, run by Mat. Both projects were very successful and we aim to run them long term.
The ecclesias in Durban were generous enough to donate gift boxes for elderly people at Christmas. We distributed these at Mariannhill in a special morning event, gave a short talk and provided tea and cake for them. They were overjoyed with their presents, which contained items such as slippers and toiletries. One lady obviously couldn’t wait until Christmas to open hers, she ripped into it as soon as it was handed to her and gave a whoop of delight at the shower gel and toothpaste contained within. She proceeded to rub the shower gel liberally into her arms and start a singing conga line using her toothpaste as a microphone! It was wonderful to be able to reach out to the older age range, and we pray that we will be given more opportunities to do this.
In order to promote the BEC and the correspondence courses available there, we have had some musical events in the area. The first of these was our monthly concert at the workshop in mid december. This involved us singing our usual songs, interspersed with some high energy zulu songs led by Mdu from Mariannhill. We were also helped by brothers from Durban and Lamontville and it was wonderful being able to work together and to see how rewarding it was for everyone. Unfortunately the workshop area will be undergoing building works for the foreseeable future, so instead of the monthly concerts, we plan to do weekly informal singing directly outside the BEC. This may be even more effective as people will be able to find the centre easily, and when we sang there on Saturday we counted 40 people entering the shop in a couple of hours, which is usually the number they will get in a quieter week. They also had 8 people sign up for courses.
The past two weeks we have been joined by a group of people from all over the world on the P2P applied visit and we have been able to accomplish so much with their help! We began the week with Kingdom Youth FC in Mariannhill, which was slightly hindered by the knee length grass all over the football pitch (I saw my first snake!), but that didn’t seem to stop the kids from flocking to us and enjoying themselves a lot!
The following few days we ran holiday clubs in Lamontville and Mariannhill. I was based in Mariannhill and we did crafts, games, singing and bible lessons based on the theme of thankfulness. These were very successful, especially as so many children came, each day we had around a hundred! I was amazed particularly at how some of the youth at Mariannhill all pulled together and helped us, they worked so hard and were an inspiration to us all!
The team were also joined by the youth in cutting the grass on the field. We hired a strimmer and spent around 3 days hacking at the grass, but the end result made all the effort worthwhile, as not only did it benefit the following week’s kingdom youth, but it also worked as a community outreach project, as many people in the community came to watch, and even help, and many people are enjoying the benefits.
We have re-started the Mariannhill youth group, which has been put to one side since Dan and Leah left. We decided to begin working through the gospel of peace course with them, as this enables them to find out for themselves, at their own pace, what the bible teaches about a wide range of topics, as well as familiarising themselves with topics that would be likely to arise in the field of preaching, which will hopefully develop their confidence in doing so!
We travelled down to Margate as part of the P2P trip, to organise another praise evening, as well as to spend some time with Nelson, Cecelia and Fezekile. We advertised the praise evening in the local shopping centre, in the roads surrounding the meeting room and in a nearby settlement. One of the people from the settlement decided that he couldn’t wait till the evening, he wanted to come and learn about the bible NOW and wouldn’t take no for an answer, so we brought him back and did some readings with him and answered some of his questions on the devil and suffering. We also went to Oribi gorge, home of ‘Extreme Wild Five’ and the more extreme (crazy) members of the team leapt off the world’s highest gorge swing. Just before they jumped off the cliff, they were praying that God would keep them safe, and this got them talking to the employees of the swing. Five people from the Wild Five team consequently attended the praise evening and signed up for the 22 lesson correspondence course, and have since expressed an interest in meeting with us next time we go down to discuss what they have learned! God certainly works in unexpected ways! The praise evening was a big success, and we are hopeful that by God’s grace, we will be able to visit on a more regular basis and support this small ecclesia and help it to grow.
We were blessed in being able to take 50 of the children from Happy’s school to Ushaka marine world on the final day of the P2P trip, which was an incredible experience for them, but far more rewarding for us. It was an exhausting day for them, as things like getting in and out of the coach and moving around the aquarium were challenging, but the smiles and looks of amazement never left their faces, especially at the end of the day when we watched the dolphin show. We are hoping to be able to take every child at the school on the trip over the next few months.
We had also planned to repaint the bathrooms at the school, a plan which had to be hastily adapted when we arrived to find the bathrooms in such a state of disrepair that an extreme project plan had to be designed! We will be removing the plaster and retiling all of the bathrooms over the coming month. We did, however, manage to reorganise the library, spray paint a ‘thankfulness tree’ on the entrance wall and put up some pictures on the walls of the dormitories to brighten them up.
- Repair the bathrooms at Happy’s, as well as taking the rest of the children to Ushaka
- Continue to develop Mariannhill youth
- Weekly informal singing outside the BEC
- Work to support Mariannhill crèche