WF Report – June 2010
8 months in and I continue to be amazed daily at the incredible opportunities God is giving me to show his love and spread his gospel. He has blessed me in every imaginable way, including providing me with an extra month’s extension on my trip! Here are a few of the things we have been getting up to!
Jamming for Jesus
Laura and I have been teaming up to run Jamming for Jesus courses in a number of schools local to the good news centre. The course runs for 4 weeks and teaches scriptural lessons alongside learning to play the guitar. The first course was attended by 20 grade six children in a school in Mariannridge, and they loved every minute of it! Some were demanding passages of scripture to memorise! The only drawback was the location of the school, as many of the children live a long way from the good news centre. This is not a problem with the second school, which is two doors down from Lamontville! We told a few of the children about the youth group and the Sunday school at Lamontville and four of the boys turned up to our youth class! Next week is the last session, so we are going into full advertising mode. We may just have to get backup teachers!
Ben, Roxy, Craig and Nicky. All completed the 90km comrades ultra marathon. All would have been unable to do so without a little help from their friends. So we all crawled out of bed at 6am and loaded up the Bucky with a lot of equipment and made our way to 45th cutting. The long way round, because all the roads were unexpectedly blocked off. We set up the sound system and started playing Christian songs just in time for the first runners. The entire day was spent singing, with breaks every now and then to scream encouragement at the runners. Our voices were pretty wrecked by the end of the day, but it was so worth it! You could see the difference in the runners; when we were having a break, the vast majority would walk up the hill where we were, having already run about 80km, but as soon as we started singing, they all started running. They had huge smiles on their faces and were clapping and dancing and were all so grateful. A truly fantastic day.
God has blessed us with an incredible number of baptisms in the last few months, each of which comes with an amazing story. These have included Brenda and Sine who will be based at the new Claremont location, as well as Nosipho, who is the first of the Happy’s children to be baptised. They were all baptised on the same day, it was so amazing to hear their testimonies, and wonderful to see the hard work that so many people have put in at Happy’s begin to bear fruit.
A couple of months ago during p2p we were asked to build a jungle gym. In a random crèche near the Mariannhill one. The night before it was to be built. No one was really sure what they were doing or why they were doing it! As we were digging foundations for the posts to go into, a man who works in a small tuck shop on the crèche land came over to help. His name was Linda and he couldn’t understand what we were doing there. Why had a group of foreign people come to this crèche in the middle of nowhere to build a jungle gym for free? We gave him the only answer he could, we are just trying to show the world the love of Jesus. The next week he was at Mariannhill meeting. He wanted to find out more about what had made us build that gym. He continued to come, and last week, he became our brother. It was amazing for us to see that direct result of showing love.
A brother called Marcus Shange from Mariannhill has been in hospital for the last three months and sadly lost his battle with cancer a few weeks ago. While he was there we began to visit him every day, as well as planning special visits to sing in the wards and hand out Bible verses. A photo of his birthday party is shown below.
Over the course of these visits we also began to build relationships with the others in the ward, so weekly group hospital visits have continued. These have already shown amazing results, as Siphiwe, the man in the bed next to Marcus, stayed in contact with us after leaving the hospital and was baptised on Sunday!
The last two months has held a number of great outreach activities which we pray will be just as valuable in attracting people to the gospel. Durban hosted the graduation ceremony for those who have completed courses in the BEC or at the Saturday morning classes. There was a fantastic turn out, it’s good to see so many people being able to make the link between the BEC and our hall, and it was great to see someone turning up in full cap and gown!
This weekend we visited Marcus’ house in Mariannhill and planted a vegetable garden for his children. His house is situated at the bottom of a valley with houses all the way up the sides. Every one of those houses overlooks Marcus’ new garden and people seemed to be fascinated by this group of sweaty individuals hacking at the slope to make terraces. A lot of people actually pulled up chairs to watch us!
We have also continued regular activity days at happy’s including Italian day (home made pizzas are not pleasant) and the second trip to Ushaka, which was really wonderful! We were also given money to spend on bibles for the younger class which Laura and I teach. We were able to give out six Bibles and the kids were so excited, they opened them as soon as possible to check whether we had been telling them the truth about Joseph!
We have hosted two jumble sales in the Lamontville centre, quite a terrifying experience really! We attempted to limit the number of people in the shop at one time, but when nothing costs over R3 it is impossible to stop the swarms of ladies, mostly still dressed in their pyjamas and shouting excitedly! The second sale was to raise money to buy an electric wheelchair for Nosipho, as she is leaving school this year and is completely dependent on friends, having very limited use of her arms. We brought her along so that she could see where some of the money was coming from, and she described the whole experience as a wonderful dream. Not quite the words I would use, but it was a lot of fun!
In the coming months a lot of our energies will be going into world cup related activities. We will be working alongside Whizz Kids United to run a holiday club in Lamontville. We will use this as an opportunity to teach the gospel as well as providing an opportunity for them to watch a world cup match on the big screen. We will also be providing food for children who may go hungry due to the long school holidays, as school is their main source of food. The holiday club will help to keep children safe at a time when children traffickers will be flooding into the country from all over Africa.
The Jamming for Jesus kids are already very excited about it!