Tswelopele Community centre – an additional long term approach to preaching.
We have been privileged to establish a second community centre in a township ideally located between two informal settlements (“squatter camps”) As with the first centre (Aphiwe, located in the Tembisa township and established over a year ago) we have been incredibly blessed by God in many ways.
The way in which our touch and teach philosophy continues to open up new possibilities for preaching has been very rewarding as well. It all started when a brother in our ecclesia made us aware of a lady (“Gogo”) that was trying to run a Sunday school in her small garage. She needed help as it was difficult to cope with the 45 odd children of ages 6 to 14 that would turn up. Bro. Jonathan and sister Megan Sabo visited South Africa for 4 months as full time volunteer workers. They started a regular 2 weekly Saturday Bible club at Gogo’s place and with a structured schedule, lesson plans, some refreshments and games played the club quickly grew to about 60 children.
After obtaining corporate funds we were able to buy a house (two blocks away from Gogo’s place)and modify/renovate it to serve as a community centre. Bro. Michael and sister Lilandi Furstenburg took over the responsibilities of running the centre and we were blessed with the building project going smoothly, finishing on time and within the budget. The end result looks really great. Even more rewarding is that the Saturday morning Bible Club had a “first-time-at-the-new-venue” turn out of 74 children. They are split into three classes and get some solid Bible lessons on a theme and also have an activity that relates to the teaching. Usually the activity involves making some object that they can take home with them.
We have advertised a Bible Seminar to be held on Tuesday afternoons and it will be interesting to see what interest we get from the surrounding areas. We have established a permanent presence in the community and can now increase our community outreach work where we will first touch people through serving them in various ways. Experience from our touch and teach work in the Tembisa township has shown that it will result in building relationships with the community and build a network of friends and acquaintances that will naturally default into seeing what we do, our beliefs and values and our love for God and Jesus that compels us to do this kind of work willingly and gladly. This leads to us getting the opportunity to preach the Gospel to them in a way that they don’t perceive as threatening. It is also rewarding to know that we are filling a huge gap in the community as there are no churches in the near vicinity and no Bible related activities for the young people. In a country where many children have single or no parents it becomes important to reach them with spiritual values and principles at a young age. It is very fulfilling to train up children in the way they should go and that there is huge potential for these children to be members of sound ecclesias in the future should our Lord not return.
The name of the centre, “Tswelopele” is a Sotho word which means progress. We believe God will help us so that the preaching of the Gospel will progress into the eventual establishment of an ecclesia in the area.
With abiding love in Jesus
Lucas and Leona Scheepers