A few years ago a woman named Antonia took a pamphlet from the BEC in Durban and then completed the God’s Master Plan Course. She was informed about the Good News Center in Clermont, where she lives, but was unable to locate it. A few weeks ago she happened upon the new Clermont Center and immediately started coming to Bible classes and the cooking course. Antonia is on fire for the gospel. Her desire to seek the truth of the Bible is evident in the wonderful questions that she asks at each Bible study. One evening during a class about Christ’s return and the resurrection she said, “I’ve been reading the Bible my whole life. Why am I just finding out about this now?”
We decided to start a Q&A session for her, and a few other contacts at the Clermont Center, every second week. One evening, after a discussion that went well past the hour set aside for the Bible study, Antonia said to me, “I read the Bible and I think, ‘I must have the wrong understanding,’ and then I say to myself, ‘I have to wait until Tuesday to find out!?! It’s too long to wait!'” When I responded that it seems as if she would like to study the Bible with us all day every day, she said, “Yes! This is the best part of my life!”
Mariannhill Sunday school has started up again and is going strong! We began the year with just a handful of students and the number is steadily increasing each week. The children enjoy singing and learning new songs together, listening to Bible stories about Jesus, and doing crafts. Sometimes they get to act out the story as well!
A group of young women from the youth class began to come and help out with Sunday school each week. They expressed an interest in learning how to teach Sunday school, so on Saturday afternoons I am teaching them how to prepare and teach Bible lessons for children. Soon they will begin to teach Sunday school in Mariannhill on their own.
When I arrived back in Durban I was excited to get Gospel Girls up and running again. Gospel Girls is a class for young women in their teens and early twenties. It focuses on issues that young women face in their lives and finds answers and guidance from the Bible. This year we are talking about beauty. We are looking at characteristics that God finds to be beautiful in his children such as honesty, trustworthiness, faithfulness, generosity, kindness, patience, love, and humility. These topics serve as jumping off points for discussions about relationships, the choices women make in their lives, and the way God wants his children to live.
A group of young women who are relatively new to the Good News Center in Mariannhill have been coming to Gospel Girls each week. I have really enjoyed the candid conversations that we have had about their family relationships, friendships, and romantic relationships. These girls are insightful and honest, and it is wonderful to hear them talking openly about their lives. These young women have been exploring the way the society around them impacts their everyday lives. They talk about how men and women treat each other, the pitfalls of seeking after riches, and the falsehoods that they see in the media. They ask relevant questions about what God expects from his children verses what they see in the world around them. These young women have created a place in Gospel Girls where they can come together and talk about their lives.
Gogo means grandmother in Zulu. Each Wednesday in Mariannhill a number of gogos come to the Good News Center to study the Bible and pray together. Recently the gogos and I have been studying parables and symbols in the Bible.
After the Bible study they spend time knitting squares for blankets while they share tea, muffins, laughter, and stories. If only I could understand Zulu!
Every few weeks the gogos are given a food packet which is provided to help them care for the grandchildren who live in their homes.