Common Good/Zanokhanyo News
It's always amazing to look back over the time since our last newsletter to see how much the Lord has accomplished. In September we mentioned that we were hoping to start an external jobreadiness training course. In the past two months we have had 3 external training courses in 3 different communities. We also recently piloted a revised curriculum which the team has been working on for some time. The new curriculum was used at both training hubs and in Philippi township. The testimonies at each graduation continue to be incredible.
A few months ago we created a "War Room" for prayer and we have been praying for all aspects of Common Good during designated times each week. We can really see the fruit of these prayers as God is moving in so many hearts and in so many ways. God's faithfulness is amazing.
A couple of weeks ago we had a Common Good staff day to reflect on this year and look forward to 2017. The staff has grown tremendously since the beginning of the year, and it is set to grow even more next year. More trainers will be needed to help reach the goal of training 1000 people!
As we approach the end of the calendar year, people are tired and ready for a well-deserved rest, but they are also hopeful for all that the Lord has in store for 2017.
Mokone Primary & Barcelona Children's Home
The school year is officially over now, but a lot was packed into the last term.
During Life Orientation with the Grade 7 classes Leslie asked the learners to make "River of Life" diagrams to outline significant events in their lives. The results were very sobering. Many of the children have already experienced tremendous trauma and hardship.
Every year the Grade 7s go on a Farewell Camp to mark the end of primary school, but less than half of the children were able to go this year due to the cost. Leslie and a friend from church organized an alternative activity for those who were unable to go on the camp—a morning playing putt-putt at Sea Point followed by a picnic. It was great fun!
During the 4th term we had an abundance of volunteers helping with the Friday Numeracy program, and this really made a difference. We ended off with a bit of a party for the children.
We took 15 children from the Barcelona Children's Home to see a movie back in October. That was an adventure! When we got back to Barcelona a huge cake was waiting for the children. It had been dropped off by Desmond Tutu's daughter, and it was his official birthday cake! He gave the entire multi-tiered cake to the children.
We mentioned in our last newsletter that Tim had handed in his Ph.D. thesis. Today he successfully completed his defence! Graduation is scheduled for April at the University of Pretoria. The thesis is titled ‘Poverty Alleviation as an Imperative for Mission' with the hope that it will be useful in mobilizing the church to engage with poverty as a movement of the Gospel. A copy is freely available for anyone suffering from insomnia! Thank you for your prayers for Tim to achieve this milestone.
After many years of living in Cape Town we finally took a basic Xhosa language course. It was challenging, but a lot of fun. We have a bit more confidence now speaking in Xhosa, but we have a long way to go. For the second consecutive year there were massive student protests across the country as university students petitioned the government to provide free tertiary education. The protests disrupted the semester quite dramatically, but most students at most universities managed to complete their final exams. Some will only finish this year's classes early next year. The way forward is unclear at this point. President Zuma has also come under close scrutiny, but so far he's survived several threats to his leadership.
Things at church are going very well. Recently a baptism service was held and there were almost 40 people baptized with about 25 of those being spontaneous. Our small group continues to be source of encouragement, and the Social Justice ministry team is a joy to work with.
We hosted a Thanksgiving meal with 8 South Africans and 3 other Americans. The turkeys we get here are small, so we had to supplement with ostrich steaks. At least ostriches are still poultry!
As Christmas approaches we have so much to be thankful for. We're looking forward to having James and William here and to spending time together as a family. Thank you so much for the vital role you play in seeing the Kingdom advance in South Africa. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." Romans 15:13.