Hello! We hope our Stateside friends and family are enjoying a lovely and not too cold Thanksgiving weekend. It's beautiful, hot and sunny in Cape Town! Things are rapidly winding down here as we approach December and the summer holidays, but things have been very busy leading up to the end of the year.
SCRIPTURE UNION NEWS
Scripture Union's fundraising events ended well in October, with approximately R500,000 being pledged. This has set the stage for another series of fundraisers in early 2020, and much planning and preparation is going into these upcoming events. SU held their annual Council meeting in early November over the weekend that the South African rugby team played England in the World Cup final. Fortunately, South Africa won, so the mood for the meeting was quite buoyant, which made tough decisions easier to engage!
This time of year is quite busy for the regional SU staff, as they run camps for school children during the summer holidays. Please pray that many children would be able to attend the camps and that they would experience the love of Christ. Please pray, too, for the camp leaders as they expend lots of energy and effort to make these camps an amazing experience for the children.
HAPPENINGS AT MOKONE PRIMARY
It has been a very fruitful year at Mokone Primary. The Indlela Bible Club was such an incredible new initiative this year. The children were so faithful in coming and so eager to participate each week. At the last meeting we were able to give each child their own copy of a Reach4Life Bible, and they were so excited to receive them. The Langa Common Ground Church started offering transportation for children from Mokone to attend church, and the number of children going has been increasing each week. Hopefully some of their parents will soon join them.
For Friday Numeracy each year we administer a baseline assessment at the beginning of the year and then repeat the same assessment in November. We were thrilled to see major improvement in the scores over the course of the year. The average improvement for the grade was over 30%, and the weakest group showed an average of 69% improvement. One child improved 200% from the beginning of the year! We are so thankful for a dedicated team of volunteers who really work hard with the children to help them grasp the basics and grow in confidence.
We were able to attend the end-of-year prize-giving ceremony at the school. We gave each of the Grade 6 children a certificate for participating in the Friday Numeracy program and the school gave us a certificate of appreciation, as well!
Our congregation once again donated money towards the purchase of school stationery and Bibles for all of the Grade 7 learners so that they can get a good start for high school next year (high school starts in Grade 8 here). Each donor also wrote a personal note of encouragement to one of the learners.
We are looking forward to seeing our relationship with Mokone Primary grow even stronger in 2020, and we are eager to see what the Lord has planned.
As mentioned in our last newsletter, Pastor Julius has been receiving treatment for his vision, and his eyesight is gradually returning. With school wrapping up next week for all of the children, the next month will be very busy for them, as the children will be home all day. Emily and Leslie hope to be able to go out one day and do some Christmas activities with the children, but they will need a few others to come out and do things as well.
We recently facilitated the Justice Journey for interested members throughout the Common Ground congregations. About 25 people completed the 4 week course, and there were some great discussions and "Aha" moments. We pray that the participants will continue to grapple with the glaring injustices so many face on a daily basis in South Africa.
In October we had the chance to make a short trip to the U.S. We spent a few days with Leslie's parents and celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Then we spent a couple of days with James and Mackenzie in Norfolk before heading to NYC for a missions conference at Calvary Baptist Church. That was quite an experience. It was their 81st annual conference and the last one in their current building, which is on West 57th Street, right across the street from Carnegie Hall and very close to Central Park. At the end of the year they will be demolishing the current building and it will be rebuilt for commercial purposes. The new space will have several floors dedicated for the church to use, but it will be a few years before it's ready. The church has supported Scripture Union in South Africa for many years, and they invited us as SU representatives.
Our friends and co-workers, Sam and Emily Copeland, are expecting their first baby in mid-December, and some of Emily's friends hosted a lovely baby shower for her. There were over 30 people in attendance, mostly from church and The Zanokhanyo Network. The Copelands have really made an impact during their time here, and we look forward to meeting Baby Copeland soon!
In December we are planning to come to the States again to visit family and friends. William will be with us this time. We plan to be in the Blacksburg area from December 14-21, then in Michigan with Tim's family for Christmas, then in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area from the 28th - January 2, and finally in South Carolina with Leslie's parents until the 8th. Then we'll hit the ground running into the new year in Cape Town. Please feel free to contact us while we're in the U.S.
We would love to catch up with people!
As we head into the Christmas season, may we all keep Christ central and be thankful for his many blessings. Thank you for the part you play in helping to reach people far from God in Cape Town. May God bless you.