I feel like lots of exciting stuff has been happening since I last wrote. Lockdown restrictions have been lifted and the church is filling back up which is a joy to see. We have had a lot of power cuts which have been quite disruptive but through my work I have seen a lot of growth. I am looking forward to coming back to the UK for a month over Christmas. After being away for two years it will be lovely to see friends and family again.
I have decided to finish working in the school in Mitchell’s Plain at the end of this year and focus my time in Lavendar Hill rather than splitting it between two townships. I am sad to leave but am happy to know that I have made a positive influence on the lives of many children and staff. It is such a joy to be able to use my skills to be a blessing to people.
I was so full of joy when someone emailed me and offered to donate money to buy industrial sewing machines for the ladies. What an answer to prayer. The machines are extremely heavy and sadly we have to store them away in a cupboard with a couple of steps down to access it. It would be great if we could find a venue where we can keep the machines out and the ladies can access it to sew all week. A few of the ladies are very committed and keen to get a business up and running. Some other people are on board and are helping to teach some business skills and think through what they can make and how they can market and sell the items. Each time I meet with the ladies we do a bible study and the ladies are continuing to grow in their love and knowledge of God.
We have six people signed up and started on the mentoring course. The first module will be completed by Christmas and it covers an introduction into what mentoring is. After Christmas they will start walking alongside someone and building a relationship with them in a supportive way.
The two Khayelitsha sisters I mentioned previously have started on the course along with one of their daughters. I often forget how little people know and are able to do. I decided to start meeting with them to help them with the course and let them access my internet as I am struggling to find a solution for them to have internet at home. It is proving a great opportunity for me to mentor them and do some bible teaching with them. Last week when I took them home, I asked what they had learnt and they said the best bit was the bible study. They don’t appear to have had great bible teaching so are lapping up every bit of teaching they can get.
The dance group continues to go well. The ladies arrive carrying a lot of stress and aches and pains from traumatic township life (shootings, crime, poor relationships) and always comment how they leave feeling much lighter and better. Each session I end with reading a Psalm which we reflect on together.
Along with a couple of ladies from church, I have started up a teenage girls group. The first half involves playing games and doing some therapeutic activities before moving on to a bible study. At first the girls were extremely quiet but now the seven regulars are opening up. They’re sharing their lives with us and asking lots of great questions about the Bible and are striving to understand God better. I am looking forward to being able to work more with these girls next year and am thinking to start up a therapeutic dance group with them. It would be lovely to spend more time with them, build up relationships, help them with their struggles and teach them more about God.
I am really enjoying the work I am doing in South Africa and seeing people’s lives changed emotionally and spiritually. However, I do find it very draining and hard work with all the trauma the ladies and children experience. I do feel I have good support in place to manage this but it will be lovely to have a break over Christmas. I have another year with Crosslinks on their short-term programme and am looking into options for staying here long-term. Please let me know if you would like to meet up when I am back, it would be lovely to see you.
Picture at top of page: The sewing ladies with their new machines. The challenge now is being able to thread them. We might have to help them get proper glasses.
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