Dear Family and Friends, 

‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another’ John 13:31. Alun kicked off a new sermon series in John this week – what a great way to begin 2023 as we think about what God would have us do this year. Before that road begins, though, let us give you a taste of what has been happening here in the last quarter of 2022.

Crossword Youth Camp was such a time of encouragement with 360 people maxing out the campsite! We were truly thrilled to be back after a three-year break. Our group of teens from St Thomas had an absolute blast and found the ten talks from Exodus and the three from the Apostles Creed both challenging and helpful. Debbie, the younger boys and Debbie’s parents were able to stay up the road at a friend’s farm, popping in for some teaching sessions, joining the famous ColourRun obstacle course (some of us opted for taking photos – download the PDF to see them!) and watching the exciting FIFA World Cup final in the large marque! Alun was able to lead a team of volunteers for the secretary role this year and this was a massive help for the mammoth admin task that such a camp generates. The Crossword Committee continue to prioritise not only the teaching of teens on camp, but the training of new leaders. Crossword thrives on small group discussions after sessions and in dorms; as camp grows, the need for more workers is apparent.

Nadene Clark was appointed Bible Counsellor at St Thomas in November and has settled into the role so well. She began seeing urgent and serious cases the same week she began, testifying to the need for such a ministry in Heideveld. Nadene has met with a cross section of people from the church and begun to draw up a plan for work in the coming months. A key task will be the empowering of lay church members to have meaningful conversations with family and friends. This will come in the format of training at different levels, depending on ability and time availability. Our daily bread ministry continues to provide food to needy families amongst us and our hope is that the volunteers now running this practical ministry, will be able to have deeper conversations with those they visit.  Already we can see early fruit, as people are met at their point of need, but invited to be part of the church family. We have a number of very new seekers or ‘baby’ Christians, whom we desire to see grow to maturity. Alun is planning to begin a new Bible study for these people this term, as well as a leadership training Bible study with some of our existing long-standing members. There feels a lot going on, at an exciting point in the church’s life. We need the Lord’s strength, grace and power to bring what he has started to fruition. How we long for an ever-growing congregation of mature Christians, who hear the gospel and take it back into their homes, to share it with their families and neighbours! Families are strengthened by the transforming power of God’s word and the actions of God’s people; we believe St Thomas has a special work to do this year in our community.

Dillon Solomons finished the second year of his apprenticeship and will stay on working for St Thomas three days a week this year. We are thrilled! Dillon is a passionate youth leader with skill in teaching the Bible and discipling young people, alongside Katleho Meslane who continues to lead our children’s work.  

 At home, the big news was the much anticipated six week visit of Debbie’s parents, Phil and Joy.  They were last out for Timothy’s birth nearly seven years ago, so there was much to share with them. Debbie’s brother, David, flew out on Christmas Eve, and joined us for ten days of camping near Ceres. Everyone appreciated the quality time we could spend, sharing meals, coffee dates, beaches, church, camp, mountain walks and much more. One thing they will return to England with is a new word in their vocabulary – ‘loadshedding’ and with it, a new appreciation of reliable electricity.  South Africa is currently weeks into daily nationwide power cuts, at the moment running for 6–10 hours a day. In the holidays, it is at times inconvenient, a coffee shop that can’t make hot drinks, the shop that can’t use its card machine, the delays in making dinner or the evening suddenly requiring torches and candlelight.  As we head towards term time again this week, the disruptions will increase, and we would appreciate your prayers for a solution to a deepening energy crisis here. We know that it is the poor who suffer the most as electricity bills were hiked up by 18.45% this week.

Timothy starts Grade 1 on Wednesday at Grace Primary and joins Malachi who begins Grade 5 there. Likhona turned 18 years old last week and commences his final year of schooling. He earned his senior black belt in karate just before Crossword and is training with the SA squad in preparation for the World Championships that will take place in Cape Town in July. Ilana is looking forward to a new art class, friends in a science co-op and continuing music at Beau Soleil Music Centre.   
  
As ever, we are grateful for your partnership with us – in prayer, in giving and in writing.

Alun and Debbie, with Likhona (18), Ilana (14), Malachi (10) and Timothy (6) x

Download

Photos

Reply to this letter

Subscribe via PrayerMate

To find out more about this service visit prayermate.net