Qwa Qwa Newsletter November 2017

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed
Using Scripture Union materials and programmes
Registration Number: 137-284 NPO
Qwa Qwa Newsletter
November 2017

In spite of the recent rains the two streams close to the house have stopped flowing, our bean plants are battling to cling onto life, and some of our gem squash plants are struggling to develop. There has been a shortfall in the rain this year. The Western Cape particularly and other areas are facing an unprecedented water shortage. Factions in
the ruling party are adversely affecting good governance and service delivery, while the majority of the nation suffer. It is a time when we as the true church of Jesus Christ should arise and pray and repent on behalf of our nation.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray
And seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,
then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.

In the early morning I walk our dogs. Often we walk down to the stream furtherest from our home. This stream has never stopped flowing in all the years we have been living here. This year it has stopped flowing. It flows after rain but soon stops flowing again and in parts it is dry. Well I often go down to the stream and pray for rain to fall on our
land, and especially for rain over the Western Cape. Lord have mercy upon us. We repent of all the wickedness that is perpetrated in our nation. We have sinned and gone after our own gods and have not sought you the true and Living God. In your mercy forgive our sin and send the rain from heaven, that the streams will flow and the rivers run and the dams fill up: that there may be water for man and beast: that food may grow in abundance for man and beast. Thank you that you are a God who answers the prayers of your people. You alone can send the rain and to you alone belongs all glory, honour and power.

Health Issues

Heather is recovering from her op and the sessions at the dentist in JHB.

I have returned home but am still battling with dizziness. It turns out it is an infection in both ears. I also have this constant buzzing in my ears and along with this there are these headaches that occur on and off, as well as pain in the ears. I have been on drops for the ears and will see the doctor again today. Now on stronger antibiotics for the infection. I know that The Lord will heal this problem. The rest in JHB has done me a lot of good. I am no longer so exhausted and weak. But I do realise, that having had a physical melt down twice in three or four months, I need to be careful not to take on too much. I need to do the things the Lord wants me to do and not the urgent things.

One other thing, the eye infection I had a while back has left permanent scaring on the cornea of my right eye. I discovered this when I went for an eye test for new glasses. There is not much vision in the right eye. The eye guy couldn’t get a decent reading from the eye. Even with these new glasses I do not see as well as I was hoping I would. But we need to let my eyes settle in to the new lenses, and trust the Lord for clearer vision.

In all these issues we trust in the Lord who is our Healer, knowing also that his grace is sufficient for us.

The Koreans are coming

A group of Korean pastors will be visiting Qwa Qwa from the 14 th – 20 th November. The group is led by pastor Kuak. It has been a long time since they have visited here. They will visit us at our home on the 18 th and then look over the Mustard Seed. Please pray with us for this visit. The Mustard Seed needs sponsors. We do not look to men, we look to the Lord and we believe that the Lord will raise up sponsors for this ministry. On Sunday the 19 th they will join us at our service at the school, where we are anticipating that pastor Kuak will preach. Please pray for this service.

The Witsieshoek Primary School

Last week Wednesday (8 th November) was our last session of the year at the school. It went very well with about sixty boisterous children charging around during the games. They settled very well for the lesson from the Bible and sang choruses with fervour. They are all very excited that there will be a camp in April 2018.

Thanks

We appreciate the fact that so many of you have been praying for us. We are strengthened by the Lord through your prayers. Thank you too for your financial support for us and the work here. We do appreciate your generosity in giving even in these economically difficult times. Thank you.

Thank you to His Place Church for your ongoing support for feeding the very poor and orphans. There are close on 100 people, widows, orphans, children and very poor families benefit from the food project. Then we also have children, mothers and children and orphans coming to our home for food. Praise the Lord, that due to your generosity we have never turned anyone away empty handed. There is always something we can give to satisfy their hunger. God is so good.

Love in the Lord,

Cynthia, Julia and Reg

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Qwa Qwa Newsletter August/September/October 2017

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed
Using Scripture Union materials and programmes
Registration Number: 137-284 NPO
Qwa Qwa Newsletter
August/September/October 2017

DUST, DUST AND MORE DUST

We have had such dry and extremely windy weather for months now and everything gets covered in dust and bits of dry grass and we long for some rain from heaven to settle things. It will be lovely to breathe in clean, moist air for a change!! There was some rain and then more wind and dust in September. Through October there was more wind, dust, rain and SNOW, believe it or not!!! Snow in October. No pictures. Sorry – trying to figure out how to download pictures from my phone onto the computer.

August started off very well for us. We were feeling strong in the Lord; the ministry was going well; home visitation was going well; preparation of Bible studies was moving along very nicely; I was pushing to get the financials and all the reports required for the NPO off to Social development before the end of the month, and I was preparing everything to get the Lusaka Church and the Mabolela church registered with SARS. Sure we had our problems: the constant rumours about the Mustard Seed and Cynthia and I. By the Lords grace this was not going to hold us back. We were all set to take August by storm and get a lot done. Then boom; I was absolutely flattened by a severe chest infection. Cynthia also was stopped in her tracks by a heavy dose of flu. All I wanted to do was lie in bed and rest. That is also how Cynthia felt. But life must go on. When you really are down God gives you grace to go on. We had a number of meetings with people from social welfare, and one with social welfare and the sponsor of the Mustard Seed, at the Mustard Seed to fire the old workers and hire new workers. These meetings went on for ages but all I felt like doing was to crawl into a hole and go to sleep. Then there were other things like buying and distributing food to the needy; visiting the sick and the dying. We did have time to rest as well. Bible studies were cancelled for the rest of the month, as were the leadership meetings. It is amazing how God gives you the perseverance to push through the pain to accomplish what is needed to be done. I can say with Paul, His grace is sufficient for me. His strength is made perfect in weakness. Well, it has been a long hard road to recovery, but praise the Lord our Strength is restoring our strength. The Lord is our Healer. Praise God. This was supposed to be an Aug/Sept newsletter: it is now November. Reg is in JHB recovering from an overload to the body system.

The Mustard Seed

After all the problems caused by the old workers, who have been intent on destroying the good work of the Mustard seed we have now appointed new workers. It took a lot of discussions, and a number of meetings to finally say goodbye to the old bunch of workers, and appoint new ones. But it is done. Eight workers have been appointed, three of whom were appointed by social welfare. I, personally, was not happy with the social welfare appointees. They are not born again, and, I believe, they are put there to watch, and inform social welfare of all that is happening at the Mustard Seed. There are probably three too many workers. They are all on three month’s probation. This will give us an opportunity of seeing who is really willing to work, and who should be released at the end of theprobation period. Pray that Julia will have great wisdom in dealing with the workers, and will find good grounds for us to lay off three workers, or that the Lord will provide the funds to maintain this workforce. The hiring and firing now rests on the shoulders of the Mountain Ministries board, but as we are not present all the time we have to be led by Julia who sees each person’s performance. I must say that the house is much cleaner now since the new workers started. They seem more intent on working than on spreading rumours.

We are not sure how much longer the American sponsor of the Mustard Seed will continue to sponsor the shelter. So we are looking for new sponsors. Not an easy task! But the Lord will lead us to the right people and will provide. We have visited some businesses. S A Cloth paid for the water tanks at the Mustard Seed to be filled, and also
provided food when the situation was really desperate. Thank you so much VJ for your generosity. Bibi’s, a local supermarket, have delivered food on three separate occasions. Thank you, Tommy and Mamora for organising these food deliveries. Praise the Lord for his provision, but there is also a great need for cash, to pay the workers, to pay the rent , to buy electricity and for school fees and school uniforms.

The five Thebete children all ran back to their mother, who is a drunk, and uses her daughters 11 and 6 year olds as child prostitutes, to feed the family and support her habit. I just can’t understand why they would chose to go back to this type of life. Five older children, who were not brought in by welfare, have also been taken away from the Mustard. They were a bad example to the younger children, and two of them were involved with the old workers in spreading the rumours to the sponsors. Then another three were taken away by welfare. There are now seventeen children left at the Mustard Seed. After all this we now have too many workers, but I am sure welfare will soon be bringing in more children.

A group of Korean pastors will be visiting shortly. We have asked them to help the Mustard Seed financially. They are coming out to visit and assess to what extent they will be able to get involved. Please pray that they will be able to support the work. This will take a considerable weight off our shoulders. Then we won’t have to stress over food and water for the children, and have to travel around to source these commodities from the local businesses. This takes a lot of time and effort.

Other Ministry

In between sorting out the Mustard seed, and frequent trips to Social Services, we are also, still involved in other ministries. The Lusaka church continues to go forward in the Lord, ably led by Pastor and Mama Zwane. The Sunday School is growing and very well led by one of the young men. Praise God for that. In Mabolela we are hampered by meeting in the school class room. We need a building of our own. Please pray with us for the finance to buy land and build a meeting hall. In September we started a series on John 1:1 – 18. Jesus as the “Word”; life; light. The Sunday School is going well. It is also run by a group of three young people, who attend the Bible Studies and the Friday night prayer and fellowship meetings. A number of children at Witsieshoek Primary School look forward to Wednesdays SU group where there is singing, Bible stories, life skill training and games. We have a core group of young men and women who come most Wednesday’s for the Bible Studies. Thursday afternoons are quite busy. At four in the afternoon we are working through a series of teachings for the children at the Mustard Seed. The Holy Spirit is slowly beginning to get the message of the gospel through to the children. This is followed by our leadership training, either in the form of a study on some aspect of leadership or home visitation. Friday evenings are given over to the youth for prayer and fellowship, or a Christian movie, or discussion etc.

Network Retreat

A 3 day retreat was really enjoyed by 31 pastors and leaders from our network Acts 2:42 churches. It was a special time of fellowship, praise and worship, teaching and enjoying good meals and very comfortable accommodation. We can’t wait for the next one which should also be for 3 days as there will be another long weekend in September next year. Two days does not really give us enough time for what we need. This year we were able to have a lot of discussion after various teachings which were very profitable.

Our leaders testified the following week about the blessing it had been for them and thanked the Lord for the privilege they had to attend the retreat.

Trip to Johannesburg

Cynthia and Heather spent almost 3 weeks in JHB. visiting doctors, dentists and hospitals. Heather was supposed to have her yearly cortisone course but ended up having many different medical tests and undergoing an operation. She is still very sore in various places but has improved somewhat.

Cynthia enjoyed her 74 th birthday very much – having lunch with her sister and dinner with her brother and being blessed by them and the Friday Bible study group with cake etc. and gifts. She thanks the Lord for the opportunity of being in JHB, for her birthday even though the rest of the time was very difficult and tiring.

Reg, who had been quite busy while Cynthia was away, found that his body was just not able to keep up with all the activity, was forced to take a break. So a short while after Cynthia returned he took time off to rest up in JHB. In the time he has been in JHB he has hardly left the upstairs apartment where his son lives. Been to church on Sunday at
Claude and Yvonne, followed by a good lunch and fellowship; to the dentist on the Monday. Thanks Claude for the lift; and to a gathering of pastors in the Fourways area, with Dave and Liz Pass, followed by a lovely breakfast and a lot of catching up. Thanks Dave and Liz. Claude has come over twice during the week where we two have been able to share. At the end of the pastors gathering, one of the pastors gave me a very encouraging word. Three things really struck home:

  1. Cynthia and I were entering into a new season, where we will experience new things;
  2. That in spite of the negative things spoken against us we will overcome and enter into the blessing of the Lord;
  3. Our financial position will improve. Praise God he is so faithful. Through the Holy Spirit he spoke into the three areas where we have been really struggling.

Now we need to get back to the task of getting back on track and completing the tasks started in August. Not an easy task when you are not 100% at your best.

Thanks

I want to thank God for his faithfulness. In all the ups and downs of life he has never failed us or forsaken us, and even though we have gone through some tough times, he has sustained us, upheld us and provided for us, and we are confident that we will see his love, grace and provision come through for us. Thank you for your prayers, they
mean so much to us. Thank you for your financial support. Thank you for your encouragement.

Love in the Lord,

Cynthia, Julia and Reg

Qwa Qwa Newsletter June/July 2017

Incorporating The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

June/July 2017

FIRE FIRE !!!!!

In the early afternoon of Sunday, 9 th July, there was a thin line of fire burning the grass coming around the mountain behind us. It was quite high up and didn’t seem to be a problem at all. But by the evening it was a raging fire coming towards us in 2 rows of high flames!! Looking at the flames coming toward us we began making plans to fight the fire if it did come into our property. First we prayed and asked others to pray with us. Then we phoned some of the young people to come and help. The garden hose, that had been stored away in the storeroom for so long due to the water shortage was brought out, only to find that during its long hibernation someone had taken all the fittings. As the fire swept toward our property at an alarming rate, we phoned the fire department. We also cut branches off green trees to use to try to kill the flames. In the mean time we had several people praying for the situation. Before any of the helpers, or the fire trucks arrived, I went up to the boundary fence where the fire was closest and shouted into the darkening twilight, “So far and no further, in Jesus Name,” then went back to see what else needed to be done. At that point five of the young men from the church arrived followed by the fire trucks. There was no need to fight the fire. God stopped it from reaching our property. Our God is GOOD. He certainly protects his people. The next morning I went to inspect the scene of the fire. It had stopped about twenty five to thirty meters from the boundary fence. In other places it had burnt right down the mountain side. The Lord saved the day. Thanks for your prayers.

HOLIDAY BIBLE CLUB

During the July holidays we held a mini HBC at the Mustard Seed for the orphans and others who came from the villages nearby. The children enjoyed the games, Bible stories and Bible verses. We were not able to give them a cooked meal due to lack of funds but were able to give them and the leaders packets of sniggles and oranges. Most of the children appreciate what we do for them and we thank the Lord for the spiritual growth we see in some of them. It is a slow, steady progress and we also thank the Lord for His faithfulness in dealing with them.

BIBLE CLUBS

We continue to run a weekly Bible Club at Witsieshoek Primary school.

This term we have started a Bible Club at the Mustard Seed every Thursday using a course of Bible stories called the Greatest Journey. This course covers both the Old and New Testaments with practical applications and is a good foundation for children up to the age of about 14. We trust that the children will get to know their Bibles better and get to know the Lord on a more personal level.

THE CHURCH

The Mabolela Church continues to meet every Sunday in a school classroom (although we are “bursting at the seams” on some Sundays) and in August we have planned to give Reg a break from preaching by having the sermons shared by the young men, who are attending the leadership training, the ladies and Joseph Zwane from the Lusaka Church. We look forward to seeing growth in the Church, the Sunday School and the weekly Bible Studies and Leaders meetings, as well as the Youth meetings on a Friday evening.

We have experienced a very cold winter and this has affected the attendances at some of our meetings, so we look forward to better numbers attending, as the weather (we hope) warms up a bit and the days slowly grow longer and longer as we approach the spring and summer seasons.

The Leadership Training

This has its challenges, but is an ongoing work. Discussions have centred round the gifts and the ministries in the church. Then we have also done some practical things like visiting those who used to come to the church, the sick, the dying, and the bereaved. Concerning the bereaved, there has been a number of opportunities to train. We have had three deaths, in the last while, where we have been called out to deal with the death of a loved one. So we had opportunities to share the Word and pray with those who have lost loved ones. There have also been opportunities to evangelise during our visits. One old lady of eighty, Mrs Moloi, opened her heart to the Lord, or should we say the Lord opened her heart to trust in Jesus. We praise God for her desire to receive Jesus. There was also an opportunity of sharing the gospel with a woman of thirty seven years, a few weeks before she passed away. After we had shared the good news about Jesus with her, she indicated she wanted to receive Jesus. We were asked to conduct the funeral service, so this gave us the opportunity to share with her daughters and to counsel them. The girls are regulars at our services. Now there is another child-headed home to look after. The oldest is seventeen, in grade eleven, and the youngest is five years old.

The Mustard Seed

There are people here in Qwa Qwa who are trying very hard to get Julia out of the Mustard Seed. They started some time back by telling lies to an American lady who was visiting the Mustard Seed. They told lies about Daniel, Julia’s twenty one year old son. They said Daniel beat the workers and hit the children. Unfortunately, these lies were believed, and spread. This caused the loss of some sponsors. Their aim was to get Daniel out of the house so that they could put pressure on Julia, to try to force her to leave. The old strategy, divide and conquer. These people are pushing very hard to take over the ministry. The latest lies concern Daniel and Julia. Certain workers were contacting the main donor in the USA saying Daniel is having sex with one of the ten year old girls, and Julia takes one of the older girls and fondles her in a sexual manner. This group of former employees of the Mustard Seed ( they have all subsequently been dismissed) have gone to the police and Social Services, to lay complaints against Julia and Daniel. Their complaints have been dismissed as they are unable to prove their allegations. None the less, they still contact the main donor and pass on their lies, and for some reason he would rather believe these people than Julia or myself. Then on Monday one of the current workers phoned social welfare claiming that the one year old baby had been raped. On medical examination the allegation was proved to be false. No one is willing to say who made the call to welfare. And so it goes on. On Saturday 6th August there will be a meeting, where these former workers will meet with Social Services and the board of Mountain Ministries, to try and get to the bottom of all these allegations. Please pray that the truth will come out and all lies exposed. The board of Mountain Ministries Have been asked to become more involved at the Mustard seed.

So sorry that there are no pictures. Someone has taken our camera and the charger. We now have to learn how to download pictures from our cell phones.

Thanks

Thank you so much for praying for us and the work we are doing here. We face many challenges here and have to battle against rumours and lies against Cynthia and particularly against Reg. Some of them are very hurtful. These lies have also affected our funding and attendance at the meetings. So we do stand in need of your prayers. Thank you for praying. We know that ultimately we will be vindicated before God. One of the lies is, that Reg and Cynthia use the money given for the feeding of the people or the HBC’s and the church, and spend it on our personal needs. All ministry money is used for the ministry it was given for. We have accounts and receipts etc to prove this. Our books are audited by reputable auditors. So we are able to account for all ministry money. It seems that as a ministry we are under attack. Please pray for all these lies to be exposed for what they are, LIES form the pit of hell.

Thanks too for your continued support for our own personal needs and for the various branches of the ministry. May the Lord prosper you in all that you do and uphold you in his grace.

Love in the Lord
Cynthia, Julia and Reg

Qwa Qwa Newsletter April/May 2017

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed
Using Scripture Union materials and programmes
Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter
April/May 2017

Brrrr…. Winter hit us suddenly in May with rain and snow on the Drakensberg and Maluti mountains!! A beautiful sight when the mist and clouds cleared but really cold for our bodies etc. But we are grateful to the Lord that we have a roof over our heads and warm beds to sleep in. He is faithful and supplies our needs even if it is at the “11th hour”.

Thank you so much to all who responded to our urgent call for finances during the earlier months of the year. May the Lord truly bless you abundantly and give you the desires of your hearts.

We are still looking to the Lord for more regular donors who will be committed to give a set amount each month to help us budget wisely.

SCHOOL CHRISTIAN GROUP

The Learners at Witsieshoek Primary School look forward to Wednesdays when we run a SCG called “The Bible Club”. We use the hall (2 classrooms together) when it’s available or we all squash into one of the Christian teacher’s classroom!! We have good numbers most Wednesdays and the learners love to sing, play games, hear Bible stories and learn Bible verses. One of the games involves knowing the books of the Bible, especially the New Testament, so they learn as they play. Another camp is being planned for early next year and we trust we will have at least 50 children attending.

MINISTRIES

The Church services are going well with usually a full classroom. The preaching on the Greatness of God continues to be a blessing to many. Lately we have been teaching on the attributes of God. A number of people have been encouraged by the eternity of God, and the omnipresence of God. We obviously have to bring these terms down to the understanding of the people. But the teaching on God has truly given them a deeper insight into who our God really is and how wonderful he is.

The Sunday School is enjoyed by the children under 13 who are learning about Jesus, memorising Bible verses, playing appropriate games and singing both English and Sotho songs.

The youth praise, worship and pray most Friday evenings and are very enthusiastic about it.

The older youth are studying the Bible on Wednesdays (late afternoon). In these meetings we are still teaching through the statement of faith. Through the teaching those who attend are getting an insight into some of the great words of our faith, such as, atonement, sacrifice, propitiation, reconciliation, justification and sanctification.

Thursday afternoons are now taken up with training of potential leaders. The Lord has identified three young men that we are training up to step into leading the ministry. Though we are aiming to train these particular young men, the course is open to anyone. So there have been two young ladies also attending. We have been praying for someone or a couple to come in and work with us and eventually to take over the ministry. A few people showed interest but wanted us to support them. That is not possible at present. So we felt compelled to train up leaders from within the group. Here we have started by looking into the different gifts and ministries in the church. Ephesians chapter four, Romans chapter twelve, 1 Peter 4:7 – 11 and 1 Corinthians 12 – 14, form the basis for these studies, with very particular attention to the context in which the gifts and ministries appear.

Reg has helped with some open air meetings in a new area where one of the older chaps from the village is planning to start a church. He used to belong to the church in Lusaka, and helped us at the beginning here in Mabolela, and now lives near us. So the Word is spreading, but there are vast areas with many, many people still to hear the Good News of the Gospel.

We are still praying for a couple to help us in the ministry so that we can take a bit of a “back seat” for a while. It is now 7 years that we have been in Qwa Qwa full time!!

THE MUSTARD SEED

There is always room for one more. Or in our case 7 more! This all kills my financial complacency. And for a few nights I worry, toss and turn and wonder how I am going to get clothing, shoes and pay for new school uniforms and medications. It is also during these times that Paypal gives Reg and myself huge problems. Or Lesedi sells his school shoes and shirt for a kota. And Kamohelo breaks our large window with a spinning top. I sit morosely in the corner and plan how I can find another job. Then a small voice that I recognise as the Holy Spirit whispers in my heart, “you are failing your test. Don’t you know I am bigger than all this”. So up I stand trying my best to make sure meds will last until pay day comes. I go to my room and pray for my ugly mood. Then I repent and we face diapers, school tours that would pay for a ticket to London and children who need plasters. Workers who come to you on a Saturday and inform me that we need spices, gas and beans. So I deal with each problem sanely and calmly bit by bit. Then Lucky 2 throws a Grande Mal fit and all our traumatised dysfunctional children laugh at this. As I put him on his side and push away the pesky dog, I tell the laughing mob to grow up and I look into 8 and 9 year old faces. They are just children watching a 3 year old’s brain spike. And what do they understand. How can they have any compassion for anything when they all have court dates and meetings with the Child Protection Services. How can you have a sane soft view of life when you did things with Grandfather for Grandmother for 4 years. I realise how far I am from Jesus Christ and pray and think through His little children’s minds. Our Jesus will heal. I must grow up and see their perspective, lower my expectations and just get on with the job He gave me. Long ago, I was highly critical of another ministry head. But with knowledge comes understanding. I repent and carry on with the ground work. Ministry is hard and unrelenting but we have a faithful Boss.

Lusaka Christian Fellowship

Praise God that this church continues to grow. Worship services are pretty full, and new people are being added. The youth group is vibrant. The “Sunday School” is growing and the children are being taught well. The booklet, “The Greatest Gift” has been an important tool for teaching the children. Joseph and Joyce have also identified certain people in the church as potential leaders, and have started a training course with them.

HOLIDAY BIBLE CLUB

The July holidays are fast approaching and we would like to run a 5 day HBC to keep the children off the streets, teach them the Bible and feed them a nutritious meal. This of course will need finance of which we are very short of at this time. Please pray with us for sponsors and donations so that we can cover the costs. The children are looking forward to the HBC and we don’t want to disappoint them.

THANKS

We are very grateful to each one of you for faithfully praying for this ministry. Your prayers mean so much to us and they keep us going when things are tough. A big thank you to His Place church in Sussex, England, for praying for this ministry, and for giving the funds, so that we can continue providing food for the truly needy. Thank you to those who so faithfully give toward our work and our personal support.

Love in the Lord
Cynthia, Julia and Reg

Qwa Qwa Newsletter February/March 2017

Incorporating The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

February/March 2017

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is at hand.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,

Present your requests to God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,

will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Easy to quote. Not always easy to do. Cynthia and I have been forced to rely more and more upon the grace of our Lord Jesus over these past months. Challenge has followed challenge. First it was the falling away of sponsorship for the work; then it was my eye infection, including the expense of the drops and ointment; a further falling away of sponsorship; now it is Cynthia’s health problems and stress, with more expenses; having to care for Heather, who has MS, and has good days and bad days, as well the day to day work of the ministry, and trying to meet the needs of the people, as they come for help of various sorts. But in all God has been our strength. His grace has carried us through. So we are learning more and more to rejoice more, to pray more, to give thanks more and to trust more. Through all this we have a growing confidence in our God, who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we can ask or think, by his power at work in us. At the same time we have peace in God, and know, that in spite of all, we are in the place where God wants us to be. There is still work for us here.

Health Challenges

Praise God, Cynthia is out of hospital. She needs to take it easy for a while. She has been given a prescription for medication for her stress, and for the ulcers. She must not put herself under any sort of pressure, and should rest and get back into the work slowly. Please pray that she will overcome through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Her resistance is so low at present that she has picked up a chest infection. Pray too that she will not need to do so much for Heather, and that Heather will improve in her health to help Cynthia, or at least do more for herself. Thank you for praying for Cynthia.

Heather’s condition has stabilised. The MS has affected her walking, which is steady, but very slow. Her right hand is still a problem. She is not able to grip firmly with the hand and sometimes drops things. It’s not a problem if she drops a book, but when she drops a glass of water or a glass of milk, then it is a problem. Praise God she has been able to take herself out onto the front veranda and enjoy the fresh air. So there has been an improvement from last year, when she was really struggling to walk. We thank God for the improvement. When Heather was first diagnosed as having MS, the neurologist gave her five to ten years, but praise God we are now in the twelfth year. Pray that Heather will continue to improve in her health, and that the Lord will have the victory over this MS.

My eye infection has improved dramatically, but is not yet cured. I still have to have eye drops for the eye every evening and ointment every second night. A friend, who is a chemist, told me the vitamin A beta carotene will clear up the herpes infection. So I will try this along with much prayer, as these drops are quite expensive and the ointment is really expensive.

So praise God there is improvement all round. Thanks to all of you for praying for us over these difficult months. God is answering your and our prayers. Praise his glorious name.

The Witsieshoek Primary School Camp.

Two Kombi loads of excited children, plus 2 teachers, Martha SU Vaal and Cynthia, left the school on Friday morning 24th February, down the Oliviershoek Pass and on to Drakensville childrens’ hostel near Bergville. Lovely accommodation and meals were enjoyed by all during the weekend. Two guides were assigned to our group for the practical activities – fuffy slide, a short hike and “swimming” in heated pools and outside pools – while Martha took care of the spiritual activities. This camp was the high light of some of these children’s year. Praise the Lord.

The new school year started with a bang. Those who went on the camp roused others to come to the Wednesday SU meeting. A number are very keen, but some have come in the hope of joining in the next camp. Most are very enthusiastic during the games and the singing, while others prefer the singing and the Bible message. Reg has been drawing life lessons from the life of Elijah and also teaching the children very old songs but new to the children. Most of the children sing the new songs with great gusto, and listen intently to the Bible lessons. Pray that many of these children will come to the true saving knowledge of God in Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit.

The Church

The church in Lusaka continues to grow, even though some of the young people, as they finish school, either go to study or work in Gauteng or Natal. The pastor’s wife, Joyce Zwane, has been leading a Bible study on the Holy Spirit that has helped those attending, to get a better understanding of the Person, work, gifts and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The Sunday services are well attended, where most of the preaching is done by Pastor Joseph Zwane. The youth group is also growing, as is the Sunday School. Praise God for this work.

At the church in Mabolela, Reg has been preaching on the greatness of God. We have discussed the greatness of God in creation. Then we considered that this creation will be renewed through the cataclysmic events that will take place when Jesus returns, to be glorified in his saints and to judge the world. Then we have also considered that our great God is the only God, the incomparable God and the living God. There are many more things to consider about our great God and Father. Through these teachings, some people are beginning to realise, that compared to the Great God of the Bible, their belief systems are found to offer no real hope. A number have renounced their belief in the witch doctors, and the veneration of the ancestors. Praise God. Others are still sitting on the fence. But others, not able to handle the truth of the Word of God, have left the church. Pray for the fence sitters, that they will see the truth as it is in Jesus. In our mid week Bible study we are working through the ACTS 2:42 Network’s statement of faith. (Acts 2:42 Network, is a network of churches that have been planted in various areas by teams from the Family Church in Randburg.) Teaching through a statement of faith causes you to teach on a wide variety of doctrines. It is a challenge, but it is producing fruit. People are learning things that they would normally not be taught. Even at our Friday night prayer and fellowship meetings, Reg has been working very slowly through 1 John. We teach the Word in the certain belief, that only the Word of God taught under the anointing of the Holy Spirit can change the darkened, dead hearts of people.

The Mustard Seed

The Mustard Seed is carrying on. We are now blessed with 3 toddlers, 2 babies and 20 something children who scrape newly painted walls or cut up mattresses! But it is part of being a dysfunctional little child. And it won’t last long. They have all been through that stage. From cutting into their already bruised flesh to writing the word SEX all over the walls. They all follow the same pattern. We have been blessed with 2 groups of volunteers this year all from the USA. It has been fun and has taught us a tremendous amount. Put together it awakens you to how much you do not know, how fallible you are and how much you need His precious Holy Spirit. I am forever grateful for my salvation and my daily sanctification. Without Christ I could never be the mother or counsellor I am today. It is a daily dying to self and searching fervently into His Word. You lie in bed at night and listen to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and gradually He works things out. We have a new baby. His mother who is very ill left him with a man who is addicted to a pineapple and yeast toxic brew. The police found him being fondled by this red lipped dozy old man. I must admit he is a true heart breaker. He will only sleep on the floor and will not drink milk. He just plays and laughs for hours on end. God has sent us an Angel for 2017. The world continues to expand and travail outside but inside His place of Refuge there are teething babies, lost school socks and projects that require materials Qwa Qwa does not possess. The police continue to drop off God’s greatest and Social Services continue to stand firmly behind us. Qwa Qwa still has no electricity at times and no water, arvs are hard to get and we have no psychiatrist or psychologist ready to help us with complex trauma cases. But we have Jesus, each other and our very good friends. So we are all OK. God bless us all as we continue to work for Him. Julia and His angels.

Land and Buildings

The Mustard Seed has out grown its present accommodation. The church has outgrown the school classroom where we meet. Pray with us for a release of funds to buy a large piece of land, where we can build suitable accommodation for the Mustard Seed and the various needs of the ministry.

There is land available in Pereng, a village eight kilometres from here and about three or four kilometres from the Lusaka church. But we would prefer to buy land much nearer where we are. Please pray that land and finance will become available to buy and build here in this area. This need is urgent, and our God is able.

Food Project

Praise God, that through the monthly donations from the His Place Church in Sussex, England, the widows and the orphans, as well as very poor families, are at least being given some food, to help them. Through these donations thirty four families are being helped with food every month, while others from villages far and near pitch up at the front gate asking for help. If we have we give in the name of Jesus, and encourage them to come to church. We try to share the gospel with those who come to the gate, but they do not understand English. That is why we encourage them to come to the church. There they will hear the Word of God in their mother tongue.

Thanks

Praise God for your constant prayer support. We need the strength of the Lord to carry on with the work. We appreciate you taking the time to pray for us.

Praise God, for your faithful giving. Your gifts bless us and we bless God for you.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.

Qwa Qwa Newsletter December 2016 January 2017

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

December 2016 January 2017

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.

And the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, Establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness, from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6 – 7 NIV.

Praise God for the gift of his Son. Praise God that Jesus is in control now. Praise God that Jesus is coming again to establish justice and righteousness. Because of these facts, we experience peace in the midst of the changing circumstances of this world. So, in Christ, we can confidently know that God is in control, and he is working, in all the varied circumstances of our lives, for our good.

(This was supposed to be a Christmas newsletter; then a new year’s newsletter; now it is just a newsletter!)

December 2016

December is generally a hectic month. The first week was spent preparing for the Holiday Bible Club, as well as for an all day activity at the Witsieshoek Primary School, and our leaders “Thank You” lunch. We continued our normal meetings, Wednesday Bible Study & Friday evening Prayer Meeting, until the 10th .

Thursday 9th – 32, 12,5 KG bags of maize meal were purchased and distributed to needy families. A big thank you to the His Place Church in Hastings, England, for their continued support for this project. These funds as well as any other donation for this project, is used to help widows and orphans and the very poor with some food each month.

Saturday 10th – Witsieshoek Primary School. An all day activity of games, Life Skills teaching, and gospel presentation, for grade four and five pupils of the school. A nutritious lunch was prepared by three ladies from the church. Martha from SU Gauteng led the activities, ably assisted by four of MM’s leaders. Cynthia and I helped where we could and rushed off for last minute items needed by the cooks. The children had a wonderful day, and were encouraged by the Word of God.

Sunday 11th – Sunday Service at which Martha preached. Great service. Thank you Martha.Monday 12th – 16th – Open Field Lefika – Holiday Bible Club. Martha assisted by Dikaledi Moloi, the new SU worker in Qwa Qwa, led this activity. MM’s leaders were also very much involved. Cynthia assisted the cooks and I was on hand on the field as general supervisor and to keep discipline, and available to do any buying that was necessary.

The children had a good time and were challenged by the word of God each day, and enjoyed a good meal after each days activities.

In between all this, Cynthia was running the dogs of the church community to the government vet for treatment. At least ten dogs had to be treated or sterilised.

Friday 16th – Leaders “Thank You” Braai. We had a lovely afternoon together, braaing, sharing, joking and laughing.

Cynthia and I had the privilege of serving our leaders and the cooks who do such good work over the year. We appreciate our team of leaders very much. They help so much in different ways, and lead the Friday night service as well as the church service. There is so much potential in them and they are faithful in their service for God. They are maturing in the Lord and have a heart to serve.

Saturday 17th December – Hop on a bus in Harrismith for a quick trip to JHB.

Sunday 18th – Dedication service and lunch. Cynthia niece’s daughter had asked us to perform a dedication service for her daughter. Though the family do attend church, they wanted something special, for family and friends. The service went well and the word was preached. After the service we had lunch. It was a very special day. The whole event was held at an open air restaurant in Modderfontein.

While we were away in JHB, Pastor Joseph Zwane preached at the church for me. From what we hear it was a blessed service.

The next four days, in JHB, were spent sorting out a few things, collecting a new laptop, which pastor Claude Jaques had so generously donated to us. Thank you so much Claude. There were also clothes, books and toys to be collected, which were passed on to Dave and Liz Pass for distribution where they saw fit. Praise God they passed them on to us for giving out in Qwa Qwa. Thank you Dave and Liz. We were on the go all the time. It felt like we needed to go home for a rest, but that was not possible.

Thursday 22nd – Russell, our son, drove us back home to the Free State. The next few days were taken up sorting the clothes and the toys. Praise God for this donation. We were able to give some of the toys and books to a child headed home. They were so thrilled with the gift. They were also given some of the clothes. The rest of the toys and books and some of the clothes were given to the Mustard Seed. There were enough goodies for Julia to make up Christmas presents for all the children. Praise God. Our God is so good. He knew there would not be enough money at the Mustard Seed for presents, so he made a way.

Friday 23rd – A group of young people, Cynthia and I, went to the local hospital, where we sang carols and prayed for the patients in all the wards. It took a while to cover all the wards. Two of the young people, not used to seeing so many sick people felt a bit queasy, and did not go into the last few wards. Many of the patients, and even some of

the nursing staff, were blessed and expressed their appreciation.

Sunday 25th the Christmas service was held at the school where we have our usual services. It was a special service and many were inspired by the inexpressible gift God our Father has given us, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The next few days were given to spend time with the family and doing a few hikes with Russell in the mountains around us. As we had done the distribution of the maize meal early in the month, some families were in need of more, so we did do another purchase for them, but this time round they had to collect at the house.

Russell and I managed one long hike in the Drakensberg. The hike takes you form the Witsieshoek Mountain Resort, past the Mahai falls along narrow mountain trails, along, but often high above the Mahai river, past many gorgeous wild flowers, across the Mahai river, past more flowers, across the Goodoo river, not sure of the spelling, then steeply up the George to the base of the Goodoo falls. What a wonderful view, the water streaming over the rocks high above us. Most of the hike was in mist and rain, most of the time the magnificent peaks were shrouded in mist or rain clouds. We decided to take a short cut back to the car park, through another gorge, called the Cut. It is a very steep walk come climb. Because it was so wet and the rocks very slippery, we decided that it was too dangerous.

After making it two thirds of the way up, we turned around and went back down and out of the gorge, onto the path we had come on, and started the long, long trek back over the river, past the falls, and back to the car park. We saw none of the beautiful flowers as it was getting dark. Soon the darkness of night-fall closed in on us. So we stumbled and stuttered our way along the mountain path, triping over stones, hidden rocks and obstacles in the path, with, at times a looming drop down to our right. My small old Nokia phone gave us enough light to guide us back to the car park and safety. Praise God for his protection and for bringing us home safely. I learnt some very valuable spiritual lessons from this exercise. No matter how dark and how tough things may be, by the grace of God, we have to persevere to the end. It is only God who is able to keep us from falling. The light of God’s Word, no matter how brightly or dimly it may shine in the darkness will lead us through the dark and rough ways home to glory in Jesus.

January was not that busy, but there was a lot of rain in that first week, that washed out all thought of another hike.

Russell left for Gauteng that week as well. Then it was back to the normal routine of ministry, not that this ministry is routine in any way. Things happen that are very unexpected. Then too, there are people coming to our door for some sort of help. The routine stuff is the weekly meetings and services.

We were blessed to get some cash together to take Joseph and Joyce Zwane to Salt Rock on the north coast for five days. It was a restful time. It was good for the Zwane’s to get away from Qwa Qwa for awhile. For two days we managed to get to the beach, where we swam in the tidal pools. On one of these occasions Joseph and I did go into the sea. Joseph had a great time in the waves. We had a wonderful time together, and five star accommodation and food. The bonus was that we did not have to pay for the accommodation or the food. Thank you so much to Corne, Heidi and family for your wonderful hospitality.

On the Friday we arrived home, I had to change hastily and rush off to hold a service at a home where one on our members had passed away. In the mean time, while we were away, the mother of one of our leaders had also passed away, so on the way to the service we stopped off to pray for the family. On the Saturday morning we were up early to conduct the funeral service of the first lady who had died. After service on Sunday we went to pray again at the house of our leader, whose mother had passed away. We were involved in her memorial service on the Thursday, at the school where she taught, almost a whole day affair. Then on the Friday before the burial, we were involved in the pre burial service, as well as at the burial service on the Saturday. This also took almost a whole day.

Please pray for finances to run our various projects and for us personally.

Please pray that God will release funds for us to buy land and build buildings.

Please pray for workers to help in the work.

Please pray for Cynthia, she is not well.

Thanks

Thank you all for praying for us. We appreciate your prayers so much. Without you we cannot do what we do.

Thank you for participating in this ministry through your financial gifts to us and for the ministry projects.

Thank you for your loving concern for us.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.

Qwa Qwa Newsletter October 2016

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

October 2016

Praise God for Julia who heads up the work of the Mustard Seed Children’s Centre. This newsletter is dedicated to the work that Julia does at the Mustard Seed, and the children who reside there under her care. This letter is about five children who were brought into the Mustard Seed and changed the direction of this ministry. In the next few newsletters we will try to introduce you to some of the other children who live at the Mustard Seed.

The Mustard Seed: Five children rescued from hell.

A very thin childish brown body lay on a sandy floor. Her legs pulled up close to her scarred body, with lymph nodes swollen, she waited anxiously whilst the woman who had carried her for nine months, haggled withhold drunken men for money. She was six years old and had been doing this since she was five. It made her mother happy, because her “job” provided her mother with money to buy alcohol. And if the business showed a profit, she just might be rewarded with a stick sweet. To a family of seven her job was vital. Her three brothers knew she did this, and often joked about the money they had made with that monstrously overweight old man, who paid twenty rand to participate in an act called, “The ham sandwich.” Their mother was so proud of them that night, and they were given cakes that had real jam inside.

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The children understood that their mom could not work, and accepted that their job was to help her. It usually fell on their sisters thin little shoulders to bring in the money. Their rotund mother drove a hard bargain though, she would fight and haggle until, the stinking, unwashed and usually diseased ridden old men, paid her the right price. In a land, where aids is rife and superstition abounds, their six year old sister, with the swollen glands, and who was covered in strange looking lesions, was busy. A man knew that sex with a virgin would remove AIDS from his body. Their mother was so smart, as she explained that “the girl” was a virgin. They paid double for that. As an agreed on price was settled on, “the girl”, closed her eyes, turned her small head to the side, and waited for the first man to do, what men seemed to love doing. “The girl” did not understand this fact, as she hated the feel of their sweating skin and their greedy groping paws. She had learnt now to blank her mind, and she could dispassionately, watch this whole scene from her own numbed out zone, and feel nothing. For you see “the girl” had lost herself worth, and her emotions, a long time ago. She always felt like a dead plastic, lifeless doll. Occasionally she would feel a terrible scream arising from her solar plexus, and threatening to come out.

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But she was disciplined to halt it. And at the age of six, she was a strong mannequin, lifeless, but strong. There was no escaping, it just seemed to be “the thing” that “kids” did. She knew nothing else. She knew she hated it, but sometimes, funny spasms, that were quite pleasurable, would grip her. It made a girl of six very muddled. But who cared anyway, she was just a filthy whore. Sometimes “the girl” wished she could die. She tried to hold her breath, and hoped she would just slip away, but she could not keep it up. She did nothing right, but then, she was just a useless whore, only created to satisfy the lusts of men.

This life carried on for three more agonising years. One day “the Girl” and her brothers saw, a funny looking young man. He looked funny for he was another colour. He came to Matshekeng Village, and he asked them if they were hungry. “The girl” got ready to do her thing for food. The young man just pushed her away and started feeding them. When he saw their shack with no roof, as the mother had sold the zinc to buy alcohol, and as he spoke to the other women in the village, he told them to get into a big van. He was going to take them to his mother’s house. Too surprised, and not understanding the funny language this pale young man spoke, and loving the taste of bread and polony, they all followed.

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“The girl”; her big brother of twelve, who lived on the streets, and had an acquired taste for benzene and glue; her eleven year old brother, who possessed remarkable intelligence, but had the urge to run away all the time. They were accompanied by a “munchkin” of a boy, aged seven, and an unruly baby girl. The little family that would change His ministry, from a ministry of feeding, giving out clothing, and a drop in centre, into a child and youth care centre, This was a step into many unknown areas. So there stood these five little scruffs, diseased, utterly broken, and a huge psychological mess. We had to physically force them to enter our door.

They had never seen a white woman before. With sunken cheeks, lice and CD4 counts of 12, they entered into their new home. We moved forward hanging onto Christ our strength and guide. Here we sat with five children, who unhealthily, pined for a mother, who was subsequently arrested. Children, who were half child and half beast.

Children, who were mostly uneducated, and lived by wits and guile. They destroyed everything, sniffed, and ate all they could lay their hands on, sometimes with horrifying results. Boys, who would mention such subjects of pure degradation and debauchery, you blushed. “The girl” who would proposition any male for five bob. She soon had a company of paedophiles accompanying her to the shops. She quickly acquired a healthy bank balance for a child of 9. There are a lot of sick men in this world. The temptress had a concave chest, was covered in sores and boils, and was beginning ARV’s, and so suffered with vomiting and diarrhoea.

These children were also very brave, totally endearing, and often, very funny. I enjoyed their street wisdom, and their strange brand of honesty. “The girl” became my girl, as her humanity and vulnerability crept through. I would findcards made for me filled with such love. We grew so close as we struggled to treat huge sores and boils on her head.

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She held me tight as she vomited up her strong dose of ARV’s. As we picked out hats, to cover her shame, we became the very best of friends. One Saturday morning I heard peals of laughter emanating from her bedroom, I walked in to find her playing dolls with another resident. Just a normal nine year old child.

God has brought her far. She has no more flash backs, and spends most of the day playing soccer or dolls. She is now very healthy, and can discuss her past without tension. But I know we have only peeled away the top layer of her trauma. We have had to place her in a room with older girls, as she has pull towards little girls sexually. She hates her compulsion, can discuss it, and recognises the strength of it. Through Christ, my girl is learning how her actions affect others, and how to restrain herself. She acknowledges now that she is a precious, very precious child of the King. She is doing well at school and is becoming breathtakingly beautiful. We have a long road to travel, but there is hope, and an assurance of complete healing. In God we trust as his light shines into her broken life.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.