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

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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.

Qwa Qwa Newsletter October 2016-1

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

October 2016

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son….

Romans 8:28 – 29 NIV

This scripture is very meaningful to me. During our ministry in Bulawayo, it was a source of strength and comfort when many of our trusted friends and congregants turned against us. Through times of difficulties in the work place it kept me strong and focussed. In times of unemployment, and having rent to pay and a family to feed during our time in Greenside, it encouraged me to look to God’s wider purpose, and caused me to see that God is with us in all circumstances, and will turn it around for our good. But the one thing we often forget is that God uses all these trials to change us to be more like Jesus. The Christian life is not easy, but it is a wonderful adventure, that leads us through dark valleys, and bright mountain tops and everything in between. All of these are designed to make us more like Jesus.

We had hopes of getting water laid on again. These hopes have been dashed. We have had a Jojo tank installed and connected to our water system, but at the last hour, the municipality cut off the water supply to this area. There has been very little rain over September and October. The water level of the dam that supplies water to this area stands at eleven percent. So we continue the long haul to Lusaka and back for water. Some of this water is poured into two or one litre bottles, so that Cynthia and Heather can handle them. This can take from half hour to an hour every day.

Our electricity is also very erratic. There are days when the power can go down three times, and come back one or two hours later, or a day later. Then the power can be stable for a week or more, then it all starts again, especially when there is a strong wind or rain. So, when you work on the computer, you have to save your work as you go along, as you never know when it will just go off.

It could be very discouraging, were it not for the encouragement of the Scriptures, and the assurance we have, that God is with us in all these things, and is working for our good in all circumstances, good or bad, favourable or unfavourable. So we rejoice in the God of our salvation, who works for our good in all circumstances.

The Church in Mabolela

The church services have been going well. We are reinforcing the teaching we received at our annual network retreat, to cement the teaching on the Holy Spirit in the lives of the people. We have dealt with such subjects as, the Holy Spirit will effect change in our lives as we look into the scriptures; The Holy Spirit will create a deep desire for God in our hearts, that will express itself in studying the Word of God; The Holy Spirit is a vital, but neglected member of the Trinity; The Holy Spirit will always lead us to Jesus, and make us more like Jesus through true fellowship with God in prayer and the Word; etc. These teachings are beginning to take effect. Some people have asked us to do more Bible studies.

The services are not as well attended as they were a while ago. The Reason? For years we have been supplying food to some of the poorest people. But lately, the finances for the food parcels has dwindled, and the only source of finance for the food parcels is the donation from the His Place Church, Hastings, in England, and a lovely lady from Uvongo, on the south coast. These donations on their own are not sufficient to support all the families who look to us for food, about one hundred and thirty to one hundred and fifty, women and children. As a result we have only been able to give each family a bag of maize meal. So, many of these people no longer come to the church. Now we know who was coming just for the food, and who had a genuine interest in seeking God. That is a good thing, for now the hidden motives have been exposed.

October Holiday Bible Club

Much hard work goes into running an HBC but it is well worth it when you see the bright eyes of the youth in anticipation of being leaders and being used by the Lord during the HBC (their eyes are not so bright by the end of the week but they have a sense of fulfilment in their hearts).

They teach the children the ways of the Lord, sharing in their lives, feeding an average of 150 a day both physically and spiritually, getting to know them better through spending time with them, playing games and singing songs. They really enjoyed performing the drama of the Prodigal Son which spoke into the lives of the children and teenagers. The theme was Character Building – our own, others and then what Jesus’ character is like. We all aim to be Jesus-like to others but its only by the Lord’s grace that we have any hope of being that. One day we will be like Him, seeing Him as He is. Glory.

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Martha from SU Vaal helped us a lot with the HBC and we thank her very much for all her time and effort. She also preached at our church service and was greatly used by the Lord. She is a blessing to us all.A special thank you, to all those who responded so sacrificially to our appeal for funds, for the HBC. The Funds received were sufficient for us to give the children a good meal after each day’s activities, and to feed our hardworking leaders, and to give the children snacks, as they left for home each day. Thank you so much for your generous giving. A number of children responded to the gospel call.

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Food Project

Over many years we have supplied food to many vulnerable people, mainly, orphans, widows and their children, single mothers and their children. A very big “thank you” to the His Place Church for supporting this endeavour over so many, many years, and to all those who have, and are giving to this cause. Thank you very much. It has been a great privilege to be used to meet the needs of these people, through your donations. As we are no longer able to meet the needs of all these people, because of financial constraints, we believe that God wants us to focus on the most vulnerable. That is, child headed homes, orphans and widows, where funds permit. Please pray that we will have enough funding to meet these needs.

Prayer Requests

Finance on the whole has been a problem over the past three or four months. There is a shortage of funds in all areas of the ministry. In the past when there was a shortage of funds in one area, we were able to make up any shortfall from our own resources, this is no longer the case. Our income has dropped off. This month we have not been able to pay our rent, and now another month’s rent will be due. This is a problem. Please pray that God will give us wisdom to be able to raise more support for the work and ourselves.

Julia is out growing her present rented house, the church needs a building to meet in, and big enough to run a Holiday Bible Club. We have been praying for the money to buy a large piece of ground where we can build a Christian Community Centre. Please pray for the release of finance to buy the land and build this centre.

Thanks

Thank you so much for your faithful prayers for us. We are very much dependant on your Constant prayer support.

Thank you for your gifts to us and for the various projects of the ministry. We appreciate all that you do for us. Thank you very much. We appreciate each one of you.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.

Qwa Qwa Newsletter August/September 2016

Incorporating: The Mustard Seed

Using Scripture Union materials and programmes

Registration Number: 137-284 NPO

Qwa Qwa Newsletter

August/September 2016

Time marches on and waits for no man. This letter should have been written much earlier. But I have been afflicted with a severe Eye infection for seven weeks, and it is only clearing up now, due to your prayers. Thank you. The infection caused severe pain and blurred vision. It was a difficult time, as I could only read with great difficulty. It also cost a lot in fuel and time, having to make four trips to Bethlehem and back, and the ointment, drops and antibiotics were not cheap. The result was that I was not able to spend time on the computer, except for short stints at a time, to reply to important e-mails etc. I have over three hundred unread e-mail’s. If I have not responded to some of the e-mails, please forgive me. It has been very difficult to read and I could have missed some. I am still on treatment for the eye.

WATER

“Water, water everywhere (in taps around Qwa Qwa) but not a drop to drink (for us and our area)”.

Our water situation is still critical. It is now nearly nine months that we have been without water in our taps. This afternoon we will have to go to Lusaka to collect water. This is costing us in fuel usage and time. But there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. The owner of the property has bought us a 2000 litre JoJo tank, and then we need to have it installed and connected to our water system. The hardware store, where the tank was purchased, do not sell the fittings for installing the connection to our water pipes. Now we need to find the correct fittings. Then hopefully we will have water in the taps from the tank.

ELECTRICITY

The power supply here has been erratic. So when you need to work on the computer, the power goes down. In Single day the power went off four times: twice when I was working on the computer, with the subsequent loss of some work. We also had two days without power, when some “bright spark” cut down a tree and dropped it on the power lines close to our house. Praise God none of the food in the fridge and deep freeze went off. The erratic power supply is a real challenge.

HEATHER

Praise God Heather is able to walk a lot better than she could a while back. Thanks for your prayers. When she was struggling with her walking she fell against the toilet bowl. It took us close to an hour to get into the toilet and get her out. When we extricated her from behind the toilet door and onto her back, that was the best we could do, she had to slide on her back, using arms and legs, to her bed room, where we had to turn her around to get her on herknees, and then lift her onto the bed. That took another fifteen minutes. So Heather has been banned from the toilet. We have set up a commode in her bedroom. We were all totally exhausted after this, and Cynthia and I had to rush off to church leaving Heather in bed. Praise God for a big improvement. For those who don’t know Heather has MS. Please pray for total healing.

It seems that Satan is not happy with us being here. He is attacking on all fronts to discourage us, so that we cannot accomplish the work God has called us to, here in Qwa Qwa. He has attacked our finances through my eye infection and the travelling to and from Lusaka for water, and the visits to the eye specialist in Bethlehem, as well as the medicines we need for Heather. Some are covered by the medical aid but most are not. But God is for us, so who can be against us. We take strength and encouragement from fellowship with God in prayer and the Word. We know that our God works all things together for good to those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. He is our strength and rock. He is always with us and gives grace in our time of need. So praise God with us and pray for us. Both Cynthia and I were greatly encouraged at the annual church network retreat. Thanks.

LEADERS RETREAT

A wonderful, profitable time was spent by us and our leaders at a guest house run by friends in van Reneen over the previous weekend. It rained, hailed or snowed most of the time physically and spiritually, as the Person and work of the Holy Spirit was presented and applied. Much was learnt and experienced by our leaders as we joined together with the pastors and leaders of our network churches. This last Sunday at our local service many testimonies were given –“thank the Lord I can speak in tongues”, “I felt the power of the Holy Spirit”, “I had a word of knowledge”, “I realise I have to change”, “we need to hunger and thirst after the presence of the Lord” , “we need to spread the Word of the Lord”, “it was a privilege to go there and share with other like-minded people”, “there are 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit and we can all use these gifts at different times to encourage others” and “we came empty, like a flat tyre, we put on a new tyre and were filled with strength to continue the journey of this Christian life”, “It was like being in the rain. When you come in from the rain, people can see you are wet. Now they see the effect of the rain of God in me.”

The Lord was also very present at our local church service where a few ladies and children met as usual and were encouraged by a message from the book of Hebrews, preached by one of our young leaders, who could not attend the retreat, because of extra lessons at school, in preparation for his final year exams. One mother testified that she had been reading Hebrews all week after that.

Young Adults Hike

The early morning air was very cold as a group of sixteen young people, and some not so young, boarded two vehicles and headed out to Witsieshoek Nature Reserve. The goal, to hike to the top of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre, to where the Tugela River tumbles over the rock face of the Drakensberg into KZN. It had been snowing a week or so before. However we were totally unprepared for what we were to encounter on the hike. In many places snow and ice covered the trail, making it quite hazardous. After, eventually reaching and climbing the two chain ladders, to reach the top of the berg, we stepped into a table cloth of snow; thick snow. As you walked to reach the goal, you sank to ankle deep, or knee deep and even thigh deep in the snow.

Apart from one older lady, who collapsed on a rock and Reg, all made it to the top of the Tugela falls. Reg stayed with the lady to make sure she was OK. The views on the trail and at the top are absolutely beautiful, even more so when they are enhanced by the blanket of snow. The remarks made told how certain people felt. “They didn’t tell us that we were walking by feet to Bethlehem.” When someone complained I said, “We told you that it was not going to be easy but difficult.” The replies came back, “Difficult! It is very challenging” , “Challenging! It’s just dangerous!!” In spite of the remarks, everybody made it safely up and down. When asked will you like to go again the replies came back, “Only in summer, when there is no snow” , “Yes, it was wonderful” , “Never again!!” These young people were stretched, some to the limit. But, they had been, to where they had never been before; they saw, what they had never seen before; they did, what they had never done before; they did, what they thought they could not do. All Safely back at the cars.

HOLIDAY BIBLE CLUB

We are looking forward to an exciting HBC starting next week with Leaders training on Mon. 3 rd October and children’s times from Tues to Fri. Martha from Scripture Union Vaal area will be joining us again this time and we rejoice in much fruit being produced by the dedication and enthusiasm of our very loyal leaders. Please pray for this activity and that we will be able to feed the children as usual. The kitty is very low at the present time!! Thank you so much for your generous response to our appeal for funds for the HBC. It went very well, and due to your generosity, the children did receive a wholesome meal each day. There will be more about the HBC in the October newsletter.

Thanks

Praise God! He always meets our needs. Thank you all so much for praying for us. Without prayer this ministry will not accomplish any spiritual good. Thank you so much for praying for us during these difficult times.

Thank you too for your financial support for us. We appreciate every gift that we receive and appreciate you for giving toward our support. Thank you very much.

Thanks to the His Place church, in Hastings, England, for supporting our food project. Through your gifts we are able to help people in real need with some food every month. We try to help the most vulnerable, widows, orphans, child headed households and the very poor.

We will dedicate the next news letter to the Mustard Seed, as this newsletter is already too long.

Much love in Jesus,

Reg and Cynthia Schafer and Julia O Connell.