Let there be Christmas!

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? Bob Hope

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Peace on earth will come to stay,
When we live Christmas every day.
Helen Steiner Rice

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Christmas is not a date. It is a state of mind. Mary Ellen Chase

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Teaching children values

A compilation

When I think back on my own childhood, images of love, encouragement, and warm family memories flood my mind. I recall evenings on my dad’s lap listening to him read to me for hours. I have no doubt that those experiences instilled in me a lifelong love of books. Four decades later I can still hear my mom’s words, “Treat everyone with kindness, Michele,” in the same tone she used when I was young. The values that my parents modelled—perseverance, compassion, acceptance, and believing in myself—are the same ones that guide my life today. And they are the same values I try to model to my own children. You don’t need research to prove your influence: just one moment of catching your child imitating your behaviour or repeating your words or emulating your values should confirm that you do make a difference.

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The turning point in history

What mere human can choose his own birthplace? Or what mortal man can—or would—cause the officials of a foreign government to order his death by a terribly agonizing execution? How could anyone manipulate their bitter enemies to pay a specific price for their betrayal, mock and revile them as they are dying, much less cause a band of soldiers to gamble for their clothing and pierce their side after they’ve died, and cause a rich man to bury their body in his own personal tomb? Yet Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled not only these, but over 300 more specific predictions regarding His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. Truly He was—and is—“unique” in every sense of the word!

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So send I you

“As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” – John 20:21

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” – Isaiah 6:8

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”– Mark 16:15

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” – Romans 10:14–15

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To go on mission to all of creation is to express something indispensable about God’s nature. In the Bible, the word sent occurs more than 650 times, and in a majority of its uses, God is doing the sending. In the Old Testament, He sends angels to minister, manna to feed, and prophets to warn. He sends disasters to stop tyrants or discipline His people. He sends leaders to deliver. God is attentive to needs, and so He sends.

In the New Testament,

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Christmas 2014

For this Christmas we planned parties in Orange Farm and Soweto for the children, assistence to the elderly in Brixton and needy families in Evaton West.

As usual, and somewhat expected, the children’s parties were more than well attended. In Orange Farm we had planned and prepared for 200 to 250 children but ended up entertaining 350 children. The Soweto party was attended by 150 boys and girls.

In Orange Farm Antoinette did a puppetshow with a meaningful Christmas message for the children which they loved. It was amazing to see how captivated they were and how easy it was to keep their attention. We did our best not to overload the huge jumping castle we had hired and used in both locations. This turned out to be quite a challenge as the children were so excited and couldn’t wait to get a turn. We could have used 10 more jumping castles; they were in such demand. Though it was hard to keep up with everyone, the games of dodgeball and basket ball, waterfun, or other circle games helped.

We prepared a meal and juice for each child. Volunteers from the community helped to prepare and distribute the meal and a small gift pack with colouring books and pencils, a stationary sets and  snacks to take home and enjoy.

Thanks to a donation we received from the National Lottery Board we were able to purchase some food items that would help needy families make it through the holiday season. We added the dry goods donations we have been receiving from a supermarket to make 50 quite sizable packets together for families in Evaton West. Each included 5 kg maize meal, 2 l oil, 2 kg sugar, oats and cereal, fruit juice squash, a jar of Nutella and can of corn syrup, spices and various assorted snacks as well as some stationary. The families were overjoyed.

We served an extra special meal to the elderly that we have been visiting throughout the year. We added fruit and a snack to the chicken curry stew, rice and vegetables we usually serve. Each of the more than 100 elderly also received a small gift of a bar of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste a company had donated for them, and a Christian magazine. In addition to this, we passed out 12 hampers to the elderly in a smaller complex in Coronationville which is never visited by anyone.

Rising from the ashes of defeat

By Talitha

  

Each year we receive letters and test answers which make it evident that lives are changing in prison. Not all goes to our credit. We know that one sows the seeds another waters it but it is God that made it grow.

Here are some responses we received:

My life has changed completely since I started learning and reading the word of God. I used to think life was over for me, but now I have no more that thought again. My life has changed for the better.

I went through a stage in my life where I felt that I’m a hopeless case. That’s when I heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I gave my life to Christ and that’s when bit by bit my life has been transformed to a new creature. I love the Scripture where Jesus says if the Son has set you free you are free indeed.The words of God give me light and happiness. When I read the word of God, I feel free.

My life has radically been transformed through the word of God. I had this struggle of mind but I have learned to fight the darkness. I have to

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Activities Report for 2014

Helping those in need

Help for the needy families in Evaton WestFamily Care Ministries distributed food donations of approximately 300 litres of milk, 3100 loaves of bread, 900 kg of potatoes, 72 trays of eggs, 1130 kg of meat, 1250 crates of assorted foods, fruits and vegetables and dry goods to the needy, elderly and unemployed. In addition to this we gave used clothing, folders and stationary. We received a half a bakkie full of curtain material and cut offs which we passed to a skill-building centre to use with their trainees.

Each month of 2014 members and volunteers visited

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2014 in Pictures

Divine demonstrations

In the Bible Jesus said to His Father, “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)

And to His disciples He said: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21)

And John wrote, “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)

“Okay, that all sounds good. But if I really want to live like Jesus, what does that actually mean? How can I live like Him within the realities of my everyday life?”

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Will the Christ Child come?

By Gaye Willis, adapted

One Christmas we had an interesting experience. Halfway through December we were doing the regular evening things when there was a knock at the door. We opened it to find a small package with a beautiful ceramic lamb inside. We looked at the calendar and realized that the 12 days of Christmas were beginning! We waited with excitement for the next night’s surprise and only then, with the gift of a matching shepherd, did we realize that the lamb was part of a nativity set.

Each night we grew more excited to see what piece we would receive. Each was exquisitely beautiful. The kids kept trying to catch the givers as we slowly built the scene at the manger and began to focus on Christ’s birth.

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Family Care Ministries is registered as a Non-profit Organization in terms of the Non-profit Organization Act, 1998     Number: 007-316