Pardon granted

Thoughts on Easter

Because Jesus was not claimed by death, not left in hell, we also can escape the agony of death, and the awful feeling that we’ve done too many bad things, that there’s no way things can now turn out good for us. In a word, Easter gives us hope.

We can fly like a beautiful eagle or a peaceful dove, arching high over the confines of life and our own selves. We can leave behind the torture of our own failures, our own inadequacies, all that’s within us that holds us back. We can soar into the dreams of our hearts, making reality out of what some call illusion. We can aim for heaven’s goals and, with God’s help, make it to heights unknown.

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An Easter prayer

Jesus, how I love You! How You’ve proved to me over and over again what great love You have for me. I was nothing, yet You came and died for me so that You might always have me with You. You reached down to the depths for me, and I took hold of Your hand. You pulled me up into a glorious place, and You continue to show me wonders of Your love day after day.

How wonderful, how marvelous, is Your love, Jesus! To think that You were willing to go through so much for me! As I think of the seemingly terrible defeat that You suffered and how it resulted in such a tremendous victory, it fills me with wonder and gives me such hope and peace. Surely You and Your love will see me through whatever troubles may come my way, from now till eternity!

2013 in Pictures

Some of the Team

Activities Report for 2013

Bible Studies:

100_5527 - Copy-600Bible studies continued in the townships and throughout Johannesburg. Each group is initiated and led by Family Care Ministries members who continue to share what they have learned through the 12 Foundation Stones Course and other training they have received. Throughout classes attendees are encouraged to actively participate in mission work and look for ways to meet the needs of others or their community. They often find that as they do God looks after their own needs. Teaching others to teach others empowers.

Outreach:
Regular outreach and visitation continues throughout Johannesburg, Evaton West, Orange Farm, Diepsloot, and the Vaal Triangle. Prayer, godly counsel and a word of encouragement go a long way.

100_5585-600Nduduzu and Ndivhuwo in Soweto, Elijah in Evaton West, and Abram in Diepsloot continued to spearhead our work amongst the youth. As Albert Schweitzer so wisely said: “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” At this point in time the most important thing one can do for youth is to encourage them never to give up.

Training:
Aside from the oversight and counsel our project managers received on a weekly basis throughout the year, Family Care Ministries held bi-monthly meetings to further train, inspire, and strengthen staff and volunteers. We need everyone’s input and ideas to achieve our objectives and therefore encourage discussion and the exchange ideas.

Workshops for Educators
Primary School Educator WorkshopIn coordination with Change the World Trust we held 3 workshops for 7 primary schools from Tembisa. In total 144 educators benefitted. They were presented with envisioning thoughts and material gleaned from many educational and other websites to help them effectively deal with classroom management issues. Everyone had a clearer picture of what can and needs to be done about disruptive behaviour in the classroom and gained behaviour management skills through the strategies discusses and practiced.
Here are just a couple or the responses we got:

The workshop was great and relevant especially at this point in time when most educators are frustrated by ill-disciplined learners. What we have learnt today will help to ease the pressure and challenges which educators are faced with.  – Moses Khoele (Principal)

Definitely the workshop is so developing. I used to blame the learners forgetting that I may be part of the problem. From now on I will do self- inspection before blaming the learners. – Makwena (Educator)

I’ve learnt a lot from the workshop. I’m going to try and implement some of the ideas I got from this workshop and from my colleagues. I’m also going to share this information with others at my school. – Emily (Educator)

Early Learning Workshops

Children are the hope of the future, the future of South Africa will one day lie in their hands. They are entitled to receive a good education that lays the foundation for competence and that empowers them to realize their full potential. Each child no matter what their race or background is should have an equal chance to succeed in life. The Early Learning Workshop was put together with these goals in mind.
It’s now an accepted fact that a child learns more than half of all that he will learn in his lifetime by the time he’s five years old. Therefore Family Care Ministries offers skills development to practitioners and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers in Orange Farm. We held 5 workshops throughout 2013 and will continue to offer further training in 2014.

Here are some of the responses to the workshops:

I so liked everything about the workshop. It was very interesting and I learned more and more about early learning, especially with what to teach babies, toddlers, and pre-schoolers. My suggestion is if it is possible the workshop must continue because it is good for us.

I enjoyed the lesson. You have opened my mind.

You really made my day today. You make me love children so deeply again. I am going to do my job with love and care for the children. Thanks.

This workshop was very good for me. It makes me feel good and proud of what I am doing. Sometimes you feel that you are not doing right. But if you attend this workshop you feel motivated. You make us feel proud of what we are doing.

I’m glad I learned that we must give a child a good foundation for tomorrow so that they can have a better education.

Helping those in need:
Food donations of approximately 1,000 litres of milk, 3600 loaves of bread, 600 kg of potatoes, pasteries, 60 trays of eggs, 600 kg of meat, 600+ crates of assorted foods, fruits and vegetables went to the needy, elderly and unemployed. We were able to donate or distribute a computer and printer, several boxes of new pregnancy, newborn and children’s clothes and 20 bags of used clothes, pillow, blankets and shoes. We received one bakkie load of curtain material and cut offs which we were able to pass to a skills building centre which will use them with their trainees.

Help for the Elderly
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Each month of 2013 we served a wholesome meal to 120 elderly in Brixton, who are housed in complexes provided for them. Our visits are a highlight for them as we make a point of spending some time chatting with them and visiting those who for health reasons cannot leave their quarters. Many appreciate the prayer and care they have received over the years.

 

Prison Ministry:
Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre (Maximum Security Prison in Makhado, Limpopo):
In December 2013 we concluded our 8th year of ministering to inmates in this facility. We had a total of 117 inmates who regularly attended the two courses we offered. Throughout the year we mailed 1,190 class sheets as well as 57 booklets for the ten unit course  to inmates throughout the year. The material left a visible impact on lives as was evident from the tests and letters we received.

In early January 2014 we were able to award 80 students with certificates.

Here are some reactions from inmates:

Mishack:  I am satisfied with the way you help us to understand how to make a relationship with the Lord in Jesus Christ. Thank God. God bless you for giving me this opportunity.

Justice: I ask you to continue to give other inmates a chance to learn this Bible study course of Family Care Ministries because they will know the challenges of Christian living and also help them to build their faith like us as you taught us this important course. They will know that God is love and that he loves us to love one another. Thank you and God bless you.

Tumelo: Thank you for the help. I will stick to Jesus Christ because He is a Saviour.

Leeuwkop Correctional Centre
Jeff and Linda White continued their visitation at Leeuwkop Correctional Centre to hold classes with small groups of inmates. The time they share with inmates is impacting lives as they counsel those they minister to. They have been able, in some cases, to offer assistance to family members of inmates. This is much appreciated by those unable to care for their families.

Christmas events:
Parties for children
Family Care Ministries organized again Christmas parties for children in Orange Farm and in Evaton West. Word is going around about the events and the number of children attending has increased every year. This year we were able to organise a magic show for one event and a puppet show for the other. The children were fascinated. It was a real treat for them as they had never seen the like before.  The games and activities were a hit again. People from the community came forward to help prepare and serve the hot dogs, drinks and snacks we had bought. Everyone pitched in to help pack and distribute the gifts to the children: pencils, colour pencils, stationary sets, colouring books, masks, cereal, snack packs and more. A company provided about 120 toys which included dolls and animal sets, Lego sets, cuddly toys, soccer balls, water guns and more. We were able to pass these to orphaned children and those from the most needy households. What a joy it was to see the smiles on the children’s faces.

Party for the elderly
Our event for the elderly coincided with the memorial service that was held in honour of Nelson Mandela. The elderly had to brave the cool and wet weather to join in the fellowship. Though the atmosphere was more sober than in previous years, everyone enjoyed the food, the raffle and sharing what Mr. Mandela means to them. The hall was beautifully decorated by volunteers and everyone went out of their way to make each person feel welcomed and loved. Each attendee received a gift bag with a pamphlet with an encouraging Christmas message, a booklet, some cookies and a coffee mug.

Malawi Work:
StuartThough most of our efforts are concentrated on the local work, in the past year members of Family Care Ministries went on two mission trips to various cities in Malawi to encourage, train and direct the work taking place in this needy country. They were inspired to see the work progressing with local youth starting various projects to meet various needs in their communities. We continued our support by providing them with gospel literatures for their outreaches as well as some financial support to help struggling workers who minister under difficult circumstances in impoverished communities. We continually strive to empower and encourage self-sufficiency.

Compassion in Action

 

January 3rd  with the festive season still in full swing we are called upon to serve:  It is JOHANNESBURG BY NIGHT! By 9.30pm Josef the chairman of Family Care Ministries finished a tour of Johannesburg  with Soweto, Roodeport and Florida, places you wouldn’t want to have a car break down, especially at night, dropping of 31 crates of food to needy families. Their eyes were almost as big as the crates of fresh fruit, vegetables, pastries, snacks, sweets and some meat. Their  grateful hugs warmed my heart. We had a large pick up and our one household refrigerator is way too small, so it had to go. God’s gift is God’s work.

Man shall not live by bread alone: Well, bread is important and the HIV positive folks we serve need it to take it with their medication and the school holidays makes no different to the kids that are hungry, they’re even more hungry since they have no school lunch. Josef traveled over 300km and delivered 160 loaves of bread to @ 50 families in 3 townships. He fixed a computer, prayed for people, helped with transport money for job interview. He always make it a point to leave them with some gospel pamphlets and many are asking for extras to share with their friends. We need food for the soul as well. Bread feeds the stomach but the word of God feeds souls and spirit. Family Care Ministries is here to help.

Call for help on Saturday:   RRRRRing! “Please come and collect 800kg of potatoes, they’re in a 1000kg bag loose & you have to shovel them out.”  Josef the chairman is the only driver and off he goes with crates and trailer. After 8 hours of delivering potatoes in 3 township to needy families, 3 feeding programs & 1 old age complex he finally finished at 8pm. On the way he prayed with the recipients, passed out gospel tracts and shared some hugs. We’ve read that 8 hugs a day keeps the blues away. Well, we like to contribute to the well being of our recipients and feed their souls as well as body.

Abram volunteer and Creche owner in Diepsloot:  All is well and allow me to inform you that it feels so good every time people leave my centre with plastics full of food which you provide from Woolworths on fortnight basis.  I enjoy so much to pack their carry bags with delicious healthy food. Over 10 families are benefiting from the Woolworths supply. Thanks to you and the Great Lord who planted generous love into your heart.
It doesn’t end there, the supply of breads from Albany which I also collect on fortnight basis helps 9 ECD’s including mine where each ECD get up to 15 loaves of breads. On top of that there are 15 families benefiting from the supply of breads. Where each family gets from 2-3 loaves of breads.
Thank God some poor families in Diepsloot manage to put food on the table due to your love and great efforts.
Just today, the staff members at my school are all dressed in new T shirts that looks the same. Thanks to the provision of clothes and toys for the kids. We are overwhelmed by your undying love.
Keep on making changes in people’s lives especially the poor in the poverty stricken township of Diesplsoot.    Kind regards,  Abram Kgari

We’re encouraged to find in the midst of darkness, poverty and violence little lights shining for Jesus. One such little light is Grandma Helen (76), she can hardly see and uses crutches to walk but she glows with the light of Jesus and brings it to her neighbors and regularly feeds the poor with the food and gospel pamphlets we provide.

Our oldest recipient is Sister Glover who is 86 and still going strong working in the garden and serving the community with prayer and food. It is a privilege to serve them and the many lights in the townships who do what they can to bring the light and love of Jesus to the physically and often spiritually impoverished. In the midst of darkness those lights shine even brighter.

One hundred percent

by Steven Furtick

I’ve told the story of my grandfather before in different venues. Papa, as we called him, was one of the greatest men of God I’ve ever known. But he also experienced one of the greatest hardships I’ve ever seen. Papa watched his wife of over 50 years slowly lose her mind and body to Alzheimer’s. By the end, she started to literally scream curses and obscenities at him. But he handled it with more grace and faith than you can imagine. Regardless of grandmother’s condition, he would go every day to the nursing home and comb her hair and tell her she was beautiful until they would kick him out.

Papa died about eighteen months before Grandma passed away. The final scenes of their marriage were pitiful, really, from a purely earthly perspective. Healing never came. And it broke Papa’s heart. But still, surprisingly, every time you would ask Papa how he was doing, he’d always say the same thing: 100%.

As a kid, it always bothered me that he said

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Smile – It’s worth it

The most destructive habit – Worry

The greatest joy – Giving

The greatest loss – Loss of self-respect

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Report on July 2013 Trip

Josef reports:

It is good to be home. I’ve run the race and returned from a successful and inspiring 3 weeks mission trip to Malawi. I’m so grateful for all our friends who contributed to and made this mission trip possible. Your investment has paid off in souls and labourers won for God’s kingdom. The Gospel of the Good News is being preached in all Malawi. THANK YOU!!!

Here is in short some of the exciting things the Lord has done.

It took a 36 hours journey by bus through Zimbabwe and Mozambique to reach Blantyre in Malawi where I arrived at midnight. I was welcomed by our co-worker Charles who took me to an affordable lodge. The next day I was able to rent an old open bakkie – everything else was too expensive. We started our 1,800km journey from Blantyre to Chikwawa, Zomba, Mayaka, Malosa, Salima, Mzuzu and Lilongwe to visiting our precious and dedicated members. Petrol cost R20 (2$) which depleated my shoestring budget quickly as we travelled many dusty and grueling roads. But without this vehicle we would not have been able to reach so many.

It was truly thrilling to see the receptiveness of the youth and people there. We had almost every day meetings with young people from different churches, with pastors and/or had services for their congregations. We were there to encourage and give them the vision to carry the Gospel further and to provide them with training and material needed to reach and impact the local communities. Pastors rejoiced at the devotional and training material we were able to supply them with.

Over 400 people prayed to receive Jesus as their Saviour, including 3 village chiefs and a senior women chief. Many sick folks were prayed for and were healed, hearts were encouraged and young and old rejoiced in their new found faith. Thousands of gospel tracts were distributed and from it we got many calls from people who want to join us a or invite us to come to their area to teach them. We donated some footballs to members of the Activated youth  clubs as well as two manual foot pumps for those who run agricultural projects.

I was so glad to have our member Charles with me. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner to travel with me in Malawi. He knows so many areas from his many years working with World Vision and as an instructor in rural development. He shares my passion to save souls, share the Word of God and make and train disciples. He was an invaluable help.

Our journey was full of joy and excitement, meeting many new precious people who fed and accommodated us. We saw much poverty but our message of love and hope still produced a smile.

For almost 3 weeks we ate only local food, including tea and sweet potatoes for breakfast and pap with gravy, a bit of green veggies and a bit of meat for dinner. We carried our natural eating utensils always with us (our fingers). The conditions such as unfamiliar foods, little or no electricity, bucket showers (running showers are a luxury in Malawi), car break downs, dusty and rugged roads or finding ourselves surrounded by goats and chickens didn’t matter. The happy and cheerful smiles of the people we visited made it worth it all.

WHAT THE PASTORS, LEADERS & YOUTH SAY:

Oh! what a blessing it is to be incorporated in your ministry. I am ready to work with you to win the world to Jesus. I’m looking forward to receive more of your program and the study materials. Teaching is part of my calling. Currently I teach leadership and ministering in E3 Partners. Thanks. – Ps Mixon

Thanks for your text which I’ve just finished reading. It is really on my heart to win lost souls and I promise to do this work till Jesus put me to rest. – Mary (teacher)

The rule “to love your neighbour” for all of us is perfectly simple. Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbour; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Without a vision …

Over the past few months I have been going to Orange Farm to hold training workshops for teachers from crèches, many of them working in nothing but corrugated tin shacks.

Initially many of the principals attended. They got so inspired and envisioned that they now send their staff one by one to learn. Aside from sharing with them about the children’s needs in different areas of development, I spend time explaining about the importance of a child’s early learning experiences. Here are a couple of the key facts about child development that I share with them, that never seems to fail to envision them.

  • No matter what race or colour, every child has 100 billion brain cells at birth. The brain, the body’s most vital and complex organ, matures after birth. A child’s brain potential is not entirely predetermined in the womb.
  • How smart the child is or isn’t has little to do with how educated the mother or the parents of the child are. It has to do with how many opportunities the child is given after birth to explore and experiment through play.
  • What children do and are exposed to in the early years affects their development; it affects how well their brain will function.
  • ½ of the foundation for problem solving, analytical thinking, memory etc. are laid in the first five years of a child’s life.
  • The brain is like a muscle. If you use a muscle it grows bigger and stronger. A connection in the brain that is used will be stronger. A connection that is not used will grow weaker and the brain will discard it.

Learning facts like these fuels hope in their hearts and a realization that they can play a part to change the future of children growing up in townships like theirs where some of the basic infrastructure is still missing. Through pouring into the children in their care they can play a part in giving them a brighter future. The responses are similar each time:

Thank you for the opportunity. It was truly inspiring, motivating, joyful, exciting and loving. God bless you. Keep up with the good work. Don’t give up. Let’s change the world.

Don’t go forever. You make us feel proud of what we are doing.

You really made my day today. You make me love children so deeply again.

First of all I enjoyed being in your workshop and learned more things that I have never known.

I say as from today I want to improve my centre and kids because this opportunity is not for fun, it is a serious responsibility.

This workshop has been a real eye opener for me because it made me see things that I did not know about. It made me to know what children are like. It really helped me and I am really grateful for it.

Each time I am asked to please continue with further workshops. The Lord has shown me that I need to put together a curriculum for them to follow with simple learning activities to give them something to work with. I have made a lot of headway in putting it together, but there is still lots to do. I am praying that the Lord will make a way to print and produce some teaching materials and flashcards at a very reasonable price. They have so little to work with and it would help the program to leave more of an impact in the lives of these precious children. Each one is special to the Lord and deserves the best care. 

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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