Drawing on God’s strength

Allan Tabaro

Just before Christmas a few years ago, I was involved in a car accident that almost took my life. I sustained a spinal cord injury to my T4 vertebra, leaving me paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down, and confined to a wheelchair.

Nothing can prepare anyone for coping with paraplegia and disability, especially to the extent that you have to rely almost completely on others for assistance. Suddenly the things you had taken for granted, like getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom, are no longer possible because your body refuses to function.

Questions flood your mind, and fear, doubt, and anxiety can get the better of you. It was like being in a bad dream, struggling to come to terms with what was happening, and hoping to wake up.

My family and friends were encouraging and stood by my side, but in the end, the difficult choice to stay positive and carry on with life is always a personal one. In my experience, though, it is possible to carry on.

It’s tough to deal with disappointment, and we always want to figure things out, but if faced with something man or money cannot fix, who do you turn to for answers? I had nowhere to turn but to God. My girlfriend gave me a Bible and told me I would find the answers I was looking for in it. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,” I read, “and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) I set out to keep my end of the bargain, and God has been faithful to keep His.

I’ve learned that He isn’t surprised by our moments of pain in the valleys; in fact, He’s quietly waiting for us to call out to Him so He can enlighten our darkness. It’s one thing to be a Christian, and another to truly know who Jesus is.

God showed me that He cared as much about the condition of my spirit as that of my paralyzed body. Before my injury, I was easily distracted by the things of this world, and I got my happiness and security from them. Now I know that none of this compares to the love of Jesus, which comforts to the uttermost.

He will heal the wounds and sicknesses of our souls and plant seeds of hope in the most difficult conditions. His light will shine into the deepest valleys. “[He] is our refuge and strength and a present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.—Eleanor Roosevelt

Faith in times of crisis

No matter how devastating, irreversible, or hopeless things seem when you’re facing a major setback or a life-threatening situation, you can choose to continue to actively trust in Jesus and refuse to let go of that abiding trust. Faith isn’t the absence of fear; faith is what overcomes fear.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. We wouldn’t be hoping for something if we already had it in our hands. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) We wouldn’t need evidence that something is real if we could see it with our eyes.

You know that God will ultimately make things right in the next life, but that knowledge doesn’t lessen the struggles of possibly facing very painful experiences or death. At this moment in time it’s not the next life that you are having to deal with, it’s the present.

It can be pretty scary when you’re in a bad situation and you can’t see any natural way out of the dilemma. But that’s when faith comes to the fore. You just have to keep believing and trusting, no matter what things look like.

You have to keep walking on the solid ground of what God has told you to do in spite of dire circumstances, knowing that no matter how hopeless it looks or how bad things get, Jesus has you in His arms.

You may feel afraid of what you’re facing. You may not see anything you can do to fix the situation you’re in. But God’s intervention in your life isn’t based on your self-confidence. It’s based on your belief in Him and your trust in His unlimited power, goodness, and love.

You just have to believe that God can bring about what is best in His time and His way, if not in this life, then in the life to come, because you trust Him. Faith knows what is most important to know: “God will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

None of us know what lies ahead. We often can’t know if that setback we’re facing or the things we’re suffering will be gone in a minute or a month, or if they will last a lifetime. What faith knows is that Jesus will not leave us comfortless; He’ll be there walking with us.

Jesus is proud of us when we look at the waves and the winds of adversity and do like Peter did with Him. Peter said to Jesus, “Bid me come out to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28) He was ready to jump right into the challenges because he’d seen God’s power in Jesus and was ready to put himself into those hands that he trusted would never fail him.

What are the challenges that you’re facing? What impossible situations are looming big in your life? Will you step out on the waters to meet Jesus right now so that His power can be manifested in your life? Take the step of faith, and even if you feel that momentary sinking feeling at times, you only have to call out to Him and He’ll bring you through in His perfect time and way.

Activities Report for 2019

Help for the Needy

Family Care Ministries aims to make a difference in the lives of needy families, child-headed households and the elderly. We attempt to help those who are able to to find ways to support themselves.

100 households received regular food assistance in Orange Farm and Evaton West alone. Shoes, clothing and household items were also distributed whenever available. Aside from the biweekly donations of bread and eggs we pass out, a total of 632 food parcels were distributed throughout this year. Some of our Christian businessmen friends continued to join our volunteers ministering to disadvantaged families & orphan households whenever their time permitted. The counsel, prayer and encouragement offered is as helpful as the food received.

Our volunteers also visit the elderly in their homes to help clean, cook meals or collect medication at the clinic on their behalf if need be. Six disabled people received food, clothing and help with transport to get them to appointments for treatment or to check-ups.

Since August 2019, 150-200 children, mostly from a nearby informal settlement, are served a warm meal and receive basic medical care once a week. A number of children are helped with their homework and meet for afternoon studies once or twice a week.

One of our volunteers started a children’s choir to give children something enjoyable and meaningful to do in their free time while another simply set some time aside to be available to talk, play and interact with the children. Family Care Ministries was able to help some school children who needed stationary, school uniforms, school shoes and books or help with their fees.

In addition to this, we continued to bring a wholesome warm meal to 120 elderly in Brixton every month of the past year. Along with the meal we hand out one or two pieces of fruit and home baked cupcakes. The encouraging words and time spent praying with and for the elderly make the visit the highlight of the month for many of them.

Most of the weekly food donations we receive from a supermarket are delivered to Ouma Helen, who is 88 years old now. She continues visiting and ministering to needy families in Industria and Fleurhof helping in whichever way she can. We feel honoured to work with such a sacrificial and selfless woman.

The following is a list of food items distributed by Family Care Ministries volunteers in 2019:

  • 632 food parcels
  • 377 crates of assorted foods, canned and other dry goods
  • 227 kg potatoes, 150 kg vegetables, 36 large heads of cabbage
  • 40 crates of fruit
  • 70 kg frozen vegetables
  • 2,270 kg of a rice
  • 1,400 kg of meat
  • 15,600 loaves of bread
  • 400 kg maize
  • 44 kg of peanut butter
  • 45 cases of sugar sachets
  • 121 kg coffee
  • 900 l of milk
  • 720 dozen eggs
  • 12,500 kg of liquid eggs (egg pulp)

Other Donations

Other donated goods included 3 crates cleaning supplies, 115 bags of clothes, 4 crates of text books, a monitor & keyboard, an oil heater, 4 bags household items, 1800 plates & 300 cups Styrofoam, a bakkie load of saucers & cups, teacher and school desks & chairs, 4 boxes of toys, 10 large boxes of ring folders & assorted office and school supplies.

 

No Kids without School Shoes

In 2017 Family Care Ministries started the campaign “No kids without school shoes”. Throughout 2019 we were able to provide needy families and preschools with 1,420 pairs of shoes. We cannot specify how many of those were school schools but are grateful for the help we received from Sole to Sole who assisted us with shoes.

 

Events & Christmas Programmes

On Heritage Day, the 24th of September, 90 food parcels were distributed to the elderly in Evaton West.  The singing and speeches and delicious meal was enjoyed by all.

Family Care Ministries assisted Ouma Helen again to organise a party for the children, families and elderly at one of the housing blocks in Fleurhof she regularly visits. The jumping castle, ice cream, snacks and stationary gifts were as great a hit as always with the children. Everyone enjoyed a delicious meal together after some song and dance.

Outreach

The donations of 21 boxes of paper were used to print 31,000 gospel tracts, 4,450 Bible Verse booklets, and over 13,000 pages of Bible study course class sheets in two languages. Aside from what was printed by Family Care Ministries, we also distributed 600 Christian magazines and 68 devotional booklets.

While sharing the Gospel one-on-one is most effective, volunteers also used social media such as Facebook and WhatsApp, SMSs and email messages to spread God’s Word and to counsel and encourage others to find faith in Jesus.

Early Childhood Development Training and Workshops

Our main focus  in 2019 was on starting up the EDU-BUILD INSTITUTE’S accredited Early Childhood Development NQF Level 4 certification course. Though we are not allowed to offer the course for free or for a discounted price, we were able to raise some of the start-up cost and running expenses.

Aside from this training programme, Family Care Ministries held 7 other workshops. Two of these were on planning lessons and learning activities for preschool children and fitting these into a daily programme. A total of 70 principals in Orange Farm attended the two meetings/workshops held to discuss training needs and see what assistance centres may need to register and meet government requirements to become eligible for subsidies. Three workshops helped preschool teachers get some important input and training on the developmental needs of babies, toddlers and young children and on various types of activities to use in the classroom. One key purpose of the workshops is to raise the level of awareness among caregivers of the importance of the early years in a child’s life. So many of the struggles that children face in schools is due to the lack of the development of foundational skills that children should be learning about and practicing while in preschool.

Family Care Ministries also donated 2 bakkie loads of used toys, books, and office and stationary supplies to a number of preschools in Orange Farm. Here are some responses from the workshops:

Everything was powerful. I gained something important for my day care centre. Thank you.

The workshop was definitely fruitful. I really appreciated learning about a child’s needs for development and would really like to learn more. Well done, Talitha, you make learning fun.

I have learned a lot with this course work especially on how to stimulate the development of language and communication skills.

I have learned a lot but the three days are too short. You must add more days. We need at least two weeks.

I gained knowledge through the lessons I received during these days I attended. Very good.

Malawi Work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Care Ministries has assisted the outreach work in Malawi for the past 10 years. Our volunteer workers there are actively involved in training pastors and other individuals who have a desire to teach, train, counsel and encourage others. As part of our efforts we sent gospel pamphlets, Bible Study Course Manuals and Bible verse booklets to spread God’s Word and message. Family Care Ministries continues to support farming projects and youth outreach in the area.

Prison Ministry

Family Care Ministries continued the rehabilitation work among inmates at Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre in Makhado, Limpopo. Nearly 200 inmates participated in the course we again offered in the three prison sections of this maximum security facility. We provide the course materials which are used by three facilitators to teach the inmates. The facilitators, who are inmates themselves, are overseen by the Chaplain’s office and report to us sending the tests the students write after each chapter. 185 of the students had earned a certificate by the end of 2019. This year Family Care Ministries was again able to mail 68 Christian booklets on different themes to those 14 students who participate in our advanced course. We can clearly see that lives are changing through the lessons and teaching. Here are some responses that we got from inmates:

Piet: Since I believe in Jesus Christ in my life, I saw lots of things that have changed in my spirit, soul and mind. I feel good all the times, I don’t have anger anymore. I know how to pray and how to read the word of God. Reading the word of God affects me in my life. I have experiences according to the word of God. I know how to stay positive all the time. I sleep at night because of the word of God and I believe in Him.

Tebogo: Truly speaking now I really feel relief. It is like something was weighing me down on my shoulders but now I am always happy. God is wonderful and great. Thanks to Him. Before I was having no knowledge according to the word of God. I didn’t know how to read the Bible. But now I know and since I started I even know what God wants from us to be saved. Now I know that I must live plowing my way to heaven not looking at the worldly things because our treasure is in heaven.

David: I am truly grateful for the lessons that you are teaching me. By reading your pamphlets I have found salvation and a deep connection with the Holy Spirit. I now find it easier to meditate on the Word, pray and fast. My spiritual life has been altered. To God be the glory. Thank you!

Nkopodi: Since I became a believer I have experienced the great love that God has for us and how much He cares for us. I have come to understand His Word and that it is life. It is like a rain that never goes out and returns to Him without watering the ground. I am immersed in His Word and saved. Reading the Word of God has affected my life tremendously. I can now meditate and come into connection in the spiritual realm with God. I am filled with joy for I know that His Word says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Appreciate This Wonderful World

Imagine a traveler, sitting quietly in a boat as it floats down a river that meanders through a green valley. Trees and shrubs, some in full bloom, line the riverbank. Majestic, snow-covered peaks rise in the distance. But this traveler doesn’t notice the beauty of his surroundings; he is too busy studying the guidebook, learning about the history of the area and where the river will take him.

“Look up! You’re missing the view!” We call to him, but to no avail. He just keeps on reading, his head bowed, his mind elsewhere.

There are times when we need to study the guidebook, as well as times when we need to think back or forward, but there should also be times when we stop and take in the moment.

For the next week, take five or ten minutes each day to look closely at the world around you. Focus your attention on the fluffy white clouds as they drift effortlessly across the vivid blue sky. Study the intricate design on the petals of a flower, or the graceful architecture of a tree, or the pattern of a flock of birds in flight. Look for something different each day, and thank God for His creativity.

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?

No time to stand beneath the boughs,

And stare as long as sheep and cows:

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night:

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance:

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began?

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

—William H. Davies (1871–1940)

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.—Anne Frank (1929–1945)

God is the friend of silence. Trees, flowers, grass grow in silence. See the stars, moon, and sun, how they move in silence.—Mother Teresa (1910–1997)

2018 in Pictures

Just a few of the 9,620 loaves of bread Family Care Ministries distributed in 2018.

Talitha hands out sponsored sets of teacher guides. Each contains simple-to-do activities that help create a stimulating environment for young children.

Josef and Eunice visit an orphan household to deliver a food parcel.

The children are excited to try out the playground equipment we put up on a plot in Orange Farm.

Josef delivers crates of meat to the Boys Brigade, a charity who ministers to the youth and serves meals to the needy and struggling families.

Ouma Helen and Josef are bringing two of the 157 blankets we distributed in 2018 to these elderly gentlemen.

Josef and Talitha are having fun along with everyone else on Heritage Day. Eighty food parcels were distributed to the elderly.

After years of translation work on the 12 Foundation Stones Bible Study Course. the discipleship course manuals are finally completed and printed.

The teachers at Isibuko Seswe Preschool are happy to receive a literacy skills development set that was donated to Family Care Ministries.

Changing a small part of the world

With the help of support we received from Calulo Foundation, Family Care Ministries was able to make a difference for children and teachers of Isibuko Seswe Preschool in Orange Farm. We found the preschool looking like this.

The carpet in two of the classrooms would get wet every time it rained as the roof was leaking. Some of the support beams had rotted and needed replacing. Calulo Foundation’s support helped us to get it fix so that the 30 children could be in a safer environment. The drab looking paint was peeling off the walls in places.

The three classrooms, kitchen and hallway got a fresh coat of paint. A team of young volunteers used their artistic talent to brighten up the classrooms.

Look at the change!!!

 

 

 

 

 

We purchased the fabric to sew 30 new mattress covers and curtains for all of the classrooms. educational toys, teaching aids and books for the children.

Every teacher received a teacher guide for their group. The simple-to- do ideas, activities and games with easily available materials listed in the books help teachers put lesson plans together and create a stimulating environment for the children. We were able to donate some used toys as well.

Along with the upgrade work, Family Care Ministries held 6 training workshops for caregivers from Isibuko Seswe and other preschools in the  area.

2017 in Pictures

Many Thanks

This year we receive sponsorship in the form of a booklet called “Freedom Within.” It is specifically written for inmates, those who have chosen to become Christians. The booklet centers on themes such as forgiving yourself and others, coping with fear and rejection, your relationship with the Lord and others, and much more.

Many of our course participants are looking for answers, are troubled by their past and desperate for forgiveness. Most struggle to come to terms with the sins of their past and are trying to cope with the difficulties of life in prison. The words in the booklet have resonated with the ones we were able to donate a copy of it to.

Here are some responses that we got:

  • I would like to thank you very much for sending me this important book  “Freedom Within – From Jesus with Love.” It is really full of words of comfort and guidance. This book has inspired me to forgive my mother who abandoned me when I was a child. Jesus said to forgive those who have wronged you. If you don’t forgive them He can’t forgive you the wrongs you have done. – Mpho
  • It was really good reading the book that you had sent to me. It was like you knew what was happening in my life. After reading this book many things started to change in my life. I’m a different person now. The part “Let go” really touched me. I was a person who likes holding grudges. But I have learned from the book to let go and forgive those who wronged me. In short, I can say this book taught me many things, how to love, forgive, praise, understand and care and to count on Jesus, and much more. – David
  • Everything inside the book “Freedom Within” speaks to me. I lost hope in friends and people around me. They do not trust me because of my previous life even if I tell them I am no longer that person. I learn a lot of things from this book, from articles like “A Brighter Tomorrow.” It motivates me to make changes about my life. Topics like “You Can Never Be Too Bad for Jesus” open my eyes. I used to judge myself according to the things that I had done. I did not know that there is Someone who loves me. Thank you again for blessing me with this book. – Siyabonga
  • Let me take this opportunity to say thank you so much for sending the book entitled “Freedom Within.” I went through it. It is very rich. Reading this book is like I am hearing directly from the Lord Jesus talking to me. This book is able to address my situation, it has taught me so much: 1. How to accept and how to love even those who throw me in prison. 2. The book further revealed how much Jesus suffered on earth. How He responded towards the opposition. Again the book is very easy to read. I don’t even know which words to use, because the book taught me so much. I am looking forward to receiving another book. – Thabiso
  • I appreciate your love, sympathy and the source of true love to my faith. I thank you for all the books and manuals because they changed my life. The program is perfect and increases the love to God and helps me read the Bible to get more wisdom from the word of God. I can now share the word of God with my family, friends and my fellow inmates. I wish to continue with the program to change other people’s lives like mine and be near God all the time through prayers. – Obabeng
  • Truly the book “Freedom Within” has been a blessing to me. Believe me when I say to you that in this book I found a treasure. I would certainly sell all I have, I mean all my possessions in this prison, for this book. I felt like Jesus indeed was or is talking to me when reading on topics and the pages that I flip to. The introduction made an everlasting mark and that could only be Jesus himself. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May God bless the person who compiled and produced this book. – David
  • Keep on doing the great work of spreading the word of God to those who need it most like us here in prison where most of our brothers, especially those who are still unbelievers, don’t have hope, and feel rejected by their loved ones and family and friends. I want to thank you a million times for the spiritual book you send for us. You just reminded me that I chose the right path to walk with a friend (Jesus) through this time, Someone I can depend on. – Gcina
  • I am very grateful for all the teachings and encouragements I receive from you. I had many questions like why am I facing all this misery of being in jail. But within the pages of the book “Freedom Within” I managed to get the answers. There is nothing that can separate me from the love of God which is mine through Christ Jesus my Lord and Friend. Even though I am in prison I know that Jesus Christ will never leave me nor forsake me. This gives me peace and assurance that God loves me. I am very grateful for all your support to help me grow spiritually. May God richly bless you as you touch and lead many souls to Christ through your ministry. – Ndonyane
  • I would like to thank you for the book “Freedom Within”. I thank you for taking good care of the lost sheep of God. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. Your labour in the Lord is not in vain. (1. Cor. 15:58) Thank you for showing interest in me. It helps me to understand my potential and realizing that my potential was not given to me to deposit in the grave. The greatest tragedy in life is not death but a life that never realized its full potential. Today I decided not to rob the world of the rich, valuable, potent, untapped resources locked away within me. Thank you for the booklet of inspiration that gives me hope and light in the dark days of my life. Thank you so much. May God richly bless all my Christian family.  – Jacob

 

Lives are changing

God’s unconditional love for you!

As part of Bible study class we shared the following text with inmates at Kutama Sinthumule Correctional Centre in Makhado, Limpopo. Knowing how much God values us as believers helps us realize how indebted we are to Him to live a life dedicated to Him.

Jesus’ love is reaching out to you right now. His love, His forgiveness and His mercy are all right there, just for you, if you will only receive them. Jesus is not stacking up all your faults and failures and mistakes to hold against you. When He looks at you He sees possibilities that others do not see. He sees your every tear. He hears your every cry. He feels your every frustration, your every worry, your every burden, your every desire. He knows everything about you. He sees straight through to your heart of hearts and all that is in it, and He deeply loves you. He is right there by your side, and He will never ever forsake you.  He loves you and He patiently waits for you!

Here are some of the responses we got from inmates that participate in our Bible study course:

I feel like Jesus has forgiven me all my sins. He has accepted me into His Kingdom. He is embracing me. He is completely protecting me. He loves me and wants me to live a clean life. – Frans

Reading these words give me hope that Jesus loves me just the way I am. If I ask Him for forgiveness He will give it. He can even

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Partnering with the like-minded

Sister Glover

Sister Glover web

Sister Glover, who runs the Emmanuel Feeding Scheme in  Noordgesig, has been dedicated to helping the poor for many, many years. She is 85 years old and still goes out daily to a large vegetable garden to water and look after the plants. Every month she holds a meeting with about 300 pensioners and single mothers to share God’s word with them. Using her meager pension, she buys bread and peanut butter to provide them with a breakfast. Women in the neighbourhood help to cook a lunch to serve to everyone as well. After the meeting all line up to receive packages of fat & bones and any other food items donated for the purpose. A butchery regularly gives her bones and fat for her project. Again, she has to use her pension to fetch the donation. Family Care Ministries has recently supported her with chicken & rice for the meal & has been providing her with various food items whenever possible.

Ouma Helen

Ouma Helen web

Ouma Helen is well in her eighties and has been using a walker for many years. She used to receive some monies and help from her small congregation to buy food parcels for about 20 needy families in an informal settlement. Several years ago she was told that the church cannot afford to support her ministry anymore. A friend of ours contacted us for help and Family Care Ministries has been supporting her efforts for the past several years. We now provide her with donated foods to share with the poor on a weekly basis.

Last year Ouma Helen had a fall and broke her pelvis bone. She had to lay for weeks on her back to help the bones to heal as she told that she was too old to have the needed operation. She healed miraculously in a much shorter time than expected. As soon as she could, she picked up right where she left off. Though she is now in a wheelchair, she continues to sort, pack and distribute to the needy with the help of her grandchildren. For Christmas Family Care Ministries was able to provide her with some food items for her food parcels and accompany her to the informal settlement spreading a message of love and hope as we went.

Zakariyya Park

Fikile and Team Web

Fikile has gathered a group of friends around her who are just as determined as she is to see what can be done to help children who are suffering in one way or another in her community in Zakariyya Park. Family Care Ministries has provided her and her team with regular donations of bread, eggs and other foods such as cereals as often as we get them. The caring hearts of these young ladies help many children find the emotional and social support they need.  They try their best to offer some homework support and encourage children to excel in their studies. Family Care Ministries members encourage the team to share the Gospel and gospel material with the children which they gladly do.

Abram

Abram Web

Abram is a creche owner in Diepsloot. He provides not only a safe environment for some of the children in his community, but has also dedicated his life to sharing the word of God with as many as he can. He tries to do what he can do to ease the dire physical or spiritual needs the children, teenagers, parents or others around may have. He is always available for prayer and counsel and has become a well respected and sought out member in his community. Family Care Ministries shares donations of bread with him biweekly and provides him with other food items when possible.

The Boy’s Brigade of SA

The Boys Brigade of SA is a N.P.O. operating in Noordgesig. They offer activities to get the children in their neighbourhood off the streets to prevent them falling into a life of crime. They assist children by sharing food and clothing donations with those that need it. Winnie and Donovan have gathered some brass and percussion instruments which the children use to learn on and practice with. The number of children participating is much greater than the number of instruments they have so they have to take turn using them. Participating in the band draws their interest, gives them a challenge and something to do other than aimlessly wandering the streets and ending up falling in with the wrong crowd in this drug ridden community.  Family Care Ministries assists with regular food donations.

Engaging the Youth web Engaging the Youth Web 1

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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