Christmas 2012 for the Elderly

Christmas Activities 2012

Christmas is the one time the world is compelled to recognise Jesus as the day of His birth is remembered! He was born into poor and humble circumstances much like the billion children living in poverty today. He came to show love to the downtrodden, show love to all and to bring a gift of infinite worth, eternal life. What a privilege and wonderful time to share with others what Jesus came for. Christmas offers new hope and new courage which is so sorely needed in the darkness that prevails in the world.

Family Care Ministries volunteers want, more than anything else, touch lives and reflect the love that He has brought into our own lives in a tangible way. So our focus for the yearend was to spend time with the children, young people and elderly.

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Bottled up?

Family Care Ministries has been supplying Bible Course materials and courses to inmates for the past seven years here in South Africa. Below are some comments they have made that give a little glimpse into their lives.

As we read and meditate on the Word, as we believe His promises and claim them as our own, we find that wonderful things await us. The warm sunshine of His love melts away tension. Like a breath of fresh air, the breeze of God’s Spirit clears our minds. We see things from the heavenly perspective and see new possibilities and challenges before them. We find new faith and inspiration. “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

Learn to turn to the Word when you feel bottled up, and His Word will set you free. (John 8:31,32)

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Passage to freedom

God’s love and forgiveness are amazing. Though we as humans are bound to make wrong choices, God still loves us. It saddens Him when we willfully do wrong, but He doesn’t hold it against us if we are sincerely sorry. Instead, He extends His arms in forgiveness. We may still have to live with the consequences of our wrongdoing, but once we ask Him for forgiveness, He forgives.

“As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:11,12) Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

The following comments were made by inmates that are participating in Family Care Ministries Bible Study Courses at correctional institutions in South Africa. Lives change when we face our past and find in Jesus a new beginning.

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Upcoming Christmas Party for the elderly

Last year’s Christmas party was such a success and great fun for the elderly that they have been asking us on our monthly visits whether we will hold another event for them this year. Friends of ours, who run food programs for school children and the elderly in nearby areas, will join us in the effort and have helped secure the Jan Hofmeyer community hall for the event which will take place on December 10th.  Everything becomes easier and doable when we all pull together for the many needs from tables to chairs, decor, dishes and gifts.

Valverde Country Hotel has so generously offered to provide the food. Elize will bring the salads. Talitha and Josef will sponsor the coffee, tea and juice. Others will provide the cakes. Alain and Patricia are arranging for prizes for a draw and will keep everyone entertained.

Aside from preparing a meaningful program, we’re putting together a small gift hamper with a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, face cloth, a chocolate to keep them sweet and a Christian magazine to provide foor the spiritual needs. For this we need YOUR HELP.

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Urgent Need

We will be having two Christmas parties again this year for approximately 400 children in Orange Farm and Everton West, two townships about 40km south of Johannesburg. Preparations are in full swing. We will play games and give the kids an opportunity to decorate a Christmas tree while learning what the holiday is all about. We know the events will be much appreciated as the high unemployment rate in these areas (80%) has a big impact on families leaving little if anything for the children. Every bit of help can make a difference.

We would like to give each child something that lasts and is needed like the stationary sets (R12 or R5) below and a colouring book that includes Christian, character-building stories (R5). We will also need to buy hot dogs, buns, juice and snacks for each. We urgently need donations to cover these costs, which amount to a total of about R10,000 ($1127), R25 per child! Thank you for considering to help. Please see our bank and paypal account details below.

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What is happening in Brixton?

Medical Assistance

by Patricia and Alain

On our weekly visits to the elderly in Brixton we saw that medical care is one of the important needs for the elderly. We focused on the most urgent cases and on assisting those that have no immediate family to help with needs that arise.

Hennie is a 68 year old pensioner who couldn’t afford a new pair of glasses. He tried to fixwith glue his old frame which was falling apart. We approached the management of one optometrist shop on his behalf who agreed to donate a new frame and lenses and included a free eye examination for Hennie. He had complained of frequent headaches and the eye check up revealed that some blood vessels had erupted in his left eye causing some swollenness. With the help of this optometrist specialist we approached an eye doctor who gave his services free of charge to examine Hennie. He prescribed a series of eye injections and referred him to the General Hospital. Today Hennie is wearing his new glasses and will go soon for his first eye treatment to the hospital. He is very thankful for the care and excellent professional medical help we arranged for him.

Corrie is the eldest pensioner at this complex for the elderly – well into her nineties. She complained of having difficulty walking because of painful ingrown toe nails. She needed to see a specialist right away. Her family lives far away and couldn’t bring her to a clinic. We drove her to the paedology centre at Wits University. Corrie couln’t remember when it was the last time that she had been there for treatment. When her file was found, it turned out that it had been 10 years since she had last visited. Her feet and toes were in very bad condition. The medical student on attendance worked on cutting nails, filing and cleaning for 2 hours. She was so relieved and happy after the treatment was finished. She will continue to go for check ups every six weeks.

We continue to visit the elderly at this and another complex in Brixton on a weekly basis to bring them donations of bread. In addition to this weekly delivery, we are also bringing cakes and pastries which the elderly really enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee.


A little love goes a long way in Brixton

Feeding and food for the soul

Each monthend we have been serving a delicious lunch to the over 100 pensioners at the three Old Age Complexes in Brixton, a poor suburb in Johannesburg. When we get there it’s like meeting old friends. We receive warm embraces and a hearty welcome.

Some of the residents shared with Josef the following comments:

“I must tell you this place has changed since you’ve been coming here. Let me show you. I started a vegetable garden which was impossible before you came. Everyone would criticize me. Now they come to help me, and my neighbours are starting one too. A Muslim lady is caring now for her sick Christian neighbour. I’m amazed what God has done through you here. The book you gave me at Christmas is my treasure, whenever I’m down I go and read it and it lifts my spirit.”

A lady showed him proudly the book we gave her last Christmas and said:

“Josef, I’m reading this book all the time and people come to borrow it. But they have to return it because it is my Christmas gift!”

A Muslim lady asked me today to pray for two residents with cancer.

“Please, please come and pray for them!”

Almost every resident asked if Josef for another paper with a message. Every month he compiles a new message for them and prints it out to distribute to them.  Many treasure every encouraging word and the message we leave with them. They share it with their neighbours and people they meet. They often comment how receiving it is the highlight of their day. Most of the texts we share with them are along the line of the blessing of loving, sharing and caring for one another.

It is working!

Into all the world …

We would like to give a little report of our trip to Malawi this July 2012. Our team consisted of Josef (Austrian), Talitha (German), Abram (South African) and Gracious (Malawian). We saw soon how each of us would bring his/her own gifts and talents to the table to make this mission trip a success. We travelled with our bakkie through Zimbabwe and Mozambique, a journey which took us 3 days.

From the onset of this year the work among the youth in Malawi had grown by leaps and bounds spreading to various parts of the country. We felt the need to make this trip to meet the youth and workers in the various cities to assess the situation and needs.  Most of the Activated Youth Clubs are in Lilongwe, the capital city. Others are in Mzuzu in the very north of Malawi and others yet in or near the cities of Zomba, Mangochi and Salima which are located along Lake Malawi.

It was truly an experience and very inspiring to visit the different cities and outlying areas and get to know many of those that had joined recently. If we can equip and train the youth to reach the cities and villages around, then we are reaching the whole of Malawi. What an inspiring vision!

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Visit to Lilongwe, Malawi – July 2012

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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