Camping can include challenges like transportation arrangements and catering. These challenges can at times seem insurmountable, but we have a God who has no limits. In spite of the challenges or perhaps because of them (2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – my grace is sufficient for you)! – God enabled “Our Kids Camp” for the South Coast region of KZN to be a huge success, with 67 children having great fun, engaging greatly with God’s word and meeting in his presence through songs and prayer. To top it off several children gave their lives to the Lord.
Here are a few examples of how God was at work during the camp:
“Siphe” asked if it was Bible study now and when the answer was yes, he did a fist pump! Another day he asked if we were going to sing, with the same result. On the last evening, he surrendered his life to follow Jesus, along with 16 others. It was a great privilege to help them make this life-changing decision and of the 23 children who came forward, there were 17 commitments and 2 recommitments.
“Brian”, had been causing some problems for his leader. On the Thursday morning, a leader had to speak to him, as he had hit somebody. As they talked about it, he understood that he had a problem and wanted to stop doing it, but was struggling to do so. They tried to come up with some ideas to help him control his anger, even writing WWJD on his forearm. It ended with his praying and actually going and apologising to several of the other children. On the Friday morning he gave his life to the Lord and seemed genuinely interested in being baptized.
Another child came to speak about making a commitment to the Lord on the first evening. When asked why she had come, she replied with an answer so profound and genuine, that the leader involved was certain that she was going to make a commitment that day, before they had discussed in detail what it meant. (And she did, praying a prayer of commitment that night.)
SU South Coast Fieldworker
Garland Sam has been appointed as the new SU National Training Co-ordinator. Here he is training the 2017 Foxfire Gap Year teams from African Enterprise. The teams present at the training were from different parts of South Africa and Zambia. Garland led the topics of Youth Culture today, levels of conversation with teenagers, teen development and how to build trust with a teenager during the first phase. He returned to facilitate the team-building of the two teams on conflict resolution, group dynamics and understanding your leadership style.
SU National Training Co-ordinator
SU has developed the 4Word App to help our leadership teams evaluate the effectiveness of their ministry.
There are many opportunities for a young person to encounter Jesus through the Bible during the running of an activity. The actual time of teaching is one, but there are others. Equally important is how God’s living Word impacted a leader in their preparation and what example of Christian community the leadership team created during the activity. And, to truly help a young person grow in their relationship with Jesus beyond an activity, leaders need to have helped a young person understand what it looks like to live out the truths taught in their own context, at home and at school. This is what a holistic view of Bible Engagement looks like, and this is what it means to lead from the Word of God.
Through guided discussion, the 4Word App will assist our leaders as they reflect on an activity, provide helpful feedback and over time, assist our regional and national teams in identifying areas of strength and weakness, so informing our training going forward.
Although it will always be difficult to measure or quantify the impact of our ministry and what God will do with a seed sown, 4Word is a small step towards ensuring that the quality of the seed sown is improving.
Author and theologian Richard Rohr describes liminal space as:
“…where we are betwixt and between the familiar and the completely unknown. There alone is our old world left behind, while we are not yet sure of the new existence. That’s a good space where genuine newness can begin. Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible… This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. If we don’t encounter liminal space in our lives, we start idealizing normalcy. The threshold is God’s waiting room. Here we are taught openness and patience as we come to expect an appointment with the divine Doctor.”
It is common practice to apply a huge amount of time and energy towards an activity, such as a camp, Friday evening youth or S.C.A. This is where there is real opportunity for change and often, real evidence of God at work. It is an obvious liminal space as we encourage people to be open to God during the time.
However, growing a young person towards maturity in their faith requires something more. More energy and time towards another liminal space. One beyond the activity, to the quiet space where the individual regularly sets aside alone time with Jesus. You say devotional time, I say liminal space.
Even though quiet times carry the risk of legalism and an incorrect gauge of our relationship with God, potentially serving as nothing more than a guilt barometer, they are also the place where God can bring about lasting change in the life of a young person. The picture of a young person making a self-motivated regular choice to encounter Jesus through the Bible in their day, is the beginnings of maturity.
Check out some of our new SU resources geared towards this liminal space: http://su.org.za/bible-reading-notes/
An exciting initiative has developed in the SU Kwazulu Natal regions where the Bible Society have partnered with the SU teams in terms of targeted Bible distribution to key schools in the area.
Jayce Naidoo, SU’s Durban Regional Director, is spearheading this outreach and, according to Jayce, it is a privilege to be able to partner with the Bible Society in this way. “We will be distributing over a thousand Bibles via our contacts with schools in Phoenix, Amoati and Waterloo, mostly to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds”, says Jayce.
SU relies heavily on partnerships with like-minded organisations who are committed to young and old engaging God in His Word on a daily basis. Thank you, Bible Society, we value being able to work hand-in-hand on this KZN project!
Scripture Union Amatola are working to help learners in disadvantaged schools, one pair of shoes at a time, through their ‘Shoes 4 Schools’ project.
The project was started in 2007 by Scripture Union Amatola’s then Regional Director, Sue Bentley, and has impacted over 7000 learners over the last nine years. Partnering with schools across East London, Scripture Union Amatola collects shoes that have been donated to the project by leaners who have outgrown their shoes. All shoes are lovingly sorted by size, cleaned and distributed to learners in need. This year, learners from Cranberry Primary School, Pefferville Primary School, Willow Park Primary School, Aphendale Secondary School, Noncedo Combined School and a school in Reeston have received shoes.
“We have built good relationships with these schools over the years. Ahead of time, the teachers identify the learners that need shoes and when we deliver them, we fit each child and get to see the joy on their faces!” Since its launch, the project has expanded, and various individuals and businesses have joined in, donating money, shoes and volunteering their time. – Matthew Tarboton (SU Amatola Regional Director)
“When a friend of mine, who lives in Norway, read about our project on Facebook, he approached his Business Networking Group about supporting us. For the last three years, they’ve taken up a collection for this project. This year, their donation in rands came to R13 100. We were able to buy 94 new pairs of shoes – thanks to Glen’s Shoes in Union Street who give us an excellent price – which we distributed to learners at Cranberry Primary, Pefferville Primary and a school in Reeston just last week [12 October].”
If you’d like to contact Scripture Union Amatola about getting involved in this project, please call their office (043 726 0202) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SU’s National Training Co-ordinator, Diane Evans, has made good strides on the realisation of the online training portal with the likelihood that we may have 12 modules up and running in January 2017. This is massively exciting and will service a number of key aspects in our movement, such as new worker orientation, volunteer orientation, staff development and Regional Executive Committee orientation.
Key to this development is making adult learning accessible and relevant and SU has been blessed with the assistance of Neil Butcher and Associates (NBA) in Johannesburg in this regard. While having been a training organisation for many years, SU is moving much of its tried and tested material online, reframing it to include a healthy mix of face-to-face interaction (the ideal) with distance, computer-of-choice self-learning.
While geared at SU’s internal operation initially, this online training platform will be extended as soon as feasible to more external friends and partners. Watch this exciting space in months to come!
SU believes that Child Protection is as urgent and important as it’s ever been – and is paying renewed efforts to this key aspect. While it is a great privilege and joy to be involved in ministry with children and teenagers, it is also a massive responsibility and SU feels this weighty challenge on an ongoing basis.
Sponsored by one of SU’s key donors (Kindernothilfe, KNH), a Child Protection strategy session was held in Durban in September. This challenged SU and fellow ministry organisations to up the game in terms of Child Protection. Workable and current Child Protection Policies are critical and SU is aware of the need to equip our teams continually in how to respond when a child reports a case of abuse, either from the past or on an activity. This has professionalised our responses to incidents that unfortunately do occur.
But perhaps more importantly even, is the need for innovative, energetic and creative proactive Child Protection Initiatives – especially by organisations like SU that aim to “be there for young people”. Currently SU’s Youth Centres fulfil such proactive purposes, as do our Lifeskills programmes. An innovative example is the Debating Competition we run in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, covering key topics like Bullying and Abuse. Learners are challenged to extend themselves and are empowered to present reasoned responses and consider courageous disclosures.
Spearheading SU’s Child Protection programme is Sam Otigo (Regional Director SU Algoa) and Sam’s input at the KNH event was substantial. Sam has demonstrated through being one of SU’s leading camping Regions that Child Protection, both in its reactive and proactive forms, is an area in which SU is determined to demonstrate excellence.
Will you join us in this noble quest?
We have seen tremendous growth within our Delft (Cape Town) holiday club leadership team, especially in our 5 new volunteers who rose to the challenge and ventured out of their comfort zones. This year, we had two programmes: our Junior Programme (Cosmic Quest – You’ve been selected) for Grades 3 – 5 learners; and a Senior Programme for Grades 6 – 9. Both were extremely successful. In our Senior Programme, we split the boys and girls into separate groups and ran modules that covered, self-Image, peer pressure, values, choices and love. Through this we were able to build a relationship with each young person and in turn share God’s love with them. A highlight in the girls’ programme was their realization that they are beautiful and special in God’s eyes. Girls were taught how to apply make-up and were given general etiquette tips. This warmed my heart as I’ve never seen so many girls feel so loved and full of smiles as they were reminded that they are loved, beautiful and full of purpose.
The drama was a major highlight in the junior’s programme as it related to their own lives, how they as children need to be obedient to God. We thank God for the 18 young people who made commitments to follow Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour and to grow in their walk with God. Our leaders have already initiated a follow-up process and are aiming to “walk the road” with them after the holiday club.
As a club we were greatly encouraged by the support and prayers that covered us while we ran the club. Donations of various kinds were given to us to ensure that we can run a successful holiday club. The Delft holiday club leadership team is grateful for all efforts that resulted in one more young person hearing the gospel. We were privileged to minister to an average of 300 young people every day.
Delft Holiday Club 2016 Leader
SU Western Cape
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Welbedacht Holiday Club
We had a brilliant holiday club this July. We had the South African Police partner with us: they spoke to the children about abuse, drugs and safety and each child was given a soccer ball. The highlight of the holiday club however was telling children about Jesus and having 20 of them open their hearts to Him. It was a “wow” moment for us. Somehow this time the children were so receptive to the gospel, to our stories and to the activities. Every day was filled with excitement and anticipation. Our volunteers, most of them new, were so passionate and enthusiastic which added to us having an exhilarating holiday club. We Thank God for His provision, protection and His presence. We want to see every child know Him and everyone open their hearts and lives to Him.
My name is Leigh and I was a 1st time volunteer at the Scripture Union Welbedacht Holiday Club.
I loved every moment of it! What an awesome experience!!! My group was so adorable and couldn’t wait for their lessons, their Bible stories and activities. I watched children come every morning in the cold, so excited to see us and their friends. I realize that when we make ourselves availble we can make a difference in the lives of these little ones. If we do not share Jesus, how would these children know Him? This one week of holiday club has changed my life, the way I see things and the need to make Jesus known. I will be availble for the next holiday club and the next… I want to make a difference.
SU Chatsworth volunteer
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