I had one of the saddest and most frustrating conversations of my life at The Gathering’s Soup Kitchen last night.

Frustrating because it was of a theme that keeps rearing its ugly head, and sad because we the church are responsible.

Towards the end of the Soup Kitchen there were a few regulars who had arrived late and we were chatting, when one of them, a mum of one of our Homework Club kids, asked if he was actually attending? Knowing the lad is a bit of a tear-away I got the register to show her just how regular he really is. She was thrilled and from there the conversation really opened up until she asked about Gathering Ground, our weekly ladies’ gathering and she said she would pop in one week. I assured her she would be welcome and encouraged her as much as I could to give it a go.

Glorious Rain

Suddenly the clouds rolled in, the sky went dark and an almighty thunderstorm unleashed itself right above us.  Thank you Lord!

After a few minutes of messing about in the rain enjoying its cooling touch (it was 35°C just after lunchtime), we grabbed every available bucket and got busy harvesting as much rain as we could. In the end I reckon we got about 200Lts, which isn't a lot but it will keep the loos flushing for a while longer.  😃

It was fun to watch Eli reveling in the rain and even funnier to see him get pelted by the brief hail storm.


At The Gathering we're acutely aware of the water crisis afflicting Cape Town and have been trying our best to save water wherever possible, but there's always something extra one can do.

So today I finally got around to changing the plumbing in The Gathering's toilet so that we can harvest the grey water from the sink and use it to flush the toilet.

In doing this The Gathering is no longer wasting valuable drinking water to flush the loo and that is a win win situation.

Every little bit helps as we try our best to avoid Day Zero, the day that the City of Cape Town turns off its taps and loses its status as a world class city.

We've had the honour of hosting a few visitors at The Gathering's Homework Club over the last few days and it's always a joy to talk about it and to share our story and how we got to where we are now.

It's been quite a journey from not having a clue what the Homework Club would look like to now being a growing and confident outfit, and we're always happy to share the journey with others.

Today we welcomed Jo Swart and her team (Sean & Beben) from Life Church in Somerset West. They're looking to do something very similar to our Homework Club in an impoverished community they're involved in, and we're more than happy to share our experiences and knowledge to help them get going.

Finally, 2018 gets going.

The New Year is a strange thing out here in that it falls in the middle of the summer holidays, with industry shutting down for a few weeks, so most people don't go back to work until the second week of January. Schools only went back last week and so The Gathering's Homework Club only just started this week and won't do a full week until next week.

Wednesday and Thursday were brilliant as The gathering's Homework Club kicked off again and welcomed 11 new kids and 21 returnees. The Homework Club is full now and we have quite a waiting list which is great.

Having learnt a few lessons last year, we started the year with a few ground rules and boundaries which seemed to go well, I guess time will tell.  The big difference though is that we now have eight kids per session so Precious (our facilitator) can't sit down, so she was constantly walking around the table and that kept things a lot more orderly.

Twenty Years

It's twenty years ago this month that we made our first move in to overseas mission as we went to Tanzania for an initial two year stint.  Just under a year later we resigned out in the field, were treated appallingly by the organisation we were serving with and ended up staying with some Catholic Fathers at a nearby Seminary.  The last group of people I expected to be genuinely Christian turned out to have a greater concept and handle on Christian basics than the organisation we had served with.  Still, that's a long time ago and much water has passed under the bridge since then.

The most valuable thing to come out of our year in Tanzania was the lessons we learnt. We finally realised what neo-colonialism is and how to stridently avoid it. We learnt how to treat people well so that they respond positively. We learnt a lot of other stuff too, and not least had our misunderstanding of Christian calling shaken to its roots. It really was a great experience!

Homework Club

After a day of Homework Club admin, it's great to have 32 letters about to be delivered to various families in Firgrove telling them that their kid has secured a place for 2018.

It's been a great journey since we set out in January last year with 12 kids and not really knowing what the Homework Club would look like.  Here we are a whole twelve months later and we're setting off with 32 kids and looking to expand it to 48 sooner rather than later.

Please stand with us in prayer as we believe that The Gathering will grow through this outreach into the community.

Day Zero

Day Zero is looming and is set for the end of March.

No we're not talking about the rise of a new Pol Pot or Jacob Zuma suddenly pulling a rabbit out of his hat and saving his political career. No, we're talking about the day that the taps run dry here in Cape Town.

Things are so serious that even the BBC are asking the question: Will Cape Town be the first city in the world to run out of water?

Firstly, let's be clear, this could have been avoided!

The title says it all, The Gathering's Soup Kitchen is a dirty, scruffy ministry which demands one gets one's hands dirty, and after running for nearly three years, and getting to know so many regulars, it's impossible not to get one's hands dirty, and do you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way!

Thursdays are brilliant (and even better in term time when our Homework Club is running).  I spend most of the morning making the soup and then in the afternoon I get to prepare the venue and then serve the soup (normally with help from Joel and one or two church members), whilst Errol provides a semblance of order outside and encourages passers-by to partake.  He's a natural evangelist.

It's very easy to look at The Gathering's Soup Kitchen and think what a nice piece of work it is without fully appreciating just how serious a need it fulfils.  It's also easy to look at the pics of the many kids that regularly come and think how cute they look, but again it's all too easy to miss just how serious the need in the community is for The Gathering's Soup Kitchen.

Homework Club

Thursday saw our last two Homework Club sessions of 2017 and each of our kids have done themselves proud.

We've had some great feedback from some of their families and hearing how certain kids have increased their maths grades from 1s to 5s and above is fantastic.

Also learning that none of our kids are repeating the year is also great news, especially for one young lad who has been stuck in Gr4 for three years!