Back To School

Finally the day has arrived in which our boys return to school for the new year.

Unlike many who are breathing a sigh of relief at getting rid of the kids again we really miss not having them around, though it is also good to get back in to routine.

Eli begins Grade/Year 7 and is taking it all in his measured step, he's gone with a wry smile on his face which would suggest his teacher has no idea what she's in for. Ha ha!
It's sad to see that the fires are still burning on the Hotties and the fire crews still battling so hard to contain them. The wind is really not helping things!

This was the backdrop to Eli's weekly football coaching in the local park.  Thankfully Radloff Park is unscathed by the fires and the estates bordering it seem to have got off quite lightly too. As Joel and I were walking Rosie we saw no signs of the devastation we had been warned about.

Soup Kitchen

We had our first soup kitchen of 2017 last night and it was a very special time with a great vibe.

It all began very slowly and by ten past six we hadn't served a single person, but word got out very quickly and in a short space of time we had served 46 people.

Once our regulars began arriving we were given huge hugs from all the kids and enjoyed grateful smiles and banter with the adults in a very relaxed atmosphere. It's a pleasure to see folk so relaxed around church.

Hopefully we're starting 2017 as we mean to continue and we'll see tremendous growth of the soup kitchen and the church through it.

It was also a rare privilege to have Linda and Phillimon with us, normally they're busy with work commitments, and the vibe was assisted greatly by their presence and warmth towards those we serve.

Fire!

Three wild fires are raging locally between Sir Lowry's Pass and the Schapenberg which is right on our doorstep.

The emergency choppers have been out for most of the afternoon doing their best to douse the flames but the wind is really vicious and they have now been grounded.

The pic here is looking from outside our house up the Schapenberg and it really is looking bleak.

Life Is Cheap

We have been shocked again this morning as a church community by how cheap life is in Macassar and Firgrove.

Many of you will remember Linda's story from previous Road Shows in the UK. Linda lost 3 family members in a shooting incident that turned out to be a case of mistaken identity. Of course, the family have been through agonies as they try to process this and continue with life as the days and months unfold.

Now today we have heard again that Linda's Uncle's son was shot dead in front of his mum!

Birthday Boy

Here's wishing our baby a very happy 11th birthday.

When Paula first met him in Bloemfontein hospital at a mere 12 hours old he was simply labelled "Baby number 9".

This total world-changer, Eli (the Lord is my God) Thomas Finnie, is destined by the King of Kings to bring light and life to all he comes into contact with. This unique, highly slightly off the wall, loving, funny young man is going to bring together people of all different ages and cultures.

You go my boy, we cheer you on and we love you and all that you bring into our family!

Christmas Soup Kitchen

Last night we had our Christmas Soup Kitchen at The Gathering and it was an incredibly fun and blessed time. It was great too that a few more of our members were able to be there and join in the blessing of our regulars.

Big THANKS go to the high school students & teachers at the International School of Helderberg for providing the shoe-boxes and to Pizza Cafe for the pizzas. The kids were thrilled with their presents and everyone enjoyed the pizzas.



We were thrilled to welcome Mark from Green Shoots to The Gathering on Wednesday night to give a presentation on their Maths@Home project which we will be running from January.

This followed an excellent evening last Wednesday of visiting the homes of many kids who attend our weekly Soup Kitchen. The response from their families was brilliant and that was reflected in the turnout for last night.

Blessings

We had the privilege of visiting our beloved HOPE Home Based Care ladies this morning and were able to bless them with small gifts thanks to the generosity of some special friends in Blighty.


It blesses us so much to be able to love on the ladies in this way and to hear their grateful hearts as they pray and give thanks to God for you.  This is true partnership.

Thank you to those that made this possible!

Shoeboxes

Today was a great day for The Gathering and our boys school; the International School of Helderberg, as the High School have been putting shoeboxes together for the children that attend our weekly soup kitchen.

Here we're receiving the first few boxes, we'll get the rest of them tomorrow and we can't wait to give them away next week when we bless our soup kitchen regulars with pizza too.

Joel and Eli are also thrilled because school finished for the year today. Hooray!