Scorchio!

When we started our soup kitchen almost two years ago we received a lot of unhelpful and downright negative advice which I'm happy to say we totally ignored.

One of the more ridiculous bits of advice was that: 'you won't need to open in summer because no one wants soup when it's hot'. Well today was the hottest day of summer so far with the temperature indoors hitting 34°C and yet we served 50 people and our soup was all gone in fifteen minutes. So clearly there's no need for soup in summer, but I'm really happy to waste my time in such a brilliant way.

We've just had a 48hour flying visit from Colin & David from Christians Abroad and have to say it was a great visit! It was pure pleasure to entertain them, to show them what we're busy with in our ministry and to introduce them to The Gathering and some other dear friends, including one or two old friends in Chris Nissen Park.

On Wednesday morning we spent time with Lionel & Rose of Key Ministries (our covering organisation locally) and in the afternoon Colin & David threw themselves in to helping with our Homework Club, assisting some of the kids with their maths. In the evening they got to meet some of our church members at our homegroup meeting where it was good to share a meal over conversation.

Soup Kitchen

The Gathering's soup kitchen was great last night and it got us thinking about what we might expect this coming winter in terms of numbers.

Having been running the soup kitchen for almost two years we've established some patterns and the most noticeable one is how the numbers of folk wanting soup in summer is clearly down on the winter numbers. However, of late, despite Summer being long and hot, we've noticed the numbers creeping up and we're regularly serving 40+ people, most of whom are regulars.This coming winter is being predicted as a long cold one and as such we can expect to be serving 60 to 70+ folk each week. What a great problem to have!

Maths@Home

We're almost at the end of our third week of The Gathering's Homework Club and it's been an incredible ride so far.

From Precious being trained in the role of Facilitator just days before we started to our opening day with a ton of teething issues, to kids finding their feet and getting cheeky, it's all been good.

We had a very helpful visit on Monday from some of the Green Shoots team, they loved what they saw and gave some very positive feedback and suggestions which we're now working on.

We also decided to change the times of our Friday sessions because all the local schools finish at 1pm. So I had the joy of visiting each family and took the opportunity to find out how the parents and grandparents feel about the Homework Club. Well the response was overwhelming!

Homework Club


After many months of planning and preparing, we were able to unleash our excitement as we launched The Gathering's Homework Club yesterday.

We are running two sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays from 3pm - 4pm and 4:30pm - 5:30pm serving 6 children per session (12 in total) and we already have a waiting list too!

The sessions began with a sandwich and drink before the kids were finally able to get to grips with the tablets. They've been longing for this moment for a while and the joy and excitement was palpable.

It was a hectic afternoon as we grappled with teething issues and just generally figured out how it is going to work in real time, but despite the stresses involved in all of it, it was a fantastic afternoon!

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!