Load Shedding

I can't quite believe that I've never blogged about this farce issue before, especially as it's such a regular occurrence due to Eskom's incompetence mismanagement corruption breakdown in supply infrastructure and its inability to manage its affairs.

Load shedding is where our loathed state monopoly beloved electricity supplier cuts power off to certain areas at certain times for about 2½ hours in a desperate bid controlled manner to reduce electricity consumption and therefore bring stability to the power network.

Eskom have schedules for when each area will suffer experience load shedding but the reality is that their timings are similar to Microsoft's when doing an update or transferring lots of files.

South Africa's electricity tarrifs are already very high and the thieving gits Eskom have just applied to the govt for a 15% increase in tariffs. Grrr!
This is a week overdue but it was great to celebrate another fantastic year of The Gathering's Homework Club last Friday 23rd as we held our now annual Awards Ceremony.

It's always a joy to celebrate the kids achievements and to show their families just how well they're doing, and some of our kids are doing incredibly well.

It was a privilege too to have Mark & Jo join us, they set up and run Green Shoots and we really value their support!

Giving

***Rant Alert***

As we head in to the Christmas season and get excited about giving and receiving gifts, consider this...

Give only that which you would like to receive.

This has shaped our giving for many years now and is why when we give, we give of our best. For example, we make the best soup we can possibly make for our weekly Soup Kitchen and ensure that it's a soup we would want to eat. Yes, some of our customers are homeless and some are very poor, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't give them our very best and if we're not prepared to eat it why should anyone else?!?

You would be amazed and appalled by some of the attitudes we encounter around giving and donations, often from seemingly pleasant enough scenarios where we're given jigsaws with "only one missing piece" through to some people seeing charitable giving as a way to offload their rubbish rather than driving to the tip.

We've pretty much seen and encountered it all, but  three clear incidents left us quite shocked and have shaped the way we give (and receive).

City Elders

A few months ago I was invited to join a regular Wednesday morning prayer group for City Elders and intercessors. So having jiggeled my day around I've been going quite regularly for the last few months and have grown to really enjoy the group and the nature of prophetic prayer and the unity amongst the many ministries in the Helderberg.

But my biggest joy has been getting to see the different ministries, stand with them in prayer and to celebrate their outreach within their communities. It's really exciting to see what God is doing amongst us here in our little corner of South Africa.

Decisions, Decisions...

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

As the year winds down towards the summer holidays it would be nice to have a bit of breathing space, but as ever that's rarely our experience and once again we find ourselves having to make some pretty major decisions ready for the new year.

For those of you who get our prayer letters, you'll know that we have had to make a big decision about Joel's last two years at school. We're thrilled that in January he'll be returning to a more formal High School set up, though it will still be informal with a Christian ethos, but at least he won't be being home schooled and self-teaching anymore, which will be a huge blessing for Paula!

Homework Club

We've not posted much about The Gathering's Homework Club for a while, despite posting loads of stuff about the Soup Kitchen, so here's an update on things....

As the school year winds towards the end we've had a few kids drop out of the Homework Club, some have moved away from Firgrove and some just think they're too cool for school, so we're down to 28 kids from 32, but those that are committed are seeing great improvements in their overall schooling, and we're loving the privilege of walking with them as they achieve the best they can.
I was so blessed yesterday by my Grade 4 kids at Firgrove Primary School.

I have been reading with them once a week all year and have absolutely loved the experience. I have learned so much, and they tell me that they have also - so that can only be good!! I was asked to come in today to receive a token of their appreciation.

On arrival a small group of the 170+ children came to give me a certificate, a card and a lovely plant to say thank you. One of the learners addressed me beautifully in English and expressed how they all feel about my help.

I am humbled and can't wait to start back again in 2019.

 It's so good to build relationships in our Firgrove community!
This brought a smile to my face this morning....

...two easy riders on their bespoke choppers.

This is a local guy in Firgrove who decided to turn his welding skills to bike making and produced these two prototypes.

He learnt a lot along the way and has some great ideas for refining his next bikes.

I wish him all the best and hope he makes a decent living out of this.

Daisy

I'm not quite sure how this happened, but recently Paula was seduced by the idea of getting a second dog. Having been resistant to the idea for so long, I was amazed because this is something I've been trying to do for ages and have previously attempted to sneak a puppy into the garden. Sadly I was busted and the puppy was banished, albeit to a very good home.

Anyway, just before we left for holiday Paula showed us all a picture of Daisy and it snowballed from there. So having been approved by Animal Welfare and having passed their home inspection, they neutered her over the weekend and said we could collect her this morning. So we did.

Now Rosie and Daisy are spending some uninterrupted time getting to know each other and sorting out their stuff as dogs do. Having introduced Rosie & Daisy off the lead in a neutral environment they now seem to be getting on OK, though I'm sure there will be some issues along the way, but for now it's all quiet on the western front.

Holiday

For the first time in 14 years we actually managed to string a two week family holiday together. Actually it was 13 days but we'll let that slide.

It was great to be back in Montagu (though we missed Greyton) and trying some new accommodation. Paula found this little gem online and we had a very peaceful two weeks with great views and were only a five minute walk from the town centre.

Montagu has some great restaurants, a fantastic secondhand bookshop and a lovely Saturday market so we got to do lots of what we love to do, chill, read, eat good food and sample great wines all whilst reconnecting as a family. What a huge blessing!