Last night was our soft opening for The Gathering as we held our first Soup Kitchen in our new home. It really did feel like we had come home and the buzz outside as we built up to serving at 6pm was great.

Once the Soup Kitchen began there was a lovely vibe and because most folk were able to sit in the same room as we were serving the soup  it led to a few conversations that previously we would have missed out on. Hopefully that side of things will grow and opportunities to minister will increase.

As an end of term treat Eli's school had iced a load of cookies and they went down a storm with young and old alike!

Just before we began serving, some local decided to become the police and started shouting at the kids because they were being a bit lively, though he soon got the message that we're not a religious bunch who demand silence. LOL!

It's nothing on the scale of Trump's ambitions, but it's still exciting and encouraging to see the wall going in in The Gathering's new home. One gets a sense of how much better our meeting space will be and how much space we have for our office, kitchen and kids venue. It will be a little squashed at the back but worth it.

Busy Week Done

Following on from my "Busy Week" post, the jobs that needed doing eventually got done, but this being Africa they just took a little longer than planned, but I'm very happy with how they turned out.

The glass tinting works a dream and offers us a degree of privacy which is essential for our Homework Club, but it doesn't completely shut the outside world out. It was also a fraction of the cost of blinds.

Get A Life!

It's great to see Eli fully committed to his football. He's loving playing for De Beers AFC and has done incredibly well to become a mainstay of defence in the Under 12s team.

Being Brits, we're used to football being in foul weather, but we find it highly amusing (and a little pathetic) how so many cry off at the first hint of rain.  Eli wouldn't dream of missing his football practice, no matter what the weather was doing!  Some of those kids, or rather their 'soccer moms' need to get a life.

It was with a little tinge of sadness that we served our last Soup Kitchen in The Gathering's current home. although we're not officially in our new home until the 1st of July we'll be serving next week's Soup Kitchen from there.

The sadness however is far outweighed by the sense of excitement, not just amongst The Gathering's members but our Soup Kitchen regulars are seemingly just as excited. As we were telling the guys about next week they all told us that they already knew about our move, which means the local grapevine is working well.

We also hosted our last Homework Club for this term and the kids were a little gutted to realise that it won't be running during the school holiday. We're definitely sensing an opportunity for some kind of holiday club in the Summer holidays.

Great View

In the midst of all the busyness at The Gathering's new home, it was nice to finally take a few minutes to drink in the view we will get to enjoy in the coming months.

All the jobs we were expecting to get done on Monday have now been finished, we have a shiny roller door, the front window has been replaced and the electrics have been sorted.

Shortest Day

Today is the shortest day of the year (so you lovely northern hemisphere peeps get to say goodbye to the sun tomorrow 😉) which means the sunrise was unusually late and this gave me the opportunity to get two lovely snaps of it.

This one was taken from our drive as I was about to take Joel to school. By the time I got the camera I had probably missed the best of it but the sunrise still looked pretty cool.

Today should be quite a big day in the life of The Gathering's new home. With just under two weeks until we start Gathering there, there is a lot to be sorted out.

It all starts today as the landlord is having a roller-door fitted so that should be security sorted. This should also mean that the Coca Cola sign for next door's shop be removed as the landlord has told them to get a smaller one sorted. Once this is done we can put our own sign up.

Yesterday was a public holiday as we enjoyed Youth Day, so Errol, Phillimon, Eli & myself took the opportunity to spend a few hours in The Gathering's new home knocking things about, taking down a wall, removing the counter and then fixing holes, followed by lots of sweeping and mopping!

It was tiring but extremely satisfying and for me it was a joy to watch the guys excitement levels rise as they began to see the opportunities the church is being presented by this venue change.

I've been wanting to take some photos of The Gathering's Soup Kitchen to show the children at Eli's school as a thank you for their hard work making sandwiches each week, and to try and challenge them as we show them that not everyone has a privileged background.

Rather than patronise folk with the usual full on photos, I wanted to capture their hands receiving soup and sandwiches and I have to say I'm very pleased with these.

We've got the keys and we're in, thank you LORD!

Now a lot of hard work begins before our first Gathering in our new home on the 2nd of July. I've spent about an hour compiling a long list of jobs and now I need to get a timetable together so we have a plan of action to get it all done in time.

Last week I met with the landlord of the vacant shop in Firgrove and we shook hands on the lease and this morning we've met with his lawyer and have signed the contract, so from the 1st of July The Gathering has a new home.

Thank you LORD!

Can't Vote

Once again it's election day in the UK and once again we're both excluded from voting.  I get that we've lived outside the UK for too long, but here's what I really don't get: South Africans living in the UK who meet the residency criteria (that's lived in Blighty for more than three months) are eligible as Commonwealth citizens to vote in the UK, but there is no reciprocal agreement, meaning that despite living out here for 14 years and being a Permanent Resident for 5+ years we cannot vote in any South African elections!

A Random Post

Here are a few random photos from the last week or two which I wanted to post but didn't get around to.

The first couple are of our Soup Kitchen which is growing massively now that winter is here. The fact that we were regularly feeding 40+ people through summer was quite something, but now we're feeding 70+ and still more new people are coming each week. It's great to see so many folk, especially our regulars and it's a real blessing to be able to serve the community in this way.

The South African Weather Service has put out a severe storm warning as they predict the worst storm for 30 years is about to slam in to the Western Cape.

The municipality has ordered all schools to be closed for the day tomorrow and people are generally being advised to stay at home. So sadly we're cancelling our Homework Club tomorrow afternoon and our home group in the evening.

Having been at the Firgrove Shell for just over  two years we've been given notice to quit the premises and so The Gathering is on the hunt for a new home.

The Shell Garage is undergoing some massive renovations beginning in July and they need to move their admin back upstairs, and so for purely business reasons they have asked us to move.