For me it was the most exciting day of the year and a tremendous privilege to be a part of.
It was amazing to see how the seed of a crazy idea planted just over a year ago came to bear such incredible fruit.
It was also an amazing testament to unity, between local churches and the wider international body of Christ. The Gathering couldn't have pulled this off without the love and support of Father's House in Simon's Town, nor could we have done it without the amazing local volunteers and financial blessing from a range of other churches. And we definitely couldn't have done it without the incredibly generous blessing from various UK churches and Christians. You know who you are and we are truly thankful to God for your partnership!
The day was incredible from the moment we started praising and praying at 9am, right through to finally locking up and going home around 4pm. It felt like the whole event went without a hitch, but it didn't. We had no electricity for the entire day (apparently it went off at 10pm the night before due to cable theft). But there was no way that was going to make any negative contribution and our volunteers rose to the challenge magnificently.
We fed about 108 guests plus volunteers and all the food went, there was absolutely nothing left and yet no one went without, such is our Lord's generosity. We know of about 20 regulars who didn't turn up for a number of reasons, but their places were eagerly filled by some folk without tickets and it was all good.
Having said that we had no idea what the event would look like or how chaotic it may or may not be, it was just like a regular Soup Kitchen at which our guests are patient, friendly, respectful and thankful. We had let the Neighbourhood Watch know about the event and they sent a couple of guys along to 'oversee' things, but they were totally redundant. Praise God!
The day was also one long list of answered prayers from the weather, to the vibe, the food, the orderly manner of the lunch and many many other things.
We also felt we learnt quite a lot and have many ideas about how to improve things for next year, yes we're going to do it again.
Things started with quite a bit of prep on Saturday, here the gift bags are being put together
There was also quite a bit of food prep to be done
Sunday morning began with a time of praise & worship followed by a lot of prayer
Our 120 guests named and ready
With Shaddie trying to make some sense of it all
The seating arrangement worked well
Transformed in to something beautiful
Margaret, Delena & Leilani, our dynamic A Team
Bribing the kids to behave, this was a couple of hours before service 😂
The Breedt family being photobombed by Nathan. Adele & Rian have been a real blessing to us this year and often come to serve at our Soup Kitchen
Delena & Linda ready to serve up
20 minutes to go and we're looking exhausted 😂😂
Errol was the main man for checking in our guests
Shaddie (R) with Bracyn, his youngest, ready to serve up
Margaret & Delena, two amazing ladies who are a phenomenal blessing to The Gathering!
Liza on the mince
Chef's table ready for service... maybe we should suggest a swap for Masterchef
Prepping the desserts, fruit in jelly topped with custard, squirty cream and sprinkles
The vibe was so chilled
Paula trying to make herself heard in the absence of electricity to power the PA
Donny on the right with two total strangers who were delighted to be treated so well
Our redundant Neighbourhood Watch guys
Service in full swing
The Likwi boys; Callum, Claude & Jean-Luke
Chuffed with their gift bags
Precious & Jubilant
Richardt, our photographer
Our photo album of The Gathering's Soup Kitchen Christmas Lunch is available here.
The album contains 183 photos and please feel free to share the link.