Laurie-Ann (email@example.com) and Tony (firstname.lastname@example.org)|
Laurie-Ann and I wish you and your family a meaningful and merryish Christmas 2018.
We have been ministering in Worcester, South Africa, as long-term full-time missionaries for more than a year.
Many of our dreams have already been realized, but there are plenty of challenges ahead.
As we spend our second Christmas here in the sun while our friends in Canada and the US battle with ice and snow, we send you all heartfelt Christmas greetings, and wish that we were closer to you to bring them personally.
A year ago in this Christmas message we told you of gang violence and death among young people as they struggle to survive in the crossfire. Some of the gang leaders from then are now in the prison where we minister once a week, and this has reduced the crime statistics. Yet no one living in Avian Park or Roodeval or Riverview feels safe from sudden violence. We have spent much time among them trying to show them that there is a better way - including accepting the love of Jesus - that can lead to new opportunities and brighter futures. The children and their parents welcome us. As we drive around, usually with a carload of kids, we hear shouts of 'Tony' and see smiles on faces, and we know we are making a difference.
For several months from the start of this year we supervised Bible classes for up to 70 coloured children in the public library in Avian Park township. We learned a more efficient way on a training by The Mailbox Club Africa, and we began training teenage leaders to run Mailbox Clubs of up to 10 children between 8 and 11, who don't yet know who Jesus is. The photo above shows the first of these clubs, lead by Chantelle Diedericks, 13. There are now four such clubs each Monday afternoon which Tony supervises, sometimes bringing his guitar to lead praise music. This is the very best age for children to be introduced to our faith, and they are keen to learn from their young teachers. The hope is that the number of clubs will grow, spreading through the neighbourhoods.
We are also involved in two other kids' clubs, hospice visiting, a soaking prayer group at Worcester Christian Church, and prison ministry at Brandvlei Correctional Centre where we are in our second Alpha Course. However our main efforts for the last year have been teaching science and music (Tony) and art (Laurie-Ann) to black children in a small school called MasterPeace Academy. We see education as the most powerful way for disadvantaged people to raise themselves out of poverty. As a backdrop to these various activities we run a part time Internet radio station, CWCP Radio, which enables us to do broadcast ministry - 'Ways to Grow in God,' - and also to give a voice to key members of the community. Listening to these broadcasts or their podcasts is also a great way for our supporters and friends to hear what we are doing on a regular basis.
To you all: faith, joy, and prosperity (in that order!)
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