Dumelang Bo Mme, Le Bo Ntate,
2016 is here and by the grace of God we have entered our 2nd year here in the beautiful Semonkong. The excitement and expectation we experience of what lies ahead during this New Year is something we hope we can experience together with you even though you are far away.
We have so much to share, so much to give glory to God for … BUT how does one do that in such a way that God alone receives the glory? This has really been a struggle for me and Mariëtte and something that we have given much thought. We love to give feedback and share our stories, but we are also conscious about the fact that people might think we do it to blow our own trumpets.
We know that Jesus was very clear on the fact that we should not be like the hypocrites that do their good deeds in such a way that everyone can see them. ‘Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.’’ ..Mat 6:1-4.
We also realise that we as a family are ministry partners with all of you who support us in prayer, friendship and with finances. The Bible is clear on the fact that God looks at our hearts and from within the heart the motives for doing things are birthed.
Please therefor receive our newsletter as our heart that we share with you and as a blessing and encouragement for you and your families, EVERYTHING to the glory of God.
To the present the drought that has impacted such a great part of South Africa has not excluded our beloved Lesotho. Our landscape looks worse than in the winter months. Currently we have NO grazing lands left for the animals and farmers are struggling to produce crops, if any. The animals are very thin and becoming weak. Most farmers are subsistence farmers and without any yield animals and people will suffer during the coming winter. This has been the driest we have ever seen Lesotho since we have started visiting Semonkong 6 years ago. Here in the highlands some farmers have planted crops but the yield does not look particularly well. In the lowlands most farmers didn’t even bother to plant. Some places looks like desert landscapes.
Please trust with us that God will break the drought. Not only will the animals suffer but the people as well.
DECEMBER OUTREACH 2015
Since our arrival back from our visit to Cape Town, we hit the road runner in preparation for the annual December outreach that took place from the 4th until the 11th of December. I have so much to share regarding what God did during that time and I hope that I will do justice.
The outreach team (+- 120) consisted out of 90 people from different parts and churches of South Africa and 30 people from Lesotho itself, 10 of which came from other parts of Lesotho to come and serve the community of Semonkong. The local team from Semonkong also expanded compared to previous years and it was evident that God is busy raising up men and women in Semonkong and Lesotho to reach out into the community with the message of the gospel.
For me personally it was great to see how people from different worlds came together with the same mind to serve our Lord here in Semonkong.
The team consisted out of 7 disciplines and each discipline made some or other impact in the community: Agricultural team; Maintenance team; Evangelism team; Children’s ministry; Medical team; Bicycle club and the Law clinic. I will try and give you a short summary of the activities of each team.
Three different lands were identified where this team prepared and planted various crops. Throughout the year I work closely with the owners of each land trying to teach them the Farming God’s Way farming techniques. The arrangement is also that they would give a certain percentage of the crop back into the community. They planted potatoes, cover crops for grazing and soil coverage and vegetable gardens for the church school.
Every morning they would labour in the hot sun and after lunch reach out to the community members living close to the lands they worked. This part of the day the team particularly enjoyed. They established new relationships prayed for the sick and shared the good news. Our prayer is that through the very hard labour of this team people will see the love of God and that He will heal and bless their land.
Traditionally these are the men and women who work behind the scene, stay behind at the shed and repair and maintain the shed for the rest of the teams to enjoy and making it possible for them to go out into the community without having to worry about practical stuff at the ‘base’.
With us being permanently established here I maintain the base and make sure everything is in order for the teams that come here. This year we felt it necessary to rather identify REAL needs in the community in a DIY sense and to help those in desperate need. A house belonging to 5 orphans in the village of Ha Leloko was identified. During the windy months of August part of their roof was completely blown off by the wind. It was the big task of the maintenance team to replace the roof trusses and roof sheeting. They also repaired the doors and windows. The agricultural team also managed to establish a vegetable garden for the orphans. The orphans are members in our church and Ps Andrew promised to keep an eye on the house.
Apart from the repairing the house the team also did plumbing and painting work at the shed (base camp).
PS: Before the outreach a person made a financial contribution towards the repairing of the house. It turned out that the contribution was exactly what was needed for the repairs to be done. Thank you very much to that person.
The evangelism team did an amazing job reaching out into a part of the community we traditionally have not yet worked in. They went out with the mind of befriending people, establishing relationships and sharing the gospel, not only through their testimonies but also through their actions. Many people were re-visited 3-4 times during the week, with a number of people calling upon the name of the Lord. Those who did not belong to a specific church were invited to visit our church.
People were also invited to a showing of the Jesus film the one evening. I saw many faces for the first time. Our prayer is that the true harvest will come into a body of believers where they can be taught and discipled.
I am very excited to say that this year for the first time the evangelism team was led by a local young man called ntate Tsepiso. Tsepiso is a student pastor who runs a few village churches and small groups. I’ve been privileged to have met him and work alongside him.
The outreach to the children has become an annual event many children look forward to during the December school holidays. A team of dedicated men and woman ministered daily to between 300-400 children. They did a huge amount of work in preparation to this week. A large tent was also erected especially for this ministry. The ministry work with the children involved character building activities which were always linked to the gospel.
Every year as we continue to work with the children we experience the spiritual growth amongst the children with many of them slotting into more regular youth bible study activities. We are excited to see where the Lord is taking this ministry.
Bicycle holiday club
For the first time in the history of the SHP outreaches we started with a new ministry specifically aimed at the children who are part of the local cycling club and any other children who owns a bicycle.
A three day holiday club was held. The children were taught how to service and repair their bicycles, road safety and a cycling competition on the final day. This was well attended and the children were very appreciative of the attention they received during the three days.
We invited the children back for a Bible study and amongst themselves they decided to continue having a Bible study time before their weekly cycling outing. I am very excited about the initiative they have taken and will on a regular basis check in on them. Our oldest son Cobus is also a member of the cycle club and enjoys it thoroughly.
Annually we also have a medical doctor and a group of medical students serving in the two local clinics here in Semonkong. Unfortunately their work is limited due to the fact that they are still students not allowing them to medically treat patients. They however did not let that stop them and they served the nurses at the clinics, helping with cleaning work, organising store rooms, reaching out and praying for patients. A group of the medical students also fixed the doors of the ‘’long drops’’ at the one clinic. Well done!
Another first was the law clinic that was held by a law firm who looks after the affairs of the SHT. This was done on their own initiative. For three days they gave free consultations regarding law matters to anyone who needed that kind of service. We are very thankful for their unselfish service to the community members of Semonkong.
I would like at this time to thank everyone who was involved in the December outreach in whichever way. The response that we get from the community is that of thankfulness and appreciation. Thank you very much for every contribution and your prayer support. I believe that it is valuable investments that you are making into God’s kingdom. We cannot truly measure the impact regular outreaches make on the community but we are convinced that the name of our Lord has been made great during that week. We are especially excited that a greater number of locals are coming to work alongside us and even leading and guiding us as we go out into the community.
LOCAL PROFILE – NTATE ALEX
Since our involvement in the church of Pastor Andrew (Calvary Chapel), I have been working closely with the worship team. One young man in particular stood out and his name is ntate Alex. Alex is a very humble young man, aged 22 who leads the worship at our church with the most beautiful voice. He has taught himself to play the guitar and musically is he very gifted. Unfortunately there are NO music being taught in schools and instruments are something that is limited to keyboards. In our spare time we have been exposing him to various kinds of music that we have available. The first time I played him some classical music he almost fell off his chair. He has never been exposed to that before. I then played him some of Andre Rieu’s dvd’s which he found very exciting.
During the month of September we had the privilege to receive Tim Feder (CEO of Sounds of the nation’s ministry CT) and his right hand Jason here for a week to do training with the worship teams of our church. The training made such a big impact on Alex that he has since regularly visited a children’s home in Quacha’s Neck to work with the small children teaching them to play the guitar, to worship and sing. Tim’s time in Semonkong was so blessed that he committed to bringing and hosting Alex for the next ‘’Sounds of the nations’’ music school that start in February in Cape Town. We together with the church and Alex are very thankful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. We wish Alex all the best and are very excited to where the Lord will lead him in the future. Thank you Tim and the team!
I really want to thank God for this kind of testimony because I believe it is the fruit we see of much prayer and unselfish labour of many unnamed people. Ntate Alex is an orphan who lived in the Semonkong children’s home for most of his school life. After he finished school he wa
s taken in by Pastor Andrew and his wife Mme Leonia. Ever since they have been treating him as their own son and being the only earthly family he has ever known. It is our prayer that God will bless those who go out of their way, making sacrifices to look out for the orphans. It is the duty God called us all to. SEMONKONG HOSPITAL PROJECT – COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION PROCESS (CPP)
As a volunteer employee of the SHT I and my local team here in Semonkong have been charged to lead the community participation process which is part of the whole initiative by the SHT. The reason for the community participation is that we are planning to follow a very labour intensive construction model that will not only create a lot of employment but also allow for skills development to take place.
It is not the desire of the SHT to deliver a ‘product’ and then leave, but to rather get the community involved, for them to raise their needs and desires, take ownership of the hospital and to make a lasting positive impact on the community.
The CPP is carefully worked into all of the design and construction phases allowing for maximum community involvement. In December we launched the CPP kick-off through the hosting of a community gathering. During the month of January we will launch our next community gathering at which we will try to get members of the community involved in workshop activities.
A lot of preparation and planning goes into these gatherings and wisdom is required to work in the correct manner with the community. Please keep us in prayer. A WORD FROM MARIëTTESmall Groups (discipleship)
Every Wednesday afternoon at 15:00 there is a group of women coming together from all denominations for Bible study at our house. The focus is prayer, conversation, encouragement, sharing testimonies and reading from the Bible, working out of a study guide called ‘The Purple Book’, Biblical foundations for Building Strong Disciples.
Over the past year it was a steady group of the same 3-4 women, growing spiritually and building strong relationships. Then by the end of 2015 the Lord multiplied and a group of five Catholic women joined our group, coming ‘hungry’ for the Word of God. More women joined and up to date nine women attended at the beginning of 2016!
I am very excited about this group, for God is faithfully building strong women to make a difference in the Semonkong community. As we are praying together, reading and studying Scripture and trusting God for breakthroughs, I know this is what God has called me for in Lesotho.
Each Mme were blessed with a Sesotho or English Bible and a Purple Book. Without these contributions from you I wouldn’t be able to successfully continue with this special discipleship group! God is truly faithful.
Let me tell you how Francois and I were blessed with new Sotho names.
Francois was invited by chief Mme Maselebalo to her village, as she hosted a special occasion for the orphans. All the elder women pulled money together to buy food for the orphans over the Christmas time. Francois and I felt encouraged to contribute as well.
They were all so happy that we were part of it that they ‘Christened’ us with new names with a specific meaning. I was renamed Mme MaRethabile (meaning ‘You make us happy’) and
Francois Ntate Thabang (meaning ‘Be Happy’). I suppose it is because Francois always looks so serious that he was given that
From that time on when we visit or meet them in town we are called by our new Sesotho names. This is something quite special for us.
People on the December outreach blessed us with many bags of 2nd
hand clothing. I went to Chief Mme Maselebalo to get a list of the names and ages of the orphans in her village. We were able to bless 45 orphans each with their own bag of clothing, shoes, caps, etc. I thank God for His provision.
LET US PRAY
- Breaking of the drought
- The impact of the December outreach will continue to grow
- The growth of the bicycle club small group
- Follow-up of new believers coming out of the outreach
- Wisdom for the mobilizing of the community regarding the CPP
- Protection and provision for all the orphans and widows in Semonkong
- Blessing and protection over ntate Alex in Cape Town
- Favour and protection of God over our small groups
Regards and blessings all the way from Semonkong!
Ntate Thabang +266 5631 1640
Mme MaRethabile +266 5623 5343