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Archive for March, 2014

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When Mrs. Pastor filled up the bucket with water, I offered my hand to help her carry the bucket with her. And she let me, but after walking a few steps together, she courteously told me it would be much easier for her to carry the bucket by herself, on her head.

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When I heard that she going to carry the bucket full of water on her head, I was shocked and said “No way” for it would be too heavy for her.

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She said it’s alright, because she is used to carrying buckets full of water on her head.

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In her culture, girls learn this skill when they are young.

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After much convincing, I let her.

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I watched with amazement at the way she carried the bucket of water with such gracefulness.

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Amazing!

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After helping another lady with arthritis hang up her laundry on the fence to dry that day, I went to fetch some water for her to use later.

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When no one is looking, I tried to carry the half bucket-ful of water on my head, and found it nearly impossible!

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The potential for these children to carry buckets of water on their heads is much higher!

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Our team had a chance to participate in one of the “I’m Precious to Jesus” campaigns held in South Africa.

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The purpose of the campaign is to empower children and to let the community know that they are Precious to Jesus.

The “I’m Precious to Jesus Campaign” works very closely with the local Children’s Church committee.

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When a campaign is held, they would invite four or five children’s churches to join the rally.

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On that particular day, the children’s church leaders would gather the children in their respective station and then march in unity to the designated central location for the kick off.

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This particular campaign that we participated in was sponsored by the Sunday school children from Burnett Fellowship Church in Maple Ridge. The children did a bake sale over the Christmas holiday and raised $1,500.00 for the campaign.

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With the money, they were able to produce three hundred plus T-shirts for the children to wear;

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as well as 5000 brochures to be handed out declaring that they are precious to Jesus.

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This is the 11th campaign. The campaign is never repeated twice in the same location. Once the campaign has been held in one location, the organizing team will start planning for the next rally in another location.

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The campaign can only happen when there are some generous individuals, couples, organizations or churches who are willing to sponsor financially towards the next campaign.

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The money goes towards the vibrant T-shirts with the statement “I’m Precious to Jesus”,

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the flyers describing the need to respect and honor children for the well-being of the country,

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and a light refreshment for the children at the end of rally.

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So far various individuals, organization such as World Vision, and churches from Australia, Canada, Germany, Korea, USA have supported this transforming campaign over the past four years.

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Mhakaza March on Feb 15, 2014
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2014/02/march-of-the-young-ones-in-makhaza-with-burnett-fellowship-church-team/
Sponsoring Church: Burnett Fellowship Church (shirts and leaflets) & Missionary Insik Kim (Snack)

Lesotho March on Oct 27, 2013
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2013/10/kea-rateha-ho-jesu-lesotho-campaign/
Sponsoring Church: World Vision Lesotho (50%), Rev. Sung Jin Jun (50%)

Nkanini March on May 18, 2013
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2013/05/nkanini-childrens-march/
Sponsoring Church: Missionary Insik Kim 40%, One Church Perth (Australia) 30%, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church (Lindsey, ON) 30%

Bhekela March on Nov 11, 2012
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2012/11/bhekela-childrens-march/
Sponsoring Church: Disciple Methodist Church (Vancouver) 50% plus t-shirts sales

Zwei Zwei March on Sep 12, 2012
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2012/09/a-march-of-the-young-ones-in-zwei-zwei/
Sponsoring Church: Richard Wright, Charissa Nissen and Lighthouse Ministries (VKPC)

Makhaya Drama Competition & March on May 19, 2012
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2012/05/drama-competition-in-makhaya/
Sponsoring Church: Vineyard Church in Stuttgart, Germany, All Nations Community Church in Seattle, t-shirts sales

SST March on Mar 4, 2012
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2012/03/a-march-of-the-young-ones-in-sst/
Sponsoring Church: Piet Ferreria plus t-shirts sales

Site B March on Dec 3 2011
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2011/12/a-march-of-the-young-ones-in-site-b/
Sponsoring church: Piet Ferreria

Site C Church on Nov 26, 2011
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2011/11/a-march-of-the-young-ones-in-site-c/
Sponsoring Church: Piet Ferreria

Zola March on Nov 11, 2011
http://www.precioustojesus.org/2011/11/a-march-of-the-young-ones-in-zola/
Sponsoring Church: One Church Perth (Australia)

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Let the children come

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When we reached the meeting place, there were already quite a number of children waiting for us at the shack. I thought we could start our program right away, but we were invited to go and gather more kids.

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So we followed the local leaders and children as they led us around the neighbourhood and chanted “Sunday School, Sunday School.” Within minutes, there were around 150 children flocking to join us at the children’s church.

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In another children’s church setting, children sang “Sunday School is the best; You need to join it now!” to invite other children from the community to join them.

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Apparently, this is the customary way the local missionaries invite children for children’s church.

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The children’s church could only happen if the local community approve such worth-while church program for their children. So far there are 120 children’s churches being held weekly at various neighborhoods and majority of the gatherings are held in open field.

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The indigenous pastors and leaders have a really good system in running the children’s church to build up children and youth in their society.

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Many of the current children’s church leaders are those who attended children’s church themselves in the past.  Because of their experiences hearing Bible stories, worshiping God and trusting in Him, many youth and young adults have now become dedicated children’s church leaders.

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These young teachers and leaders are continually being trained and nurtured with the word of God and team projects by local missionaries.  Every year, they conduct several youth camps for these young teachers as well as for potential children’s teachers to equip and train them to be disciples of Christ. They also conduct weekly Youth for Christ Bible studies at different location in the township.

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Our team had the opportunity to participate in the children’s church, the youth camp as well as their first Youth for Christ Bible Study kick-off.

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According to Psalm 150, we are invited to use all sorts of musical instruments to praise God.

One of the easy and fun “musical instrument” I use for children to praise God is the “trumpeting elephant”.

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Thanks to one of the children leaders who single handedly snipping away those 300 foamy elephants for the praising project!

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During one of our side trips, we went to visit the elephant farm.

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The young ones were most entertaining to watch. They were very playful in interacting with each other in their playground, such as having body fight using their long trunks.

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Some just relaxed and fed on their mommies milk while others enjoyed digging and playing in the mud.

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We saw many elephants but hear no trumpeting sound.

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Having children praising God with the “trumpeting elephants” was fun to watch too!

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(Trumpeting elephant craft from http://www.spoonful.com)

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Colorful Beads

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I was bringing these colourful beads to Africa for one of my object lessons. However, one of my friends took a glance at the craft and commented that the craft looked rather plain for the people there. She said the handicraft created by the indigenous people are usually way more colorful and with intrinsic patterns.

Since I had already asked the children to prepare three hundred sets of the craft material, we trusted these colorful beads would be put to good use.

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At one of the children’s gathering, I was able to present the object lesson to around 150 children ranging from preschool age to elementary age.

In this setting, the children learned how each colour of beads could remind them of who God is. After they finished the colorful project, their pastor quizzed them on each of the colors and they were able to respond in unison how each colour represented one aspect of God’s character.

The missionary in charge of the group commented that the craft was fun, meaningful and powerful. He even made one for himself to keep.

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At the Preschool teachers’ equipping seminar, the teachers also had the opportunity to work on the colorful beads key chain. We had fun using the colorful beads to reflect on God’s attributes as well as His loving and caring relationship with us. Later, the teachers even recited the Lord’s Prayer to me in Xhosa.

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One delightful moment was during the lunch hour when the leader creatively called people out for lunch based on their colorful outfits.

For example, she addressed those wearing white as the holy ones; next she would call out those wearing purple as the royal princesses and so forth. It was such a fun idea of blessing each other that everyone enjoyed the feast with delight.

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Though the object of those colourful beads seemed plain, it has definitely enrich our understanding of the holistic prayer and trust in our Heavenly Father.

The locals even taught me how to make the object lesson looked more sophisticated.

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Before I left for my trip, the Sunday School children and teachers wrote me a card and reminded me to share the gospel.

What does gospel mean?

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According to Romans 1:16, ”it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

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Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

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The gospel is a good news about the salvation we can have through Jesus.

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When we visited the public school, we had the opportunity to share the Word of God with the high schoolers.

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Each student received a cross as a symbol to remind them of the gospel, the good news of God’s sacrificial love for them through Jesus Christ.  We visited four classes and were able to hand out a cross to each of the 200 students.

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In another setting with children gathering and during home visitations, we were able to present the mystery of the gospel, the message of Jesus’ love, and give out crosses to many households in one of the villages.

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Knysna

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There are so many alluring beaches in South Africa but I think the best place to see them is from up high.

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Here we are at the scenic lookout of Knysna overlooking the alluring crushing waves of the mighty Indian Ocean, that often boasts of its incredible live show of ocean creatures such as dolphins, whales and sharks along the shoreline.

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Though there is no spotting of any sea creature this minute, I am just happy to linger around and take in the unrivaled beauty of this gorgeous landscape and listening to the soothing rhythm of the thundering waves against the rugged rocks.

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The breathtaking sight brought to mind the beautiful melody the Xhosa people taught me called Amazulu.

Amazulu (The Heavens)
Ayababaza (declares)
Ubukhulu (of the grandeur)
buka Yehovah (of God).
Hallelujah, Mdumise (Hallelujah, let Him be praised)

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Amazulu is based on Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands”.

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