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What words do we use to describe the recent outreach to Egypt / Sudan?… Amazing?.... Humbling? ... Wonderful? ...
After travelling through the night, the St John the Baptist team arrived in Cairo and spent our first day in Egypt in the tranquillity of Wadi Natrun – Agape centre. This is truly an oasis in the desert - an oasis of prayer, praise and worship and some jolly good fellowship. We were all strengthened through the ministry there. Then it was a case of one part of the team leaving for Sudan and the Egypt team setting off for Upper Egypt to experience so much …
• The excitement of seeing prayers answered in miraculous ways;
• the exhilaration of spending each day walking in God’s presence;
• the joy of seeing faces reflecting the love of Jesus, even while living in the squalor of the rubbish dump city;
• the heartbreak of the centre for the blind and handicapped and the humility of seeing how they coped in the strength of the Lord. They, and their wonderful carers, inspired us to be more sacrificial in our own Christian walk;
• walking in the footsteps of the Holy Family – with Jesus just an child of a few years – as they moved through Egypt to escape the murderous King Herod;
• learning of the intricacies of the traditional Coptic expression of Christianity;
• standing in support and love for Christian brothers and sisters who are both openly and subtly persecuted for their faith;
• sharing tears of love with people whose Christian walk is alive and whose faith is so real.
There was much to experience and much to learn in a culture so different from ours ... different language, different food, different type of heat, and different toilets! There is no doubt that each one of us grew in a special way in our own relationships with the Lord. New ministries were revealed and in all, we returned as a team that not only blessed those that we visited, but a team that was hugely blessed in return! Shokran. Rabbini yeburkuk.
Thank you. God bless you.
Pic: On their travels the group met school children at El Qusiya.
The visit was brief, but the impression it made everlasting. Zimbabwe, or rather its people, has much to teach us South Africans.
Despite grave economic and political hardship (the week-long Walmer blackout and occasional bouts of load-shedding pale against the daily no-lights, no-water scenario of Zimbabwe), the people of Zimbabwe are hugely resourceful, colour blind and have enormous social capital.
The Church of the Ascension – the main focus of a missionary dash with medical and other supplies by St Cuthbert’s in October - including outreach team members Maurice and Kristin Platt, Brian and Betty Ledger, Mark, Debbie, Matthew and Meghan Derry - has become a beacon of hope to the community.
While the state hospitals have ground to a halt mainly because of a shortage of drugs, the weekly clinic is attracting larger and larger numbers of people.
“When we started out about four years ago, we had 26 patients, now we have over 1 000 people on our books,” says Dot Paige, a nursing sister and one of the volunteers at the weekly clinic.
These volunteers are made up of mainly retired teachers and nurses, as well as two doctors, one of whom retired 20 years ago, and anyone else who happens to have a pair of helping hands, like the woman who is in limbo after having been chased off her farm. She counts out tablets for the 190 patients they see on average every Wednesday.
The ordinary Zimbabwean makes the most of what he or she’s got – and usually it isn’t much. As a result, nothing goes to waste, or at least not among this community in Bulawayo or its mission chapelry of St Matthew’s in the rural town of Filibusi. Everything is used or recycled. Everyone grows their own vegetables since Zimbabwe’s shops are still bare.
And perhaps we can learn from colour
blind status of the Church of the Ascension too. It was only our South
African team of eight who marvelled at the wonderful mix of colours on
the church pews. The congregants are oblivious to their rainbow mix.
They’re simply all people striving for a better life for all.
“We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matt 2:2
Bishop Bethlehem and Mazoe, the editor and iindaba editorial committee members, and the diocesan staff, wish our readers a blessed Christmas. May the peace and love of Jesus be with you, and shine through you, throughout thecoming year.
The editor thanks Bishop Bethlehem, the members of the editorial committee and our proof reader, Richard Burbidge, for all their help and encouragement during the year.
Also a very big thank you all the members of parishes who have contributed articles, photos and reports – iindaba loves you, please keep up the wonderful work!
NB NB - We
are hoping to produce a bumper Jan/Feb issue so please send in all the
photos and reports of your parish Christmas happenings!
more information about iindaba,
contact the editor at email@example.com
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