• Blessed by visit to Egypt
• A Cradock welcome for two Bishops
• But when you fast ....
Blessed by visit to Egypt
[ Shirley Kilroe-Smith ]
On 2 September, twelve very diverse people set out from St John’s in Walmer for Egypt, with prayers, encouragement, anointing and fervent pleas for God’s will to be done through us. For some of us it was a first - a new, exciting, but also daunting prospect. For others it was the third or even fourth visit, but still full of anticipation and excitement in the surety of being ‘sent’ and the excitement of meeting old friends and faithful servants of the Lord.
We had a very busy schedule which included much travelling from Cairo down to Aswan and back up - in bus, bumpy train and luxury cruise boat - but it wasn’t the sights we saw but the people we met that made our journey so amazing. We were all ‘blown away’ by Joshua and Ruth, our hosts. When we heard some of the stories of courage, faith, perseverance, unconditional love and total commitment to Jesus, we were completely humbled by our own faith that seems wishy-washy in contrast. Through them we met a young man from Yemen with an amazing testimony of courage and faith who is being looked after, discipled and trained by Joshua and Ruth. At Wadi we were also able to see first-hand what some of the gifts sent by St John’s have helped to achieve - small but important contributions, and so much more to be done by Christians in the free West to assist those under threat of persecution every day of their lives.
The Bishop at El Quossia, a highly educated man who lives the simple life as Jesus did, made a profound impression on all of us. He is a humble man with a heart for the children of God. What a privilege to sit at his table and listen to his quiet, confident voice, and then to see him at work, ministering to his flock, laughing with the young people, then quietly just going on his way.
At a home for handicapped children we met an amazing doctor with a passion for neglected and unwanted children. He visits the villages to seek out the children who were born blind, crippled, cerebral palsied, deaf, mute or mentally handicapped and as a result set aside by their parents to die. He takes them to the haven where they are loved, cared for, rehabilitated and educated - such an amazing example of servanthood and humility. We were struck by the loving relationship he has with each of the 60 children and by the lengths he goes to to ensure that they get the best care he is able to provide - indeed another spiritual giant we were privileged to meet.
Apart from all the places we visited, people we met and things we learned, the dynamic within the group was something very special. There was a relaxed and happy camaraderie between us all and many, many laughs. And every one of us came home changed in one way or another. One could not help but be humbled and inspired by the faithful, courageous warriors for Christ whom we met. We went to bless, but we were the ones who received the blessing.
Pic: The team that visited Egypt. Kneeling in front is the rector of St John’s, Robert Penrith.
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A Cradock welcome for two Bishops
[ Nosizwe Mali ]
Bishop Bethlehem, accompanied by the Bishop of Sydney (Australia), Glenn Davies, visited Cradock for the week end 29-31 October 2010. They received a very warm welcome from the congregants of the Church of the Ascension – with a motorcade from Braemore farm outside Cradock. Those who could not get into the cars were waiting at Vusubuntu with everybody singing and wearing traditional outfits. Lingelihle township came to a standstill in a spirit of togetherness that the Anglican community was showing.
A reception was held in the church where the church choir and the junior choir entertained them with music. The mothers of the church also entertained us by singing the celebratory traditional songs with traditional dancing as well. Present were members of the Lingelihle Ministers’ Fraternal and the Revd Nkosinathi Mbali welcomed the Bishops and Bishop Davies replied.
On Saturday Bishop Bethlehem addressed the church leaders on ‘Leadership Confession’ - the same topic that Bishop Davies had used to address the leaders of St Peter’s and St James. That evening the Bishop confirmed 42 people.
On Sunday we had a Harvest “Isivuno” service where the Bishop awarded the church group Ncedolwethu with a shield for coming first for the third consecutive year. Thirteen church groups had competed in this event. Nomsa Liwani who is the Ncedolwethu leader accepted the award on behalf of the group. The amount of money raised in this event was over R100k.The theme for the Sunday service was “Abangcwele”, and Bishop Bethlehem explained the meaning of the word.
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But when you fast ....
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matt 6:17&18 (1Cor7:5)
Did you know?
Once again this year, as happened last year, the date of Easter as calculated by both Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity, will fall on the same day.Good Friday is 22 and Easter Day 24 April.
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