Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wrapping Up

by Dick Pry

As I write a note today, I know my friends have already shared the amazing stories of our time here in S/A. We are winding up yet another amazing trip to this beautiful place we all have grown to love over the years. 

This was a different trip than most as instead of building the brick houses, we got to renovate the shipping containers as you heard. Truthfully, if we had been outside laying brick in the sun—- we would likely have struggled as the heat passed 100 degrees much of the week. It was hot in the containers but you were shaded so it was not too overwhelming.

Taking a rectangle of metal and turning it into a functioning life space is an incredibly rewarding task. We made  amazing progress in getting the community center kitchen expanded to double the size. This means Ma’s of Wellington/Mosaic will be able to do even more feeding of hungry children in the future❤️❤️

Yes the poverty is overwhelming and can cause you to question things. However, at the end of the day, the mission is to save just “one” of these kids. Maybe that one will pay it forward and on and on? Maybe in a generation or so we won’t need as many “ mission trips” to help the world’s poor. Maybe one of them , who saw God’ s plan for helping those less fortunate take place here near CapeTown, SA in 2018 will be the next Nelson MandelašŸ˜

This is my prayer and why I come!

Hope in the Middle of the Storm

by Linda Allan

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of rain pounding hard against the window above my bed. The wind howled. A torrential storm was raging outside as I lay safe and warm in my bed. I wondered how awful and frightening must it be to be a child waiting out this storm living in a mokuku (tin shack). My heart sank as I realized that I wasn’t in “Kansas”/West Chester anymore. I’m in South Africa. There will be no buses pulling up to school tomorrow filled with dry kids protected in raincoats and armed with umbrellas. I worried for the children and the fear they must be experiencing - let alone trying to stay dry in their leaky homes. My heart sank as I realized that the day I had been dreaming of for weeks may not happen. No one would venture out in the storm that was raging outside my window. My dream came crashing down on me...my dream of seeing and loving on the children of Mosaic. I prayed “Jesus, please stop the storm!” You may not believe me, I even had a hard time believing at first, but the rain that was pounding against the window over my bed instantly ceased! The wind didn’t just die down, it stopped dead! I lay there holding my breath wondering if this truly was happening: a true answer to my prayer or was it just a pause in the storm. Silence.....God truly heard my plea in the middle of the storm. God gave me a miracle or a God wink of sorts letting me know loud and clear that He is there in the middle of the storms. Not just the storm that raged outside my window but the storm of poverty and pain that rages every day here in Africa. God is here. God cares more then we can imagine. God didn’t make this mess, man and his greed set all of this in motion long ago. But God will prevail over it one child at a time, one good work at a time, one storm at a time.

I woke this morning to the sound of birds singing outside my window, to the sound of hope. I wondered, if God cares for me so much that He would hear my prayer in the middle of the night how much more must He love those beautiful children that I will meet today. Our good Father who has planted Mosaic here in this place to help these children, these families. Our God who sent a ragtag group of 11 weekend warriors half way round the world to help pull off a big renovation project. Our God who is so big He can make anything happen. Our God, the God of hope, chose me to witness His awesomeness this week. His miracles in the midst of the storms. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us today!

Lynne just gave me a weather report for today....the clouds will part and the sun will shine. You know that 100 degree heat that we have dealt with all week? God blew that away with the storm to a lovely 63 degrees and sun! Our Father is so good!

Make yours an amazing day! God bless!Linda :)

Popsicles

by Linda Allan

Hello from halfway around the world! 

I really had know idea of what to expect when I signed on to this trip. All I knew was there was a need for volunteers to help build classrooms for children and I was called to come. What I saw when I got here was beyond my imagination. The divide between the haves and have nots were more then I could comprehend. But the busyness of the weeks work kept me from thinking long and hard about it. There was so much to be done. Metal shipping containers that needed to be turned into classrooms in less then a weeks time! Measuring, cutting, framing, screwing, measuring, cutting, insulating, stapling, measuring some more, cutting drywall, screwing, taping, spackling, sanding, priming, painting. A frantic race against time to get the job done. All of it done in the hot South African sun, all done with smiles and to the sweet sound of laughter, chugging of water and Tony’s musical playlist to spur us on. So much fun, so much work and not much time to contemplate the enormity of the job we were accomplishing.

Saturday night came quickly. We wrapped up and looked forward to worshipping at Mayer, Cornel and Stephanie’s church in the morning and then back to Mosaic for a dedication ceremony.

As I stepped into the newly renovated space on Sunday morning minus the tools and building supplies that had littered the worksite the days before. My eyes were opened to what will be and the hope that Mosaic brings to the community. As I reveled in the joy of a job well done I was drawn to the children who peered through the ripped netting that covered the fence. The children who live in the makukus (the shacks) across the street. Angelic faces of innocence who smiled and talked to the happy American lady. They smooshed there faces close to the fence and let me touch their cheeks as I silently prayed for them. We laughed as I snapped their pictures. God’s children who melted my heart and drew me to this place. The children who i forgot about in the midst of being covered in saw dust, sweat and paint all week. They asked me for a popsicle, something all the adults were happily sucking on in the 100 degree heat. I thought “9 kids, 9 popsicles I’m sure I can easily do that! How easy to make a child happy! As I danced off to complete my mission I checked with Cornel to see where they kept the supply but before giving them to me she presented me with a question....”Yes Linda you can have 9 popsicle to give to these 9 children. But where will you get the 300 for the 300 children who will quickly follow? And what will you do when you can’t supply that and those 9 children get beat up for their popsicle? Yes Linda what will you do?

My joy quickly turned to tears. The enormity of the need became crushing. The cruelty of the desperate was more then I could comprehend. My naivety could have caused such harm to those who I so wanted to help.

Giving handouts is not the solution to the poverty that plagues this country. A quick fix is not going to help. Mosaic, Ma’s for Wellington and the countless people who run these organizations have seen first hand how damaging an unearned handout can be. They are teaching the children and the community the value of work and an education all wrapped up in Jesus’s love. 

What an eye opening experience this has been for me. I can’t stop thanking God for opening the doors that got me here. And for giving Meyer, Louise, Stephanie and Cornel the vision, courage, stamina and most of all the wisdom to see His plan through.




Monday, October 29, 2018

The Transformation

by Cammy Brantzeg


Before and after pictures of the five containers that were renovated this week.  The transformation is amazing...  





 

Container #2 - New 20 foot container is now a storage closet and an office for the social workers.  I couldn't find a picture of this container before it was framed and the insulation was installed.  It started out as an empty container just like the rest...

 

Container #3 - New 40 foot container that is now a classroom and the Swop Shop storage...




 

Container #4 - Old Swop Shop container is being converted into boys and girls bathrooms.

Container #5 - The HOOP after the cabinets were removed, the wall was being cut out, and a second 40 foot container was added.

The HOOP now that the size has been doubled!









It was an amazing week!  A lot of people came together to work on renovating these containers this week.  In addition to our mission trip team, people from Mosaic, Ma's for Wellington, Shofar church and the NG Moeder Gemeente Wellington (Andrew Murray church) church provided volunteers to work during the week and on the weekend.

I am tired and I need to go to bed but I wanted to post some before and after pictures quickly.  I am sorry that I don't have time to write more details right now but the pictures tell the story...

Sunday

by Carl Siewert

Sunday was a day of worship and celebration after all the hard work put in during the week.

The day started with the team worshipping at Shofar Wellington church.  This is the church that Meyer, Louise, Stephanie and Cornel attend. The church sets up a worship center every Sunday in the gymnasium of a local school.    

Shofar provided many of the same qualities of other churches around the world attracting a younger generation. (I have had the privilege to worship previously at Hillsong London and Elevation worship - Columbia SC campus).   There were greeters with “contagious joy” to welcome us at the door.   The congregation was fairly multi-cultural (as it will be in heaven).    The service opened with extending praising of the Lord through music.  There was about 40 minutes of music which we understand was a bit on the short side.    The mission team did not know most of the songs but was thankfully in English and we quickly felt like participants in the worship.

Then Pastor Neils spoke on the strength of Matthew chapter 5, the beatitudes from the sermon on the mount, challenging us to see the those blessings through our relationship with Jesus Christ.  I was struck by the idea that being “poor in spirit” is not to be focused on ourselves in anyway but to be focused on Christ.  This is the basis by which we can then move towards having faith and then being able to have the other blessings Jesus spoke of (Matthew 5: 4-9).

The service ended with a challenge to identify where we have doubts and where we want God to open us fresh to new Faith.    This convicted me in areas I had struggled during the week with the complexities of South Africa.   I asked God for a new Faith that He will continue to move forward and provide hope to those suffering in South Africa.



After that the team went to the Mosaic Community Center for a celebration of what was done this week. Everyone was very happy to see the walls completed and the cabinets back in place in the kitchen!   After a few words and worship songs, everyone went through the rooms of the center to pray of the rooms.  We prayed that God would use the spaces to help the children and others in the community.  We prayed that God would strength the workers and volunteers as they help in this goal. And finally we prayed that God’s Word and Truth would grow in the hearts of all involved.

Most of the team had lunch at a market with stalls of food styles from around the world.   I had Tunisian Brik with Ostrich meat.

After some down time in the afternoon, the day concluded with a wonderful meal at Stephanie (one of the Mas of Wellington) and her husband, Kiffie’s house.  

Friday, October 26, 2018

Peace

by Lynne Kreher

Today a group of us had the opportunity to visit Drakenstein Correctional Centre. This is the prison where Nelson Mandela spent his last few years of incarceration and from which he took his first steps of freedom after 27 years. Our host and guide today was the long-time chaplain, Pastor Archie. He explained to us the different classifications of prisoners and the work he does with them.  We were able to walk through the prison and meet several of the young men there.  We prayed with them and I think Pastor Vicki went through an entire bottle of anointing oil during our visit! We even had the chance to sing and praise the Lord with their praise team who was practicing. We sang "How Great is Our God" and "Celebrate Jesus." It was amazing.

Many of the prisoners are there due in part to the circumstances of their upbringing. They had abusive or absent parents or difficult childhoods for a variety of reasons. Pastor Archie encourages the men at Drakenstein to forgive their parents for past transgressions in order to begin healing.

Our God is so good that he knew that visiting that prison today is EXACTLY where I needed to be.  When I arrived in South Africa on this trip, I learned that my father has passed away while I was traveling.  This morning I woke to the news that my mother had died the day before.  To put it simply, I had a difficult and complicated relationship with my parents. But, I know that it does not begin to compare with what these young men endured. So, if they can forgive their parents, who I am to complain about my life?  I was able to let go of my hurt and found such profound peace.
As this is my fourth trip to this beautiful country, I have some very poignant and special memories of this place, but today may just top them all.  God Bless.


Pastor Archie and his wife



Thursday, October 25, 2018

Sharing a Meal

by Cammy Brantzeg


On Tuesday night, we shared a meal at the Mosaic homes with our mission trip team and the Mosaic mothers.  I know the five mothers/grandmothers that currently live in the Mosaic houses but I didn't really know who the other 20 parents were.  I was surprised that I knew around 7 out of the other 20 mothers because they volunteer for Ma's for Wellington.  

Nozuko cooked food that represented each of the Mosaic locations.  Our three courses included the following:
Western Cape - Mosaic Paarl Valley - Chicken Curry and Rice
Eastern Cape - Mosaic Port Elizabeth - Samp, Pumpkin and Beef
North Western - Mosaic Potchefstroom - Pap and Spinach

I have to say that I LOVED the chicken curry and rice.  I also liked the samp which is kind of like a corn that needs to cook for a long time or it needs to be soaked overnight.

In between each course, we drew questions and answered them.  Some of the questions were...
What do you like to do to relax?
What is your biggest fear?
What is your favorite tv show?
Sing your favorite song so we can dance along.

I am not good with music and of course I got that one first.  Luckily, Carl Siewert was sitting by me and he is great with music so he did a song for me!  The questions were a great way to get to know the Mosaic mothers and also to realize how similar we are even though our life circumstances are different.  We all worry about our children and our families.   

Even though I am not good with music, I have to say the music questions were fun because Carl, Betsy and Marius (German volunteer) were great coming up with songs.  Everyone would stand up, sing, clap, and/or dance during the songs.  

You might be wondering if language was a barrier to us talking with the mothers.  For the most part, most of the mothers could understand English so we were able to have a conversation with them or another mother sitting by that knew both English and Afrikaans/Xhosa would translate for us.

Some of Nozuko's friends came and were nice enough to serve each course and clean up afterward.  What a blessing they were!  They took a Tuesday night and spend it dishing up the food, serving us, washing dishes and doing it over again for three courses.  

We are working with Mosaic/Ma's for Wellington to find ways for our mission trip teams that come from America to find ways to build relationships with people in South Africa that is not awkward or forced.  This evening was a BIG success!  I know our group had a fantastic time and I hope that the Mosaic mothers felt the same.  

Nozuko did an amazing job cooking and planning this evening.  She is such a blessing to everyone she comes into contact with!  Love her...



Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Day Two

by Vicki Pry

Greetings, family, friends, Hopewell et al!  The minute I offered to write a post on this second day of our trip, I was quickly reminded of how incredibly hard it is to put into words what we see, hear and feel in this amazing country, South Africa.  It is, all at once, beautiful, heartbreaking, complex, yet hope-filled.

One of the greatest joys for me thus far has been to watch our 'newbies', Carl Siewert and Linda Allan, take it all in, embrace it and then joyfully dive into all there is to do and experience.  It's such a beautiful thing.  It  may seem redundant to mention the heat we're experiencing here(HELLO!!! It's summer in SA!!!), but you can't really talk of the trip without mentioning it.  This is not a complaint, merely a statement of fact.  That said, the Team and many other local friends are making amazing progress on this Community Centre as it continues to grow and expand miraculously under the great leadership of Meyer Conradie, Mosaic's founder.

Because the space is a construction zone, there is no programming right now, so we miss seeing all the Ma's and little ones, as well as the older  kids who typically come for after school education and support.  That said, Meyer's goal is to have the Centre re-opened on Tuesday, a week from today, so we will get to be with the regulars sooner rather than later(with a WHOLE lot of work in-between(-:.  In the midst of the work, which is very hard and very rewarding, we find ourselves rejoicing in our relationships with our teammates, renewing friendships here and building new ones.

Carlton, my new friend and workmate, said I should mention his name in this blog, so there you go, my friend!  It is my joy to get to know you.

Please pray for us~ for safety in our 'work zone'; for the common sense to know when to stop and rest a bit and drink some water; for the wisdom to remember to sit down with someone to
ask about and then to truly listen to his/her story.

Please pray for each one we encounter here in SA~ that in some small way, they might see Jesus in us and be reminded that they are beloved and that there is always hope in His precious name.      



Monday, October 22, 2018

Day One

Day One was busy but we made A LOT of progress!  There was around 30-40 workers working today.  In addition to our team of 11, there were also some Mosaic staff, Ma's for Wellington staff and volunteers, and community volunteers from two local churches.  

We are renovating three shipping containers that were recently added to the existing nine containers at the Mosaic Paarl Valley community center.  One will be used for a classroom, one will be made into an office for social workers and the third will be added to the HOOP 1 to double the size of the kitchen.  We are also renovating two of the existing containers to make one into a classroom and the second into a bathroom.  

The majority of the group worked on framing the containers.  We also had people cutting the insulation and caulking around the windows that were being installed.  The insulation does not come sized to fit into the openings between the wall studs in South Africa. :-)

It was sunny and HOT!  The temperature got up to 104 degrees.

It is nice to be back in South Africa.  I saw many of my friends from previous trips.  I continue to work on knowing the names of the people I meet.  Some names are challenging to learn so everytime I see the person I try to say their name.  It is nice that we are wearing name tags on the worksite so that helps.

The highlight of my day was going to visit a couple of homes with Cornel from Ma's for Wellington.  She received some donated food that she wanted to drop off at some of the Ma's for Wellington lighthouses.  A lighthouse is basically someone that helps people in their community.  Ma's for Wellington knows if they give extra food to these people, they will use it to help feed the kids/people in their community.  Hunger is a big problem in the area that we are working in.

At our second stop, Tannie (Auntie) Minnie's house, I saw four of the Mosaic teenagers.  I recognized all of them but I didn't know their names.  It was so nice to see them!  Programs at the Mosaic community center are cancelled for the week because of the construction at the community center.  We will have an opportunity to spend time with the Mosaic kids on Friday and next Tuesday.  Tannie Minnie had around 10 kids hanging out when we stopped by.  Cornel said there are always a bunch of kids hanging around Tannie Minnie's house.  She is a light in her neighborhood.

Our last stop was at Tannie Katrina's house.  Tannie Katrina is over 80 years old and has some health issues.  She is part of the group that prays during the Ma's for Wellington Tuesday and Thursday programs.  We visited a little with her and then we prayed for her.  We were there around 10 minutes but Cornel said she was tearing up as we left.  She really appreciated our visit.  This is what I LOVE doing!  I am so glad we had the opportunity to do this!

It was a great first day!  A majority of the framing is done and we will start putting up the drywall on Tuesday.

Cammy Brantzeg







Friday, October 19, 2018

We leave tomorrow!

I am getting ready to go and I am making sure I can update the blog.  Thank you Shannon Knight for setting this up for our trip!