Monday, May 28, 2012

Children's Ministry Training Seminars-May 2012

 Rick has just returned from 10 days up north, where he visited many communities, He was able to teach Children's Ministry Seminars in two of them. and hand out seminary certificates in several others. Trips up north are always exciting. Its an adventure every time, never knowing if the road or the ferry will be usable, if fuel will be available, if the churches have gotten the message what time you are coming, or even if they have gotten the message you are coming at all! Tendai and I stayed home this trip, to supervise the work going on with our house construction, but my heart ached to be on the road with Rick. Visiting the churches up north and fellowshiping with the pastors and leaders is always such a blessing to me, even if I'm exhausted and drained by the time we return. Rick enjoyed his time, and was blessed to see so many young people eager to learn how to minister to children! Unfortunately we have no pictures of Rick doing the teaching this time around since I wasnt there to take all the hundreds of pictures I normally do! 
Children in Thoera crowd around the Muzungu with the camera! (A surefire way to attract a crowd of smiling kids it to bring out a camera and let them see the digital pics on it!)
Another sure fire way is to make some popcorn and share it with your host's family and their friends, late at night, around the fire.

 Children in Chicote, listening to a solar bible, in their own language, for the first time!
During the seminars, we provide the lunch meal for the participants, Rick will often eat with the pastors and on this day enjoyed some fried, dried fish, rice and beans. (The rice and beans look quite yummy to me, the fish not so much! I find it hard to eat anything with a visible head!- but i have tried it in the past!)
 The Chicote Children's Ministry Training Seminar participants and their Bible's and Seminar packs. Each seminar participant recieves a Bible and a handout booklet covering the seminars main points.
 In Inhangoma the children crowd around the entrance to Rick's little "compound" made of sticks and reeds. In these remote areas, visitors like us are few and far between, so the kids and local folks are very curious about our tents, trucks, etc.  It can feel a bit like you are living in a fishbowl at times!
 Inhangoma Participants practicing the Bible memory techniques by drawing  pictures to represent words in the verse. Here an upward arrow represents Mulungu= God.
 Ricks little tent in the compound.
 Seminar participants working together in a group to come up with a creative way to teach a Bible verse. These practice sessions are very important since creativity in learning is a completely foreign concept. Most schools here simply rely on the teacher repeating a concept fifty times and the children repeating it back. Being able to repeat back, but not truly understanding a concept is common. Using actions, illustrations, explaining what a word means, games, songs, drama and other activities to teach memory verses and Bible stories is one of our key teaching principles. We especially like to encourgage the leaders to use materials readily available to them for their lessons and activities, rather than rely solely on outside items like flannel graphs, photocopied coloring sheets, etc.  
 As Rick was leaving, early in the morning to make his way home, he came across seminar participant, Moses who was trying to ride his bike and listen to the solar Bible he had purchased at the same time. Even though he had recieved a printed Bible as a seminar participant, he sold one of his chickens so he could purchase a solar Bible, allowing him to hear God's Word wherever he was, and those around him and in his family who cannot read can also hear it! :)
 A small rowboat overloaded with people makes it way thru the heavy mist,  across the Chire River, while Rick waits for the ferry to come and transport him and the truck across.
The small floating barge is the ferry.
While Rick was up north, Tendai and I had to fend for ourselves when it came to giant icky spiders like this. ACK!
 The already sanded wood piled and protected by plastic.
The wood left to sand (a good portion of this is done already since this pic is a few days old!)

Work on the house is continuing as well. The guys have sanded over half of the ceiling boards already- working way faster than we had anticipated! Soon we will get them to take a break from sanding so they can start putting a coat of silkwood/varnish on the boards in preparation for putting them up!
We still need to raise just under half of our house budget. We are very close to having to stop work because of lack of funds, except that their is work to do now that does not require more materials, only the cost of labor so we are able to keep going! As soon as we have the roof on, we will be starting to plaster the walls, install window and door frames, etc- very big jobs!
Please join with us in praying that the funds we need will come in. Perhaps God is laying it on your heart to be a part of our journey & ministry here- if you would like more information on signing up as a monthly supporter, or to donate a one time gift towards our building fund, please contact us at the email up on the right hand side of the page!

 Another thing we are very grateful for this week, is God's protection of Gabriel, the missions carpenter. He had an accident with the planer and cut off the tip of his thumb. We are so thankful that it wasnt worse, and happy that he should regain complete use of his hand! Praise the Lord!

When we stopped by to visit him he was using his recuperating time very wisely, by reading the Bible and studying the seminary course books he is taking this year thru the mission's Faith Bible Seminary!

Prayer and Praise
-So grateful for a safe trip up north for Rick, as well as Safety for Tendai and Heather while here at the farm.
-Praise the Lord for a good time of fellowship and learning with the ministry leaders up north.
-Praise the Lord for God's protection of Gabriel and that his injury was not worse!
-Praise the Lord for cooler temperatures and not much rain so the local people can get their crops off of the fields. 
-Praise the Lord for the warm blankets we handed out last week to the orphan children!

-Prayer for our health, Rick is just getting over, and Tendai and I just starting with a nasty, energy draining, head & chest cold.
-Prayer for safety as we travel to South Africa on June 2nd, to pick up supplies for our needs, the house, the team coming in July, truck repairs as well as to apply for Tendai's Canadian passport.
-Prayer for the team coming from our home church Grunthal Abundant Life Fellowship, for the entire month of July. Pray for safety as they travel, and that their hearts and minds will be prepared for what they will see and experience here. Visiting Africa can be life changing- for those who receive the visitors, but even more so for those who come! (I would be evidence of that!)
- Prayer for us as we host the team, that we would have wisdom and energy for a whole month of hosting!
- Pray for our  monthly ministry needs and house fund amounts to be met. We are so appreciative of all those who support us, not only financially, but even more so, with prayer. Our work here is dependent on both! If you are interested in signing up to receive our monthly email update, or would like more information on donating to our work here, please contact us at the email on the right hand side of the blog page!
God Bless, 
Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld

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