Tuesday, 2 June 2015

News from Soul Action South Africa

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

Phil shared recently how positive it was that 7000 people, many of them Christian, had come together to march against the recent xenophobic attacks. Thanks to a sport-loving Bishop, Phil is wondering how peace-full demonstrations really are.

Why the change of heart? As a result of the global conference co-hosted with Call2All, Tearfund and YWAM (more later) , we had the privilege of hosting Bishop Efraim Tendero (Ef to his friends), the Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance. Following Bishop Ef’s comprehensive overview of baseball in response to my piecemeal attempt at explaining cricket using the table mats and condiments at hand, I was left further enlightened by his refreshing approach to peace making. To put our conversation in context, Bishop Ef was influential in brokering peace between the Filipino government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MLF), ending a bloody conflict dating back to the 60’s that’s cost an estimated 120,000 lives.

Bishop Ef sketched this rough diagram (right) to explain how, not unlike our context, the root cause of the Philippine conflict was social injustice – people not being paid fairly and in their case Muslims being marginalised and misunderstood. Bishop Ef, like the majority of his Catholic country, was raised to believe that, "A good Muslim is a dead Muslim." The Bishop has since sat down and formally apologised to the MLF.

Rather than understanding, marching promotes, "I’m right, you’re wrong." With another helpful diagram (below) Bishop Ef urged us to identify the ‘doves’ on both sides of the conflict; men and women of peace across faith, political, sexuality, gender and race divides. Whilst one should avoid ‘hawks’ – those that will always prosper from the conflict – one should build relationships with ‘doves’. Mission, Bishop Ef says, involves, "Harmony with God, self, others and creation" – at Soul Action we call this Integral Mission.

After successfully broking peace in the Philipines, the Bishop is urging the UN to encourage member states to allocate a percentage of their defence budget to dialogue. Why defence rather than any other budget? "…because defence isn’t just about arms and ammunition its about dialogue that promotes understanding and respect." What a blessed man!!!

Compassion and Justice
Phil reflects on our first global conference, which gathered over 160 delegates from Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as a few from Bangladesh, India, Singapore, the UK and the USA.
After an amazing celebration of local dancing, poetry and singing to kick things off, we hit the ground running by tackling one of the big themes that we’ve been talking about in our updates leading up to the conference – equity and equality. Through theological reflection, interviews and workshops we questioned how our assumptions impact how we live and work.
"What makes 'me' think I deserve more?" GE
On Wednesday delegates took advantage of field trips to a variety of organisations connected to Soul Action’s Network, in what would be a real opportunity to:
"Place a megaphone in front of what God is doing through Durban-based ministries and enable others to hear His call, share His vision and be equipped to take action in their settings." DW
Creative prayer rooms provided space for delegates to reflect on the project visits. The intimate moments with God were the highlights of the week for me and the team. Through worship and ministry, God intervened cross-culturally to speak to His frontline activists, who already convinced of the need to act justly and love mercy, were refreshed by hearing the voice of the One under whose direction they are called to walk humbly.
Thank God for His provision in facilitating such a cross-cultural event; may He continue to raise up leaders that gather people to worship in spirit and truth.

Developing Skills to Teach Languages

During the second term of this year we have facilitated two workshops for the teachers we are working alongside from schools in KwaNdengezi.
Facts about KwaNdengezi

Population of approximately 54,000 people

99.4% of the population are Black African

86% of people’s first language is isiZulu

There are six primary schools

The first workshop was for Grade 3 teachers we are supporting to develop the necessary skills to teach children how to read, write and communicate effectively in English. One of the main aims of the workshop was to reflect on how the phonics program worked during the first term [Jan – March]. The teachers were asked to think about the previous terms work and identify the strengths and challenges. They really had to be encouraged to share their thoughts – appearing concerned about how we’d respond. I was so glad we pushed through because the discussions that followed when they shared their challenges were extremely beneficial as it collectively enabled solutions to be sought.

The second workshop was for Grade R and 1 teachers, supporting them in developing multi-sensory teaching techniques to aid the development of language skills. We focussed on activities teachers could facilitate to support the children to play with words / alliteration and develop awareness of syllables in isiZulu. The Grade R & 1 teachers have become more enthusiastic as relationships and levels of trust have increased. Every teacher comes to each workshop with a wealth of knowledge and experience, which is why we like to begin by giving space for them to share their own ideas in relation to the theme with each other. We build on this knowledge and introduce a number of new ideas. As part of this workshop teachers were given time to familiarise themselves with resources provided and practice facilitating new activities.

Prayer points
  • Thank God for the opportunity to work alongside KwaNdegezi teachers in developing language skills.
  • Please pray for one of the teachers who is really struggling to apply what she is learning in the workships to her work in the classroom context.
  • Please pray for all Grade 2 and 3 hildren as they are due to be assessed in June to check progress.
Soul Action/Survivor UK
We had the privilege of welcoming our friends from Soul Action / Survivor UK in May for a week of filming in preparation for their summer festivals. We spent six days visiting different locations and organisations in Soul Action’s Network. We shot footage comparing the life of teenagers in Africa verses the UK (right), exploring violence against women, and an advert for the short term mission to Durban that Soul Survivor UK are planning for 2017.
What Rachel and I hadn’t considered was that at 15 Zac is now Soul Survivor’s target age, and so he was asked to say a line or two. By all accounts it turns out he is somewhat of a natural in front of camera.
Our friend Philile starring in the film comparing teenager's lives

Zac practising his lines at a derelict house and local township

An afterschool club at Lungisani indlela
A choir at World Changers

Roof tops in Madoni
 Children at Cottonlands Primary


No comments:

Post a Comment