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.
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.
"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
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.
- 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
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