The earliest reference to Christmas being marked on Dec. 25 comes from the second century after Jesus’ birth. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter solstice—the return of the sun—and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect. Christmas developed, one scholar says, as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. The church fathers of old wanted to put Christian stamps on old rituals. They thought the feast of the winter solstice, when the days get longer again, would be a good time to celebrate that…
This year I had so little time to blog because while the normal tasks continued, preschool, charity, church work, raising 2 boys, I was working hard to translate our book into German. Voila, its done! Learn about dreams, visions, angels and the prophetic, now also in German! Available in English or German on Amazon. Ebook or paperback.
Over the last couple of years renowned prophetic voices in South Africa have been gathering together to hear God’s voice concerning the coming year. From this the God Said Series was born.
Since its inception, God’s instruction and words concerning South Af-rica and key nations were given. The accuracy of the words has been pro-found and given many a strategy to prepare.
Truly the words of King Jehoshaphat have been proven true when he said to Judah:
2 Chronicles 20:20 “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Be-lieve in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
The prophets gathered again in the beginning of August 2015 to receive the word of the Lord for 2016. We are encouraged to see that some of these words have already come into fulfilment. We believe that you will be empowered to pray…
Being such an international family ourselves, my husband and his brother had some fun with the local congregation in Uganda teaching them the happy Afrikaans classic Almal wat die Here lief het staan maar nader… Everyone that loves the Lord, come closer!
In April last year we were lucky enough to personally meet with the world famous Jessica the hippo who lives partially wild but choses to visit people once a day for a drink of Rooibos tea. National Geographic and many other channels did documentaries on this amazing hippo so I dont have to say much, here are some links to some professional documentaries
Jessica the hippo has become an international sensation.
Rescued in the 2000 floods in Limpopo when she was only a few hours old, her story has touched many.
So last year we went to Mpumalanga and had a lot of fun meeting Jessica, learning about her story and feeding her sweet potatoes.
Here is a clip of our amazing interaction with Jessica
Jessica is a 10year old female Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) who lives near Hoedspruit – South Africa. What makes Jessica so special and unique, is the…
Sjoe, is what we say in Afrikaans when we are shocked, amazed, impressed. Sjoe did my 5 year old just stumble over an elephant. How did that happen.
We took our sons to have an interaction with rescued elephants at the African Elephant Whispers rescue center in Hazyview, Mpumalanga.
For those seeking a unique and memorable wildlife encounter, an Elephant Interaction and Ride at Elephant Whispers is an exciting and touching experience not to be missed.
Situated in the Sandford Conservancy on the banks of the Sabie River in Hazyview, Mpumalanga, Elephant Whispers offers an Elephant Experience of a lifetime which will leave you with a renewed respect and admiration for these gentle giants of Africa.
The kids really loved the animal interaction a lot!
The Elephant lied down so we could see him close up, feed him and pat him. Steven, then 5, decided he wants to spontaneously jump…
Once off projects are great. Having a sustainable community running for its second year is awesome.
Our project has so far provided over 170 victims of child abuse with a box of comfort while awaiting their testimony at court. Here is what it is all about:
In my work as a pastor and counselor at Emmanuel Church Louis Trichardt and headmistress of Emmanuel Kinderland preschool I have come to work with many people who themselves were survivors of abuse or came on behalf of a close friend or relative who had suffered through sexual abuse and rape.
As you are well aware of South Africa has a devastatingly high rate of rape, wikipedia talks about the highest rape rate in the world.
The SAPS statistics report that there were 64,514 sexual offenses reported to the police in South Africa in 2012 alone of which over 45% percent where child rapes. However, variable reports claim that only 1 in 9 or 1 in 25 rapes actually get reported. This means that the numbers could actually run up to 1,548,336 rapes every year
This means that someone is raped as often as every 4 minutes
Interpol has named South Africa the “Rape Capital of the World”
The greatest increase in sexual crimes is against infants and children under the age of seven (Rape Statistics South Africa & Worldwide 2011 www.rape.co.za) 50% of South Africa’s children will be abused before the age of 18. 85% of them will be by perpetrators known to the child. It is crucial that perpetrators will be identified and severely punished.
When predators get away with it, it will happen again and again. 40%percent of South African men have raped for the first time when they were under aged themselves. Why is it possible? Cases do not get to court and when they do, it can mean a potentially traumatizing experience to the child and the family. In many rural communities to report abuse means to risk ones life. Houses get burned down and families ostracized for telling on the criminal. It is crucial that cases do go to court as to send a clear message that abuse is not acceptable.
Most rapists are serial rapists. Seeing them severely punished for their crime acts as a deterrent for other potential rapists while every one that “gets away” is per implication an encouragement in his social circles to others to keep doing the same.
There are so many facets where we need to be involved in to start preventing these crimes.
We as Emmanuel Church and community need to do our utmost to make the conditions for survivors testifying as bearable as possible.
I am asking church members, parents of our preschool and community members to assist in putting together comfort boxes for children testifying in court, as these parcels can provide a minimum of comfort to a child in such a stressful situation.
It generally is a big struggle to get child abuse cases to trial, as the young girls are being shamed and not supported by the local culture. Also, at court the young abuse survivors face many challenges. Long hours of waiting, having never met their intermediaries before, testifying, often 3 hours of cross examinations are just a few of the challenges. The children are often spending an entire day at court without having even had a breakfast. The children are often nervous and shy. When they are not able to establish proper communication and to prove that they actually say the truth, the case gets dismissed and the offender cannot be judged.
Often the girls and boys (we make special boxes for boys) will be too shy and close up totally so their testimony can not be validated and subsequently the case cannot go into trial.
I came up with the method of using care boxes to help the children relax.
The box contains a new, cute stuffed toy to immediately help the intermediary form a connection with the child.
The box contains a high quality fruit juice and some snacks to help keep the child alert during a long and hard trial.
Furthermore there are crayons, colouring books and sticker activities to help the children bridge times where the court is in recess or formalities need to be followed up with, which can talke an hour or more.
All items are all new and the fruit juice and snack are high quality. The box is closed with a sticker (picture provided) that says you are special and indicates whether the box is for a boy or a girl.
We have handed out over 100 boxes in 2014 of the value of 70 -100 Rand each. This year we have been able to make 70 boxes so far. We are weekly informed by the intermediaries working with the children in court on how many boxes have been handed out and what the age and gender of the children is, to ensure we provide for the right needs. Monthly we need about 30 to 40 boxes as they go to the different Magistrate Courts in the are such as Sibasa, Waterval, Musina etc. This project has been developed with the approval of the SA Department of Justice.
Your assistance in providing juices, snacks, colouring in and sticker activity books, stuffed toys and sweets is highly appreciated.
STEVEN(5) drew this for me all by himself (when I wasn’t even around) and explained what it is: on the top are two praying hands embracing a heart. Underneath is Jesus. Steven says: Prayer is the string that brings Jesus into our heart.
Stevens message is pretty powerful coming from such a young heart. It really touched me that’s why I thought I would share it with you today.
Summer! The school has closed, everyone else seems to have gone to the sea, South Africa is in summer holiday mode. We are renovating the church a little and are so happy to have published a few books. Not just our own book about how to hear God’s voice better in your daily Christian walk, but also prophetic words for the coming season. My husband is part of the South African Prophetic round table who meet annually to pray and seek God for inspirational words. I had the privilege to edit and layout their words into two beautiful new booklets, one containing words for the nations and one more specifically for 2015. You can easily order them online at amazon both as print book and ebook. The costs are really low and just cover expenses. We want to get the words out so they inspire as many as possible to pray for South Africa and the nations. Find the links on amazon here:
I am part of the Prophetic Round Table of South Africa who comes together annually for a time of concentrated prayer and meditation on the voice of God .
I am so happy to finally offer you the entire series of the words received since 2011 available on kindle and paperback.
I want to especially recommend God said: The Nations, an exciting book containing Prophetic words for South Africa plus detailed words for many specific nations and continents. Click on the books to get to the amazon website. You can also find them on the amazon sites of your nations whether you are in Europe, Asia, America or Australia.
Recently I attended a Seminar about CAPS, the new National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. This is basically a new nation wide attempt to provide a comprehensive curriculum for grade R (similar to grade K in the US) to grade 12.
During the seminar we learned about the current state of education in South Africa. It is so sad that for many children there are no or only substandard learning facilities available. Many schools and teachers in the rural areas lack initiative to improve anything on school grounds out of their own pocket. The schools and preschools that are running well often do so because the teachers invest a great amount of their own salary on making their own teaching apparatus and parents pitch in to help buy new toys and paint classrooms, for example. I have too often observed the African community simply waiting for handouts. When talking to the teachers in rural areas which we often do when going to underprivileged schools, it is apparent that the teachers, who earn in many cases more than double my income, are not really willing to invest anything into their own schools. Also it is a long long process to bring a mind set change where teachers use their own smart phones and tablets to start educating themselves about what is international standard.
We trust God and pray and do our best to inspire teachers and ministers of the African communities around us for making changes in 2015. There must be a huge improvement in education and in the available resources. Many schools without basic resources like chairs will need to see the parents coming together and saying “Let us make chairs”. The parents will be coming on board and take initiative instead of the previous passivity there must be active parent involvement.
Churches play an essential role in community upliftment. The province where we are living and working is the poorest one in South Africa. many schools rely on feeding schemes by churches to feed their students. my husband and I oversee 17 other churches in this province including many African churches. We see that the African churches often struggle with moral issues and are trying to encourage them to get involved in community programmes to help assist the education sector.
More churches will establish their own schools resulting in more involvement from businesses supporting church based schools to help them to continue with that. There will also be moral initiatives from churches going into schools. Churches will use local media and create educational upliftment and holiday programs. Christian programs will help children over the holidays where children who usually got food from the schools will be provided with nourishment.
If you want to help us do so, you can send a donation here.
Every penny helps, as we are currently really tight on resources.
On Sunday November 16th I had the big privilige to hand over 40 more court care boxes to magistrate court representatives Mulaudzi Mukondeleli and Ntabisini Dzivhani visiting our church. 40 more boxes will be delivered once these are all given out to the young witnesses of assault. The court representatives were so excited about our practical help. Ntabisini then proceeded to share with our senior class in children’s church about the dangers of abuse and how to avoid abusive situations and help friends who can not help themselves. Definitely not your average sunday school topic but since the Limpopo province has such high numbers of child abuse, we can not shut our eyes. On that sunday we also launched our first book, so we have been keeping really, really busy!
South Africa is so different from Germany in many aspects. In Germany, just like in the US or Canada, our school year ends in July. You graduate in July and you start school again in September. In August you generally rest. Then, when you start school and work again in September, you get to rest at the end of year during Christmas and New Years, before starting the year again in January.
In South Africa, the year lasts from January to December without any major interruptions. In November all the reports need to be written, and what ever needs to be done has to be finished by the end of November because December is the big summer holiday. I find it to be a very long stretch of hard work culminating into a high pressure November. I tried to to find some resting points in between like going fishing with my boys but boy, am I tired right now!
I was so happy to be able to do a big preschool graduation concert with our school. Every child received a detailed report on their development and the milestones they reached. Since I am trained in child development (MA) this was quite a thorough report and many hours were spent accessing each learner. We are so proud of the fact that all our preschool graduates have been accepted into good schools after doing really well in the application interviews.
Here are some impressions from the concert for you to enjoy.
Yes, the road to recovery is a long one. Yes, a box full of helpful comforting items is just a tiny stepping stone on that long road of healing. but it is an important one, as this box aids the young children’s capacity to testify in the Magistrate court against their abusers.
You probably are already familiar with the high child abuse statistics in the Limpopo Province South Africa, where every 3 min a child is raped.
Listen to this letter of the Intermediary at the Magistrate court, Salome Phaho, in which she wrote me this morning: (the style reflects the local tone of communication in South Africa)
“Beloved am delighted to hear we receiving new boxes again, am already jumping with the joy of the Lord which has given me strength. I am already looking forward to welcome those victims knowing they will receive full support and comfort from the Lord through those gifts.
I am amazed by the love you have for the vulnerable which to many whose eyes of understanding the Lord haven’t yet enlightened, the story still remains the “same”, they should have been careful enough or could have prevented it somehow and you ask yourself but how since some victims are hardly a year old.”
She refers to the care boxes I am making up with the help of friends and church members.
We will be handing out about 30 -40 more boxes soon of the value of 70 -100 Rand each.
It generally is a big struggle to get child abuse cases to trial, as the young girls are being shamed and not supported by the local culture, as you could read in the letter above. Also, at court the young abuse survivors face many challenges. Long hours of waiting, having never met their intermediaries before, testifying, often 3 hours of cross examinations are just a few of the challenges.
Often the girls and boys (we make special boxes for boys too) will be too shy and close up totally so their testimony can not be validated and subsequently the case cannot go into trial.
I came up with the method of using care boxes to help the children relax. The box contains a new, cute stuffed toy to immediately help the intermediary form a connection with the child. The box contains a high quality fruit juice and some snacks to help keep the child alert during a long and hard trial. Furthermore there are crayons, colouring books and sticker activities to help the children bridge times where the court is in recess or formalities need to be followed up with, which can talke an hour or more.
On Sunday November 9 we had a court staff member testify in our church on the huge impact these boxes have in calming the children, how they can hold on to their toy and how their concentration has improved. The court also uses the crayons and colouring books to help verify if the child understands the concepts of truth and lie which is essential to the testimony being accepted in court.
The juices and snacks are so important as the children often come hungry and tire quickly during trial.
I am so thankful we can hand out these boxes as a powerful tool to court staff who can connect and communicate easier with the children that way.
I am thankful to everybody who brought a teddy, snacks, crayons, stickers or money to make this possible.
All boxes contain a message saying: You are special!
We are very grateful for the kind words Anita Giovannoni of Crocus ministries Johannesburg had to say about our new book, The Powerful Impact of a Spirit Led Life.
Anita writes in her Foreword:
“It has been so refreshing to read this publication. Andries and Christiane have managed to clearly explain how the Holy Spirit works within us, in the process clearing up many misconceptions about how God speaks. It is wonderful to have each chapter backed with personal testimonies to cement each gift. This gives us such a clear view of how God works with and through the authors, and potentially with all of us. Andries’s prophetic gift is certainly very sharp. To be honest, this book has spurred me on to hear clearer, move quicker and be more useful to the Holy Spirit.
Having known Andries for many years I know that he is always on “spiritual duty”…
Today we took our preschoolers on a hiking trip into our nearby fantastic Soutpansberg mountains in northern Limpopo, South Africa! I had been teaching my 4 year olds about space, the globe, Africa, and our place on the map and now we went to check out geography by ourselves. Lots of excitement and many happy faces!
The local mountain biking club developed some great trails that lead over mountain streams and through beautiful forrestry. The kids loved to stop and listen to the murmur of the water, the bird song and the wind! Hiking with 2-5 year olds must be about fun, different textures and a stimulating environment. A lot of children have never been to this mountain let alone have ever hiked, so this was real great exposure to a new experience.
My husband and I build a big jungle gym-castle for our churches kids. A lot of people from other schools came and asked for the construction plans and costs. Churches can mobilize volunteers to do amazing things that otherwise would cost fortunes.In fact, churches are THE experts in raising armies of volunteers who could change the world.
Hi there, dear cherished audience.
The “likes” on a wordpress blog do not necessarily represent the audience we are actually reaching with our scribblings. I am delighted to know a lot of people from the South African educational reform community as well as interested entrepreneurs have been reading up on my opinionated evaluation of the trouble with the South African educational system in my previous posts!
Some commented on twitter how a government subsidized free education system could create a sense of entitlement counter productive to the sense of self-responsibility we are trying…
Our young dancers have started work on a dance drama Jan Venter and I developed a while ago, and I am positive this is going to be instrumental in raising awareness in young men and women that we’re all responsible to intervene and prevent abuse!
check my post about the topic here.
We had decided to go and visit specific classes at separate visits to bring specific aid to the different departments. There are 360 learners at the school and it is impossible to bring something for everyone at one visit.
Today we went to visit grade R-3.
With the help of friends from our church and Hope for Limpopo and using my own ressources I had purchased different educational materials such as CD players, educational CDs ranging from sound effects such as weather and animal noises to nursery rhymes, stories and songs. I also made shape, number and letter sorting boxes that can be used by deaf and blind children alike since the letters are made from wooden shapes that must be matched to the appropriate shape fixed to the box.
I had also been making several educational tools myself such as letters and numbers to feel and match.
We brought modelling clay, toy animals, puzzles, toys, clothes and blankets. The children enjoyed me singing a few songs with them and Roelien handed out some sweets for everybody.
We went to the very drab and depressing dorm rooms to take measurements for the mattresses we are going to order for the children.
I so hope we can find some sponsors to help renovate this boarding school for the visually, hearing and physically impaired children!