Category Archives: Hot Topics

Stuff that upsets me, or that I am passionate about, stuff I want to push or want to change

Violins and Boys

After successfully completing my Suzuki violin teacher training with SASA I began teaching the violin in Limpopo, South Africa.

How exciting. In our little rural South African town where there is no theatre, not much culture actually happens. I really miss classical music and playing together with like minded people.

So I decided if there aren’t any colleagues around, I should train some up myself.

By now I have quite the little violin ensemble of enthusiastic young musicians, all of which are new beginners.

How exciting!

In order to keep ourselves motivated we should have the opportunity to perform, I reasoned. That is why on Saturday, July 1st, we are going to have a wonderful winter music concert. I am teaming up with a young lady teaching the piano, so her and my students will be performing at the best of their abilities.

And of course, I will be playing some much loved classics to entertain our audience as well.

Most of my students are boys, so we are going to play some rock music as well and some Orcs and Goblins. Its definitely not going to be boring.

Here is our program, what do you think?

Concert pieces

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Pray for Germany

Yesterday I took some time to make a Lebkuchenhaus with my little boys.

We have summer holidays here in South Africa. Nevertheless I want them to grow up with some of the German Christmas traditions I so cherish.

While the English do have something they call gingerbread it is not even close to true Lebkuchen. And we don’t really enjoy that burning ginger taste. Lebkuchen dough is made with honey and many spices and has to rest a few days before baking.

So yesterday we took the dough I prepared earlier from the fridge and started baking, decorating and assembling this little house.

While I go through length to preserve some true German Christmas tradition, Germany this year shocked me with throwing out these reminders of Christ in order to not offend Muslim migrants. Schools and Kindergartens were asked to refrain from singing Christmas carols and some Christmas markets were renamed into Winter market.

Last night there was an attack on a German Christmas market. 12 people were killed and 48 injured.

Why is Christmas, the story of a little baby boy being born as Gods promise for the salvation of mankind, so offensive to some? Why are Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere persecuted and killed for their faith?

Why do a nations leaders opt to repurpose Christmas instead of sharing this story of Gods humble decision to dwell amongst us as a child?

christmasThe forces of darkness can’t tolerate the messengers of light. Christmas always came at a price. We can ignore the persecution of Christians in the middle east until persecution is at our own doorstep or chose to help answer protest.

While Muslim nations forbid Christmas celebrations, German officials have congratulated Muslim immigrants to their religious holidays and then proceeded to repurpose Christmas markets as oriental bazaars and winter markets. Instead of teaching immigrants about Christianity and the values that made the European countries so attractive to migrants in the first place, German kids had to endure compulsory visits to mosques this year. There was very little resistance from churches, in fact leaders of state financed churches rose up to claim Allah and the God of the bible are the same. Christian refugees who often flee serious persecution in Muslim nations are being assaulted in Germany, the country they came to for safety. By Muslims, who are treated with utter cultural sensibility.

But there are many strong believers in Germany. Intercede for them to rise up, unashamed. There are pastors who are warning against Islamisation and face severe disciplinary actions against them.

Read more on how you can intercede for Germany here>

Pray for Germany: Intercession

Jesus came as a baby in the middle of persecution. Romans where pressing His people hard for taxes, the religious clergy had no answers, the Edomite king Herod slaughtered thousands of babies trying to kill Jesus and only angelic visitations provided Joseph with the necessary insight to bring his family into safety.

Since then, Christians have always been on the receiving end of persecution for what they believe. Although the message is one of love.

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His kingdom is not one of Earthly power and manipulation. Those who seek earthly fame will always hate those who proclaim eternal life.

God is just. I pray that Germany will reach out and preach the gospel to all those seeking shelter and refuge from the pain they tried to escape. I also pray that the country will not throw its pearls down the drain but conserve their Christian heritage and not tolerate persecution of Christianity within their borders.

‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?” Acts 7:49

Prepare your heart as a dwelling place for the Lord.

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Our Lebkuchenhaus.

 

 

 

 

That time we got stuck in Botswana

“At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in dream, and God said, ‘Ask for whatever you want me to give you’” (1 Kings 3:5 NIV).

Living in South Africa has at times been a paper war nightmare. As it is with a couple from two nationalities there is always more documentation, visas, and passports to constantly keep updated. This year I finally got my permanent residency permit. It took 6 years to get there. The home affairs offices changed procedure so many times, losing our applications when they moved office, sent it to the wrong place. At one occasion we had to type everything ourselves into the home affairs computer because the lady didn’t know how to operate a PC, then photograph the screenshot and email it to the Pretoria office!

In the process we became so knowledgeable in this area that we have been able to help quite a number of binational couples with their paper work.

On one of these visa occasions, we submitted the application for my South African visa and were waiting for it to be issued. After a couple of visits to the local Home Affairs office, it was just a matter of waiting for the visa to arrive. We were told we westerners are just too impatient! Two weeks before the expiry of the current visa the officer assured us that there would be no problem—we should just remain patient, which we were. The week the visa expired, we went back to the department to find that all the staff was on a training course in a different city placing them out of office for at least three weeks! This posed to be quite a problem for us, because the immigration department in our region was very strict and we knew this would mean trouble or even deportation as in the case of many other people in similar situations.

The long and short of the matter was that the immigration department advised us to go through a border and come back, and they would give us an automatic three-month extension. This sounded like a plan. We decided to go through to Botswana, pass through the border, and come back and get the three-month extension. We packed and left the next morning. After traveling for about two and a half hours, we reached the border post. We had entered through it, but to our amazement, the immigration officer refused to allow me back into the country because of my expired visa! We were stuck in Botswana and had to make another plan. We prayed and felt we should go to another border post, which was very far. We had no Botswana currency and little to drink, and it was an extremely hot day. There was no shop at the border post and no town or settlement nearby.

We traveled very far to the other border post only to receive the same bad news when we arrived. This border post was literally in the middle of nowhere; apart from some chickens and a few men with machine guns there was nothing. It was so dry the ground was burned; there were a few dusty bushes and a shack, but nothing else.

Here are some pictures I took that day. They cant possibly capture the heat, the dust, the thirst and the feeling of totally depending on God to get out of that.

As we stood behind the counter and wondered what to do next, the immigration officer did a double take and called us over. He asked me who I was and explained that he had dreamt about me the previous night. In the dream, he continued, I spoke Afrikaans to him. So although I had been in South Africa for just 6 months, thinking on my feet, I quickly switched to speaking Afrikaans with him and it made him obviously very happy. (I had watched some Afrikaans TV shows just to help me learn the language). He was so happy about it that he gave me a one-year extension on the visa, which is quite an extraordinary thing on its own, and he helped us through. We just praised the Lord as we came through!

Overjoyed that we would be able to come home, we also experienced God’s provision in regards to fuel. The BMW we drove at the time gave us on average about 650 km per tank of fuel. Well, that day we drove 1,280km on one tank and unbelievably pulled into the gas station on the last fumes. Hallelujah! God is good!

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A majestic Baobab Tree we passed on our adventurous trip through Botswana.

 

 

“Then God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and said to him, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad” (Gen. 31:24 NIV).

 

 

This and many more testimonies of adventures with the Lord you find in our book

wpid-wpid-91im2p9hj5l-_sl720_.jpgThe Powerful Impact of a Spirit Led Life.

You can download it for kindle or order the paperback book.

Both would make us very happy!

The book is also available in German translation.

 

 

Prophetic Words 2017

INTRODUCTION  We are excited to bring you this year’s God Said 2017! The Lord has once again given words of great encouragement, wisdom and prayer directives for the next season. The prophetic word…

Source: Prophetic Words 2017

A South African Peter and the Wolf

As 2016 comes to a close, I want to delight you with our very own South African version of the classical children’s ballet Peter and the Wolf. My 4 and 5 year olds at preschool practiced very hard to perform it for you. My own little Samuel, 4 yrs, wanted to be a cat, and Steven, 7, helped out with light effects. Enjoy and comment if you like.

 

Time Management and Social Media

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Traveling with my husband ministering at prophetic events.

Our oldest started grade 1 this year! How exciting, and how challenging at the same time.

 

Finding my feet and my place in the “mom collective” at our son’s school hasn’t been easy. I grew up and studied in Germany, the South African way of doing school is absolutely different from what I knew as school. Even the things 1st graders do here are different!

Plus, although I do my best mastering the Afrikaans language, it does happen that my son comes home from school with a word I have never ever heard of before. Enter social media. It is super nice to be able to quickly WhatsApp the teacher a picture of the word in question and get a prompt reply.

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Vetkoek filled with mince

Or when its fundraiser day and its my turn to make and sell vetkoek and mince.

How wonderful to quickly be able to google the recipe and do my part to fundraise for new toys and playground equipment. I probably baked 200 of those…

 

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Our upcoming preschool concert has me sewing costumes, cutting backing tracks and rehearsing scenes of Peter and the Wolf. Fun!

As far as blogging goes, between running a preschool, teaching our churches children’s church, giving violin lessons and playing in our worship band, blogging sure takes a back seat. But I definitely daily take the time to check the news and stay current. And this can be done really, really easy using twitter.

@chrisvanheerden

In talking with several wonderful friends recently I found that many people do not know how to really take advantage of the social networking microblogging service.

There are gazillions of Christians out there with twitter accounts of about 36 followers, and since there is never anything cool to read, they often haven’t been on twitter for month or even years.

And of course you get those who follow 7199 people and the content on their timeline is so confusing that it would take quite long to find out what’s current and important.

Apart from the search function in twitter that lets you see the currently trending #hashtags (anything that is moving people in that moment in the country you chose to search there is another way to curate your twitter content.

You can sort accounts that have a specific contend into lists.

A list is a curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others.

That means you do not even have to follow all of the celebrities you like to stay in the loop with. Just create a list called Celebs and add anyone you are a fan of into that list. Later, if you want some celebrity news, just open that specific list.

Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list.

That’s how I can see all important international news at a glance without having to scroll through a thousand people’s interesting but more trivial comments first.

Here are a view examples of lists I compiled.

At the end of this blog I will teach you how to create your own lists.

If you don’t have to take the time to create a lot of lists, you could simply subscribe to already compiled lists like my NEWS list:

 

I also made a view other lists with interesting content of people who wont be very likely to follow me back but are interesting to follow (without really hitting “follow”)

Kingom (Christian personalities and ministries)

VIPs, like heads of state

and so on. You are welcome to subscribe to any of my list to save you time.

 

As a rule of thumb, I follow people who follow me, people who have interesting content and are willing to interact. And then I list those that are too high and mighty to follow back but who are important enough to be of interest.

This way, it takes only 3 min to scan through anything newsworthy, helping this busy mom to stay in the loop!

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Using Twitter lists (in Twitter’s own words)

To create a list on Twitter for iOS:

  1. From the Me tab, tap the gear icon 
  2. Select View lists.
  3. Tap the plus iconto create a new list.
  4. Select a name for your list, and a short description of the list. The default setting for your list is public (anyone can subscribe to the list). To make the list only accessible to you, slide the switch next to Private to on.
  5. Tap Save.

To create a list on Twitter for Android:

  1. In the top menu, you will either see a navigation menu icon  or your profile icon. Tap whichever icon you have, then select Lists.
  2. Tap the plus iconto create a new list.
  3. Select a name for your list, and a short description of the list. The default setting for your list is public (anyone can subscribe to the list). To make the list only accessible to you, tap the checkbox next to Keep private.

 

I hope this helped you a little! See you on twitter!

 

Christiane

 

 

 

Olli the Clown visiting our little preschool

20150529_110922 20150529_11093020150529_111538Ever since moving to South Africa, and to such a small town in the rural province of Liompopo in particular, I missed the culture and events of a big city. So at every opportunity we are trying to organize fun events for our children and the students of our preschool. This week we all had a lot of fun having Ollie the Clown come and visit and do a DVD recording at the school. For most of my learners this was the first time they had ever seen a clown. What a joy to watch them smile! A big thank you to @Olliedienar the singing clown.20150529_112009 IMG_20150529_094103 IMG_20150529_125555 1432899656554 IMG_20150529_125555 20150529_104444

Do locusts make a wholesome toddler snack?

Whoa, I was quickly googling a snack idea for sundays toddler church lesson on John the Baptist and much to my surprise I got soooo much suggestionslocust on John the Baptist, the Snack.

Cool I will try out one of them that looks the least sticky.

We always have very hands on toddler services on sunday so this should be fun. no real locusts, obviously. Mommies wouldnt approve.

We might have never had kids …

Time to be thankful. Steven is now 6 years old and a healthy, happy boy. Do you know that we almost never had him?

In the video you see him as a healthy 3 month old baby. Which is amazing, considering the fact that he was a preemie born 7 weeks early.
With a 3 kg fibroid I was told I would have to have a hysterectomy.
We so much wanted kids. I was already 28 years old when we got married, considering that my now husband worked in South Africa and I held a job in Stuttgart, Germany, we took our time to pray about that big decision. When I hit 32 and we still had not fallen pregnant  (I never used any contraception my entire life) we decided to consult a specialist.
The doctors here in South Africa saw no chance for that. We had made a 5 hour journey from rural South Africa to Pretoria to consult with fertility specialists at the Femina clinic. They were very concerned and wanted to immediately schedule a removal of my womb since I had this huge fibroid.

Taking a moment in the park at the Union buildings in Pretoria, we were very devastated at the news. But I knew God’s command to be fruitful. This couldn’t be the end of the road. Instead I felt we should immediately go to a christian book store and get something that would motivate us in this sad moment.

I picked up the book supernatural childbirth by Jackie Mize and began reading and believing. I read it out loud to my husband all the way back to Louis Trichardt. All those scripture verses about God’s promises of offspring really lifted our faith. So we tried again and within 2 month we fell pregnant.

My gynae told me not to get excited at all, she predicted the pregnancy would not go full term. At 12 weeks I began bleeding. At 14 weeks there was heavy leakage, I was hospitalized and told to terminate as there was visibly on sonar no more fluid left in the womb.

I talked to my unborn child and told Steven to hold on and promised him he would be able to swim a lot later. I prayed 2 days non stop. The doctors tried to convince me to terminate, saying his lungs and kidneys and brain might be too damaged. But of course that would be a decision that a mother cannot take. I was at peace, if this baby couldn’t hold on he would go and be with Jesus, fine. But I would fight for his life!

After 48 hrs the water had come back and a specialized gynae said she could see how there is scar tissue on my placenta where it could have been torn. At 30 weeks I went into labour, with the help of Adalat the doctors tried to stall contractions for one more week while I received steroids to strenghten babies lungs.

At 31 weeks Steven was born via C-section, 2 days later we had to go home since we couldn’t pay further medical costs. South Africa is really tough that way.

Steven one day after his birth. A strong and happy 1.8 kg baby born at 31 weeks breathing and nursing perfectly,
Steven one day after his birth. A strong and happy 1.8 kg baby born at 31 weeks breathing and nursing perfectly,

Steven was breathing and nursing perfectly and overcame a slight jaundice rather quick and today he is a happy healthy child.

can you believe how tiny he was?
can you believe how tiny he was?

I had the fibroid removed by the only doctor we could find in South Africa who would do it on a 3kg sized growth, everyone else wanted to perform a hysterectomy. 1 year later I fell pregnant and delivered a healthy baby at 38 weeks. Wow thank you Jesus!

Our two big boys!
Our two big boys! There is a PayPal link of you want to drop them something little to say Hi.

You can help: Comfort boxes for kids testifying in court: going into the second year.

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:

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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.

20141110_130032_resizedIt 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.

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At the Magistrate Court in Sibasa. Children often have not had anything to eat or drink when they arrive in the morning. often trials take more than 4 hours. Our boxes give the children something to occupy themselves with during waiting times.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
A typical comfort box contains a snack, juice, new stuffed toy (that was cuddled and blessed to carry some comfort before putting into the box), a book, sticker or colouring activity, toys for boys or girls.
A typical comfort box contains a snack, juice, new stuffed toy (that was cuddled and blessed to carry some comfort before putting into the box), a book, sticker or colouring activity, toys for boys or girls.

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.

Christiane van Heerden

Check out my blog for the option to support with a paypal donation

Comfort Boxes in the Newspaper

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015

wishesI want to thank all of my readers and subscribers for your support during this challenging, wonderful year.

I am thankful for the wonderful impact our court care boxes had on the work of the court staff and young survivors.

I am happy for a year of preparing preschoolers for “big school”. What a privilege.

I am thankful for my church being a beacon of light in the community.

Thanks for your interest in not only the easy and beautiful but also the trying and plain sad realities of life.

I trust that we were able to bring relief to a lot of suffering children here in South Africa and to be of encouragement to every one who is using their life to bring encouragement and add love and hope to others.

Have a great time “between the years” as we say in Germany.

Love, Christiane

wpid-wpid-91im2p9hj5l-_sl720_.jpgPS If you are interested in learning more about my spiritual background and want to read some 60+ amazing testimonies of God’s supernatural interference in our life I recommend you get a copy of our ebook or paperback on amazon.com. This would also support us for future projects as we are always operating on a very tight budget and the needs greatly exceed the available funds – as everyone experiences who wants to make a difference! :-)))

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Inspirational words for 2015

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Words for your nation.

Christmas baking with the kids

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My baby turned 3 and had a fun clown themed party! Although we had power cuts all day we had a lot of fun with the little friends.

Yippeh,

in between moving classes and preparing for next year’s new students and publishing a new book we managed to get some Christmas activities going.

Although it’s very very hot and humid right now in South Africa and we constantly had power cuts we had fun baking German Christmas cookies and making fudge. I never made fudge before and just loved it! I simply followed the instructions of a great blogger at http://www.wineandglue.com/2014/02/mint-chocolate-fudge.html that someone had posted on facebook and voila, here is my own home made mint and chocolate fudge:

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With my cell phone I quickly snapped and edited some pics of what we made and printed them as handy gift tags for our confectionery.

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baking5

I changed the recipe slightly and crushed some dinner mints (those that moms have hand bags full of) in a plastic bag and slightly melted them then added them to the white chocolate mix. Yumm!

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ready to go cookie and fudge parcels for friends and relatives
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our Christmas kitchen!
I hope you enjoyed this little peek into our Christmas kitchen!

Social Development in South Africa

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.

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We built our facilities ourselves. Training the educators is becoming essential. It is not simply about information and curriculum but to convey a heart that will take initiate, put in extra hours and pay out of ones own pocket. Unfortunately that is not very common in the African community.

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.

Boy died in School pit toilet

Mom blames school for death of child

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The learners in our churches own preschool are very blessed to have a clean, state-of-the-art environment with bathroom and kitchen facilities up to highest international standards. We want to be an example to other churches who want to establish their own preschools to address the urgent need in the South African rural communities of appropriate child care and learning centers.

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.

New courtboxes delivered to the intermediaries

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. _MG_2816 _MG_2818 courtboxesThe 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! _MG_2826a

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End of Year Fun, Stress and Success

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German mommy in South Africa!
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My sons love going fishing with their daddy.

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!

My husband and my oldest son opening the concert: A trip to the bushveld
My husband and my oldest son opening the concert: A trip to the bushveld
Chatting to the parents about how well their kids did this year
Chatting to the parents about how well their kids did this year
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Little Sam had so much fun praising the Lord that this shot by reporter Isabel Venter made it to picture of the week in the local Zoutpansberger newspaper!

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.

We will miss our children that leave to the "big school"! I have done a lot of training recently to fully understand the SA Department of Educations approach to early learning and we are happy to say that we live up the the highest standards.
We will miss our children that leave to the “big school”! I have done a lot of training recently to fully understand the SA Department of Educations approach to early learning and we are happy to say that we live up the the highest standards.
Proud students, proud parents. The kids got many certificates!
Proud students, proud parents. The kids got many certificates!
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One of our young graduates.
Showing of strength! I love to build confidence in young kids.
Showing of strength! I love to build confidence in young kids.

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I let each child of the oldest class perform a little speech on their own.
I let each child of the oldest class perform a little speech on their own.
the mighty Lions class performing
the mighty Lions class performing
Chatting to the parents about how well their kids did this year
Chatting to the parents about how well their kids did this year
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courtesy of Isabel Venter, Zoutpansberger regional newspaper
Baby Kateko, our youngest student, had a ball being on stage.
Baby Kateko, our youngest student, had a ball being on stage.
Young performer
Young performer

Care Boxes in the local paper

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Thanks to everyone who helped making this possible.

We delivered care boxes to 6 different district magistrate courts and helped many under aged victims of abuse in testifying at court.

Sorry for my short posts. I am busy writing reports for my students at preschool most of them will enter formal school next year. I will keep you posted on our preschool concert and everything!

So proud of hubby!!!

andriesbookIt is just so amazing! The dream becoming finally a printed reality, a few days before my husband’s birthday.

Lots and lots of work and more than 2 decades of full-time ministry experience in the pastoral and prophetic went into this practical handbook on how to learn to pick up the things God wants to communicate to His people. This book covers dreams, vision, angels and so much more. Just so happy it became a reality. How boring is Christianity when there is only a one-way talk happening: the church talks to God and does not know how to listen for an answer … enjoy! Available on amazon as paperback or kindle version. Yippeh!!!!

A must-have handbook on how to tune into the voice of God!

New Comfort Boxes for Child Abuse Survivors

IMG-20141110-WA0003_resizedYes, 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.

20141110_134747_resizedWe 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.

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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.

boxesOn 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!

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Yippeh, we just published our first book!!!

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Click here for your paperback copy!
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Click here to get your kindle copy!

Yippeh! I am sooo happy that in between raising two young and very busy sons, pastoring a church, managing a preschool and doing various charity work, my husband and I were finally able to complete our first book together!

This book is born out of the amazing things we have experienced in our daily walk with God in a nation that has many challenges. With so much crime and no real social security, we need to hear God’s voice so much more.

God talks, wants to warn and advise and encourage you! Dreams, visions, the bible, prophetic insight popping up in your spirit when you pray, we talk about how you can fine tune into God’s voice.

This book contains more than 60 exciting stories and events in our lives where God spoke things we couldn’t possibly know through human understanding alone, and how God uses a sensitive believer to impact the lives of others. Your personal faith will be built up, we will make you rush back to your bible to see if God really does all we quote from the book of books, and you will be so motivated to listen to Him with a new expectancy of getting answers. Thanks for buying our book, you are supporting our work in Southern Africa.

You are welcome to check out www.emmanuellife.org for more information.

Since amazon has different platforms for different nations, you are welcome to browse on your respective amazon site for our names or book title and download the book onto your kindle or kindle app from there! Look for “The Powerful Impact of a Spirit Led Life”or Andries van Heerden or Christiane van Heerden.

Ipromon the meantime we have also published a compilation of prophetic words for 2015 available here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QW3A252 check it out! Especially inspiring for South African entrepreneurs and educators.

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Andries and Christiane van Heerden are senior pastors of Emmanuel Church in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo, South Africa. Besides impacting their own community in areas of ministry, education and charity work they travel to nations around the globe to inspire believers to really listen to God’s voice for a more effective impact into their communities. They enjoy raising their two sons, Steven and Samuel. For more information on their church and ministry check http://www.emmanuellife.org/