Sep 2014

Phelps News - August 2014

1. Zambia
Colin was in Zambia for two weeks at the beginning of August for regional leaders meetings, the annual OM Love Africa Conference, and involved in two leadership development training events. Praise God for a fruitful time of ministry.
 
2. Mamelodi
Grietjie had the privilege of training 30 plus nursery school teachers from Mamelodi basic bookkeeping and financial planning. The feedback was positive and she is hoping to be able to help some of them further.

3. Upcoming events
2014 is rushing to the end and I have a trip to Germany on the 7
th of September for meetings regarding the Leadership Matters Course and to spend some time with my European equivalent.

We are trusting God for the finances to head to Cape Town at the end of September for a break.

October has various ministry opportunities in Pretoria

November is the Leadership Matters Course in Zambia as well as training trainers meetings and another possible meeting in Zimbabwe in early December.

Please pray for wisdom, strength and God’s provision.

4. Financial update 
God is good! All of the time! Earlier in the year we found ourselves in a particularly difficult financial situation. God has been good and our situation is much improved. There are challenges and we are trusting God for his continued provision as we plan for next year.  Please pray with us for His ongoing provision.

5. Teenagers in ministry
In our last news letter I mentioned the kids' involvement in Eastside Community Church's holiday club ministries. They've subsequently written reflections on their experiences and I've included them below. Thank God for His work in their lives.

Thank you again for your partnership in the Gospel.

Colin for the family.

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Caroline’s account of “Trailer Ministry Adventures.”
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Hi I am Caroline Phelps, I want to tell you about Trailer Ministry. Trailer Ministry is something that my church has done for the past five years. Our church does a holiday club during the winter holidays. A team from the church then volunteers to do Trailer Ministry and take the holiday club to a church in a rural area. This year we went to Wallmansthall to a church called Praise Tabernacle. The pastor's name is Henrika. The way Trailer Ministry works is that we are asked to come and run a holiday club program. The condition is that the host church has a group of volunteers that we can train so that they can run holiday club on their own later. This Trailer Ministry ran from 6th July to 11th July 2014.

Our team consisted of myself, team leader Gray, Bongani, Dave a leader at my youth group, Gina another of the leaders at my youth group, Catlin a friend from my youth, Taylor a visiting American, Taryn one of the youth members and later on Stacy a member of our church. (Colson was supposed to be with us but he got sick).

So on the 6th, the Sunday, we went to the service and the church prayed for us. At the end of service we were packed and ready to go. The drive to Wallmansthall is about an hour. We got there in time for their morning service, I couldn't attend because Colson was feeling sick so I sat with him until our dad came to pick him up. After the service we unpacked what we needed for supper and unpacked the cars of our sleeping stuff.

The program for the whole week was wake up at about seven thirty and have a coffee and rusks so we could be ready to leave at eight. Then we would go to the soccer field that was to be our 'stage'. Once we arrived we unpacked the breakfast stuff. We would have devotions with the 'home team' then we would divide into our different teams: drama, upfront and age groups. When the children started to arrive we would keep the ones that came early busy until we started with the program. We bagan with worship, then the drama and then age group activities. After age group time we gave them lunch after which we had a closing session. Then we would have a soccer game and side line ministry. On average we would had about fifty kids a day. We had from preschoolers to high school kids.

On Tuesday we had a movie for the kids “Finding Nemo”. And on Thursday we used the EvangeCube to tell the kids about Jesus. Twenty seven kids gave their lives to the Lord that day. Seven of them were from my group. That same day others from our youth group came to help out. After the program we had a Jesus movie for the parents but not that many showed up unfortunately.

After the children left we would spend a little time with the 'home team' and after that we would go back to the church to have supper, have evening devotions and to just hang out together.

The idea of Trailer Ministry is that we train their team to run the holiday club by themselves because next year they would get the materials for the holiday club but not another team. And I am proud to say that they did it and by the end of the week they were more or less running the program by themselves.

Friday I had to leave early so I did not get to attend the parents evening but I heard that it went well.

Things I liked... I liked the feeling of community and the feeling of safety... I liked how friendly the children where... I liked how much pastor Henrika would worry about us and how she would come pray with us every night.

Things I did not like... I did not like the mosquitoes in the long drops... I did not like the freezing cold

I learned... I learned that children can be wise beyond their years (I can't say anything else I made a promise)...
I learned that children truly are human lie detectors.

Prayer requests: On Thursday we had two little girls that we could see wanted to lift their hands but something was holding them back. Bongani noticed the necklaces they were wearing, the necklaces marked them for the Sangoma (Sangoma's are witch doctors of the community) so they could literally not lift their hands. I hurt not to help those beautiful little girls know the Lord. Please pray for these two girls.
Pray for Praise Tabernacle, at the moment the only Christian church in the community, and for pastor Henrika and her husband as they try to help this community come out of the darkness that the Sangoma's have put on this community.

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Colson’s Account of Holiday Club.
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The holiday club thing is something my church does every year during the winter holidays, when both private and public schools get three weeks off from school. What we do at holiday club is both tiring and exhausting, yet wonderful and satisfying. What we do is teach children about God and we do our best to lead them to Christ.

In total the amount of leaders were 140 or so, but the amount of kids were almost 400. So as you can see all the leaders had their hands full with kids and just trying to keep track of all the kids that they had.

Now let me explain to you how holiday club works. The preparation for holiday club begins, for the leaders, three weeks before it starts. But for the lady who runs the entire thing, it starts directly after the latest one ends. So she works a whole year, so that she is prepared for the next holiday club. When the preparation is done and we have set everything up, we spend the Sunday night before the holiday club week starts at the church.

Now here is something you should know about our… sleeping habits at the church. Our lights out is at 10:30, but most of the leaders on the first night only end up sleeping at 11-12 o’clock at night, because they are all pumped up for it to start. But what most of the newbies didn’t know was that they had to get up at 5:00 in the morning so that we could have morning devotions at 5:30-6:00 and from 6:00-6:30 it was clean up.

We then waited for the kids to arrive. I should probably mention that there are 4 different age groups. They are 0-1,2-3,4-5,6-7. My sister always takes 2-3 and she never allows me to join them for fear of me embarrassing her. I usually take 4-5, because they are usually the group with the most energy. This year I was placed there by default because they didn’t choose me to be on logistics, or as we call it, lolgistics. But I am grateful that I was put there, because our age group leaders were fun and they were also tired by the end of the week.

Now back to when we were waiting for the kids. They were all greeted by our high-five crew, then they received barcodes so that we didn’t lose them and then they were split up into their different age groups and were assigned to their leaders to receive their name tags. After all the kids arrived and they had all been assigned to their small group leaders, our very talented upfront team came up and we just started to dance and sing and we all just had a lot of fun. After that we all split up into our age groups and we all went to our own little private corner of the church.

Once all the 4-5 were where we were going to have our age group time, we opened it up with our warcry and then we did some more dancing, Good grief, where do these kids get all their energy? What are you people feeding your kids?

After the dancing we had a group of our leaders come up and do the play for that specific day. They were a little sloppy at first, but as the days went on they became a lot better at acting out their parts. I, of course, took part in one or two of the plays. After the play had ended and the kids had given them a round of applause, the leader who had to do the memory verse for that day came up and did it in their own specific and unique way. I had that job on day and I did it in the coolest way possible - I rapped - even though it was a little bit of a fail.

When all that was done we went into our small group time where the leaders would just talk to the children about what they had learned that day and how they might be able to work the lesson into their daily lives. Once that was done, they served the kids lunch and after that it was arts, crafts and sports.

The kids loved both but what they loved most was the sports. The boys in my group loved sports with a fierce determination to win. When holiday club started I had in total five kids and a dedicated co-leader. But sadly I started to lose kids so by the end of the week I had but three kids left.

But, come now, let’s get back to the story. After the arts, crafts and sports it was time for the closing session, where, as in the opening session, we had a lot of fun dancing and just jumping up and down. But, unlike the opening session, at the closing session we announced the winners of the sports events of the day. And the winners of the sports, depending on which team they were in, would get a lot of for their team. The two teams were the trailers and the bloopers, and I was on the side of the trailers, and we won, of course, even if the bloopers were the ones who won most of the sports events. Once the closing session was finished and most of the kids were gone, all the leaders went inside for a quick group meeting before lunch. After lunch we had age group time, and then it was free time.

We all had a great time and there were many highlights for me, but the main highlight was just being there. And the thing I could have done without was all the flirting most of the guys and a lot of the girls were doing. What I would do differently would be to take earplugs.

Phelps News - July 2014

Greetings from a chilly Pretoria where the temperatures have slipped below freezing in the mornings.

The Short Version
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1. Ghana - Colin had a very productive two weeks of training in Ghana in June. Pray for long-term fruit.

2. Donald Mwape - Colin spent time teaching Donald about training design and designing a mission mobilising process. Pray for Donald's future.

3. GO Challenge - Thank God for a successful GO Challenge and Colin's part in it.

4. Holiday Club - Grietjie, Caroline and Colson were very involved and all felt that it had been worthwhile.

5. Health - Please pray for all of us to get over the colds and flu that we're battling with.

6. Finances - Praise God for major breakthroughs in our personal support.

The Longer Version
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1. Ghana
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The weather was very different in Ghana in June where I (Colin) spent 2 weeks training. Five days were spent with the OM staff doing leadership training and giving some input in the area of personal support raising. These are two critical areas in all of our fields throughout Africa. We'd particularly appreciate your prayers in the area of support raising. 2000 years ago Jesus said that the harvest was ready but that the labourers were few. Today the same tension exists. Throughout Africa our experience is that there are many willing to make the sacrifice of being a labourer in the harvest field. The challenge is that, largely speaking, the African church has not learnt to give and support to those who wish to serve God amongst the least reached.

I, along with our Ghanaian field leader, Christian Insaidoo, also conducted two 2-day leadership workshops for church leaders. We had nearly 40, mainly younger leaders, attend in Kumasi, and then over 90 in Yendi, a small town in the North-West of Ghana. These workshops were very significant and the feedback, both from the participants and the leadership who had invited us, was extremely positive. The leaders were all from the Ghana Church of Pentecost, the third biggest church in Ghana with over a million members. They are enormously influential and it was a privilege to play a small role in the development of their leadership. Please pray for wisdom in knowing where to go with future opportunities.

2. Donald Mwape
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Returning back to a cold Pretoria I spent a week with Donald Mwape, a younger leader who is on two year leadership exposure internship. Donald is from Zambia and was a church planter on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. He is a very gifted individual and has proven himself, and we believe he has a significant contribution to make to the ministry in Africa. We spent the week talking about training design and then working on designing a church mobilising process that would be contextual for Zambia. There is still work to be done but we are excited about the possibilities. Please pray for Donald, Dyness and there three year old son, Blessed, as they spend the next six months as part of our training team leadership here in Pretoria.

3. GO Challenge
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While working with Donald I was also getting ready for presenting at OM South Africa's GO Challenge. Around 280 people gathered in Mamelodi for the GO Conference and then teams were sent out to 16 different ministries in and around Pretoria for a week of outreach. I had the privilege of doing "The Biblical Basis of Missions" and "Crossing Cultures" with the larger group. Most of the training I do, and prefer, is with smaller groups where I can have more interaction but it was fun to do some big group activities for change.

4. Holiday Club
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While I was at the GO Challenge Grietjie, Caroline and Colson were immersed in nearly 500 children at Eastside Community Church's annual holiday club. Caroline and Colson part of the 140 teenage and young adult leaders and stayed at the church for the duration of the event. Grietjie travelled in and out each day helping with registration and discipling the leaders. Everyone had an amazing time. The holiday club is then followed by the "Trailer Ministry" where the holiday club is literally packed up into a trailer a small team from the church go to a rural community and run the holiday club alongside a local church, training them to be able to do it for themselves the following year. Caroline is there as I write, but unfortunately Colson was laid low by flu and has spent the week at home in bed. Much to his disgust. Please thank God for his goodness and for Caroline and Coslon's ongoing spitirual journey.

5. Health
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As I prepare to go up to Zambia for two at the end of July for our Area Leaders meetings, the AfricaLead training, our annual Love Africa conference, and AfricaJourney training please pray for our health. The whole family is struggling with colds and flu.

6. Finances
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In our last few newsletters we have mentioned the challenges we face with our finances. We are grateful to be able to report that while we continue to trust God into the future He has seen fit to answer prayer and our personal support, at least until the end of 2104, is sufficient, thanks to an increase in support from two of our supporting churches and four new supporters coming on board. We are blessed, humbled and grateful.