Thursday, 25 July 2013

Latest News from the Matlosane Five (and growing)

The Matlosane Team are Philip & Millie Swan, Maria Tabou, Rose Westwood (all from Lichfield) and also now from St Peter's Itoseng, Kagiso Teme 

The group are currently staying with members of the church at St Peter's Itsoseng - Where Father Sam Diphokwane is the Priest ( and Archdeacon of the North of Matlosane)

Tomorrow they will travel to Mafikeng which is in on the northern border of South Africa with Botswana.

The Matlosane Team( L to R )Rose, Kagiso,
Father Sam Diphokwane, Philip, Millie & Maria
Here are some encouraging points which the the  Team sent in a e mail earlier today (Thursday 25th July) ...

·         Meeting with the Youth Group who showed us their community and sang and danced our way along some of the local streets in the township of Itsoseng as the sun set

·         Realising how similar issues are govt coming up with new initiatives, youth unemployment and getting young people interested in church

·         Conversation - getting a sense of the pain in the difficult stories in past times in South Africa under Apartheid and how these people are an example to the world of living with forgiveness and moving on with resilience and courage

·         The privilege of experiencing township life amongst people who were just moved out of their homes in Lichtenburg to a new site some 40 kms away. 

·         Listening to the head of a neighbouring middle school speaking with such wisdom and compassion about his school and bemoaning the endless new initiatives coming down from the government

·        Concern showed by the Head Teacher that some of his learners did not eat at home and often missed school because of caring for siblings. In many cases parents had died or had had to leave the village to go where there was work in Johannesburg. This reminded us of the work Hands at Work do with orphans and vulnerable children many hundreds of miles away in Bushbuckridge where we will be next week

·         Getting to know Kagiso Teme, the youth leader who is joining is on the White River Hands@Work visit; rejoicing in his deep commitment to Christ and the way he already feels part of our ‘collective’. Mmabatho, the girl from nearby Zeerust will be joining us on Saturday

·         Benefitting from the generous hospitality of Archdeacon Sam Diphokwane, appreciating his hard work and thoughtfulness and realising afresh how demanding the experience of coming over to Lichfield Diocese last year must have been.

·         Seeing Maria speak to the excited school children at an impromptu outside assembly and seeing them engage with her message of how much God loves them individually

·         Such an encouraging and delighted response to our feeble attempts at speaking the local language of Setswana, as we try to say Dumela (hello), Kea leboga (thank you) ,………

·         Hearing from a distance the inspiring worship of the ecumenical gathering of the Mothers Union (MU), all the women with their bibles and a deep love of God’s word; passing a card on from MU members at St Barts, Wolverhampton as we try to set up a link. This is within the wider initiative of making a M.U. link between our Dioceses. 
RRichard Westwood - on behalf of the Matlsoane Team