WILLOWDALE OUTREACH – OUR ANNUAL BLESSING
We again this year went on our annual outreach to Willowdale farming community in the Karoo. The farms that we specifically visited i.e Volstruislaagte, Groblerskraal, Oshoek and Willowdale are located between Willowmore and Aberdeen. We had a great time and as usual, came back more blessed than before we left! We were able to share the gospel with the families in the Willowdale community and we were over the moon when three people made commitments to follow Jesus and at least one person made a re-commitment.
As in previous years, our main focus was on the students at Willowdale Primary. This year it was however very sad as the Government decided to close down the school at the end of the year. The school had been in existence for 45 years! The children will now have to go to other schools in the area i.e Willowmore or Rietbron. It was very emotional for all – the teachers, the children and the families. At least we know that a solid foundation was created and this is something to build on. ‘Juffrou Pat’, who had been teaching at Willowdale for more than 20 years, managed to obtain a post at the primary school in Willowmore and she will at least have some contact with the children as she will transport some of them to and from school on a daily basis.
We also did some ‘farming’ with the men and helped them with the sheep, as we did last year. It again was a very nice experience as we were able to meet with them at their workplace. The result was that we had good fellowship with them and we were able to discuss their roles in their families and as fathers.
The Options staff and volunteers also again did home visits and they were able to build on the relationships they formed last year. They discussed family issues and prayed with the farm workers’ wives at their homes. We saw some major breakthroughs in the counselling sessions.
Then there was the school prize-giving and consert and Christmas Father who came and blessed the children with their wonderful presents!
On Saturday we did a workshop with the parents focussing on family and marriage enrichment. We addressed issues like self-image, sexuality, role of the parent, communication in their relationships etc. The parents started to know us by now and they were able to open up and really participate in the group events. This was rounded off by us teaching them how they can work together as a couple by showing them how to grow a small herb and/or flower garden by using 2 liter cooldrink bottles.
During the afternoons we had wonderful time of relaxation during which we did some team building. The team building consisted of various games e.g Scavenger Hunts, “Bokdrolspoeg”-competition, etc.
We were blessed with amazing food that was prepared by our hosts and we really enjoyed all the “skaapvleis” – needless to say we ate a lot! Saturday afternoon we watched one of the farmers feed his Nyala and we afterwards had a picnic with Owen and Pat and their family to end off a really blessed and fulfilled weekend. Sunday morning we joined the farmers at a church service in Willowmore and the current German volunteers, together with Ghila and Jerome sang a couple of songs (including a German song) which were very much enjoyed by the congregation!
Thus, as far as we are concerned, our year ended off with again a very successful outreach. We are really praying for rain for the Karoo area as it is very hot and dry and the dams are empty.
God willing, we will again go back next year but since the children will be at school in Willowmore in the mornings, we might have to adapt our programme to meet with them in the afternoons and help them with their homework, doing life skills and teaching them something out of God’s word in a relaxed atmosphere.
We give all the glory to our Heavenly Father who make it possible, on a daily basis, for us to continue doing what He guides us to do.