Christmas at New Hope Centre 2009

December 8, 2009: Christmas at New Hope Centre

Christmas at New Hope Centre has already begun as we lit the first Advent Candle on Sunday night. We meet around the candle every evening to study the Word of God related to the Candle, then we celebrate communion together. The first Candle is the candle of Prophecy so we focus on the prophetic words that were spoken in the old testament and then fulfilled in the birth of Jesus in the New Testament, also we study the prophecies of Jesusí second coming to help us wait expectantly and in anticipation of the events of His second coming. This second week we have started the second candle of advent which is the preparation for the coming King. Last night we studied the preparation of our hearts and bodies by looking at the story of the man who was let down through the roof by his friends to be healed and had both body and soul healed as Jesus declared his sins forgiven and he got up and walked after being paralysed. The great point being that with a healed body and soul he went home and God was glorified so we too need to prepare ourselves so that in and through our lives God is glorified.

Yesterday 5 teams of children went out to plant vegetable gardens in our community. We decided to help plant gardens this year as a gift so that people can have food for the rest of the summer in our gardens. We thank God for the Go-TEAMS and the Heart for Africa Teams who have come and given their funds and strength to build 5mx5m fenced gardens for the poor families in our community. Now it is wonderful to follow up and plant 70 seedlings in each garden so that we can be a part of bringing glory to God in the vegetables, the healthier food and healthier bodies of the people in our community. We could do more if we had more funds but 50 is the number of grace multiplied by ten so we rejoice in being able to help these families and participate in giving. On Saturday night the children had met with Ms Njabu our community ministry co-ordinator and prepared a scripture to teach and share with the families, a drawing that illustrates the story that we gave the family to keep them reminded of the blessings.

Schools closed last Friday and a committee of four kids selected a Christmas drama for the children to use in ministering over this season. This week three teams are selecting the roles they will play and beginning to memorise their parts. Then we will be presenting the Christmas story in the Prison near us in Matsapha to 600 inmates. We have already bagged up some kiddie snacks for each inmate to bring the "child" out in each one so that the wonder of Christmas can be rekindled in their hearts. We will be going to the Prisons on Tuesday the 15th December in the morning, keep us in your prayers that we be effective in sharing the joy and love of God. Then on Sunday the 19th, the children will be presenting the Christmas story at the church we attend, "Sword and Spirit" in Manzini. We hope this will be recorded on video to be presented, as in years past, on national television on Wednesday night before Christmas. Then on Wednesday the 23rd 18 kids will be presenting the drama to the children in the large referral hospital about 12 Km away called Raleigh Fitkin Memorial hospital, a hospital built by my grandfather. We will be able to give teddy bears, a face cloth and soap to each child in the hospital.

Finally we have our own celebration and we have a gift from some doctors from Ohio we will have 4x15lbs turkeys that Debrah and her cooking team will prepare. Sis Tandzi our housemanager and the teenage girls have been wrapping gifts, while Wendy has been taking children 3 at a go to the shops to spend their US$12 each given to them by friends in the UK. Christmas eve will have our big party with a big Birthday cake for Jesus and at midnight when we light the Jesus candle we open all the gifts that God has blessed us with as sons and daughters of His on the day of celebration of His only begotten sons birthday. Christmas morning we will be up early to attend the Anglican Church Eucharist service with the candles, bells and incense and carol singing and Christmas story readings of the Bible.

Liz Pass has a wonderful song that "come and celebrate with us, the birth of the Great King, Jesus Christ INKhosi is born on Christmas Day. Its Christmas in Africa"

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