Mission to South Africa
News from Connie Wicks 11 August 2014

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Marilyn continues in the ministry in which she became involved in 2001 – that of sharing the gospel and a substantial meal with around 500 children in Leseding, the township near her of about 70,000 with approximately 70 per cent unemployment. This began as a ‘soup kitchen’ in which we actually served soup. But when summer came and it was too hot for soup, the menu was changed to peanut butter and jam sandwiches and fresh milk. Lethabo Kid’s Club is where the children know they will hear God’s message, sing praises, and have a substantial meal. You should see them running to get there!

The youth are a special part of her weekly ministry. God is at work in their lives, and many are developing into leaders in His work.

Hospitality has always been a major part of Cook’s ministry and Marilyn continues to host the youth, visiting missionaries, others who have come to help her and work in the ministry. For this, Grace Place, her home is ideal in providing a quiet place to draw near to the Lord and experience His beautiful creation.

Dear Ones, Dear Family and Friends The past month has been a very busy, but very exciting one for Aletheia! Every year South Africans celebrate (Nelson) Mandela day on 18 July by getting involved in community outreach projects for 67 minutes, across the country. This is one of our favourite times of the year, as Aletheia receives support from corporations and individuals wanting to do their part for the community. This year was no different, and thanks to the generous donations of goods, as well as time, we were able to once again make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate.
Mandela day
Siyathuthuka Daycare Centre - Woolworths Jabulani Mall supports Aletheia on a weekly basis by providing food donations which are then supplied to Mom Batha and the children at Siyathuthuka. For Mandela day, they donated R5,000 which we used to paint the centre. On 18 July, Morne and Isaac were joined by a team of staff from Woolworths Jabulani, where they spent the day painting the inside of the centre, as well as the outside of the recently built bathroom. Mom Batha was very overwhelmed with the way the centre looked once we were finished. She burst into tears and couldn't stop thanking everyone enough. It was truly a blessing to be a part of that moment.
Motswedi Daycare Centre - On 18 July I went with Sally Launspach (A volunteer who helps out at mom Batha) and we spent the day at Motswedi daycare Centre. We were joined by staff from Woolworths Victory Park and First Place branches, who brought and prepared a delicious meal of chicken stew for the children. For dessert the kids were given Ice-cream, which went down really well! Generous food parcels consisting of fruit, vegetables and other essential goods were donated to Motswedi, which they handed out to the unemployed parents of the children. The children were given parcels consisting of much needed toiletries. The day was brought to a close by the little ones singing various songs (As an expression of their gratitude) to the visitors.
Anti animal cruelty education
Soweto and townships in South Africa are filled with animals who are abused and neglected. Dube hostel (Where Mom Batha's daycare centre is situated) is no different. About 6 weeks ago four dogs regularly started coming to mom Batha's centre during the day. The dogs were malnourished and needed proper care. Upon closer inspection, we noticed that the dogs were being physically abused as well. On Monday 14 July, we partnered with the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) from Soweto to educate the children on how to treat animals. The day was a huge success. We made it very positive and fun, with face painting and snacks. I am attaching a press release that my friend, Susan Mottram, wrote up which summarises the day very well. We hope to make this a regular event.
Kids Haven
On 20 July, Kathleen and I took 5 little girls (Ages 4 - 8) from Kids Haven on an outing to a bird park. Kids Haven is home to more than 200 orphaned, abused and abandoned children. These little girls hardly ever leave the centre, so just being treated to an outing means so much to them. Seeing their delighted faces and hearing the shrieks of laughter was such a blessing to us.
Needs list
All the organizations which Aletheia supports are poverty stricken and in dire need of support. We desperately need your help with donations - whether it be financial, food, materials or even just donating some of your time and joining us when we go to the various centres we support. Sometimes just giving someone the time of day means more than giving them something to eat. It shows them that they are important and that they are loved. If you would like to get involved or simply come and see what our work is about, please feel free to contact us. Below are a few of the immediate needs: Motswedi Daycare is run by Gloria and Dudu Dhlamini. The centre is in Meadowlands, Soweto and many of the families in this area are unemployed. As a result, most of the parents cannot afford to pay school fees. Gloria and Dudu do their best, but they have a lot of needs at the creche. Some of these are: Renovations of the two shacks (these are the two main classrooms which are just tin shacks); Geyser; Freezer; Doors x 2; Desk computers x 2;
Fax Machine; Outdoor shade for children to play; Monthly groceries (non perishable foods). Gloria and Dudu are dedicated Christian ladies and they give the children a really good Christian education as well as give them the best possible foundation for when they start school. Gloria has been a huge help with getting Mom Batha’s daycare centre running as it should. Since October 2013, Aletheia has been supporting Mom Batha and the orphans with twice monthly bulk food purchases. Over the past ten months the number of children has increased from 96 to over 130. The extra numbers mean that we are having to buy extra food, more often than before. Currently we have enough money in the Mom Batha fund to last up until the end of August. We appeal urgently to anyone who is able to provide financial or donated food support! Current food purchases total roughly R 4000 per month. On Wednesday last week, Mom Batha took Getty and I to meet her neighbour. This lady has been looking after her 5 year old grandson, who has cerebral palsy, since he was a baby. When his mother (who was 14 years old when he was born) found out her baby had problems, she abandoned him. The granny moved to Johannesburg from KwaZulu-Natal in March. She needs to find employment so she asked us if we would be able to help her find a special school for him so that she can start work. Getty and I found a school that can take him, but as his granny may be working long hours, she needs to find a home with full time care. We went back to the one school for advice, the occupational therapist went back to Dube Hostel with us, gave Bongikosi a good assessment, and told the granny to bring him to her for treatment until we can get him into a home. Her passion is to help children like Bongikosi and she said that if there are any more children with problems like his in Dube Hostel, she will do a home visit and help in any she can. What a blessing! Please pray that we can find just the right place for him to go to. It is a very hard decision for his granny, but she needs the employment. The whole family (Grandpa, Granny, their 20 year old daughter, and 5 year old Bongikosi) all sleep in one little room in a unit in Dube Hostel.
We are still praying that we will be able to raise the funds to enable us to have Morne and Getty to join us full time. This will help us to expand our outreach and also to work more efficiently. Aletheia struggles each month to cover our overheads, yet we continue to see need on a daily basis.
We have some exciting things happening in August and September, including a special teacher’s training for some of our Soweto daycare workers and a trip planned to Venda in Limpopo again in September. If anyone has clothing, toys, non perishable foods or anything else to donate for us to take to Limpopo, please let us know! We will collect if we need to.
We continue to ask for your prayer support as we spread the love of God through looking after his children.
In Him,,
Connie Wicks

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