“Loving by Giving” has teamed up with The Besom in Norwich for the fifth year running to distribute Christmas treat boxes for less privileged people across Norwich. This year, 12 (twelve) generously filled boxes full of lovely seasonal goodies were donated by “Loving by Giving” volunteers to bring the spirit of happiness and goodwill to those who find themselves in difficult personal or financial circumstances, fleeing persecution or suffering from loneliness during this particularly difficult time of the year.
Every year during the annual Christmas carol service, children are encouraged to bring food items such as biscuits, chocolates and savoury treats, as well as crackers, baubles and indulgent gifts such as bubble bath to the stage where they have just performed their nativity play. After the service, these generous donations are then assembled into beautifully decorated boxes and a simple card reading “With love from Christians in Norwich” attached to the boxes before they are distributed by The Besom with the help of various local agencies. “They physical act of bringing gifts to other people who are less privileged is a very effective way of making the true meaning of Jesus’ birth visual to children in particular,” said Dr Jaco Beukes, chief executive of Loving by Giving.
The Besom in Norwich was formed in 2003. It is part of a national movement of Christians who wish to encourage other Christians to recognise the needs of people in their local community and do something about it. The Besom in Norwich encourages volunteers, from different Churches and different denominations, to appreciate that Jesus has no one other than us to do something about it in His name and that He wants us to get involved.
written by Adri van der Colff
Photos: “Loving by Giving” volunteers assemble donations into beautiful Christmas gifts hampers for distribution across Norwich by The Besom.
by Adri Rossouw
Our little band of 8 left from Luton Airport on the 20th of August heading to Romania and Bod, where we would spend the next 7 days working on the old school building that Rom Train Ministries bought from the German Lutherans. At Ortopeni Airport, we were joined by Cristina, a young Romanian woman who has worked with us before. As usual, we were taken by people carrier and Cristina’s car from Bucharest to Bod, which took quite a while as there is only one main road and it felt like the whole of Romania has joined us on the road!
The Team: Shaun, Reece, Madèl, Roelien, Laurette, Jaco, Marli, Adri
On arrival in Bod, we were assigned our sleeping quarters with the women joining the London Chinese Church Youth outreach group’s ladies in the OM building and the three gents joining the same group’s men in the Rom Train building.
And the first thing that Adri spotted was this little kitten:
Little Junior, who was about 8 weeks old. He was thrown over the wall when he was about 10 days old, and Alina, whose family are the caretakers of the OM building, raised him and looked after him.
The next day being Sunday, Jaco was asked to preach as part of the Sunday worship session. This he did with his usual enthusiasm with the help of Radu, one of the Romanian youth workers.
The rest of the day was spent discussing the week ahead with Tero, our Finnish supervisor and mingling with the Chinese group and the OM people at the site.
Monday morning found us in the foyer of the old school building, ready for whatever the day was going to throw at us. Tero started us off on the old showers and adjacent rooms with tools consisting of scrapers, crowbars, hammers, chisels and step ladders.
And so a week of scraping off layer after layer of paint started. By the end of the first day, we had finished the work set out for us for the week, and started on the foyer as well, much to the surprise of Tero and Vali, the Romanian builder.
In typical South African/Romanian style, we tackled the job with little regard to health and safety rules as we know it in the UK.
On Tuesday morning, we were greeted by the sight of Finnish precision as we entered the foyer: all our tools neatly arranged by Tero!
And so we moved from foyer to a large classroom with two adjacent rooms.
In-between we had breaks with snacks and the ever-popular Fanta Madness.
In the evenings we joined the Chinese Youth Group in worship and reflection on the day. Roelien could not keep her hands of the Chinese music band’s drums!
On quite a few evenings, we were joined by Junior, who lapped up all the attention he got from us and the Chinese group.
In-between scraping paint off, Adri taught Alina how to make elderberry jam and apple jelly. Both these fruit trees are growing on site, and teaching Alina to utilise the fruit, would hopefully go a long way in helping them stock up for winter. We were joined by our cook and his wife preparing the veggies for the evening meal.
And just to remind Adri and Marli about their day-job, they assisted in delivering six healthy kittens!
On the Wednesday we were treated to a trip to Gimbav where we worked last year at the OM headquarters converting the loft. This has now been turned into offices and it was good to see the end product of our work, as well as seeing Dora the dog again.
We were also invited by Tero to meet his wife and three children and we were treated to coffee, cake and Finnish hospitality.
Reece joined the activities of the Chinese Youth Group on their outreach to the local Romanian children, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself in spite of the language barrier. He became very good friends with our cook’s son, with a six-year old boy acting as translator between the two!
But he also helped with scraping paint off walls!
As always, we were treated to Romanian food, of which smarma is a prime example.
The final day arrived, and as we finished more than was expected, we offered to help Tero and Vali prepare the wood that Tero, true to his Finnish roots, are going to use to build a sauna in the school building.
All too soon it was Sunday again, and after a short sermon by Jaco, we said our goodbye’s to pastor Soreen and our hosts for the week and headed back to the UK physically tired but spiritually revived and enriched by what we’ve experienced on Romania Outreach 2016.
We are Loving by Giving. We serve a loving God in any way we can, across language and cultural borders to His glory.
South African Festival: 18 September 2016
All our prayers for good weather were answered when the day started with partly cloudy skies and cooler end-of-summer air, which was thick with excitement in anticipation for what the day was to bring! Fête day had begun… after months of painstaking preparation it was finally upon us!
The venue this year was a new one: Hethersett Village Hall proved a perfect choice to accommodate all the stalls and approximately 450 visitors. There was ample space inside and out, excellent facilities, and even the tennis court proved to be a very handy dog enclosure!
Our church service was to start the day off at 10am, and yet again Jaco Beukes delivered a superb message which inspired us to believe that through God’s strength we can make a difference in the world.
During this time, the outdoor chefs were already at work. Eight men had their fires lit and their potjiekos (pronounced poy-key-cos: a cast iron 3-legged stewing pot used on an open fire) simmering away, potjies filled with fresh and colourful goodness. The menu for the potjiekos competition included: Lamb Shank Curry, Lamb and Root veg Pot (x2), Boerewors Pot, Pork & Pineapple Pot, Sweet Curry with Dumplings and Sweetcorn, a Port and Ox Tail Pot, Venison Pot and a Chicken Thai Curry Pot. Later on in the day, and after much tasting and discussion from 3 different judges (one being a chef himself), the deserving winner of the Potjiekos Competition was announced: Well done Rob Taylor for your excellent Chicken and Apricot Potjie! I’m sure his Wooden Spoon Trophy will be proudly displayed in his cabinet at home!
On offer as starters, or just as snacks because it’s just so delicious, was biltong (a dried cured meat, a bit like beef jerky, only better!), in many different flavours and forms. The Limpopo Biltong stall was constantly busy selling its produce to biltong-hungry South Africans, and the non-South Africans got to try this delicacy and soon realised why we love it so much!
We were all very excited when we heard that Sophie Little, a BBC Radio Norfolk presenter for the show ‘Treasure Quest’ (link to BBC Norfolk Treasure Quest), was to make an appearance. She was on her weekly treasure hunt (her show is on a Sunday 9am-12noon), and her clue ‘what’s stewing for charity’ and the tantalising smells in the air led her directly to the steaming potjies. It was great to get a bit of publicity on the local radio for Loving by Giving!
Being a South African Festival meant that there had to be loads more food to choose from! There was Boerewors (boo-re-vors) rolls, Sosaties (soss-ah-teas) and Cape Malay Curry & Rice on offer to satisfy even the hungriest of appetites. Portions were huge (we South Africans are renowned for our generosity!) but space was still left over in our tummies for desserts.
The cakes, the puddings, the sweets… where do I begin!? For a sweet-tooth like myself it was absolute heaven! The cake stall displayed an array of traditional South African desserts such as Milktarts, Peppermint Crisp tarts, Hertzog biscuits, Banana Bread and the world-famous Tannie Marthie van Overmeier’s Koeksisters (cook-sisters): deliciousness defined! Over at the Tea Room, Lorraine van Heerden’s gorgeous cupcakes stole the show. We were blessed to have such a pro baking for us (Night Owl Cakes)! So many other treats on offer there too, as well as favourite cold drinks (like Fanta Grape, Crème Soda, Granadilla Twist, Sparletta Sparberry and Stoney Gingerbeer) all the way from South Africa that brought back childhood memories for everyone.
The pancake stall was well prepared this year for the hordes of hungry customers, with 7 people on the go flipping pancakes! They were busy all day, and sold in the vicinity of 600 tasty pancakes flavoured with cinnamon sugar, lemon or Nutella.
Outside, the kids were all having a ball and being wonderfully entertained. With two bouncy castles to choose from, a Balloon-Folding man, as well as a line-up of games such as Tin Can Alley, Coconut Shy, Treasure Hunt, Crazy Candy Countdown, Cupcake Decorating and Finding Dory, they were definitely not bored! A special treat was in store for kids and adults alike at the Candyfloss Making Machine… nothing quite like that buzzing sugar rush to get everyone in good spirits. Smiling faces were adorned with colourful face paint and arms decorated with dazzling tattoos. Well done to the talented Zelda & Erin Swanepoel and Blod Grant for their amazing efforts.
During the early afternoon, it was time for Boeresport. Teams of parents and children were formed and races were run, including the Three-Legged Race, Egg-and-Spoon Race, the Wheelbarrow Race and Egg Tossing. These all proved to yield excited cheering from the side line amid squeals of laughter at the competitors’ antics!
More entertainment for the crowds came in the form of ‘The Zulus’. Scleo KaMathanya and Paul S’wela Thwala got everyone clapping and singing along to ‘Shosholoza’ and ‘In The Jungle’, and delighted us all with their rhythmic traditional Zulu Dancing. The drumming of their drums and the singing of their soulful songs got us all reminiscing about our Mother Land.
Soon it was time for the silent auction of four original watercolour paintings by our amazingly talented artist Kate Grant to take centre stage and the top bidders announced. Four very happy customers admired their beautiful African wildlife scenes, depicting leopards, elephant and giraffe, gemsbok and hippos and zebra, and magically found themselves transported into the bushveld just by looking at these special artworks. Incredibly, Kate’s paintings alone raised almost £1400 for Loving by Giving: a huge thank you for your efforts Kate!
Then the not-so-silent auction was conducted by Mandrich Gerber, and more funds were raised by the auctioning off of some Canaries Football memorabilia and a handmade silver jewellery set by Silver Owl Jewellery. The Raffle Draw afterwards proved very popular with many people clutching at their coloured tickets expectantly waiting to hear if they had won any of the impressive prizes: photoshoots, beauty, hair, massage, make up tutorial, bootcamp and golf lesson vouchers were handed out as well as vouchers for Chapelfield, Butchers and Toys R Us, and a set of silver jewellery. Then the iPhone 6 Raffle was drawn,
the winner being a very happy Madèl Fourie!
And thus all good things had to come to an end and the day concluded with everyone pitching in to help tidy up. It truly was a fantastic day, and lots of fun was had by families and friends; a great opportunity to mingle and make new friends. We were absolutely amazed when the news came in that almost £6000 was raised in total!! The biggest fête so far, what a blessing this will be to so many people. The money will go towards Loving by Giving’s many projects, one of which will be the Outreach to Tanzania later on this year. The takings will contribute towards the installation of water harvesting systems for people living in the Arusha District in Northern Tanzania, where poverty is rife and water is dirty. Last year, Loving by Giving provided fresh drinking water for 7000 people per day for 10 years: a wonderful privilege to be able to do this, thanks to fundraisers like the fête.
And so, in conclusion, an enormous amount of gratitude goes out to everyone involved in making the South African Festival 2016 such a success, it is appreciated more than you know!
By Lesley de Villiers
The morning was dry, the truck was HUGE, and the team was ready!
9am on Saturday morning, 6th June, 11 very able bodied people (including an 8- and an 11 year-old) got stuck in and started to tackle the very full storage container that has been housing boxes, bikes and other goods for the past year or so. Our job was to load a very large truck that in a few hours was about to embark on a day long journey across the sea all the way to Romania.
Very quickly we organised ourselves to load minivans, one with small boxes, and the other with larger ones, to then, once full, drive a short distance to where the truck was parked (It was so huge it could not park up next to the storage container!). Some boxes were broken, and needed patching up, other items were in black bags and needed to be put into boxes that we made up. The bicycles were piled up in a long line against the side of the containers: they were to be packed last.
The men on the truck along with the friendly Romanian driver had the job of packing the boxes in such a way that maximum boxes could be fitted into minimum space… and so the game of Tetrus began! They did great work, because in the end there was some space left over!
All in all, in 3 hours, we had loaded 354 boxes (of clothes, shoes, toys and bedding), 23 bicycles, 3 pushchairs, 2 car seats, 8 computers and 1 bed. These will all be distributed at the other end in Romania over the next few months by Operation Mobilisation, who, through the local churches, will donate the goods to those in need.
We are all waiting eagerly to hear the stories of how these much needed items will affect people’s lives in extraordinary ways (we know that last year there were some wonderful ones!).
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to sincerely thank all of those who donated towards this worthwhile venture… it means so much to those who are in desperate need.
The thorns in Africa are big and the terrain is rough – and if you don’t have shoes, you are going to have a tough time. That is something we saw clearly as we took a hike to a nearby Maasai village. Everybody needs shoes, but not everybody can afford them.
Therefore, one of the greatest gifts you could give someone living in the harsh African conditions is a pair of good shoes. This is what we aimed to do in a Maasai village in the north of Tanzania, as well as at a local clinic about 90 minutes from there. However, what we did not take into account, was the generous hearts of the people we visited.
To make the handing out of shoes fair, we had a list of names – and as someone’s name was read out, they came to select a pair of shoes. As they patiently waited for their names to be called, the pile of shoes got smaller and smaller. This meant that many of the people on the list could not find shoes that fitted them. Yet, this did not put them off. In fact, they were just as happy to receive poorly fitting shoes, as they would have been to receive well fitted shoes, as it meant that they had an opportunity to bless someone else with the gift of a pair of shoes. It was an incredibly humbling experience to see these people walk miles, just to receive shoes that did not fit, never complaining; instead, sincere gratefulness was written all over their smiling faces, because they could now help someone else…
This can serve as a great lesson to all of us, especially during this Christmas period, to remember that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. And the amount of material goods or the size of your bank account does not determine how generous you are, that is determined by the size of your heart.
So, let’s learn from these humble people of Tanzania and let’s focus this Christmas on being a little more generous towards those in need.
Written by Dr Jaco Beukes
Loving by Giving recently sent a small team to the Arusha region of Tanzania, to help people in great need. When the team got there, they immediately got involved. They visited schools, donated soccer balls and stationery, conducted children’s programmes, trained church leaders and visited local villages. This video gives a brief overview of the work they did and the lives they touched.
We have met so many amazing people on our recent outreach to Romania, but none more so than the Craciun family. They are working and living at the OM Romania base and hosted us for the week we were there.
Adi and Alina have two lovely boys, Edi and Ruben and a beautiful five month old baby girl, Bianca. Unfortunately Bianca has spent the last two of her five months in hospital.
Just after Bianca turned three months old, she started having serious seizures. Initially it was thought that this was epilepsy, but then she didn’t respond to any treatment. Since then they have tried numerous types of treatment and have done a score of tests, but still they are not sure what exactly causes the seizures. The doctors are now recommending one final test, a DNA test, in order to determine the cause of her illness and how to treat her. This test is very expensive, though, and costs around €2,000, a sum this family cannot afford.
Therefore, Loving by Giving is helping to raise the necessary funds for this family, so that they could determine how Bianca can best be helped. If you would like to make a donation for this cause, please use the Loving by Giving *bank details, with the reference “Bianca”.
Thank you for your help in this matter. Together we can make a difference.
* Bank details: Loving by Giving; HSBC; Account number: 812-979-96; Sort Code: 40-08-53
When Loving by Giving’s truckload of clothes, toys and bedding arrived in Romania, it was distributed all over the country in order to benefit as many people as possible. In this video Raluca Cardos of OM Romania describes where the aid was sent and tells a few stories of the impact it had.
Christmas is approaching fast and with this season comes the tradition of giving gifts to each other, reminding us of the very first and greatest Christmas Gift. Yet, so many children, especially in the developing world, have never experienced the joy and excitement of receiving a gift at this time of the year.
Fortunately though, there are organisations, like Samaritan’s Purse, who make it their mission to deliver shoe boxes filled with gifts to children all over the world. This is a great incentive and about a month ago we issued the challenge to people in our church to pack a shoe box for this project – and the response was amazing. On Sunday 33 shoe boxes were delivered, meaning that the lives of 33 children will be positively impacted by the generosity of a handful of caring people.
Thank you to each one of you who donated gifts for these children and the time and effort you took to pack it. Be assured that this gesture will make a huge impact on children who need to know that there are people who still care.
We still have until the 18th of November to pack gifts for Samaritan’s Purse and I am pretty sure that we will probably get a few more in before then. If you are interested in this project, have a look at Samaritan’s Purse’s website and pack a shoe box for these children, it will put a smile on their faces.
Written by Jaco Beukes