Spreading the Joy of the True Christmas Message

img_3470“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 yimg_3475ear 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 sometimg_6453-1hing 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.








A Fabulous Festival!

South African Festival: 18 September 2016

imageAll 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.

imageDuring 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.

imageThe 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.

imageOutside, 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 forimage 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 imagevery 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!

imageAnd 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!


Live, Laugh & Love at Letton Hall

Annual Breakaway Weekend: 2-4 September 2016

The majesty of Letton Hall set amoimg_2056ngst vast green Norfolk fields was once again admired and appreciated by 73 of our church family members on our annual breakaway weekend.

It was the ideal opportunity for families and friends to come together for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of daily life to relax and unwind, to learn and to share, and to just recharge tired old batteries and be injected with a fresh outlook on life.

The theme of the weekend was ‘UNIQUE’, and this was the perfect time to reflect on how uniquely and individually each one of us was created by God. Jaco expertly led us to work out our own passions, talents and gifts, and to compare the lists to see the patterns emerging. On Saturday night we had great fun working out our personality types according to the Meyer-Briggs Type Indicator, and amid lots of laughter and banter (mainly from Herman!), it was so interesting to see how we all compare and how different we all were. Some couples even turned out to be complete opposites, but fortunately Jaco gave us some valuable tips as to how to get along with other personality types.

When we all get together, the old and the young, the oldies and the newbies, we like to EAT! And boy, did we have a feast… and at every meal! Everyone got involved to help out with preimg_2024paring the food under the leadership of Madel, who had been working out menus and getting the food together since a year ago! What a fantastic job she did, as all our stomachs got filled with great satisfaction amid much chatter at the dining tables.

The children had a blast, in fact, they had such a good time us adults hardly saw them all weekend! During our talks they were led and taught by Eldre, who got them involved in crafts and games, walking in the woods and teaching them how special each one of them is to God. They had loads of fun in the large mansion of a house that is Letton Hall, playing hide and seek and exploring the many rooms aimg_2050nd corridors. There was an opportunity to try out the go-carts on the track: nothing like a bit of adrenaline-producing speed! Great fun was had by all.

We had not one but TWO birthday party celebrations: Roelien on Friday night was in for a shock (in a good way) when she opened the door of the Library to a room full of treats, fairy lights and party hat-adorned faces shouting ‘Surprise!!’. And then Ilke turning 19 on the Saturday was revelling in being a princess again, adorning a tiara and feeling special with a very cute princess cake! Talented artist Kate kept us amused and impressed by her cartoons of the fabulous Mr P, a pheasant caricature that regularly makes his appearance at these social occasions.img_2072

We learnt from this time together that each one of us was made unique for a reason, that we all have a purpose here on earth. We all have something to add to this church, each being a different part of the body of Christ, and each one of us matters dearly to God and to each other. With such a wonderfully talented group like this, only God knows what amazing things we can achieve through His strength and guidance!

written by Lesley de Villiers



Let them eat cake!

written by: Lesley de Villiersimg_8317    

There are very few things in life more satisfying than sharing a pot of tea and a scrumptious cake with a bunch of friends amidst some good conversation… and us ladies img_8331will be the first to agree with that! And so the inspiration for a Ladies Afternoon Tea blossomed into a wonderful afternoon in the Hethersett Village Hall on a sunny Saturday on 23 April.

Almost all the ladies in the church jumped at the opportunity to host a table at the event: in all we had a hall full of 16 tables with 128 guests in total! Each lady was to invite 7 guests to sit at her table, to enjoy her offerings of delicious cakes, sandwiches and scones with cream and jam, to name but a few! The tables were all decorated in a variety of beautiful displays: each table having its own personality and popping with colour and creativity in the form of expert floral arrangements, artistically folded serviettes, unique name card displays and even some fabulous favours for guests to take home! Who knew we had a church full of such wonderful hospitality experts? We could start our own wedding catering company with all that talent!

There were also several tables against the walls of the hall displaying various goodies for sale: like handbags, silver jewellery, scarves and beauty products. All the things that us ladies love to buy!

The aim of the event, other than to just have a good old natter and a slice of cake, was to present a few presentations to our guests. The first speaker was Hannah Worsley from The Norwich Food Bank. It was enlightening to learn of their wonderful work in Norwich and the rest of the country, img_8329supplying food and basic daily necessities to people in desperate need. It reminded us again of how fortunate many of us are, how we can take for granted so many little things in our lives that would make such a difference if we didn’t have them.

Next up was our wonderful pastor Jaco Beukes, the only male in the room, who appeared only img_8327slightly intimidated by all the women listening intently to his talk. He gave a superb introduction to the guests that were not familiar with Loving by Giving and the work that we do, talking of the various projects in the past and those that were currently on the go, like the rucksacks for men just out of prison, the second hand clothes and toys drive for Romania and the mission trips to Romania and Tanzania.

The final speakers were brilliant at finishing off the afternoon’s talks: Chrissie and Cheryl from The Style Show gave a wonderfully informative presentation on how choosing the right style and colour of clothes to suit your body shape and colouring can make such a difference to your confidence and outlook on life. They generously gave out a voucher to each guest to come see them for a free img_8334individual colour and style evaluation.

A raffle with some great prizes concluded the Ladies Tea event, and all img_8361our ladies went home with smiles on their faces having thoroughly enjoyed their time. We look forward to hosting another one soon!


The power of caring

IMAG0361I was wearing my Loving by Giving jacket and walking through the market in Norwich, when someone approached me from behind and said: “Excuse me, I saw the logo on your jacket and couldn’t help wondering… Are you the guys who gave out the backpacks earlier this year for homeless people…?”

I was slightly surprised by this, as I didn’t think anyone even knew about this, but I confirmed his assumption, so he continued: “I was one of the people who received a backpack from you and I just wanted to say thank you… it was such a thoughtful thing that you did, and it really made a difference. All the items that were included, especially the £5 voucher… it was just such a kind gesture. Thank you so much.”

It turned out he was still homeless, but he is now selling the Big Issue and trying very hard to fit back into society – and the backpack was a bit of help along the way, giving him hope and letting him know that people still care.Backpacks

This encounter was extremely encouraging to me, as it seems as though the effort we’ve put in so far is really making a difference in people’s lives. It was also encouraging because our logo is being recognised on the streets of Norwich.

Thank you again to each one of you who are contributing so generously to the work we are doing, especially the children who helped to pack all these backpacks, it is definitely helping to make a difference.

Written by Jaco Beukes


LBG Youth Camp 2015

IMG_1554Besides all the friendly faces and helpful characters you might notice at our church, one thing you’ll soon realise is that we also have a lot of children. I mean a lot!  We certainly took the Lord’s command to be fruitful and multiply quite seriously! It’s lovely to have so many little ones running around and it fills me with excitement for the future of our church.

We got the opportunity to take our pre-teens on a camp a few weeks ago. As it was our very first youth camp, we decided to keep it down to one night so that it’s not too much of a shock…to the adults!

OIMG_1532ur campsite was about 20 meters from the beach and with the sea softly crashing in the background we got comfortable around our bonfire.IMG_1553

Erin and Blod, with a little help from Marck and Rob, prepared us a delicious “potjie”, and Reece showed his skill at making dumplings.  After Star, Lisandra and Miffy got on with the important job of beautifying the girls’ tent with fairy lights, some exploring of the site and hiking to the toilets, it was finally time for dinner. What a feast! Potjie with dumplings and rice, best served in plastic plates!

The evening was so much fun with everyone sharing a bit of their lives and then getting on with a toilet paper headgear competition. Although Jaco’s bowtie-burka and Marck’s toilet paper cap were excellent creations, the winner had to be the invention inspired by the Easter bunny, proudly worn by Miffy and created by Rob and Erin.IMG_1539

After such strenuous designing we were all ready for some pudding. Thankfully our bonfire was built to last, so marshmallows were up. The adults were introduced to s’mores and we all stared diabetes in the eye!

Fittingly, there was not much sleep to be had, so getting up on Saturday morning was hard for some. Luckily the smell of bacon and eggs helped to speed up the process. After a scrummy breakfast, everybody jumped in to help take down the tents and tidy up. Who knew a tent could be folded up by rolling over it in sequence? Jaco is a great choreographer!

IMG_1564Once everything was packed up, we headed to the beach and just reflected on how beautifully God made the earth. We were in awe that the God who created the sea we were watching, and the stars we slept under, also loves us and wants to walk with us every step of the way. We realised that we were the first LBG youth group and we have the job of paving the way for the millions of little kids who will soon grow up.

Of course we couldn’t just sit and watch the sea; we had to test it out! So off came the shoes and socks and into the sea we ran. It was pretty freezing, but who cares when you’re having fun! Jaco had a go at trying to teach us all how to skip stones on the water. Marck discovered his latent photographic talents by having us all run up and down on the sand.

IMG_1640Time to go home was rapidly approaching, but we decided that we couldn’t possibly go home on (slightly) empty stomachs. So we found a little cafe which would do the job. Surely sticky toffee pudding, millionaire’s ice cream and banana splits qualify as a balanced lunch?!

And so, the time had arrived. We had to go home. It was just one night, IMG_1591but we left feeling as if we had known each other forever. Good memories and even better friends were made in our short little adventure. Here’s to the first of many expeditions, happy campers!

    IMG_1649   Written by Roelien Janse van Rensburg



LBG Breakaway weekend (4-6 September)

IMG_3854Our annual Loving by Giving weekend getaway started with an immediate feeling of warmth and familiarity: old friends and new coming together chattering away; kids delighting in each other’s company, playing excitedly; and a sense of eager anticipation for what the next couple of days would bring, hung in the cool Indian Summer air.

IMG_3989We were a large group of 30 adults and 20 kids that took over Letton Hall (30 mins drive west of Norwich) for the weekend. Delicious smells from the kitchen enticed hungry mouths, and appointed chef-for-the-weekend Madél Fourie’s hard work did not disappoint! Wonderful lasagne, traditional curry and rice, tasty chicken fajitas and of course the fundamental braai (BBQ) followed by toasted marshmallows tickled our taste buds and satisfied our stomachs!

IMG_3826This gave us plenty of energy to listen and learn as Jaco Beukes shared valuable teachings of Hearing God’s Whispers over a series of 4 sessions. We absorbed from the Word many accounts of God’s guidance of His followers through His whispers and reflected on how we can more clearly listen to His promptings in our own lives. We also shared with each other in small groups our own personal experiences, giving us all a chance to express our opinions and in turn learn from each other. Each session was kicked off by a wonderful time of praise and worship. And during the sessions, much to the relief of the mums and dads, the large gang of excited kids was expertly managed by Eldré Beukes, and were kept busy with treasure hunts and fun and games.IMG_3886

After the Saturday morning session we were rewarded for our concentration with a super time on the race track… kids and adults joined in some go-karting fun, racing against each other and pumping up the adrenalin levels. After lunch there were more team sports, with hilarious egg and spoon races, water balloon throwing, football skills and 3-legged races. Volleyball and Rounder’s were also on the cards and fun was had by all.IMG_3865

All in all the weekend was a wonderful opportunity to relax and get away from it all, to enjoy time with friends and family, and at the same time allow our lives to be touched by God’s teachings. We left feeling more grounded and in touch with God, our ears more open to His gentle whispers to nudge us to experience a fuller, richer life, more in touch with His divine will.

Written by Lesley de Villiers


Loving, by giving backpacks

What would you do if you’ve made some mistakes in your past, paid for your crimes, but now had no-one to turn to? So many people in the UK have to answer this question on a daily basis when they are released from prison.

More often than not, people who have committed crimes they now regret, find it very difficult to get back on their feet again. So many times they do not have a place to stay and are made homeless due to their circumstances. When re-introduced to society, they sometimes find it difficult to buy even the basics, like toiletries and food.

When we realised this need in Norwich, Loving by Giving decided to donate thirty backpacks, as well as the contents, including sleeping bags, towels, warm clothes, toiletries and energy bars, so that young men who have just been released from prison will know that there are people in society who care about them.

BackpacksThese backpacks were packed by volunteers, including some young children, who added their own special touch of homemade artwork, letting the recipients know that there are still people who want to extend a helping hand to them.