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Newsletter 2011/02


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Our children are well aware of the significance of the message of love, peace and hope that surrounds the commemoration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour. In the early weeks of December they attended several Nativity plays presented by local Pietermaritzburg schools. We are grateful to the schools that allowed our children to attend these productions as it gave them the opportunity to learn from the acting skills that other children have. For days afterwards the children dressed up in robes, veils and wings and, amongst themselves, presented their own version of Christ’s birth and the events surrounding it. Their singing is always delightful and listening to them brings joy to all who hear them.

As Christmas approached the excitement of the children was tangible and the older children, in particular, were actively involved in decorating the corridors and the upstairs central foyer where we had a Christmas tree and a display table. In the evenings each child had an opportunity to switch on the Christmas lights. We thank everyone who helped make decorations and who made our environment attractive and added to the wonder that the children experienced.

There were only a few days of sunshine, with wet weather the predominant feature during the Christmas holiday period. This had the potential to create frustration and boredom amongst the children, but we were blessed on many occasions by the commitment of several people and organisations. We truly felt the presence of Christ in Christmas.

The Ken Collins Trust continues, through the grace of our Lord, to provide valued support, which enables us to carry out our ministry to the Sweetwaters community on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg. We were able to deliver 1 000 food parcels to the needy folk in this area. We could not have accomplished this without the constant presence of the Lord and without the prayers of countless individuals. We are indeed grateful for the care of so many. For the first time this huge undertaking was more streamlined. The packing of individual parcels was done at the almost-completed Community Centre. As there are Caregivers on site, it was possible to store parcels. With the rising cost of fuel it proved to be far more cost-effective as recipients came to the Centre instead of our usual door-to-door deliveries. The distribution of the parcels was carried out using a card system whereby individual families came to the Community Centre and received a food parcel upon presentation of their card. Those families with children aged between a few months and about 12 years received a gift at the same time. The boundless excitement and joy of some of the little ones when they received a gift was heart-warming.

It is also as a result of generous donations and sponsorships that each of the Caregivers was given a bonus and a chicken for their Christmas meal. Our dedicated and committed Caregivers receive little financial reward for all they do and I thank them for all they do for our children and those in the community.


When the school closed in mid-December we converted the classrooms into a games and fantasy area. This proved to be a huge success and the toys supplied by the Woodcutters Guild provided considerable enjoyment. The children played table tennis, basket ball, swingball and other games which they love and which released their energy! One of the classrooms was also decorated by several organisations which treated the children to a number of parties. This festive area made the Christmas and New Year meal-times an enjoyable time for all.

There were some rare hot, sunny days, and thanks to the provision of 2 portapools the children could splash and shriek with a joy and exuberance that children always show when in water. Shortly before Christmas the children had received several bicycles, the riding of which they soon mastered, although this may have caused some discomfort and stiffness to those who helped them to get mobile. It can be quite nerve-wracking to watch them hurtling along with their uncontained joy.

Despite the generally wet weather the children went on a number of high-spirited outdoor outings. The fishing trip was a little rain-hampered, but none-the-less enjoyable and fun. They also spent time at Dales Park and at the Model Steam Train. We received much appreciated support from individuals who spent precious time with the girls and boys. Such ‘hands on’ time with the children is valued and the children are always delighted to have attentive visitors who brighten their days.

A visit to the ’10 Pin Bowling Alley’ was a lot of fun and we had a jumping castle at The Hope Centre, which was hired at a minimal cost. The scouting movement set up a tent, which brought much enjoyment and gave the children a feeling of camping on site. A highlight was the visit from the fire department – along with a fire engine and foam! Fun and laughter was had by all, with foam that was sprayed creating our own summer wonderland of snowy foam, where the children frolicked and tumbled.

An aspect of our children that has noticeably come to the fore in recent months is the maturity and responsibility they show towards the babies in our family. In responding to the family environment they often pop by the nursery area to give the little ones a hug, to see how they are doing and generally nurturing and caring them as they establish a bond. The babies are crawling, standing or walking now and their chatter fills each day. The older children are extremely proud of their baby brothers and little sister. Seth has blossomed despite his initial setbacks and his milestones are advancing. We thank the Lord anew for His presence as he helps us to build broken lives.

All play and no work will also make for dull boys and girls and so ‘back to school’ came about in early January. School started with 23 children attending classes from Grade RR through to Grade 2. It has been an exciting time as the children settled into a new routine and commenced with the curriculum. Several of the younger children moved up and are now preparing for Grade R. Some of these younger children, who are a little older, have already benefited from being exposed to their seniority and are displaying confidence that will carry them forward into their formal years of schooling.

The year ahead holds many challenges and we ask for your prayer and support as the months advance. May God be with you as we acknowledge His presence and pray for the future.

Yours in Christ

Gail Trollip

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