Many people are committed to good causes. In South Africa, for example, a special service was held to bring comfort to refugees. In Germany, brothers and sisters sacrificed some of their free time for the environment. And in the Netherlands a church building was made available in support of democracy.
The Maratane Refugee Camp in northern Mozambique was established in 2001. The camps hosts about 9,500 refugees and asylum seekers mainly from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi, as well as from Rwanda and Somalia. The people have been displaced by conflicts and natural disasters in their home countries. Apostle Robert Worship and his companions, Apostles Joao Domingos Malyanga and Rafael Marucha, as well as the district rector of the Nampula District, required a permit to be able to enter the refugee camp. On Palm Sunday, the Apostles conducted a divine service with the refugees. The sermon was translated into Portuguese and Swahili. A moving rendition of the local traditional “Imbeni Tidhakomerwa” concluded the festive Palm Sunday service.
Community clean-up event
Citizens from the municipality of Schwieberdingen in Germany cleared the town and the surrounding area of rubbish on 18 March. Joining the clean-up was a group from the town’s New Apostolic congregation. It was a beautiful spring day and the clean-up work was fun. And when local residents provided the volunteers with soft drinks and ice cream, everyone put it an extra effort to fill the rubbish into the large bags they had brought along. After the clean-up there was a joint lunch.
“Children present their Easter drawings”. So what, you might think. And yes, in most places in the world this is not newsworthy, but for the children who are in the After School Safe Spaces programme, this is often not a given. Many of the children who come to the gyms or churches in South Africa in the afternoons after school either do not have a home or experience violence and neglect in it or other social challenges. Employees of the Masakhe Foundation, the aid organisation of the New Apostolic Church Southern Africa, provide them with a meal or sandwich, assist them with their homework (reading, spelling, and maths), and keep them occupied with stimulating activities. And the week before Easter was not only spent cramming maths, but also painting for Easter.
When a church building makes a political commitment
Elections for provincial councils took place in Apeldoorn in the Netherlands on 15 March. One polling station was our church building in Apeldoorn, which had been set up for this purpose to be able to welcome voters. Even the divine service on Wednesday evening was moved to another day—all in support of democracy.
Just in case
Medical emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime—even in a divine service. To ensure that emergency care can be provided, members in the Frankfurt district in Germany once again volunteered for first aid training. Seventeen participants came together on 18 March to learn how to place injured people in the recovery position, resuscitate them, and how to use a defibrillator. And to ensure that no one fainted during the training, there were plenty of breaks with lots to eat and drink.
The neighbourhood on firet
On Friday evening, 24 March, the staff of the charity NAC SEA Relief got a big scare. A fire broke out in a residential area in the immediate vicinity of their offices in Manila. The fire spread quickly and 130 families were left homeless and all their belongings were destroyed. Thankfully, no one was reported injured. People and organisations responded immediately: emergency shelters were quickly set up and food was provided. NAC SEA Relief organised school supplies thanks to a generous donation from nearby businesses. Two days later already, 150 school bags with drawing and writing materials were distributed.