Minister's Update

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September 2017 Letter

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Dear congregations

 

We had an amazing time in South Africa! I wished more than once that I could take all of you along and show you some of the awesome sights we’ve seen… We spent quality time with family and friends, and we also spent some time close to nature. We stayed in a Wild Life Reserve, where we saw beautiful wild animals.

And that made me think of Job 39, where God speaks to Job about the animals in nature and how unique God made all of them…

It was very special to see wild animals up close, but on our last day in the Resort we got a little TOO close to one of these wild animals! To a baboon… And might I add – a HUGE one! I was busy packing our bags when the boys came running towards me, shouting for dear life: “There is a baboon in the kitchen!” And so there was. A huge big baboon, taking it’s time to open the pantry door, eating our fruit, and then opening all our chocolates and biscuits one by one before eating it and lickings it’s lips afterwards!! Just showing enough teeth to keep us all far away! At last André plucked up the courage to go and chase it away, and although we all got the fright of our lives, it just reminded me once again how amazing God is, how cleverly he made all the different animals, the baboon, and all of us too. He gave us so many gifts and talents…

And if a baboon can cleverly open a packet of biscuits, throw the wrapper away and eat the biscuits to its heart’s desire, just imagine all the things we can do!!

One of these things is West Kirk’s Garden Fete, which will be taking place on Saturday the 2nd of September. I’m super excited about this!

Let’s show our communities what an amazing event the church can pull off!

So please come along on the day to support us, or if you are able to help in any way, please get in touch with me as soon as possible.

I can’t wait to see you all there.  

 

Blessings,

Nanda

 

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June 2017 Letter

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WORD OF LIFE

At the end of May the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland took place. Although I wasn’t a commissioner at the Assembly this year, I followed bits and pieces of the debates via live streaming, and I attended Heart & Soul in Princess Street Gardens on the Sunday. The theme of the General Assembly this year was “Word of Life”.

 

Each year HM The Queen appoints a Lord High Commissioner as her representative to the General Assembly, unless she attends in person. This year, Her Majesty appointed HRH The Princess Royal. I was very fortunate to meet Princess Anne briefly at the West Lothian Presbytery Tent and I was extremely impressed by her speech. She said that if she had to choose a “word of life”, she would choose “love”. Because love is what she saw and experienced during her week at the Assembly.

 

And you know, that made me really proud to be a member of the Church of Scotland. Because in this broken world, we need nothing more than love. And anybody who ever has anything to do with the church, should feel and experience nothing but love. If there are divisions and in-fighting and gossiping going on in the church, how on earth will we be able to get the love of God spread to the outside world?

 

If there is one thing I love about the General Assembly, it is the fact that it reminds us that we are not alone here in West Calder and Polbeth Harwood. We are actually just a very small part of a huge national church, which is in turn part of a massive world-wide Christian movement…

So, if we start locally to let our lives as members of the Church of Scotland be ruled by love, this love will spread nationally and internationally. And to me, love is like glue – if we use it correctly, we will be able to mend the broken world we live in... Jesus took the first step, let’s follow his example!

 

With LOVE,

Nanda

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May 2017 Letter

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Dear Congregations

South Africa has been in the news a lot over the past few weeks. Good things happened: different political parties took hands to make their voices heard together; but bad things happened too: protests got out of hand and property got damaged and people got hurt. But it’s not only in South Africa that political turmoil is raging… It seems that almost all over the world violence and hatred is becoming the norm. But that’s not the way it should be.

Nelson Mandela said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People learn to hate; and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Wow… And Nelson Mandela is probably the one person who could justify his right to hate. But instead, he chose to love. If only more people realised how strong love is.

All of us who believe in Christ have seen the power of true love in Jesus as he died on the cross, and rose to new life again. He did all of that for us, selflessly, because he loves us.

What is love? In 1 Corinthians 13 we find the answer to this question:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Let’s choose to love.

Always, no matter what.

Even when it’s hard.

Because love is what our world needs.

 

May God bless you all.

With love,

Nanda

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April 2017 Letter

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Dear congregations

I don’t think many a conversation in Scotland happens without mentioning the weather. And with good reason, because in this country the weather surely is something to talk about! André’s mum is visiting us from South Africa at the moment. And within 3 days from her arrival she experienced snow, gale-force winds with heavy rain, and the most beautiful, warm, sunny weather! It was as if even nature said: “Welcome to Scotland – the country where you can experience 4 seasons in 1 day!!”

And just like that, nature announces the arrival of Easter in bright yellow daffodils everywhere. These beautiful flowers appear as if out of nowhere, but they’ve been there all along, under the ground, underneath the snow and ice of winter, growing… And then, when spring arrives, they announce it in all their glory. André’s mum can’t get enough of the daffodils – she says that this bright yellow picture you see around every corner is something that will stay with her forever.

And the same thing is true about Easter. Jesus had to die and be buried – a dark, gloomy picture; but then God made him alive again – the most breath-taking picture this world has ever seen. Something that changed the scenery of our lives forever. Because with Jesus arose not only new life, like in spring-time; but everlasting life – for us all.

Let us praise God for that this Easter!

Blessings,

Nanda

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