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April 2016 Letter

  • 1 April 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

What a privilege to start Easter morning in the Auld Kirkyard at the crack of dawn!

There were dark clouds looming in the sky, but for the few moments we remembeered Jesus' resurrection, the sun shone brightly through the skies, colouring some of the clouds in a light shade of orange; and although it rained on and off all day long - for those few moments not a drop fell out of the sky. It felt as if even nature held its breath to remember what Jesus did for us.....

After a tremendously busy week, and even having to get up an hour earlier because the clocks changed, I felt more alive than ever, not even a little tired. I was thinking about my boys (all 3!) still cosy in bed, and then thought about Mary - grieving the death of her son like only a mother can, and then eralising that he is alive - that all his suffering wasn't for nothing (John 19 & 20).

Jesus conquered death for all of us. Because of what he went through, no amount of suffering we have to go through in our daily lives will ever be for nothing, nor will we have to handle it alone.

So let's live like people who believe this......let's see the sunshine through the rain and feel his love through our pain.

May God bless you all,

Nanda

March 2016 Letter

  • 7 March 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear congregations

We find ourselves in the time of Lent niw - a time where we walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to remember what He went through to save us.

Since we've moved to Scotland, Easter has got a whole new meaning to me. Because South Africa is in the southern hemisphere, Eastertime is the start of autumn. But here, in the northern hemisphere, Easter and the start of spring coincides. So what happens outside, in nature, also happens inside, in your heart. And that just gives a whole new level of meaningfulness to what Jesus did for us!

Already our garden is filled with snowdrops, and I've had my first bunch of daffodils bring some warmth into the house (seeing the sun isn't doing it at the moment!). Despite the fact that the weather is very unpredictable this year, the promise of spring is in the air - no doubt about that!

But this year Easter will be even more symbolic, because British Summer Time literally starts on Easter morning! I know that might mean fewer hours in bed if you are planning to attend the 7am service in the Auld Kirk yard, but that also means that as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the long, dark nights will be something of the past....

What Jesus did for us on the cross means that on a spiritual level we can also put the long, dark nights behind us - He brought us new life, joy and light. So please join us for all our special Lenten and Easter celebrations this year, so we can celebrate the fact that Jesus withered and died to give us the opportunity to blossom.

 May God bless you all,

Nanda 

February Letter 2016

  • 1 February 2016
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations​

I'm writing this letter on Burns' Day.

We had haggis, neeps and tatties for dinner. Henro told us his version of the story of Little Red Riding Hood in Scottish - "aboot the bonnie wee lassie who took her Nan some IrnBru and tablet, because she was feeling peelie-wallie. She didnae ken that the wolf ate her nan for his tea, so her heart was sair - but luckily, Robert de Bruce was near!!" And then Nehan sang the Flower of Scotland loud enough for all the neighbours to hear, complete with his hand on his heart! And that made me realise - our roots might be in South Africa, but our hearts are in Scotland.......

I think it's really important to be proud of your heritage, to know where you come from, who you are and where you belong. And this is true about our faith heritage as well.

I saw an amazing photo on the internet this week: it's of a girl holding on to a huge crown on her head, saying: "On the darkest days when I feel inadequate, unloved and unworthy, I remember whose daughter I am and I straighten my crown!"

We belong to Jesus, the King of the world. God made us, He takes care of us, and nothing that happens to us can ever change that.

So just like we are proud to walk the same soil as so many famous Scots, let's be proud of the fact that we have the privilege to walk in the footsteps of Jesus too.

May you all have a fabulous February!

God bless,

Nanda

 

Letter - December 2015

  • 28 November 2015
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

Don’t sweat the small stuff. In the light of what’s going on in the world, that’s an expression that can be very meaningful in many a household, especially this time of year – a time that is supposed to be filled with joy and peace, but for some strange reason can sometimes be very stressful.

I love Christmas in Scotland, in the cold weather. There’s something just not right about an artificial Christmas tree with fake snow on it in the scorching December heat in South Africa. Christmas here FEELS like Christmas. And because this excites me so much, I usually can’t wait to get the 4 of us in our Christmas jumpers and send a photo to the family abroad, you know, of our ‘cute, happy family’ at Christmas time. The problem is just that my eldest has now decided that he’s not wearing a Christmas jumper anymore. He’s 8. That’s not cool. “What?!”, I went. “Of course you’re wearing your jumper! We live in Scotland now, that’s what people do.” “No.” “Yes.” “No.” Heated argument.

Until I took a step backwards and realised what I was doing. I was forcing him to do something that is so insignificant in the bigger scale of things, that I couldn’t believe it was important to me in the first place.

Because we are an amazingly lucky family – to be able to live here in this safe and lovely country, among loving and caring people. My boys are healthy and happy. And cute. Even without Christmas jumpers on!
When Jesus was born there was nothing cute about the “season”. “Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). No Christmas jumper for baby Jesus. Cloths – because there was nothing else.

Sometimes we can get so worked up about the small things, that we lose perspective of what is really important. If we could see past all the Christmas decorations into the rest of the world – how many families are there that are torn apart because of war, where children have nothing to wear and no gifts waiting for them under the tree, where Christmas will just be a day like any other? How many people here among us hide heartache behind a smile and a gift this time of year?

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t worry if your turkey burns or if you can’t find the perfect gift… We’ve got so much to be thankful for. God loves us. So much that he sent his son to die for us.

Let’s focus on the real meaning of Christmas this year, and the peace that only God can bring, the peace we so desperately need in the world today.

May God bless you all this Christmas.

Nanda

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