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February Letter

  • 1 February 2015
  • nanda.groenewald

As you all know, we went to South Africa for 3 weeks after Christmas.

One day, while we were on safari, we saw a huge anthill. My 2 boys didn’t know what it was and asked the ranger, who was kind enough to stop and explain: Anthills are where the ants live, and they build it all by themselves, using only ground and small pieces of material they can carry themselves, mixed with their saliva. And although ants are really small, this anthill was huge – as high as the vehicle we were driving in. Not even mentioning all the wee rooms and passages build under the ground we couldn’t see! So the ranger allowed the boys to get out of the vehicle quickly and touch the anthill. Then he told them to kick it. Not even a speck of dust fell off!! The anthill was as strong as a rock. Something that was built by tiny wee ants was too strong for a human (quite a bit bigger!) to break. It was almost unbelievable!

This just made me realize once again how amazing God is. He made the ants, and gave them the ability to build houses like that. In Psalm 95 we read: “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord… For the Lord is the great God… In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him… Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” God, who made the tiny ants, also made the huge big elephants, and He also made us. And just like He takes care of nature, He takes care of us too. He holds us in the hollow of his hand.

If God can make a tiny ant build a house that can’t even be kicked over by my 2 future football stars (!!), just imagine what He can do through you… May 2015 be a year full of amazing things for you.

God bless,

December Letter

  • 28 November 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

My boys are busy writing their letters to Santa. They’re not ready to post it yet, just in case they think of something else they want to ad! And that got me thinking…

Letters have been an important part of life in the early Church too. The apostle Paul travelled from city to city to share the good news about Jesus Christ with the people, and as soon as he left a city he started writing them letters to answer questions they had and also to encourage them to stand strong in their new-found faith. Some of these letters are included in our New Testament.

In one of these letters, Philippians 4:4-7, Paul said: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!...Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all human understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Paul had to endure lots of trials and tribulations because he stood up for his faith. But he never once allowed anything to put him off from believing in God. So when he says that we can ask God anything we want, I take his word for it, because he is speaking from experience. Paul doesn’t say that God will always give you what you’ve asked for straight away, but that he will give you what you need. And if you have the courage to ask, the one thing you will most certainly get, is the peace of God. Because very often, that is all we really need. The peace to move on, to accept, to let go, to adapt, to forgive… The peace of knowing that God is in control of your life, no matter what.
So let’s all ask God for everything we need and everything we long for this Christmas, but let’s also accept that His peace, the peace that transcends all human understanding, is the biggest gift anybody could ever ask for – and we’ve already been given that in Jesus Christ.

May God bless you all this Christmas, and be close to you in the new year.


November 2014 Letter

  • 30 October 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

The four of us we went to the Netherlands for the October break, and we had a lovely time. We ate lots of cheese and caramel wavers, walked for miles alongside the canals, and then, of course, we laughed a lot!

Nehan’s favourite thing was the Dutch clogs – he desperately wanted me to buy him a bright orange pair… But after much deliberation he settled for orange clog look-a-like slippers (which he put on straight away and never took off until we arrived home)!

Henro was fascinated with the windmills. I’ve never been inside a windmill before, and it was very interesting to see how it works. If the wind doesn’t blow, nothing happens. But as soon as the wind picks up, the machinery inside the windmill starts working and continues to work as long as the wind is blowing.

And standing outside a huge windmill, looking at the big arms turning in the wind, I thought that God works through us in a very similar way. He sent us his Spirit, and through his Spirit we are able to be the people he wants us to be and to do the things he wants us to do. The Holy Spirit is our “wind”, and interestingly the word used for “Spirit” in the Old Testament can also be translated as “wind”. We can’t see the wind, but looking at the arms of a windmill, we can easily see the effect of the wind. 

We can’t see God’s Spirit either, but we can see the effect of his Spirit when we are able to handle things, say things and do things that we thought impossible. The only difference between the wind and the Spirit is that where we do get days when it’s not windy at all, God’s Spirit is always with us. We don’t have to wait for a good day to work hard and make a difference, like a miller who is dependent on the wind; we can accomplish anything we want to, every day, because the Holy Spirit empowers us non-stop (Acts 2:1-13).

So let’s not waste any of the energy given to us by God. If the wind can make a windmill change grain into flour, just imagine the change we can bring here on earth if we all work together!

May God bless you all,

October 2014 Letter

  • 25 September 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations
Change. Something most of us aren’t very fond of… But where there is no change, there is no growth either.
This time of year lots of changes take place in nature – the leaves start to change colour and fall down from the trees, it’s starting to get much cooler outside and the nights are drawing in. Walking my boys to school the other morning, I said (with a sigh in my voice): “Winter is almost here guys – I can’t believe the summer is over!” But I guess when you are 5 or 7 years old, you are still able to see the positive in every situation, because they jumped with joy and said: “That means Christmas is getting closer!!”

Summer, autumn, winter, spring. Change.
In order to grow as people, we need to change too. In order to grow as Christians, we need to allow God’s Spirit to change us. But that’s not always easy. Just like nobody is keen to put their sandals away and look out their gloves and scarves again, nobody really likes to change old habits. But this is the time of year to let go of all the things that shouldn’t be part of a Christian’s life. We should let go of these things like a tree sheds its leaves in the autumn. And then we should bear the fruit of the Spirit – all year round.

In Galatians 5:22 we read that “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

With the Scottish Referendum now behind us – this is not only a time for change within us, but also for change around us. Because we are all on a new journey now – a journey towards our future together. Let us be the bearers of the fruit everybody around us need to sustain them on their path ahead!
May God bless you all in this season of change.