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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.

Nanda

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,
Nanda

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.
Nanda

September 2014 Letter

  • 3 September 2014
  • nanda.groenewald

Dear Congregations

What a busy summer it’s been! I think we have been really lucky with the weather – most days it actually felt like summer! My family and I had a lovely time. I always enjoy the summer, because then I get to spend lots of time with my boys (all 3 of them!). This summer Andre’s mum visited us with the purpose of babysitting, so we could work. But we also took her on a wee trip up North and she absolutely loved it! She thinks that Scotland is the most beautiful country in the world.Then of course there was the hugely successful Holiday Club (which I enjoyed just as much as all the kids who attended) and we also had a trip to the south of France – lots of adventures there! Hope you had a good summer too.

My younger son, Nehan, started school after the summer, and Henro is in P3 this year. Where has the time gone?! André is still enjoying very much being minister at Kirknewton & East Calder, and I am absolutely loving being the minister here in our parishes!

Since everything is back to normal now, I would just like to share a few administrative details with you. From 23rd September onwards in school term time, I will have office hours once a week at both churches. This is an opportunity for people to see me locally (due to the fact that manse is in East Calder). I will do this for a trial period up to the Christmas holidays, and then review the situation. So every Tuesday, from 10:30 – 12:00, I will be at Polbeth Harwood, and every Wednesday from 10:30 – 12:00, I will be at the West Kirk. Please pop in for a cuppa and a blether!

I have an open door policy – please feel free to contact me any time about anything. I now have my own telephone number in the manse: 01506 884 802. André and I have decided to take a Monday as our day off – but please don’t hesitate to contact me in a crisis.

I’m looking forward to this new session ahead of us, and I hope all of you are too! Time goes by so quickly, we should really make the most of every single minute. Just like all the farmers are making use of the good weather to get their harvests in, we, as children on God, should do the exact same thing. My boys LOVE looking at the tractors pulling huge trailers full of hay bales – “wow mummy, that’s awesome!” they would say every single  time we see one!   

In Proverbs 20:4 we read: “A sluggard does not plough in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.” That should never be true of us. As labourers in the fields of God, let’s sow the seeds of faith everywhere we go – starting right now – so God’s harvest can be plentiful.

May God bless us all to do just that!

Nanda

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