Minister's Update

nanda.groenewald's picture

April 2017 Letter

Printer-friendly version

 

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

nanda.groenewald's picture

March 2017 Letter

Printer-friendly version

 

Dear Congregations

This month I decided to write you a very personal letter, because on the 11th of March (10:30-12:30 at the West Kirk Hall), I will be holding my 3rd annual coffee morning to raise funds for my brother’s medical expenses. Now you might wonder why I do this… Because I feel it’s something I can do for him. There are so many things I can’t do for him: I can’t go visit him in hospital, I can’t take him to appointments or keep him company while he is on dialysis,  I’m not around to be a shoulder he can cry on… It’s a difficult position to be in – because I believe God called me here to minister in the Church of Scotland. My wee family and I are so happy here, we have a safe and free life (something that isn’t guaranteed in South Africa), and we are so well supported by our congregations. But I miss my dad and brother in South Africa, and I worry about them all the time. So that’s how I came to the conclusion that something I can do from here is to raise money to take one big worry away from my brother – the fear that he won’t be able to pay for his treatment.

For those of you who don’t know his story: Emuel’s had type 1 diabetes since he was 4 years old. This made his health deteriorate very much over the years, and he now has kidney failure too. He gets dialysis 3 times a week, and this can sometimes last for up to 6 hours at a time. He is a little younger than me, and one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met. He’s not been able to work for many years now, he is in a wheelchair and can hardly see anymore. But he keeps going, always with a smile on his face. And the money we raised for him at the previous coffee mornings was almost enough to pay his medical aid for a whole year. Because there is no NHS in South Africa, if you can’t afford to pay for your treatment, you just can’t get it…

One of my favourite passages in the Bible is Esther 4:14b: “Yet who knows—maybe it was for a time like this that you were made queen!” Esther became the new queen in a time when her people really needed someone to stand up for them and make their lives better… And although that was not the reason she became the queen in the first place, she grabbed that opportunity with both hands and changed so many people’s lives. And that’s my motto in life too: “Who knows – maybe it was for a time like this that I had to come to Scotland, to West Calder and Polbeth…” Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your love, support, and generosity; for making it possible for me to reduce the stress in my brother’s life and at the same time for adding more days to his life.

May God bless you all.

Nanda

nanda.groenewald's picture

Letter February 2017

Printer-friendly version

Dear Congregations

February is Stewardship Month at the West Kirk and Polbeth Harwood. I know that the words "stewardship" and "steward" are not words we commonly use today...

So what do these words mean? A steward is a person who manages and administers what has been entrusted to him/her by another.

In this case, a steward is a person who manages what has been entrusted to him/her by God. God has entrusted us with talents, time and money. Therefore, stewardship is the careful and responsible management of the things God has entrusted to our care. We believe that God owns all things (see Psalm 24:1), and that every believer has the personal responsibility to manage, supervise, and administer all that God has given him/her to His glory (Romans 14:12).

In  our congregations we have spent time looking at the management of our talents and time over the past two years, so this year the focus will be on money.

Personally, I always feel uncomfortable talking about money. Especially because I have all too often heard that "all the church ever wants is my money!" But anybody who is involved in our churches will know that that is definitely not the case. Church is about much, much more than money....

Unfortunately, just like everything else in this world, the church needs money in order to fulfill all its duties here on earth. And it's all these things we will be taking a look at this month. I actually think that it is a huge honour to be trusted by God with the responsibility of making sure that the church has enough money and that this money is spent wisely. As you know, I am Mum to two young boys. I most definitely wouldn't entrust them with all my money - because I know only too well that for them their books, sweeties, toys and games are way more important than food and clothes!! They are neither old enough nor wise enough to be entrusted with such a huge responsibility just yet....

But in God's eyes we are.... He trusts us with EVERYTHING that belongs to him. So let's do him proud!

May God bless you all,

Nanda

nanda.groenewald's picture

December 2016 Letter

Printer-friendly version
Follow the Star

Dear Congregations

Our theme for this Christmas season is: Following the Star....

As we journey through life, it's quite easy to lose focus. To forget where we are going.... Therefore we need something we can focus on, something to keep us on track...

That very first Christmas the magi just knew that they had to follow that star - and look where it brought them (Matthew 2)! They got to meet the baby Jesus.

At roughly the same time, somewhere else, the angels told the shepherds that they had to get up and get going, that something amazing had happened, and they started their journey straight away (Luke 2) And look where that brought them!They got to meet the baby Jesus too.

They listened to the angels, they followed the star - and that choice changed their lives forever!

God talks to all of us. He tells us where to go. In different ways, he leads us to extraordinary places.

All we need to do is listen.....

This Christmas season, let's not get side tracked by anything. Let's listen where God wants to send us, let's see what he has in store for us.

Let's follow that star....

If we put aside what the world expects us to do and make it our priority to find Jesus, just as the magi and the shepherds did, we'll never look back.

We'll never be the same again... 

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a fantastic 2017.

Nanda

Pages

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
e-mail icon