August 27, 2009 § Leave a comment
This has been an eye opening week for me. I’ve been to many meetings and workshops, far more than usual within just one week. One of the workshops that really stands out for me is the Foundation for Alcohol Related Research (FARR) workshop. It was quite enlightening. Since I’m currently working in the Kewtown Primary School where the results of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is so evident, this workshop is one that is of particular importance.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a disorder that can occur to an embryo when a pregnant woman ingests alcohol during pregnancy. While ingesting alcohol during pregnancy does not always result in FAS the possibility is great. The current recommendation of the US Surgeon General is to abstain from the use of all alcohol during a pregnancy.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be used while pregnant. Additionally, there are no safe times during pregnancy to drink alcohol and no safe type of alcohol. For this reason the US Center for Disease Control encourages women not to drink alcohol at any time, in any amount, during pregnancy.
There is another great concern. It is common for a woman to be pregnant for several weeks or even months without being aware of it. It is therefore urged that if a woman is sexually active without the aid of birth control she abstain from drinking. Certainly if any woman is planning on or expecting a pregnancy she should give up all alcohol until after the baby arrives. How to be sure…if a woman does not use alcohol at all during pregnancy, it is not possible that her child would be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)…
If a pregnant woman does drink alcohol, it is in her blood and it passes through the placenta to the baby. The use of alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a many lifelong disorders for the child. Children with FASDs are likely to display some, if not all of the following behaviors and characteristics:
*Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip (this ridge is called the philtrum)
*Low body weight
*Small head size
*Inability to maintain focus
*Inability to reason
*Difficulty paying attention
*Deficiency in mathematics
*Slurred or delayed speech
*Problems with the heart, kidney, and/or bones
It’s obvious in looking at the above list that this insidious affliction can result in a host of problems for the precious little one afflicted with FASDs and there is no cure. Let me say that again…THERE IS NO CURE!
Some of my concerns are that there are so many children enrolled in Kewtown Primary School that we have identified as possibly having FASDs. Since it’s a known fact that Children with FASDs have learning difficulties, and this is evident in Kewtown Primary it presents a huge problem for us. These children could be easily misunderstood and could be classified as “stupid” and/or could be shouted at in class by an educator who doesn’t understand the problem and just isn’t able to cope with them. It is our responsibility to love these youngsters and have patience with them. Their conditions are through no fault of their own and what they need now is help, love and understanding. We are there to see that they receive what they need. My heart goes out to each of them especially as there is no cure for this disease. The other thing that I also know is that these children need our prayers…there is nothing impossible for God.
We will continue to pray for these little ones and ask God to give us the wisdom we need to work with them. I will not give up on them. I will be committing myself to them and in addition to prayer do everything I can to accommodate these precious little children.
I ASK THAT YOU JOIN US IN PRAYER AS WE PRAY FOR THESE CHILDREN AND ALL THE CHILDREN ACROSS THE WORLD WHO SUFFER THIS DREADED DISEASE THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Luke 18:16 NIV
August 17, 2009 § 2 Comments
Impact Direct Ministries, the organization of which I’m an active part, is busy with spiritual and moral awakenings in the schools and we have adopted Kewtown Primary School as our focus point. Kewtown Primary School was established in 1965. It is situated on the Klipfontein Corridor and is in a small community on the Cape Flats. The choice of this school is significant since it’s in an area where gangster activities, drug abuse and other social ills are the order of the day.
“The school is better off without these students here,” said an educator at Kewtown Primary School. These are students that we, the IDM counselors are working with and they make up the core of the after-care program that we’re running here from the Centre. IDM has taken on the responsibility of bringing hope in this seemingly hopeless situation. The after-care program runs on Monday and Wednesday and starts at 14h30 till 17h00. The learners are picked up at the school grounds and are transported to the Impact Centre. On arrival at the Centre they have the opportunity to have a warm shower and a get a hot, home-cooked meal. This is the highlight of the week for many of these students as most of them don’t have warm running water in their homes. Life Skills, Arts and Crafts, Spiritual Guidance and ongoing counseling are the foundation from which IDM is working to reconstruct the young lives of these children.
These youngsters need to be kept off the streets to break the cycle of gang culture. Children in Kewtown are living right in the middle of an internal turf war between rival gangs. According to the Kewtown residents, gang bosses are targeting and recruiting these young people to do their dirty work. The high unemployment rate has taken its toll on this community resulting in even greater problems of drug abuse and drug related crime.
The counseling sessions that IDM is giving these youngsters is very effective. The students have been referred for counseling because they are disruptive in class, disrespectful to teachers and fight with other pupils. While at first they were reluctant to open up to the IDM counselors, they are finding it easier as time goes by to know what to expect in the counseling sessions. They also find it easier to talk to the counselors as they begin to realize they are not talking to a teacher or parent. These students’ emotional needs are being met and as a result they open up to the IDM counselors and actually look forward to the sessions in which they have the opportunity to be both heard and counseled.
Initially it was strenuous on the counselors listening to the backgrounds of these students. Some of them are from families living with 15 people in a 2 bedroom flat. Children have to sleep in shifts and often find themselves roaming the streets. On the staircases of these flats gangsters often smoke drugs and these kids have to pass them in order to get to their front doors. These are only a few of the daily challenges these students are faced with.
The team is really trusting God to come through for us big time where the kids are concerned. It is our responsibility as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ to guide these young people in such a way that they become so entrenched in what is good and right that they will seek a life on higher ground and avoid the ills of the area in which they live.
As we continue to work with these students I’ll be sharing both the happenings and the progress with you. You’ll get to see what the young people of this generation and community (and others like it) are faced with. You’ll also be able to share our joy as we work with them to turn their lives around.
Matthew 18: 5-7 “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come.”
August 11, 2009 § 2 Comments
Last weekend was a very special weekend for me. I spent it with a family from my church. My going there was not for a holiday, but rather to ask the family a very important question. No, it was not to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage or any such thing.
The head of this family, Angus Goddard happens to be an elder in our church and I basically went there to ask him if he would be willing to be my spiritual mentor. I’m currently at a place in my life were I need guidance in certain decisions I am going to be making in both my spiritual and personal life.
I’ve been asking God to show me who I should ask for guidance, who the best person to mentor me would be. Elder Angus is the person God pointed me to. Not only was I to ask the head of the family if he was willing to walk with me on my journey, I had to ask the family as well. Because this was ordained by God, the whole family has accepted me into their family with open arms.
I had a blessed weekend with this family and they made me feel quite at home. It felt as though had known them for ages and have grown up with them. This, having been ordained by God, it just felt so proper and so right. Elder Angus, his wife and I spoke at great length on the Friday evening. They told me all about how they met and got married and how God had arranged and ordained their marriage. It was very encouraging to hear their story and what God has done in their lives. We spoke on many topics until the wee, small hours of the morning. I was so inspired by this spiritual couple
I appreciate not only their time but the warmth and compassion with which they welcomed me. I’m thankful to God for directing me to Elder Angus Goddard and his family. While saying thank you, here on my blog, to these wonderful people seems a small gesture for their opening their home and their hearts to this former drug addict and gangster. I know, however, that they can see and do acknowledge what Jesus has done in my life.
While thank you hardly seems enough to say to these wonderful, giving people I will make them glad they have welcomed me into their family and will make them proud to have me as a part of their family. I know there will be more times such as the moments we shared over the past weekend. We are family now and that is what families do.
I will be blogging more about my mentor and his family in the very near future and sharing with you what a wonderful, giving man of God he is.
Thank you Lord for showing me to this wonderful, Christian man and his family.
August 4, 2009 § Leave a comment
Today was a very special day for The Impact Center and for me as a part of The Impact Center. God is moving us in powerful ways. We’ve reached out to Him to help us eradicate the tremendous drug problems which plague our cities and our country. As always God has heard our prayers and is moving us in the direction we need to go.
With God’s blessings we went out to an organization in a neighboring township to do a workshop with the staff there. You’re probably wondering why that is such a big deal to us? Until just over a year ago people had not heard about The Impact Centre. That, however, has changed now. The Impact Centre is rapidly becoming well known for the work we are doing. As a humble part of the great work being done at the center, I know that our recognition is only because of one thing, results. People are seeing the results of God’s moving us where we need to be to deliver our message that the scourge of drugs in our country must end. The pastor and the rest of the organization, having turned to God for the answer to this problem, have been led to action… the results of which are evident.
Most of us on the staff at the Impact Center are former addicts and gangsters and that is what makes our work so dynamic. Organizations are now seeking to start Centers in their communities, Centers that will provide the type of service we are currently providing. For example, The Catholic Welfare and Development Centre has come to us to do training with their staff.
It is incredibly exciting to see that more and more people are turning to God to deal with the drug problems our city and country. We make it clear that they cannot do it without God and it is He that is responsible for all of us coming clean and walking away from our drug addictions. We are able to teach and train these people, in part, from the knowledge that we have picked up on the streets during our days as addicts.
The training we did today, however, was to show them how to do a proper intake of a client. We showed them what questions to ask the client and how to draw out vital information that as assessors they will use at a later stage to put an IDP (Individual Developmental Plan) in place for the client.
The workshop went very well and we have been invited to go back and do a follow up on today’s workshop. That’s good news for us as now we are building up references for ourselves and are hoping at a later stage to provide more training for more organizations in our city. This is the start of big things to come as God works His wonders among us. It is our goal to take this program nationwide and as more and more organizations are moved to turn to God in this battle against drugs we are being brought closer to our goal.