south of somewhere

Hi, our names are Sarah and Nathan Cooper. We are based in Sheffield in England, but are preparing to move to South Africa in September '06 to join a church planting team in the Western Cape. We hope that this blog will keep you up to date with our progress as we embark on this new adventure. Watch this space...

Monday, May 28, 2007

It's freezing here! We are getting used to having numb hands and feet in a house with no central heating, and sleeping under 2 duvets and a blanket. The cold weather started off as a bit of a novelty and a pleasant change from searing heat, but we are now looking forward to some sun when we're back in England. The snow has settled on the mountain tops, and in the towns higher up from us, there is enough snow to build snowmen. Even Nathan has finally packed away his shorts and flip flops!

It took us 2 mornings to teach the employees at People's Crafts how to use a ruler (none of them finished their schooling), but they are now up and running with the new card range, and they're looking great!

We had employed one of the young men from our youth group to do some DIY projects around the house, as an apprentice to one of the men in the church, but unfortunately we had to sack him this morning for turning up 2 and half hours late for the third day in a row. We are struggling to instill him with a sense of his future being in his hands, and therefore the need for him to make wise choices. We keep trying to encourage him to think about how his choices are restricting his opportunities in life, and we are far from giving up! We have noticed a general trend amongst the young men in particular for making poor choices out of a lack of foresight and discipline, and seeming to be baffled by the consequences. I don't know whether they have ever had any accountability or responsibility in their lives - i am guessing not, given that the townships are full of toddlers roaming the streets even late at night, and young people seem to be able to drop out of school without any protest from their parents.

Please pray for us for wisdom in knowing how to counter this.

Monday, May 14, 2007

So much happening!

Hello everyone,

We're getting excited now - only four weeks until we arrive back in the UK. We can hardly believe 9 months here have gone so fast! We're just finalising our itinerary, so we'll let you know where we'll be and when, so we can arrange to see as many of you as possible when we're back.

It feels like there's a lot to organise before we fly out. The People's crafts has a new card range coming out, so we have been busy getting the stock together to start production, and next week we should be able to start training the employees to make the new cards. They are more complex to make then the current range, so our training abilities will be put to the test!

We have added another 2 members to Next Level youth group - a brother and sister from an American family, so our group now has 18 young people in it! This week sees the last session in a special 3 week series where the boys and girls have had their own meetings, looking at identity, self esteem, body image, and relationships. It has taken a lot of preparation, but the sessions have been great so far, and we feel we are seeing some breakthrough in the lives of the young people. There has been an increase in openness and emotional warmth in some of the girls particularly - as if some barriers have come down for them somehow.

It's also been a busy week with Next Level as we try to increase their responsibilty and involvement in Kinderbond - the outreach work with children in Worcester's townships. This week two of the young peopel will be performing a puppet play, and next week five of them will be doing a hip hop dance at Kinderbond - it's wonderful seeing them getting so involved, and each time they experience success we can see a tangible difference in their confidence and self esteem.

Well, it's our day off today, so we're going to leave you and have a nice cup of tea - keeping in touch with our roots!