A Celebration of Connection

A Celebration of Connection

On 6 February 2016, carers and connectors from both the Heideveld and Vrygrond communities came to celebrate their graduation from the ‘Champions for Children’ programme. What a special event! I could feel warmth and gratitude from this wide range of Capetonians.  I saw smiles, hugs and great joy.  And, at the same time, I saw the bittersweet realisation that this was the end of the formal part of the Early Childhood Development programme.

Some connectors from Common Ground Church and carers from Heideveld and Vrygrond were called up to tell of their experience of ‘Champions for Children’ and what the programme had meant for them. Each lady shared their heartfelt personal story with the group, and from this, a genuine appreciation for the programme was witnessed.

In trying to capture a touching event, I want to reflect on what a mother from Heideveld shared. As Ayesha came onto the stage, I could see she was struggling with her nerves. Despite this, she spoke so beautifully and captured the essence of what we were celebrating. ‘I have lately been asking God what my next move would be, having had no defined direction for my life. I am so grateful to God for opening the door for me to be a part of the ‘Champions for Children’ programme. From this experience, I now know where I stand with the Lord.

After these talks, each connector-carer group was called up to be acknowledged and collectively received their graduation certificates and their lovely baby chair gifts that were kindly donated by Hope House.

When chatting to the women at the teatime later in the programme, it was plain to conclude that relationships with the trainer and each other were widely cherished. The carers felt valued and were encouraged to grow through the course.  A key part of the training is that the women take ownership of the fact that they are loved and treasured, as well as that they are affirmed as mothers. ‘This programme opened my heart to see my motherhood from a different perspective. I now believe that I am a good mom, and that I have the emotional means to make my child happy.’ These were sincere words spoken by Jacqueline, an ARISE connector. As I listened to such testimonies, I was encouraged to see the fruits of this programme.

The connectors who described their experience, spoke of their new relationships with these mothers and how this had in turn grown themselves. Some shared how God used the ‘Champions for Children’ programme to reshape them to serve more authentically in the future.   Lucinda, a Rondebosch AM connector, read Jeremiah 29:11-13, which pointed all participants to God’s ongoing work in their lives.

The morning was a true appreciation of the new relationships that had been formed in this programme. Mothers connected with mothers.  Women connected with God.  Mothers connected more with their children.  Across race, cultures, ages, languages and communities; genuine relationships were celebrated.

Through this I’ve been reminded of how Jesus stepped across so many divides to offer me relationship and connection. He moved towards me because He saw something of His Father’s image within me.  I have been encouraged to overcome the social divides that are so prevalent, and instead to lovingly seek His image in all the people I encounter.

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