KnowingGod Launch

Since my trip to Poland last year we have been preparing our online ministry platform for the launch phase. Last Friday evening, this finally became a reality. We hosted an official event to introduce our platform to churches, mission organisations and possible investors.

The Digital Strategies team with Arjo

This launch was a night of celebration – seeing the full picture of what God has done. Since I joined the Digital Strategy team 4 years ago, my question was – “how do we do evangelism and discipleship online?” We tested a variety of tools, but none of them provided everything we needed in one place.

My team leader, Johan Myburgh, introduced us to Jesus.net. Their dream is as follows:

Imagine a world with every single person having free access to the gospel, knowing God, growing in Jesus and sharing faith easily.

This is what we want. On my trip to Poland I saw the results of their work. After getting back to South Africa, I signed up for their training and worked through it over an 8-month period and got this training in place for our platform. My colleague Fanie van Graan handled the setup and structure of the platform.

At the event itself, our international Jesus.net coach from Holland, Arjo de Vroome, shared about the 15-year history and the current impact of Jesus.net worldwide while Johan shared our national vision – the current and potential impact of Jesus.net in South Africa.

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Arjo also challenged the attendees to join in the success of this vision by investing their time, talents and finances. If you want to know more about the challenge or the platform, please email me and we can talk about it.

My next steps are as follows:

  • Engage with people signing up for our courses.
  • Train and equip people who want to become e-coaches.
  • Create material to cast vision about this ministry.

If you want to visit our sites, they are

https://knowinggod.co.za/ – there are daily devotionals posted and articles to read through

https://courses.knowinggod.co.za – you will need to create an account and sign up for courses to work through the material.

We are very excited and are looking forward to share with you the effectiveness of this online tool.

Please pray that we can train up enough e-coaches and that we will engage people on an emotional and intellectual level.

Thank you,

Nicholas

 

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Going Potty

It’s been a busy but blessed season at the Kelderman household. Our little big boy Kiran who turned two in May is now potty training and he is very proud of himself,  especially when he’s allowed to flush! If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be excited about bowel movements I would’ve laughed at you, but these are now part of the fun conversations I get to have with my family.

Our first-born, Vincent, who turned 4 in April is full of fun, joy and curiosity. As some of you may know, we have had challenges with his delay in speech. This past week I was finally able to take him for a speech therapy assessment at the University of Pretoria (pic right). It was fascinating to learn so many things aboDSC_0001ut my boy. I got to understand that his love for sensory stimulation, music and numbers are great tools we can use to build his language development. The feedback I got from the assessment helped me understand that we need to work on a few things: his hearing, his language development and the way he deals with the sensory overload that his body and mind experiences. We are currently tackling the hearing issue by gradually removing a wax build-up using eardrops and will soon send him for regular speech and occupational therapy. We are grateful to God and look forward to watching Him use our precious, friendly Vincent for His glory.

 

In the meantime, I’ve been trying a few exercises at home just to help him slow down, davprocess information and articulate what he understands. It’s been rocky here and there (especially because Kiran wants to do his Godzilla impersonation on every project we attempt!) but we are having fun and making progress. In the picture on the left, Vincent is selecting pegs of the same color, naming them and pegging them onto a cardboard. This activity helps with focus and fine motor skills.

 

Vincent, Kiran and I attend a mommy group once a week. Here the mommies get to give each other support, encouragement, advice and prayer and the kids get to play outside and make friends. Kiran’s closest friend is a beautiful blonde with a fbtshy sweet smile, her name is Sarah and they’re two weeks apart. Sarah’s mom, Beth, is a close friend of mine and she leads our mommy group time. I’ve found this group to be a lifeline, steam-valve release, “I’m not crazy”, we’re-all-in-this-together circle of friends here in Pretoria. Honestly, I don’t believe anyone should do parenting on their own, especially us as moms who often take on more than we can handle.

Amid all the laughter, tears, chaos and mess, I’m immensely grateful for  this season when I can have my boys all to myself and have a front-row seat on their growth journey, even spiritually. Vincent and Kiran have both started saying grace at the table lately and it’s been precious to watch them pray with their tiny hands clasped together. I am learning from them – to trust, to laugh and to release all that I feel to our Father.

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E-coach training – It is done

Good day Ministry Partners,

Since my trip to Poland I have been engaged in the training they present to become an E-coach. With a feeling of accomplishment, I can share that this week I have completed their training. As I go through the process of becoming an e-coach I’m processing what I could use when training South African E-coaches. I have chosen my lessons and now we are working at exporting those to our platform and contextualising it to South African English.

The Campus Crusade for Christ Digital Strategies team (myself included) are working hard to get our platform ready for our launch in mid-September. The basics are already in place, we just need to add a few more modules for variety. A big part of the launch is also a fundraiser. If you are interested in attending this event, please send me an email/Whatsapp.

My next steps are to work through modules with the team at Jesus.net in Holland. They created the platform and have been running this ministry for 10 years. They have more modules and practical experience and I look forward to bounce ideas off them to improve the tools that we are using.

Please pray that all our logistics will fall in place for the launch & fundraiser and that the right people will be attending this event.

Thank you for your time and prayers.

Nicholas

Cross Cultural Sharpening

Every year our organisation comes together to get trained and equipped to be better at the work we are called to. This year is no different. We came together last week for a 5-day course called “The Lenses Institute – See. Understand. Act.” The purpose of the course was to improve our cross-cultural interaction and the key scripture verses used were John 17:20-23. Most of our focus was in-house, but the application of what we learned can be used everywhere. I will share a few of my “ah-ha” moments or highlights with you in this update.

One of the biggest foundational topics was how Scripture has been misused to create a perspective that some people are worth more than others. From that point we often see 2 main groups that are formed – the one with authority and power (group A) and the other group that gets oppressed (group B). Both groups will read the same scripture but because of the lenses that they look through they get a different message out of it. There are however places where both perspectives share commonalities. The question in my heart is, “Am I going to insist that my perspective is the only right one and judge others who don’t share that or will I take the initiative to have the conversation and learn from other’s perspectives and even discover our commonalities?

The second nugget of value from this week was hearing the testimonies of my colleagues. From the older missionaries that worked for CCC during apartheid to the new missionaries struggling to work past white privilege. I know I used some disliked words or phrases, but we are all struggling with it on one level or the other. Because of our history and upbringing, we each have preconceived ideas. After hearing stories of each one’s personal struggles – from growing up to joining missions to being a missionary on staff with CCC, I realized that we are so focused on our own challenges in the mission field, that we sometimes miss what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ working right alongside us. We need to support each other and pray for one another, but if I don’t know your story and if I don’t have relationship with you, how will I know? One of the other points that came out of group discussions was that people aren’t always looking for an apology for what happened in the past, but an acknowledgement that their stories have been heard now – “Can I tell you my story and will you hear me without judgement?”

The third nugget that opened my eyes was creating my life map. A life map is a physical depiction of my life journey from the perspective of my cultural experience. The picture I’ve included shows a few helpful questions to guide a person through the creation of his/her life map. The process opened my eyes to see how God prepared me to be in a cross-cultural marriage (if you didn’t know, Pravani and I are in a cross-cultural marriage). If you want to know more about my story, I would love to share it with you face to face.

Mid-way through our course our facilitators asked what challenges we see in CCC and told us to write it down on post-it notes. They then identified 2 main challenges, broke us up into groups of eight got us to work on creative solutions. The 2 challenges we worked on were “How do we help our non-white staff raise financial support?” and “How do we create unity in an independent work culture?”  All the groups came up with their best solutions and shared it in the bigger group. My hope is that we will practically see it through and improve on our mistakes.

At the end of the week, we each created our personally summary of the week using the following points: 1. Sharing who we were before the training 2. What we learnt 3. What will we be implementing. Here is what I wrote:

I am in a cross-cultural marriage with low to very little conflict based on culture. What I have learnt over the past week is that I am ignorant of the history of my and other cultures in South Africa. The level of relationships I have in CCC are mostly superficial and I need build deeper to understand the perspectives of my colleagues, but I am grateful for the relationships that I do have. Moving forward I what to take these simple steps:

  • Engage more with colleagues- to hear their story and to seek to understand more than being understood
  • Study the Bible with a person from a different outlook on life.
  • To be a brother in Christ that can help opposing parties to see each other’s perspective and learn from it.

My last thought is to say thank you to the USA staff that came here to help us as an organisation and individuals to grow. The amount of work and prayer they put in was humbling. They adjusted the program daily to address felt needs and to be faithful to what God laid on their hearts. Thank you for showing us how to See, Understand and Act.

If you reached this point, thank you. I know that this is a long update, I have so much more on my heart but I work better through conversation. So please send me a message with questions and let’s build on getting to know each other better. I would even encourage you to use the Life Map tool amongst your small groups at church or work colleagues. If you do so, please send me some feedback on how it went!

Have a blessed day,

Nicholas

Imitating God

Over the past few months I have been using an app to help me spend better/more time in the Word, and allow the Word to challenge me. The app’s name is Like Jesus. The reason I am writing about it today is because of the Scripture it gave me. Ephesians 5:1 – “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.”

As a father of 2 boys, I see how they imitate me in actions and in words. It’s eye-opening about my own character and on a level, I want them to better than me. As a parent we also have expectations for certain milestones to be reached. Currently Vincent is taking his time with the speech ability milestone. So we, mostly Pravani, are doing exercises to encourage Vincent to use words and we have also scheduled an appointment with a speech therapist for next term to evaluate his speech and come up with a plan of action.

Now to bring it back to us and God – the Bible tells us in John 1:12 that if we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, we will be children of God. And Paul encourages us in Ephesians 5:1 that we should imitate God. The challenge is that we don’t always know what to do. We need an expert to help us. That is where the church (the body of Christ) comes in – believers who have gone through similar challenges, men and women who you can see have a relationship with God and are growing in their faith. The key is to walk a path with them, so that we can grow together towards God. The manual that helps us, is of course the Bible.

Please pray for Vincent and our journey with him as we keep building into him. We will also be praying for you to grow to as God’s children daily.

Nicholas

P.S. Don’t worry that we are leaving Kiran behind. He is imitating Vincent and learning fast.

E-coach training – Personal conversation

For more than a month I have been busy with a module called Personal Conversation. This was a time-consuming module due do its practical aspect. The training has clear theory that is instructive and easy to understand, but the practical section was harder to work through.

I worked through 5 interactions – these are case studies given to me by my coach simulating what my online ministry will be like –  each one totally unique. And I had to engage the person, look for the core of the message, direct the conversation, encourage the person, help with self-discovery and get the conversation to a point of introducing a relevant module in our platform.

After the 5 practice sessions, there was an even more difficult topic for me to cover – how to communicate with someone that is suicidal. It involves focusing on what not to say and what to say, understanding what the need is and doing my best to engage and encourage. Part of this is also to encourage them to get professional help.

This process has been fully worth it and I am grateful to my e-coach who is based in Poland, making sure that I am fully equipped. I hope to be that coach for someone else soon.

Please pray for our fund development. Pravani and I are making appointments and trusting that more people will join our team, so that we can give our full attention to the ministry God has given us.

Thank you,

Nicholas