We are excited to announce the arrival of our new principal, Marise Jordaan. Marise is South African, and comes to Pfunanane with many years of experience in education. She is a great leader and a fun person to have around - we are looking forward to the future of Pfunanane with Marise as the head of our school!
Pfunanane Pastor and Counselor
This year we also welcomed Pastor Farayi, who comes to Pfunanane regularly to spend time counseling and praying with our children. His spiritual guidance and support has been very valuable to both the students and the teachers, and we are excited to have him as part of our staff. (Pictured here with his son, Israel)
Inter-House Athletics Competition
We held our first-ever inter-house athletics competition for the Pfunanane students in April. The school was divided into 2 teams (blue and yellow) and competed against one another in sprints, relays, throwing, and jumping. We were all hot and tired by the end of the day, but a great time was had by all!
Canadian Team Visits
We had another great visit from the Pacific Academy team this year - along with helping with building projects around the school, they had lots of fun with the kids!
Our new school year got off to a soggy start with record-breaking amounts of rain. Not only did this make our grounds a muddy mess, it caused two giant trees on our property to uproot and fall over...one right on top of the Terwey's house in the middle of the night! The giant tree managed to smash the roof and crush the ceilings just a few feet from the sleeping kids' heads! The damage to the roof and house was extensive and will take several months to fix, but thankfully no one was hurt!
Grade R Sports Day!
Our adorable grade R (kindergarten) class took part in a sports day at King's Court on February 7th. They had a great time doing the various activities, running races, and trying their hand (foot?) at the high jump and long jump!
As our 2012 school year draws to a close, we look back on with gratitude and amazement at all God has done for Pfunanane this year! Our third grade-7 class finished up their time at Pfunanane with a special "farewell" dinner held in their honor, where this great class got to give speeches, watch a video of their time at Pfunanane (most of the kids in this years' class have been with us since grade R or 1), and most excitingly for them, get dressed up! We are so proud of this class and all they've achieved, and are excited for what God has in store for them as they move on to high school next year!
Another end-of-year highlight for our kids is the grade R graduation and "prize giving", where we honor the top students of the year. Prizes are given for academic and athletic achievements, as well as to those who displayed a "Spirit of Christ" to fellow students. We also name the prefects (student leaders) for the coming year, as well as the head boy and head girl. Check out the pictures below of our adorable grade R class, along with a few of our prize winners!
October was an exciting and busy month for us, as we held our concert on the 17th! The kids LOVE doing the concert, and had great attitudes and worked hard learning the songs and dances! Our concert this year was based on the story of 8-year-old King Josiah as told in 2 Chronicles. Our actors did an amazing job and overall the concert was a great success! DVD's are available to anyone who is interested!
Sports/Academic Day with Song Academy
We recently held what we hope to be the first of many events with Song Academy, a small Christian school that we partner with. It was a busy day with a debate, spelling competitions, a soccer game, and a netball game. Pfunanane won the debate, spelling competitions, and netball game, and the soccer game ended in a tie! The kids enjoyed getting to compete and show off their skills, as well as making some new friends and winning cool prizes!
Pfunanane At South African Nationals!
We had a great trip with 11 of our kids who qualified to run in the South African National Cross-Country Championships. Although half of them came down with high fevers and the flu, they still insisted on racing, and did a great job for our provincial team (though they didn't like the uniforms as much as our Pfunanane uniforms!) They gained valuable experience racing against as many as 150 other kids in their age groups, and also got to have lots of fun at the beach, water park, and aquarium! It was a fun end to a successful season, for a GREAT group of kids!
Pfunanane Makes it to Nationals!
We are fully in the swing of our busy cross-country season, and after last year's results, we are the team to beat! We have been competing and practicing since April, and the kids' hard work is paying off, with Pfunanane usually taking 1/4 of the total medals, against as many as 15 other schools from our district.
At the Limpopo Championships with more than 700 other runners, three of our athletes (Lucy Malatja, Lethabo Terwey, and Bridget Modike) won gold medals, making them the Limpopo champions for their age divisions! We also had a bronze medalist (Lendra Terwey) and fifteen other top-ten finishes, with as many as 75 kids in each race!
Based on their performances at the Limpopo Championships and four prior meets, twelve of our kids were selected for the Limpopo team to compete at the South African National Championships in Durban on September 8. This was a huge accomplishment for our kids, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them.
Debate Team a Success!
Our grade 7 debate team recently traveled to Song Academy to compete in a debate on the negative and positive aspects of technology and its influence on teenagers. Despite its being their first debate against another school, Pfunanane won by two points! We are looking forward to competing in more debates in the future, and are planning one to be held at Pfunanane in September. The students also had a great time spending the day with the Song Academy students, and we hope to do many more outreaches there in the future!
On June 14, Pfunanane was devastated by the loss of one of our most faithful family members, Maria Mashao. Maria had lived and worked at Pfunanane for ten years, and was a valuable part of our staff as the grade R and PR classroom assistant, a job she loved. She will be greatly missed by all the staff and children at Pfunanane.
Teays Valley Christian Team
We were excited to have the team from Teays Valley come visit us again, and as usual, they blessed us in so many ways! They worked hard to get our school looking good, doing lots of (tedious and painstaking) detail painting on all the buildings - harder than it looks! They also worked on the compound, tutored the kids (when they weren't playing with them), sorted the zillions of pounds of donations they brought, and held a clothing sale to enable our families to come buy clothes at garage-sale prices. They also did outreach to Song Academy (a school in a rural area that we partner with) and helped the students there tie-dye t-shirts with their school's name on them - this got pretty tiring, but they looked great in the end! They also built and painted desks for the school, filling a big need, as most of the students sit 3 to each desk.
Our buildings are looking good...check out the before and after pictures of the secondary phase/office block!
PFUNANANE IS OURS!!
Many of you have been anxiously awaiting
news of our property purchase. You have
prayed for us, encouraged us and made financial sacrifices in order to secure
the future of Pfunanane Ministries. We
are thrilled to announce that ALL THE MONEY needed to finalize our
purchase has miraculously come in!
Because of the generosity and sacrifices made by our donors, we will no
longer have to worry about the safety and security of our children. We will no longer wonder if we’ll have to
shut our school doors, or move all the children, staff, and missionaries out of their homes. We are free to
not only continue our current ministries, but also to expand and grow to serve
more vulnerable children in our area!
We cannot stress
enough how grateful we are
to those of you who have given so generously to our ministry. We
believe that God’s hand was and always will
be in this ministry and we will always be thankful for those who’ve
His call to serve and sacrifice for the sake of his kingdom. your
sacrifice will have eternal benefits, and we pray that you will be so
blessed by being a part of what we are doing at Pfunanane!
The deed transfer process has begun to register
the property in our name, and we are eagerly awaiting its completion. The official paperwork should be
done by mid June, and we will keep you updated as to when this is finally complete. We look forward to celebrating what God has
Thank you again to those who have partnered
with us. We thank God for all of you! As God promised us in the
beginning we are now passing through on dry ground with all the families
associated with this ministry. All glory to Him!
Canadian Team Visits
In March we had the always-exciting event of the Canadian team visiting from Pacific Academy. The kids LOVE having teams visit, as they get to learn new songs, do crafts, play games, and get tons of extra love and attention!
The team also blessed the school by painting some of our buildings! It has made such a huge difference in how the school looks, and the new darker color helps camouflage the red mud that splatters against the buildings!
Sadly, our office was recently burglarized,despite our efforts to keep it secure. The bars on the door were broken and pried open, and it was completely ransacked. The thieves got away with our computers containing all our records, the fridge and freezer we use to store all the food for the children (including the food for the next week), our microwave, fans, clocks, the keys to all the classrooms, and our safe containing a large amount of money. We know that this was just a way for the enemy to try to get us down during a time when so many breakthroughs are being made in our ministry, and we refuse to be discouraged by this, but rather look to it as a way to bring glory to God. We know he will take care of us no matter what - we've already received some donations to help cover what was lost! We are so thankful for the ways that God provides and gives us strength and faith even in the midst of difficulties!
The new school year is upon us, and it may be our best one yet! Our enrollment is up, with many of our classes filled to capacity, and our grade PR and R are so full that we are considering splitting them into two classes. (But for now poor Teacher Cricket is dealing with a stuffed class) Our grade 4 class is finally complete and looking great, and we're in the process of building retaining walls and concrete pathways to help deal with some of the mud that comes with our rainy season.
New Sports Fields
The road that passes by our school is currently under some major construction as they widen it and make it safer. One of the benefits of this is that, in exchange for dumping their dirt and parking their equipment on our property, the workers are bulldozing and flattening a regulation-size soccer field for us! Our kids love soccer, but in the past they've been limited to playing on our tiny uneven ground, as we could never afford what it would cost to level and expand it. Once we figure out how to affordably plant grass on the field and get regulation-size goals, they will have a perfect place to practice, and we could even host games. We are so thankful for the ways God blesses us with things we could never imagine being able to do!
New Grade 6 Teacher
As Erin is now working in the office doing administration for the school, we have a new grade 6 teacher. We were very thankful to have Leonard come all the way from Mpumalanga to join our staff (as was his wife, grade 3 teacher Judith!) The students love him already (and Wendy couldn't resist jumping into this picture with him) and his blend of discipline and kindness has been great for them.
Property Purchase Fund raising Update
(as you can read in the "Help Save Pfunanane" page) we now have almost $75,000
of our $150,000 goal of what we still need to purchase the farm!
are continually blessed by God's faithfulness, and by so many people who
have sacrificed to be part of Pfunanane. Thank you to all who have
given, and please keep trusting and praying with us for the remaining
$75,000. We have been pushing back the deadline, but will likely have
to sign the contract in March, leaving us only 60 days to raise the
remaining money. Please be praying for us in this - we know God is
faithful and can do anything!
As we do every year, we have added several new sponsored children to the school this year. We carefully (and prayerfully) choose these children from the surrounding areas based on things like need, background, family history, and vulnerability. These children are all in need of sponsors, as are many of the sponsored children who have been in the school for many years - we simply absorb these costs while we wait for someone to sponsor them. Please go check out our child sponsorship page for a complete photo listing of all our waiting children, and fill out the sponsorship form if you are interested in being a sponsor!
December is our month off from school as it is our "summer holidays" (school goes year-round here in South Africa). Our children's village kids were so blessed this year to receive gifts from people overseas, and we were able to buy Christmas gifts for some of our neediest sponsored families also. The children graduating from grade R and moving up to grade 1 are always excited to be getting their new school uniforms (and backpack from Burton!) - check out the pictures below of some of our happy kids receiving their gifts!
November has flown by, and we can hardly believe we are already at the end of this school year! With so much to do before school closes at the beginning of December, we have been busy as usual! This has been a great year full of changes for Pfunanane, and we are trusting that next year will be even better!
Prize Giving and Grade R Graduation
We recently held our annual prize giving and grade R graduation ceremony, where we honor those children who have made exceptional efforts during the year and celebrate the children moving up to grade 1. We also announce our prefects (student leaders) at this time,which is really exciting for the kids and something they all work towards.
Here are a few pictures of some of the sponsored children that received awards, along with some of our adorable graduates...
Corgi finds refuge under the table...
Odette (grade 1)
Bridget (Grade 1)
Sipho - best overall student (grade 1)
Thoriso - best maths (grade 3)
Khutso - best literacy/English (Grade 3)
Lebo - Most progress (grade 3)
Kgaugelo - most improved (grade 5)
Victoria - best Arts & Culture, Technology (Grade 6)
Erin with two of our new prefects, Kabelo and Phuti
The grade R graduating class!
October is the start of our rainy season here in South Africa, and as things begin to turn green and the jacaranda trees are blooming, the school is also starting to look more beautiful! We finally had new signs made for the entrance to the school with our new logo and correct phone numbers on them, and the children's village kids spent their holidays giving them a fresh coat of paint and planting flowers around them! The effect was dramatic and a big improvement over our old outdated signs!
Along with these signs, we have added new signs outside each classroom, helping visitors find their way around the school more easily!
One of our mascots!
We are also thrilled to finally have a new office! After many years of having the office in a dark storeroom between classrooms, this is especially exciting! And amazingly, our local bank was renovating at the same time we were, and donated beautiful new office furniture that we never would have been able to afford! What an awesome example of God providing for our every need! The new office also has space for staff to meet, allowing the grade PR and R classroom to expand into the former staff area.
Also expanding is our new grade 4 classroom that now has a roof! The grade 4's and their teacher have been so patiently waiting while crammed into their tiny classroom, and it looks like the new one will be ready soon! This will also allow us to use the old room for other purposes...possibly a staff room/medical room, or maybe even a grade PR classroom...
Since the beginning of 2011 we've had two new missionaries join our staff!
Cricket Meyer joined us in March as our new grade R and PR teacher! Cricket is a South African and brings tons of experience from working for several years with Rafiki Foundation and Children's Villages in Uganda and Rwanda. As well as teaching, she is heading up the feeding program to provide healthy meals for our children, and is also involved in the children's village and children's committee. Cricket is great with our young children, and is doing an awesome job teaching them!
Sarah Ogle is an American missionary who joined us in August, and is living at the children's village. She brings tons of coaching and sports experience, and our kids are especially excited about her soccer skills! She will be working with the soccer, athletics, and cross-country teams, and is doing physical education with the younger grades. She is also teaching art and tutoring kids who are struggling academically. In her spare time she can usually be found playing soccer with the children's village kids!
Pfunanane Rocks the Cross-Country Scene!
Though we've officially had a cross country team for the past four years, we had yet to have much of an effect at meets against the other schools in our district - most of them with 1,000 or more students, huge budgets, and strong sports programs, we had resigned ourselves to the fact that we were just doing it for fun and the occasional medal. This year we had EIGHTY kids join the team - more than half of the eligible grade 1-7's!
And Coach Sarah Terwey worked them hard, having them run strenuous daily workouts that she knew would really challenge them, but also giving lots of attention and encouragement. And their hard work really paid off, as at the end of the season our kids had won 46 gold, silver, or bronze medals in races (most of the races with 60+ kids in them!) and seven Mopani District medals - overall medals placing these kids in the top three places in our entire district of 20+ schools! We also placed 22 kids on the Mopani District team (top ten runners in each age group in the region), more than any other school! Everywhere we went we drew attention and positive comments as our runners continually beat out well-known schools for the medals! We were so proud of them!
We were so excited to receive ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY really great quality backpacks from the snowboard company Burton!!! This meets a huge need of our sponsored children, as they travel so far to school and some only have a plastic bag for their books. Backpacks here are very expensive, poor quality, and break quickly, and we struggle to make sure all the kids have something to bring their things in.
Our kids were ECSTATIC about their new bags - the children's village kids actually slept with theirs the first night, and most of the children vowed that their bag would never touch the ground! What an amazing blessing for our kids - THANKS BURTON!!!
Pfunanane Fundraiser and Fun day
On September 2nd we had our annual fundraiser, where the kids come up with and carry out their ideas on how to raise money to support the school. We had a great one this year, and made more money than ever before at a time when it is badly needed! We had raffles, contests, sales, games, and class competitions to encourage team spirit and working together! We also had a huge sale of clothes that have been donated from the states - this enabled us to not only raise money for the school, but to make good quality, very cheap clothing available to our families who need it - giving them pride in providing for their families, and not just getting another "hand out."