Carina getuienis oor Christen familie-wees – 24 Julie 2012

Hierdie is ‘n opsomming van die aanbieding wat Carina op 24 Julie 2012

in Japannees gelewer het by die jaarlikse byeenkoms van die RCJ ring van Shikoku

The most precious in the Kingdom

One of the most important things in life is for a child to feel a parent’s love. How can a child feel it? Or how can a parent show it?

I grew up in Japan (my first 5 years) in a close knit family. We only had each other to rely on in a culture that differs in an absolute sense from our Western culture. So althouth there might have been a lot of strife, us being in each other’s space most of the time, it actually had a positive consequence: we had to learn to live with each other … despite personality differences, despite stress caused by a different culture and the misunderstandings that were caused by trying to figure out the Japanese language.

When we returned to South Africa we were again forced to rely on each other, because we were again in a missionary setup. We lived for 12 years in an Indian community – again a culture different from ours. We spent a lot of time with each other. Spending so much time together naturally lead to the start of the sharing of our hobbies, such as reading and running. My father diligently (sometimes/often to our exasperation), did family devotions with us. But it was not autocratically enforced. On the contrary,  we were always encouraged to openly discuss our opinions and ideas. Therefore, in our devotionals there were continous changes to accommodate even rebellious teenagers.

Up to this day, I feel free to share anything with my parents – from sex to parental challenges to questions and doubts about my Christian life. We are not a model family. In our original family of 6, we have different beliefs about God, and sometimes different ideas about politics or parenting strategies. There are often arguments and even anger. But we all WANT  to be with each other. We feel that our family is giving us a safe space to share and unload our burdens.

This is how I believe the Church of Christ should be too. The Bible, afterall, uses family language. We are each other’s brothers and sisters. We simultaneously belong to our blood family, as well as our spiritual family. Shouldn’t the church function more or less on the same principles as a family does? The same values that we apply in our natural (blood) families should also be applied to our spiritual/church families. (Galations 5:22: Forgiveness, love, self-sacrifice, service, joy etc.).

The church in Japan and South Africa is losing young people or rather its demography is of an ageing membership. How can we show warm, unconditional love to children/young people as parents would to their children? Maybe, just as a mom and dad would do? Spending time with children and listening to children?

That however, is not as easy as it sounds…It means a sacrifice of our comfort zone. To accommodate children definitely forces us out of our comfort zone. It means to create a children friendly space for children. To include children in discussions and decision making processes … to spend time with the children of the church doing fun things and sharing in their hobbies/passions, but also to teach and direct children actively and on their level of interest. And more than anything, it means not being frustrated or angered or discouraged by children’s fickleness, noise levels, moods or behaviour.

The church in South Africa is not free from the exodus of young people or children from the church. However, there are some churches who are trying actively, although often carefully and slowly, to create the space that children and young people need to be able to experience/feel the love of the church. These churches are growing. Because they view their focus on children and families as their calling to witness in their communities.

  • My vision for the Church in Japan is that it increasingly becomes a space for parents to meet, sharing challenges and equipping each others with tools for parenting in a Christian paradigm.
  • To learn about and encourage each other to regular family devotions as well as the opportunity to share openly about challenges for Christian parents in Japan.
  • For the church to be instrumental in giving rest for the weary parent and child by encouraging fellowship.
  • The church getting involved in education of children – again according to the values and principles that Jesus taught us.
  • To be an open space for doubting young people to be able to share their questions about Christianity, and about general everyday living in Japan.

I have a strong passion for my own children and an intense longing to be a mother that raise them as solid, emotionally-healthy adults … children that are able to cope with these times of turmoil where uncertainties can become cancerous and fear for the future and the focus of the world on satisfying the ‘self’ stealing the joy of a simply life…

This longing can only be realised by a belief that God is the God that beckons little children to come to him…to come freely to him, because they are the most precious in His kingdom (Matthew 19:14).

Carina van der Watt

 

Comments (8)

Kooitjie CloeteJuly 23rd, 2012 at 09:24

Ek onderstreep jou visie absoluut. Mag jou aanbieding ‘n tree wees vir ander om dieselfde kopskuif te maak.

BenitaJuly 23rd, 2012 at 13:53

Ek kry hoendervleis as ek hierdie lees Carina!! Ek sal regtig bid dat dit wat jy wil se, so sal gehoor en verstaan word, maar ook toegepas gaan word. Sterkte Kindjie. Dink aan julle en verlang baie.

Ek hoop julle mag GROOOOT honde aanhou in Japan. daardie meisiekind van julle word by die dag mooier en mooier. Baie geluk met haar verjaardag

Liefde
tannie Benita

DebraJuly 23rd, 2012 at 15:11

Liewe Carina , baie sterkte vir jou preek. Ek en Sarel weet die Here sal saam wees omdat Hy ook besef watter wonderlike werk julle as familie doen in Japan. Onthou hier van Aliwal Noord is ons baie trots op julle. Ek stuur sommer die groot honde saam. Baie geluk met meisiekine se verjaardag. Dit is moelik om te dink dat sy al vyf jaar oud is. Baie liefde en sterkte. Debra en Sarel

Marietjie HerbstJuly 23rd, 2012 at 17:52

Carina,
Baie dankie dat jy dit met ons deel. Dit is baie spesiaal en uit Vader se hart. Mag die Here jou kragtig gebruik en die Heilige Gees jou kalm maak en tog opborrelend deur jou vloei om die waardhede oor te dra. Mag die Heilige Gees elke hart voorberei en grondgebied vergroot om te hoor, te mediteer oor die woord en dit as Rhema te ontvang en te wil toepas in hul lewens. Ons bid vir jou! Baie sterkte en seen.
Liefde
Marietjie en Willie Herbst

Susan FourieJuly 31st, 2012 at 14:59

Dankie Carina, dat jy dit met ons deel. Jou visie vir die kerk in Japan het my diep getref – dis sooo raak geformuleer. En baie geluk met daai pragtige dame se verjaarsdag! Sterkte en seën vir julle bediening – veral die gesinsopvoeding…

Susan FourieJuly 31st, 2012 at 15:00

Dankie Carina, dat jy dit met ons deel. Jou visie vir die kerk in Japan het my diep getref – dis sooo raak geformuleer. En baie geluk met daai pragtige dame se verjaarsdag! Sterkte en seën vir julle bediening – veral die gesinsopvoeding…

[…] ‘n familie te wees. En ‘n reuse verantwoordelikheid om dit te koester, véral in Japan. Ek en Carina het al voorheen hieroor geskryf: Japannese families (oor die algemeen) ly onder gebrekkige […]

Dr Stan TheronJune 14th, 2013 at 09:21

Die koninkryk behoort aan die kind maar ouers templeroof die kind vir eie uitkyk en doeleindes. Kinders wat in ‘n geestelike kerk opgevoed word, word die wyser kerkleiers van die volgende geslag. Jou praatjie eggo baie van my denke en doen en late in 60 jar van diens. Ons was in Pta Tuine die eerste NG gemeente wat ‘n volwaardige kerkordelike erediens ingestel het meer as 20 jr gelede en dit het onmiddelik en steeds die hart van ons jeug gegryp. Later het dit gesinsdiens geword – en later het oupa’s kom bywoon oor dit korter was as die Groot diens! Seen toegebid op julle werk. (Ek het per abuis hier in NZ op Dr Stephan se Youtube afgekom – en herinner die HERE aan julle arbeid daar ver) swtheron@xtra.co.nz

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