Important lessons

A special thank you to all those who made last week’s camp
such a connecting time.
For the day visitors who made the trek  —  thank you.
It was great to be together.

Take note:
Next year’s Weekend Away will be on from 17 to 19 October.
I dare you to put the date in your diary!


What are the two most important lessons you have learnt in your life? Go ahead and take some time to think about it…

I asked this question to the group I meet with on Wednesday mornings at The Carpenter’s Shop. Here is what was shared:

Respect!” Respect as in being “considerate to the person in front of you” and “seeing a person’s dignity”. “Everyone must respect everyone — even old people must respect younger people”

Discipline of myself. Without discipline you are nothing. Self-discipline to get up at 5 a.m. — to wash myself and to iron my pants and eat before I catch the train to look for work…”

I have learnt that I must be “wise with my words”. “Unwise words make trouble.”

Honesty is the lesson I have learnt. It is always better to be honest.” At this point the conversation became very interesting. Another person said, “but sometimes you have to be dishonest”. And he went on to explain that when he was in Pollsmoor Prison a member of the 28s was killed in his communal cell. When the prison wardens asked him who was responsible he said he didn’t know. “If I had been honest I would have been killed just like that gang member” he reasoned. “I have learnt in life that sometimes it is best to be dishonest, but to be dishonest is not the same as lying. Lying is bad. Dishonesty is not.” “Yes”, explained another, “like when you go for a job interview and they ask you if you can do this or that and whether you have experience, you say ’yes’ because you want to impress them even though you do not have the experience — this is not lying because you do want to impress them”. This was a new insight for me!

“Well, yesterday I went to fill in a form for a job’, said another, ‘and on the form they asked if I had ever been in prison. I thought to myself: ‘why don’t they find out that information themselves’. I then changed my mind and told them. They asked me the nature of my crime. I told them and they wanted to know how long I was inside for. I told them and then they said that I was not ‘inside long enough’ so I did not get the job. It would have been better if I were dishonest”. Others nodded in agreement with him. And I found myself agreeing too. How unfair it is that the very people who were born with so many obstacles in their future now are held to ransom by their past. Let us pray…

God of Grace — God of forgiving love for all and forever. We praise you for the treasured lessons you have gifted us with in our living. Thank you for the people who have respected us and by doing so taught us how to respect others. Heal the wounds that we carry as well as the wounds that we have inflicted due to a lack of respect.

For the examples of self-discipline that have challenged and inspired us we are grateful. Give us disciple-like-discipline to shape of days in your service.

Tame our tongues O God. They are too sharp for us to handle on our own. We have witnessed them cut and tear others apart. Help us to fast from unnecessary talk. Erase all words of unkind judgement from our vocabulary and make us generous with words that heal, comfort and liberate.

Lord your word invites us to trust that the truth will set us free and yet we have heard how it may get one killed. Some of us struggle to be truthful if it means we may disappoint another — so how difficult it must be if a job or our life were on the line. Set us free from fear to be truth-tellers we pray.


Grace, Alan



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