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Weekly Prayer Cycle Advent 1

Staff of Temba House. Photo: Jeannethe Lara

November 23, 2014

By Suzanne Rumsey

Week of November 30 (Advent One; World AIDS Day, December 1)

Scripture: Mark 13:24-27,32-37
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.  Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven…

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.  Therefore, keep awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly.  And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

PWRDF Story: My Life-Changing Experience at Temba and the November 2013 Workshop in Mthatha, by Nomonde Mapele, January 2014

Editor’s Note:  Temba Community Development Services (Temba House) is a South African NGO and PWRDF partner that provides hospice services to people dying with AIDS and home support to those living with the disease.  It also provides a referral program for AIDS orphans and undertakes outreach and education on HIV and AIDS as well as on violence against women and young girls. Like PWRDF, Temba House offers internships to university students.  The following is a testimony by one of those interns whose time with Temba had a powerful impact on her life and future work.

“My name is Nomonde Mapele.  I am a young lady who is completing her last week of internship at Temba and also attended the workshop hosted by Temba in November 2013.  I will be graduating with a 4-year Bachelor of Psychology degree at Walter Sisulu University in May 2014.

“I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Temba – its Director, the Board, Management, Supervisors and Volunteers for the life-changing and powerful work they do and for imparting so much knowledge and skills to me through this great organization.  My time at Temba and at the workshop has truly enriched my life, broadened my mind and moved my spirit.  It has taught me to be selfless and to serve with the heart of Jesus Christ…

“I leave next week by God’s will and grace to begin a new season doing my Masters in Clinical Psychology at Rhodes University.  I know I will be a better equipped and enabled student because of all that I learnt at the workshop and Temba.  The knowledge I gained has forever changed me and my life.  It elevated my thinking, it challenged my perceptions, it made my spirit weep and rejoice at the same time.  I am empowered.  I can better understand people and human behaviour.  I can better understand HIV/AIDS, Gender-based concepts and violence, lay counseling, home-based care and Human Rights, and how to take better care of my health, my body, my mind and my spirit. I now know how to have true empathy and compassion and how to love with the love of Christ.  I know now how to speak with courage and the wisdom of God.  I know now how to be quiet with humbleness and listen with the compassion of Christ.  Thank you for allowing me to be your student.

“You have these words written at the entrance of Temba, ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we have been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek to see in the world.’  Thank you for re-evoking that spirit in me.  Thank you for being a living testimony of that.  Thank you for re-igniting that dormant spirit in me.  Thank you for Temba and the Workshops.  You have inspired me to fulfill my own God-inspired vision to serve my community and our people and our country…

“To God be the glory
Nomonde Mapele”

For Reflection

As we enter the season of Advent and a new liturgical year (Year B), the four national leaders of the Anglican/Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches in Canada and the United States have each written a devotion for one of the four Sundays in this season of waiting.  In her reflection for Advent One, Elizabeth Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America writes that, “In Mark, Jesus tells his disciples that the Son of Man will come in clouds with great power and glory… But Jesus does not give a timeline. To his disciples, to the early church, to us, Jesus is not talking so much about here as about near.”  And meanwhile, she writes, “we find ourselves in the muddy, lumpy mess of a fallen world.”

Nomonde Mapele found in Temba a place, a people and a ministry that helped her to see that SHE had a role to play in bringing about change in her community and the world; that in the waiting for Jesus, there was much that she was called to do.  When have you waited?  What or who have you waited for? And what have you done in your waiting?  Has it brought about change in your life or in the lives of others?

For the complete set of Advent devotions by Canadian and U.S. church leaders visit:

Concluding Prayer
In the darkness you bring us light.
In the morning you bring us your hope.
In the evening you bring us rest.
In our fears you bring us your peace.
In our doubts you bring us faith.
In our pain you bring us your cross.
In our arms you bring us love.
In our weakness you bring us your strength.
In our bitterness you bring us tenderness.
In our anger you bring us your mercy.
In our grief you bring us comfort.
In our death you bring us your resurrection.
In our comings and goings you are always here. Amen.

Mothers Union Prayer, reproduced by PWRDF in Point of Light, A Vigil for World AIDS Day, December 2004. For the full Point of Light order of service visit:

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