An inspiring update by Port Elizabeth church leader Glenn Weiss on how Christian citizens in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro are running with “What’s Your Story” — Heartlines’ personal story-telling campaign which aims to promote healing and reconciliation in South Africa
In the last few months since March when we starting talking about the “What’s Your Story” campaign and the launch of the movie, Beyond the River, there have been some significant developments in our nation and in our city.
It is clear that God saw what was going to unfold in our nation and He said, “when the enemy comes in like a flood, I will raise the standard!”
The dominant political forces in this nation have been turning up the volume of racism and segregation, doing everything in their power to bring about mistrust and separation, forcing racial groupings to move to opposite ends of the poles.
But God worked through Angus Buchan to call the “It’s Time” prayer day in Bloemfontein on April 22. All we need to say is that everyone who was present or witnessed this mass gathering was radically impacted by a move of God that will go down in the history books.
Let’s not forget the Karoo Mighty Men’s time the following weekend where masses of men responded to a call for prayer around breaking the hold of racism over their lives.
Then the launch of the Beyond the River movie on April 28. The movie released at the perfect time and I have still to hear one negative or even mediocre comment about the movie.
The movie received a great vote of confidence when the two major theatres in the Metro (Bay West – Ster Kinekor and Walmer Park – Nu Metro) both extended the screening of the movie into a third week. The statistics up until Monday May 15 show that over 32 000 people around the country have been to see this inspirational South African movie based on true events.
There have been accounts in the city, of many small groups, even churches as a whole going out to watch the movie as a catalyst to start the dialogue. Even some businesses have sponsored their entire staff to see the movie and have used the movie as a team-building event.
With the movie having modelled the value of storytelling, the “What’s your story?” campaign or movement is starting to spread throughout the metro.
Special mention should be made of Lighthouse church in Newton Park, Lorraine Methodist church and St Nicholas who are leading the way with their small groups all embarking on the “What’s Your Story?” journey.
We recognise the immense value that “What’s your story?” holds for our metro as a whole but at the same time we recognise that this is not the only initiative or programme out there.
We are therefore encouraging a very flexible and spontaneous manner in which the process can be unfolded in the various spheres of society and our lives as Christian citizens of this metro.
In addition to all the personalised resources designed specifically for church small groups, youth groups, high schools (teachers representing 75 schools were equipped at one session in April), tertiary institutions, etc. there is a set of questions that Heartlines have made available as another simple yet effective way to “drip feed” or build this culture or habit of personal storytelling in our everyday lives.
Talking about culture…. Wow what an experience to be at the Nelson Mandela Stadium to witness the Kings rugby team do the city proud on Saturday evening.
Lionel Cronje, the captain, stated in a post match interview that the Kings squad had a culture-building workshop in October 2016 already where they adopted the slogan, “Whatever it takes!!”
I was inspired when I looked around the stadium as the final whistle blew and the stadium erupted with citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay in absolute unity, regardless of background, culture, class or race…. High fives and hugs were the order of the day….
“Whatever it takes”, should be the attitude of the Church and every Christian who walks the street of our amazing city.
I will close this article with some words of Arno van Niekerk (whom God has called to be at the forefront of nation building and reconciliation throughout our land): “A man with a testimony (an authentic true story) is never at the mercy of a man with an opinion.”
I have often said, “We all have a story worth telling”…..Let’s do it, whatever it takes!