Xplorers report Sunday 16th April

Xplorer’s Meeting Sunday 16th April, 2017
The Easter weekend turned out to be pretty busy with various events happening locally between sunshine and showers.
Several families were away during the school holidays.
Seven young people came to the Easter Xplorers and enjoyed acting out or helping with the props in the rehearsal of “The Easter Story and the Donkey”.
Many eggs were found in the Easter Egg hunt.
The play had its “first night” production during the prayz-time and everyone was in good voice for the songs and prayer responses.
We closed with the tradition of all saying Grace together.
Thank you to everyone who helped with the script, egg hunt, music and refreshments.


We are excited to introduce the new brand name for the food aid project suggested by Dikirani and the Bemvu Partnership.

The project which entails Netherlorn Churches raising and sending funding by mid September this year to Bemvu to enable 100 Farmers to be given seed and fertiliser which they will plant and grow on until harvest time next March/ April 2018.

Once the crop has been harvested the initial value of the seed/fertiliser given to the farmer will be repaid back to the Bemvu Partnership Committee who will distribute it again the following Autumn. A percentage of the balance of the harvest will be donated to the local Primary School ( the ambition is to eventually give every child in the school one meal per day during term time) initially only the infants (5-6 year olds) will benefit. What is left from the harvest will be for the farmers` own personal use to feed his/her own family.

This advantages of this project are:

The project has been devised and put forward by the community of Bemvu (it is their own initiative). It is a `self help` programme encouraging people to fend for themselves and has the advantage that people will want to remain in their own environment without thinking of economic migration to foreign countries. The whole project will be organised and operated by themselves (with professional input and auditing from an independent agricultural consultant if required). Except for some small upfront and running expenses all monies raised will go direct to the Bemvu Partnership Committee. There are no middle men.

School children will benefit by receiving one extra meal a day while at school during term time (currently it is common for these children to receive in total only one meal per day, two if it is a good day supplied by their own homes). Relieving some of the hunger should encourage better concentration and therefore improve the standard of learning.

This project is self financing as the money from the harvest once repaid will go back into the fund to finance the following years planting. To qualify this statement money would be required to be sent to Bemvu year on year until the ambition of feeding the 1200+ children in the school each receive one meal per day. Hopefully in subsequent years grant aid will be available but there is too little time to source that in time for this year’s planting. The project should ensure a better standard of living for the residents of Bemvu by ensuring better food security. Makes better use of the land available.

The whole project has been presented to the three Kirk Sessions ie: Kilbrandon & Kilchattan, Kilmelford & Kilninver, and Craignish and all three have committed to raising funds which is welcome news and will make life changing differences to our friends in Bemvu.

To enable planting to go ahead this year money is required to be available by mid September at the latest. Currently we are developing a separate web site for SEED FOR LIFE. FEED FOR LIFE. www.seedforlife.org.uk although the project will be updated on a regular basis on the Netherlorn web page.

We hope that you will all support this worthwhile project which will make such a difference to the lives of the community of Bemvu.

“Our mother in faith” – Minnie Watson, great aunt of Isabel Smith, Kilmelford

“Our mother in faith” – Minnie Watson, great aunt of Isabel Smith, Kilmelford

In the news this week is Minnie Watson, the Scottish woman whose life and work did much to lay the foundations of the Presbyterian Church of East Africa in Kenya. Minnie’s story has a strong local connection since her great-niece Isabel Smith lives in Kilmelford. Minnie grew up in Dundee in the later years of the 19th century. It was a time when many young people were gripped by a call to serve as overseas missionaries. Among them was Minnie who set out for Kenya in 1899. She went to join her fiancé Thomas Watson, who had already started pioneering the work of Christian mission in East Africa from a base at Kikuyu, near Nairobi. They duly married but their joy proved to be short-lived. The early European missionaries were highly vulnerable to tropical diseases and Thomas sadly died of pneumonia just one year after they married.


We can only imagine what this loss must have meant for Minnie but she determined that she would carry on the work that they had begun together. For the next 30 years she led the work of the mission, establishing a wide network of schools, starting hospitals and building churches. Among the school pupils was Jomo Kenyatta, who would become Kenya’s first President and the father of the current President Uhuru Kenyatta. For Minnie it must have been a tough life – at times facing famine, drought and disease. But from this work emerged the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, which today has three and half million members.

The reason that Minnie has been in the news is that Church of Scotland Moderator Russell Barr has been visiting the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. When Russell met the Secretary General of the Church, Peter Kariuki, this is what he had to say: “Minnie Watson is our mother in faith. She is the image of Christ and sacrificed all her comfort to live among our ancestors. She remains, for us, the icon of genuine Christianity. We love our mother.”