The Gospel brings life

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"Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD." (Ezekiel 37:4b-6)

When Ezekiel was brought to the valley filled with bones, it was clear to the prophet that there had not been life in these "very dry" bones for a long time. Yet, when these dead bones heard the word of the LORD they received life once more.

That is what happens when we hear the word of God, life returns to us, we are spiritually awakened by the power of God and his word, the Bible.

The life-giving power of God's word has been especially apparent at one school situated in a township on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

Pastor Mac Hayward from the local Westering Full Gospel Church has been running The Gospel Project, an outreach project at the Elufefeni Primary School in Motherwell since 2014.

When Pastor Mac arrived at the school it was facing closure due to dwindling learner numbers. However, newly appointed principal, Amanda Ntsumpa, was equally committed to see the school take a turn for the better and welcomed his help.

"This project has done a lot for our school. When the project started we had six teachers and 174 learners, by 2015, we had 15 teachers with 859 learners," Amanda said of the schools meteoric growth in just one year.

Pastor Mac has a session with the different classes every Tuesday.

"We started with the Grade 7 class because we want them to know Jesus as their Lord before they get to Grade 8. We also include all the classes to Grade 4," Amanda explained.

The rapid effect of the project has also been telling in other instances.

"We have won so many school competitions that have taken our children to national level. The learners too have changed their behaviour, the way that they do things, the way that they think. Their attitude has changed drastically," Amanda declared.

The project's positive influence has also reached beyond the school grounds.

Close to 500 Bibles, that are donated by the Bible Society of South Africa, have been distributed to children at the school since the start of the project.

"What I like is that they are sharing these Bibles with their parents because when I go to funerals in the community I can see that the Bibles that the parents have in their hands, are the Bibles from my school," Amanda revealed, adding that the children are also sharing what they learn from Pastor Mac with their families at home.

Local police have also enquired as to what has changed at Elufefeni Primary. Previously they frequently had to visit the school to follow-up complaints of vandalism but since the introduction of the Gospel programme at the school, all that has changed.

The programme and the Bible have had a great impact on the life of Linomtha Thole, a Grade 7 pupil at the school.

"It has completely changed my life. At first I knew nothing about the Bible but ever since Pastor Mac came here and he taught us about the Bible, I accepted Jesus to come into my life. The thing that I'm grateful for, is that I also got the chance to go home and share the Bible with my parents, my friends, and family relatives," explained Linomtha.

She adds that the Bible has also given her the opportunity to forgive.

"The knowledge that I received from the Bible is that, there is no use being angry about nothing and I finally got a chance to forgive. I now live a normal life, I'm like any other child, I'm special in my own way and unique."

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