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Greetings from Inanda Seminary, Durban, South Africa

Written by Scott & Susan Couper Valiquette
February 15, 2007

Scott and Susan Couper Valiquette - South Africa

Scott Couper and Susan Valiquette are both seconded to our partner denomination, the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA).  Scott is the local church pastor at Bethel UCCSA and Susan is the Chaplain at Inanda Seminary, a UCCSA secondary boarding school for girls.  Scott and Susan have two children, Micah (7) and Madeline (5).

In Religious Education class at Inanda Seminary, we studied the Psalms and then the students wrote their own.

Psalm of Praise
I will sing your praises O Lord
I will shout your name, my Lord
I will worship you
For I know you are with me
When darkness comes my way
And temptations rise
I will look to you Lord
Because only you can save me
Holy is your name
Mighty is your power.
    
Tuleka Songxaba Grade 8

Psalm of Creation
What a beautiful creation!
The sun's splendor is seen as it rises over the mountains
And brings light to this world of darkness.

Nature's sweet flowers of spring bloom again
And the trees dance up and down
As they are cheered on by the wind.

When morning breaks
I feel the fresh breeze off the deep blue ocean
Living waters that cleanse my soul
As I marvel at the Almighty's work.

God, you are the giver of life
The creator of the heavens and the earth.
Morning by morning, the work of your hands
Puts a smile on my face.
How great you are!
    
Nomfundo Ngema Grade 9

Psalm of Lament
Lord I have given up all hope.
I feel so alone,
Like the world is falling on me.
Help me remember that you are always there
And that you will understand regardless of the situation.
Help me to put my trust in your hands
And help me to listen to your Word.
When I'm weak make me strong,
When I'm down, make me smile.
    
Charlotte Zondo Grade 10

2006 Visitors to Inanda Seminary

For a school as old as Inanda Seminary, visitors old and new are an important part of campus life.

Dick and Nancy Sales: Dick served at Inanda Seminary in the 1970's as a registrar.  He and his wife Nancy came to revisit Inanda Seminary, other mission stations, and to reconnect with some South African friends.

St. Andrew's Christian Church and GM Staff: Sandra Gourdet, Africa Area Executive, Jane Sullivan-Davis, Director of Development, Cynthia McCrae, born as the child of Congregational missionaries in South Africa, Paul Shumaker of St. Andrew Christian Church (Olathe, KS) and other members of the church visited South Africa and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Cherif Keita: Cherif Keita has become a regular visitor to South Africa and Inanda Seminary.  He is a professor at Charlton College in Minnesota.  Cherif came this year for the launch of his documentary film on John L. Dube and as always arrived bearing gifts from his college.  Cherif has now promised that his next documentary will be on Inanda Seminary, and we understand that he has already begun the research.

The Christoffersen Family: The Christoffersens were missionaries in KZN in the 1800 and 1900's.  The Christoffersen children now range from the ages of 82 - 90.  Some live in the United States and some still live in South Africa.  The children came for a reunion and to celebrate the 90th birthday of their sister, June Dahle.  We were very privileged to meet with them at Inanda Seminary this year.  We asked them their secret to health and longevity and they said that it was good clean living and strong values that they were taught by their mother.

Reverend Holly McKissick and daughter Eden: During the second term, Reverend Holly McKissick from Saint Andrew Christian Church in Olathe, Kansas, came to spend part of her sabbatical at Inanda Seminary.  Reverend Holly taught some religious education and life orientation classes.  In addition, she and Eden directed a play that the drama girls performed before her departure.  Eden (11 years old) joined the grade 8A class and became an Inanda Seminary student for the term.  We are very grateful for their time and contribution to Inanda Seminary and the beautiful banners that now hang from the rafters that were made and donated by their church.

Aaron Deckenbeck: Aaron came from the mid-Atlantic Conference of the United Church of Christ to volunteer as a missionary.  Aaron assisted Scott with the HIV/AIDS desk in the KZN Region.  Aaron loved South Africa so much he is trying to make a plan to return soon.  Thank you Holly and Eden and Aaron and for Global Ministries for facilitating.

Darlene Aylard (Woodburn): Darlene who is known as Mah Aylard by the students of the late 60's and early 70's came for the ‘At Home.' Mah Aylard is known for the tremendous singing group, the Choral Aries that she organized and directed during her time at Inanda Seminary as a missionary.  Darlene's then husband, Roger Aylard, was the Principal.

Confirmation Class 2006

One of Susan's greatest joys at Inanda Seminary is the confirmation class.  This year, ten students were confirmed into the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.  Each of the confirmands read a statement of faith during the service.  These are a few quotes from their statements:

Hlengiwe Buthelezi (Grade 7): The Holy Spirit calms me, guides me, and leads me to God.  It reminds me to pray everyday to Jesus and it sets me free from all the demons.  I am a person who depends on Jesus and God.  I am a person who does not do things to impress other people, but to impress God.  Right now as I am standing I don't want to impress anyone, but to impress myself and God in heaven.

Nomfundo Buthelezi (Grade 9): I will be God's disciple...I believe that God will show me the way, the path to eternal life.  I believe that God will give me living water to drink and I will not go thirsty again.  I believe that God has a home for those who believe in him.  I believe that God will use me in many ways in order to help others who are in need.  I believe that I am a product and God is the producer.  I believe that God will build the product stronger each and everyday.

Kwanele Masuku (Grade 8): When I think about Jesus as my Savior, I want to jump up and down and praise him because he's always there to help me in my problems.  I believe in the church because even a person who does bad things like killing and drugs can find God and be saved in the church.

Zanini Khumalo (Grade 10): I believe God is my best friend.  He never judges the color of my skin as human friends will do.  The purpose of the church is to teach people to give in order to receive, to be fishers of all people, and to show people the light and the love of God through Jesus.  My commitment today and onwards is to serve the church...to live a holy life until those who are in darkness see the light.

Thembelihle Mavuso (Grade 11): God is my Master and I am his servant.  I will do all in my power to be a loyal and pleasing servant.  He is my Creator and I am made from his image, that is how precious I am to him...he knows the number of hairs on my head, something that even, I, umnikazi wendaba, doesn't know.  I, Thembelihle Mavuso, living in a time where it is not easy to be a disciple, will serve God and will not be ashamed to reveal my Christianity to others.

Nomathemba Mbatha (Grade 10): Jesus is always there for me when I'm hurt, lonely, afraid and lost.  Jesus is always there to comfort me.  When I'm lost he will find me and provide me with his light.  I do not have the right to judge people but God calls me to love them and show them respect.

Thulisile Msomi (Grade 11): Now I'm ready to accept the Holy Spirit.  When it comes knocking, I shall be open and ready for change, letting it fill me so I can do right.  I never thought I would be so thirsty for his Word, but now I want to accept him as my Savior and also work and spread his Word to his people.

Nombongo Ngobese (Grade 11): I believe that God chose to give up a glorious life in heaven and become a friend of the hopeless, the comforter of the lonely and the performer of miracles.  I believe that in his eyes we are all equal.  Today I am called a child of God because when I do wrong he disciplines me through his Word.  I believe that everything is possible if I put my hope and trust in him.

Nonkululeko Ngobese (Grade 10): The Holy Spirit is poured out among people regardless of age, gender, race or anything.  My life is formless and empty without the Holy Spirit and I embrace the gradual change it brings.  Church is the place our relationship with God begins, the barrier which separates us from the Father is broken down and it is not as thick as we had imagined it to be.  I want to be part of God's people, to be charged with divine electricity and share an intimacy of child and Father with God.  The scales of my eyes have been removed...my journey as a disciple, an ambassador and a living sacrifice has officially begun.

Andile Ngubane (Grade 10): I believe in God, my Creator, the Almighty...God gives me relief when I'm in distress.  When I am greatly troubled, the Lord is the one who fills the empty part inside of me.  I feel the Holy Spirit when I'm in the presence of the Lord, lifting up my hands, shouting and dancing in his presence.  I believe that the Holy Spirit dwells in the inner part of me.  The Holy Spirit gives me relief, peace and hope.  It makes me who I am and what I believe.

Multifarious Ministry

Scott has managed for the second year to balance as many roles as there are days in a week!  The ministry at Bethel continues to grow; on three occasions this year we accepted many new members, thus becoming more multi-racial in composition.  Bethel church is in the process of planning for a large building extension project.  Construction should begin and end during 2008.  From urban Bethel, Scott travels regularly to the rural Umzumbe congregation, often serving Holy Communion to those in far flung outstations that have not had Holy Communion in two years.  The kwaZulu-Natal Regional HIV and AID Desk ends its second year, with income and expenditure reaching almost R 100,000 or US$ 14,000 thanks to the wonderful support of the church in South Africa and the USA.  This year the Desk supported two young women, Nana and Nomvula, with stipends so that they are able to passionately carry out their pre-existing ministries to those in need of medications, prayers, and counseling.  The Desk continues its relationship with Noodsberg church that has just constructed a new dormitory for the orphans staying there and with Eastwood United who thanks to the assistance of the FCC of Winter Park, FL (UCC) produced a professional music CD that will be sold internationally to raise funds for their work in the townships of Pietermaritzburg.  Scott volunteers at the Luthuli Museum and continues his Ph.D. work (History) at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal.  These passions have led him to participate in a mission station revitalization project that will study the heritage of six former American Board ministries on the South Coast.  We pray Ifafa, Umtwalume, Adams, Umzumbe, Imfume, and Amahlongwa will benefit infrastructurally and developmentally, as did Groutville.  The Berea church continues to allow Scott to stretch his muscles homiletically.  Finally, if Scott ever leaves the ministry, he can always be a bus driver having attained plenty of experience transporting Micah and Madeline!

Revs. Scott Couper and Susan Valiquette

Scott Couper and Susan Valiquette are missionaries serving in South Africa.  Scott serves with the UCCSA as pastor at a UCCSA congregation in Durban.  Susan serves with the Inanda Seminary in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa as chaplain.

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