Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunday at Chloorkop

Sunday, we woke up early. The breakfast crew went to work in the kitchen and the rest of us worked in the rooms, to finish packing, cleaning, folding sleeping bags & deflating air mattresses. We sported our khakis and red polos and loaded the vans to head for Chloorkop where a church that is only a year or so old meets. Last year part of our team went to their service in a garage/carport. Now the group meets in a school down the street and has tripled in size. About two thirds of the congregation or more are children, most under the age of 13. Many of these children are the heads of their households due to the AIDS epidemic. Virginia met a lady who also leads support groups for children and teens…only as Virginia meets with hurting teenage girls; this lady meets with children who have the role of the head of their household.
Our song team, Carrie, Gia, Sara and our new friend Josh led the Sunday School songs. Cheney and AdeZsa taught through the Resurrection Eggs and the Easter Account. During church, Mr. Nazigian preached from I Timothy 4:12, Sara and AdeZsa gave testimony during the testimony time and we all worshiped among our African brothers and sisters in Christ.
After birthday lunch at McDonald's complete with cupcakes and a balloon candle for Justin's 18th and a quick change into our black team t-shirts, it was off to the airport. Josh was leaving to go home to Cape Town and us for America. The goodbyes were hard, but because they were rushed, not as traumatic as our goodbye to Chris had been on Saturday as we left Daduza. We hugged Miriam and the Pages and prayed with them.
They will leave for America on Tuesday morning for an 8 week furlough to raise funds, and give talks at their supporting churches and attend a couple of conferences. Miriam will be staying on the Word of Life property by herself for a while. Pray for her safety. Many homes in the area have been recently broken into. We had said good-bye to Brad and his family on Saturday night. Pray for them as they along with Miriam will continue the ministry without the Pages for the next 8 weeks. Once the Pages return, Bible Camp is the following week. Pray for all the preparations and life changing experiences for the campers. If you ever want to scholarship some of the faces in our pictures for camp, contact WOL and let them know. The Pages want many more to be able to come to camp!
We not through yet, we hope to share Christ with people in the airport and on the plane. And, we have our thank you ministry report notes to write to our supporters! What a day! Pray for safe travels.
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Saturday in Daduza

On Saturday, our team traveled to Daduza Township. This was special because it is Chris’s hometown. It is a sprawling community, made of some official low income homesteads and many squatter camps. The people were friendly and welcoming, especially those at the church. This church “building” is a tent stained with the African red dirt. The ladies of the church come in and cover the floor with scraps of carpet, hang lace and material across the front and place baskets of artifical flowers around the stage area. The men set up the chairs, microphones, and music equipment.
We had evangelism training led by Chris and were paired with people from the church. Then we ate lunch together to get to know each other. Once paired with the locals, we all introduced each other. We were all surprised to discover through the introductions the ladies gave of Mr. Naz, that he actually has two African wives…each for 5 years! That brought laughter to everyone.
Once again, everyone’s lunch was prepared by Christy Page and her children. The numbers that they feed each week is astonishing. They had already made scrambled eggs for our breakfast before we came here today. This day they prepared lunch in one of the two rooms (only separated by a curtain) of the home next to the tent. On the side of the house was an outhouse structure that housed a modern toilet.
After lunch our small groups went out in the community door to door. We were amazed at how quickly the people invited us into their homes and how eagerly they listened to what we had to say. There were so many people that are depending on good works to get them to heaven. It was great for our kids to be involved with demonstrating to these how to follow Christ and Christ alone. The people were amazed to learn that God offers salvation as a free gift of mercy and grace alone because of the sacrifice of this son who died for our sins. They do understand sin sacrafices. Many of them make real sin sacrafices (chickens or goats or other animals) to their ancestors in an effort to seek forgiveness. At least six people on this day accepted Christ while we were sharing. Many others thanked us for sharing and said they needed a night to think on it. Some came back to the church with us for a service at 3:00. We all were encouraged by how well the visits had gone. The church people are willing now to do this again.
At the three thirty service, Darren and Carrie shared their testimonies, Julia sang a solo, and the drama team did their skit, inspite of an injury to Julia's thumb that had to be patched up just before she appeared on stage.
The people’s homes may appear like a shack on the outside, but many on inside are surprizingly bright with neatly displayed everyday objects and lace wherever possible. The floors were swept as clean as possible with all the red dusty dirt just outside the doorway. Some were more what you would guess, a dirty mess indoors. They hang fabric and curtains to divide the space into rooms. The homes that had electricity usually had a television. One house had big screen TVs.
We ran into the braid shop run from home, a man boiling herbs and items to get rid of evil spirits that he believed his wife had cursed upon him when she left, a boy racked with fever and pain swaying back and forth suffering from an AIDS rash, and children 10, 11, 12 years old who were the head of their households. Definitely, not America. Yet, beautiful people that God loves and wants to have relationships with.
We returned home to a South African Brie – sort of like an American Bar-b-que. Brad and his wife had prepared African sausages on the grill and served with buns, potato salad and brownies. We ate outside on the covered patio area and shared stories of the day. Christy a nurse, tended to Julia's injury more properly. Then it was time to prep for Sunday Morning and finish up packing our bags for tomorrow’s departure. Thank you for your prayers and support! They are priceless!
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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Friday night, we worked a City church's Friday night Kid's Bible Club. Our team led the song time; the teaching time, using the resurrection eggs, helped led small groups that did memory work and quiet time checks, and led the games for two different age groups. It was a good night. Perhaps the best for our kids was stopping at McDonald's on the way back to the house! And, that was after having Kentucky Fried Chicken at home for dinner tonight before we went. Tomorrow, on Saturday, we will go out into another township. We will be in the church with some evangelism training and then we will go in groups out into home visits. Pray that we will be able to share our testimonies and the gospel clearly. Pray that some will accept Christ while we are with them. Pray for the local church that will do follow-up work and ministry with these people after we return to United States. This township is the home of Chris, the seminary student who has been faithful to minister with all and guide us all week long.
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Friday morning found us at a local crafters marketplace. The African wares were beautiful and the vendors aggressive with their sales pitch. We all learned the art of bargaining and walking away. When we left, we all had bundles of items to load into the van. As successful as shopping was, this isn’t really what we came for. We were on mission even at the marketplace. All of us had many opportunities to explain and hand out tracts. Some of us shared our testimonies and gospel presentations. Pray for the many who received parts of the word yesterday. Specifically, pray for Luckie, David, and Ivan. At first we shared the gospel with Ivan’s friend, who towards the end identified himself as a born again believer, but pointed his friend out saying that he needed to hear this message. As we explained to Ivan, he asked to have the presentation repeated twice. A crowd began to gather behind him and listened in intently. Ivan wasn’t ready to make a decision but was serious as he asked us to pray for him while he sorted things out that he would become ready. We prayed with Ivan. You might pray for us as we pack our goods in the suitcases to bring home, too! Once home, we began preparing for our part in tonights’ city church’s children’s Bible club.
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thurs 3 17 PM Dinner at Carnivore"

After the Rhino and Lion Park, we came back to the house for our Scype Video Conference Phone Call to TKCS's school wide chapel time. It was great to see the faces at home and know how much you are praying for us. We're sorry the call got cut short. Someone had asked if we were having fun. The answer is definitely yes! However, even more meaningful than the fun of holding live lions, is the joy with which the people hear listen to the gospel and hunger after God and his Word. Tonight at dinner some of our group went back into the kitchen and met with the chef. They were able to witness to him. In the picture where Carrie is turned around the girls are sharing a track with their waiter. That waiter left the table and went over to show and explain the track to another waiter who was staning off to the side. We feasted on all kinds of meat including crocidile, warthog, ostrich, and wildebeast. Maybe there are some benefits to the consequences of the fall of man. This meat was really yummy! "Solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:14 Pray for us tomorrow as we hit the market place and witness to those there and then return home to prepare for the children's club that we will led on Friday night. Thanks!
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Wow! God is so amazing in his creative creatures. After breakfast today, we went to the Rhino & Lion park. Lawsuits are not common here and it shows in their practices. You are able to drive right up next to the animals. There are enclosures that house the babies that you are able to pay 2 dollars to go into and play with the animals - babie lions (white & brown); teenage lions and a full grown cheetah. Many of us did all three. It was amazing. Pray for Bula, the lady who took us in the cages and photographed. We talked to her and left her with a track. The day was absolutely beautiful and amazing.
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Breakfast Thurs 3/17 at the Teak

Good Morning South Africa and USA friends! This morning we were able to get a little more sleep. We started the day by driving out to the Rhino and Lion Park...but as we got near, we stopped in at the Teak Restraunt for a lovely breakfast. Notice the "pancakes" in the picture. It was so relaxing and peaceful to sit out on the outdoor patio and see the scenery of an African landscape. Some of our girls went back to the kitchen and gave the chef and other kitchen workeres tracks. Pray for them that God will continue to allow the seeds that our students planted to grow.
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