February 17, 2017

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Pictured above is Ana’s DTS (Discipleship Training School). Students from various parts of the world gathered in Worcester to seek God during this five month program.  After three months of intensive classes and local outreach, the students scattered to various outreach locations further afield.  Ana went to Swaziland for two months where she worked with children, visited the sick in hospital, visited people in their homes, and even preached her first sermon! Through these experiences, Ana has grown in her love and understanding of God.  She has seen God work through her and around her, and thinks this is the most exciting thing in life.  We agree!  She wants to continue serving God all the days of her life! Amen!  What else could parents want?  We are very proud.  We are blessed. 

Because of this newfound passion, Ana has deferred her college admission to next year. (Last-minute decisions seem to run in the family, which causes me great stress!)  She decided last Friday that she would not start class this Monday, thereby just making the deadline in change of status. 

Ana has a few options this coming year, such as staffing a DTS and taking a Bible class through YWAM.  Please pray for clarity.

Pictures of Ana’s graduation from DTS last week, Swazi kids, and her DTS class.

Picture of Isaac and Margaret

Isaac and Margaret returned to school in the heat of the summer last month. Isaac started his second semester of 11th grade, while Margaret started second semester of 7th grade. 

Isaac is flying to Israel this weekend to represent his school in the Model UN conference. He is very excited about this opportunity, and will be able to tour Israel briefly after the conference with his delegation. 

On the flip side, Isaac feels a bit lonely at the school. He does not have a Christian friend and the social scene is a bit crazy. Please pray for a Christian friend, and that He would be a light to those around Him.  He is very diligent about reading his Bible every day, so knows God is using him and sharpening him through this experience.

Academic pressure is high for Isaac this semester.  He is looking at U.S. colleges on-line, which has its limitations.  Please pray for clarity for us all! 

Margaret loves her new school!  You may recall that she was awarded an unexpected scholarship recently.  She is much happier now, and is quickly adjusting to a different academic system. God has provided her with a friend who also attends our church.  I am relieved that she is finally happy, as we had exhausted most of the options. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness and provision.

Margaret has braces now!

Picture of Phoebe

Phoebe is also enjoying a new school. She attends a home-based nursery school in our neighborhood in the mornings.  There are 7 other kids, but Phoebe is the only special needs child. Her teacher and aid are working over time to make this a positive experience for her, which is more than I could have ever asked for.  What a blessing!

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Alberto has started working at the juvenile prison.  He met and befriended an older Coloured man who has been volunteering in the prisons for years.  This partnership is a gift from God, as the older man has a good cultural and linguistic understanding of the inmates. They study the Bible with the boys and discuss ways of managing anger.

Prisons are a scary place in South Africa, due to overcrowding and gangs. Through ministry moments, prisoners are encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to ask forgiveness for their crimes.  Yet I also believe that society needs to confess the sin of not providing better opportunities for these young men.  Growing up with no opportunities is a breeding ground for crime.  Chances of prisoners staying clean once they are released is slim. That is why it is so imperative that Jesus be involved in this process.  Only He can change hearts and lives.  Only He gives hope.

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Rony and Alé visited us from the U.S. over Christmas!  We had a wonderful time with them.  We took them surfing, camping, and on a mini safari!

The drought continues.  Reservoir levels are down to 35% of their capacity. Severe water restrictions are in place, which means we recycle most of our water. Public taps have been turned off, and people are starting to wonder what will happen if we run out of water? God has blessed Africa with many things, but water is not one of them (at least not in this part). Please pray for rain!

Financial Gratitude

Thank you to all of your who made a special contribution to our ministry here in South Africa (and Swaziland). We were greatly encouraged by our December account, and have entered the new year in a much better situation. Thank you, again, for your generosity and partnership with us.

If you would still like to contribute, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

December 16, 2016

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Merry Christmas to you all as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!  Our days in South Africa are getting longer and hotter.  It is still a strange concept to celebrate Christmas in the summer, even though this is our 5th Christmas in the southern hemisphere as missionaries. 

Thank you for your prayers and emails.  It’s been a tough few months, but I believe we have made a positive turn in our adjustment.  We are feeling much better about being in Cape Town, and are starting to feel at home. Praise God!

Thank you also for your financial support.  We are keenly aware of the fact that we are here because of God and because of your support.  We are preparing to mail thank-you postcards to many of you, so please look out for them!

Our Barnabas (prayer) group is also helping us mail out 120 fundraising letters, as we are trying to increase our number of monthly donors, due to our increased cost of living in Cape Town. (See the letter here.  Donate at www.parkstreet.org/give.)  

Pictured above are camels at a farm not far from us.  We had to do something special for Thanksgiving, since I wasn’t cooking a turkey!

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Alberto’s class ended this week. “Children at Risk” has further broken his heart for children in difficult situations in this world. It has given him more tools to work with troubled youth. His final paper was on juveniles in prison, and explains how he plans to spearhead an outreach to them at the local prison.

This class completes Alberto’s required classes.  We plan to join staff with YWAM Cape Town (Muizenberg) in the new year. At that time, Alberto will be able to spend more time discipling a group of young men from the community.  He’ll also be able to participate in more Restorative Justice conferences in the prisons. These conferences (and the follow-up) teach the inmates about God’s forgiveness and their need for reconciliation with God and their victims.

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Graduation dinner!  Sitting at the table with us are a school staff member, fellow student, and the base director and his wife (who also have a child with Down syndrome). Six people, six different countries of origin!

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Ana is currently in Swaziland, where she just embarked on a 2-month outreach. She recently finished the lecture phase of her 3-month Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Worcester with YWAM.

Isaac finished his mid-term exams yesterday.  He has a full schedule with 4 AP’s (Physics, European History, English Language, and Spanish), 1 regular class (Pre-Calculus), 2 electives (IT and Model United Nations) and 1 homeschool class (Philosophy). Somehow he manages to still go to the gym and play rugby.  He recently attended a Model United Nations conference in Johannesburg, where he represented the U.S.

Margaret has had a tough time adjusting to Cape Town, as she misses her friends. Although the homeschooling has gone well academically, she has not made any new friends.  Because of this, we have accepted the American School’s recent (unsolicited) offer for her to start attending in January at a fraction of the cost. Margaret is thrilled, and we are in awe of God’s faithful provision.

Phoebe is receiving speech, physical and occupational therapy.  Once we started with one therapist, the doors opened for the other therapists.  We are also considering sending her to a neighborhood home-based preschool a few mornings a week. Lots of changes after substantial research!

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I recently attended a Thrive conference in Cape Town for North American women in ministry.  Pictured above are some fellow Wheaton alumni.  I had a wonderful time being refreshed in the Lord, and connecting with other women in ministry both here in Cape Town and throughout Africa, and the world!

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Phoebe joining us in prayer on the beach as we witness a baptism.

Financial Requests

If you would like to make a monthly contribution, increase your monthly contribution, or make a one-time donation, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

This move has been a steep step of faith, so please join us in praying for the necessary finances to enable us to do what we believe God is calling us to do.

We are very grateful to each of you who gives and prays for us. Thank you for your partnership. 

Prayer Requests

  • Health for Ana and her team in Swaziland, and for the Holy Spirit to touch people’s lives through their ministry.
  • God’s protection, blessing and guidance on what we do.
  • More donors to commit!
  • Protection for our new brothers in prison.
  • Wisdom to know how best to help the needy children we encounter daily.
  • Rain to relieve the drought! (Going into the dry season with a water deficit means there are strict water regulations.)

October 7, 2016

Greetings from our new home in Cape Town!  We are very happy to be together as a family in a great house, but the transition has not been easy.  We left a small, rural, tight-knit community in YWAM Worcester and arrived in the big city of Cape Town with no community.  Although we are slowly making headway in meeting people, the accumulated stress of moving and adapting once again took a toll on us initially.

With few exceptions, we did not know anyone when we arrived, so spent the first few weeks stumbling around. Where is the grocery store?  How do you get internet?  (Ok, we are still struggling with this one!)  Who do you call in an emergency?  How do you turn on and off the electric fence and security system?  Is it ok to sleep with windows open, even though there are no screens but bars on all the windows?  How do you respond to men, women or children begging on street corners?  Personally I felt like a deer in the headlights, always being on alert and trying to absorb my new environment as best I could.  The fact that we had no friends here was a bit disheartening.  I looked eagerly into people’s blank stares, and knew I was a complete outsider.

“Stand strong when life changes, stand strong for the up’s and down’s.  Stand strong for you know that God is in control.”  Sounds familiar?  Those are the lyrics of a song from a Kidsweek cd from years past.  (One of Phoebe’s favorites!)  So, we stood strong, trusting God in our new place.  And God showed Himself faithful. 

I became more confident in our calling here.  I began to relax.  I started smiling at the people I saw.  And one day someone smiled back at me!  Somehow, that physical sign of welcome was a turning point for me.  I knew that the worst of the transition was behind us.  I felt hope.  I knew it was just a matter of time before I made friends. I would adapt. We were no longer strangers in this new city.  We were residents.

Later as I reflected on that smile, I realized that one person is all it takes to change someone’s scenario.  One person to say we can rent his house.  One person to offer Isaac admission at a school.  One person to share Christ with.  And ultimately, one Savior who died on the cross for us.  The power of one.

To close, I quote another Kidsweek song, “You paid the price for me.  Now the least I can do is live my life for you.”

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Alberto took some of his boys from Worcester on their first hike to a beautiful local waterfall.  

Alberto also recently participated in another Restorative Justice conference at the nearby Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison.  This is a very dangerous overcrowded under-serviced prison where Nelson Mandela was held. Out of such a place, 12 men gave their lives to the Lord, and a number of them made the very risky decision to leave their respective gangs.  The latter has potentially lethal consequences as the gangs are still active in the prisons. Praise God for the strength of our new brothers!

Although Cape Town is a very beautiful affluent city in parts, the poverty in other parts is oppressive.  The poor do not have many opportunities to earn an income, so many turn to crime.  It is easy to see why the jails are overflowing.   

I have started visiting a home where 14 foster kids live.  Interacting with the kids is challenging at this point, but I understand that trust does not come easily.

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Ana and Margaret returned on Sept 6. Ana loved being a nanny for a very special family, and Margaret enjoyed being with her friends again.  Margaret started homeschooling the day after she arrived.

Meanwhile, Isaac is being a diligent student at the American International School.  It’s mostly international, with only 18% American, and 55 different nations represented in their 400 students!

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Happy 13th birthday to Margaret and happy 17th birthday to Isaac.  We celebrated at Cape Town’s beautiful waterfront.  There were so many blessings to celebrate!

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Phoebe is showing off her new haircut! She recently expanded on her favorite 3-word sentence and made it a 5-word sentence: “I want more meat please!”  

We are having a challenging time finding affordable therapies for Phoebe here in Cape Town.  Not only are prices much more expensive than in Worcester, but therapy is not covered by our insurance. Please pray that we can find some good options for her.

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The surprise of the month is that Ana decided to return to YWAM Worcester to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School). DTS is an intensive 3-month discipleship course followed by a 2-month outreach. It is YWAM’s flagship course.  

Since Ana’s college doesn’t start until February, she had just the right amount of time to do the course.  She decided to do the course the night before it started! There are 7 girls from 7 different countries in her class, and 10 boys.  I am thrilled Ana took the initiative to do this course, and I am happy that she is not too far away!

Financial Request

Thank you to those of you who have contributed to our increased living expenses.  Our rent, Isaac’s tuition, and Phoebe’s therapies have increased our budget considerably.  We will be sending out a formal fundraising letter later this year.  

If you would like to help contribute now, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

This move has been a steep step of faith, so please join us in praying for the necessary finances to enable us to do what we believe God is calling us to do. We are very grateful to each of you who gives and prays for us. Thank you for your role.

Prayer Requests

1. God’s protection, blessing and guidance on what we do.

2. Protection for our new brothers in prison.

3. Wisdom to know how best to help the needy children we encounter daily.

4. Conviction for those in power who are only concerned about their own betterment. 

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Fynbos, pictured above, is the name of the indigenous semi-arid bush that thrives where we live on the Cape Peninsula.  It is protected under World Heritage laws, which means the invasive pine trees that have crept into the area (over the past 100 years) may be chopped down to make space for the reseeding fynbos. The battle between fynbos and pine is waging in court and on the streets at the moment, as residents love the local pine forest.

YWAM Worcester recently celebrated its 30 year anniversary.  In a huge home-coming event, people from all over the world returned to celebrate the spiritual heritage of this place.  What a blessing it was to be there!

July 27, 2016

Surprise!  We have moved!  We now live in Cape Town, just over the mountain from Worcester.  (Pictured above are the movers.)  Days before he left for the U.S., Isaac decided that he wanted to stay in South Africa to finish school, instead of attending Boston Trinity Academy as planned.  I was overjoyed and immediately made arrangements for a new house to rent close to the school, for financial aid, and to transfer our spiritual and ministry umbrella from YWAM Worcester to YWAM Muizenberg (Cape Town).  And now, one month later, here we are unpacking in Cape Town!  The fact that everything fell into place so quickly is a reassuring blessing. 

YWAM Muizenberg is currently a short drive from us.  Interestingly enough, this was the base we originally applied to before coming to South Africa.  Because of their housing shortage, we were redirected to Worcester. YWAM Worcester and YWAM Muizenberg have a close relationship, due to their proximity of under 2 hours.  Next month YWAM Muizenberg is starting a class on “Children at Risk.” As Alberto has one more required class to take, this class will be perfect!

How does this impact Alberto’s ministry?  His prison work will remain unchanged, as he will continue visiting the prisons in Worcester, Paarl and Cape Town.  His work with the rehab center was turned over to a South African man, so the timing of Alberto’s departure was good.  His work with the boys will be impacted, but he plans to continue visiting them a few times a month. 

How does this affect the rest of the kids?  Ana will be attending university in Cape Town with the new academic year starting Jan 2017.  Student accommodation is hard to come by, so having our home nearby will be important.  Margaret will continue to homeschool, and is excited to be in a city again.  Phoebe will be closer to the Children’s Hospital and Down syndrome center, although she will have to start over with new therapists.  I am sure Cape Town has a fine selection of therapists though!

Pictures

Phoebe helps moving boxes

Happy 9th birthday to our princess!

Alberto is listening to the boys he works with.

“Braaing” with the boys (or having a cook-out!)

Last month we dropped Isaac at the airport.  He is currently working in Boston, but returns to South Africa Aug 3, in time for classes to start Aug 4.  He will be attending the American International School of Cape Town.  It is international in its diverse student body, but American in its curriculum.  This is a great combination for Isaac.  

Although we received a significant financial aid package, we still need people to help us cover the difference.

Margaret’s friend Jordyn (and her mom) visited us in South Africa after a short-term mission project.  Margaret then flew to Boston with them, and attended Camp Deer Run (at full scholarship) in NH.  She is now visiting friends and family, and will return to South Africa with Ana Sept 5.

The Saff family came to visit the Mays and us!  We have welcomed so many people this part year.  It has been a huge blessing!  Please know you are always welcome to visit! 

Ana and Isaac volunteered at Park Street’s Kidsweek last week.  Ana is still working as a nanny.  She returns with Margaret Sept 5.

Financial Request

If you would like to help contribute to Isaac’s tuition at the American School, or help with our increased living expenses (our rent has doubled), please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo.  The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.  

This move has been a steep step of faith, so please join us in praying for the necessary finances to enable us to do what we believe God is calling us to do. We are very grateful to each of you who gives and prays for us. Thank you.

May 31, 2016

We are in the midst of busy days at home and in ministry here in South Africa, as you will see from the pictures below.  In this section, I will share Alberto’s thoughts on his work with the kids in the community:

Working in the poor racially-segregated communities of South Africa is very difficult. Most of the young men I work with live with one parent or a relative.  Usually they are hungry, and often they are abused by someone who was supposed to protect them.  

The Lord has brought me here to encourage these boys, so they can find hope in Him. He is the only Way they will find refuge.  Jesus has paid a big price for our rescue and for our freedom.  He understands betrayal.  It is not easy for these boys to learn to trust again.  It is not easy for them to speak about love, as they are used to a culture of lying and hurting in order to survive.  For them, respect comes through being tough and hurting others.

Yet these boys are good at working with their hands.  They are good artists, dancers, and musicians.  When jobs come their way, in enables them to buy food.  It is not enough for clothes and shoes, though.  Work is therefore not a way of life for them.  Crime is.  I am trying to teach these guys about the consequences of following good verses evil.  

Prisons here in South Africa are full of Coloured and Black people.  Society, especially in the wake of such strong color divides and prejudice, is failing them as well.  Please help me pray for these guys to come to true freedom through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He paid the price for all to be saved and know freedom.

Pictures

When a donation (from one of our donors) came in for the preschool, the teacher decided to build a playground! Alberto helped with the building and participated in the inauguration ceremony!  Kids here have few safe places to be, let alone a place to play!

I donated some of our old children’s books to the preschool, since they had none.

Winter is approaching, which means we have very cold nights!  There is a big push to provide warm blankets and hats to kids in the community. (My mom knit this one!) 

Last month we dropped Ana at the airport.  She is currently a live-in nanny at our friends’ house!

Ana got her driver’s license last week! This was one of her goals while being in the U.S.

Alberto’s new car…finally!  Thank you to all of you who made this possible.  This car will make our lives much easier!

Sweet Phoebe at speech therapy. 

This will be our new family size for most of the upcoming year!  Releasing Isaac has been the single most difficult thing I have had to do.  Neither the best schools in Cape Town nor his precious family could tempt him to stay!  I am not sure when we will see him again, as he is traveling on a one-way plane ticket. At least Ana has a return ticket!  

Rebecca came to visit us last week! Rebecca was Phoebe’s volunteer during Park Street Church’s Christian Formation Hour, made possible through the Enable Boston ministry.

Kid Update

Ana is enjoying being a nanny and catching up with friends in the U.S. She recently completed her college applications for schools in Cape Town. She returns to South Africa Sept 6 and will start university here in Jan 2017.

Isaac finishes homeschooling next week. He leaves South Africa June 11, at which time he will stay with my parents in Weymouth and work for the summer. He starts Boston Trinity Academy in August.

Margaret is still homeschooling.  She is excited to leave South Africa late June, with her friend Jordyn, who will be here on a short-term missions trip. Margaret will attend camp at Deer Run, NH before returning to South Africa with Ana on Sept 5. 

Phoebe turns 9 next week.  Her latest sentence is “More food please.”  This is now her favorite sentence, replacing the former favorite “I want meat.”  We are now working on “I see meat.”  (Clearly food, and specifically meat, is a big motivator for Phoebe!) She is fortunate to have many dedicated therapists here.

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the boys that Alberto is working with, that they will know there is Hope.
  • Continue to pray for rain for South Africa. 
  • Pray for our safety and protection.
  • Praise that Isaac’s id arrived.
  • Pray for Isaac’s departure from South Africa to Boston on June 11. 
  • Pray for me when Isaac leaves! 
  • Praise that Phoebe’s birth document arrived.  We now have all the necessary documents for the whole family!
  • Praise that Ana has finished her college applications for Cape Town schools.  Pray that she will get into the right school!

March 24, 2016

Pictured above is the stunning scenery of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean, taken by Alberto earlier this year on his hike up Table Mountain with Isaac and Philip, our visitor from the U.S..

As we observe the life of Christ on this Earth, we are reminded of what Jesus had to go through for you and me. We were captives in our own flesh.  Jesus took the punishment that we deserved, and paid the price through His blood.  What love the Father has for us!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Is 53:5)

Pictures

Alberto and some of the guys from the addiction recovery program.  Many of these guys are searching for purpose and have given their lives to Christ.

Prisoners participating in a Restorative Justice program in a nearby jail.  This is Alberto’s second time participating in this liberating program.

Alberto and some of the boys from the community in which he works.

Alberto sharing his construction skills with the boys.

Meet the newest member of the family: Michi.  (Paraguayans use this word for “kitty.”)  We originally named her Ruby, but that hasn’t stuck!

Phoebe recently visited the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, where she was attended by a top-rated pediatric endocrinologist. Not only did this amazing doctor help me adjust Phoebe’s insulin routine for her Diabetes, but she also adjusted her thyroid dosage, which needed major adjustments.  We are grateful for this wise and caring doctor, and will continue under her care.    

We celebrated International Down Syndrome Day on March 21.

Kid Update

Ana has been working on university applications. She leaves for the U.S. April 12.  She will stay with my parents in Weymouth while she practices driving on the wrong side of the road!  She hopes to get her license in May.  Late May she will start nannying for some friends of ours, which is a complete answer to prayer. She returns to South Africa Sept 6 and will start university here in Jan 2017.

Isaac was re-accepted at BTA (Boston Trinity Academy) for his junior year for the fall of this year.  We are currently awaiting a revised financial aid package. He leaves South Africa for Boston in June, at which time he will get a summer job.  I am very sad to see him leave.  

Margaret is also excited to leave South Africa late June, with her friend Jordyn, who will be here on a short-term trip. Margaret will attend camp at Deer Run, NH before returning to South Africa with Ana on Sept 5. 

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for Brussels.
  • Pray for rain for South Africa. It has not rained in months.  Farmers are suffering.  We have drastic water restrictions and are paying 20% more for water.
  • Praise that Alberto’s South African id book arrived.  Now please pray that Isaac’s id would arrive, and Phoebe’s birth document. (We applied for it last year!) We need these for international travel.
  • Pray for safety for the kids as they travel to and from Boston.  Pray that their time in the U.S. will be a blessing to them, as they have really missed it! 
  • Please pray for me when the kids leave!  This will be my first time being away from them for so long.

February 1, 2016

Greetings from hot and dry South Africa, where the temperature is 104° today and going up to 106° tomorrow!  Yikes!  Despite being in the middle of summer, schools started on schedule two weeks ago. January is the first month of the school year here, so things are rather busy right now!  Isaac is still homeschooling grade 10, while Margaret just started homeschooling grade 6.  For the first time since she can remember, Ana is not studying!  

Margaret recently participated in Teen Movement, a two-week Christian camp at YWAM. Participants came from Brazil, Korea and South Africa!  They studied God’s Word for the first week while learning new dramas and songs. The second week they performed in the poor communities of Worcester and at the local hospice.  Their message is that there is hope in Jesus!

Thank you to all of you for your overwhelming support last month!  Your prayers and finances are sacrificial, we know.  May God pour His blessings upon you all!  Alberto can now start to look for a ministry vehicle.  The timing is great, since he has two more invitations to work with young men.  One is a post-prison program, while the second is a discipleship program for men ages 18-21.  Both are exciting opportunities!  Meanwhile, he is still working in the half-way house and with his younger boys.  It continues to be our desire to see young people empowered by the Holy Spirit when they come to a saving grace through the love and atonement of Jesus.

God bless you all in this new year!  Margaret is starting to memorize Psalm 91, which is a beautiful chapter on God’s love and faithfulness.  It is my prayer that we will all rest in the shadow of the Almighty this year.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
(Ps 91: 1-2, 14-16)

PHOTOS

We took our first family vacation since arriving in this country: three nights at the beach and two nights

Camping!  In the background are our damp sleeping bags, as it poured with rain our first night.  We actually camped in an area of South Africa where there is plenty of rainfall, unlike our area!

A Park Street Church reunion in South Africa!  Ashley Spencer-Smith lives in Cape Town now, while Devon and April McGettrick are visiting South Africa.

Our Barnabas group collaborated with Phoebe’s former Sunday School class at Park Street Church.  They sent us Christmas presents!

Our adopted family member Philip Christiansen, from Park Street Church, came to volunteer with YWAM for a couple of weeks!

Wild fires are far too close for comfort! Most of South Africa is experiencing a drought. Rainfall is scarce and wildfires are common.

Prayer Requests

  • Rain for South Africa.
  • Safety in all we do. 
  • Blessings on the new school year for Margaret and all South African kids.
  • Continued wisdom and guidance for Ana and Isaac as they plan their next steps educationally.
  • Absorbent brains for Alberto and Joanna as they learn Afrikaans.
  • The arrival of Alberto’s South African id book, whose release has been tied up.
  • Accreditation process of YWAM with South African officials.  This is an expensive and bureaucratic procedure.
  • Refugees pouring into Europe: a team from our base is leaving today to help YWAM Germany in their outreach to the refugees.

el 14 de diciembre

Feliz Navidad para todos.  Estamos acostumbrándonos a celebrar la Navidad en el verano. En espíritu de celebración, estamos preparándonos para ir a la playa por unos días. Esta sera nuestra primera vacación desde que llegamos aquí.  Ahora tenemos que celebrar.

Gracias a todos por su apoyo. Estamos enfáticamente seguros que estamos aquí primeramente por Dios, pero también por su apoyo.  Gracias por su fidelidad a la obra de Dios.

Nuestro grupo de oración en Boston nos ha ayudado también a distribuir ciento cincuenta cartas con la intención de recaudar fondos para cubrir algunas necesidades financieras. Queremos comprar un auto para transporte ministerial.  Al mismo tiempo queremos incrementar el número de donantes, ya que a veces algunos hermanos no pueden continuar donando. (Favor de usar este link www.parkstreet.org/give si quiere hacer una donación.)

¡Somos famosos! ¡No es para tanto! Aquí les enviamos un link de un video de cinco minutos.  Este video va a estar excibiendose en otros países de Africa como parte de una campaña para ofrecer esperanza al que esta atrapado.  Este enseña como el Señor le ayuda un joven a escaper del vicio de jueguitos de internet y su adición a la pornografía. Yo (Alberto) y Ana actuamos en este video.

Aquí esta el link para ver mas videos de JUCUM (Juventud Con Una Misión).  Los cuales contienen historias de problemas que han sido redimidos por Cristo.  También hay algunos videos cortos de programs o clases que ofrece Juventud Con Una Misión en al area de Worcester.

Fotos

  • En Worcester se realizó una campaña evangelista, llamada “Jesus el Sanador.”  Más de 1000 personas dieron sus vidas al Señor.  ¡Gloria a Dios!  Es posible que esta ha sido la campaña más grande desde que hubo un reavivamiento de la fé al final del siglo 18, durante el ministerio del gran predicador Holandés Andrew Murray.
  • Aquí son las fotos de algunos chicos con quienes estoy trabajando en discipulado. El nombre de esta comunidad es Vista Del Río.  Es una comunidad en la cual hay una fuerte presencia de pandillas y drogas.  Muchos chicos  son muy pobres, y las pandillas les ofrecen lo que las iglesias no pueden ofrecerles. Así que este es un area por la cual siento carga. Oren fuerte por estos chicos para que el Señor me de una formula para que vengan al Señor, poder enseñarles algún oficio, y como ayudarlos a que continuen con sus estudios.
  • Aquí estoy ofreciendo el mejor producto al mejor precio. Los chicos que más fuerte trabajaron memorizando la Biblia obtuvieron más crédito para comprar más cositas para ellos y sus familias.  Esta es una manera de animarles a memorizar la Escritura.
  • Construyendo un sitio de juego para una escuelita de kinder en una de los comunidades.
  • Margaret actuó el papel de la malvada suegra duende y la gata en la obra “Mezclado de Cuento de Hadas.”  Ana realizó el maquillaje de los personajes.
  • Febe tiene varias terapias cada semana, pero su favorita es montar a caballo (incluso que es la más barata.)

December 14, 2015

Merry Christmas to all of you!  It is still hard to celebrate Christmas in the summer, but I am getting used to it.  In true South African spirit, we are heading to the beach for a few days.  It will be our first family vacation since arriving last year, and we have a lot to celebrate!

Thank you to all of you for your support.  We are keenly aware of the fact that we are here because of God and because of your support.  We are so grateful!  We actually just mailed postcards to many of you, so please look out for them.  They say “Thank you from South Africa.”  (I’m telling you in case they never arrive!)

Our Barnabas (prayer) group is also helping us mail out 150 fundraising letters, as we have some financial needs.  We are raising money for Alberto to buy a ministry vehicle. We are also trying to increase our number of monthly donors, as we have lost some donors. (Please use this link www.parkstreet.org/giving if you are interested in donating.)  

We are famous!  No, not really.  But here is a link to a 5 minute video which may be shown in different African countries as part of a campaign to offer hope to the hopeless.  This particular video tells how Christ helped a young man overcome a gaming and porn addiction.  Alberto and Ana are actors in the video, which takes place in our house!

Here is the link to more YWAM Worcester videos, which tell other stories of redeemed struggles.  (There are also some short videos about classes YWAM offers.)

Photos entitled:

  • “Healing Jesus” Campaign came to Worcester!
  • Alberto and the ushers.
  • Possibly the biggest evangelistic campaign since Andrew Murray’s ministry in the 1800’s!
  • Some of the boys Alberto is working with. There is a strong gang and drug presence in the community, which tries to lure young boys into a life of crime.
  • Setting up tables with donated goods. The kids earn tokens that they can use to buy items.
  • New shoes!
  • The construction team.
  • Building a swing set for a preschool in the community.
  • Testing the swing!
  • Phoebe has a variety of therapies each week, but horse-back riding is her favorite (and actually the cheapest!)
  • Margaret played the role of the wicked fairy step-mother and cat in the play “A Mixed Up Fairy Tale.”   (Ana did the make-up for the cast.)

el 20 de noviembre

Bienvenidos al primer update de la familia Parada…en español!  Si conoce otros hermanos que quisieran recibir este update, déjenos saber. 

Somos misioneros con Juventud Con Una Misión en Sur Africa.  Nuestro llamado es discipular jóvenes en las comunidades más necesitadas.  Tenemos 4 hijos entre la edad de 8 y 18.

Ha sido un mes bastante ocupado por Ana a causa de los exámenes finales, el baile final, y la graduación.  Es increíble que nuestra nena se está graduando de una escuela en Sur Africa. Ella ha tenido la dicha de estudiar en tres continentes, sin mencionar los años que estudió en casa. Ha tenido una vida muy bendecida hasta esta fecha.  Estamos orando para que le vaya muy bien en los años que el Señor le de en esta tierra.  

Yo (Alberto) recientemente tuve la oportunidad de participar enseñando en una prisión cercana un curso llamado “Justicia Restaurativa.”  Este curso se enfoca en ayudar a restaurar el daño causado por el pecado. Brinda la oportunidad a los prisioneros a confesar sus crímenes primeramente con ellos mismos, y después con Dios, con sus familias, con sus víctimas, y finalmente con sus comunidades. Asumiendo responsabilidad por su acciones, los prisioneros pueden encontrar su libertad en Cristo y convertirse en agentes positivos cambiados, y así comenzar una nueva vida ejemplar en sus comunidades. 

Mi esposa tuvo la oportunidad de estar presente en el día final del curso.  Pudo ver cómo los prisioneros se encontraron con sus parientes (la mayoría eran madres).  Estos tuvieron la oportunidad de confesar sus crímenes en forma pública.  En la mayoría de los casos sus madres o parientes no sabían toda la información del porque sus hijos estaban tras las rejas.  Fue muy difícil para sus parientes escuchar sus confesiones criminales. Fue un proceso bastante delicado y muy emocional para todos presente.  Nosotros inclusive llevamos una pareja que tienen un hijo en la cárcel por 2 años.  

El enemigo ha construido sus altares de maldad en muchas de estas comunidades dónde el Señor nos ha traído.  El diablo ha envuelto a los jóvenes con sus mentiras y falsas promesas de poder y prestigio por medio del crimen organizado.  Pero más fuerte es la sangre de Cristo, que nos lava de todo pecado. Nosotros estamos aquí en obediencia a nuestro llamado, cubiertos totalmente con la sangre de Cristo que es el elemento esencial de guerra contra las mentiras del enemigo. 

Estoy tan agradecido al Señor, porque yo hubiese sido fácilmente uno de estos prisioneros.  Fue un honor haber podido ser parte de este curso que busca la reconciliación, la esperanza, y la vida eterna a todos aquellos que quieren escuchar la voz amorosa del Señor.  La presencia y poder de Dios esta bien activa en las prisiones.  Dios tiene el mismo mensaje para los que están en el bote tanto como para los que aún no han estado en prisión.  Jesus dice, “Yo he muerto por ustedes, y a través de mi sacrificio, tienen la oportunidad de ser como yo y ver mi gloria.”

Motivos de Oración

  • Para que los prisioneros en el program de Justicia Restaurativa puedan entender la profundidad del amor de Dios.
  • Exámenes finales de Ana y Margaret
  • Sabiduría para Ana en la manera que esta buscando la dirección de Dios para continuar su educación.
  • Consuelo para Margaret quién extraña mucho a sus amistades en los Estados Unidos.
  • Por un precio razonable para remover la pintura con plomo en nuestra casa en Massachusetts. 
  • Recaudación de fondos para un vehículo ministerial.

Links