Merry Christmas to you all! It really has been another challenging year full of uncertainty, but God’s faithfulness is evident.
The year started with closed borders and a challenging holiday season. This Christmas, our borders are open, so both Ana and Isaac have come home after two years! Of course I cried at the airport! Their trips were not without challenges though, as the UK red listed South Africa due to Omicron, so London cancelled Isaac’s flight. It seemed impossible to get him home for a reasonable price. Then we discovered the direct flight from Newark to Cape Town, which was not originally available when I booked months ago. That ticket ended up being cheaper than the original one! When Ana left Australia, she knew she would not be able to re-enter, due to their closed borders. This was bittersweet for her, as she left behind friends she has invested in for two years. She is grateful that she completed her Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies, her Barista course, and was able to staff another School of Biblical Studies.
As we try to focus on the good of this year, we see God’s provision. When most schools shut down due to the pandemic, we were able to start an amazing home autism therapy program for Phoebe. She has also enjoyed swimming, hippotherapy (horseback riding therapy), physical therapy and surf therapy!
Margaret just finished her first semester of her senior year of high school, and has sent applications into a number of schools in California, much to her excitement and our apprehension! She received her first acceptance from Azusa Pacific University. She is still considering taking a GAP year, but wants to get college lined up first.
As we look back on the soccer ministry, it is encouraging to watch the boys grow up. We are starting to see the fruits of them staying in school or working, some are going to church, yet some are still struggling to make the right choices in very challenging situations. Soccer ministry was the least affected by pandemic restrictions.
Salvations continues to happen in the prisons, where the name of Jesus is exalted and glorified. Prison ministry, however, was greatly affected by fluctuating lockdown restrictions. Alberto was able to do a few Restorative Justice conferences and some prison visits, but this year has been focused mainly on working with released prisoners and families of existing prisoners.
Food distribution has continued, and we are grateful that we can share with our brothers and sisters in need.
John 15:5 has been particularly meaningful to us this year: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
We praise God for the miracles He is doing in people’s lives, and we are grateful for your support and partnership with us. Your faithfulness always touches and amazes us! If you would like to support our ministry here in South Africa, please do so on the Park Street Church online giving forum: www.parkstreet.org/give. We are listed in the drop-down box as “Missions: Parada PM” which means we are Partner Missionaries through the church, and receive only a portion of our support directly from the church. The majority of our support comes through individuals and families. If you would like to support Ana, she is exploring some exciting ministry options, and is able to receive support through the same link, but choose “Missions: Ana Parada” in the drop-down box.
May the joy of Christ’s birth bring you hope and joy this Christmas season.