February 22, 2022

The challenge with writing updates every other month is that news becomes outdated so quickly!  The picture above was taken on New Year’s Day at a vineyard, though it seems like ages ago already.  Neither Ana nor Isaac are with us now in South Africa, so we can only cherish the memories of happy times together.  I loved having a full house again, and at one point, we were seven!

Allow me to introduce Frenchie (whose full name is Fransisco).  Frenchie (33!) and Ana (24) met briefly in Hawaii three years ago, and have stayed in touch ever since.  Their paths did not cross again due to Covid.  When Frenchie heard that Ana was returning to South Africa, he planned a trip from Hawaii, and stayed with us for three weeks last month.  Frenchie is an incredibly respectful man (he asked us if he could date Ana, and asked us to pray over them).  He is Hispanic, born in Texas to Mexican parents.  But most importantly, he loves Jesus.  He has been with YWAM in Hawaii for the past seven years.  His ministry is “Fire and Fragrance” which is about sharing both the power and the sweet aroma of Jesus with the nations.  He ran the camp Margaret attended in Hawaii last summer, and helps run the DTS there.  He also travels to different countries as a guest speaker.  Currently, he and Ana are in Nepal.  He invited Ana lat minute to join him, and she accepted.  They are having an amazing time, and seeing many lives touched by the gospel.  I will say, however, that getting to Nepal was a bit of a challenge.  They were denied entrance onto the flight to Qatar, because Nepal had red-listed South Africa on Qatar Airlines, but there were no such restrictions on Emirates Airlines.  They rebooked through Dubai two days later, and got their covid test results as we were driving to the airport…in faith!

Less stressful news is that Isaac was offered a job!  He is working part-time at Ambassador Advisors, in Lancaster, PA.  He was interning with this investment company, so was excited to receive the job offer.  He will start working full-time upon graduation in May.  This brings me to the next point. Isaac graduates early May, and Margaret late May.  It seems ludicrous to fly to the U.S. for just a short visit, but I don’t see any way around it.  Also, such a quick trip would be very stressful for Phoebe, so Alberto will most likely stay here with her, while I travel.  Please keep this trip in your prayers.

Onto Margaret…Margaret submitted the rest of her college applications recently, so we are all able to breathe a sigh of relief and wait patiently.  There were moments when I wondered if she would get any applications in at all, but she rose to the challenge!  She is still planning on taking a GAP year, as she still wants to do YWAM’s six-month DTS in Hawaii starting in September (with Frenchie).  She would like to work in the Boston area before and after that time.  We are praying and brainstorming about possibly coming back to Boston as a family for at least part of the time Margaret is in Boston, so as to give her a place to stay, and to reconnect with all of you!  Every time we come it is so rushed, so a slightly longer visit would be nice!

Another possible benefit for coming for a longer period of time is that I could possibly finish my Masters through Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary’s CUME (Center for Urban Ministerial Education).  I started classes there when Ana was a baby, and surprisingly enough, my classes still are valid.  I only need five more classes to graduate with a Masters of Art in Christian Ministries with an Urban Ministries Track.  Maybe I could finish those classes while back in Boston?  Lots of things to pray about.

Meanwhile, I continue to enjoy leading our small group in Cape Town and attending leadership meetings at the YWAM base.  I love how Christ-centered our YWAM leadership circle is, and appreciate their diversity and energy.

In terms of Alberto’s ministry, soccer is back on the fields, and all prisons are open again!  Omicron hit South Africa in December (us included), but since then most restrictions have been lifted.  Alberto actually spent last week in Pollsmoor Prison doing a “Restorative Justice” conference with the Hope Prison Ministry team.  Pollsmoor is the high security prison close to us, and was one of the last prisons to open, as it had the tightest restrictions.  Alberto was thrilled to get back to this prison, and to see some familiar faces again.  This particular conference had 29 participants, and was made up of largely gang members, competing gangs at that!  The conference culminated with the family visit day last Saturday.  This is the day when family members are invited to come to the prison to see their incarcerated family member, and to start the reconciliation process.  They are allowed to come and ask any questions they want.  Usually, a mother comes.  This is often the first time she hears the truth as to why her child is in prison.  Although it is always exciting to see lives change through the conference, it is also heart-breaking when no family members come to visit, as is often the case.  Just because the prisoners change, doesn’t mean the family is ready to accept that.  Sometimes trust needs to be re-earned.  Please keep the RJ conference attenders in your prayers, that the change in their hearts will result in a change of lifestyle which will be evident to their families.