We have plane tickets to Boston on Wednesday! That is our big news. The other big news is that South Africa is experiencing a third wave of Covid. Because of this, and because of the feared South African variant, our tickets have been cancelled or rescheduled three times already. Many countries have blocked entry from red-flagged countries like South Africa. Please pray that we can actually fly on Wednesday! We will have to get tested for Covid twice before then, so please pray that we test negative and get the necessary official results in time! As a praise, I already have the mask exemption forms from Phoebe’s doctor.
I will say that getting news of cancelled flights is rather devastating, as it is more than an inconvenient rebooking. It means that there are no flights out of the country. We are in essence, stuck here. It brought up all my feelings of insecurity from last year when our borders were closed and I felt trapped.
But right now, we have three plane tickets. The girls and I will fly. Alberto has decided to stay here to continue prison ministry. He will also do the work on our house which is impossible to do when the rest of us are living here, namely, tearing up the floor and fixing the walls. Our home is an evolved cabin, so there is just earth under the floor boards and some leaks in the walls. (But it is a beautiful home!)
Please pray for South Africa. With only 2% of the population vaccinated, and a possible 2-year wait for vaccines from the international community, this third wave could be a long and tough one. We are back in stage 2 lock-down restrictions, which means curfew is stricter, as are numbers of people allowed to gather. With a 33% unemployment rate, many people continue to struggle to put food on the table. This results in an increased crime rate.
The picture above shows our YWAM “circle” gathering, which Alberto and I currently lead. We usually have a monthly pot-luck in the park, though this time we met in our yard.
Alberto is pictured above on his birthday! In terms of ministry, he has been following up with Restorative Justice attendees and mentoring them as they build on the changes that began in their lives during the Restorative Justice program. He and his team are also in the midst of planning the next Restorative Justice program.
We have a new house guest, Isaac (not to be confused with our Isaac). He is staying in the guest room off the garage, so not exactly in our house. Isaac participated in the Restorative Justice program in prison 15 years ago, when he served a 10-year sentence for a crime he did not commit. While planning his revenge on his cousin who set him up, he heard about the Restorative Justice program, and the rest is history. He was able to commit his life to Jesus, forgive his perpetrators, and leave a free man. He is currently helping Alberto with some house projects in preparation for the work that they will do while the girls and I are away.
Margaret finished the school year on Friday, although the last week of exams were virtual, due to rising number of covid cases in the school and surrounding area. It was really hard for Margaret to not be able to say goodbye to her senior friends. Most of them will leave Cape Town and will not return. This is the sad reality of an international school.
Looking ahead, she is excited to be back in Boston again. She already has a job lined up in Faneuil Hall working at a bakery. She can’t wait to see old friends again!
Happy 14th birthday Phoebe! Phoebe is still learning to blow out candles, but she will eventually get there. I made her a special gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free cake that actually tasted good, but still caused her to throw up and have alarmingly low glucose levels that evening.
On a more positive note, the toilet-training is going really well, as is the ABA home therapy!
Phoebe is pictured above with the special needs surfing volunteers. I think she may like the volunteers more than the cold water!
Phoebe enjoys the special needs horseback program. Here she is with Erin and Evey, Evey being the horse.
Ana just wrote an update which you can read here. She is done with her coursework, and about to leave for a six-week internship in Port Macquarie, Australia where she will work with an emerging coffee shop ministry. Please pray for her time there to be a blessing to the people of the town, and that God will use her and her friend as they share their love of Jesus and connect with people over coffee.
YWAM Brisbane has been featuring their staff on Instagram through pictures like the one above. Ana will staff a Bible school with them in September. She is also involved in a Wednesday night drop-in center, where people from the community can drop-in for prayer, games, or anything on their hearts.
Australia still has closed borders, so I am not sure when we will see Ana next.
It’s been a busy month for Isaac. During his last week of classes, he got covid (despite having had the first shot of the vaccine) and was quarantined. After he recovered and was cleared to leave, he went to Boston to visit my parents and some Park Street Church friends. While there, he got his license (finally), saw my sister and her kids, and returned to PA to start his internship as a summer analyst at Ambassador Advisors. He just bought himself a car to get to work. (Thanks to the stimulus checks and loan from us. Good thing it’s a paid internship!)
I still do my weekly hikes, which clear my mind and give me a fresh perspective on this beautiful country! I am pictured above eating my avocado snack, not realizing I’m being photographed by my friend!
Here are my Spanish students! An unusual ministry presented itself when four high school students, being taught by a friend of mine at YWAM, chose Spanish as their second official school language. This choice is quite ironic in a country with twelve official languages, none of which are Spanish. But, since the students are technically homeschooled, they are able to choose any language as a second language, as long as they pass the final proficiency test.
Spanish is a safe choice, despite it being an un-useful choice, as many of the other languages carry stigmas with them. Afrikaans, which is historically the first language of the “Coloured” community, and therefore the more obvious choice for school testing, is still seen as the language of the oppressor. Xhosa and isiZulu are the other common languages here, although belong to the African groups that have racial tensions with the Coloured community. So complicated! The bottom line is that I tutor them in Spanish once a week, and they love it!
- Travel mercies
- Rest (I am very tired)
- Rejuvenation (as we reconnect with friends and family)
- Protection (as Alberto stays here)
- Adaptability (for Isaac’s internship)
- Provision (for Ana’s outreach)