Park Street Church’s annual Global Missions Conference is always a highlight for us, as we reconnect with the global body of Christ, and more specifically with our Park Street Church family (albeit virtually). This year’s theme was “Jesus in Global Cities,” which as the name implies, told stories of how Jesus is working in and strategically through cities, and gave a voice to many of us to share about ministry in the city. We spoke on the panel “Invisible Cities: Jesus and Incarceration” which discussed the unseen web of power, control and communication in the prisons and the communities from which the prisoners come. Most people are unaware of this intricate web, as prisons are purposefully hidden away from society. Yet God does not discriminate, and despite society’s efforts to make prisoners disappear, God is using that intricate web to make Himself known and spread His kingdom. We know how the story ends. He has the ultimate victory.
As part of the conference, we were encouraged to make a drive-by video showing different aspects of city life. Alberto and I (and Phoebe) made an attempt at this, which you can see here. Along with South Africa’s incredible racial and cultural diversity comes a huge disparity of wealth between rich and poor. 56% of the population live in poverty, while a minority live in opulence (source). South Africa has the worst wealth income inequality in the world, according to the World Bank (source). This contrast hits the visitor pretty hard upon arrival, and is one of the reasons why South Africa has been tugging on my heart all these years. But, I dislike taking videos of people, as I feel it invades their space and encourages a victim mentality. All this to say, our video is pretty simple.
A highlight of the conference is always the Women’s Benevolent Society’s luncheon, where missionaries from all over the world Zoom in and chat with the faithful women who have been praying all year long!
In regards to prison ministry, Alberto and his team are currently on an intense six-day Restorative Justice Program in a nearby prison. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to transform lives and reunite families. Saturday is Family Day, which means families are invited to come to the prison to see and hear their relative. This is obviously a very emotional and potentially life-changing day.
The soccer team recently had a Christmas party to mark the end of the season.
Margaret is pictured above on her 18th birthday. I am treasuring every day I have with her, since I don’t know where she’ll be living next year. She is still considering a gap year, but is also applying to a few colleges in the U.S. Her stress is high with looming deadlines. Meanwhile, we have submitted the FAFSA in preparation. Please pray for God’s guidance in her life!
One of Margaret’s favorite classes in school is Advanced Marimba. The picture at the top of the update shows her class giving a performance. Click here to listen. (She has the marimba with the yellow diamond, and is to the left.)
Much has changed in Ana’s life in the last few months. She finished her coffee internship in Port Macquire and managed to get back to Brisbane, where she received her diploma from the University of the Nations: an Associates in Arts in Biblical Studies (pictured to the right). She also received a certificate of completion of the barista course. She is now staffing a Biblical Core Course and taught on 1 and 2 Kings this week! The school ends in December, at which time she will fly to Cape Town! I am so excited to see her again after nearly two years! Please pray for Ana’s next steps, as she has a few options on the horizon.
Phoebe is growing quickly and putting on weight, now that we have treated the bacterial overgrowth. She continues to make great strides with her autism therapists.
At a recent swimming lesson, a mom approached me to ask if Phoebe has diabetes, as she saw the sensor on her arm. When I responded that she does, she told me that her son also does. This was my first time ever meeting another mom of a child with Type 1 Diabetes (South Africa and U.S.). She proceeded to invite me to a support group for mothers of children with Type 1 Diabetes! I went to the first (post-covid) meeting, and was amazed to meet about 15 other moms. I have spent years researching each of Phoebe’s disabilities and am part of various on-line support groups, but have not had the opportunity to meet other moms of Type 1 children, strangely enough. Such a gift!
Isaac is pictured above on his fall break visit to Emilio Karakey. Isaac is enjoying his computer science and finance classes, and his internships have been going well. He is also coming to Cape Town for a month over Christmas! He graduates in May. He is looking into job opportunities now, so please pray for that process.
We recently adopted a cat from the animal shelter. The poor thing had a broken leg, which necessitated his spending his first four weeks with us in a cage. Out of the kindness of her heart, Phoebe snuck in her iPad, hoping to cheer up the despondent kitty!
Leo, the cat, now has a completely healed leg, and a high tolerance for Phoebe. Maybe you can spot him under her stack of cards!
Covid update: 33% of South Africans are fully vaccinated. We are currently on stage 1 of restrictions, which is the lightest of the restrictions. Life seems almost back to normal. Please pray against a possible 4th wave after Christmas.
Electricity is in short supply these days. This has been an ongoing struggle marked by corruption and inefficiency, so please pray for a solution! Last week we averaged 7 hours a day without power