We have started attending the very dynamic Hillsong Church. It was Margaret’s choice, as she was growing weary of our previous church. Hillsong Church has amazing worship, and a simple message: Jesus Christ is Lord. The church is full of young people, and reflective of the racial demographics of the area. It is a joy to see young people take leadership roles in worship, greeting, collection, etc. The sermons are seeker-friendly and Jesus-focused. Last week’s sermon was “What is evangelism?” and today’s was “What is worship?”
This church is extremely active in reaching the community with the gospel and acts of service, which includes prison ministry. Since many of their people work alongside Alberto, it is really good for our family to attend the church. Alberto has been working with them (and the Mays) to launch a church plant inside the prison. Today was the third Sunday service, with an incredibly positive response from the attending prisoners. (At this point, only Alberto is at the prison church, while the girls and I are at the high school location.)
It is so exciting to be part of a growing Christian movement! Young people are coming to the Lord in great numbers. There is a thirst for Him that is driving them to their knees. This is evident not only in the church, but in the prisons and on the soccer field during soccer ministry (soccer games are followed by a short devotional). Questions of eternity become much more pressing when sad things happen, like the death of a soccer player due to gang violence. Since this tragic event, the number of boys wanting to join the soccer team has doubled. Boys who were hesitant to show their interest in Christ have since taken a stand for Him.
Another interesting thing is that occasionally Alberto runs into Spanish-speaking prisoners. Who would have thought that Spanish would be helpful in a South African prison? Sometimes Spanish tourists come to South Africa and commit crimes. One prisoner came as a drug mule, since Cape Town is a strategic location for not only the gospel, but also the drug market.
Please pray for the prison ministry, the church plant and the soccer ministry. Also please pray for a new car for Alberto. His present one is old, and is constantly in the shop for repairs. This is negatively impacting his off-prison visits to family members. (Keep an eye out for our Barnabas group’s fundraising letter!)
Lastly, please pray for wisdom to know what to do about Christmas. Having an international family is both a blessing and a challenge. Expensive Christmas fares make it prohibitive for us to all be together. Pray that we come up with a good plan, so everyone is happy. (Send Isaac to Hawaii to be with Ana?)
We also want to thank everyone for your generous support. We couldn’t be here without you partnering with us. (Also keep an eye out for thank you postcards to all our amazing supporters!)
On that note, Merry Christmas to you all. May the joy of our Savior’s birth be with you.
Ana is in Kona, Hawaii doing a nine-month School of Biblical Studies with YWAM. It was challenging for her to adjust to a big campus far from anyone she knew, but she is adapting. The vibrant Christian community and location help, as does the eye-opening Biblical teachings.
Ana’ss Bible course is extremely demanding, as it covers every book of the Bible in depth. Each book is read five times while students diagram and chart the story of God’s redemptive plan for His people from the beginning of time. Ana is learning what I studied in seminary, although doing it in a more cohesive manner!
Isaac seems to be loving Messiah College: friends, classes, track, investment club, and food! He also appreciates all the evangelically-sound churches in the area. His scholarship requires that he attend certain classes on social justice, which has put him into contact with some other missionary/third culture kids.
Isaac’s track team is pictured above. As you can see, he is still enjoying his long hair and beard!
Margaret is finishing up her first semester of high school. While she thoroughly enjoys the social scene, the academics are challenging. She has a six-week Christmas/summer break. Unfortunately, the ocean water in Cape Town never warms up enough for a comfortable swim, although it is beautiful. We’ll see if we can drive to warmer waters at some point.
Phoebe is about to end her year at the Montessori preschool. It’s been a good place for her, and Placky (pictured above) has been a great help.
These three pictures of Phoebe were professionally taken on school picture day.
Phoebe’s hand healed very nicely after her recent burn. We’ve made many visits to the local Children’s Hospital, and the scar is already fading.
Phoebe will start a half-day at Glenbridge Special Needs School in January. We are in the process of interviewing facilitators for her, as Placky has other plans. We are looking for someone with autism expertise, who can connect with Phoebe, and will have the gift of helping her achieve her potential. Please pray for this person, and also pray for provision for the salary, which is more than I had anticipated. Professional facilitators come with a higher price tag.
Phoebe’s next unfortunate event was that she was bitten by a dog. A usually-friendly dog was surprised when Phoebe backed into him, and snapped at her instantly. I was right next to her, and disappointed that my reflexes weren’t fast enough to protect her from this incident. But again, she healed quickly and without complication.
Lastly, Phoebe’s liver counts continue to be high. A recent ultrasound showed no damage to the liver, and blood tests echoed no auto-immune activity. That is a praise! It is still unclear why her liver counts are high. Fortunately, I am remain in touch with Phoebe’s GI doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston, who says that the local doctors are doing everything he would do. Please pray that her liver counts normalise.
My mom and dad came to visit to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday! Since they were both born in South Africa, there was much catching up to do with relatives and old friends. Pictured above is my mom’s brother and his family, all living around Cape Town.