October 19, 2023

I hope you are all having a happy fall.  We are in the midst of a glorious spring.  Pictured above is my hiking group standing in the mouth of a cave!

Since our last update, the Park Street Church team came and ministered in the prisons through their participation in the Restorative Justice conference.  These conferences challenge inmates to take a serious look at their lives through the perspective of their victims, families, and God.  (Alberto is actually participating in another such conference this week!)  When they were not in prison, the Park Street cohort was able to come to our house, climb Lion’s Head, and explore the area.  Their presence was a huge blessing to us personally, as it is so helpful to get feedback on life here from people who are from our home church.  Thanks for coming, friends!

Alberto, Phoebe and I recently attended the YWAM Southern Africa leadership conference in Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa.  It was really encouraging to see friends of ours from our early days at the Worcester base now in leadership roles throughout South Africa.  YWAM has faced incredible blessings as they show how Jesus is relevant to young people today and empower them to make a difference in their communities and in the world.  34% of the South African population is under the age of 18, so harnessing their involvement is critical for the kingdom of God.  With this comes some significant challenges, however.  In trying to empower young people from economically challenged environments to become missionaries, the whole concept of support raising needs to be reevaluated.  In a context where support letters are not relevant, how do people raise support?  It can be through creative ways such as raising chickens or selling vegetables.  One of the other challenges YWAM is facing is how to support people coming out of challenging situations, such as homelessness or gangs.  Everyone is always welcome at YWAM, though some need more support than others.

I love YWAM’s vision to reach every nation with waves of young people from every nation, to influence every sphere of society, and to translate the Bible into every mother tongue.  Although the founder of YWAM, Loren Cunningham, recently died in Kona, Hawaii, he was an extraordinary evangelist and man of vision.  You can read his story here.  YWAM’s newest focus is oral Bible translation with the help of AI.

Isaac (the ex-prisoner, as opposed to Isaac our son) is still living with us, as he needs extra support.  Every time he tries returning to his community, he gets into some type of trouble with his family, friends or wife.  This last time, his sister stole from him.  (His sister is addicted to tik, crystal meth, which is easily accessible in the townships.)  Alberto has encouraged Isaac to buy a small piece of land in a township far from his old community, since he is not strong enough to resist their influence. Township plots are cheap, but Isaac will need to save his money so he can buy building materials.  So now he is occasionally working for us by painting or rewiring our electricity.  Today he went to pay off his traffic fines, for driving without a license.  Next, he needs to try to apply to get a license.  He is also, sadly, in the process of divorce.  Having Isaac live in our guest cottage (half of the garage is converted into a bedroom and bathroom) has its blessings, though, as he is a gifted musician!  We are hoping he will attend a DTS in the near future.  (Thus, the applicable conversations at the conference about helping people in challenging situations who still need quite a bit of support.)

All in all, we are in a much better place than we were two months ago!  Many of the challenges we experienced upon arrival in Cape Town have now been settled.  My car is fixed, registrations and passport are renewed, replacement credit cards have arrived, even load-shedding has experienced some relief!  Some things are still pending though, and therefore need ongoing prayer: Phoebe is still not in school.  We did find a school (Beautiful Minds) that has accepted her provisionally, praise God, but the stipulation is that we will find and hire an aid for her.  I contacted a recruiting agency, so am waiting for their recommendations at this point.  Since the school year ends early December, it seems unlikely that Phoebe would start school this year.  In the meantime, I have hired a lady to help me with Phoebe at home, as she needs a constant set of eyes on her.  Even when she is being watched, however, she can be a challenge.  Last month when I was working on my laptop, Phoebe came running into the house and dumped my cup of tea over the keyboard.  Despite following Google’s recommendations for drying out a laptop, it never turned on again.  Fortunately, I have the extended Apple Care package, being the mother of a child like Phoebe. Unfortunately, there are no Apple store partners in the entire country (or southern Africa, for that matter).  My only hope was to return the laptop to the US, which I did through the kindness of a friend, who then took the laptop to Apple.  Now, a month later, at no cost to me, I have an almost brand new laptop, as just about everything was replaced. I am now waiting for a friend of a friend to transport the laptop back to South Africa.

Meanwhile, I have been working on our old laptop, which is a blessing, as I am taking an online class this semester, Interpreting the Bible, which is my last requirement for my Masters of Arts in Christian Ministries at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.  I love digging into the Biblical texts and seeing God’s heart for the nations, but it is a lot of work!

Pictured above and below are friends from our YWAM, Worcester days when we first arrived in South Africa (yes, Worcester, South Africa).  They have since moved on to other locations in South Africa to do amazing things with youth to spread the kingdom of God.

Pictured above and below are members of the Park Street Church short-term mission at our house and climbing Lion’s Head.

Nice looking cleats!  The guys are so appreciative of all the cleats that have come their way, thanks to the generosity of so many of you at Park Street Church!

Some of the topics discussed during half-time are concerns brought up by the players, such as the fact that some of them view Christianity as the white-man’s religion.  This is an important subject, as throughout history, white people have manipulated the Christian faith for their personal gain, which requires an accounting for.  It is hard to separate what Christians have done from Jesus.  Please pray the soccer players will seek Jesus and find him in their African context.  After all, Africa has an amazing Christian heritage!

To watch Phoebe and Isaac sing “Sing Hosanna” please click on this link.

Isaac and Margaret are pictured above with my mom and nephew.  Isaac continues to live with my parents, and is now a PE teacher.  Margaret is waitressing in Boston, but returns to Cape Town December 5th!  She has applied to an art school in Cape Town, where she hopes to study design.

Ana and Frenchie (and Kara) at Park Street Church.  They had an amazing time reconnecting with some of you, participating in The Send, and spending time with my parents, Isaac, and Margaret.  They are now back in ministry with YWAM in Kona, Hawaii.

Prayer Points

* Spiritually open eyes and ears during this week’s Restorative Justice conference
* Strength to walk with integrity for ex-prisoners like Isaac
* Soccer players to seek Jesus.
* A good aid for Phoebe
* Margaret’s transition back to South Africa
* Isaac to remain injury-free in his Ironman training
* God’s help and intervention in the challenges of Park Street Church
* Peace and comfort in Israel and Gaza