October 26, 2020

Pictured above are wild daisies which flower in the month of September in the arid land north of Cape Town.  It is a spectacular sight to see so much colour in an otherwise monotonous terrain.  I had heard about this amazing phenomena, and finally made the trip to see them with my own eyes.  What a blessing!  And what a story of God’s redemption, that out of the ordinary and out of winter comes life and beauty!

These past two months have been a time of blessing.  In retrospect, I was very depressed during our lock-down.  I can now say with full confidence that I am an extrovert.  As life has returned to some semblance of normalcy, I have felt my old self return.  Although official meetings like church, large YWAM gatherings, and prison ministry are still not able to resume, individuals and small groups can gather.  Soccer ministry has resumed.  I have loved seeing old friends again and being with our YWAM small group singing worship songs.  It brought tears to my eyes, gathering as a small group/Christian community again.  I have been reminded of the beauty and strength of the body of Christ.

In terms of the pandemic, the worst of wave #1 is over.  Our numbers are ok, all things considering.  There is concern for a second wave, much like Europe and the U.S. are currently experiencing.  Because of this, we still need to be vigilant and monitor our borders.  Travellers from the U.S. and most of Europe are still restricted from entering South Africa.  Isaac will not make it to us at Christmas.  Australia is on the good-list for South Africa, although Ana has no guarantee she could re-enter Australia if she left.  Therefore, she is planning on staying where she is for Christmas.

Some amazing things have happened during the pandemic.  Out of South Africa has come an internationally acclaimed worship song “Jerusalema.”  If you click on the link you will hear a catchy song that has gone viral with its dance.  The Zulu lyrics with English translation are:
Jerusalema ikhaya lami (Jerusalem is my home),
Ngilondoloze (Guard me), Uhambe nami (Walk with me),
Zungangishiyi lana (Do not leave me here),
Ndawo yami ayikho lana (My place is not here),
Mbuso wami awukho lana (My kingdom is not here).

This song is on many South African radio stations, and is a testimony that out of dry ground God can still work glorious miracles and will be glorified through the nations.

Speaking of the nations, our home church Park Street Church is embarking on their annual missions conference, which will be virtual this year for the very first time.  That means that we can participate!  See https://parkstreet.org/conference for details.  This is our schedule of involvement (all times are EST):

  • Sunday, Nov 8th 9:45am: I will be talking in the “Disability in Missions” session, while Alberto will be talking in the “Racial Diversity in Missions” session.
  • Sunday, Nov 8th 11:00am: We will be part of a panel during the church service.
  • Sunday, November 8 5:45pm: Ana and Isaac will be part of the panel “Growing Up on the Mission Field: Challenges and Opportunities.”
  • Wednesday, Nov 11th 8:00am: I will be speaking at the Women’s event.
  • Friday, Nov 13th 12:00pm: We will both be participating in a prayer time for the Majority World.
  • Saturday, Nov 14th 10:00am: We will both speak on the panel “The Gospel as Justice.”

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Happy 17th birthday to Margaret!  I simply cannot believe she is 17!  I am grateful for our relationship where we can speak completely honestly with each other about our thoughts, feelings, and anxieties.

Margaret’s school is almost completely in-person instruction at this point, although there is the option for virtual learning for those students still stuck outside of the country, or for those students who need to quarantine.  Margaret is quarantining this week actually, as she was exposed to someone who has COVID, although she herself tested negative.

Margaret is off all ADHD medication, as it was making her very anxious.  She tried four different medications in varying strengths and doses.  She is now taking a break from all medication.  As a result, her attention and grades are not great. We have decided, with the support of her teachers, that her emotional well-being is more important at this point.  Of course, this doesn’t even take into account the stress caused by COVID. Teenagers have a lot on their plates.

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My mom just made this beautiful sweater for Phoebe!

Sadly, Phoebe’s school has closed their doors and will not reopen.  I have come to peace with this.  Slowly but surely we are coming up with a plan for her according to her interests and what we can find and afford.  It’s been a challenging path, but one I am well used to.  Right now she is doing swimming lessons, art therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy.  Patience watches Phoebe on Wednesdays so I can hike.

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Ana is still enjoying working with YWAM Brisbane’s coffee ministry, and is being challenged by her business as mission classes.  Her coffee team recently participated in an outreach within Australia.  You can see the video in her recent update, linked here.

You will also see from her update that she is fundraising. Please consider supporting her through this Park Street Churchlink and select Missions: Ana Parada, or through the PayPal link in her update.

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Isaac broke his leg skateboarding (on a penny board) at Messiah University within his first week of arriving!  He had surgery immediately, and the leg is healing nicely.  He is not able to walk on it yet. It was really hard for me not to be there with him in the hospital, but I am grateful for the amazing community of friends who supported him, and the Plantes who are his surrogate parents.

Derreck Plante is pictured above visiting Isaac in his dorm room.

Academically, Isaac made the Dean’s list last semester, much to our joy (and surprise!)  He is enjoying his finance and computer science degrees, and is coming in first place in the investment club competition.  He is in the process of applying for internships now.

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Deon and Deborah continue to run the soup kitchen out of their home in Oceanview, thanks to donations from some of you.  (The roughest neighbourhoods have the nicest names here.)

Alberto has also been able to continue with food packages for needy families, again, thanks to some of you.  He and partner Clint decided to add blankets to the last distribution.

People are overjoyed to receive a care package and are reminded that God loves them and cares for their needs.

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Peniel is back at university after studying virtually since March. Originally from the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), he is one of the soccer boys whom we support with tuition expenses. You can watch his 22 second video of gratitude to the church here: Peniel’s video.

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I have been spending a few hours each day here at my desk, doing all things admin that I do not enjoy.  We have to file taxes in South Africa for the first time this year.  Taxes are due Nov 15.  Yes, we also file in the U.S., which makes it doubly complicated and stressful for me. I am also working on Isaac’s financial aid forms for FAFSA.  We recently spent three full days at the Home Affairs office to apply for Margaret’s and Phoebe’s South African passports, and Margaret’s id card (issued after the age of 16).

Prayer Requests

*An end to COVID
*Protection for our family
*Expansion of the kingdom of God in South Africa
*The upcoming missions conference: good internet connections and God’s leading and peace while we speak (I get very nervous speaking!)
*Alberto’s soccer ministry
*Joanna’s admin task list
*Ana’s fundraising
*Isaac’s leg’s healing, complete insurance coverage for the mounting medical bills, and blessings on his internship interviews
*Helpful strategies for Margaret’s studying
*Better health insurance that will cover Phoebe’s therapies
*Plan B for us for Christmas
*Discernment from God for Americans during the elections