September 27, 2018

Comings and goings…that sums up these past two months.  Ana, Isaac and Margaret returned to Cape Town last month, and then Ana and Isaac turned around and left again!  It’s really hard to say goodbye, especially when they don’t have return tickets!  Add to that some of Phoebe’s recent challenges, and it’s been a tough month (for those of us left behind).

Below Alberto gives an update on the prison ministry:

The correctional facilities are a tough environment. Every day is different from the one before.  As a Christian man, l try to rely totally on God.  The moment that l try to think that l can manage on my own strength, l give the enemy a chance to play games with me.  Lately, there has been much talk about human rights violations in the prisons, due to overcrowding.  Criminal activity has increased because of this, as prisoners want their voices to be heard regarding their rights.  Prison wardens are often the target of violence.  Please pray for this situation.  Also, please pray for the ones who are being saved by the blood of Christ, that they will continue to be encouraged to see Jesus as their final destination and not to let this world disturb them with its fake beauty.

PSC Short-Term Team came to minister in the prisons last month.  It was great to have them.  Tatiana is still here actually.  We also had a visit from Philip (a PSC friend), and Todd (who is also still here).  It’s always such an encouragement hosting people from home!

YWAM Conference  Our annual YWAM Muizenberg conference took place last week.  Entitled “At Home,”  all Cape Town YWAM staff came together to seek God and hear each other’s stories.

I am always amazed at what God is doing through my fellow YWAMers.  They have a passion for Jesus, and a heart for this city.  They are doing something about the poverty and brokenness surrounding us by engaging with the communities. They also disciple people in and through the city, as Cape Town is a strategic springboard to reach the nations.  YWAM is a diverse group of people in terms of race, culture, and socio-economic background.  It is the body of Christ, and I am honored to be part of it!

Ana returned from Boston with the news that she wants to do her Bible course (School of Biblical Studies) in Kona, Hawaii, instead of Cape Town.  As Kona is the international headquarters for YWAM and has more of a college-vibe, I understand the appeal.  She’ll be gone for about a year!  The Bible course is nine months, with an outreach after that.  YWAM is all about putting things into practice immediately!

In case you did not see her last letter, please see it here.  If you would like to receive updates or support Ana directly, please contact her at ana@paradas.org.

Ana is pictured above, leaving us!  I’m so proud of her travelling half-way around the world alone.  There’s a 12 hour time difference between us now!

Isaac returned from an amazing DTS (Discipleship Training School) outreach in Zambia and Zimbabwe in August.  He is pictured above with Virmz, the school leader, on graduation day.  He only came home for a few hours before we dropped him at the airport, where he then flew directly to Messiah College’s international student orientation.

Friends Dereck and Lea Plante picked Isaac up from the airpot and helped him set up his dorm, pictured below.  (Thanks for the picture Lea!)

I had many different emotions as Isaac left: proud that he is well-grounded in Jesus, relieved he was able to finished his DTS before college, happy that he has a vision for using engineering for missions in the future, sad that he is so far away, disappointed that I wasn’t there to help him move in, but overall overjoyed that he has the opportunity to attend college.

Margaret started 9th grade last month.  High school has been great, as the drama of middle school is now a thing of the past.  Finally, Margaret can say that she is happy here!  She has some great new friends, although we are still praying for a Christian friend.

She is pictured above on her 15th birthday, and below at the school’s Homecoming dance.

Phoebe has had a challenging last couple of months.  She burned her hand, and her school said they can no longer accommodate her.

Phoebe must have burned her hand on the electric stove.  (I don’t like electric stoves.)  Although she never cried, the blister on her hand was concerning enough to warrant a trip to the ER, where the blister was popped and wrapped.  The doctor’s concern was that the puss could affect her diabetes.

We returned to the hospital’s Burn Department for three more appointments, and had to wait on average five hours each time to see the doctor.  Being surrounded by seriously burned children from all over the province broke my heart, especially when the wounds were gruesome and visible for all to see (wounds are wrapped with plastic wrap while you wait for the doctor.)  As it is winter here, many poor people use fire for warmth and cooking, and children are prone to accidents in crowded settings.  I was grateful Phoebe only burned the side of her hand.  Now that the burn is healing nicely, our trips to the hospital are over.  Hallelujah!  (Thank you Tatiana for coming with me one of the days!)

Phoebe’s second challenge came when her preschool said that they cannot accommodate her anymore.  I was a bit frustrated by this, as we had received such a warm welcome last year and even have a wonderful aide, Plaky.  I know there are no other schools in the city equipped to work with a child with a dual-diagnosis, as I had called 15 schools last year.  Only the special needs public school could help.

Then in a miracle from God, the special needs school called us last week, saying Phoebe’s name had come off the wait list, which we’d been on for two year.  So, Phoebe (and I) went for a trail visit.  The staff seems lovely!  Phoebe can start there in January.  She will have the same schedule as she has now (8:30-12:30), which is ideal, as I can administer her insulin with lunch.  I am amazed at God’s provision and timing!

Now we are working on sending Plaky to a training program on autism recommended by the school, which will equip her with more skills and techniques to help Phoebe.  Unfortunately, neither the training, Plaky’s salary, nor the public school is free.

Drought Update

Thank you for your prayers.  We have had a cold, wet winter!  Water restrictions have been somewhat relaxed, as dam levels continue to rise, well above everyone’s hopes and dreams.  God certainly answers prayers without holding back!

Praises

  • Praise God for the hunger for the Gospel in the prisons.
  • Praise God our kids have the opportunities that they have!
  • Praise God for rain.

Prayer Requests

Alberto: the power of the Gospel to manifest in the lives of the prisoners, and that their changed lives will be evident to their families and victims, so that healing can begin
Joanna: grace as she adjusts to having Ana and Isaac so far away
Ana: fundraising for her YWAM course
Isaac: a good first semester at college
Margaret: a Christian friend
Phoebe: healing for her hand, and guidance on training Plaky
Financial Opportunity

Thank you to all of you who have made it possible for us to be here.  We appreciate your partnership!

If you would like to support our work in South Africa through YWAM and Hope Prison Ministry, please make a donation to Park Street Church with our name in the memo. The online giving link is parkstreet.org/give.