Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Now, you may be thinking that this is 2 days late. You are kind of correct. Those of you in the USA celebrated or observed Thanksgiving on Thursday of this week. You remember – the day the Dallas Cowboys played and won – beat the Tampa Bay Bucs. Unfortunately, I was unable to see the game and they did not show SportsCenter on Friday so I could not see any of Tony Romo’s five passing touchdowns – the first Cowboy quarterback to do that at Texas Stadium.

Anyway, over here in South Africa, Thursday was just the fourth day of the work week. Today, we all met at the Beighle’s and celebrated Thanksgiving. There were about 27 missionaries and several friends. The Beighle’s have hosted Thanksgiving for years and this was there last one as they retire next year enjoying 31 years on the field. We had a wonderful meal and a lot of good fellowship. It wasn’t the same as being home, but it was the next best thing to being there – even though it was in the low 90’s. I looked at the thermomether in my bedroom this evening – it read 89 degrees – but I am thankful.

I Am Thankful.....

...for the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.

...for the mess to clean after a party because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

...for the clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.

...for my shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine.

...for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.

...for all the complaining I hear about the government because it means we have freedom of speech.

...for the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking.

...for the lady behind me in church who sings off key because it means that I can hear.

...for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means I have clothes to wear.

...for weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.

...for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours because it means that I am alive.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

November Update

Well, it is the middle of November already. Time has flown since our last update. I knew that it would and it will only continue as we head into Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.

If you have not heard the neww or visited our blog, Jody had a safe delivery of Melody Kayelynn on October 25th, 12:55 pm. She was 9lbs 10ozs, 22 ½ inches long. She arrived healthy, but had to be on oxygen for the first 8 hours. Jody didn’t like that; not being able to see her until that night. She did, however, get to hold her for about a minute or so in the delivery room. Jody’s mother arrived safely and had been here. She has been a great help. (Please don’t let her see this comment.) She leaves to go back home next Wednesday. This will not be a happy time. The boys and Bethany have really enjoyed having her here.

It is hard to believe that we are month away from Christmas. With the temperatures in the high 80’s and low 90’s, the Christmas spirit is not in the air. But we will continue on. We have learned that we cook out at Christmas and we cook in on the 4th of July!

With Christmas just around the corner, it is time for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. I want to thank you again for your giving last year. Last years total was over 137 million dollars. All of the money given goes to support over 5000 missionaries around the world. The LCMO is not used for administrative or promotional cost. So, I just want to thank you as you give again this year.

Work continues, even though at a much slower pace for the rest of the year. As we enter into December, work ceases around the country and people disappear. Many people go back home; back to the village where they grew up in. It is incredible to see, but it is nice to experience because lines everywhere are much shorter.

Please continue to pray as we get through this lull. I look to ‘hit the road’ hard and fast in January. We are only here for another 5 ½ months after the new year. There is a lot of work to do. I will be working with the pastors in December on the calendar for the first half of 2007. Starting in January, I will start scheduling for our time in the States. We plan on seeing everyone on our own time, but certainly want of visit your church in an ‘official’ capacity.

Lottie Moon Fast Facts

The board's more than 5,100 missionaries and their international Baptist partners baptized more than 475,000 new believers last year, started nearly 23,500 churches and engaged 104 people groups for the first time. They also planted churches among 19 people groups where no Baptist churches previously existed - including 13 with no evangelical churches of any kind.

In 2005, Southern Baptist missionaries and their partners:

-- engaged a total of 1,170 people groups worldwide, three-quarters of whom are classified by mission researchers as unreached (less than 2 percent of the population claiming evangelical Christian faith)

-- engaged for the first time 104 people groups, 73 of whom are unreached, with a combined population of nearly 100 million.

-- engaged 120 unreached urban centers, including 12 for the first time.

-- started 23,486 churches and more than 10,600 "outreach groups" (potential future churches). That brought total partner churches worldwide to 135,252, with a combined membership of 8.8 million, and outreach groups to 55,723.

-- baptized 475,072 new believers - about 1,300 each day or one each minute.

-- involved nearly 510,000 new believers in discipleship training, in addition to more than 1.1 million existing church members in discipleship groups.

-- trained more than 150,000 Christian leaders in nonresidential settings (extension and correspondence courses, short-term courses and on-the-job training) and more than 20,000 in residential pastoral programs.

-- worked with 1,772 international missionaries sent out by overseas Baptist partners to other people groups and 3,400 home missionaries reaching out to people groups within their own countries

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Time Flies

I did not realize that it has been almost 2 weeks since I put up the last pictures.

An update will be coming soon, also. It has been just a little bit busy around here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Melody and her Siblings

Monday night: Dennis and the boys are back in Mmabatho.

Jody, Bethany, Melody, and her mother are still in Jo-burg. Jody should be released by the doctor to travel home on Wednesday. Jody is getting better - slowly, but surely.

She is ready to return home - as I am ready for all of them to be here also - that even includes my mother-in-law!!!!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Melody - Day Two

Everyone is doing well. Probably get to leave the hospital Friday evening or Saturday morning. She is yawning in the one she has her mouth open.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Melody Has Arrived!!

Melody Kayelynn Janz arrived at 12:55 pm, weighing in at 9lbs 11ozs, measuring a full 22 inches. On her way out, she swallowed some water, so that has caused her to recieve oxygen. She has been held by her mother for about 2 minutes. I have held her hand while she was in the incubator. She should be ok within a couple of hours. They have fed her 30 ml of formula so that she would calm down and breathe easier. Mother is resting and will nurse her as soon as possible. More pictures will follow.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Picture of Jesus

Is there any place on earth that more bespeaks peace, restfulness, and sanctuary from the demons of modern life than a one-room Amish schoolhouse? That fact is no doubt why so many of us felt so defiled there is no more precise word - by news of the mass murders that took place there this week. If you're not safe in an Amish schoolhouse ... And yet, as unspeakable as those killings were, they were not the most shocking news to come out of Lancaster County this week. No, that would be the revelation that the Amish community, which buried five of its little girls this week, is collecting money to help the widow and children of Charles Carl Roberts IV, the man who executed their own children before taking his own life. A serene Amish midwife told NBC News on Tuesday that this is normal for them. It's what Jesus would have them do. "This is imitation of Christ at its most naked," journalist Tom Shachtman, who has chronicled Amish life, told The New York Times.

"If anybody is going to turn the other cheek in our society, it's going to be the Amish. I don't want to denigrate anybody else who says they're imitating Christ, but the Amish walk the walk as much as they talk the talk." I don't know about you, but that kind of faith is beyond comprehension. I'm the kind of guy who will curse under my breath at the jerk who cuts me off in traffic on the way home from church. And look at those humble farmers, putting Christians like me to shame. It is not that the Amish are Anabaptist hobbits, living a pure pastoral life uncorrupted by the evils of modernity. So much of the coverage of the massacre has dwelled on the "innocence lost" aspect, but I doubt that the Amish would agree. They have their own sins and tragedies. Nobody who lives in a small town can live under the illusion that it is a haven from evil. To paraphrase gulag survivor Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the line between good and evil does not run along the boundaries of Lancaster County, but through every human heart.

What sets hearts apart is how they deal with sins and tragedies. In his suicide note, Mr. Roberts said one reason he did what he did was out of anger at God for the death of his infant daughter in 1997. Wouldn't any parent wonder why God allowed that to happen? Mr. Roberts held onto his hatred, purifying it under pressure until it exploded in an act of infamy. That's one way to deal with anger.

Another is the Amish way. If Mr. Roberts' rage at God over the death of his baby girl was in some sense understandable, how much more comprehensible would be the rage of those Amish mothers and fathers whose children perished by his hand? Had my child suffered and died that way, I cannot imagine what would have become of me, for all my pretenses of piety. And yet, the Amish do not rage. They do not return evil for evil. In fact, they embody peace and love beyond all human understanding.

In our time, religion makes the front pages usually in the ghastliest ways. In the name of God, the faithful fly planes into buildings, blow themselves up to murder the innocent, burn down rival houses of worship, insult and condemn and cry out to heaven for vengeance. The wicked Rev. Fred Phelps and his crazy brood of fundamentalist vipers even planned to protest at the Amish children's funeral, until Dallas-based radio talker Mike Gallagher, bless him, gave them an hour of his program if they would only let those poor people bury their dead in peace.

But sometimes, faith helps ordinary men and women do the humanly impossible: to forgive, to love, to heal and to redeem. It makes no sense. It is the most sensible thing in the world. The Amish have turned this occasion of spectacular evil into a bright witness to hope. Despite everything, a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

Rod Dreher is assistant editorial page editor of the Dallas Morning News. The views expressed here are his own. His e-mail address is

Thursday, October 05, 2006

October Update

The pictures are of me and two of the pastors at the Marriage Seminar. The other two are from the Mafikeng Game Reserve.

Greetings to you in the precious name of our loving, Heavenly Father. What an honor it is to share with you the things that are happening in our lives – personally and from the ministry.

I thank you for continuing to pray for Jody. Even though she is in continual pain, she has said several times that she has felt your prayers and your prayers are the reason why she had made it through this far. It seems like there is a different pain each day. The last couple of days she has had a throbbing, stinging pain in her foot which feels like a sprained ankle. A couple of days before that she had a searing pain in the area of her previous incision which undoubtedly is related to some scar tissue.

The doctor has agreed for a c-section delivery on the 26th of this month, which is a day before Josiah’s 9th birthday. Josiah was disappointed that Melody will not be born on his birthday. From the time of this writing, Jody has 21 days until the birth. Three weeks seem like an eternity right now for her.

My mother-in-law is flying into J-burg on the 27th of October – one day after the birth. She told me that I could not ask you to pray for me, like you did last time she came, since she is going to be here for almost a whole month. I was really disappointed in that comment – censoring my prayer requests!!!!!!! She also said that I could not send out any jokes that had ‘blonde’ in them because she is a blonde. (just don’t tell her that you’ll be praying for me) Josiah is excited, as well as Andy, Caleb, and Bethany, that Nannie is coming on his birthday.

Ministry continues, much slower than I desire, but I have to make sure that I see where God is working and I try to understand how He wants me involved. There is also frustration as I am limited in what I can do since Jody is not able to do much, leaving me much of the work to do around the house. I was able to do two Saturday seminars this month and another was planned for this month, but it does not look like we’ll be able to keep it on the schedule.

The first seminar was a Men’s Seminar with about 15 men in attendance. We talked about being a Godly man and the continued struggle that we have in doing and not doing the right and wrong things. I shared with them that God wants to renew them from the inside out – starting with their soul and continuing through the mind, will, and emotions. Unwanted behavior will still manifest itself without changing on the inside first. God wants to work in our spirit – to renew and remake us so that our behaviors will begin to change.

The second seminar was a marriage seminar for young adults and newly married. I guess they didn’t see that on the brochure because there were married people of all ages there. That was ok and there was no problem with their attendance. We had 5 couples and 5 spouses there. Two of the spouses were men – I was excited that they came. I wondered if they came on their own or they were ‘forced’ to come! J I shared with them 6 Purposes and Principles of Marriage. They were very attentive and asked several questions. I left a little earlier that I wanted to so that I could get back home. I was talking with the pastor later that week and he had nothing but positive comments and he said the people stayed around and talked and wondered why there wasn’t more. So it looks like we’ll be doing one next summer before we come home – that would be next Spring for those in the States.

God has opened up an incredible door this last week in relation to Unit 15. Near Unit 15 (a housing subdivision) is what they are calling Extension 39. This will be a 2500-house area with about 800 houses already complete. These are RDP houses. (Restoration and Development Program) The government has promised about 10 million of these houses, free of charge, to those people who apply and qualify. God has brought a young man named Tshwaro across my path to start and church in that area. He will be living in one of those houses on site. He had an accident and apparently gets some money from the government. This enables him to devote all the time he wants to this church start. He should move into his house in about 2 weeks. We drove through the area and I was amazed at all the houses that were already built and twice that many to be built. I have helped Tshwaro with an application to get one of the several sites for a church. What a privilege it is to serve an incredible God.

Prayer Requests Safe delivery/arrival of Melody on October 25th; Safe trip for Jody’s mother; The new work in Extension 39; Bible Study at the Hotel School; The storying work that Jody has done out in the village; The South Africa Tswana Team and their personal walk with the Lord.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Happy Birthday, Bethany

Well, it is hard to believe that 2 years ago we were in the Gaborone Private Hospital welcoming this little angel into the world. (Yeah, I know, she is not a real angel – wings, harp, sitting on clouds, etc.) What an incredible joy she is. I have to say that I am completely surprised by how the boys have reacted to her. They love her and she has them all wrapped around her little finger. Caleb, who is not known for his outward displays of affection, literally drools all over her. He says, ‘My love,” “Sweetheart,” “You are so cute!!” – It is almost sappy if it wasn’t so cute. Andy plays a lot with her in her room with her new kitchen and dishes. Josiah wants to play with her but just ends up bothering her.

She has learned to say “birthday” and that she is “two.” Her vocabulary is expanding every day! She is putting together sentences and making us laugh all the time. As I am typing this, she just put a naked baby doll in my lap for me to hold.

Thank you God for entrusting us with this special gift.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mmabatho Billboards

Each Saturday as one drives around Mmabatho, you would undoubtedly come across a funeral, if not several. One of the difficulties that we face in planning Saturday activities at the church is the constant absence of key people because of funerals. Our lives have been changed as we come into contact with people who are HIV positive and have full-blown AIDS. AIDS is still kind of hush-hush as people don’t want to admit their status. People don’t die from AIDS – they die because of another sickness because AIDS affects their immune system. We were surprised at the condom advertising, promotion and distribution in Botswana and South Africa. As we have crossed the border several times, condom dispensers are in plain view. I was in a hospital bathroom in Johannesburg and there was a dispenser encouraging you to take them if you needed them.

One the weak strategies of South Africa’s in dealing with this pandemic is education through billboards. As you can see, these are some of the billboards. One is also promoting beer and one is from Kentucky Fried Chicken. The one from KFC means that you will be fully satisfied at KFC. Pray that we would be like billboards promoting the Good News of the Gospel - only through the Gospel will one be fully satisfied.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

September Update

From Dennis

Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is so good to be able to communicate with you and share with you some of things that God is doing. I have known it for a long time, heard it preached, and even preached it myself. It is the simple fact that God loves me; and His love for me is not based on me or anything that I am doing. God’s love for me is based wholly on His character. It does not waver – it is ever-constant and never-changing. I have just been reminded of that fact over these last couple of weeks.

We are coming out of Winter and joyfully into Spring. As many of you were enduring 100 degree weather, we were enduring freezing mornings and hi’s in the 50’s and 60’s. Now, I know that you are saying you’d like to change places. But at your place of work or in your house, it was probably a comfortable 73 degrees. The temperature here was constant, inside and outside. I have a thermometer beside my bed and I would awake and arise to 55 degrees – just outside the covers. Certainly this is not a complaint, because there are thousands of people in worst conditions than myself. Activities tend to slow down during these winter months. But September had come storming back. I did a Men’s Seminar today. I taught about being a godly man and the need for South Africa to have godly men leading the church and being an influence in the community and at work. I shared with them how God wants to change them first by rebirth, of course, and then the refocusing of the soul – mind, will and emotions. Most difficulties arise in our lives when we are not letting God rebuild your thoughts, refocus your emotions, redirect your goals, and reproduce your life in others. I will be teaching Evangelism and Discipleship (Sept18-20) to pastors and church leaders through an organization named Multi Ministries. They teach in many cities across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. I volunteered to teach for them at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, if they needed me. At the end of the month, I will be leading a marriage seminar with the same church and people I taught today. I have made posters and they are passing them out. Of course, these are prayer requests. Again, I am so thankful that you continue to pray for us. Also, in October, I will be teaching a Leadership Seminar. So many of these men are hungry for biblically-based teaching

As you know, Jody is pregnant and I wanted to share with you some things that I have learned not to say throughout these pregnancies.

“I finished the Oreos.”

“Not to imply anything, but I don't think the kid weighs 40 pounds. “

“Well!! if you ain't about five pounds away from a surprise visit from that Richard Simmons fella.”

“Fred at the office passed a stone the size of a pea. Boy, that's gotta hurt.”

“Whoa! For a minute there, I thought I woke up next to Willard Scott!”

“Are your ankles supposed to look like that?”

“You don't have the guts to pull that trigger...”

I would encourage you to pray for Jody because of the pain she is in as a result of her being pregnant and I am not talking about me!

Thanks for your remembrance of us!

From Jody

Hello everyone! It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve talked! These last couple of months have been interesting. As you know we are expecting our fifth child in a few weeks. We’ve found out that I will have another C-section on November first. This baby girl is another whopper like her sister. I’ve been struggling with some pain from being pregnant. I basically sleep in a chair most of the night. I’m definitely looking forward to this being over! Please pray that I will be able to endure these last few weeks.

I’m still going out to the village. We’ve missed a few weeks here and there, but we’re still at it. I’m hoping to continue until October, and then I’ll take a break until school starts again next year. We’re still having good attendance numbers, but of course, I wish there were more consistency in those that only come once in awhile.

Andy and I were able to get him through fifth grade! Praise the Lord! We’ve started sixth grade this week, and so far so good. It is a bit more challenging with this new curriculum, but I think Andy enjoys the one-on-one time he gets with me and Dennis. Josiah and Caleb started school this week too. They are finishing up their school year. They are both doing well. Bethany is just something else! She is about to turn 2, and we can tell! She tries to say everything we say, and can definitely get her point across if she wants to communicate something to us!

I hope all of you had a great summer, and a good start to the new school year. We still miss you all lots, and think of you often. Thank you for your continued support. We can tell when you’re praying for us! Thank you also for the other things you do for us. We love you all.

Just to let you know – I am ready for some football !!!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thank you Flint River Baptist Church

I wanted to thank the Flint River Baptist Church volunteers for pouring their lives out and into the lives of the hundreds of people they came into contact with. They were a part of a larger picture working with Multi Ministries. MM is an organization that is dedicated to bringing Jesus to Africa. Not only do they to tent crusades and revivals, but they also provide training for pastors and leaders that do not have the resources or the time. I will be teaching evangelism and discipleship in one of their seminars in October.

FRBC (Huntsville, Alabama) touched the lives of hundreds of people with their singing and personal interaction wherever they went. They were in nursing homes, infant HIV wards of hospitals, schools, and numerous churches. Thank you for encouraging Jody and me through your singing. We’ll see y’all in a year or so.
The one of Bethany is just because.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Your Thoughts

Three guys spend the night at a very cheap hotel - it costs only $30 dollars for all three. They split the cost, paying only $10 each. After they get into their room, the desk clerk realizes he should only have charged $25 dollars. So, he gives the bellboy $5 to give back to the three guys. The bellboy is concerned on how they will split the $5. So the bellboy gives the guys only $3 and he keeps $2.
In the end, the guys only paid $9 each for the room for a total of $27 plus the $2 that the bellboy kept - equals $29. Where is the other $1??

Give me your thoughts or answer in the comment section.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Happy 40th Birthday!

I have never been as surprised today than any other time. Yesterday was my 40th birthday and it came and went without really any notice. The boys did make me birthday card and Bethany had her hand traced and stuck some stickers on a piece of paper. They were sweet. Apparently Jody ordered my present from the States and it has not arrived yet. My mother-in-law was supposed to mail it - I think that may be why I haven't received it yet!!! I did have some friends bring me a present - a book on the history of South Africa. Some other IMB missionaries brought me a pecan pie. I was gone to be with a Tswana pastor doing some funeral visitation - that's a whole other story. I did get up at 2:00 this morning to watch the Eagles and Steeler's play. You got to watch it when you can.

So this morning I have an appointment to get my haircut. Totally - 100%- unknown to me, my precious wife has organized a surprise party. I return from getting my hair cut, going by the store first for the hamburger buns and ice. I walk in the door and there are about 20 people in the dining room yelling surprise. I was speechless and surprised. I had no idea - cars were parked on another street - I was totally surprised. Friends from Botswana came and even parents of the friends came - I didn't know them, but I was glad they were there. The other pictures are of the rest of the day. It was a great day!! God has blessed me with some wonderful friends and I am thankful for His incredible goodness to me. I never imagined that I would celebrate my 40th birthday in South Africa with so many wonderful people.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Josiah's Plays Cricket

Josiah played cricket today with about 200 other children from the surrounding area. He has enjoyed learning how to play these South African sports - cricket, soccer, field hockey, and swimming - he knew how to swim, but they swim competitively over here. I don't know many elementary schools in America that have a competition-size swimming pool. He has enjoyed all of his extra-curricular activities. He is also taking piano lessons at school. Josiah's name was submitted by his coach to represent the North West Province in regional competition play. We'll have to wait and see if he is chosen.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Baboons

I saw some baboons along side the road today as I went to visit a pastor in Leherutshe. As I saw them and then passed the baboons, I just said to myself – “Oh, there are some baboons!” It was kind of like “Oh, there is some dirt.” I realized just after I passed them how complacent I had become about seeing ‘animals’ along side the road. We have herds of cows walk through our sub-division. Donkeys stand beside and in the road as you swerve to miss them. Sheep and goats are everywhere! As I was thinking about this I quickly stopped and turned around just to watch them do whatever baboons do. It was then that the Lord quietly said, “Dennis, have you become complacent about seeing people... along side the road, in the shops, everywhere you go?” I paused and asked the Lord just again to tenderize my heart – allow me to see people through eyes of love – to see them in relation to eternity.

The reason that I was going to Leherutshe was to visit John Ndlovu and his family. He is a pastor that I have preached for on numerous occasions. He calls me the “Prince of Preaching!” I just have to laugh to myself and think that he must not have heard anyone else preach. He is leaving his church after 4½ years. He has had a hard time. The church had previously been without a pastor for 18 years – yes, you read that correctly – 18 years. Needless to say, there is a little bit of leadership “anarchy.” Those ‘in charge’ had a hard time submitting to the leadership of the pastor. He stayed as long as he could. He is talking with a church in Johannesburg about planting a church for them in J-burg. I would ask that you pray for them during this time of transition.