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 !!!