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.