Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last Post of 2008

It is hard to believe that we are 1 day away from the New Year. It has been so evident this year that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning. Our plans continue to change but we can rest assured that He who gives us each and every day does not change. Comfort secures our lives because of the sure foundation that we have built our lives upon. God’s love for us is ever-constant and never-changing. Even though circumstances may challenge our happiness, it cannot change our joy.

Zimbabwe Trip – Back in the middle of November, the boys and Dennis had the opportunity to go to Binga, Zimbabwe, for a food relief project. What a wonderful time that was – outside of the fact that people are starving, there is no food or fuel to buy, inflation is over 6 million percent (no, not a misprint!!), a cholera outbreak has taken the lives of over 1000 people into eternity and the country is months away from a total collapse.

It took us about an hour and a half to get past passport control to get into Zimbabwe. We had to fill out a form that they didn’t have. So, one of the guards told us what to write on a piece of paper and carbon paper – name, address, vehicle type, etc. We then took it back to the counter and they stamped it, gave us a copy and kept a copy. By the time we were finished, we had been to 4 different counters. We drove to the actual gate and parked. We needed Travel Insurance – filled out some more forms – let them see the forms we just had stamped and we were in. But I can tell you this, having all the correct forms and stamps helped as we travelled though the various police road-blocks they have throughout the country. We, 16 people traveling in 4 vehicles, had no harassment at all at any of the road blocks. This is definite prayer-cover from the many of you that were praying for our trip.

Our actual project was to distribute 500, 60 lb boxes of food and soap. The boxes were supplied through BGR – Baptist Global Relief. You can go to their website and see what the boxes contained and even donate to purchase a box or two. We left the house and traveled to Francistown, Botswana, - about 8 hours – on Saturday. We got up early Sunday morning, crossed into Zimbabwe, and travelled to Binga – another 8 hours. We arrived late afternoon and set up ‘camp.’ We met up with some other missy’s in Binga. Early Monday morning we loaded our trucks and went to our distribution point. Everything went as smooth as anything that I have been a part of here in Africa. By late Tuesday morning, we were finished. We were scheduled to finish on Wednesday. The boys did an incredible job. They worked hard and I did not hear one complaint from them. I was so proud of them!

Thanksgiving and Grandma’s 90th Birthday – About 40 people gathered at the house to enjoy Thanksgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving – got that?!? But during all this, Jody had the opportunity to go back to the States to celebrate her grandma’s 90th birthday. God incredibly blessed us with the opportunity for her to fly back. She had an incredible time with her sister, family, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We were able to coordinate her return trip to fly with her parents who had longtime plans to come and see us.

Early Christmas – Jody’s parents spent the first two weeks of December here. The kids really enjoyed having them here – I did to! We were able to go to a resort-type area with water-slides and swimming pools. We had a fantastic time.

Baptism at Moshawane – While Jody’s parents were here, we had the opportunity to baptize 4 precious ladies at the village where Jody has been ministering for the past 3 years. As the picture shows, we took our luggage trailer, lined it with a tarp, bucketed 100 gallons of water into it and had a baptism out in the village. What a truly incredible moment. Both Jody and I are interested to see what will happen in the next couple months as a result of this baptism.

Christmas – One of the blessings of Jody being able to go home was she was able to bring back American stuff for Christmas. The boys got a Wii and they were very excited. Bethany got a bicycle and walked right by it on her way to the tree. We had to point it out to her! Melody loved opening all of her ‘pesents.’ For lunch, the other missionaries that live here in Mmabatho came over for a BBQ. With 90 degree weather, Christmas is not the time to cook a turkey in the oven – we do that at 4th of July when it is 60 degrees in the house!

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering – the first week of December was the Week of Prayer for International Missions. Many thanks to you that prayed, continue to pray, and have given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. As you know, this offering comprises 50% of the budget for the International Mission Board. Through this offering, you are supporting over 5000 missionaries around the world. Not only are you supporting them, but as you give, you are investing in eternity. This is not a bad investment and you don’t have to check to see if the Dow is up or down.

There are not enough adjectives that I could use to describe how thankful that I am of your prayers and support. Jody and I both know and realize that without our prayer partners – we could not and would not want to do this. Thanks to those that pray every day, couple days a week, once a week or whenever you think about us. Your prayers are vital and they are an incredible encouragement to us.

Blessings to you and have a wonderful God-centered New Years!!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Reflections from a Rhino


. . On Friday, we took the boys out of school, drove 2 hours to Rustenburg, ate at McDonalds and then we went to see High School Musical 3. It was just one of those 'just-because-events." There was no special reason. On the way out of town, we passed by the Mafikeng Game Reserve. Sometimes we see some animals, but most of the time we don't. We have seen giraffe several times, but that is about it other than some springbok or other deer-like animal. This day was different, however, As we were driving, we saw a rhino. Never had we seen a rhino in that area and he/she was really close to the fence which is right beside the road. We saw the rhino, but just kept on going. I soon asked Jody "If this happened 4 years ago, what would we have done?" She immediately replied, "You would have pulled over and stopped." We used to do that with whatever animals we would see.

. . Well, we continued on our journey - shopping, eating, and watching a movie. As we traveled back home, my mind came back to the rhino incident. I was thinking about not stopping to look at the rhino. I thought - have I become used to the things around me? Have I become complacent with the things God wants to do? What He wants to do through me? I remember a part of a Keith Green concert where he speaks about having 'baby-skin' on his heart. He wanted to have a tender heart to things of God. At that moment, that became the prayer of my heart. "God, I want 'baby-skin' on my heart so that I can instantly hear your voice - and not just hear - but to hear and obey."

. . You know what, probably next time, we'll stop and look at the rhinos.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prayer Support

"Nothing is more important to God than prayer in dealing with mankind. But it is likewise all-important to man to pray. Failure to pray is failure along the whole line of life. It is failure of duty, service, and spiritual progress. God must help man by prayer. He who does not pray, therefore, robs himself of God's help and places God where he cannot help man. Man must pray to God if love for God is to exist. Faith and hope, and patience and the strong, beautiful, vital forces of piety are withered and dead in a prayerless life. The life of the individual believer, his personal salvation, and personal Christian graces have their being, bloom and fruitage in prayer. " (Bounds, E. M., The Complete Works of E.M Bounds on Prayer. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1993, pg. 369.)

If we have had any eternal success here in South Africa, I believe, it is because of the thousands of prayers that have been prayed for us these last four and a half years. I know that we have made it through every situation because of your intercession on our behalf.
We have witnessed some incredible situations that we cannot explain any other way than that of God answering our prayers. Did He always answer according to our thoughts and ways - of course not. But God has remained faithful to His Word, which we have tried to allow to guide our paths. The photos below represent on part of our prayer journey to South Africa. Thanks for your remembrance of us in your prayers.

October 2008 - Mmabatho, South Africa


June 2007 - Longview, TX


Christmas 2006 - Mmabatho, South Africa


November 2005 - Mmabatho, South Africa


November 2004 - Longview, Texas





Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday, Melody

It is hard to believe that she is 2 years old, already!


Everybody wants to be a part of opening the presents.


Getting ready for some cake.


Just got my hair done and mom has to take some pictures



October Update

This is our new prayer card. If your church/SS class would like some,
let me know and I can email them to your
closest Wal-Mart.





What a busy time it has been these last weeks. For the past 2 weeks, we have hosted 14 people from the United States. They were part of a group sent out by World-Wide Church Planters. Dr. Steve Wilkes from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN, founder and president and one of my professors when I attended, lead the group. From October 5 - 11th, Lyle Seltman came and taught Church Planting concepts to about 14 participants. What a joy it was to spend a week with man full of so much knowledge and experience. As he taught the seminar, it easy to understand why he so well liked. He put everyone at ease with his likable personality. He would be considered an expert by his peers. He is now working as a National Church Planter for NAMB. Being a grandfather himself, he adjusted easily into our household, getting down on the floor with both Melody and Bethany.

As I took Lyle back to the airport on Saturday, I spent the night in Johannesburg and picked up a team of 13 on Sunday evening. Our ride home was not without incident as the other vehicle transporting half the team had some mechanical problems. It only delayed us only 3 hours - but 3 hours at a gas station in the middle of Africa in the middle of the night could have been a little unnerving - but the team coped, shared the Gospel with whoever was at the gas station and made the best of it. For the next week, as much as we could, with the participants of the Church Planting seminar in the lead, they were out witnessing. With numbers exceeding 350 professions of faith, we had a good week. The best part of the week is that most that made decisions were immediately introduced to pastors/leaders that would be planting a church in that area. I am looking forward to see what God is going to do with all the work from this last week. They all some pretty incredible stories of people coming to Christ. There was a corner in one of the villages that became known as the "Holy Corner" as several people - in the teens/twenties - came to Christ in a period of an hour or so. This happened, I believe 2 days in a row.

I now have a big job on following on up those that live in Extension 39 - this is our area that both Jody and I feel called to. Jody has started a T4T group in that area - discipling the believers and training them to eventually start and lead groups themselves. I have talked,prayed for, and witnessed to many people out there, only to find out that many don't live there or are attending church somewhere else. Kagiso and I have have spent the last 2 1/2 months out there before this seminar prayer walking and witnessing. I believe this area was open to the Gospel because of the prayers before hand.

Jody continues her work out in Moshawane and Extension 39. She continues to have her successes and failures coupled with frustrations and joys. Throughout the last couple of weeks, several have professed Jesus has their Lord and Savior. Pray for her as she tries to determine the best direction to take in Moshawane.


PRAYER REQUESTS:
--JODY - that she have the necessary wisdom, discernment, and understanding for her ministry.
--DENNIS - that he will make progress in follow-up in Extension 39 and that some T4T groups will be started as a result.
THE BOYS - They have about 5 weeks of school left for the year.
BETHANY AND MELODY - Bethany turned 4 last month - Pray for her salvation. Melody turned 2 yesterday - Pray for her safety as she is not afraid to climb anywhere and do most anything. She will be a bold witness for the Lord.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

September Update

Hello Everyone. What a privilege it is to share with you the things that God continues to do in us and through us.

GODS WATCH CARE

God continues to show His faithfulness to us. We had to go to Johannesburg last week to get the kids passports renewed. We were barely away from Mmabatho for 24 hours. But in those 24 hours, we experienced our first break in. It certainly wasn’t as bad as others have experienced. After all has been said and done, everything that was taken and thought to be taken was returned and found. Also, those that broke in were neighborhood children that have been in our yard playing with the boys. They got bored waiting for the boys to come home, saw that a window was left open – one thing lead to another and they got in and took some items. In fact, one item was taken on the previous Sunday out of Andy’s room. But through this, I was able to talk to the boys about ‘stuff.’ The stuff we have is not ours, but it is the Lords. He has given it to us to take care – we need to do our best – but it is not ours. There were also some things that we thought were taken, but were actually misplaced. We thought that Caleb’s new wallet was taken, but Bethany had taken it and had hidden it in her closet. We found it changing out winter clothes for summer clothes. Caleb’s MP3 player was missing and we found in the car under the seat. I also told them not to jump to conclusions – even though it looked like those item were stolen.

This event just gave us a little ‘wake-up’ call about being careful and diligent about safety and security. So, it certainly could have been worse and it turns out to be a good lesson learned.

THE WORK

Work continues out in our areas of focus. Dennis and Kagiso have been regularly going out to Extension 39 prayer walking and witnessing. They are looking for a place to start a group for Bible study. They have had several good conversations with willing people, but then they find out that they do not live there, but live somewhere else. Dennis will be showing the JESUS Film out there in the next week or so. He hopes to be able to start a group from those that make decisions and those that are willing.

Jody has continued her work in Moshawane and Ex. 39. She will start a new Bible study group out in 39 on Wednesday. She is excited about that as she and Lorato have been visiting out there for the last several weeks. Jody mentioned last time a little boy name Mosime. We would ask that you continue to pray for him as he is not getting better. We have found out that those that care for him have been taking him to the “village doctor.” As you can imagine, this is heart breaking as they are exposing him everything under the sun except the power of Christ.

THE CHILDREN

The kids are all doing well. We came through winter without anyone getting sick, flu or cough. Our winter was rather mild. Even though would get down to freezing, it would seem to warm up to the mid-60’s. It was still cold in the house, but not as bad as previous years. Andy started 8th grade a couple of weeks ago and is doing very well. Josiah is finishing 5th grade and has decided he wants to be homeschooled. In January, Jody will work with him in math and English to catch him up and make sure he is where he needs to be. Caleb still is doing fantastic work in second grade. He is doing swimming and cricket for his after school activities. Bethany turns 4 on the 24th of this month. She is getting so big so fast. Melody is a nugget! Whatever your mind conjures up with the description – she is! She is very loveable, but on the other had she has some Roberson-Cragg rascal in here. (that is from the other side of the family.)

STATESIDE

Jody was looking at the calendar a couple of weeks ago and we realized that we had made a serious mistake. We had planned to be over here another 3 ½ years and come back after Andy finished his 12th grade year. We would come stateside, put him in college, and stay through his first semester. Well, under that plan, we realized that he would only finish his 11th grade year and then come home. So, we will now take a quick 2 month stateside starting November 18, 2009. As it stands, we’ll be back home in about 14 months. It sounds weird to say that knowing that we were just home 8 months ago.

PRAYER

Continue to pray that God would show His power in the life of Mosime.

Pray for a Church Planting Conference that Dennis is hosting in October. A teacher is coming one week and a team is coming the second week.

Continue praying for God’s power to be seen in Moshewane and Extension 39.

Pray for the Bible Study groups that Jody and Dennis are starting and leading.

Pray for God’s protection upon in all the driving that is done

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Sad Day Unnoticed
















With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry RePrise, the man that wrote "The Hokie Pokey" died peacefully at the age of 93.
The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in. That's when the trouble started...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July Update





Time has simply flown by since the last time that we sent out one of these updates. Also, I have been negligent in my motivation to send these out. I have hardly touched the blog either. I will be more consistent in our updates. Your prayers are vitally important to the “success” that we have over here. I know that it is not our success, or that God is dependent on us to make Him successful. But, we want you to know what’s going on so that you will be able to pray specifically and intelligently.


3 Weeks in Roodepoort

From the middle of June to the 3rd of July, we were in Roodepoort, just outside of Johannesburg, for three weeks of training. We learned some new methods and processes for effective evangelism and discipleship. I believe these have effectively equipped us to do the work that God has sent us here to do. We were blessed with some wonderful Bible study, teaching and fellowship. I feel as confident in knowing what to do and how to do it as I have since arriving on the field. There were more children there than adults. The children had a wonderful time, as this was 3 weeks of fun for them. Anytime you can replace 3 weeks of school for 3 weeks of no-school – it is a wonderful time. They enjoyed being around many new MK “cousins”.

We were incredibly blessed as everyone stayed healthy and neither Jody nor I had any “sick days” with the kids. The temps were in the 60’s and lows were in the 30/40’s. It was cold, but God blessed and we stayed warm and healthy. The food was definitely not taken from our recipe book, but we survived – many times PB&Js did the trick. One Saturday morning, Jody and I made about 11 dozen donuts for everyone. The cook at that camp said that ours were the best donuts she’d ever eaten! We had a good time making them for everyone. We were asked about what would happen the next Saturday.

On one of the weekends, we were privileged to go to the Lion Park. We were able to drive around and see lions and cheetahs. The boys got their pictures taken with some lion cubs. We also fed some giraffe and ostriches. Have you ever seen how long a giraffe’s tongue is? It’s about as long as its neck!!!

Josiah and Caleb were able to return to school without having too much work to catch up on. The boys are out of school for the whole month of August. There is a possibility of doing some camping up in Botswana with another family. We’ll just have to see how that pans out. Jody and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary a week ago, but we decided to do something in August, so it would be warmer for whatever activity we planned.


The Zim Guys

Going to Roodepoort for three weeks meant that I had to leave the Bible study I was doing with the guys from Zimbabwe. When I returned, I found out that they had been picked up by immigration and deported. As Pastor Ben told me this, my heart just sank. Anthony, who I’d led to Christ, and Elvis were bright spots in my week because they had such a hunger for spiritual things. But, I realized that again, God knows what He is doing, and He may have sent 2 missionaries back to Zimbabwe.


From Jody

Hey everyone! Dennis has told you what has been going on during the last few weeks. The training in Roodeport was really great. We were able to see some things from a different perspective, and what it meant to change some of our methods in ministry. We talked about doing good things versus doing the best thing. We studied the book of Acts, and what the early church looks like. We learned a method of training called T4T or Training for Trainers. It is based on the premise of training nationals to train other national with the Word, and basically working yourself out of a job!

With all this overflowing from me, I immediately put into practice some of the things we discussed. For the last two weeks in the village of Moshawane, I have told the Bible story to the women and children like before. This time, however, I have asked those who want to go deeper into the story to stay. I had eight women stay the first week, and six stayed this past Friday. It’s really made me excited to see what God is showing them in His Word.

Miracle in Moshawane

I must tell you what has also happened in this village. Before I left to go to Roodepoort, I was called to go to the home of one of the ladies in my Bible Study. Her son, Onkarabile (Own-kah-rah-bee-lay), was very ill. When we got there, we saw a nine year old little boy who had suddenly lost the ability to walk or even hold up his head. No one knew what was wrong. Of course, the first thing you suspect here is AIDS. The mom had taken him to the clinic, but had not received the results. We prayed over him, and left. While I was in Roodepoort, a missionary friend, Eulee, and Lorato went to see what the test results were. They said he had TB, but I was very perplexed about this. The clinic had given him medicine to start for the TB, and sent him home. My missionary friend is a nurse, and she said she didn’t think he would live very long. I was heart-broken. I thought he would be dead before I got home. Eulee and Lorato decided to go see him again the next week. Meanwhile, at training, we had been learning a storying method called “Creation to the Cross.” Part of this story is about the power Jesus showed to us while he was on earth. Trust me, He still has the power! Wednesday night of that week, I was awake in the middle of the night, and God brought Onkarabile to my mind. I began to pray, and I really felt like I was doing battle on behalf of this little boy. I claimed the power of Jesus over every sickness and every disease. I don’t know how long I prayed. I eventually went back to sleep. I didn’t know it, but Eulee and Lorato went to visit Onkarabile the next day. Eulee text messaged me, and I called her. Onkarabile was holding his head up and smiling! Eulee said, You WILL see him again!” I was shouting Hallelujahs! When I got home from Roodepoort, Lorato and I went out to see how Onkarabile was doing. We pulled into the yard, and Lorato said, “Mma-Moruti (that’s me), we are witnessing a miracle!” I said, “Where is he?” We got out of the car and Onkarabile WALKED out of the house! I was shoutin’! My God has the power over everything on this earth. I want Him to receive all the glory! Continue with me praying for Onkarabile’s complete and total healing and recovery. God wants to do something through this boy’s life. I can’t wait to see what it is!


Prayer requests

Mosime(Moe-see-may)- A five-year old little boy also from Moshawane who has had some kind of seizure. We still don’t know what is wrong with him. Please pray! He is near and dear to my heart! Remember, our God has POWER!

Ext.39- Another place where Jody is working. We’ve seen some accept Christ, but still have not been able to get a group started there.

Pray for Dennis has he reorganizes his priorities and groups to fall in line with the Roodepoort teaching and directions.

Pray for Dennis and Jody as the make a new commitment to language learning.



By the way - gas price here is $5.37 a gallon.




Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Just Some Pictures

The boys getting ready to take Mother's Day pictures.
Is all that stretching, hiding, and posturing necessary?


Happy 13th birthday to Andy.
We are proud of you!!!



Melody likes to get her picture taken.



Bethany loves her momma!!



As cute as she is, there definitely is another 'part' to her personality -
you can see it in those eyes!




June Update

It is hard to believe that it has been so long since our last correspondence. The Lord continues to show his faithfulness to us each and every day – just through the things that we might call little. We hear stories from other missionaries about their tribulations; from children breaking their leg, not setting right, surgery to re-break the leg to others getting robbed and car-jacked. In our 4+ years here in Africa, we have yet to have any of those kind of experiences. We know that this is a direct result of God’s mercy, protection, and many of you praying daily for us. For your prayers, we cannot thank you enough. I am beginning to understand the love that the Apostle Paul had for the church at Philippi when he wrote, “every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.”

These weeks seem to be traveling by faster and faster. I have had the opportunity to preach in the churches that I have worked in previously and renew the friendships that we left nearly a year ago. I find myself amazed at how God is able to draw believers together upon initial gatherings or in the reacquainting of relationships. In my weekly Bible study with some young men, I have grown to love these guys and their desire to grow and know the Lord. After one of the Bible studies, one of the guys named Elvis (yes, Elvis), said that “we need to do this 3-times a week.” When was last time you have heard that kind of yearning for the study of God’s word.

The work in Extension 39 is not going as well as I would like for it to. I am beginning to feel and see that this is very dark place where the work will become harder and harder. Ex. 39 has a nickname borne out of its prevalent immorality. This immorality has victimized the young man who I really wanted to work with in this area, as he was a resident and could have been a strong link into this community. We will press on and work in conjunction with Jody’s and Lorato’s work.

I am also teaching Evangelism at Mmabatho Baptist Church. This is a fun night as attendance has grown each night. In our last meeting, I was greatly encouraged as a lady shared about a witnessing encounter she had. I was sharing with them on how to use their testimony and that it needed to be up to date. People want to know the difference that Jesus in making in your life right now. That is exactly what she shared. It was neat to see them practice on each other sharing their testimony.

FROM JODY: Hello all. Hope everything is going well for each one of you. The work here is still going on. We have begun to visit Ext.39, and have seen a few accept Christ as Savior. It is a battle, though. There is so much darkness there. Please continue to pray for these people. I would also like for you to pray for something very specific. Would you please pray that a church planting movement would happen in Ext. 39? In a couple of weeks we will be having some extensive training on church planting movements. In one of the books we are reading, I have seen the utter necessity of bathing everything in prayer.

We’ve also been continuing to go to Moshawane village. About four weeks ago, I experienced one of the hardest situations since we’ve been here. An eight-week old baby girl died at the government hospital because of an error by the nurses. She was the grand-daughter of Maboka, the lady in whose house we meet. It was heart-breaking. I’ve never seen such grief here. Please pray for the mother of the baby. Her name is Peni (Penny). Also pray that Peni will grow stronger in her faith, and desire to make better choices in her life.

Personally, I have had to have some tests done on a lump I found. Praise the Lord! There is no malignancy. Email me if you want to know anymore that that!

Thank you all for continuing to pray. We appreciate it so much.

The kids are all doing well. Pray for us as we continue to home school Andy. Some days are a struggle. He turned 13 on May 11th. Wow! I have a teenager! Any advice? Josiah is asking to be homeschooled next year. We are still considering what would be the best for him. He continues to do well in school, and has lots of friends wherever he goes. Caleb is the artistic one out of the bunch. He really does have a great gift for drawing. We’re hoping to get him some art lessons if we can.

Bethany is such a joy. We have to play “girl games” all the time. Meaning games that little girls can play. She loves her sister, and her brothers (most of the time). Melody is a mess! She’s cute and knows it! Her latest word is “blue.” If you ask her, everything is the color blue. She also has been going through the “taking all her clothes off” phase. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t winter here! She’s so funny, and we laugh at her all the time.

Thank you for praying for our kids. We all struggle sometimes with being homesick for the ones we love and for home.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

April Update

It’s hard to know where to begin because I really don’t remember what I have said to who and who knows what I have said and who has been on our blog to see some of the news that has happened. So, I will quickly recap what has happened this year and then I will get things together and you will start receiving these updates on a regular basis.

Our Return - I am sure you remember that we returned to the field on January 18th. We have since got our house up and running and is in working order. Since that time, the house has been painted. No longer is it a light purple and gray, but now it is a lovely “Africa Stone” beige trimmed in Forest Green. It looks a lot nicer – we think. We have not have the rolling blackouts, as we were promised, as much as we experienced our first week here. We should be on some sort of schedule for 2 hours every other day, but we have yet to see that. The electricity has been out a couple of times, but it is because of ‘normal’ unscheduled power outages.

Dennis Return to the States - I was back in the States for 18 days during the last 2 weeks of February to complete my naturalization process. It was really unfortunate that I had to return just one month after our return here. But God is good and His timing was exactly perfect – even in the midst of my ‘unknowingness’ . I am now an American citizen and I have my new passport and everything. Now, I have to go through the process of getting my South African visa transferred to my American passport. I dread going into the Office of Home Affairs and finding out what ‘hoops’ are going to have to be jumped through to get that accomplished.

The Boys – Caleb and Josiah started their school terms respectively just 3 days after we arrived back in South Africa. They will finish this first term next Friday and will be out until May 12th. They usually have three, month long breaks in April, August. and December. I think they like their breaks broken up throughout the year. Josiah has focused on playing soccer this term while Caleb has been learning how to play cricket and continuing his swimming. They have both been doing very well in their studies. Yesterday, April 1st, Caleb said that we had a regular parent-teacher conference with his teacher. So at 6:00 pm Jody goes to his school. She calls me and says no one is there – no teachers, no parents, no one!! She comes and tells Caleb that no one was there and he responds by saying “April Fools!!” Now, he didn’t plan that out but Jody and I just laughed after she told me that he was quick enough to think that. He is reminding me a lot about myself – I don’t know if that is a good thing or not!

We continue to homeschool Andy and he should finish his 7th grade year on schedule with those of you in the States. He turns 13 on May 11th – it’s hard to believe that we’ll have a teenager in the house. He enjoyed this last meeting that we were at as this was his first year to be included in youth activities and could stay out late. He had his own key to the room that we stayed in. He acted quite responsible in his activities.

The Girls – It’s hard to believe that Melody is already 17 months old. She definitely has her own cute personality. She is literally running around finding the need to stay up with her brothers and sister.

Bethany is 3 ½, and is all the “girly girl” that Jody prayed for. She is learning lots of things. Her favorite thing to do right now is play (My first) Uno. We have to play everyday. She has also learned the passage of Scripture we have been learning as a family. She can pretty much say it by herself. We are very proud of her.

Dennis’ Ministry and Notes – Things have not necessarily gone as well as I have expected. I’ve had to start and re-start a couple of times already. As I have said earlier, I had to leave a month after we got back and then we were gone for a week to Johannesburg area for our Annual Missionary Training Meeting. I am scheduled to teach Personal Evangelism at Mmabatho Baptist on Wednesdays – since the beginning of March. I didn’t return until after the first Wednesday of March. Then the church was starting to prepare for Easter and Easter conferences. We weren’t here the first Wednesday after Easter, so probably next week I will start.

Extension 39 is looking very promising. There was not any progress in that area while we were in the States, so it looks like we’ll start over. I will have to work some things out with the young pastor that is living in that area before we can continue with him. I will let Jody tell you what she is going to be doing there.

We have been invited to 3 weeks of training and instruction in June. That means that we will gone for 3 weeks to Johannesburg area. That will be quite the undertaking as we try to carry on with life as normal as possible. We’ll have to work with the boys teachers to get 3 weeks of assignments.

I’ll be meeting with the pastors and leaders this week and next to discuss the possibilities and strategize for the next several months.

Jody’s Ministry and Notes – Wow! It has been a long time since I’ve done this! As Dennis has told you we’ve been back for about two and a half months now. I started praying before we ever went to the States that God would show me what was next for me in ministry. When we got back, I went to the same village I had been working in before, to visit. They were glad to see me, and I them. After that, Dennis had to go back to the States, so ministry was on hold for a few weeks. During that time, I was still praying about the work here that God wants us to accomplish. I started to think about how great it would be if Dennis and I could work together, but I knew that would have to wait until the kids were a bit older. I then thought about going into Ext.39 and doing what we did in the other village with asking the spiritual questions and just talking to people. We would be like a tag team! Well, a few weeks later we had some missionaries at our house, and Dennis started talking to them about what he thought we could do in Ext.39, and it was exactly what I had been thinking! (I had not mentioned anything to him before that.) I also called the lady that goes with me to the village, Lorato, and she said God had put Ext.39 on her heart too when she started praying with me last year! While I was talking to her, another thought came to me. I know God was broadening my horizons. Why not teach the women from Moshawane village, where I’ve been up to this time, how to share their testimonies and tell Bible stories, and then take them with us to Ext.39. The excitement really started going through me then. So, I need you all to pray for me, Lorato, and Dennis as we embark on this new adventure/ministry. Pray that the women in the village that GOD wants to be a part of this will be ready and excited to do something they’ve never done before, but are willing to do it for the Lord. Pray also that hearts in Ext.39 will be tender as we begin to ask the spiritual questions, and gain some insights into the spiritual level of these people. We will start this on Friday of this week.

I also wanted to thank you all for covering me with your prayers while Dennis was away. Many things happened, but we were all safe. I think the biggest thing for me was that I was able to sleep soundly every night. I was not afraid or uneasy at all. I know that was because so many were praying. Thank you all so much. I love you all.

Prayer Requests Jody’s Dad – He is still needing to regain his strength, but is doing OK. Please pray that he will be able to fight off any infections he may have so that his body can work to get back to normal. Thank you for continuing to pray for him.

This Update – throughout this update, we have mentioned many things – as the Lord brings us and these things to your memory, wherever you are, voice a prayer for us.


Again - we are grateful for your remembrance of us.

Monday, March 31, 2008

How You Can Pray






Photo and video editing at www.OneTrueMedia.com


Comment and tell me if this is working ok.

She Did It !

One of things that Bethany learned to like while we were in the States is the children's show Dora the Explorer. We bought a couple of DVD's for her when we returned.

This short 13 second video is of her singing the closing song - "We Did It".

video

Mostly Easter Pic's

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

How neat is this - I just found this from another blog.



Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oh, Say can you see....


Well, as of 2:40 pm on Monday afternoon, I am an American citizen. What a relief to finally get through the process. I will have been here for 18 days and totally processing time with fingerprints, interview, test, and oath is only about 2 hours. But unfortunately everything cannot be done at one time or in one day. But I am thankful that this part is now complete.

I will file for my passport today, however I will not be going down to Houston to do that.

I am flying tomorrow morning from Shreveport to Atlanta (4 hour layover) and then to Johannesburg and then 4 more hours home.

Thanks for your prayers and we'll talk to you from the other side in a couple of days.

Monday, March 03, 2008

And down the stretch they come....

Well, let me tell what I think will happen in the next couple of days.

I have an appointment in Dallas at Immigration for a test and oath on Monday at 10:00 am.

I have an appointment in Houston at the Houston Passport Agency on Tuesday at 9:00 am to get my passport in one day.

I am scheduled to be on a Delta flight to Atlanta from Shreveport on Wednesday at 8:30 am to go home to South Africa. I am scheduled to arrive in Johannesburg Thursday evening at 5:00 pm - hopefully at home in Mmabatho by 10 pm Thursday night - that would be 2 pm Thursday CST.

Please pray that everything falls into place.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What an Honor!!!


I have the honor and privilege on Wednesday, February 27th, to preach at my home church - First Baptist Church of Bossier City.


I was member there from 1979 to 1990. I am where I am today because of the godly influence that many people from that church had on my life. Ultimately, I give God all the glory because of what he was able to do through those people and what He has accomplished through me.


If you are in the area, I would love to see you there. The service starts at 6:00 pm.