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.