Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Kenya Elephant

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully.

He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Over twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over so it was close to where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, and then put it down. The elephant did that several times and then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs, and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

It probably wasn't the same elephant.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Latest Happenings

It's hard to believe that almost 2 months are gone in 2009! God continues to show His faithfulness and we are so thankful for His grace and mercy toward us.

Our work here continues to be rewarding, even when it seems nothing is going on. God has promised that His Word does not return void and we are seeing Him prove Himself once again.

With the beginning of 2009, it seemed like both Jody and I were starting over and not sure where to start. God has confirmed to Jody that both places where she was last year, she was to continue. She has had good attendance in both places of ministry - the village of Moshawane and Extension 39. God confirmed this to her through the passage in Matthew 5 where Jesus teaches about Kingdom Life -- "Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him..." Jody has used the Beatitudes as her teaching platform. God has showed her some neat and deep truths and both of us have been surprised that they are 'getting' it. God is so good.

For myself, I have been really frustrated on my apparent 'lack of progress." Of all the work that I did last year in Extension 39, I did not see any fruit. In fact, I didn't see much of anything. My national friend, Kagiso, was not able to continue visiting that area, so I had to find another person to go with. The work that a volunteer group did in October hasn't seemed to be very profitable. I know that I cannot judge, but I would like to see something.

Since our arrival in South Africa in 2005, I have allowed a national pastor to take care of our yard - they call it a garden - not a vegetable garden - just a garden. His name is Million and he is worth that much. He has become a great friend and has been my most trusted and dependable partner in ministry. There have been times that I have gone to his house and picked him up to make a visit or just needed him. With him, he and I have been going almost daily to Ext. 39 and just have been witnessing. We were able to lead 33 year-old man to faith in Christ last week. I believe that God will open a door through him to enable us to start a group some kind of meeting group. While we have gone back to Goodwin, Milion has gone next door and has been having a "conversation" with several ladies. They have been most inquisitive and responsive. Million is a natural conversationalist - he doesn't meet a stranger. I am looking forward each afternoon to see what God is going to do. On a side note, after I lead Goodwin in a sinner's prayer, I asked him to say a prayer of thanksgiving for God saving him, Wow, what an honest, simple prayer of thankfulness from Goodwin - it brought tears to my eyes.

Josiah expressed his desire to be homeschooled this year, so in January we brought him home from ISSA - the International School of South Africa. He spent 3 years there and made some good friends. Caleb still attends there and we hear through him many of Josiah's friends are missing him. Jody is doing 5th grade with him until September when he will start 6th grade. We want to keep them on an American school schedule. Caleb is doing 3rd grade at ISSA this year and we will bring him home next year for homeschooling. Next year, Bethany will start Kindergarten at ISSA. Melody is just over 2 and is a total mess (angel). Bethany got some Dora the Explorer computer games for Christmas, and Melody spends more time playing them than she does. Melody can pretty much express herself to let us know what she wants. If she can't say anything, like "aluminum" she will say 'huh,huh,huh' -like you are steaming up your glasses to clean them!! It's so funny!

We are scheduling to be home from November 19, 2009, through January 30, 2010. If you would like for us to come and share at your church, SS class, missions group - please let us know of your interest.

Thanks for your continued prayers as they totally enable us to keep on doing what we are doing. God has been so good and He has blessed so much. We have been kept safe in all of our travels and our health has been unbelieveable. Except for seasonal allergies and colds, we have not experienced any major medical problems. We praise the Lord for His continued grace and mercy.