It is cold in South Africa. It is winter!!! I know many of you in the States would like to have some of our weather. I am sure that when you think of South Africa you don’t think of the cold winters. It is hard to believe that 2011 in over half way over. Numerous events and activities have happened in the first 6 months. January started out with Jody returning to the States with her mom for Jody’s grandma’s funeral. After returning home, I soon realized that my main ministry partner was busy with other things and all the plans we had were not materializing. Jody lost her ministry partner in September of last year and God was telling her to “Be still.” So, she was busy doing that.
Through the first couple of months, my main focus has been with Pastor Michael in a village, Rooigrond, 15 kilometers out of town. I have been out there most Wednesday evenings dealing with church doctrines and practices. I have been teaching and preaching on the last Sunday of every month on various subjects. Michael is a young pastor that got married late last year. He worked with a missionary that had to leave because of health issues. He was basically left with the church and building. It has been rewarding and refreshing to work with him and see him grow. The people of the church are very hungry for the Word. I have better crowds on Wednesday nights with people sitting in a cold, tin building than I did on Wednesday nights in the States.
A couple of weeks ago we were able to bless the church by providing clothing gathered from the church we attend when I am not preaching. For some, this was their Christmas – in June. The temperature was right, but not the month.
A week before our annual missionary meeting in April, Jody woke up with a stiff neck. Thinking that she just slept wrong, we thought it would work itself out and be gone in a day or two. Well, 3 months later she is still recovering. She ended up having disk replacement surgery (C-5/6 and C6/7). It was comforting to have the doctor that actually developed the disc’s and surgery perform the procedure.
The kids are doing really well. Andy is a couple of weeks from finishing the 10th grade, Josiah the 7th grade and Caleb has started 5th grade work early. Bethany is enjoying her schooling at the International School of South Africa. She is learning to play netball and is taking a cooking class on Wednesday afternoon. Netball is like basketball, but it isn’t. For a better understanding of how the game is played, “Google it.” Melody keeps us laughing with her antics and comments. If you are my friend on Facebook then you regularly “see” what she is doing. Jody says she looks like her and acts like me. I am not quite sure what she means by that!!! :)
It has been a year since the passing of Jody’s dad. It has taken a greater toll on us than we thought it would. We knew it would be difficult, but really didn’t how. My greatest difficulty is knowing that our kids will grow up without him. I miss our conversations about ministry activities, questions and answers, and the latest sports happenings. Jody was able to fly back to the States to be with her family during this time. She and her mom will be returning together with her mom staying 3 weeks – in the middle of winter. She will be cold!
Thanks for your continued thoughts and prayers. We are not able to continue what we do without your prayers. Pray for Jody as she returns to driving and seeing what God wants her to do. Pray for Dennis as he works out in Rooigrond and looks to start some new outreach groups in Extension 39. Thank the Lord for His continued protection, provision, and watch care over us.
I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time growing up in church. Even though I was there most of the time, I realized that going to church was not what I needed if I wanted to go to heaven when I died. At the age of 18, I came to the realization that I was just a person going to a church building. What God wanted from me was to realize that I needed Him. If I was ever going to have any satisfaction and fulfillment, I would have to trust Him with my life. I did that on February 21, 1984. Since that time, God has blessed me beyond everything that I could imagine. He is the reason that I live and He gives me the desire to keeping serving Him.