Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Living Hope-Bringing Hope, Breaking Despair

Our humblest apologies to all who are not on Facebook, as we have been doing little update snippets on there, as life has been a little hectic since arriving in South Africa, and it has been an easy way to keep you all updated.  We are still processing so much, but here is a summarized run down of our last couple weeks.

We took a little time off between Zim and starting serving here to decopress, regroup and have some family time, which was a wonderful break and helped us switch gears from one culture to another.  It was great to have that time and to catch up with my folks, old friends and neighbors and to enjoy the beauty of Southern Africa.

David painting in Capricorn

I (Jackie) always thought Zim and SA were very similar culturally, but after this trip, my opinion on that has definitely changed.  South Africa like many other countries in the world has many cultures all rolled up into one country, as Natasha from Living Hope very aptly describes it, South Africa is like 1st world clashing up against 3rd world and we literally see this daily as we get more involved with Living Hope here in South Africa.  www.livinghope.co.za  

Our first day was orientation without about 20 High School students from Alabama, seeing the different campuses and townships the ministry works in.  We are truly amazed at the work this ministry does and how the Lord chooses to show them such favor as they very humbly seek to empower local people in each community they work to help bring hope to the people and to make Jesus known.  They have such a unique and simple approach to ministry that it is easy to see why the Lord chooses to use them as mightily as He does

Timothy playing a game with kids from Masi
The next couple days we got to be a part of homework clubs, which is an afternoon program they have for kids to have a place to come to in the Community Centers after school and play games, and learn more about the Lord.  This was a very quick and sudden introduction to the 1st vs 3rd World clash, and for both David and I to realize the very stark difference in cultures between Zim and SA.  It is a great program, a very lively yet very fulfilling couple of days.  The Lord did however clearly show us homework club wasn’t gonna be for me by myself with the kids once David left, it was little overwhelming for Abby and something we would do better doing together.

Thursday we got to meet with Avril who with her husband John are the founders of Living Hope, and John is also the Pastor of King of Kings Baptist church here in Noordhoek.  We got to talk at length and share our heart and listen to theirs on the work the Lord is doing with their ministry and how they are seeking to go into other parts of Africa (Zim being one – lots to that story).  Needless to say it was a goosebump moment for us, as the more time we spend here, the Lord is slowly revealing more of the reason why He brought us to this wonderful ministry in Cape Town.

The rest of the morning, we spent helping pack things for their Taxi TB day outreach the next morning.  Friday we arrived at 7am at the Taxi rank in Masiphumelele – which too is not for the faint hearted – as it is not a taxi rank you envision in the US, but a whole operation of minibuses and small vans sending people out to the ends of the Peninsula and back.  It was a wonderful morning taking pictures and allowing our kids to truly see how a good portion of the world lives and goes to work each day, and the struggles they face in possibly catching something as serious as TB on their morning commute.

We then went on to an outreach in another township about a km down the road – and a totally other culture within the same area.  Again is was a great learning experience for everyone, all the high schoolers that were present and ourselves included.  We have pics of this on Facebook at:  

Sunday we had a great time of worship, the word and fellowship at Calvary Chapel Kommetjie, again meeting more Americans serving over here - its quite amazing to see the work the Lord is doing over here, the harvest truly is plentiful and the workers few, so we continue to pray for the Lord to send more to do the work to be done here.  We then had a wonderful afternoon at Avril and Johns house as those hosted all the volunteers for Sunday lunch, the kids had lots of new friends to play with, and it was kinda like having a get together at our house – me being one of only two South Africans there!! And the majority of the other volunteers are from Nashville!! How fun, we had a wonderful afternoon and it was great to connect and meet some of the other people serving long term out here.

Daniel handing out flyers in Masi
This week my parents have very graciously taken the kids for some fun grandparent time, which is allowing me to work at Living Grace– which is another location in Muizenberg . Living Grace seeks to transform the shattered lives of the Homeless and destitute in the areas as well as reaching out to substance abusers through rehabilitation programmes.  I have the privilege of cooking for all the wonderful people there, and helping the ladies and staff that organize and cook all the food that is donated and then cooked up and sent out to other sites everyday – those who know my catering background can appreciate how much this blesses me to serve in this area, and spend time getting to know the staff.

David is working with a fellow American this week painting one of the community centers in Capricorn, and then later doing some electrical work in another location, so he too is right in his element this week.

David gets ready to head home next week, and it is hard to believe that his time is almost up.  I will be staying on through 3 May, and hopefully continue doing half days at Living Right once a week and a preschool program a couple other morning a week in Masiphumelele, both which I should be able to do with the kids and hopefully continue with a bit of school each week.  So hopefully our entire summer back home won’t be spent finishing the school year up!  The kids have had great life skills education the past two months, but Math and English workbooks still are a necessary part of our future.

Daniel and Abby also celebrated their birthdays over the last few weeks, Daniel is now 11 and Abby 6!  Happy Birthday to our babies.  Tim is feeling a little left out, so we will be celebrating is pre-Birthday next week before David leaves.

David will be back Easter weekend, and Lord willing back to work the following week.  Island Cove where he does most of his work took a direct hit from the tornado a few weeks back, so he is not entirely sure what to expect on his arrival.  But we know the Lord is good and has so graciously shown us favor on this trip and so provided for our needs, we can only wait with excited anticipation to see what He has for us when we get home.

Please be praying for his re-entry into US life and for my time with the kids without him. 

We also humbly thank all those who have been a part of this journey for us through prayer and financial support, it has been such a blessing to have been able to fulfill the deep desires the Lord had placed in our hearts for this trip, and to not have had to worry about the financial burden of it.  The Lord has been so good to us and we cannot thank you all enough for being obedient to your part in His plan.

Much love to you all, sorry for the long time between updates. 

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