Monday, August 31, 2009

It is such a blessing to have family where you are at...




As many have been asking, the next DTS at our base (we run four a year back-to-back) that Thandi and I will be staffing commences on 27th September, and will follow the theme of Identity and Freedom in CHrist alone based off of Galatians 5. We have really enjoyed the time away from base to get settled in, but will now start full-time with staff training next Monday.

THe photos above are of Merlyn and Mario Milhomem, a Brazilian couple who were the first ones we officially hosted in our new flat! The four of us sitting down on the sofa is in our nice and spacious living room. [We even had all the September schools staff over for a dinner because we seem to have the most space, which Thandi loves.] They are also newlyweds and co-lead a base in Goiania, central Brazil. [You can see their own blog at http://merlynandmariomilhomem.blogspot.com/ with many more pictures of Africa than ours, even though they have just been here a month:] I knew Mario from when I first came to Muizenberg in 2006, whereby we both were the first students in the newly-pioneered School of Cross-Cultural Strategic Missions (SCCSM). While I am not still directly involved in that school, it will be running again at the same time as the Discipleship School Thandi and I will be staffing, and I am very grateful for the foundational principles and training I received to be better equipped to pioneer ministries in a frontiers context, reaching out to undiscipled and even unengaged people groups. But now I am getting off the point of this specific blog. Forgive me.

As the title hints at, we were so blessed by our local YWAM family and local friends this past Saturday night when one of them organized a Housewarming Party for Thandi and I. We were thrilled to have so many come that it was literally a challenge to move from one person to the next, fellowshipping together. We were blessed not only with their presence and prayers, but many also came with desserts and house items we were still very much in need of. We thank the Lord for HIs faithfulness in our lives through those He has placed around us, both near and far off.



The Zimbabwean brother touching the custom-fit coffee table/dresser he fashioned to give our new apartment some homemade African style. He sells his items at the local Sunday flea market alongside many other Africans. The majority of shopkeepers here, however, are Cape Coloureds with a Muslim background which we are seeking to reach through building relationships, doing face painting, etc. Every Sunday a group of us go from the base for the whole day. Amazingly, almost every Sunday is indeed sunny here![You can see our car, Esmeralda, in the background, which, at that time, was suffering with a complete pancha (flat tire) from something I drove over.]

Monday, August 24, 2009

The month of Ramadan is upon us--Praying for Muslims

Let's be in prayer for our Muslim brothers and sisters to KNOW the Author of man's salvation in this month:

Dates for Ramadan 2009 (or 1430) are 22 August - 20 September.
The first evening of Ramadan
In many places around the world Muslims will be looking to the heavens this evening. They will be interested in knowing if they will be able to see the crescent moon. If it is visible this will be the signal for the beginning of the month of Ramadan. (In most countries religious authorities will make a proclamation concerning the beginning of Ramadan). No fasting will take place till tomorrow morning. Muslims will rise early to eat their breakfast before the day begins. Afterwards they will not have anything else to eat or drink till nightfall. This will be their daily experience during the next 30 days.

Fasting - Ramazan
Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of the religion of Islam and one of the highest forms of Islamic worship. Abstinence from earthly pleasures and curbing evil intentions and desires is regarded as an act of obedience and submission to God as well as an atonement for sins, errors, and mistakes. Called Ramadan (or Ramazan), Muslims fast during this holy month from the moment when it first starts to get light until sunset. Muslims fast as an act of faith and worship towards Allah, seeking to suppress their desires and increase their spiritual piety. Fasting together as a worldwide community - Ummah - affirms the brotherhood and equality of man before Allah.


The Meaning of Ramadan [pretty interesting origins to pray into]
The name Ramadan is derived from the Arabic word ramida or ar-ramad, denoting intense scorching heat and dryness, especially the ground. From the same word there is ramdaa, meaning ’sunbaked sand’ and the famous proverb Kal Mustajeer minar ramadaa binnar – ‘to jump out of the frying pan into the fire.’ Some say it is so called because Ramadan scorches out the sins with good deeds, as the sun burns the ground.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Settled in.....



Well, due to popular demand, here are a few photos from the big day in Johannesburg. I will also get some of our amazing honeymoon in Mauritius, though neither of us are feeling well right now and so the last thing we want to do is get on the computer.

Although this past month was very stressful and tense at times, the Lord enabled Thandi and I to keep perspective up to the wedding day and as we now begin our new life together. The wedding day was indeed beautiful, noticeably warmer than the previous winter days. We both want to thank our churches, mine back home in Bellingham, WA and hers in Lenasia (with her pastor masterfully orchestrating the ceremony), for their ongoing prayers through this union of two very different families and cultures. It was a privilege to host my family (parents+sister+niece) as well as my best man, who all were very flexible throughout. It was great to have them first in Cape Town to see where we have been working out of and enjoy some of the natural beauty.