Thursday, September 26, 2013

Update from Teaching Week in Johannesburg

Greetings from sunny eGoli ('City of Gold')!

I had hoped we could get out a prayer update BEFORE the 16-hour drive up here in one day, but just could not get any easy access to the net for a group email.  Since arriving back home Friday the 13th, we stepped into a whirlwind of activity before making our departure up to Johannesburg.  The weekend was spent cleaning up the house and making some changes  while many friends popped in to visit, and then the following week was our annual Staff At-home Conference.  It was a great time of connecting with the near 200 staff we now have at YWAM Cape Town and some great input and worship times, but was a real push as we were still battling jetlag. Busi made up for our lack of energy in her enthusiasm to get back to school with her friends (though her best friend Leila was just preparing to go on outreach with her parents to Thailand and will be away for two months:()

We were grateful to reconnect with nearly all from our Frontier Missions department and our in a season now of really seeking God and seeing what He is speaking to us as our unique calling within His Kingdom advance.  It was also a pleasure to see our long-time colleague now preparing to lead an outreach to the nation God has laid heavily on his heart--Turkey, knowing it was not easy for a local Xhosa young man to get to this point.

By God's grace, we made it safe up to Joburg and the old but trusty Nissan Sentra is still going strong, despite very freezing weather coming out of Cape Town (scraping hail that had piled up on the windshield at 5am) and a broken heater system:)
Attached you can see there is still a healthy sprinkling of snow on the pass just inland from the Cape, and it did indeed take some time for us to eventually warm up...lots of blankets in the car!

Other than a break-in today on the host's house of the compound we are staying on for the week (we were not affected and no one was hurt), it has been a great time seeing YWAM Joburg for the first time and its trademark Joseph Project facility that reaches out to inner city youth.  We are privileged to have been invited to share with the DTS (second time running from this location) in their final week before heading on outreach to India.

I am doubly excited to have Thandi along with me on this teaching trip, especially since the four students are all females and she has experience in doing outreach in the wonderfully exotic country of India:)  It has been fun to explore team teaching possibilities while having the kids around, and does indeed prove one of YWAM's values of putting families first!

We hope to get you some more photos soon, but please do PRAY for our remaining week, especially for our final day with the students when we will not only commission them, but hope to see something released in the Spirit as they pray prophetically over one another.  Our Wed. night fellowship sharing with a local church congregation for two hours went really well as we shared about Simple Church with the goal of seeing indigenous churches planted that go on to plant other churches by testifying about our time in Issore, South Sudan and utilizing  the Discovery Bible Study method, communicating the truth that anybody can do church!

Pray also for time on the weekend before driving back with Thandi's family, that we can be an unforeseen blessing to each of them (we stopped there first, as you can Elisha and Busi at Gogo's (Grandma) house in the second pic)

Thanks so much for joining us in this journey of faith and sharing of God's love to the nations...we feel so privileged and could not do it without you!
 In transit in Dubai airport hotel (UAE)...^
 The mountain pass just north of Cape Town...it was cold!^

For His glory among even the most remote and 'undeserving' nations,
B, T, B and E

p.s. Please also keep in PRAYER for the hostage situation at the shopping mall in Nairobi; we have friends there, and the possibility of violent backlash against all Somalis living in Nairobi (especially Eastleigh) is very real and scary (and detrimental to them receiving the gospel message for them as an unreached people group)

p.p.s. Here's a video we had to capture of Elisha pushing a chair (he does it all the time now, and will just keep going if you just turn him around:): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151611662816331&set=vb.562501330&type=2&theater

 Elisha was loving the dogs belonging to our Chinese-South African hosts!^
 We got the school leader involved in giving a crash course on Indian toilets (among other things:)^
It has been so enjoyable to teach for the first time along with Thandi, and see her passion coming alive!^ (Hope she'll allow me to post a picture of her upfront:)

Friday, August 23, 2013

USA Update

Hello all,

So great to be visiting friends and long-time supporters here in USA this past month!  We have been so blessed and encouraged to meet with many of you and are hoping to wrap up the time well before we head back home to Cape Town September 11th where we will make it in time to attend our Staff At-Home week to unify the different departments/ministries of the base, use the time to also meet up with our fellow Frontier Missions staff as to the future vision of the department.  More to come on that...

We are currently re-working this blog but bear with us as we remain on this blog for upcoming news.  In the meantime, many of you have asked about the South African Pregnancy magazine our home birth of Elisha was featured in, so here is a link from our friend's website (the magazine just came out this month, so have not been able to get a hardcopy as yet):
http://blomerusphotography.com/2013/08/birth-of-elisha-ivan-featured-in-your-pregnancy-magazine/


Friday, April 12, 2013

South Sudan Scouting Trip March 2013

Beginning from the end, the Lord gave a great opportunity to share with a Cape Muslim brother on the short flight from Joburg back to Cape Town, on the day before Easter. Our conversation started about what we do for a living, and got more into running a business as I mentioned to him my heart to start some business (maybe recycling) in the future that would create jobs among the community I live in, and possibly even nationwide. Then, as I got into the heart behind it and and how missions is to present people with the choice to follow God as He reveals Himself, he became defensive and wanted to explain why jihad is not really Islamic as it is being carried out in the world today. I listened, but knew the conversation would turn to man submitting to God and upholding His perfect law as best he could, referring to the Prophets speaking that throughout history.

Towards the end there was a natural break as I was able to share the gospel through the Scripture of Matt. 5:17 in which Jesus says: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them" (ESV). I then worked from that passage and went back over how God throughout history of His dealing with people was pointing towards Jesus perfect sacrifice in the Passover, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice the son of the Promise, and countless OT prophecies. I could see my friend was taking it in, and I felt a true seed of the Truth was planted in His heart. Let us pray together for Isgak (Arabic for Isaac), this precious son of Abraham, to receive the salvation that comes in Christ Jesus alone, him and his whole family.

Thank God that my health was good for nearly the entire trip with regards to my stomach ailments, and even now I attribute to a lack of processed foods in the diet as I seek to discipline myself in this area. I am joking with friends and colleagues here that this trip was 'my last hoora', as the first words Thandi greeted me with were: "Never again will you go this long babe." She did have a great time with her good friend from Joburg for two of the weeks, though it turned out those four days alone were quite hard on her. As it turned out, from the meeting of my travel companion Kenny (fresh off leading a DTS team to Ethiopia) at the Entebbe airport in Uganda, the trip was a real adventure and revealed much about the many challenges facing the young nation of South Sudan, though never without the hope that brought them through such a devastating civil war.

Some of you got my updates on Facebook about the rough and long overland journeys in reaching Juba and then the two-day trip up to Wau, being harassed at each checkpoint simply for being foreigners. I will share all the details in the Trip Report, as I mentioned before. We were able to spend only four days in Wau because the base staff had already applied for a UN flight back to Juba, as they needed to renew visas and one member was going on to staff at a base in Uganda. But in that short time we were able to meet several neighbors, most Muslim Darfurians, and share/pray with them, visit schools and the hospital, as well as go and pray over the YWAM land along the river Jur around seven miles outside of town. There really is a lot of potential there and the students from the first DTS went on outreach with the neighboring villagers, and so have ploughed the soil spiritually in many ways. As I said, more details to come, as well as our impressions as a family for when and where we will be making the move.

After meeting with a few friends in Juba I have not seen in several years, and being blessed by their hospitality, we booked another Landcruiser to take the much shorter journey to our base outside Yei town to the SW. In Africa you never really know how long it will take you to get from Point A to Point B, and this proved correct as our 4-hour trip ended up taking well over 10 hours so that we arrived at the base in the dark and only found one family still awake! Thankfully, they had saved supper for us (roast cabbage and rice) and were just grateful to have us arrive. It was great to see all the growth at the base with several new buildings for staff housing as well as additions to the primary school that is serving so many children. We spent a lot of time just resting and enjoying the peace, but also able to visit a local church and meet with and pray for a group of schoolteachers in training, encouraging them as they are key players in discipling the nation of South Sudan. Nearly all were committed followers of Christ.

We also had a great night with some of the Ugandan volunteers who are doing several agricultural and community development projects. As we prayed for them I really sensed God wanted to assure them of their call to this nation, even though most Sudanese were not welcoming them and they were facing many challenges just to continue the work on the ground. Just last week I got an email from the brother leading much of the planting of crops on base land through his two oxen now ploughing the soil, and he thanked me, saying the prayer was very powerful and spoke to them right where they were at. We just thank God that we could bring any kind of encouragement to these dear, hardworking brethren.

I want to just say SHUKRAN KALIS (Thank you very much!) for all your prayers and support to us in this time, and will be happy to share with you more of our impressions soon. Right now, I am just trying to get plugged back into local ministry after having a minor car accident and having our bike stolen (by one of the kids in the township I have been meeting with), and just seeking God on the most strategic way forward. MOre to come and we fully expect God to continue to transform lives in us and through us!

P.S. FORGOT TO MENTION THE UNREST IN CAR (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC) IS SEVERELY AFFECTING OUR YWAMers THERE, SO PLEASE LIFT THEM UP IN PRAYER FOR SAFETY, ACCESS TO FOOD AND HEALTHCARE, AND CONTINUING AS MINISTERS OF RECONCILIATION AMONG A BROKEN PEOPLE!!!

Some pics of Wau and Yei base in between:
  The pioneer, Josephine, showing part of YWAM's land along River Jur, a tributary of the Nile, in Western Bahr al-Ghazal Province The lush and growing base of YWAM Yei, just 20 miles east of the Congo (DRC) border The borehole on base that obviously serves the whole surrounding community, with YWAM's primary school in background The temporary base in Wau town with YWAM's two motorbikes, very useful for getting around, as everything is so spread out