Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blessed 2015....Prayer Feedback

Happy final day of 2014!

We just wanted to shoot out a quick update to say Christopher and his family got a great flight deal through the help of missionary partners from Colorado Springs base on Christmas Eve day.  We as a family were also able to help them with some immediate needs this side by sending some Rand through, knowing how important it is to return to family with some form of gifts, and even moreso at Christmastime!  They are so appreciative of your prayers and some of you that expressed a desire to give towards them via us, we will sending a check for them to the Colorado base in January, as they process the family's support globally and will send a wire through to them. You can also give to them directly if you feel led to do so.  This base helps process support for many African missionary families, esp. in South Sudan.
So here are details in case anyone is led for future:
Donations can be sent to: YWAM Strategic Frontiers, PO BOX 60579, Colorado Springs, CO 80960. Please make checks payable to "YWAM" and do not write "Sudan" anywhere on the check. Enclose a note that states "Sud- Christopher and Hanan" to let us know how to use your gift.

To make a donation online, you can go to www.ywamsf.org.


Otherwise, we are so blessed to have spent Christmas with two of Thandi's sisters and a niece, and now have Mom with us fresh from her 33-hr. journey from the states:)  Busi was so excited to see her in the morning that she cried as they hugged.  And Elisha was in car/truck heaven as we celebrated his 2nd birthday on the 29th.  Even our niece Abigail Kutlwano calls her 'Grammy' and was all over her the two days we all got to be together.  Now we are planning our road trip to see some of the country we haven't yet, and visit some old friends along the way.  We will travel east through the entire Eastern Cape and into Kwa-Zulu Natal before resting a bit in Mpumalanga province to see Kruger Park for the first time.  We will then pass through Gauteng to see rest of family and church family in Jo'burg before heading back to Western Cape via Free State Province.  Pray for me to keep alert on the road and the kids not to go crazy!

Train Ministry:
Over the holidays I have been joining my gangster-turned-evangelist friend in outreach, including some time spent preaching on the crowded trains to town and back.  This morning was especially blessed as I brought along a Cameroonian student who shared his testimony of losing both his parents as a young boy and having no family to God's redemptive power in now giving him family all over the world through the Body of Christ.  I also preached about God's love for all nations and cultures, especially in this amazing country where so many nations have come from across Africa and the world, and that we need to seek to bring glory to God through honoring and serving one another within our cultural uniqueness.  We had amazing conversations with Muslims, Rastafarians and Jehovah's Witnesses as we boldly proclaimed in unity the need to follow the Truth, as Jesus spoke of himself (John 14:6), and could feel the Lord driving out the distractions of the enemy as we simply gave thanks for who He is to all mankind!

Christmas Hamper Feedback:
We gathered on the 23rd Dec.at Oom (Uncle) Edwin's house in Hillview, Lavender Hill.  This is the family that runs a soup kitchen out of their home every Tuesday afternoon, while still caring for their three children and Ouma (Grannie).  The latter half of this year I started going regularly and taking DTS students with. We would arrive a little early, help prepare the food and big pot of stew, while also greeting and chatting with everyone who was already lined up.  then we would pray together and challenge one of the students to give a brief word before heading out into the community to minister to others who didn't show up.  These are people who are really struggling to get through each day, so this ministry is meeting a huge need, including even helping these single moms, aunties and uncles and other guardians to get their children into school where it wouldn’t have been an option otherwise because of the high cost of school fees.  I have always loved the openness of the people in Cape Town to receive prayer and this community is no different, but the barriers to their spiritual growth are massive indeed, and we are believing as they go deeper into the Word of Truth they will be able to take back what the enemy has stolen.
So on the final meeting on the 23rd, the family got enough donations together so that we would help to make a special Christmas meal and gift distribution possible.  We also passed out Christmas hampers that blessed nearly 50 impoverished families, many of these families openly Muslim.  What a testimony of God’s love for all!  The kids each also got little packets of toys and sweets mixed together, and Elisha was happy to play Santa’s helper with me after passing heaping plates of food through the bedroom window (see pic).  It is so amazing to me that Edwin has no steady job/income and yet he and his wife have the faith to continue to give out and be light in the community enveloped in the darkness of drug addiction, gangsterism, domestic abuse and so on.   
I had said I would get a digital form of their End-of-Year Report attached but they had some trouble getting the email to me.  Yet, here is a rundown of some of the numbers over the past year:
- Around 1500 people got food weekly
- 20 Shack fire victims got clothing and furniture along with assistance to rebuild
- Several people created income by starting to bring recycling (Edwin gathers recycling on large scale and brings to scrap yards, something I am trying to get the base more involved in, as there is no body in place to collect recycling from you)
- 45 Christmas hampers handed out valued at R10,000

It has been a blessing to be involved with this family and many others coming from gang-related backgrounds in rough communities now spreading the hope that is in Christ Jesus alone....
We wish you all a blessed and even more purposeful 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Greetings & Family Prayer Request

HI all and Merry Christmas!

As the days draw closer to the end of another year and we take time to meditate on why our God chose to send His only Son into this broken world, I am reminded again of what a privilege it is to live in such a diverse community, all testifying to the truth that Jesus is the Only One who unites all nations/peoples to the point where they take joy in serving and learning from one another.  Three times a week I get to play pick-up soccer matches with local guys who I have built relationships with over the years, and at any one time there are at least 10 nations represented.  I jokingly call our team (as we sometimes organize ourselves to play full matches against other clubs) the United Nations, though we are still praying to see that true unity in Christ for all who come.

This morning I was privileged (through the faithful prison ministry of a former student on the DTS I staffed earlier this year) to be able to share at a very unique Christmas program at South Africa's most infamous prison, Pollsmoor.  What a blessing it is to be able to go and speak hope to those who think there is none left for them, and see that glimmer of reality which is sparked by Truth once again finding His way back in to their hearts and minds and calling them out to see there is still a way forward to true life and purpose!  I was initially a bit intimidated to be just mingling in the common yard among so many youths 18-25 year olds, covered in their numbers tattoos (26,27 or 28, check history of South African gangs if you want to know more) and just looking dangerous, but soon enough greetings took place with some and then deeper conversations came out of that.  I was able towards the end, after we took most of the time individually praying, listening and sharing with them, to share from Romans 8:28, stating that God has called them into a relationship where they can love Him and those around them, but it all flows from them first receiving His love and continues in receiving it.  Receiving and walking in God's love is not only the foundation of our faith but is our ongoing goal!  It is not about the good I try to do but about allowing God's goodness, through the Spirit of Grace, to flow through me and redeem.  I got to talk personally with strong believers, Muslims who truly thought the Koran was written before the Bible and lovingly share with them the contrary and speaking prophetically over them, as well as just praying and declaring the victory of Jesus over the work of the enemy in their lives.  I really loved the time, and hope to be able to go back soon, as long as I will be able to get a permit again.

FAMILY PRAYER REQUEST:

I have attached the vision of an amazing family we have gotten to know since God brought them to South Africa last December for further training, and we would highly appreciate it if you could read over it and pray about possibly giving towards their financial need of flying the family back to South Sudan ASAP.  We have been able to give a bit here and there, but I know God is personally challenging me for a greater freewill offering, and have been sharing and praying with Thandi what that looks like.  This is the same couple I mentioned on another update about going to re-pioneer the work in Wau, northern part of South Sudan, and I can say they are the real deal.  The wife is from Nuba mountains and has lost most of her family over the years of government-sponsored bombing and village raiding campaigns, but she is sold out for building the Kingdom of God among the ashes with her husband, and they have such a gentle authority about them.  Their family picture is attached.  Just let me know if you feel led to give any specific amount to them that I can pass on, as we also are asking the Lord.

OUR CHRISTMAS:

Yesterday, Busi and I bought 100 bars of Sunlight soap to be able to play a part in the 100 Christmas parcels our family friends will be distributing to needy families during Christmas, as I mentioned in our last update.  We also plan to be around for distribution and praying for the people into the new year, listening to their hopes and aspirations.  I will get an update from the family with all the statistics of community improvement through the simple soup kitchen ministry they started in Lavender Hill three years ago, which we have now been able to support through bringing students to serve and just be with the people.

The Whitlock clan is all very excited for Grammy (Mama Whitlock, or 'Mama Kristin', as most African cultures would call her, naming her after her eldest child) to be coming just after Christmas and the day before Elisha's 2nd birthday.  As it may be our last Christmas with Thandi's family for many years we were planning to drive up there again to be with them, but then decided we will be able to see them on the way back from a cross-country road trip we will be doing with Grammy in January before Busi's preschool begins again. Oh ja, we forgot  to say that Busi did wonderful in both her drama presentations as well as the Christmas play.  She sung the loudest and most clearly 'Silent Night' in Slovakian, and the teachers joked that she sings Slovakian more clearly than the Slovakian student:)  
Anyhow, Grammy is excited to be able to see Gogo (Thandi's mom) and her sisters in Joburg on the road trip we will be taking up to Kruger Park (something we had to see before moving from SA). Now, we are also looking forward to having some of Thandi's family come down and join us for Christmas in Cape Town, and know they won't be disappointed!

Lastly, we as Frontier Missions were able to join with our base in commissioning a wonderful couple, Markus and Evie, to be living among a people in the Middle East this last week.  They will be learning Arabic and the culture of the people, and seek different roads of building relationships and the community for the long-term.  We have been working with them for a number of years now, and we plan to keep in touch and support of one another, even as we seek for Muizenberg base to forge stronger ties to those they send out long-term, especially to the Frontier regions among the last and least-reached peoples.

Many thanks again as you continue to battle and declare the Lord's Kingdom come in full this Christmas season!