Wednesday, February 10, 2016

January/February Update

New Year greetings and blessed Ash Wednesday to you all!

We trust you have welcomed in the new year well, reflecting on God's faithfulness over the past year and taking some time to pray through what He has for you in 2016.  Thandi and I have gone into this year with a lot of expectation in our hearts and peace that God has us at the right place at the right time, being equipped and uniquely mentored in the areas we need as a family as well as individuals.

Heavy Hearts...
We do need to update you regarding a very tragic event that occurred a bit over a week ago here on campus (at least to us).  The founder and leader of the Teachers for the Nations school Thandi is in, as well as the older Christian Heritage K-12 school, went missing in the morning after teaching one of the high school classes.  He was not found until over two hours later (and many were looking), and he had suffered a massive stroke that left him barely alive.  Many (including our family) were trusting God for a miracle, but the Lord took him a little over a week ago.  James Kilkenny left an incredible legacy, so much so that his funeral service had a live feed to many countries tuning in around the world. The majority of the world did not know him, but the impact He had made in the growing Kingdom was massive.  [Please see picture below with the accompanying caption at end of this update.]
It has been especially hard for Thandi, who really saw him as a very intimate father figure in such a short time, and she has been praying and crying a lot for his ten children left behind (four adopted, and one of those being Busi's teacher) as she identifies with them and exercises her gift of empathy.  We do thank God for being able to be apart of the end of his life here on earth, and want to join those in carrying on the torch of the gospel into whatever spheres of society God leads us.

The Legacy continues...
It was with great joy that we announce Busisiwe became a Christian last night, Feb. 9th!  [See photo and caption below] I came home late from a teaching, but Busi heard me from her bed and cried out, "Daddy daddy, I accepted Jesus into my heart!"  She had shared about asking Jesus to come into her heart back in the fall in response to her schoolteacher (Mr. Kilkenny's adopted daughter from China), but was still not understanding it and we just prayed for God to show her more.  Well, He was faithful and it was so special for Thandi to lead her in prayer as she said, "Mommy, I want Jesus to shine out of me and make me to be a better person."  How amazing is that revelation?
I am reminded of the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew 5:14, "...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."  We often pray with the kids at night for those children that don't have mothers or fathers to show them the way in life, or who lack the basics God intends for us, that they may know they still have a Father in heaven who loves them unconditionally, and has hope and a good future for them.  We know Busi is taking this to heart and will be a light to many for the glory of our Lord!

Lastly, just to follow up with the Mexican-American boy I asked prayer for a few updates ago, I have been organizing a pick-up game/training on the field every Thursday after their school lets out and it has been a really good time of informal coaching, encouraging and just building relationship with him and the other guys that show up.  It was actually while we were playing last Thursday that we got the news of Mr. Kilkenny's passing in the hospital.  We all stopped and had a time to come together in respect for the legacy this great man has left behind with the Christian Heritage School he founded with his wife back in 1979 as well as many nations around the world in his Word-centered teaching.  After one of the Brazilian students who knows the Lord prayed and gave thanks for his life, I sensed others wanted to say something so I quickly jumped in with a prayer, and the floodgates just opened from there.  It was an amazing moment as everyone was down on one knee listening to each other pray out one at a time what this man meant to them and taught them about life.  I pray that all of these youth (about 8 or so come to play) would hear the voice of God calling them to greatness in their own lives.

There is always more we could share with you but wanted to just give you a few highlights.  Thanks for your ongoing prayers and support, and please get in touch with us anytime! And let us know whenever passing through Tyler, TX!

Praise Points
  • Great time with family over Christmas break and Thandi finishing strong with her 41 page mid-term paper
  • Thank God for the ongoing healing the Father is doing in Thandi through this difficult time of Mr. Kilkenny's passing
  • Great feedback of outreaches we have been able to support back in South Africa and even South Sudan; Ashley reported having been able to feed and help clothe 75 families in a poor community along South Africa's West Coast and he will return with his evangelistic team to disciple and help see those who responded to the Word enter into local churches
  • The couple we helped commission from our Frontier Missions Dept. in Muizenberg doing great in Aswan, Eg8pt, learning the language and building relationships with the Nubian people (making me jealous!:)
Prayer Points
  • Continued prayer for speedy processing of documents and favor with US Immigration for Thandi's Green Card
  • Obedience in our daily walks with the Lord, being open to the people He wants us to impact around us
  • Hearing God for what is next as a family...Thandi finishes her school in May/June and we are looking at doing a Family School of Evangelism that runs at the larger ranch base around 30min away in July (SOE is required to be on staff officially)
  • Along with that, praying into opportunities for the next school year beginning in August here and whether we can travel to Africa near the end of the year

Our kids bring us so much joy

Busi asked the Lord into her heart just last night with tears of joy alongside her Mother after reading the insert in her Bible called HOW TO BE A CHRISTIAN (I came back from teaching a night class on Church Planting Movements, but still got to hear the excitement in her voice...Praise God and we know He will be faithful to reveal more and more of Himself and His purposes for her!)
Kids have been able to see dentist here free of charge, as they qualified for Medicaid (excited with their new toothbrushes, though Busi has to go back for cavity fillings)
Program for our dear Mr. Kilkenny's funeral service (Notice Thandi's quote at the bottom of insert, the only current student chosen: "The way I look at family and education will never be the same.  He exemplified the Father's heart to me" she wrote)

Recent prayer meeting for a YWAM family struggling with Visa and finance issues---what a blessing it is to live together in unity of Spirit and give freely in our love and resources!  
Thank you for also making this possible!

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