Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]."  --Hebrews 12:1-2, Amplified Bible

He is Risen!  Jesus is Risen indeed!  Happy Easter to you all as we take time to really reflect and celebrate the obedience and ultimate victory of our Lord Jesus...

This past month has been filled with great times with visitors, fun and meaningful events at the school, and a few challenges along the way.  
Most recently, Thandi had a wonderful time bringing her 4th grade class to our home for an Easter celebration, in which the students prayed words over one another as they washed one another's feet.  I helped in giving a short teaching on all that Jesus was communicating with His disciples during the Last Supper and celebrating the Passover festival in preparation for his arrest later that night. They were all a bit turned off at first, but embraced it more as we talked how much dirtier the disciples' feet would have been and how this in no way hindered Jesus, our Servant King.
It was a real blessing to share with the students the true meaning of Easter, and how Jesus still is calling people from every nation and walk of life to follow His example in today's world.  What a privilege that we could do something like this for a school class!

I have been preparing the elementary students for their annual Track & Field Day that will be this week, which will consist of 8 events, including a relay at the end with chopped up broom sticks:) I just finished working alongside another staff in coaching our Junior High/HS track team at CHS.  I wish we could have gotten more students to turn out, but it ended up being a rewarding time of being able encourage the students individually (all of them improved repeatedly on their PRs) and as a team to build one another up.  It was another learning curve for me, not competing in track in high school, but I was blessed to serve in this capacity.  The only major challenge was rolling my ankle quite badly in a soccer game and needing to follow through on my commitment during those LONG track meets!

BLESSED WITH VISITORS
On April 2nd, I had the honor of baptizing Busisiwe into the family of God as my sister in Christ!  I love that our local church encourages the father's to be able to do this with the children, and that Busi got to do alongside six other new believers, four of them being almost as young as her.
We also got to celebrate Thandi's birthday the next day with all kinds of love coming her way!  We were incredibly blessed to have our friends Steve and Kara Loeppky with their kids visiting us during their Spring Break, and they helped make Thandi's birthday even more amazing with authentic boerewors (South African sausage) shipped in alongside side an assortment of delectable biltong.  What an amazing taste of home for her, and what a great time of fellowship we had with the Loeppkys, though it was way too short.  They were such an encouragement to us in their hearts to serve intentionally, and even helped with doing some Spanish lessons for Thandi's class.

Prior to that, we were able to host my parents for the first time since moving into our duplex, and we had a wonderful time with them, including having them drive with us to camp outside Austin and check out the city the next day during our Spring Break (this was after driving all the way from WA:).  Troopers they are!  They also helped with a full day of running my PE classes with the parachute they had packed along (it was a big hit, and now the pressure is on from the kids to secure one for the school:)  Overall, it was just amazing to see the unique relationships Busi and Elisha can have with their grandparents, and we came away from the visit with so much gratitude in our hearts.  They are missed nearly every day.

HEADING TO SOUTH AFRICA!
Speaking of family, we had been praying and checking tickets for some time now in order to get back to SA for a visit.  We are thrilled to say we got a really good deal on tickets for May 22-July 12.  The primary purpose will be to catch up with Thandi's family around the Johannesburg area, but are also planning to get down to Cape Town to visit all our friends and see how the ministries are going forward.  We wanted to make it a good long visit to make it worthwhile, though we are struggling to find anyone to cover our lease while we are away.  
We are really excited to be spending some quality time with Thandeka's family, as we really miss them.

PRAYER POINTS
  • Holy Spirit to guide our visit to South Africa, including time with Thandi's family as well as friends in different places/ministries
  • Good deal on a reliable rental car for our time in Jozi, as well as tickets to get down to Cape Town and back
  • Someone to help us at least cover June's rent here, or see more of God's provision in that
  • Quick healing of my ankle so I can get back out on the field/court/etc!
We are so grateful for all of you following our journey of faith with the Lord and growing His Kingdom, and look forward always to hearing about yours!

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