Friday, July 31, 2009

Quick Update

We just finished our first outreach with the PaulAnn team and we were here for one day and in a few hours we are leaving to go back to Mozambique. Lots to update just not alot of time. Please pray for the PaulAnn team as they are flying home now. Pray for the next team as they are flying in. Because it is so late (2 am here)and we are leaving at 7 am I thought I would just post some of my journal from the last outreach. There is more but that will follow later.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
It has been awhile since I have had time to write about what is going on. Friday Gena and Roelof came by and picked us up so Brit and I could help her finish shopping. We ran several errands and then went to unload things at her house. Saturday we finished all the errands and then made road food for the PaulAnn team.

The builders tore out the sink in the kitchen and put the new one in. I will say since they took out the sink we did not kill any roaches in the kitchen Friday evening or Saturday.

Saturday the PaulAnn team arrived in Joburg at 6:20. They were an 1 ½ late because they left the states late due to weather. Sean was stuck on the highway for 2 hours (not moving) due to a wreck and did not get to the airport until sometime after 8. The team arrived at Polokwane around 1:45 am on Sunday.
Sunday morning (July 19th) we got up early and by 6:30 we were at Sean and Gena’s loading our stuff in the Land Rover and loading all the road food for the day as well as all the last minute things. By 7:30 we were following Sean as he drove the bus to the Golden Pillow to get the team. We were all so excited to see the PaulAnn team. It was great to see our church family and get lots of hugs. I must admit I had a few tears. It was just so good to see them all. Jill and I sat at the back of the bus and talked to first 2 hours of the trip to get all caught up on all that has happened in both of our lives over the last 3 weeks. Noah and Luke had a great time hanging out.

Our travel to Mabuzane was ok. We had to wait a little longer at the Mozambique border than usual. We made it across the river with no problems at all. I was so proud of Mark, he did such a great job driving across the river. We were about 15 minutes or so away from arriving in Mabuzane and we got a flat tire on the bus. The guys were all busy doing separate parts to take care of getting a new tire on. Some were taking off the old tire, some were working on lowering the spare and a few others were up the road trying to remove the tree stump that caused the tire to get a hole. It is very expensive to replace a tire for the bus. We arrived in Mabuzane and the team immediately began unloading everything and setting up their beds in their tents. Several people helped Mark get our tent set up. Brit and I helped get dinner ready – chili dogs. We ate and cleaned up and everyone went to bed.

Monday we got up and the team had a devotion and orientation and Brit and I helped Gena and Sharyn get breakfast ready. Monday was spent sorting and organizing the kitchen tent and ministry supplies. The team sorted out who would teach, preach and give testimonies when. I also got our tent organized and set for us to live here for 9 days.

The team went out prayer walking in the village and Brit and Luke went with them. We had our first evening service and then everyone headed for bed.

Today was our first full day of ministry. Our team is doing ministry here in Mabuzane as well as going across a river to Charly. A typical day in camp is like this … We wake up at 7 am and then have coffee, tea and hot chocolate with rusks. After everyone is dressed the team sits in a circle and has devotion. Sometimes someone will lead the devotion and sometimes they set up the laptop and speakers and we listen to a message from John Piper and several other pastors. After devotion we eat breakfast and then the team members will either go on hut to hut evangelism or stay and teach the children at 10. Lunch is at 1 and then afternoon ministries began at 2. Here in Mabuzane we have women and men’s ministry and then someone will play with the kids. The rest of the team will drive to Charly and hold men’s, women’s and children’s ministry. At 5 they start the water for showers and we begin to make dinner. We eat around 6:30 and the service begins at 7. After the service people can have coffee or hot chocolate and they visit about the day or play a game and then get ready for bed.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It is the beginning of our 3rd day in camp in Mabuzane. It is 11:25 here. We have just finished up our morning duties which include… breakfast, clean up, cleaning the shower boards and toilets. I have just finished cleaning up our tent for the day and I am now sitting outside my tent listening to my Ipod and catching up on journaling and reading. Mark is with the leaders of the surrounding villages that are here for a 2 day training that is being led by Steve (from Florida). Brit went out with the team again on hut to hut evangelism and Luke and Noah are with the children’s ministry helping and playing with the kids. I am so proud at how the kids have helped around camp and how they are interacting with the kids from the village.

My prayers is that our family will grow stronger in our individual walk with the Lord and as a family. My desire for our family is to serve the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Today Jill checked on me to see how I am doing. I must admit I am trying to learn how to cook for so many people at once and it is overwhelming sometimes. I know the Lord will help me to do it but when I think about sometimes I get nervous about the next outreach in Matsilele where I will be the one in charge in the kitchen. Brit will be my right hand man and then Mark and William where be there to help me as well as a lady that is coming on the team that has offered to help as well. I just want to do it well. Lord help me to do all things well. Only with you will that happen.

More to follow ... just know that we are headed into Mozambique to set up camp for the next team. They will arrive in the village on Sunday night. Pray for safe travel, health and most of all for the people in Mateselle. Pray for hearts to be changed.

Love you all and thanks for your prayers and support!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Getting More Settled

Sorry it has been so long since our last update... Not so easy to get online right now. Hopefully when we get back from Mozambique in mid August we will be able to get internet at our house.

Lots have been going in the past several days and I have tried to journal lots of it along the way. I thought since my time online is short right now I would just copy and paste some of my journal, it is a long post so hang in there ...

This was my entry from July 15th, hopefully this will give you an idea of what our days are like right now ...

It is 9:00 here and I just finished getting ready for the day and I am in my kitchen sitting at the table with the curtains open so the sun can keep me warm. I do love the morning here. We have 2 windows in our kitchen and 7 windows in our living room. They all look out to the back yard. No grass but lots of trees and some with flowers. There are so many different kinds of birds here and they are always feeding on the flowers and trees.

Brit is in bed watching a movie on her laptop, Luke is still asleep and Mark left at 7:15 this morning to go to the home affairs office and the bank with William. We have had trouble getting our own bank account open. So hopefully today they can get it done. Long story short, he has tried for 3 days now and after getting letters from the church and utility bill copies from the church for the house etc. he has now been told that we can’t open one because our VISA is a 2 year visitor visa. They looked through his passport and wanted to know why the other 5 years we came we had temporary residence permits (this is what they used to put in our passports at customs each year. Mark had to explain that was because we only came for 2 -3 weeks at a time and now we are here joining Samaria Mission full time as missionaries and it is a charitable organization and that is the only VISA the consulate allowed us to get. They have new FICA rules now that won’t let a visitor open an account. Anyway, this is were we are now and William is taking Mark to home affairs to see if they would do anything about our visa or give us some kind of letter or something and then they had an 8:30 meeting with the manager of the bank. So we will see later what happens.

I am waiting on the builders to come back again. (They always tell me 9 and then walk get here after 11. Yesterday they told me they would be here at 9:15 – we will see. – They are across the street at the church working for the new hostels but were given to us to rebuild the oven cabinet and my sink cabinet.) They tore the old oven and wood out last Friday and are still not finished building the new one and they haven’t started on the sink yet. I am praying for huge progress today!

We noticed a huge difference when they took out the roach hotel (oven and cabinet) but we still have several at the sink and a few down the hall. But it is MUCH better than it was.

We are just ready to get this house fixed and make it a home. When we get back from Mozambique we will start on the bathrooms and have the brick walls plastered and painted. That will make a huge difference. We are also going to have several people form the church over and help us tear out the stage area in the living room. It takes up over ½ of the living room and is a total waste of space. Everyone from the church that has been here looks at it and says oh yes that weird thing must go. It will be a huge mess but nice when finished.

We are having the current team that is in Mozambique over to our house for pizza Thursday night when they get back. Then the Thursday PaulAnn team comes back from Mozambique they will come over for pizza. We are excited to use our house. We knew the Lord gave us this house to use for Him. Just wish it was finished.

Even though it needs a lot of work and it can be overwhelming to us at time we know that this is the house the Lord had for us. It has great potential and I am trying to stay focused on that part. These last 3 weeks have been good for us. It has caused us to totally depend on God and our relationships with Him have grown.

(Funny my doorbell just rang and it was one of the workers – it is 9:23 and he came to get one of the tools he left here. He said he will be back at ½ past 9. He said they must finish today! I said yes and I wonder if he will do my sink cabinet today????) We will see not sure he will be back in 7 minutes. We will see.)

I drove from our house to their house last night (about an 8 – 10 minute drive). Let me just thank you so much to my parents for teaching me all those years ago how to drive a standard. That part for me has not been hard. It is weird shifting with my left hand but I can do it. It just takes a lot of concentration to make sure you turn the correct way and stay on the correct side of the road and watch all the traffic which are going very fast and right on you.

Ok … 10:15 no builders yet, breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast) has been eaten and dishes are cleaned and put away and the floor is swept.

The PaulAnn team arrives on Saturday and they will arrive in Polokwane around midnight. We will see them Sunday as we meet them at the hotel and head out to Mozambique. Sean will drive the team in the big green bus and then Mark will drive Sean’s Landrover and William will drive his bucky (truck). This outreach will be good training for me in the kitchen. Gena and Sharyn will both be there. I will help them with all the meals and take lots of notes on running the kitchen. (I have always helped them in the kitchen and the 2nd year I went was the year Gena’s dad was sick and to be with him the day after we arrived. Jill and I ran that kitchen that year.) We will be with the PaulAnn team in Mozambique then on the 29th we will travel to Kruger and stay the night with them there and then on Thursday the 30th we will travel with them back to Polokwane and they will have pizza at our house. On Friday the 31st William will take the team to the airport in Joburg. We will stay in Polokwane and do laundry. Then on Saturday we will get up and drive with Gabriel (another missionary) back to Mozambique and go to Matsilele to set up camp. We will take two vehicles in and meet Derrick. It will be our job to set up all the tents including the kitchen tent. Basically have camp set for when William brings the team on Sunday night to the village. Sharyn will not come on this outreach so I will be the one in charge of the kitchen. I will have help from Brit and a team member or two but I am the one that needs to keep things going and cook 3 meals a day for 10 days. Pray for me. It should be good.

We will then leave Mozambique on Aug. 12th we will drive back to Polokwane and William will take the team to Kruger and then on Thursday we will meet the team at the mission farm (where William and Sharyn live) for dinner. This is the last outreach. Then the guys will start there monthly trips in for training etc.

Our stuff is scheduled to arrive around the 17th of August. I am kind of hoping it is more towards the end. This way as soon as we get back we can get some of the construction and painted and carpet in the bedrooms before it arrives. It would be really great to get the stage out too but not sure if that will happen. Ideally I would love all the mess over with before our stuff arrives but if not we will make a plan.

Hopefully we will buy a washer/dryer as soon as we get back. We have been able to wash at the Plodnics, Vaughn’s and Mullin’s but it would be nice to be able to have my own again. No dishwasher. We have room for one in our kitchen and a plug for one so maybe when everything else is fixed then we can get one. Not a biggie, just a nice thing to have.

I forgot to tell you about our doorbell. It is the most annoying thing but you just have to laugh at it. When someone pushes the button it plays one of like 6 songs. You never know which song will play and it seem to last forever. Some of them are … Happy Birthday, that lullaby that says “Say Goodnight little baby, and several others. That will get replaced at some point.

Mark went to the phone company because in order to get internet we have to have a landline then we can sign up to get ADSL. So he filled out some paperwork and now we are waiting on them to let us know that we have a work order. Once that happens it could be 6 week before they actually come out and get it set up. So hopefully by September we will have our own. Then we can talk on Skype, and our Vonage phone. Internet is different here you don’t get unlimited access. You only get so many gigs and once you are out for the month you are out. Something we will just have to get used to. Wondering how much our phone will use of it. Guess time will tell.

Ok I will fill you in on my afternoon. Around 3 or so I knew we needed to go to the store and pick up food to make dinner tonight at the Mullins (we have been coming out here and I have been cooking for Nikki and we hang out and watch tv, movies and play online.) Anyway, the builders were still working so I thought I will drive to the mall and go to the store. Mark had me back the car out of the garage and I pulled it around to the front of the house and parked in the yard. (This is where everyone parks because our driveway is so steep.) Anyway, I went in and got Brit because I didn’t want to go by myself. We got in and Mark got the camera since it was my first outing without him. I put the car in reverse and told Brit to pray that I wouldn’t hit anyone or another car on the way, especially in the mall parking lot. (Remember the grocery store is in the mall.) I then proceeded to back out watching for the water pipe that sticks out of the ground and then all of a sudden I hit something! I looked and realized I hit the tree on the other side. I was so concerned with the pipe I completely forgot about the stupid tree. I then looked up and Mark is looking at me with the camera in his hand. (He watched the whole thing happen through the camera.) I opened the door telling him that I just told Brit to pray I wouldn’t hit anything. I got out to look at the damage. I wanted to cry but it was so funny too all I could do was laugh. We have a nice dent on the back of the car that will remind all of us about it forever! It is a hatchback so at least it didn’t crack the back window or the tail light or mess up the lock to the door. Could have been worse for sure.

Well I managed to drive to the mall and back just fine. We went to get Mark and Luke and then I drove to the Mullins.

Mark and William didn’t have any luck at the home affairs office or the bank today. William called the consulate in Pretoria and he talked to a guy and got his contact info. He explained the situation and William has to send him an email tomorrow with all our info, passport and visa copies etc. He asked William lots of questions and William explained that we are here to work with Samaria Mission full time. The guy wanted to know if we will be paid by the church here. William explained to him that all of our money (100% of it) will come from the States. The guy then told William that we MAY be able to go ahead and apply for permanent residence. This would be great, we were told in the beginning that we would have to wait 4 years before that was possible. If we can get the permanent residence status then we would have no problem getting a bank account and even better we would not have to pay the VISA fee every time we go in Mozambique and we could also get a Wild Card at Kruger and it cuts down the cost we have to pay every time we go in and out of Kruger (which you have to go in and out of Kruger just to get to the Moz border) So we will get the email submitted tomorrow and then we will see in mid August when we get back what they say. For now our money just stays in the Samaria account designated for us.

The builders are almost finished with oven cabinet. The oven is in and it works and the builder needs to make the doors to the 2 cabinets. Then the tile guy will come and tile the side that is by the stove. I am hoping they will also stain the cabinet to match the rest of the cabinets. We will see. He also measured the sink cabinet and said he will build that tomorrow. I hope so. I really want the old sink cabinet out of the house before we go to Moz. Otherwise I am afraid the bugs and eggs that live in that area will just get out of control while we are gone.

Not much else is happening tonight. We are going to have chili dogs and watch a movie with Nikki.

Thursday, July 16, 2009
We just finished cleaning up from our first team we had over for pizza. There were 33 people total here to eat (including us). They just returned from Salani and had a great outreach. It was nice to get to talk to some of them and here what the Lord is doing in their lives and how they love Africa and the people in Mozambique.

Mark and I were in the lounge working on our puzzle when the phone rang. It was around 9:30 here. It was William and he said sorry to call so late but he has good news and he had to tell Mark. So I gave the phone to Mark and he proceeded to tell him that he just got home and was checking his email and there was an email from the Executive Director of Bank Accounts at the bank from the main branch in Pretoria. He said he heard we were having problems and that he would see to it that we would get a regular savings account with a debit card on it. Praise GOD!!!! Huge answer to prayer. We have to have an account here in order to get our money from Samaria that was sent over from the states. Mark said it is awesome the way God works … if we didn’t have all these problems with the bank we wouldn’t have contacted the home affairs and consulate here. Then we wouldn’t have found out about the possibility of us being able to apply for permanent residence now instead of waiting for 3 or 4 years.

The builders spent the day at the church building the cabinet for the sink. They came over and brought the cabinet and the doors for the sink and the oven cabinet. They said they will be here at ¼ past 7 in the morning to start and get it finished.

I did drive again today. Brit and I went to the Spar (down the street) for 40 bread rolls and then on to the mall to go the store to buy chicken burgers. Brit and I made the chicken burgers today in our kitchen using our new oven. It worked great and it is very nice to have so much counter space when it comes to making team road food!

July 17th ...
Well Mark woke up in the middle of the night (around 3 am) to find out we have no water. We woke up at 7 and the builders came at 7:30 to get started. We still have no water and we have found out that the whole neighborhood is without water as well as alot of places in town. Not sure how long it will be off.

Brit and I are fixing to head out with Gena to finish all the shopping for the PaulAnn team. We are very excited to see them and spend the next 2 weeks with them.

It will be awhile before I post again. We go into Mozambique on Sunday and will only come out for 1 day then back in again until mid August. Please pray for us and the teams while we are in Mozambique. Pray for our health to remain good. Pray for the hearts of the people to be open to the Word of God. Love you all and thanks for your support. (Sorry we don't have pictures posted yet - we are having trouble with uploading them.)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2 Weeks Already

We have been here 2 weeks already. We are very ready to head into Mozambique on the 19th. I wanted to post a few pictures from our last 2 weeks. I have been having trouble with my pictures uploading so I am just posting a few. Internet is different here. You don't get unlimited access you buy so much and when it is out that month, it is out. Since we are using our friends Internet we are trying not to upload too much. So hope you enjoy the pictures we did post.

Germany ... We flew from DFW to Frankfurt. The flight was 10 hours and we only slept the last 2 hours. We had a 14 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany. We left the airport and took a train into town. We walked around and ended up eating pizza at an outdoor cafe. Then we walked some more and found a town square. It was really pretty. We went in one of the Cathedrals and then walked down to the River and took an hour long cruise down the river. We had ice cream on the deck and it was delicious. After the boat ride we were exhausted so we headed back to the airport about 3 1/2 hours before our plane left. Luke, Brit and Mark all fell asleep on the benches while I watched our luggage and all the people. When we took off we ate dinner and went to sleep and slept almost the whole 10 hour flight to South Africa. We woke up when they were handing us a breakfast tray. Here are a few pictures of Germany.

I was trying to upload a few other pictures of us here in South Africa but it is not working today.

We did buy our frig, freezer (2 separate units), oven and microwave on Monday afternoon. They were delivered yesterday morning. We have had a problem with bugs so the builder from the church is sending over a worker tomorrow to tear out the old oven and cabinet where the sink is. He will build a new cabinet for both the sink and the oven and put the new oven in. Hopefully that will help.

Last night we were invited to go see Ice Age 3 at the movies. It only cost R81 for the 4 of us. That came out to $2.50 per ticket. Crazy. They say that the movies are always cheap here. Nice to know. We then went to the Mug and Bean for dinner. We enjoyed getting to know a couple from the church.

We are doing good. Trying to get the hang of things here. Mark is doing a great job driving and I am working up the courage to try it. Traffic here is crazy, lanes small and people always in a hurry. Not to mention all the people walking everywhere. I am sure I will get the hang of it.

Please continue to pray for ...
our health, we want to remain healthy
our finances/monthly funding
wisdom for us on the house - lots of things need to be done just a matter of funding

Praises ...
A house to live in
A car to drive
friends in South Africa
our health
money to buy the appliances we needed

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another Day in Africa

Yesterday we went shopping with Gena. We went to a place in town to buy 20 new blankets for them to us in camp. Then off to Trade Centre with Gena to help buy food for the PaulAnn team. We filled up 2 flat bed carts. Then we went out to the Mullins to unload and eat lunch then back to Pick and Pay to pick up more food for the team. We made spaghetti for dinner and ate at the Mullins. We grated cheese for cheese spread and made road food for the team coming in on Saturday. Brit has been a huge help and blessing. She seems very comfortable helping with the shopping and serving in the kitchen. She has learned to make salad and homemade dressing. She has also become a pro at wrapping road food in plastic wrap.

Today Mark and Gabriel will finish building a trailer and Brit and I will go buy fruit and veggies for the team. Gena has been organizing 2 teams at once because she only has a couple of days between the next two teams.

Luke is finishing his last day of Holiday Club at the church. He has enjoyed it so much.

Tomorrow we will go with the American Team and the Beakly's and Plodenic's to the Falls that are about 1/2 an hour away. We are going to celebrate the 4th with a hike and brai (BBQ). Should be a fun day.

We are trying to get settled in our house. We have a lot of work to do to it but we are so thankful for the home the Lord has provided for us.