Thursday, February 28, 2013

Misc. things from February

February came and went! We just wanted to post a few random pictures from February ... 

February 3rd was our missions evening at the farm.  Be sure to check out the mission Facebook page to see more photos from the evening.

Mark busy engraving our silverware to use for the mission evening.

Luke had a swimming Gala earlier in the month.  He swam one race on a Friday evening and then one race the next afternoon.  He did a great job.  

Pizza Night

Valentine's Day meant mom makes heart pancakes.  We also enjoyed a nice Valentine dinner at CBC on the 16th.  The youth did a great job.  Brit and her friends worked most of the day cooking and setting up for a special evening.  


 Brit, Julia and Cait watched the Oscars together ... Brit might have been a little under dressed for an evening at the Oscars.  When asked where her dress was, she responded, "still in the store, and will probably stay there for a long time."

 Mmaphuthego came to visit a few times 

Family Fellowship Night with our friends The Isiaho's.  Currently we meet every other week and we are going through a Bible Study called Fundamentals of Faith as families.  It has been a great time together as families. 

Got a special treat from the States. We have already eaten two packages and we are saving the last one for awhile! 

How many people find these for sale at the grocery store??? 

found this in our tub! 

We have enjoyed the first tomatoes from our garden. 

Alicia went to help Debbie sort through donated clothing and medical supplies.  

Mark, along with Brad and Ben, helped William with the MAN truck.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Report from William, our Missions Pastor, on the Flood relief in Mozambique

A Report from William Vaughan on Flood relief in Mozambique February 2013 ....

Whenever there is a disaster around the world it is often far removed from us that we can’t and don’t do much, if anything, to help. Now we have had a disaster on our doorstep with the recent floods in South Africa and Mozambique. The area where we minister in Mozambique has been especially affected and when we heard that the Pafuri Border Post was closed because of the flood damage we felt helpless as there was no way that we could get into that area.
We saw how God opened up a way for us to go and investigate firsthand what was needed and in what way we could help. If it were not for our past relationships with Kruger Park officials and the border officials in both South Africa and Mozambique, we may not have been given the permission to travel on closed roads and pass through a closed international border. But here we see how God prepares the way for what He wants to accomplish. On the 5th of February we were granted favour by Kruger Park to travel to Pafuri Border Post. On arrival at the border post the police Captain at first said we had to turn back but then after hearing that we had permission to travel through Kruger he said we could go through to Mozambique to speak to the authorities there.
On speaking to the Chief of the Post of Pafuri in Mozambique, who we found close by, he told us that World Food Programme (WFP) had delivered maize and beans. The villages closer to Pafuri could get their share of the food more easily but the rest of the food, 15 tons of it, needed to be taken to some of the villages further away but he did not have the means to do this. Immediately we offered to go back to Polokwane to get our 4x4 trucks to be back the next day to deliver this food. He was so grateful for this offer that he assured us that he would facilitate access in and out of Mozambique with our vehicles even though there was no Immigration or Customs control.
The next morning (6 Feb) we were back with our two trucks (SAMIL 20 and 1965 MAN truck) and two smaller vehicles (Land Rover and Colt) and loaded 8 tons of the food and headed out to the village distribution points that fall under Pafuri. The Chief of the Post and two other officials travelled with us to make sure of the smooth distribution of the food. Our vehicles were the first to go down this “road” since the floods. Needless to say we got stuck in some really bad mud holes and also patches where huge amounts of sand had been deposited. It took us the whole day to travel about 60 km to Salani where we needed to get to with this load, offloading at the different villages along the way where the food would be distributed from. After unloading the last of the food we put up our tents, had something to eat and bush-showered and got to bed close to midnight.
We were told that we would never be able to go beyond Salani to deliver the rest of the food as a “bridge” over a ravine had washed away. So first thing in the morning (7 Feb) we went to see what needed to be done to get the food to where it needed to get to. As no suitable route could be found to go around we asked if the village could fix the ravine crossing before we got back with the next load. We headed back to Pafuri to load the rest of the food (7 tons). We arrived late in the afternoon and the trucks were loaded so that we could head out first thing the following morning.
We were on the “road” just before 7 AM (8 Feb) and now that we had negotiated most of this road already it was easier, but a heavy load can still bog you down. On arriving at the precarious ravine crossing the repairs were still not completed and not quite as wide as we would have liked and so decided to try get the SAMIL 20 through the ravine next to the in-progress bridge building. Bad move, got stuck. It wasn’t long and the bridge was completed and our efforts to get the SAMIL out were not going as well as we wanted and decided it would be best to get all the other vehicles across the bridge and then pull the SAMIL out with the MAN. The bridge was sturdy enough and in no time we were on the road again. The last 15 km to the last distribution point at Matsilele went quite well except for getting stuck in the sand at one point and having to sort out fuel starvation on the MAN and having to make a plan for the accelerator pedal that broke on the SAMIL.
It was just after 1PM that we left Matsilele to return to Pafuri after we unloaded, which means it took about 6 hours to get there. The return trip took us about 3 hours. The “road” was now accessible and well trod with our vehicles. After a hot and exhausting few days we returned to Polokwane on Saturday 9th February with overwhelming hearts of gratitude to the Lord for opening the way for us to be able to help some of these villages we minister in.
So what now? This food that was delivered we were told will only last the people about a month. The Chief of the Post has contacted us to say that WFP will deliver more food to Pafuri at the end of the month and asked if we could help distribute food again. The first run will be to a village, Makondezulu (we understand that this village is yet to get any food relief), that falls under Pafuri but is about 180 km away. Another request is for seed. We are currently working on finding out the best source for seed as it could be a problem taking it in from South Africa. If we can take from SA there are regulations regarding not taking any genetically modified seed. As time goes on we will also monitor any shortfall and other needs especially once the hype of helping during the immediate relief is over and more long-term needs are overlooked.
Therefore the need right now is having the funds for fuel for our vehicles to be able to go on a second food run as well as to be able to purchase seed, either in South Africa or Mozambique. As you can imagine operating two heavy duty trucks is costly.
We want to thank all those who have helped so far and those who have indicated to help as the need arises. May our Lord be glorified in what we do “for the least of these brothers and sisters”!
--William Vaughan

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week 3 in Mentz

This week we had to change the Bible study in Mentz to Thursday instead of Friday because we are in charge of Burger Bash at CBC on Friday.  Before we left our house today, Jankie and Meriam were telling me how much everyone enjoyed last weeks study, even their aunts neighbor, who is a sangoma.  We did not know last week that a sangoma came to the study.  

We headed out to Mentz today and first stopped at Meriam's house to get two of her children.  When I carried some water into Meriam's house, her granddaughter, Surprise came over to me.  I picked her up and she was talking to me but of course I needed a translator.  So I asked Meriam what she said.  She told me she said, "where is the wood?"  I thought this was funny, sometimes when we visit we bring wood to them.  She is so cute! 

on the way to Mentz
one of the main roads off the highway in Mentz
Meriam's road - had to use 4X4 in some spots of it!

Meriam and her daughter Mmaputhego
 We left Meriam's house and headed toward Jankie's to pick up his wife Gladys.  On the way, we stopped and a friend of theirs was selling walkie/talkies and he gave them some.  It smelled really good but not so sure how it tastes.  Meriam told me they are really good and that she would make us pap with chicken feet soon.  I will let you know what I think! 

Jankie enjoying some chicken feet
 Tonight, Mark reviewed from last week the Old Testament books.  They answered his questions about the different books.  Then he continued this week going through the New Testament and focusing on how to find a verse in the bible.  He showed them the Table of Contents and encouraged them to use it until they get familiar with their bibles.  He showed them on the white board how to read a scripture reference to know how to find it ... John 3:16 ... John is the book; 3 is the chapter and 16 is the verse.  When he finished with the today's lesson, Jereminah asked Mark if he would let her know what scriptures he is going to use next week so she can look them up beforehand. 

 About halfway through a car drove slowly by and then turned around and stopped his car and watched for a minute or so.  Then he drove to the front of our bakkie, turned off his car, got out and came to the gate.  He then lit his cigarette and walked in and around to the back of the group and sat down.  He didn't say much, had his shirt unbuttoned and just listened for about a minute.  Then he got up and left.  Not sure who he was. 

I got to hold Mmaputhego so Meriam could take notes! 


Mark is explaining that there is The Gospel of John AND there are 3 Letters from John
When Mark asked for someone to close in prayer, Meriam led the group in singing The Lord's Prayer.  Mark told them their homework for next week was to look in the Bible and find where the verses are for The Lord's Prayer.  Meriam looked at me and quietly asked me what page it was on ... I told her she had to look it up herself! She just laughed! 

When Bible study was finished, we were saying our good-byes and Meriam tells me that Julia, who is a sangoma, wants to move anywhere I move!  I hugged Julia and told her I wasn't moving anywhere right now and she just laughed. 

Mark summed up our time today like this ...  Introducing how the Bible is put together in different books, chapters, and verses was today's objective in our Bible study. To show how the contents helps them find the books with the Bible and then discover that there is a Gospel according to John and three letters written by John. We pray that God will now speak to their hearts and transform them into born again believers as they grow.
By the end of the study there were 15 adults and 6 children.  Some of the things they asked for us to pray for this week are ... 
for the children to pass school
job opportunities 
for the sick

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bible Study in Mentz

We had our second Bible study in Mentz today and Jankie and Meriam were very excited.  Today there were 38 people there, well 39 really if you count the baby :)!  Mark is going very slow with them as we see they know some scriptures but they really don't know anything about the Bible and how to use it.

Last week, Mark covered the first two lessons in from the New Tribes;  Building On Firm Foundations book 2. 

Last weeks lessons ...
1.  The Bible is God's message to all people.
2.  The Bible tells us what God is like and that He alone existed before everything and everyone else.  
He decided before moving on he wanted to spend some time going over the Bible with a basic "Introduction to the Bible." (As he started, Meriam asked him to reteach last weeks lesson since there were so many new people.  He explained to her that he would go over some of the things during his lesson today.) 
He encouraged them to memorize 2 Timothy 3:16 ... "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness."  
He went through the different books of the Bible starting with the Old Testament (39 books) and showed them the different sections and what they are about.  Basic Overview.  
The Pentateuch (5 books)
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy

Historical (12 books) 
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther
Poetic (5 books) 
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Solomon
Major Prophets (5 books) 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel
Minor Prophets (12 books)
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi
Even though the sun was setting they wanted to keep going so he started with the New Testament (27 books) and explained that it is also referred to as the New Covenant.  In the New Testament we find out about: 
- the life of Christ
-the way of salvation
-the beginning of Christianity
-instruction for Christian living
-God's plan for the future 

He started to show them how the New testament is divided starting with the 

Historical (5 books) 
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John (known as the Gospels) and Acts

He had them look up John 20:31 and list the two reasons that are given for the writing of John's gospel.  Those that had bibles, quickly started looking in the Table of Contents to find out where John is located.  Once they found the page, someone read the verse.  Mark walked them through what it says.  I went around to some that were struggling and showed them how they could look at that verse and find the answers to the question ... 

John 20:31 ... "but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.  

After this Mark stopped and told them that we would finish the New Testament next week.  They were all so thankful that we came and told Mark how they enjoyed the lesson.  One lady even said it was not long enough.

I got to watch Mmaputhego so Meriam could listen to the study. 
 Mark asked them if there was anything that we could specifically pray for and here is what they said ... 
 - peace for the community
-for the kids school
-for those who are sick
-for the Bible study

Please join us in praying for them this week. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Our staff returned from Mozambique today!

 Our staff that spent the week in Mozambique delivering food and returned today at 2:30.  We praise the Lord for safe travels and for allowing the mission to have a role in delivering the food that was donated to the villages of Xitsusweni, Salani and Matsilele by the World Food Program operated by the United Nations.

 Please take the time to read Doug and Debbie Crawford's blog highlighting the trip...

Also, we encourage you to check out the missions facebook page to see the daily updates from their week in Mozambique.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Bible Study in Mentz

Today was our first Bible study in Mentz at Meriam's house.  We picked Jankie up from his job today and drove out to Mentz (around 25 minutes or so) to Meriam's house.  It was a great time and we were excited that 8 people were there.  Meriam along with her daughter Dineo and son Tummi and Tummi's friend France, Meriam's friend Emily, Jankie and his wife Gladys along with Jankie's mom Anna.

We are using the New Tribes;  Building On Firm Foundations book 2.  This book focuses on cross cultural evangelism focusing on God's story of redemption, beginning in Genesis and concluding with the ascension of Christ. 

 As we go through the teaching we hope they will come to a place where they have a clear understanding of ...

God's nature and character
Their own sinfulness, helplessness and hopelessness
Christ's all-sufficient saving work through His death, burial and resurrection.

Today Mark covered the first two lessons.  
1.  The Bible is God's message to all people.
2.  The Bible tells us what God is like and that He alone existed before everything and everyone else. 

Before Mark started, he made sure everyone had a Bible.  As he taught and Jankie translated, they were listening intently and answering questions.  As Mark finished teaching he stopped and said that we would continue next week and Emily, one of Meriam's friends, said it wasn't long enough!

As I was holding one of the babies during the study so Mama Anna could listen, I was remembering back to 2008 when we stayed an extra week in South Africa after our outreach to Mozambique.  During that week we interviewed with Samaria Mission and the Elders at CBC and we also enjoyed dinner with three different families.  I remember being told that if we can at all afford it in our budget, it is good to hire someone to help you around the house and in the garden as it provides a job for someone who needs one to provide for their family.  Honestly, this was so far from anything we could imagine.  After all we were moving here to become missionaries, what do you mean hire someone to help?!?!?!  Well, we went back to the States and we began to pray that if this was what the Lord wanted us to do then He would provide for it AND He would provide the right people.  We also prayed that this would become a ministry opportunity for us as well.  What better way to get to know someone than to have them in your home a few days a week.  Over the last three years, we have developed a great relationship with both Meriam and Jankie (who are cousins) and it has been exciting to see the Lord drawing them to Him!  I have to say that as I held that little girl, looked at the people intently listening while holding their bibles and looked at over the village of Mentz, I was thanking the Lord for opportunity He has given us to serve Him here in South Africa and Mozambique.  I pray that as we meet each week that His NAME WILL BECOME KNOWN throughout the village of Mentz!

here is a little glimpse of our time in Mentz today ... 

When we arrived Meriam wanted us to see where the water is coming up from the ground.  We have had so much rain over the last month that this whole area behind her house has water coming up from the ground.  

this is where the water comes up naturally after all the rain
this is the view behind her house
this is her garden on the side of the house
You can see how they guide the water to drain away from the front of the house

Jankie and Mark going over a few things before class


Tummie, Meriam's son (in blue) and his friend France
left to right:  Meriam, Emily, Gladys and Anna
my new friend
left to right: Tummie, France, Jankie and Mark

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mozambique Flood Relief Opportunity and Prayer Request

Early this morning we had a group of our staff that traveled to Mozambique. We were given special permission to drive to the border and see the officials there. Our staff team was hoping that they would be able to drive into Mozambique and drive down to Xicumbane and check on the various villages and church leaders along the way. They plan is to also see Pastor Ellias from Dumela and Pastor Masango from Mabuzanne at the Pafuri border to get an update on how things are across the Limpopo River. They are planning to spend two nights in Mozambique and assess the damage as well as see what we as a mission can do to come alongside them and help them during this time.

Please pray for William, Sean, Doug, Debbie, Brad, Jill and Derrick as they travel to Mozambique. We were told that the roads we travel in Mozambique are not passable yet. We will see what they say when our staff arrives. Pray that our vehicles will handle the terrain without any problems.

Please continue to pray for the people in Mozambique that have been affected by the flooding. We will keep you posted as we hear from our staff team throughout the next few days.

This is the update that we got this afternoon ... They were driving in Kruger and almost to the border when they were stopped by a police officer from the South African Police and when William showed him the letter from one of the officials at Kruger (giving us, as a mission,permission to go to the border) the policeman told them to carry on and go and speak to the chief of the post – he was just concerned because both the border posts were still officially closed. William says that they brought police to the Moz border today with helicopter.  

When they arrived to Pafuri, Jill said they saw trees uprooted, houses destroyed and the road is washed away ... BUT one thing they did notice is the the World Food Relief tent that was set up at the border in late August was standing.

They met with the Chief of the Post and he said that the biggest need at the moment is to get the food that was donated delivered to Xitsutsweni, Salani and Matsilele (food distribution points) – they need the MAN truck and Samil for this. The Crawfords and the Hixons are spending the night camping at Punda Maria tonight. William, Sean and Derrick arrived back in Polokwane around 6 pm to get the MAN truck and Samil, Derrick will drive the Land Rover back.  They will leave again at 4 am Wednesday morning. 

William thinks it will take 3 days for them to get the food delivered – they are not sure of the condition of the road. They heard 2 stories, the one version is a guy went in with his vehicle and walked back in knee-deep mud and then the Chief of the Post says that vehicles have gone in and come back. Time will tell which story is right! Also, it has been raining and is expected to keep raining on and off throughout the week.

The next need that we will have is to see how we can help because there is NO food at Makonde Zulu. We are praying for the Lord to provide for us to get aid to this village.

Right now we ask that you join us in praying that the Lord will provide for the needs that we have in order to help the people of Mozambique ...

1. That we need to raise money for the fuel to get the donated food delivered.

2. That we need to raise money for food for Mokonde Zulu. Currently, we do not know how many families this entails.

Would you prayerfully consider donating money to Samaria Mission to help with the fuel costs to deliver the donated  food to Xitsutsweni, Salani and Matsilele (food distribution points) as well as money to help buy food for Mokonde Zulu. 

Please contact us if you have any other questions. Thank you for joining us in prayer.

William, Sean and Derrick arrived back in Polokwane this evening to get the MAN truck and the Samil.  They will be on the road first thing in the morning heading back to Mozambique to begin delivering the food along with The Hixon's and The Crawford's.
Here are some pictures of their trip to the border today...

Kruger - where we turn off the main road to go to the border


it was a paved road in Kruger

Pafuri, Moz

Pafuri, Moz

this is the World Food Program Tent

this gives you a small glimpse at the conditions of the road in Moz.