Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Wish there were a few more hours today ...

We have been going strong all day shopping, packing, cooking and loading ... here is a quick glimpse of our day.

it's dark here and Mark is busy pulling out the things he needs and packing his personal action packer so we can load our bakkie and head to bed.  We are looking forward to this outreach with the Christ Seminary students in Xigalo. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sorting Equipment

This afternoon we headed to the mission farm along with the Crawford's and Hixon's to help the Vaughan's sort their equipment for the first outreach.  I was excited that Mendi was able to see the mission farm and experience a little bit of the preparation. 

Brit's Graduation

Today we celebrated Brit and Ben's graduation.  It was a beautiful day and several of the mission staff were able to join us as well as our friend Debbie.  We are so proud of both of them and we look forward to watching what the Lord has in store for each of them.

We were also thankful for technology today that allowed Grams (Mark's mom) and Grandmom (Alicia's mom) to skype in.  They were both determined to see her graduation even though it was 3 am in Texas!

Mark welcomed everyone

Pastor Johann presented their diplomas 

Brad closed with prayer
two happy graduates!

a gift from mom and dad

Debbie and Brit
Ben, Abi and Brit

Love these two!
Ben, Mendi and Brit - she has loved them and watched them grow up!

Brit and Abi
Bentley was having fun going for a ride!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Bible Study in Mentz

This month we have only been able to have Bible Study twice.  The 10th we were not able to meet because they had a funeral for their neighbor and then on the 17th Mark was in Malamulele with Kirt and the mission guys working out details for the outreaches.  With outreaches starting next week, tonight was our last Bible study until mid August. 

Tonight Mark finished up the Reasons for understanding the Bible and how to know the Bible.  They spent time tonight looking up several verses and discussing them.  

2 Timothy 2:15  "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."

1 Peter 2:2  "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation"

Psalm 119:11 "I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."

Psalm 119:38  "Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared"

Psalm 119:105 "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path."   When Mark asked for someone to read this one, Jankie quickly started sharing it from memory ... he was all smiles!

We enjoyed digging in the word with them tonight and are looking forward to moving in to the New Tribes Curriculum: Building Firm Foundations in August.  We will start going through Genesis.

Winter is here and we are thankful Jereminah wanted to meet in her living room instead of outside. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thank You Julia

Today we said good-bye to Julia as she started her long trip back home to California.  We can't believe that this year has gone by so fast.   Julia arrived last May 2012 and joined us on outreach with Samaria Mission as an Outreach Missionary and then she stayed with us and basically became Luke's 6th grade teacher.  (Click here to "Meet Julia")

We just wanted to take a minute and say "Thank You" to Julia for taking a year of her life and serving the Lord here.  She was a huge help to us as a family.  One of the biggest blessings that came from her time here was that I was able to be more involved in the day to day work within Samaria Mission as well as being able to travel with Mark to some of the conferences in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

We wanted to share a song she sang this past Sunday at Christ Baptist Church as well as two videos her dad put together highlighting her time here.

Check out this video and this video that her dad made.

Here is a letter from Julia ...

My Year in South Africa
I have been serving in South Africa since May 17, 2012. After only two weeks of being here, I was awarded the opportunity to attend a mission outreach in Mozambique with the Samaria Mission Team. God began right away at opening my eyes, but mostly my heart, to His word, the people, and to my life. I thank God for all the experiences I had, the people I met, the trials I endured, for my spiritual growth, and the things I learned.
                Upon arrival the Raley’s(the family I lived with and helped) were as foreign to me as I was to them, but thru the grace of God and the common love we shared in Christ: we have become as close as family. They have been a blessing to me as I hope I have been to them. I thought I was going to be the teacher of their young boy Luke; as it turned out I became the student of God thru them. They instructed, mentored, and taught me thru their lives, love, and compassion. They helped pick me up and held me accountable for my actions. They loved me thru my struggles, and gave advice when it was needed. My life here would have been very difficult without the bonds that we created early in this experience.
                Mark and Alecia always seemed to know when I needed comfort and talked me thru some difficult times. They know how to brighten the days at the house with their attitudes and laughter. they listen with such understanding and have been easy to talk to when I need a good laugh or a serious conversation. With Brit and Luke there is never a dull moment at the Raley house. I enjoyed the opportunity to see them both grow this year. We have had fun times along with some difficult times but we always managed to work everything out, and the good always outweighed the bad. Luke has done such a great job in school. Sometimes it was challenging for the both of us, but God has always been present. I want to give God the credit for our success this year; for Luke as a student and for me as the tutor. I could not have asked for a better family to assist. They show everyone God’s love constantly, but it was especially evident to me.
                Alecia has been God’s gift to me. She has taught me to depend on God and to not always do it on my own. God is still teaching me to be less independent and allow people to show me God’s love thru their efforts. I want to depend solely on Him and I will continue to strive in that part of my walk. I can’t thank Alecia enough for caring so much to invest her time into teaching me in this and other areas of weakness in my life. I will miss the Raley family so much; the discussions, the laughs, the prayers, etc. I have learned to invest in myself to continue to grow into the woman God wants me to be, I will only stop growing when He calls me to claim my prize and live eternally with our Lord, Jesus Christ.
                I have made great friends in my cell group that will never be forgotten. Thru our bible studies in Romans to other different topics that always seemed to convict me in one way or another you assisted in my growth. They helped me so much in my walk and life since I have been here. I hope I was able to return the favor at least once in the last year. Thank you all for allowing me to be a part of your lives.
                Patience, my dear friend, our Christ centered conversations were such a blessing and always helped keep my spirit raised. We encouraged one another and held each other accountable in the Lord’s eyes. She has always encouraged me by being the God fearing woman she is, and I have seen her to continue to grow in her walk since we have been friends. I only hope that I keep growing as she has in the love of the Lord, even as I return home.
                I want to thank some of the leaders of the youth group that I had an opportunity to work and worship with. Thank you Gerhald, Nathan Vaughan, Nathan Odede, Marzelle, Leon, Dorcas, and Riana for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the meetings with the youth. Being a part of the youth group taught me a lot of how to grow into a mature Christian and to have an open mind while being with them. I had a lot of fun being a part of the group. All of you have been great examples of God with your servant attitudes and love for each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to serve along with and am pleased to call myself one of you if only for a time. I will remain in prayer for all of you and for the youth group that it will continue to grow and that hearts will be touched and eyes open to the truth, and that a hunger for the Gospel and for growth in each of the lives that you minister to will come to benefit God’s Kingdom.
                Samaria Mission please allow me to thank you whole heartedly for the opportunity of a lifetime in letting me serve alongside the great team you have in Mozambique during the 2012 outreach. It was an amazing experience that will never be forgotten. I got to know many people from the team as well as people from all over the States who gave their time and money to assist in the outreach mission. This experience has taught me how much you do daily, weekly, monthly, and annually, in prayer and work; from preparing to actually being in the bush for months without the luxuries of what most people find to be essential. Thank you for giving all that you have to further God’s Kingdom, may he bless you and protect you as you continue to do His will. I will miss each and every one of you as I return home.
                Christ Baptist Church, thank you for welcoming me into your congregation this past year I have enjoyed the fellowship of fellow Christians. I appreciate the convicting words of God being taught at the pulpit and I know God was speaking thru you. You have shown me thru the actions of your congregation on how to serve with a servant’s heart and attitude. I want to thank you for the opportunity for me to use my voice to serve and worship God during your services. I thank God for my gifts and only desire and passion to use my voice for His praise and the furthering of His Kingdom. My time in South Africa is coming to an end but it is only a different chapter. I believe God is working amongst us and we shall meet again hopefully in this lifetime, if not then I want to just say that I am pleased to say that I am better for knowing each one of you and I can only imagine on what impact you will have, in God’s name, on the people of South Africa and Mozambique.

Prayer Requests
1.       For God to place His hand of protection over me as I fly home on May 21st, 2013.
2.       For my sister and her fiancé; That they find love and happiness in each other but mostly in God and His plan for their lives.
3.       For God to continue His work in me and allows me to become the God fearing woman that He wants me to be.

Thank you so much CBC for letting me be a part of your church family! You are truly amazing people and such great examples. I love you all, God Bless!!

Here are a few pictures from the airport today ... 


Brit "doing the Julia pose"


Julia will be missed but we are excited to see what the Lord has for her next.