Saturday, April 9, 2016

Mentz Bible Study

Several years ago, God put into mine and Alicia’s hearts to start a Bible study group Mentz where Meriam and Jankie live.  Both worked at our house in the garden and in the house.  It has been a great blessing to share God’s grace, mercy, and goodness in our lives and how God’s love is so great that He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our Savior.  What a joy to share the Truth with this Bible study group.

We started using the Fundamentals of the Faith then went into New Tribe’s Building on Firm Foundation.  It is a chronological teaching of the scripture.

Jankie has since found other employment so he has not attended in years, but God continues to provide new people to the group.  In 2015, a young man, Samuel Mokumo, has been attending the group.  This young man finished matric in 2015 but was not happy with his grades so he has taken the initiative to redo a year so he can score better.  This young man enjoys God’s Word and will often quote verses that pertain to the study we are talking about.  I would love to see this young man attend Christ Seminary here at Christ Baptist Church.  Samuel would be trained and could be a local pastor in Mentz. 

This past Teusday, April 5, 2016, I had the joy of continuing to teach how God fulfilled His promise to the Israelites as He provided a way into the “promised land” of Canaan.    I personally love to read the account of Exodus and how God provides for His chosen people even when it seems the times are tough, but also how God shows His sovereignty.  The Israelites as a people group had to trust God and be obedient to His commands.  Even though, a generation had to die before they could enter promise land, Joshua and Caleb were two men who believed God, trusted Him, and had faith in Him as a result they got to experience the promise of entering Canaan. 

Please continue to pray for this Bible study group and for God to provide a man to come along the village of Mentz that will preach the Word so that a revival can take place.  
Here are some pics over the last 3 months in Mentz ... 

Julie and Michelle were visiting from the US in March

Brit's Honor Society Ceremony

We are so proud of Brit and how hard she has worked her first two semesters in college.  She was given an invitation to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and they had a ceremony on March 31st.  Mark's sister, Stephanie, along with CB and Codi (friends from PaulAnn) and my mom where there to support her that evening.  We are thankful for technology that allowed us to "be there" as well.  It was 1:00 in the morning but we wanted to be apart of her special night.

Mozambique Leaders Training and Visas

As February approached we began to think and plan for the February Leaders Training in Mozambique.  William, Sharyn and Derrick go to Xicumbane and Mark, Member and Brad go to Mbuzi.  Last year, I went in with them each month but so far this year I am needed at home.  Many reasons led to this: since Kim was preparing to get married she was not able to stay with Luke and the Hixon kids and Debs needed help in her recovery right now.  So this season I am staying home and taking care of Luke, Debs and the Hixon kids while the guys go into Mozambique.  As much as I miss the monthly trainings right now I would not trade this season for anything.  Our house is FULL and BUSY but I LOVE it.

As most of you may know, last June we found out that we are no longer able to get Visas at the Mozambique border.  We now can only get them in Pretoria at the Mozambique Embassy and we must have a letter of invitation from the main church in Maputo. and the most we are able to get a Visa for is 90 days multiple entry (if the letters states that).  This is a process to say the least.  Long story short ... we did not receive a letter in time for Mark and Brad to get a Visa for the February training.  We did receive one in time for the March training but it was only for a single entry over 30 days.  The guys made the trip to Pretoria and returned the next day with the Visa.

Each time we need to get a Visa for Moz. we have to have the letter, travel to Pretoria and turn in the application, pay for the Visa, stay the night somewhere and then go and pick up the Visa the next afternoon.  As you can see this is becoming very costly.  We continue to trust the Lord for Him to make a way to get the correct letters we need and for Him to provided the funds for us to continue to get the Visas needed so we can continue to serve the Lord in Mozambique.

The guys headed into Mozambique on March 4th and went to Matsilele for the weekend.  They were able to take a solar panel, battery and lights that were given by a team last year to help the church in Matsilele.  It was a great weekend with Pastor Robert and his family as well as the church family.

Derrick showing Robert the solar panel

hanging lights in the church

Brad entertaining the kids

first service with lights!
Sunday morning service
Sunday Morning service
 On Tuesday they headed to Mbuzi for the leaders training.   Member, Mark and Brad shared the teaching responsibilities and Masango helped translate.  They are still working their way through the Fundamentals of Faith curriculum.  We are excited to have the complete book translated and printed in the Xitsonga language.  It is exciting to finally have some Biblical curriculum in their own language.

Brad giving Aaron a copy of the book he helped translate

Member explaining about the new book
  Our translating team, Member, Derrick and Aaron, continue to work through translating the New Tribes Material.  This is a long process but one that will benefit the believers in the Limpopo area as they begin to get Biblical material in their own language.

This is a new method of learning for the leaders as they are now having to get used to taking notes, following along in the material and learn how to use it to prepare sermons and teaching material to use in their local churches.  As you can imagine this is a slow process but one that we are all excited to be apart of.  Please continue to pray for these men and women as this is the heart beat of what we do.  These men and women are key in the Gospel continuing to go out into their communities for generations to come.

Masango and Jane's newest son

Member explaining the flip charts

A Post from Deb's - her break

At 12am on the 25th of December I woke up to find the Christmas tree lights still on, my battery operated candles still flickering and my television still blaring. I had unintentionally fallen asleep on top of my slick bed cover in my slick nightgown.  As I got up, still sleepy, my mind was not only filled with what needed to be switched off etc but my heart was filled with great sadness at the thought that this would be the first Christmas without Dad. 

Concentrating on getting off the bed safely did not even feature.
Before I knew it my feet had slipped out from under me and I had slid off the bed and landed on my right side on the floor.  Somewhere on my way down I had heard a loud snap.  My left arm was in pain and I guessed that I had broken it though being my only functioning arm, I prayed that it was only dislocated.

I lay on the carpet for an hour, struggling to get myself up.  However, as I lay there I experienced a deep sense of God's Peace.  Since Dad's death in September,  I had been so busy trying to help Mum, deal with the estate, fight insurance companies who were refusing to pay out, in short, I was so busy chasing my own tail that my relationship with the Lord hardly existed.  Lying on the carpet I knew without a doubt that my Lord had an appointment with me. He had taken the time to throw me a curve ball, I knew that I was embarking on a journey that would redirect my focus back to Him. 

 I felt incredibly loved by my Lord. Isaiah 57:15 “ For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite."

Eventually, I managed to curl my feet around the legs of my bedside table and use my stomach muscles to pull myself up into a sitting position.  From there I was able to pull my cellphone off the bed and call the Raley's, amazingly using my “useless” right hand to make the call.

Over the past 4 years I have become very close to the Raley family.  They are one of the families who live close by and who have a set of keys to my flat.
Mark and Alicia took me to the hospital and by 3am I had been booked in and scheduled to be operated on in the morning.  X-rays showed that my humerus had fractured badly and that I needed a plate and screws. I was devastated! 

Such a bad break to my left arm meant that my independence was at risk.   For the rest of that night and into the following day I purposed to take every thought captive, refusing to allow fear of what the future could hold to overtake me.  Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
  I was eventually wheeled into the theatre holding room with Mark and Alicia beside me at around 2pm on Christmas day.  They had brought a couple of Christmas gifts that had been under my tree for me to open.  I was extremely uncomfortable because I had been lying in the same position since I had been admitted the night before. Changing position required the use of my left arm which was broken and it was difficult for others to help me.  There was much laughter as I tried to open the gifts with “useless” my right hand.

Two hours later, on my way back from theatre, still groggy I was overwhelmed to find Alicia waiting for me in my ward.  I felt extremely loved.  The operation had gone well and I came out with a plate and 8 screws.
I stayed in hospital for 4 nights.  

 Though the nurses couldn't seem to grasp the fact that my left arm was broken, my right arm is nonfunctional and that I actually needed feeding etc. I had a wonderful team of church family who took turns at meal times to visit and feed me.  On Sunday, December 27th, The Raley's showed up with a flask of American coffee and a church sermon to listen to that morning. 

For the first month after my operation I stayed with Basil and Annette, very close friends of mine. This family embraced me as one of their own.  Annette being a qualified nurse was able to give me the nursing I needed during the early days after my op. I was completely dependent on her for everything from simply getting up off the bed, bathing, brushing my teeth, feeding, literally everything. The only thing I could do was sit in a comfy chair with my tablet and the Word of God (turning the page simply by swiping the screen was an accomplishment in itself).  This is exactly where I needed to be, hours in His Word and in prayer.

I could not even check my emails, couldn’t follow up on Dad’s estate, couldn’t check up on Mum and her finances.  All I could do was sit at the feet of Jesus.  Though this was a time of anguish, great uncertainty about the future, having to swallow my pride and accept help from everyone around me, it was a time of rest and a time of sweet fellowship with my Lord.  It was a time that I would not exchange for anything in the world.

Everyday was a celebration as pieces of my independence slowly returned to me.  Amazing how we take the simple act of getting up off the bed for granted, the joyful privilege of dressing oneself, the privacy of being able to use the bathroom independently!

The bone in my arm has healed well but the Radial nerve was bruised when I fell and as a result I have a “drop wrist” which means that I don’t have wrist function and very little finger function in my left hand.  Recovery of the nerve is an extremely slow process.

I have experienced the Lord’s incredible providence through my Specialist, Physiotherapist and Occupational therapist.  All three insist on seeing me on a regular basis completely free of charge.  I have seen the Lord’s kindness through various people who transport me to my appointments.

Since late January, I have been living with the Raley’s.  Although in the beginning I was still very dependent, I was yet again made to feel part of the family. Their house is spacious and perfect for me to be able to use my electric wheelchair on days when I am particularly tired.  Mark took the time to build a ramp so that I can get into the house with my electric wheelchair. 

 While all the work was going on Alicia, Annette and I took some time to relax in the pool!  

He also put a rail in the shower so that I could shower independently.  Alicia is very sensitive to my needs and is always available to help, she knows that the ultimate goal is for me to regain my independence and move back into my flat and so she does whatever she can to help enable me to accomplish more and more on my own.

Mark has taken charge of my home therapy which includes electrode treatment.  We have all had many moments of great laughter during therapy, moments of absolute joy when we see slightest signs of wrist movement.  We have also had times of despondency and disappointment when it seems as if there is no improvement.  But these times drive us all back to our knees in prayer and remind us that God is Sovereign, His timing is not ours, His Will is not always our will but His promise to never leave us is sure.

 At times I become impatient, wanting my recovery to speed up so that I can go back to full independence but I realize that this time with the Raley’s is a very special gift from the Lord.  I am truly enjoying the experience of being part of a loving family, a God-fearing family and I pray that He will use me in their lives as much as He is using this family in my life.

Team Triathlon

This year Luke began training for the Ebenezer Mile, which he has swam for the last several years.  We found out closer to time that we had a conflict that day ... Nathan and Kim were getting married.  At first, Luke wanted to do the Mile and go to the wedding but it was going to be difficult to do both.  Then, he decided that this year instead of the Mile he would do the Triathlon that was scheduled for the weekend before.  They allow people to form teams so he asked Noah and Stephen to join him.   Luke did the swim leg, Noah did the bike leg and Stephen did the run leg of the race.  We made a day of it and we are very proud of them.  They finished the race and enjoyed it.  They are talking about doing it again next year.

getting ready

Luke is in this picture!

Noah waiting for Luke to finish the swim
Stephen coming through the finish line

Proudly showing their participation medals