Our little Oasis

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Parks here are rare and you have to pay to get in….we have done this a few times but its not like park days back home where you walk to them and play for a bit…here its a process. They do have some play equiptment at the plant store, but other than that we are lacking recreational spots. Which is why we are SO SO SO grateful for our little garden. Well actually its a pretty good size for this area and we couldn’t be happier. The kids can safely run and play and enjoy the outdoors. We didnt know what a blessing this would be when we rented the house…clearly God knew that we would enjoy it and we are so glad He did! The kids spend so much time out there and now even brownie (the dog) spends his days sniffing around or lounging in the grass. 

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Reagan – Garrett – Everett 

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The unhappy Easter Bunny

The unhappy Easter Bunny

We spent Easter with some friends, the kids did an egg hunt with some kids from their complex (they loved it!) Ev did not like wearing his bunny ears.

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Ministry: GO Challenge, and other bits

We are about 2 months out from OM South Africa’s biggest ministry event this year. The GO Challenge is a 4 day conference followed by a 7 day outreach; taking place in the Western Cape. Since I work on the Short Term team this outreach has been my main ministry focus since arriving here. Its been a huge learning curve as me along with my team-mates have never planned an event to this degree before, but its been a fun challenge…no pun intended! We are expecting around 300 people from all over SA, Africa and Internationals: this will make up about 25 ministry teams that will be sent out all along the Eastern and Western Cape to do ministry. 

What type of ministry?

  • Working in rural mountain farm towns
  • Working in Townships
  • Building up the local church
  • Running Sports Ministry 
  • HIV/AIDS ministries

While the GO Challenge has been my main focus I have also been able to continue working out at our AIDS Hope center, doing a bit of counseling and helping to set up their new trauma therapy program. I love working out there! Its such an awesome community and getting to be there even for a short amount of time during the week is a huge blessing for me. 

Speaking of amazing experiences this week I was able to meet up with our MDT (missions discipleship training) team while they were on their inner city outreach. I spent the night hanging out with The Ladies of the Night, listening to their stories and encouraging them if they were interested in getting out of that life. It was amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time, we spent some time with the girls that are trafficked. They had to stand behind a fence and wait for johns to come in and hire them. And while they were a bit tense and worried about getting in trouble from their pimps they did stand there and talk to us for a bit before their anxiety got the best of them and they moved further down the fence line. The ladies that work the corners were so awesome! They were sweet and smart and very open to us spending some time with them while they waited for work. I am so grateful that I was able to participate and hope there are more oppurtunities to get to spend some more time with these women. 

Prayer points:

  • Final planning and details of the GO Challenge to fall into place
  • More workers for the AIDS Hope centre as there are SO many requests for counseling and not enough hands to help.
  • For more inner city ministry opportunities and when/how I can be apart of it. 

-Amber 

ps – I know the pics of our ministry have been few and far between, the reason for that is that we are not allowed to photograph children and honestly there hasn’t been appropriate times to whip out my camera to take photos. Apologies for the lack of visuals! 

 

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Visit from Yaya

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Our visit with Yaya was so much fun! The kids loved having her around, it was special for me to hear Ev say “Yaya” as he is the kids who has missed out the most when it comes to family time. Thanks Yaya for the new clothes the kids love them…and attempt to wear them daily even though it is not cool enough yet! I will post more of our time with Yaya later but this will have to do for now 😉

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Ministry Series: Diepsloot

I am going to be doing a short series on our ministry so that all of you at home can experience the amazing things God is doing right along with us!

Scott works in 2 townships just outside Pretoria he and his team are working very hard right now to make relationships with community leaders. Their ultimate goal is to begin sports programs that the community and local church can then take over. We want to have sustainable programs and working closely with the community is something that Scott feels very passionate about.

Diepsloot is a township of about 150,000 people:

Many of them live in shacks 3 m by 2 m assembled from scrap metal, wood, plastic and cardboard. Some families lack access to basic services such as running water, sewage and rubbish removal.

Scott and his team are working with a local church, their main focus here is building up and supporting an existing sports program. Last week there were over 100 kids who came out to learn about Christ and soccer….they were told to expect 300 next week once words spreads! This is amazing, however planting roots here and keeping this program alive is the real challenge: Scott and his team will be mentoring local coaches so that they are excited and encouraged to handle this very large task with little to no resources.  Last week scott was able to share the story of Jesus walking on water to 100 kids, they all were very excited and engaged. This just further cements our purpose here; people are starving to know Jesus….and we get to love on these kids and these communities, its such an amazing thing to be apart of and we are honored to get to be here.

Please pray for the coaches out in Diepsloot that they may be protected against the enemy as he will attack them for doing this work. Protect them physically and emotionally as its always a risk to be in the townships. Lastly, that the local church will see this work and rally to support it.

Picture: Scott and this boy are good buddies now…..Apparently he is helping Scott stretch before their session begins.

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-Amber

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Finding our way…

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It’s been a very long time since we have met in this space….my deepest apologies! We have had some requests to lay it all on the line and tell what African living is really like so this is my attempt to explain life here. I will preface this by saying we are right where God wants us to be, its not always easy but living the life He has called you to does come with a lot of peace even in the difficult days.

South Africa is such a strange place to live because you have the poorest of the poor living next to wealth. It’s a first and third nation all wrapped up into one. This fact alone has caused some issues for us in adjusting to this culture. It’s easy to find things that you need: food, clothes, house items etc. But living a “normal” life is kinda out of the question.  This dichotomy of poor and wealth creates a huge opportunity for crime, petty crime and violent crime. Yes we knew that before we moved here but knowing it and living it on a daily basis are two totally different things. This sign that you see is just outside of our complex. So when we leave our house we are on high alert. Hijacking here is common, very common. We will be doing hijacking drills with the kids this coming week, as we found out that if this situation does occur you need to have your children come up to the front with you and everyone must exist out the driver’s door. This is to prevent them from driving off with your kids.

Our family is most vulnerable when we are in our car, this reality causes us to be on high alert while driving, therefore little tasks such as running errands, going to and from places means we have to be alert and prepared. Driving has become a defensive task in which we are always looking out, at night you actually don’t even stop at stoplights you just roll through, as a stopped car is a vulnerable car.  People sell stuff or beg at each stoplight so there are always 10-15 men walking between the cars tapping on your windows to get your attention. Its mostly harmless, more annoying than anything else but its also where the most smash-and-grab hijackings occur.  And then there are the house break-ins, we have been fortunate so for to not have an attempt on our house. But again its common a team member just had someone smash his daughter’s window in during the night. No one was harmed because there were bars on the window but it’s a concern. We actually may get a dog for our yard to have more security for our home; Scott is really into this idea

especially since it would need to be a big dog.  We don’t live in fear we just live cautiously. We are relying fully on God’s protection for our family.

It’s a different kind of life here. We are slowing and surely finding our way. We are beginning to see that this Rainbow Nation is very complicated. Since Apartheid this nation has been attempting to heal wounds, but there is still fear, anger and distrust between the black, whites and coloreds (people who are half black and half white). In some places this isn’t an issue like the Christian community, and some parts of schools and extra-curriculars. Other places like out in the Townships being a white face brings skepticism from the community: they wonder why we are there, if we have an agenda. Once they get to know us they are a little more open but more because this is a very “polite” culture not because they actually are ready to let us in. Our family is also in a unique place because we are a mixed family….and while there are a few more mixed families around we definitly are the minority. Which means we don’t naturally fit with the white (Afrikaners) or the blacks cultures. The biggest lesson we have learned in the past month is: its going to take time: time for people to begin to know us for who we are and not outside perceptions, time for us to really understand this very complicated culture, time for all groups of people to trust us and allow us to be part of their culture and lives. So we will take the time, we will invest and pray through our cultural frustrations!

Click here to read a little about South Africa’s unique history.

Or

Watch Invictus the movie: We actually live close to where the movie takes place; it’s a very good depiction of life here.

-Amber

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Christmas in ZA

Well our first Christmas far away from our family has come and gone. There were moments when we were all very aware of how sad we were but for the most part everyone did good 🙂 Christmas Eve we spent at home making dinner, watching movies, just having a relaxing family day (well the kids relaxed, scott and I had to assemble a trampoline) We got dressed up as we normally do and spent some time skyping family. Overall it was a fun and festive day. For Christmas we spent it with some new friends out at OM’s training base. We had a wonderful lamb dinner and spent the day hanging out while the kids ran around and played, we were able to get over that hump of new friendship to something a bit more meaningful and this was nice for Scott and I. The day was a huge blessing and just what this little family needed to survive the holidays here. We hope all of you had a blessed holiday! Here are a few snapshots of the fun. 

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