Wednesday, October 29, 2014

All in a day's work: Missions - Part 3

On our way to a mission conference at church .... one lovely Sunday morning ... this is what we got!  Needless to say anything else:

A Mission breakfast at Bellville AFM church and meeting up with friends I have known my entire life!
Pastors Gerrie and Monica - garden dining for the day!  Monica is also Friend of God family church's Missional Co-ordinator.
In the garden of Eden!

After finding a photographer who could at last get us all in ..... more refreshments.
Even the donkeys here love the place .... relaxing as we did.

Monday, October 27, 2014

When a church cares: Missions Part 2

Visiting home churches means re-uniting with friends, supporters and people who truly still believes that not only does the church have a mission but that the mission has a church.  It is truly a highlight annually to return to these wonderful people and being re-fired.  It means a lot of sharing and bringing mission boards up to date on exactly what is happening out on the field.  Answering questions, preaching, visiting, eating ..... (and so the list goes on) .... on a hourly basis. 

BUT in between all of the work and the sharing churches do take it serious to give us a few days of rest.  This is what they organize in between the running.

This is what we do beyond the call of duty ..... lol!

Peace and tranquility made up for the busy schedule!
A lot of  healthy competition with one of the church's pastors, Past. Nico Buys - that is late night I have to admit.  His serious focus made him win many a game!

Did I mention we eat a lot when attending mission conferences?
Visiting the rugby museum with other Transformational Engineers .... and a lot of action!
I even had some time to capture this picture at a Lancia workshop.  Two mechanics in deep conversation!!!!  Specially for Rick Cogbil!
Visiting cell groups is an absolute highlight.  These are the giants praying constantly while we work abroad.  True heroes in my eyes.  Just behind me I need to salute Kotie and Cornee from Belgium who has given their entire life to missions and Kotie has retrired at a young 80!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A rare specie indeed! Part 1

Someone told me long ago that God has a very special export product.  The veteran pastor saw my curiosity immediately as I frowned, trying to figure out what Scriptures I have missed during my studies.  "God's own export product?"  "Yes" ... he added.  "Missionaries of course", he said with a big smile.  I looked around me as I was attending one of four mission conferences in South Africa.  I was suddenly surrounded by these awesome men and women who have simply given up everything, joined some strange culture somewhere just to share the Good News that Jesus Christ is truly the lover of our souls and Saviour of us all.

One coupled shared 99 years of experience on the mission field between them.  Some have been poisoned as they preached in closed communities.  One very special missionary (I love to call them Transformational Engineers) lost his wife on the mission field due to illness and later lost his son in a helicopter crash flying a mission flight in Madagascar.  And here he was standing next to me ..... motivated and preaching to ensure all children has the opportunity to hear the news that Jesus loves them.  I felt blessed.  All of these men and women were indeed very special.

But it was the way our sending churches and supporters, who despite going through recession themselves, stuck with the Missio Dei of God - kept supporting these men and women!  And then spoiled all of us rotten when we visited the annual conference.

Here is a few highlights:

Transformational Engineers from across the planet.  Literally from the jungle to the dessert!
Treated for two days in Hermanus .... and it was beautiful!.
Outside of the church ..... the missional mandate continued with an evening event ... with cultures being on display!

Meeting great friends and being re-united with others after a year's work .... Rev. Frik van Rensburg and his wife Amanda.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bridge over troubled waters!

If you could turn back the clock a few months ago .... you would remember the tragedy that stared our community in the face in Mozambique.  Three children died in a very short period as they were trying to cross a river on their way to our bush school in Mucombeze.  They were all killed by crocodiles. Thanks to generous and amazing sponsorship from Canada and even South Africa .... a dream has come true.  Truly a bridge over troubled water has been built.

Mercy Air South Africa got involved with many other great people to make this project a reality.  At last after 10 months ..... the bridge was up and the rainy season and flooded rivers would take no more lives due to crocodiles.

A special thanks to all who helped to make this, not just a life saving project, but changed lives forever and left a great legacy.  Here are some highlights of the project as it went through construction to transformation.

Special thanks to Lynn Lagore and Anne Herbert for photos shared.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

About time

WOW .... it has been much too long since I have shared life stories through cyberspace.  I was awakened early this morning by a mail from Budleigh, United Kingdom inquiring why I have been so awfully quiet the last few months. (So this post is specially for you Barbara Rainford!)  The last few months were another WOW - but let me share all the stories little by little as there is a lot to tell!  I have mostly been on the road via Mozambique, South Africa (various provinces), Angola and back again.  Mission conferences, meetings ... more meetings and a lot of sharing.  And no ... I am not complaining it has been the greatest joy ever to share what God is constantly doing.

But before I share all those stories .... back to Mozambique ... as we took a few days with friends to just rest before transformation took hold of us all.  Here are a few lighter moments from the Mozambican coast.  Enjoy!

Going to the coast in Mozambique means .... eating a healthy and BIG breakfast.  And that is exactly what we did as Andy Kuret shows off his chef skills.
Catching a boat to the deep sea .... and a few islands on the way.  Visiting Pansy Island was a highlight.
We found pansy shells by the millions ... literally!
Deep sea fisherman fishing in the warm Mozambican current.
And of course .... a lot of snorkeling was on the cards too!
Joao, our Mozambican partner, saw the ocean for the first time ..... 
Did I mention that we eat a lot when visiting the Mozambican coast?
Horse riding was also provided on the coast and we took full advantage of the beasts as we explored the ocean from a different view!

Had to wait a long time for this shot .... but patience is a virtue.  Sunrise like no other place in the world.  Mozambique ..... early early morning.  The fishermen beat me though!
No pain no gain though.  With Mozambique still being in turmoil ... we had to be escorted for about 100 km's through dangerous roads.  As I post this a peace treaty has been signed before the general elections on 15 October 2014.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Caring means ... showing up! Part3

Life and death are never separated in Africa.  It's part of one event ... and the space in between is lived within a communal space where survival forms a key component of life.  On this road of survival .... the church in Africa plays a key role within every village and community.

Introducing visitors to the local church is integral for the whole community.  The team was visiting on a Sunday ... so it was good manners introducing them to the local church ..... and having a festa with them.  

Introducing the whole team to the church!
The 'way' of doing life in a village church is simple .... no one leaves if they have not been prayed for.  It's a touching and deeply spiritual time for everyone .... specially the local church members as it says:  You have not forgotten us .....!
Children are very important for every church.  In Africa they are part of the worship and the whole 'church' community.  They are prayed for and cared for too.
Social upliftment:  Supporting and handing out soccer balls to the local community school with it's principal and teachers.
Even on the medical front .... gifts were handed over.  The clinic received a brand new instrument sterilizer that will be used.  Simon Nicalau (health officer) receives the equipment from Francois.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Caring means .... showing up! Part 2

One of the things students do well (accept for studying of course) - is playing! As is the tradition for the last 10 years or more our students take responsibility to provide an athletics meeting (the full show) with the nearly 280 school children in our bush school.  It is a huge event which includes all the sprinting numbers, shot put, high and long jump and all the rest.  It is also a time of training the bush school kids and teachers on the finer points when it comes to athletics.  And who knows we might just train a future Olympic medalist!

Here is the day in action!

Loosening up ..... before the big day starts!
We have no or little sport equipment - so what we can find we use!
Long jump in action!

Shot put .... a school girl showing what she is made of!
Ok ... with the ladies in charge of the high jump - it seemed they started the bar very low.  I can promise you though .... the bar was set much higher later in the day!  A job well done!
My favorite part of the event - kids having fun and as spectators .... enjoying the fun.  Sports and athletics (so we teach) is all about developing yourself and most of all having FUN and ENJOYING the fellowship.
Little Red Ridinghood .... took of her shoes for the main running event!
After the event everyone received a prize for their participation!  The hats were a sponsorship from the previous year's students.
Very proud ... thank you!
Time to greet again .... ate a vista .... until next year!