31.3.06

Adoption

Eli is legally our son!!!!!
We met with our social worker this afternoon who handed us the final adoption court order. The accompanying letter states quite clearly that: "According to the provisions of the Child Care Act 1983 (Act No. 74 of 1984), your adopted child is now regarded as if born to you."
WOW! PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!!
We have been in touch with Home Affairs and will be seeing them on Wednesday morning to formalise Eli's name change (to Eli Thomas Finnie) and to obtain a temporary passport to allow him to travel to the UK with us in June. Please pray that the paperwork would be processed quickly and smoothly. We have been told to expect to wait up to 4 months for Eli's new birth certificate.
We are so grateful for your prayers and covet them just a bit longer in terms of getting Eli's birth certificate, full SA passport and then his UK passport (a little further down the line). Pray too that we can get him a visa to visit the UK in June.
Once again we want to declare how good and faithful our God is!

28.3.06

Michael's House - Update

For the last few days Dean has been trying to help Michael sort out some alternative accommodation given that he and Joyce have been evicted from his father’s house and must leave there by midday on the 31st of March. The last two days have been particularly frustrating as we simply don’t have enough money between us to buy a ‘wendy house’ (we underestimated the full cost by half) despite some very generous gifts from some of you.

Each avenue we pursue seems to lead to a dead end and when we appear to be on a hopeful trail we seem to come up empty handed. Dean feels like he has really let Michael down and that he’s mislead Michael & Joyce into thinking that they didn'’t need to look too seriously as we would sort something out. Whilst this is not strictly true –Dean was very clear that they needed to make some plans to move before the 31st– we still feel a burden of responsibility towards them. Also, Dean won’t be available on the 31st as we will be meeting with our social worker regarding Eli (stay tuned for news!) and then on Saturday we travel to Bloem’ for a 4 day conference, so we feel we’re really abandoning Michael & Joyce just when they really need some support.

Sadly, Michael’s church have not been able to help in any manner and with Michael being unable to work since he snapped his knee and broke his leg in 4 places last year, he & Joyce have no regular income which would allow them to purchase a wendy house on credit terms.

Dean will be seeing Michael again in the morning to spend some more time praying with Michael about the situation and hopefully coming up with a plan.

Matthew 6:25-27 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Please join with us in praying for a miracle! Michael & Joyce really need to find some accommodation desperately as they will be forcibly removed from Michael'’s father'’s house on the 31st. Michael is really trusting that God will supply their needs according to His riches in glory, and is trying not to worry, but this is a stressful time for them as a family.

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Action In Chris Nissen Park

Further to our post on 9th Feb (Action In CNP) about a meeting Dean went to with Dina, Mama Jane & Shirley at the municipality to talk about the potential of them installing a netball court and assisting with the finance of the community garden, we can follow up with the proof of good news.

The municipality has at last acted in CNP and the netball court has been laid and marked out. Now we are just waiting for the posts, nets & balls to be delivered and then the ladies will start to compete properly. The CNP team have hopes of joining the local league which would be really exciting for them.

The garden has had its first delivery of compost and now is waiting for some of the folk in the community to spread it around the garden.

This has all happened remarkably quickly and we really thank God for these answers to prayer!

Shirley standing in the middle of the netball court


The netball court clearly marked out, just waiting for the equipment


The garden with its first delivery of compost

Click any image to view full size

27.3.06

So Islam is a peaceful religion?

I can't imagine the Afghan who converted to Christianity (Abdul Rahman) was feeling very peaceful about the mass response towards him from other Muslims, given that most believed that he should be put to death. Indeed, Sharia law dictates that he should be put to death!

See the BBC new website for details:

Afghan Christian (search results)

Afghans Protest Against convert

Please pray for this brave man, he really needs God's protection in his dire circumstances, pray that God's will be done and that His name is glorified!

26.3.06

Table Mountain

On Saturday we eventually had our much delayed trip up Table Mountain for our respective cell and Bible study groups. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in sight and no wind. We spent about 2 hours at the top and everybody appeared to have a great time. Only 2 or 3 folk had previously been up Table Mountain which made the occassion all the more special for everyone. The cable car was particulalry amusing for those who hadn't been before, especially once it started rotating after it had begun its ascent.

This trip was made possible thanks to the generosity of Nick, Julia & Rebecca, THANKS guys!

Joel and the gang watching the cable car


Our party at the top of Table Mountain


The cable car on its way down

Click on any image to view full size

For more photos take a look at Finnie's in Focus

22.3.06

Frontier Year Project

We have a great tradition of FYP volunteers coming through the church here and at present we have two young ladies from theUK. They're doing a variety of stuff including visiting in CNP on Monday & Friday afternoons which is a real help.

Sarah has started her own Blog about her experiences including some insights on Chris Nissen, you can see her Blog by clicking HERE.

20.3.06

Birthday Weekend

Joel had a lot of fun over the weekend celebrating his Birthday. The party on Saturday was great and all the kids had a lot of fun, even the parents seem to enjoy it and they all commented very positively on how we had structured and organised the event. Joel's friends were incredibly generous with the presents they gave him, we were quite stunned at some of the stuff and Joel was delighted with his new favourite toys.

On Sunday we celebrated his Birthday proper and opened a few presents before church, followed by lunch out and more presents on our return. The definite favourite is the Duplo dragon from Eli, Joel hates to put it down.

Enjoy the photos below:

A day at the races, this was so much fun and a definite winner amongst the kids.


The party in full swing


Come on Dad, put the camera down & pick me up!


Wow!


Showing Eli the Duplo dragon

Click any image to view full size

Visit Finnie's In Focus for more photos

14.3.06

Michael's House

We wrote recently about Michael & Joyce being evicted from the home they share with Michael's father. The eviction date is March 31st which is looming very closely now.

In our last post about this situation we mentioned the possibility of you helping us to provide Michael & Joyce with somewhere to live. We are currently looking at 'Wendy Houses' which are basically large garden sheds with 2 or 3 rooms in them. These 'houses' sell for around R4500 (£450). We currently have approximately £200 and need to raise the balance as soon as possible.

If you would like to help (no amount is too small!) please email us or leave a comment on this post and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Thanks in anticipation of your help!

Fighting

Paula went in to Chris Nissen tonight to meet with Dina and some new women for tea and fellowship. She had also been invited to look in on the building of the new netball court and to meet the new team of girls and pray for them. Just as they were walking down to the site Dina disappeared like a shot and Paula realised that Sandra, the community leader was heading straight for her full of aggression. She immediately started her accusations about Dina and the fact that she didn't know about the project etc.etc. Thankfully, Shirley, the new leader of the netball team was with Paula and Paula managed to get Sandra to direct all her accusations at her. Despite the fact that the 'conversation' was very fevered and in Afrikaans, it became clear that she did not have her facts straight at all. Paula managed to confront her with the fact that if she was the community leader and very proud to be so, then shouldn't she be happy that such a project was getting off the ground? She couldn't really answer that! She then started on about the food parcels, again, with all her facts wrong. Again, Paula was able to say that this was the case and to assure her that if she knew of people who were very vulnerable and who should be receiving food, she must let us know. During the 45 or so minutes, she did visibly calm down and Paula felt that she was at least able to counter some of the false accusations, even if Sandra was not really prepared to listen. She is an extremely formidable woman and she needs our prayers. We need to see breakthrough in her life. Jealousy and gossip really are threatening to pull down any good that is happening in the community. We thank God that Dina did walk away tonight. She has no desire to fight, but is equally at a loss to know how to deal with the situation. This is just a classic situation of what life in CNP can be like. We often feel caught in the middle of what seem to be impossible situations, but we also know that God is in charge and that he can make a difference.

13.3.06

Family Update

Where to begin since we last posted? So much seems to get crammed into a week leaving little time to worry about Blogging, so we're sorry if you're feeling out of touch. As well as this post, we've also just posted some photos on our photoblog: Finnie's in Focus.

Family wise we're generally OK although Joel has a really bad cold right now and Eli is showing signs of picking it up. Joel had to miss church yesterday which wasn't much fun, but he's managed to go to nursery this morning.

On Friday Paula went shopping with Dina & Aunty Poppy to get the food for round two of the feeding program we are running with the generous support of Hertford Baptist Church. In the afternoon Dean called in on Aunty Poppy and ended up helping to make up the food parcels and then distribute them. This was an interesting experience as we know that they have received a lot of abuse and hassle from other residents who have not received any food so far. Dean copped for this abuse on Friday and it was good to be able to put the record straight. Most of the folk complaining don't fit the criteria for receiving food, and two of the most vociferous complainers are some of the wealthiest residents of CNP. Isn't that always the way!

We thank God that so far we have managed to provide food for twelve families who are suffering both physically and financially, it's really good to know that we've had a direct impact upon them and their lives. please pray that we can continue to meet the needs of the most needy in the community with this food. Thank God too for Hertford Baptist Church in making this whole program possible.

Below are some recent photos of our family life, hope you enjoy them..

Joel & Eli enjoying a "turtle" in the Helderberg Nature Reserve


Eli watching 'Spikey' the porcupine


Mummy & Eli


Eli intently watching his toy, he enjoys bashing this


Joel 'fixing' his helicopter. Dad had his toolkit out so Joel had to get his too

As ever, click on an image to view it full size

6.3.06

Eye Of God?

This picture has recently been posted on the web with the title "Eye of God". I was stunned by the photo from the Hubble telescope, especially when such pictures are viewed from the context of God's word...

Genesis 1:16-18 ...He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good


Psalm 8:3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place

Psalm 147:4 He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.


How typical then of man to think that God can be constrained by the universe!


Psalm 148:3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.

5.3.06

We apologise that it has been an age since our last blog update but life has been hectic, hectic!! We eventually moved house on Monday 21 February - typically it was the day of the first torrential rain of the year and we all sorts of furniture to move! Thankfully we managed to dodge the downpours and everything is now in situe. We have also had nearly 3 weeks of huge power cuts right across the Western Cape which has impacted everything from not being able to sterilise bottles, make a cup of tea, sew up curtains, cook dinner, wash clothes. The trouble is that we never know when the cuts are going to be or for how long. The longest so far has been 12 hours and we managed to lose quite a bit of food from the fridge. This together with not having a phone line for a while made communication very difficult.

Our new house is such a blessing. At last we have SPACE!! Joel can't believe it. He has his own play room (well, at least until Eli can move!), a garden to trundle around in and to whizz around on his bike and his bedroom has Shark Tale curtains (a surprise for him). We have had to get our bargaining skills in action as we have had to buy quite a bit of furniture to fill all the spaces! We are very pleased with the outcome though and are really enjoying our new home. Dean has an office upstairs next to the main bedroom and we have a kitchen/diner, so at last we can eat at the table - a discipline which Joel needs. Dean took 10 days holiday and has spent the whole time doing jobs in the house and dodging the various shortages. However, it has been worth it and he is really looking forward to going back to work again tomorrow (for a rest?!). Paula carried on for the first week with her work and then took last week off as well, so we did manage a bit of family time. We had a lovely day in Cape Town, visiting the aquarium (Joel's second home) and enjoying the sunshine. Joel has now discovered some battery operated cars and enjoys doing 10 laps everytime we visit! Unfortunately, he doesn't look where he's going - just presses the accelerator and is off. Dean and I also enjoyed an afternoon on our own (bliss). We went to a local wine estate and treated ourselves to a picnic and bottle of wine in their 'forest'. The food was spectacular and we arrived home unable to move or eat for the rest of the day.

Eli is growing fast. He is a very big baby and is so happy and bonny it's untrue. It is hard to stop him from beaming and he only has eyes for Joel, which is nice for him. Joel loves to play with him, squash him, sit on him and generally abuse him, but Eli just giggles and smiles, so long may that continue! He has slept through the night on 5 different occasions now, unfortunately not consecutively, but we can see that it won't be too long now. This is a real blessing as, unfortunately, Joel has taken to waking once most nights since the move, so we have been very tired. We're just praying that this stops soon. He has also stopped his daytime nap now which is a real pain for mum! However, we have instituted a 'quiet time',which, you will see from the photos, is working quite well.

We have now started down the legal road for Eli's adoption and the first papers have now been filed. We are waiting for them to be returned from Pretoria. There will be a lot of to'ing and fro'ing of papers in the next few weeks but we are hoping that the original time scale of 3-4 months for the full adoption remains the same. It looks fairly likely that the adoption won't be fully through in time for us to get a passport for our trip back to the UK in June so we will have to get travel documents for this. Please pray that things will run smoothly now. We have heard via the social workers from Eli's birth mother and she is doing as well as can be. She is still searching for a job, but we know that she is completely at peace about the adoption, praise God.

Joel will be 3 in 2 weeks time, which we can hardly believe. He is going to have a little party at home and is very excited about the thought of having a birthday cake which he can blow the candles out of again. I don't think he is that bothered about the party, so long as the cake is there! He is changing all the time and challenges us daily, but on the whole he is a fantastic little boy. He is so full of energy that we have to just pray for more ourselves all the time. His favourite activity is to jump on our bed and fall over. This is made all the better if Eli is also there to bounce around. He is quite gymnastic and this has been fuelled by stuff they do at his nursery. He talks constantly, sings and plays endless games with his toys. It is funny to hear him belting out the Bob the Builder theme tune with all his little characters around him. Life is so good for him!

We are looking forward to getting back into CNP this week. There is so much to catch up with. The first food parcels were shopped for, administered and delivered 2 weeks ago and we must now do the same again for March. Our Bible studies will continue again this Thursday and Paula starts her Tuesday evening visiting again this week. Please pray for good fruit.

Joel & some classmates from Nursery with Nata (his teacher) whom he adores!


Joel's Shrek impersonation takes on a whole new dimension!


Joel's latest method of watching TV


Eli at 10 weeks, he's growing so quickly we hardly seem to be keeping up with him!


Joel & Scoop, still a favourite toy

Family Photo

Steve & Anne Murphy from St. Christopher's in Pott Shrigley were on holiday in Cape Town recently and we caught up after church. We had an excellent time together and whilst they were with us they took the family photo below which we just received in our email.

Thanks Guys!


Click on image to view full size