I'm thrilled to see that The Gathering's Homework Club has 15 winners in the first competition of Term 3.

Our kids are progressing nicely and are becoming quite a dominant force in the termly competitions held online by Green Shoots.

This is a real encouragement and I can't wait to hear how each of our kids has done at the end of the school year.

Ten Books

I was recently challenged on Facebook to participate in the Ten Books challenge, but partly because I'm rebellious and partly because I'm trying (and failing) to spend less time on FB, I'm posting my ten books here.

Also, the FB challenge says not to give any reason or any other information about each book, so again I'm going to be rebellious.

I have to say that having over 700 books in the house has made this very tricky and I have chosen not to include any Christian books, maybe sometime I'll do a Ten Christian Books post.

So, having whittled it down to ten books that have had a massive impact on me, it seems only fair to start with the book I've known and loved the longest of these ten.

Charlotte's Web was first read to me as a 6 year old and I fell in love with it immediately. I've read it more times than I can recount and loved reading it to both of my sons. I really love this book!
In a nation in which 40% of men physically assault their partners each day (that speaks nothing of the emotional and sexual torment many women are put through on a daily basis!), it’s essential that we not only celebrate our women but shout from the rooftops just how much we value them.

So today The Gathering with help from Father’s House in Simon’s Town celebrated Women’s Day.

We hosted a free event in which we invited local women to come and be pampered and treated like the million dollars they truly are in God’s eyes.  Or as Paula put it on Facebook: Helping women understand that they are "the apple of his eye" (Zechariah 2:8).

I last blogged in this series about five years ago, but just had to revisit it in the light of yesterday's fantastic celebration of Linda's graduation.

Each of my previous posts were anonymised, but today I'm naming, proclaiming and celebrating Linda for her faith, her perseverance and her never giving up, even when it would have been easier and more comfortable to do so.

Studying part time for seven years is never going to be an easy undertaking, but add in to that the loss of one's own business, one son being hit with a degenerative illness which remains undiagnosed, three family members mistakenly murdered in a gangland shooting and two abusive family members who just want your money and whatever else they can take from you, and the recipe for failure looks to be well set.

As a severe weather warning goes out around the western Cape this afternoon, I thought it would be good to revisit the issue of the Cape's three year drought and what it actually means for those of us living here.

Our drought seemed to be a popular source of conversation in Blighty as I was asked countless times about it, especially as it had hit international headlines a few months ago as Day Zero was scheduled to happen within days of that news breaking.

Day Zero is the day that Cape Town stops being a world class city turns the taps of to all homes and businesses in the municipality except for the CBD. Day Zero has now been pushed back to February 2019, which was just another ridiculous example of the pathetic mismanagement of the drought by the local government, but I won't get started on that.
It's great to be back and getting in the swing of the life of The Gathering again.

This morning has been largely about getting a few of my UK purchases up and running which will hopefully make church and especially our Homework Club run a little better.

In Blighty I managed to pick up a ten port USB hub so we can charge all of our tablets in one hit without having to scrabble around for cables etc. I also picked up ten good quality USB cables (with aluminium connectors) which will hopefully last better than the rather nasty plasticky ones that were supplied with the tablets.

Whilst on the tablets, thanks to a very generous gift I should be picking up two new tablets later this week to replace the broken two we currently have.👍

Adopted Son

It seems like a long time ago that Paula dropped me off at Cape Town airport to fly to England, but just three weeks later I really can't wait to go home!

I've had a fantastic time, reconnected with many good friends, and spent time with school mates I hadn't seen in 35 years. I had the privilege of spending time with some truly inspiring fellow pastors & ministers and can't believe that a few of them even let me preach in their churches (I'm sure one day I'll be found out 😂 ).

But the greatest joy has been spending time with family, and this last week has been special as I've never spent so long with Paula's sister & brother-in-law on my own before. All I can say is that my love and respect for Lisa & Stephen grows exponentially each time I see them and realise just how much they quietly get on with as they serve and support others around them. I really love you both! XX

My last post was about coming to Blighty and the sense of expectation that is attached to a Roadshow tour around England. Apart from one last engagement this Sunday in Oxshott (which I'm really looking forward to) my trip is all but over and my thoughts have naturally turned towards home and seeing my peeps again.

It has been a great time, but it has been quite tiring, and the first two weeks were a bit of a whirlwind as I caught a train from London to Stockport, spent a few days there then got a train to Sheffield where I spent a couple of days before getting a train to London where I spent a few days in Wimbledon -which included a train ride out to Witham in Essex- before getting a train to Abingdon, and then finally a train to Weald to spend the last week or so with Paula's family. I have to say, it's nice to be able to hang a few shirts up rather than grabbing bits out of the suitcase!
Dean will be undertaking a Roadshow Tour on his own this year, from 16 May until 5 June.

Quite simply we cannot afford to all come and the boys can't miss school like they once could. 😭

So, if you are in or around the Manchester, Sheffield, London or Sevenoaks areas, please come and say hello at one of my Roadshows or Church Visits, the dates are in the image to the right.

For the Sheffield and Wimbledon Roadshows, please save the date and I'll confirm the venues ASAP.
For the last few weeks I've been using less milk in The Gathering's soup , preferring to use Amasi, a local milk product that is totally gross unless you grew up with it.

I first encountered Amasi in '97 in Tanzania, where one morning I joined the workers for their morning break at the project where we were serving, and they thought it highly amusing to watch me being grossed out by it and almost vomiting. Amasi (or Maas in Afrikaans) is in essence curdled milk and unless your stomach is used to it it's very hard to deal with.