One of the costs of an overseas life in mission is missing the conveniences of home, such as free schooling and health care, two things that take up a lion's share of our budget.

This week we're missing the dear old NHS and the fact that if we were in Blighty Eli's current infliction would have been treated for free, but as it is we're in a land with no real welfare net and so our pockets are feeling the squeeze.

Please pray for him, he's got a double chest infection and is burning up with fever. So on Dr's advice we're trying the non-antibiotic route first and hoping it will do the job. Thankfully we also have who is lending us a nebuliser.

Almost Over?

September 1st is known as Spring Day down here and I always think that this is one of the Cape's cruelest jokes, though to be fair  it was a warm sunny day. However on Sunday it gave way to more rain which is due to return with a vengeance this evening.

So after an average August and a wet start to September, with the promise of a lot more rain over the next few days, our dams now sit at a respectable average of 65.9% full.

As I ran into the house last week after my ladies group to grab a quick sandwich and coffee before beginning the "afternoon busy-ness" of my day I clearly heard the Father say to me, "how many of your ladies can do this right now?". This stuck with me all week and right through the weekend.

It's true, we had had a fun and exciting morning together, plenty of laughter, conversation and a few tears with our sharing and prayer time, but I could see that many were in typically tight situations, and once again, one had come back very shame-faced after everyone had left and I was washing up to ask me if I didn't have something for her to eat.

New Chairs

As we step out in faith and see The Gathering's Soup Kitchen and Homework Club growing, so we're also seeing growth on Sunday mornings which is a huge blessing!

As The Gathering grows and is blessed, so we need to step out in more faith trusting that we will see the Kingdom extended in Firgrove, South Africa and beyond.

So recently we stepped out in faith and bought 50 new chairs of which we received the first 25 this morning.

They're much sturdier than our existing chairs and quite a bit more comfortable too which is an extra blessing.  Hopefully these ones will be more resistant to the rigours of our Homework Club and Soup Kitchen.

The dream is still to take The Gathering's Soup Kitchen up to 100lts each week but we've decided to ease into that with a 20lt step up to 70 litres.

It turns out that there were a few more issues involved than just doubling the quantity of ingredients and so it made sense to address a few issues and take a smaller step forwards....for now.

One of the main issues we've had has been washing the 50lt pot in the sink, basically it's too big to fit under the cupboard, so rather than just raise the cupboard, we decided to move it to the other side and then install some shelves where the cupboard used to be. This will allow us more space above the sink which we'll need with the new 70lt pot, though we still need a plan to figure out how it will fit in the sink (see below) 😂

The story of growth for The Gathering's Soup Kitchen continues this week and we're really excited about it.

Stay tuned for more news later in the week.

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.