It's New Years Eve as we write and once again we find ourselves on our own.  This seems to have been the story of Christmas for us this year.  Our original plans were scuppered by our friends 'outlaws' who forced them off to Durban.  Failing any further invites we decided to do our own Christmas and bought the turkey etc. only to receive a half hearted 'sympathy invite' very late on.  Christmas day was great, Joel was able to open his presents at his speed and play with each one before moving onto the next so he wasn't swamped.  We had a lovely Turkey dinner in the evening under the stars in the garden.
 
However, the rest of the 'holiday season' here has been a very lonely time and we're left feeling quite cross about it.  We had a few offers along the lines of; "We'll give you a call and get you around for a braai" but they have all been empty promises and have left us feeling quite flat.  To top it all we've had very little contact from friends in the UK, except for a few notable exceptions -Thanks Sal, you're a Star!!!!  Our tally of Christmas cards this year is quite sad!
 
Part of our frustration is the enforced holiday.  The church office closes from lunchtime Christmas eve until Jan 4.  Normally we would be back at work in this time and wouldn't have time to reflect on how lonely we've been.  Equally however, we were warned that Somerset West is very cliquey and introverted and that many, many people go away for the whole Christmas period, so as such we aren't taking this too personally.  It has also made us really aware that friendships must be our biggest goal in 2005.  Even if it means a lot of work for us, it will be worth it to meet more people and hopefully to establish strong friendships. 
 
Hope your Christmas period was good.
 
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel.

Happy Christmas!

We want to wish all of you a very Happy Christmas!
 
Don't forget the one who's birthday it is..... Jesus christ
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
XXX
 
We had our Mulled Wine & Mince Pie evening last night.  For those who have ever been to one of these (at Bible College, Zimbabwe, Wimbledon) you'll know how legendary they've become!  If you've not been to one, you have no idea what you're missing! 
 
We had over a gallon of mulled wine and between us put up a fairly good showing.  We invited several neighbours and friends and had a really good mix of friends.  The balance of folk worked well and people got on very well.  Here's looking forward to next years do....
 
As a church we've been collecting food hampers to distribute amongst our poorer church members, so we'll be delivering a number of these in CNP tomorrow.  This afternoon we're going into CNP as a family to see folk and give out some small packets of biscuits that Paula made.  We wish we could do more for the folk in CNP but sadly we're only human.
 
If we don't write again before Christmas; Happy Christmas!!
 
Lots of love
 
D, P & J
XXXXXX

Christmas buildup

Many businesses seem to have shut down already in time for Christmas or as it seems to be more popularly known here; the 'Holiday Season'.  We've always been disappointed with Christmas in Blighty as it seems to start in Aug' and drag on for months, but at least it is called 'Christmas'.  Here it appears that Christmas carries very little significance with most shops & businesses advertising for the holiday season, choosing to ignore the reason for the season.  Our church held it's first ever Carols by Candlelight service last night which went well, however it was a hot night and a couple of hundred candles didn't help much!!  Gary preached a solid evangelistic message presenting the Gospel very clearly which was great as many non-church folk attended.  Hopefully we'll have such a service each year.  We're also having a Christmas day service which again is a first for Helderberg Christian Church and we're really pleased as it always feels a little odd not to go to church on Christmas day.
 
Dean is taking Patrick to see the physio tomorrow.  Patrick has made some progress in his speech but little more than that.  Katrin (Patrick's wife) is really struggling to cope with him and the strain is showing on the family now.  Katrin describes the situation as having lost her husband and gained an infant.  Please pray for grace and strength for Katrin and the family as they cope with Patrick.  Pray too for healing for Patrick and a restoration of his dignity.
 
One of the swings in CNP was broken over the weekend, the seat snapped in half, needless to say the kids are upset about this.  I'm hoping to repair the swing in the new year but it will depend upon our resources.  Please pray we'd be able to fix it.
 
Well, we're still Billy no mates this Christmas day which is a little disappointing, oh well, we'll live!
 
Lots of love
 
D, P & J
XXX

Reconciliation Day

Today is Reconciliation Day so we've been enjoying the day off.  We went to the aquarium in Cape Town this morning and then spent time playing in the river with Joel.  He had a great day, at the aquarium he was by far the most excited child and we had a job to contain him at times.  Still, it was all good fun!
 
Today is also the official start of the Christmas holiday season with most people finishing work until the New Year (not us however!).  This means that CNP will be a bit livelier than normal, especially in the afternoons.  We're all going in tomorrow morning as Dina wants Dean to meet some of the working men whom he has not yet met.  The plan is to go in the morning before they're drunk in the afternoon!  We will finish work at lunchtime on Christmas Eve and then go back to work on the 3rd of Jan, so we'll have a week off.  Our plans for Christmas have sadly fallen through so we're 'Billy no mates' this year.  We had an invite for the day but our friends had a change of plan forced on them and they'll now be in Durban over Christmas.  Still, we'll make it as fun as we can and we'll probably visit CNP at some point and then go to the beach in the afternoon (now you're jealous aren't you!).
 
We're still plagued by flies and we now have at least 4 Praying Mantises living in the house as well as a variety of other traps and paraphernalia!  At times it gets so bad that we have to close all the doors and windows, but in the heat this is really uncomfortable!  We're enjoying the heat, the temperature seems to have settled at the 30º mark.  The wind is the main problem with an average daily wind speed of 30kms (sometimes much stronger and occasionally quite calm).
 
Our latest Prayer Letter is available online at: http://www.crosslinks.org/who/people/mp_finnie.htm  Please take time to lok at the Crosslinks web site, it's quite good.
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Last Week

Once again we go into another week having failed dismally to keep our Blog upto date!
 
We had a good week.  We met up with Maurice & Wendy (friends from Zim) and spent time catching up which was great.  Then later in the week Pete & Ash came for tea with their 3 boys.  Their youngest was born after we left Zim so we hadn't met him and Ash hadn't met Joel so it was a great afternoon catching up.  Pete is now leading God First Christian Church in Jo'burg, well worth a visit if you're in that neck of the woods!
 
The weather has really hotted up with the last few days all being over 30ºC, so we had a great excuse to take Joel to the beach on Sat afternoon.  Joel loves being in the sea and it's quite a trick trying to get him out!
 
Our plans for Christmas have unfortunately fallen through so it looks like we'll be on our own at home, this is always a bit depressing especially for Paula as she's used to buzzing family Christmas's.  The family we were going to be with will now be in Durban over Christmas.
 
We're all well and enjoying life, God is so good and faithful!
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Freedom

We've just enjoyed 2 nights away without Joel and it was brilliant!  We missed him dearly but it was so nice to be able to do normal things without him.  We ate lunch when we wanted, Paula could have a cappuccino without having to share the froth, we went to the cinema but best of all we got to lay in in the morning!!!!  Joel was a star by all accounts and was a credit to us.
 
This week promises to be a good one as two sets of very good friends from Zim are currently holidaying in the Helderberg area.  We're seeing Maurice & Wendy on Thursday and hope to catch up with PJ & Ash sometime over the weekend.  We've had the great privilege of meeting several friends from Zim so far this year and we hope this continues.
 
That's all for now.
 
D, P & J
XXX
 

Freedom

We've just enjoyed 2 nights away without Joel and it was brilliant!  We missed him dearly but it was so nice to be able to do normal things without him.  We ate lunch when we wanted, Paula could have a cappuccino without having to share the froth, we went to the cinema but best of all we got to lay in in the morning!!!!  Joel was a star by all accounts and was a credit to us.
 
This week promises to be a good one as two sets of very good friends from Zim are currently holidaying in the Helderberg area.  We're seeing Maurice & Wendy on Thursday and hope to catch up with PJ & Ash sometime over the weekend.  We've had the great privilege of meeting several friends from Zim so far this year and we hope this continues.
 
That's all for now.
 
D, P & J
XXX
 
 

World AIDS Day

We'd like to encourage you to take a few minutes to reflect upon the pandemic of HIV/AIDS upon the world and your own community.
Pray for those in your community who are HIV+, you might not know them by name (or even realise that some of your neighbours are HIV+) but they need your support.
 
 
For the 3rd Wednesday in a row Dean distributed food in CNP to those who are known to be HIV+ or are suffering from an AIDS related illness.  Sadly there are more people in CNP who fall under this umbrella than we can supply food to.  The food was from 'Choices' our pregnancy crisis centre.
 
After delivering the food Dean took Patrick to the Physiotherapist at Hottentots hospital.  He was accompanied by two of Patrick's daughters who were shown how to assist Patrick with his exercises.  On Tuesday Patrick has an appointment for a wheelchair assessment and the week after that he will see the physio again at Hotties.  Please pray for Patrick, he's been stripped of so much of his dignity and is feeling very depressed as a result of his stroke.  We learnt during the week that this is Patrick's second stroke so things aren't looking to good for him.  Please pray for Patrick, pray for a lightening of his spirit and for restoration of his dignity.  Pray also for swift healing and recovery.
 
Joel had his last morning at Baby World this morning, Paula had the odd experience of her first ever end of term 'party' for a child!  All a bit surreal.

CNP Thanksgiving

True to 'traditional' African time, the CNP Thanksgiving started about an hour late, but was good fun nonetheless.  We finally got to meet Chris Nissen himself (a surprisingly humble man) as well as some of the other key players in establishing the houses for the community.  Dean felt very honoured by the public comments that were made about him, we both felt that this was real recognition of the impact that God is having in the community through the church. 
Dean's abiding memory form the morning was watching on of the Rastas smoking a HUGE joint whilst setting up the sound equipment and then driving off in his car!  Glad we weren't on the road at the same time.
 
Speaking of reckless driving, a friend was joking with us tonight about how the British won't drink & drive as the South African's generally aren't as bothered as we Brits.  Anyway, we'd been out for the night (Paula arranged a surprise for me) and we had a 'chauffeur to & from the restaurant.  As the friend was ribbing us for not drinking & driving another friend -who happens to be a doctor- jumped on him (proverbially) and gave him a right dressing down about the stupidity of drinking & driving.  We had to smile!
 
We both have a big week coming but at least we have a weekend to look forward to without Joel (maybe we'll actually get to have a late wake up!).  We're off to Bloubergstrand for 2 nights on Sat and we can't wait.
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Overview of the week.

Dear Friends
 
Patrick was discharged from hospital on Wednesday which appears to have been somewhat premature as he has no mobility at all and can't control any of his bodily functions.  Needless to say he's feeling pretty humiliated by his condition and doesn't want to see people.  I've seen him a few times and prayed with him but apart from that he wants to be left alone.  Please pray for Patrick and his wife Katrina, they haven't had things easy lately.  On Wednesday next week I'll be taking Patrick to see a physiotherapist to get some exercises.  Patrick's daughters will come too so that they can see how the exercises need to be done.
 
I managed to fix all the swings during the week.  Unfortunately the team from London had not used locking nuts on the seat bolts so the swings were falling apart.  The job was bigger (and more expensive) than I had anticipated as they had burred the threads of the bolts over, so I had to but a dozen new bolts to replace the ones that couldn't be reused.  The children were once again delighted to have all 6 swings fully functioning.
 
Dina asked me on Monday if I would look at some of the plugs in her house so on Tuesday and Friday I ended up rewiring all of her plugs.  The extension for the TV and radio was amazing!  The earth was at neutral, the neutral was at live and the live was at earth, quite ho anything worked is beyond me, but apparently it all did - although the family always got shocks from the equipment when they switched it on!!!  Afterwards Dina asked if I could have a look at her stove, which I managed to fix on Friday, she then took me to a neighbours house to fix their stove, so now everybody in CNP thinks I'm an electrician!
 
Yesterday morning Dean took one of our volunteers to immigration in Paarl as her visa had expired and she'd been told over the phone to leave SA within 2 weeks.  Thankfully we managed to sort the problem out and her visa extension is being processed, she'll find out on Monday whether or not it is being granted.  Please pray for Ruth that her visa would be granted as she has a real desire to finish her time out here.
 
This morning we're off to CNP to take part in their 'Thanksgiving' service.  Dean has been asked to say something (feels honoured to be asked), generally it should be a good time of networking as many key people for the ANC and other places should be present, including the original Chris Nissen who we're looking forward to meeting finally.
 
Thanks for your support
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

England 32 South Africa 16

Dear All
 
We managed to watch the rugby with some good friends and needless to say they were gutted by the result.  The South African team have been very arrogant calling their UK tour 'The Grand Slam Tour' which of course it isn't.  Still, it made trouncing them all the sweeter.
 
Dean preached at the evening service last night. He really enjoyed it and is now waiting for feedback from the elders.  Dean would like to be asked to preach again and would like to do the morning service, but we'll have to wait and see.  The congregation were generally very positive afterwards which is always encouraging, especially when you haven't preached for several months.
 
Sandra from CNP was in church in the morning, it was great to see her and we had a good chat afterwards.  Dean will see her on Wednesday, please pray for her, we would love to see her saved and part of our church.
 
Dean's Bible Study group kicked off finally on Thursday and went well. The men are really up for it and raring to go.  They had some good ideas about how they would like to see the group go which is encouraging.  We started with three; Dean, Patrick & Cyril, but Michael will be joining us properly this week.  Hopefully as we get established they will start bringing along friends too.  Michael needs prayer support at the moment.  As we told you he broke his leg very badly at work.  Unfortunately his employer is trying to worm his way out of paying Michael any compensation and is leading him on a merry dance of missed meetings and lies about what forms he has filled in.  Michael simply wants to be treated fairly but unfortunately his boss treats his dogs better than folk like Michael.  Dean is going to go with Michael if he makes no progress this week.  Please pray the Michael would be treated fairly and receive the compensation he is due.
 
Paula has started doing a little bit of admin work for Gary (our line manager) and is enjoying exercising some gray matter, it certainly beats singing yet another rendition of 'The Grand Old Duke of York'!  One of her main responsibilities is to coordinate all the volunteers coming to work at the church next year.  This is quite a big task as there is a lot to arrange for each of them before their arrival and then she must ensure that they remain occupied and happy during the time that they are with us.  She will also be helping to do the admin for an HIV/AIDS peer education project into 5 local schools.  Because of local government and Trust funding, much form filling and report writing will be required and the woman in charge of the project does not have experience of this!
 
As we write it is 10am and we've just had a call from Dina to let us know that Patrick has had a stroke and is seriously ill.  The ambulance is on the way and he should be in the local hospital within the hour.  Please pray for Patrick, he is such a dear man and has become a real friend to Dean.
Dean is going to meet Dina at the hospital at 11.15 to see Patrick and pray with him.
 
Joel continues to be really happy.  He is enjoying being able to 'swim' in this lovely hot weather and gets really excited when his swimming trunks come out! 
 
I'm just back from Chris Nissen Park and had a good afternoon with Patrick's family, and was able to reassure them that whilst Patrick is very ill he's not about to die.  I saw Patrick this morning and he can move his left leg (stump) but can't move his left arm, however he can speak although his mouth is turned down on the left side.  Patrick did not recognise me so we didn't stay for too long.  Dean will visit again tonight.  Please pray for a swift healing for Patrick.
 
Many thanks
 
Dean
 
 
 

Where did that week go?

The flies are still with us and are becoming a major problem.  We now have so many different traps etc around the garden and in the house that it's a wonder they can get in.  However, for those that do make it in they run the gauntlet of Dean's 'Fly Gun'.  This gives Dean endless hours of amusement shooting flies (with what is essentially a spring loaded fly swat) and Joel now laughs when he kills one.  We'll not describe Dean's particularly nasty treatment of the ones he catches alive!
 
Last week seemed to fly past and we're not sure how to account for the time!  So we won't.
 
Our 40 day campaign ended on Sunday and it appears that most of us in the church have had a great time and been deeply touched by God.  Please pray that the church would continue to run in the direction of God!  Sandra didn't come to church on Sunday so Dean will try and see her this week.  Please continue to pray for Sandra that God would break into her life.
 
Dean spent the afternoon with Dina today, she was much more positive and is ready to make some changes in her life.  Dina was invited to a Thanksgiving service for CNP  but she refused to attend and was quite rude about it.  So last week Dina was feeling very embarrassed but after spending time praying she knows she must make amends, which is great.  We've also been invited to the thanksgiving on the 27th Nov and Dean has been asked to speak at it, which is an honour for him.
 
We have finally bowed to the pressure that we find ourselves under here with respect to Joel's lack of walking and went to see an Occupational Therapist on Friday.  It seems that Joel still lacks the necessary balance required to walk because he has never crawled or spent any time on his tummy.  He appears quite anxious to get into any position that requires his head to be leaning forward over his body.  He also has low muscle tone apparently, so we are now armed with exercises for him in the hope that this will do the trick.  We are also seeing a paediatrician on Tuesday (16th) to get a professional opinion on the asymmetry of his body.  Please pray for Joel to cope well with all the prodding and poking and then with the exercises themselves and to grow in strength and gain the balance he needs.  Thank you.
 
We also want to share a big prayer need with you.  We need a second means of transport from January as Paula is going to be involved in some administration for church, running a daytime cell and transporting Joel to and from nursery etc.  The distances involved are simply to big to walk (and there are safety issues) and Dean needs a car on a regular basis due to the nature of his commitment to CNP.  Please pray about this with us, we need to work something out but don't know quite how it's all going to pan out.
 
Many thanks
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
 
 

Swings

Today was great in CNP as the twam from Penge came in and repaired/replaced the swings for the children.  The previous swings were old tyres that had been cut to shape and then turned inside out and hung on chains.  Needless to say they weren't good quality and had been broken for quite some time.  The kids were delighted as the 6 swings now have solid wooden seats and sturdy chains holding them.  They were also hung at slightly different heights to accommodate all size of chidren (and adults!).  Sandra (community leader) was really grateful on behalf of the community, however it was the kids faces that really conveyed the thanks! 
 
If you would like to see a photo of the repaired swings please email us and we'll send you one (low resolution).
 
The rest of the day was spent visiting and I have had some really good time with Sandra which I'm rejoicing about.  Sandra's also said she's coming to church again on Sunday, so please pray that God would break inot her life!
 
We're currently plagued with flies at the moment, apparently this infestation is the worst for several years and we've now got all sorts of contraptions in the front and rear gardens as well as in the house to try and kill them.  We used an entire tin of fly spray yesterday and the fly swat is doing overtime!  Apart from the flies we're all well and enjoying the heat.  Summer has truly arrived and it's getting hotter by the day so we have to go and cool off in the sea.  Hope it's not to cold in Blighty this Nov!
 
Love to you all
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

CNP Update

I've just heard this morning that Brian has died in CNP.  He was a lovely man suffering with TB.  Please pray for his family, his death will hit them hard, emotionally and financially.
 
The church currently have a team out from Penge in London and they're looking at what the church is involved in.  As part of this some of them will be spending a bit of time in CNP with one of their main jobs being to fix the swings for the children.  Hopefully this will be a real blessing to the community.
 
I'm quite excited about returning to CNP this afternoon as Sandra came to church last Sunday when we were away on holiday.  I'll be visiting her later to deliver a letter from our pastor (he writes to all visitors individually) and to talk about the swing repairs, so I'll update this Blog later before we send it.
 
Please pray for our friends Mark & Leanne as they spend their last few days in SA before returning to Zim.  Part of their plan today is to cross the border into Lesotho on their way to Durban so that they can renew their visas for another week or so.  If they fail to achieve this then they have to be out of SA by the end of the week and they can't risk overstaying as they would be blacklisted in the future and prevented from re-entering SA.  Pray that they get the renewed visas without delay or bribery, pray also for safety as they still have a long way to go before they are home in Zim.  By the time they arrive home in Harare they will have drive almost 6000km's (3750 miles) with two small children, a brave and daring feat!
 
Had a good afternoon in CNP, caught up with Sandra and arranged for the swings to be fixed.  Sandra enjoyed her visit to church and might come again so please pray for her.  Dina was down this afternoon and didn't really want to talk much.  I know that she is struggling with a number of issues and really needs to be held up in prayer.  It was good to see Patrick again but I missed Michael as he was at the hospital.  I also visited Brian's family, needless to say they are really upset at his death even though it was expected.  They said that he passed away peacefully and are happy as he was a Christian.
 
That's all for now
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Back on line

I'm on a bit of a 'high' as I write as I've just watched Palace hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw, they were lucky not to get beaten!  Having watched the Birmingham game last Saturday in which we won 1-0 things are quite sweet at the moment.
 
We had a great time away with our friends Mark & Leanne and their two children, Kelly and Matthew.  We'd not seen each other for almost 2 years so they'd not met Joel and we'd not met Matthew.  We went to many of the tourist spots, and the kids loved seeing the penguins at Simon's Town.  My abiding memory is the afternoon we spent at Bloubergstrand.  This is where the views of Table Mountain are taken for the postcards.  Needless to say the backdrop for the afternoon was stunning!  Personally I think that is pretty much the ultimate view; mountains in the distance, ocean in the foreground, the only view better than that is from the Homesdale watching AJ slot another goal in!
 
We'll write something more serious in the next few days.
 
Love to you all
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
XXX

Back on line

I'm on a bit of a 'high' as I write as I've just watched Palace hold Arsenal to a 1-1 draw, they were lucky not to get beaten!  Having watched the Birmingham game last Saturday in which we won 1-0 things are quite sweet at the moment.
 
We had a great time away with our friends Mark & Leanne and their two children, Kelly and Matthew.  We'd not seen each other for almost 2 years so they'd not met Joel and we'd not met Matthew.  We went to many of the tourist spots, and the kids loved seeing the penguins at Simon's Town.  My abiding memory is the afternoon we spent at Bloubergstrand.  This is where the views of Table Mountain are taken for the postcards.  Needless to say the backdrop for the afternoon was stunning!  Personally I think that is pretty much the ultimate view; mountains in the distance, ocean in the foreground, the only view better than that is from the Homesdale watching AJ slot another goal in!
 
We'll write something more serious in the next few days.
 
Love to you all
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
XXX

Friends from Zim

Dear All
 
This will probably be our last update for just over a week as our dear friends Mark & Leanne have come down from Zimbabwe.  We're all bunked down at ours prior to going to Cape Town on Friday for the following week.  We're really excited as Mark & Leanne have never met Joel and we've never met their youngest, Matthew.  Also, we're God-parents to Kelly (their daughter) and it is frustrating not being able to be an active part of her life due to the distance, but at least RSA is closer to Zim than the UK.  We're planning all kinds of trips and stuff but more importantly just want to spend time chilling out and chatting together about life etc!
 
Having just written the above we've heard from Mark & Leanne and they're stuck in Jo'burg as Matthew has been very sick and has diarrhoea.  They're hoping to travel down sometime in the next 24 hours.  Please pray for health and safety, Jo'burg is over 1400km's away and the drive would be horrendous with a sick child.
 
We'll write more again in the next day or two
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
XXX
 

This week shot past

This week seems to have shot past leaving us no time to update the Blog.
 
The highlights have been Roger & Shirley's visit on Tuesday including a trip into CNP.  Roger was soon playing cricket with some of the lads (he was out for a duck!).  We visited Patrick & Katrin, Aunty Poppy, Mama Jane and Dina each of whom said they really appreciated meeting Roger & Shirley.  In the evening they took us out to a seafront restaurant in Gordon's Bay which was great.  We really enjoyed meeting up with them and it's always good to see people out of context.
 
On Wednesday Dean went with Dina to Tygerberg hospital to collect Michael who was discharged.  Michael was on top form and praising the care he received.  He had to have his leg re-broken last week and then screwed together again so he was in a lot of pain.  His family were delighted to see him back home, as he was to be home too.
 
This morning I heard that Bebs -a man in CNP suffering with TB- had died and this afternoon Brian was taken to hospital, again with TB and it is unlikely that he will live more than a couple of days.  Bebs death takes the count to 4 deaths in the community so far in October.  Pray for the community as this has a major impact on them all including financially as they all have to contribute from the little they have towards funeral costs.
 
Paula and Joel have had a good week too.  They have done their usual things but on Thursday, he went to spend the whole morning with a friend and her youngest child thus freeing both of us up to put together a funding application, which if successful, will form about one third of our funding for next year - much prayer needed!  He did wonderfully and really enjoyed the morning away.  The only problem was that he was so excited he didn't want to sleep there after lunch so he was exhausted by the end of the day.  Today Paula took him for his first of 3 Hepatitis B jabs.  Again, he was a complete star, but we are just praying that he won't have any adverse reaction.  We have also taken the opportunities this week to look at a couple of play school options for Joel from January.  It seems so early, but this would really free Paula up to work up to 2 mornings a week.  So far we are on 2 waiting lists - it seems that this type of childcare is in high demand.  We shall see what happens and will take it as God's leading. 
 
We're off out tonight in different directions; Paula is having a 'Girls' night out so Dean & Rian are having a 'Boys' night in at his house with pizza, beer and hopefully some football!  Joel will be having a quiet night in with a baby sitter.
 
Lots of love
 

Oh dear!

Thursday
 
I was in CNP this morning and bumped into Sandra, she was in a foul mood and was extremely derogatory about Dina.  Sandra alleged a number of things about Dina most of which I know to be untrue.  What really saddened me was the fact that she turned against myself saying that I had put Dina up to getting the police to visit herself warning her about intimidating Dina.  I had no idea that this had happened, although I did happen to know that Sandra had verbally abused Dina in my presence and later threw stones at Dina as she was walking to work.  The long and the short of this is that Sandra is clearly not wanting to make any effort to befriend Dina despite indications that things were about to improve.  Even sadder than this is the fact that a church member has done a lot to stoke Sandra's rage after she was told that she must not ask for any more money from the church -she was asking for money up to 3 times a week despite her disability grant and her husbands fortnightly wage packet.  It would appear that her motives for coming to church were less than pure and now that she is no longer getting what she wants she is causing problems for other church members.  We really feel that this is a spiritual battle especially as a church we are currently in the midst of our 40 Days Of Impact Campaign in which we're all working through the same book with a view to promoting unity in the church as well as asking God to impact our lives and the life of the church.
 
Please pray for Dina, she is under immense pressure but despite this she continues to pray for Sandra.
 
Pray for the church member who is interfering where she shouldn't, pray that she might be truly saved.
 
Pray for Sandra, for a softening of her heart towards Dina, for maturity so as to not be swayed by those around her who gossip and lie.  Pray also for her salvation, she really needs to meet Jesus!
 
Paula had a really good meeting with Gary today and it looks like she is going to get involved with some administration work at the church.  She will work for about 4-5 hours a week administering the volunteers; teams both to and from the church; Gary's New Frontiers work; the initial stages of a church plant from Helderberg church and the Sundaychildrens' work.  She hopes to be able to fit this in whilst Dean looks after Joel for a couple of hours a week and the rest will have to fit around him.  She would also like to take one morning a week to train a young woman with a physical disability to become an administrator but this will depend on finding someone to look after Joel once a week.  Please pray for this. 
 
Friday
 
Dean met with Dina and Patrick, they had a good time discussing topics from the Bible and praying together.  Dina felt really encouraged by this (as did Dean!) and she feels God wants her to pray even more about things in CNP generally as well as for Sandra.
 
Tomorrow we're going into Cape Town so hopefully we'll have a good weekend.
 
Cheers
 
D, P & J

Sunday

This morning in church we had the privilege of hearing Paul Reid from Northern Ireland speak.  He and his wife Pricilla are currently in SA.  Paul was excellent and spoke about 'getting out of the boat' as Peter did when Jesus walked on water.  This was really challenging and at the end when Paul asked to pray for those feeling challenged by his sermon, over 90% of the church stood up! 
 
After the service Aletta from CNP told me that Ooma Betty gave her life to Jesus on Friday afternoon!!! Praise God!  Also, Dina wants to speak to Paula about Sandra, it appears that things may have taken a positive turn.  Please continue to pray for this relationship and for Sandra to be saved.
 
We had a young couple round for dinner after church (tasted good they did) and had a really nice afternoon chilling and chatting and this evening Paula went to the evening service and enjoyed hearing Pricilla Reid preaching on the Parable of the Sower.  By all accounts an excellent evening (Dean looked after Joel and watched a classically bad Bruce Willis film).
 
Hope your all well
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
 

Family News

A week ago Joel was sat in his paddling pool and we were able to host Dean's birthday party outside as the weather was so hot.  A week is a long time in politics -as they say, and the weather has gone totally pear shaped in the last few days.  The rain is back with a vengeance (which is a good thing) and the North Westerly wind is blowing  wildly.  Maybe it's because an Irish couple have just arrived at Helderberg and they've brought the weather from the Emerald Isle with them?!  Dean was quite chuffed as he got to fly his kite properly today (and has friction burns on his hands for his troubles!).
 
Joel is now battling with a cold -his first illness since we left the UK- which appears to be a direct consequence of the dramatic change in the weather.  Apart from that he's doing well, he learnt to shuffle backwards this week and within 24 hours of working that out he also started cruising around the corners of the coffee table.  We felt this was quite a breakthrough for Joel and can only hope it's the prelude to walking unaided.
 
Paula heard from her aunt & uncle about her cousin Andrew's marrow transplant this week.  Andrew has been suffering from Hodgkin's disease for a few years now and has had several bouts of chemotherapy, but really needed the bone marrow transplant.  Thankfully a donor was found and the transplant went ahead.  Andrew appears to be doing well although it is too early to tell.  Please pray for Andrew as this is a really testing time for him, compounded by the knowledge that the same illness killed his older sister in 1997.   Pray that the transplant would be a success with no rejection by his body.
 
Dean is enjoying his language lessons and is relieved at the simplicity of the language; Hy praat 'n bitjie Afrikaans.  Please pray for him as he continues to learn, particularly for his vocabulary.
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
XXX

Rasta

Dean was in CNP this morning and heard the Rasta died at 4.30 on Wednesday afternoon.  Whilst this death was far from unexpected it has still shocked the community following the 5 deaths last month.  Rasta's death is the second death in October with only seven days gone.  The other significant impact these deaths have on the community is financial.  Most people don't pay into any kind of death policy and so the funeral expenses must be covered by the community and with so many deaths the community are feeling the strain financially.  This is compounded by the fact that the community is already impoverished and most people are barely getting by, as such they really don't need this added burden.
 
This afternoon I went to the Hottentots Holland Hospital to visit Ooma Betty.  She was admitted for a few days but is due to be discharged tonight or tomorrow.  Ooma has TB and is getting confused in her old age.  Unfortunately she told the Sister that she has family at home and so she is able to be cared for.  Sadly the opposite is true.  Hopefully we can get a Home Based Care Team in to help care for her.  We also need to contact her son who lives in Stellenbosch somewhere.  Please pray for Ooma Betty.
 
Please also pray for Dina, she is really struggling with the way she is being treated by Sandra and a few others in the community.  Pray for grace as she goes about her life in the community, pray also that she won't be attacked, verbally or physically.  We really believe that Dina is under attack because God is at work in the community, so Dina really needs holding up in prayer.
 
Thanks for your support.
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
Two trips to hospital in one day, not bad except that it was 2 different hospitals over 40kms apart.  This afternoon I went with Dina to see one of the Ooma's (old ladies) in CNP, she was desperately ill and refusing to allow Dina to call an ambulance.  We managed to persuade her to allow us to take he in the church kombi to the hospital.  After an hours wait the sister agreed to call me prior to discharging her.  As yet they've not rung so I trust she was admitted.  I told the Sister that the Ooma is all alone at home and with no one to care for her they must arrange for the Home Based Care Team to contact her prior to discharge.  Hopefully the system will work!  Please pray for this Ooma, she really is in a desperate state.
 
This evening I took a crowd of folk to see Michael, he's broken his leg in 4 places from the knee down!!  He was really pleased to have visitors especially as the hospital is 40kms from CNP.  He's being looked after well but he'll be in for several weeks at least.  Michael is a lovely Christian and well liked in the community.  He used to be a rogue and his body is covered in 'jailhouse tattoos' which serve as a reminder of the work God's grace has done in his life.  Please pray for a swift recovery for Michael.
 
Dina had a bit of a difficult afternoon today, she was helping to get Ooma ready for hospital when Sandra entered the house, she was extremely rude to Dina.  Dina was deeply upset when I caught up with her later, and she was hurt by having been humiliated in front of myself and another friend of hers.  Please pray for Dina that she would know God's grace in her life.  Also pray for Sandra, she really needs to be saved!
 
God Bless
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
 

Another year older!

On Friday I sat with a group of Rastafarians and chatted for an hour or so (I'm now fluent in their greetings - respect!) which was very enlightening.  They feel very strongly that alcohol is a huge problem and want to see the shebeens closed but also the breweries.  I found this a little amusing as the pulled out a 'sack' of hash and proceeded to roll the most enormous spliffs!  They saw no irony in this rather explaining it as being what helped them meditate on the book of life!  They want to talk again so I'll being doing some research on Rastafarianism before that.
 
Mama Jane and family (with Dina) left for the Transkei on Friday evening for the funeral.  Unfortunately their bus broke down and they eventually arrived on Sunday morning!  They had 2 hours for the funeral and had to leave immediately to get back to CNP, needless to say that they were shattered this afternoon.  Sadly I just found out this evening that the Rasta I saw last week with AIDS related TB died on Friday evening.  Once again the community are in shock and mourning.
 
We've had a great weekend, celebrating Dean's birthday on Saturday with friends and neighbours.  We were sat out in the garden until midnight enjoying the balmy weather.  Paula gave Dean a stunt kite for his birthday so on Saturday we went to the beach to fly the kite which was fun.  Joel really enjoyed exploring the rock pools, however we had to keep an eye out for the jellyfish as there were hundreds of them on the beach.  We had fish & chips on the beach for lunch and then spent the afternoon getting ready for the evening.
 
Paula is continuing to enjoy going a bit deeper with some of her new friends.  2 in particular seem to be becoming close friends.  She has also been asked today to disciple one of the young girls who is serving with the church until March next year.  She is on a year out before deciding whether to take up nursing training in the UK.  This will be a real privilege for Paula.  She is also meeting tomorrow with another friend to discuss the setting up of the day cell group for mums and young children.  She hopes to start this cross-cultural group in January next year and all the plans look exciting.  Please also pray for her as she goes to have a suspected verruca burnt out at the doctors tomorrow (Tuesday)!  Ouch!!  Joel has just learnt to jump, courtesy of a borrowed Teletubbies video!!  This is extremely amusing as he can't yet stand alone without support, so the jumping action is impressive!
 
Cheers for now
 
D, P & J

Visiting and building

Today was a beautiful Spring day - cloudless blue sky and temperature at least 28 degrees with no wind, wonderful!!  We are so looking forward to more of this type of weather.  Paula spent yesterday afternoon with Joel and a friend and her 2 children in the Nature Reserve.  It was another day like today and they had a wonderful time enjoying the scenery and chatting while the children played.  Please pray for a deepening of these friendships for Paula and Joel.  In many ways God is really answering this prayer after only 2 months in the country, but Paula is keen to establish deep roots from early on so that they both have real security in the coming years.
 
We went into Chris Nissen as a family this afternoon and enjoyed a lovely afternoon of visiting and praying for folk.  It was great for Paula to see Patrick again for the first time since his discharge from hospital.  He looked a transformed man, free from pain, getting to grips with his walking frame and enjoying being back amongst family and friends.  He was just brimming with thanks to Dean for regularly making sure that family and friends visited him in hospital over the past 4 weeks.  He really couldn't believe that Dean managed to do this and is so thankful to God.  He is also adamant that the only reason he is home and doing so well is because of God's faithfulness in answering so many of your prayers.  He has taken great encouragement from the Bible in recent weeks, particularly since we managed to get him an English Bible that someone had donated to church.  We also visited Sandra, the main community leader.  She has been causing a certain amount of friction and difficulty in recent weeks and so it was good for Paula and Joel to meet her for the first time.  She was obviously chuffed about this and we hope that Paula will be able to keep this up in the coming weeks.  It was also good to visit and pray for Aunty Jane whose husband died last week.  She must travel a very long way over Friday night to his family home for the burial, so please pray for her safety, particularly that the bus will be driven well and that she will be a wonderful witness to the family through this sad time.   Visiting and building relationships in this way really warms our hearts and it is lovely to see how God is using Dean in particular even after such a short time.  Please pray for continuing favour with the people and that his Afrikaans comes on in leaps and bounds. 
 
Lots of love
 
Paula, Dean and Joel
X
 
 
 

Update

 
On Sunday we showed The Passion at church after the morning service.  This was primarily aimed at folk from CNP, Lwandle and Nomzamo who didn't manage to see the film whilst it was in the cinemas.  About one hundred folk stayed for soup followed by the film and the initial; response to has been very positive.  Dean was particularly encouraged by Dina's response after the film when she asked for prayer as she was going to go back to CNP and make her peace with Sandra (a community leader), please pray for this and for Sandra to be saved.  It was also exciting to see Patrick attend the film after his recent amputation.  He conducted himself with such grace and dignity as he struggled from the bus to the church hall.
 
We found a snake living in the back door over the weekend, needless to say Paula was quite shocked!  The snake was residing between the door and stormboard at the bottom of the door.  It turned out to be a very large grass snake so it was quite harmless.  However, he won't be bothering us again!
 
We're all well and enjoying the warmer weather, it looks like spring is now here for sure.
 
Lots of love
 
D, P & J

Death in the community

 
Mama Jane's husband -Harvey- died from straightforward TB in the early hours of Monday morning.  Tannie Jane has been a faithful steward of her finances and has been paying into a funeral policy so the costs of Harvey's funeral are taken care off.  Given that Jane will now lose the grant her husband was receiving and she continues to care for her two children and two grandchildren she will need all the money she can find.  Please pray for Tannie Jane and her family, they know Jesus and are faithful witnesses to his word.  Pray for blessing in their lives.
 
Harvey is the 5th man to die in CNP this month and sadly it's looking likely that he won't be the last.  The community has really suffered in the last few weeks and really needs some good news to help ease the sense of despair that appears to be settling in the community.
 
There are 3 white folk living in CNP and last Thursday one of the, Derek, came to Dean's rescue when the car broke down.  The carburettor broke off the manifold!  As dean and Derek got chatting Derek told Dean his story.  He was released on parole from prison 6 months ago having been caught stealing cars.  Derek was one of the leading lights in Cape Town's largest car theft ring.  Derek was supposed to present himself to his parole officer once a month but unfortunately he failed to do so for the last 3 months and on Friday he was rearrested and returned to prison.  We're waiting to hear which prison he is in and once we know we'll go and visit him. 
 
Dean had his second Afrikaans lesson today and he is enjoying it.  Please pray that he will pick the language up quickly.  He also had a late meeting in CNP this evening and met with the other community leaders whom he hadn't had opportunity to meet.  This meeting went well and Dean is hopeful of maintaining good relationships with the leaders.  Please pray for them as they seek to serve their community.  Their names are: Donald, Magdalene, Katrin & Sandra.
 
Tomorrow Joel has his TB jab, we've been warned that this will be quite unpleasant for him, so please pray that he copes well with it.
 
Thanks for your prayers and support.
 
D, P & J

Awesome Weekend

We've had an amazing Sunday and a very good weekend overall.  Dean had Friday off as he had worked quite a few late nights and was feeling quite shattered emotionally having been a sounding board for some folk in Chris Nissen Park.  Things are beginning to happen and it appears that Dean has gained the confidence of most of the key leaders within the community.  We praise God for this as we asked you to pray that he would be accepted by the community as we left the UK and God is certainly answering this prayer!  Please continue to pray for favour for Dean as he continues to build relationships in CNP.
 
On Friday we had a lovely family day in Cape Town and took Joel to the aquarium (we're members now so can go any time for free).  He appeared to enjoy this even more than the first time we took him and his attention was held for well over an hour.  His favourite appears to be the Kelp Tank which he can stand against and watch fish as big as himself glide lazily past him.  The only negative of the whole weekend was when we discovered that our DVD player had cooked itself.  We had planned to watch a film but had to change that.  Such is life at times.
 
On Saturday Paula enjoyed a couple of hours on her own in the gym and steam room whilst Dean took Joel to Monkey Town.  Joel really enjoyed seeing the monkeys and a highlight for him was when a Spider Tailed Monkey sneezed right in front of him.  Joel giggled and then copied the monkey!  He also enjoyed the chimpanzees who were being very silly, he also laughed at the monkeys feeding (Joel's eating habits were not dissimilar!).
 
On Sunday we knew that Steve Oliver would be speaking so we made an effort to get to church a little bit earlier so we could speak to him.  Steve had a specific word for us back in May 2002 concerning our childlessness, so he prayed with us at that time, as you know we got pregnant shortly afterwards.  We had emailed him to let him know that God had answered his (and our) prayer but we never heard back from him.  We met again before the service and he was so excited as he'd used our testimony the previous evening at an Evangelists conference and was going to do the same in the morning.  Needless to say that having the actual couple he was referring to in the congregation was really encouraging for him especially as he thought we were in the UK.  The morning service was quite incredible with six people becoming Christians and many people being prayed for for healing.  Steve asked if we would come and share our testimony again in the evening at Jubilee church in Cape Town which we were able to do.  Again God was on the move and we heard that a total of 86 people had been saved across the related churches in the Western Cape in the morning.  During the evening service a further six people got saved bringing the total to 92 new Christians in one day!  Praise God!!!!!
 
This week will be a shorter week again as Friday is Heritage Day so we look forward to another long weekend.
 
Just as we finished writing this we heard that 'Tannie' Jane's husband died on Sunday night.  Dean will have further news tonight so we'll let you know more tomorrow.
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Cycle of Poverty

Dean had a very illuminating afternoon in Chris Nissen Park today.  He met with a man called Michael who wanted to talk about the witness of some Christians within the community.  Many residents in CNP receive monthly grants from the Govt' due to their age or disability, however most of those who receive these grants have borrowed against the next month's payment in the Shebeens.  They can buy their groceries and alcohol in the shebeens but they have to 'sign' for them and leave their ID cards and grant papers with the Shebeen owner.  Then on grant day (today) the owner drives them to the Town Hall to cash their grants whereupon he takes the money from them as soon as they are paid.  When they 'sign' for goods at the Shebeen they pay on average 50% more for their goods than if they paid cash.  Many of the Christians in CNP are trapped in this cycle as are many other people within the community and it only serves to reinforce their poverty.  Michael's concern is that if the Christians haven't got their own houses in order they are not well placed to go out and preach the gospel to others. 
 
Please pray for the Christians in CNP who are locked into this cycle of poverty, that they might be effective witnesses to God's grace.
Pray also for the Shebeens, the community would like to see them closed down (the Shebeens all trade illegally) and this would be good to pray for.
 
Dean had his first Afrikaans lesson and was encouraged that it shouldn't be as difficult as Swahili or Shona.  Afrikaans only has three tenses (past present an future and no noun classes!) and you pronounce every letter.  He has basic greetings now which is a real help.  Please pray for his language learning, Dean is not a linguist and has struggled with this in the past.
 
Feel free to drop us an email, we'd like to hear from you some time.
 
D, P & J
XXX
 
 

Spring Has Sprung

Spring is now officially 2 weeks old and over the weekend it has felt like winter is finally over.  Whilst this is great in terms of wearing T shirts and shorts it also means that there is no more rain due until March next year.  This is really serious in the Western Cape now and water restrictions will be in place from the 1st October.  We don't know what form those restrictions will take yet but water bills will definitely increase by at least 20%.
 
Dean visited Patrick last night and enjoyed a brief chat, he is doing well and was sat in the chair next to his bed which is really positive.  Dean will be taking Chris Nissen folk again this week to see Patrick and he is really looking forward to seeing his family again.  Continue to pray for swift healing and strength of spirit as he recovers.
 
This week sees us celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary on Tuesday, we've booked a table in a local restaurant and have a babysitter organised, the joy of this babysitter is that she drives so Dean doesn't have to run her home (this is a real pain after cell on a Wed!).  We're looking forward to an evening out away from Joel, these evenings seem to have been in short supply since being here.
 
Dean is beginning to strategise in relation to CNP and is looking at how he can start to meet some specific needs but also how he can draw others into helping the community.  This is not a simple process and is hampered by the divisions between the community leaders.  please pray for unity within the community and amongst the leaders.  Many plans and initiatives have already failed because of the divisions between the leaders in Chris Nissen Park.
 
Paula continues to ensure Joel is well cared for and developing well.  She has quite a good group of friends around her but doesn't yet feel really close to anyone, this is a source of frustration for her.  There are one or two ladies whom Paula feels she could be really good friends and is praying that this will work out.  Please pray for Paula as she copes with life as full time mum, she regularly meets people who devalue that role as well as meeting people who really value it, but it is always the negative comments that stick.  As a family we feel that Paula has been given an awesome role and it is a privilege to be able to invest so heavily in Joel's development in a way which would not be possible for us in the UK as we'd both have to work.  We do thank God for Joel and our role as his parents, but pray also for Paula to be strong in her role and to be a witness to the benefits of her role, especially to those who do not value motherhood.
 
LATEST:  Dean has just returned this evening from CNP.  He was informed that the old man -Peps- whom  Dean took to hospital on Thursday died last night.  The official cause of death was TB but sadly it was an AIDS related illness.  Please pray for the community as there is a lot of anger towards the ambulance service and the police over this.
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Hospital Visits

 
Life seems to be an endless and somewhat hectic round of trips to the hospital at present.  Dean has been ferrying family and friends of Patrick to see him which involves quite a long drive from Chris Nissen to the Govt hospital.  Patrick really appreciates these visits and this afternoon Dean visited on his own taking some reading material and some salted popcorn.  Patrick appears to be coping reasonably well with the amputation, he was out of bed this morning and he has already been trying his crutches.  Not bad for a 72 year old!
 
This morning Dean went to CNP and found a few people really stressed about one of the elderly residents.  Apparently he is very sick but the ambulance refused to attend, the crews are afraid to go into CNP!  The police were on site and the residents were very angry with them as they refused to carry the man to hospital in their car, so they drove off shortly after clearly afraid of what might happen.  Thankfully Dean was able to cycle back to the church office and get the combi, so within an hour of arriving at CNP he was back at the hospital, this time in casualty.  As we write this we have no news on the state of this man but it would be amazing if he is alive.
 
In the midst of this we really thank God for the opportunity to share God's compassion through the physical act of reaching out and caring for members of the CNP community.
 
Please continue to pray for Patrick, particularly as he seeks to regain his mobility.  Pray also for the man Dean took to hospital this morning.
 
Thank you
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Latest News

No bad news today, primarily because Dean got the dates wrong and hadn't realised that Palace weren't playing on Sat due to an international match.  However we had a lovely evening with some new friends here and look forward to building upon that.
 
Late last week Dean took a group of ladies from CNP to see Patrick in the local Govt hospital.  Patrick is waiting to have a leg amputated as gangrene has set in due to his diabetes.  Patrick was chuffed to see so many friends and family members.  Dean is planning to do the same again tonight (Mon) and tomorrow to enable more folk within the community to see Patrick.  We heard over the weekend that the amputation has gone well so we'll give you more news in the next few days.
 
Last night we had a real treat... we were able to get a babysitter so we could both go to the evening service at church.  We knew that Bones (Mbonisi) would be preaching.  We last saw Bones and his now wife Tash a few months prior to our departure from Zim, they had no idea that we were in SA and so it was great to see each other.  We've planned to meet for lunch on Wed to catch up and swap stories.  Also, we'll get to introduce Joel to them as they haven't met yet.  We spoke at Bones' church in Bulawayo the weekend we discovered we were pregnant, so we feel a real bond with the guys in Bulawayo.
 
Sandra didn't come to church on Sunday, but Dean will be making some time for her over the coming week.  Please pray for Sandra to be saved.  The fight between her and Dina is so petty but they just can't see it!  Sandra and Dina actually want the same things for the community but have differing views as to how they should go about meeting those goals.  Dean feels that they could be really good friends but they need their heads 'knocking together' -proverbially of course!  A definite prayer need!!
 
Monday:
 
Dean took a group of people to see Patrick in hospital tonight and will be doing so again tomorrow.  Patrick is very tearful and appears to be struggling with the loss of his left leg.  Please pray for him, he's a lovely man and a deeply committed Christian, pray for comfort and a tangible sense of God's presence whilst he's recovering in hospital.
 
Thank you so much
 
D, P & J
 
 

Theft

We discovered at about 10am this morning that our car had been broken into and the stereo stolen along with Paula's sunglasses.  The rear quarterlight was put through creating a huge mess inside.  We spoke with our neighbours but no one heard anything and none of the dogs barked!  This is really strange as we live right in the middle of the complex and ordinarily the neighbours dogs go crazy when anyone comes near the house.  We're not too concerned about the stereo itself as an object but it's the mess created and time involved in clearing it all up that is annoying, as well as the unbudgeted expense of new glass and trying to get a new stereo and sunglasses in time when we feel we can afford it.  (We can't claim on the insurance because the excess is higher than the replacement cost!).
 
We have felt that we were directly and specifically targeted by the thieves and are certain that it is connected to the building which is being done behind us.  Please pray against any further attacks of this nature.
 
Well, we've had a good week.  Dean feels like he is making some progress and one of the key community leaders (Sandra) is coming to church on Sunday.  This is quite a breakthrough given that she hates Dina and normally won't go anywhere where she is likely to meet Dina.  We're praising God for this shift in her thinking.  Please also pray for Dina that she'll understand her role as a Christian is to try and get alongside people like Sandra to share the gospel with her.
 
Paula had a good time with a nursing Sister who runs a baby clinic in a local pharmacy.  After much negative comment recently about Joel not walking the Sister was particularly helpful and reassuring, just what Paula needed to hear!  For those interested, Joel is a little over the 90th centile height wise, a little like his dad then.  Paula also has a meeting next week to look at the possibility of starting a 'Day Cell' for mums with pre-school children.  The plan would be to host it at the church building so as to enable some women from Chris Nissen & Lwandle to attend.  This is an exciting initiative and could be a really good method of outreach right across the cultures.  Please pray about this.
 
We're off out tonight to watch Palace on Sky (more bad news later then?!) with some friends and to enjoy a meal with them.
 
Please keep praying for us and our ministry here, we can't do this without you!
 
Lots of love
 
Dean, Paula & Joel

Answered Prayer

Our God is a faithful God!
 
Minton and his wife were released from custody last night.  We're not sure yet as to whether charges have been dropped or whether there is insufficient evidence to detain them further.  Either way it is good news as the case is obviously very weak.  Minton and his family are now having two weeks away to come to terms with all that has happened but also to be away from the community in which the tragic events took place, they don't feel safe there at present.
 
Please continue to pray for justice to be done, there is a murderer walking free who needs to be in custody.  Pray too for Minton and his family as they recover from their ordeal and come to terms with the death of a family member.
 
Thank you for your prayers
 
Dean & Paula

Joel's Day Out

 
 
We took Joel to the Cape Town Aquarium on Saturday and he really enjoyed himself.  The highlights for him were being able to stand against the tanks and watch the fish, sharks and seals come right up to his face.  The seals were particularly impressive with their acrobatics and Joel just giggled the whole time.  Afterwards we had lunch at the Aquarium restaurant and there were 3 seals on the quay immediately below us, needless to say Joel was enthralled. 
 
After lunch we wandered around the Waterfront and then shared a muffin (Joel having the lion share!) before heading home.  On the way home we took a sightly longer route home to allow Joel to sleep, so we went to see if there were any whales in the bay.  Sadly no whale spotting was to be had.  Regardless we had a really good day and Joel was exhausted at the end of it.  In the evening we had friends around for drinks which rounded the day off nicely.
 
The weather is gorgeous at the moment, the daytime temp is up to 26ºC and nighttimes are down to 16ºC with little or no wind.  Sadly this is not really seasonal and water shortages are now inevitable with restrictions scheduled for the 1st October.  More rain would be great, so please pray for this.
 
Today we've just had a low key day slobbing around the house which is lovely.
 
We hope you're well.
 
Dean, Paula & Joel
 
PS. If you'd like a recent piccy of our trip to CT drop us an email.