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