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