The Finnie family at Table Bay, Cape Town Posted by Hello

New beginnings

 
Today has been an exciting day of new beginnings!  Firstly, Joel started nursery - what a proud day for mum and dad!  He seemed pretty pleased with himself too going off with his little tortoise shape bag packed with goodies and art T shirts etc etc.  Paula stayed with him for about 2 minutes before one of the helpers had him engrossed in a puzzle on the floor - oh well, no time for "I'll really miss you mum"!!  Apparently he was an absolute angel all morning and had a ball - particularly during wet play, when Joel took it literally and got completely soaked to the skin!  The leader also noticed how much he loves music and said that he has a really infectious belly laugh which had them all laughing!  Thank God for a flexible, friendly little boy!
 
Paula's day cell for mums and tots also started this morning and she was thrilled with the turnout.  There were 8 mums today, 5 from Chris Nissen Park, so that is very exciting.  We also had 10 children (including 2 under 1's).   The whole morning ran so smoothly and the ladies seemed to genuinely enjoy the friendship, hospitality and time spent praising God, reading and learning from the Bible and praying for one another.  Paula is really encouraged!  She suspects that next week's group will be much larger.  The children also had great fun playing with 4 grannies, 1 grandad and 2 younger helpers!!  Thank God that even at the first meeting, women were asking for prayer for serious health problems, family members with deep problems etc. etc.  This is really why Paula has such a heart for the group.
 
All these things only serve to remind us of why we are here.  After a very difficult 10 days following the death and funeral of Simon, it would be easy to think that God must have got something wrong, but His ways aren't ours and we have renewed excitement and conviction for the future, whilst praying for others who are really having to seek God for direction in the light of this big event. 
 
Where was God in the Tsunami?
 
We've just heard that the latest death toll for the tsunami is now 280,000 and rising.  We've also heard many questioning the where's why's and how's of God and his role in the tsunami.  We  believe that the creator God needs no defending and we have no intention of defending him.  However, we would like to offer some thoughts to those that would ask the questions; how could a loving God allow the tsunami to kill so many? or where was God whilst the tsunami was killing thousands. 
 
However, let us make it clear that this is a personal perspective based on our faith in God.
 
If we are to question the presence of God within the tsunami then we must be consistent in our questioning of God's presence in other situations.  The tsunami was an amazingly powerful wonder of nature, sadly it was destructive, nevertheless, it was a powerful wonder of nature.  However, those that ask such negative questions tend only to do so when negative events occur.  After all, why question things that are going well or carry on without impacting our lives?    To question God's presence or role within this wonder of nature means we have to do the same of other wonders of nature.  We must question God's presence and role in Victoria Falls, the miracle of birth, the Grand Canyon and creation itself.  It is simply not acceptable to question God and accuse him in the negatives but to ignore him in and around the positives.
 
God knew about the tsunami before it happened, as it happened and after it had happened, he was not asleep but rather he was in it and around it.  God did not set the tsunami off as some form of punishment, nor did he deliberately wipe out so many people.  Rather, God created a planet which is self contained and self reliant and within his creation (nature) there are forces which act within the planet, some negative some positive.  Again, we can not suddenly accuse and question God in the negatives and ignore him ion the positives, that is too simplistic and hypocritical.
 
God is a loving caring father to those that seek after him, to those that do not seek after him he remains a distant and elusive God.  Jesus told his followers that; "In this world you will have trouble." John 16 v33  Even for the Christian there is no promise of an easy life!  However, Jesus went on to say: "But take heart! I have overcome the world." 
 
What an AWESOME God we serve!
 
 
 
 

Items for prayer

Please pray for Michael and his daughter (we don't know her name and M was to upset to give it) as she has been attacked. She definitely has a broken arm and it appears that she has been raped, although we can't confirm this. Michael is really upset and feeling very angry, pray for grace as he comes to terms with his daughter's ordeal.

Joel is covered in spots at the moment, we thought it might be measles, but thankfully the GP was able to rule that out very quickly! The spots don't seem to be bothering him but they look really unsightly. The bad news is that we have no idea as to what they are or how they were caused (but everyone else seems to be an expert!). Please pray that the spots would go just as quickly as they came.

Gary returned home from NZ today and was going to spend the evening with Simon's widow, Lindsey. Please pray for Gary & Nicky as they deal with the loss of Gary's best mate, but also as they seek to comfort Lindsey and help her to achieve some form of closure around Simon's death. We really feel for them all and really long to see God's name glorified through this situation!

We'll keep you posted on answers to prayer.

Breakthrough

Dean had a good day in CNP today -if a little sad too- as he spent over an hour with Michael and his wife Joyce counselling them after a long weekend of rowing and domestic violence.  This is an area Dean has been wanting to get involved with and so to have an opportunity to work with a family in this was really good.  Michael was very receptive and appeared to be genuinely remorseful, whilst Joyce appeared to be glad that he had been open and honest with someone.  They've been married for five years and this seems to be a fairly regular occurrence for them.  Sadly the trigger appears to be Joyce's drinking, she gets drunk and Michael loses control in his anger at her behaviour.  Dean was able to speak into these areas and offer them some practical advice on how to manage his anger and her drinking.  Please pray for Michael & Joyce, they're a great couple and we'd love to see their marriage saved and turned around as a witness and testimony to God's grace.  Dean will continue to visit regularly and offer them support and counselling.  Please pray for more breakthrough with other families who are struggling with similar issues.
 
The wind over these last 2 weeks has been absolutely incredible, today Dean was walking into the wind leaning forward at a 45degree angle just to make some progress.  We've been assured that this is not normal, but no one seems to know when it will subside.  It's way too powerful to fly the kite even!
 
Joel continues to enthrall us - particularly with his walking.  The last 3 days have seen him do little 3 step sprints from the coffee table to the settee.  He then leans over the settee and laughs!!  He also played with his 3 1/2  year old friend today and started to assert himself for the first time, which was very interesting to watch!

Sad News

We've had a really good week, both in CNP and out and about, however Paula is really looking forward to this week as finally all the groups she and Joel attend restart after the summer holiday. Also, we should know in the next couple of weeks whether or not Joel has got a nursery place. Please pray that he will as this would free Paula up to commit more time to her role in the church and to the cell group she is starting later this month.

For the previous two Sundays Gary has preached about the 'Race' we run as Christians and particularly about the importance of finishing the race strongly. This morning in church we heard that Simon Petit had died yesterday whilst in Australia. Simon was the main apostolic figure within the NFI churches in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere. Simon was speaking at a conference in Aus' with Gary, and he suffered a heart attack during the break between sessions. We felt this was an amazing illustration of Gary's previous two sermons about the Christian 'race'. Simon ran a good and strong race and finished very strongly, pursuing the purposes of God. We really thank God for Simon's life and testimony and the example he was to so many Christians. Please pray for his family as they come to terms with the loss of a husband and father at only 50 years old.

We also heard that Patrick had quite a bad fall out of his wheelchair last night so please pray for him too.

Lots of love

Dean, Paula & Joel
XXX

Below are two Blogs that for some reason weren't published.
 
Wheelchair at last!
 
Dean took Patrick and his 2nd daughter to the physiotherapist again today and the physio commented on how well Patrick is progressing.  We then had a conversation about our attempts to acquire a wheelchair to no avail.  Amazingly the physio said that we could take their brand new one (just had to fill in a few forms) and they would get another one for thmselves, Brilliant!!!  Patrick and his family are well chuffed!  Now we need to find someone who could build him a ramp from the street to his front door.
 
Paula met with some ladies in CNP this afternoon as she is planning to start a day cell later this month and hopes some of these ladies will join it.  The meeting went well and all were encouraged by the response.
 
Tomorrow we're off to Cape Town for a photographic session!  Paula came across an amazingly cheap offer from a very desirable studio (we're talking laughably cheap!) so we look forward to seeing the results of that.  We're hoping for a really good family piccy.
 
 
 
 
All that Jazz...
 
We've just had a lovely, encouraging weekend - thanks for your prayers!  On Friday, Paula went in to Chris Nissen with Dean.  We managed to get Joel looked after by a friend, which just freed us up to be able to spend more quality time visiting folk.  It was lovely to spend a good amount of time talking with Dina.  She has been wonderful and has set up a meeting on Tuesday afternoon with 8 women from CNP who are interested in joining Paula's new cell group starting later this month.  She wants Paula to share the vision with them and answer the questions they might have.  This is so encouraging for Paula and she is really looking forward to a good time with them on Tuesday.  We then visited a lady who is quite sick with AIDS.  It was good to be able to just sit with her and the wider family and then to pray.  There is little else we can do.  Then it was on to Patrick's house.  It was so lovely to see him looking stronger and even being helped to drink a hot cup of tea, which he was really enjoying.  He can't wait to come along to church each week, which is lovely.  Praise God for a man in church who is taking care of the finance to enable such folk to get to church by minibus each week.  Patrick was overwhelmed to see Paula again and cried after we had prayed with him.  We long for him to get stronger and stronger and to regain some hope and purpose in life. 
 
We then collected Joel and went and had a fish and chip supper - becoming a favourite of Joel's! - before going home for bedtime for him.  What a lovely day!
 
On Sunday some friends invited us back after church for a Cape salmon braai (BBQ) which was fantastic, although Dean managed to belittle it down to 'posh' fish & chips - well done mate!  In the evening we partook of a local pastime in which one takes a picnic and sits outside of a concert venue and listens to the music being performed.  I suppose this goes beyond the 'cheap seats' as we paid about £1.50 for the privilege.  We went to the Oude Libertas which is part of a winegrowers cooperative which has a small amphitheatre.  The band was an 'African Jazz Band' from the University of Cape Town.  Apparently they were good (jazz not being my thing - gives me headaches!).  I sat and chatted with Bill & Denis for the evening as we were in agreement about the music, we also discovered that we each liked Pink Floyd, Santana and Led Zep, so I was in very good company.  The evening was thoroughly good fun and entertaining, especially when at 7.45 the band took a break.  We presumed this was the niterval and after half an hour went to find out what was happening only to find that the band had packed up and left.  The evening improved drastically at that point!
 
This afternoon was back to CNP which was good.  Dean met with Michael first and then sat with a group of Rastas for over an hour.  He had a good chat and they've invited him for lunch in the next couple of weeks which should be good.  Tomorrow Dean will be taking Patrick to the physio in the morning.
 
All for now
 
D, P & J
XXX
 
 

Missing blogs

Below are two Blogs that for some reason weren't published.

Wheelchair at last!

Dean took Patrick and his 2nd daughter to the physiotherapist again today and the physio commented on how well Patrick is progressing. We then had a conversation about our attempts to acquire a wheelchair to no avail. Amazingly the physio said that we could take their brand new one (just had to fill in a few forms) and they would get another one for thmselves, Brilliant!!! Patrick and his family are well chuffed! Now we need to find someone who could build him a ramp from the street to his front door.

Paula met with some ladies in CNP this afternoon as she is planning to start a day cell later this month and hopes some of these ladies will join it. The meeting went well and all were encouraged by the response.

Tomorrow we're off to Cape Town for a photographic session! Paula came across an amazingly cheap offer from a very desirable studio (we're talking laughably cheap!) so we look forward to seeing the results of that. We're hoping for a really good family piccy.

All that Jazz...

We've just had a lovely, encouraging weekend - thanks for your prayers! On Friday, Paula went in to Chris Nissen with Dean. We managed to get Joel looked after by a friend, which just freed us up to be able to spend more quality time visiting folk. It was lovely to spend a good amount of time talking with Dina. She has been wonderful and has set up a meeting on Tuesday afternoon with 8 women from CNP who are interested in joining Paula's new cell group starting later this month. She wants Paula to share the vision with them and answer the questions they might have. This is so encouraging for Paula and she is really looking forward to a good time with them on Tuesday. We then visited a lady who is quite sick with AIDS. It was good to be able to just sit with her and the wider family and then to pray. There is little else we can do. Then it was on to Patrick's house. It was so lovely to see him looking stronger and even being helped to drink a hot cup of tea, which he was really enjoying. He can't wait to come along to church each week, which is lovely. Praise God for a man in church who is taking care of the finance to enable such folk to get to church by minibus each week. Patrick was overwhelmed to see Paula again and cried after we had prayed with him. We long for him to get stronger and stronger and to regain some hope and purpose in life.

We then collected Joel and went and had a fish and chip supper - becoming a favourite of Joel's! - before going home for bedtime for him. What a lovely day!

On Sunday some friends invited us back after church for a Cape salmon braai (BBQ) which was fantastic, although Dean managed to belittle it down to 'posh' fish & chips - well done mate! In the evening we partook of a local pastime in which one takes a picnic and sits outside of a concert venue and listens to the music being performed. I suppose this goes beyond the 'cheap seats' as we paid about £1.50 for the privilege. We went to the Oude Libertas which is part of a winegrowers cooperative which has a small amphitheatre. The band was an 'African Jazz Band' from the University of Cape Town. Apparently they were good (jazz not being my thing - gives me headaches!). I sat and chatted with Bill & Denis for the evening as we were in agreement about the music, we also discovered that we each liked Pink Floyd, Santana and Led Zep, so I was in very good company. The evening was thoroughly good fun and entertaining, especially when at 7.45 the band took a break. We presumed this was the niterval and after half an hour went to find out what was happening only to find that the band had packed up and left. The evening improved drastically at that point!

This afternoon was back to CNP which was good. Dean met with Michael first and then sat with a group of Rastas for over an hour. He had a good chat and they've invited him for lunch in the next couple of weeks which should be good. Tomorrow Dean will be taking Patrick to the physio in the morning.

All for now

D, P & J
XXX


New Year

Welcome to 2005!
 
What will this year have in store we wonder?  If any of the previous years are anything to go by it should be time to buckle up and hang on for the rollercoaster is about to be launched....
 
Dean has been back in CNP since Tuesday (as well as visiting a bit during the Christmas break) and learnt that three folk died on Christmas day.  Two were in the community and one CNP resident was murdered in a nearby township whilst visiting family.  The sad but stark reality of life!
 
Michael had his cast removed just before New Year and is now learning to use his leg again.  His kneecap is now at a strange 45degree from where it should be and he is concerned that the Dr's might not want to correct it.  Equally, he knows that to correct the problem will involve breaking his leg again, so he is in a no win situation.
Patrick appears to be gaining strength slowly, but still is a huge burden on his family.  This pains Patrick and he looks like a man who has lost his dignity.
Please pray for these two, they're are good men and solid Christians, pray for a real blessing on them and their families as well as for healing.
 
We're all well (Dean was really chuffed after Palace beat Villa) and enjoying the summer.  We're glad Christmas is over and can now crack on with our goals for the year.
 
Wishing you a fruitful year
 
Dean, Paula & Joel