We've been back home for a week now having spent 2 fabulous weeks in Plettenberg Bay on a family holiday. Despite travelling through one of the worst storms the Cape has seen for years (roads collapsing and parts of the country losing 10 years worth of top soil, for example!), we managed to arrive relatively unscathed with a new pair of windscreen wipers, having driven for 8 km in driving rain without any - not to be recommended! We were really blessed to be able to stay with a friend from church in his mother's wonderful house in Plett. There was absolutely no way that we could have afforded to stay without this generous offer and we really did have a wonderful time. The view from the balcony of our room was stunning overlooking sea and mountains. We enjoyed wonderful hospitality as well as being left to get on with our own thing, and we found the mix to be just right.

Joel had an absolute ball on the beach most days practising his 'fishing' skills(!) and generally loving splashing around in a little lagoon area. We also had fun visiting Monkey Land; a wolf sanctuary with a touch farm; a butterfly and bird place and a place where we could go and touch and feed elephants. It really was great to be able to enjoy such lovely things as a family as well as pottering around in the house and on the local beach. All the fresh air and stimulation certainly worked well for Joel as he ate and slept like a trooper all the time, leaving us free to enjoy those extra hours in the day whilst somebody cooked for us and prepared lunch or washed up - what a treat!

We arrived home without incident and are feeling refreshed and ready to 'go for it' again. Which is exactly what we've been doing. Dean is back in the thick of Chris Nissen and has been visiting a lot of sick people (predominantly females) with Dina. Also, on Monday a woman in the community was murdered by her boyfriend and her body was taken today to be buried in the Northern Cape. Dean was there when the family arrived and was able to comfort one of the victims friends. Patrick is going downhill quite seriously at present, his leg is swelling quite a lot now and some very large blisters have appeared on his foot. Dina will keep an eye on him over the weekend and hopefully we can take him t the Dr's on Monday. Please pray for Patrick, he's in so much pain it's distressing to see. He has also lost a lot of dignity through his illnesses and this is hurting him.

Dean had a particularly good morning on Thursday when he went into CNP with John (an FYP volunteer), they were able to do an impromptu bible study with Michael and Cyril looking at the issue of surety of our salvation. This was an excellent time and they will build on this as the bible study starts again on Thursday for the new term.

Paula's cell group is going very well. The group kept going admirably whilst we were away and 2 of the members led brilliantly. The women are all full of questions and many have very difficult home lives. Despite this, their levels of commitment and friendship to one another are great and Paula is very encouraged by the spiritual growth in the group. We thank God that the white women with cars are now giving lifts to the Chris Nissen ladies and some have also given blankets and bits and pieces of food as need arises. All the women are committed to praying for one another and we see this cell as quite ground-breaking.

Getting Ready

Forgive our lack of communication since our last Blog, life has been hectic and will continue to be so until Monday when we set off on a 5 -6 hour drive for two weeks by the beach.  That's Monday, before then we've got so much to do.
Last weekend we had Joel's birthday party at a little indoor play centre.  Joel had about 8 friends there and they all had a ball.  It was great too for the parents as we could sit and chat over coffee whilst the kids ran themselves ragged in a totally safe environment.  We'll be back there again!
Paula's cell started again this week and so she's had quite a bit to do planning for the new term and making sure others were able to cover her absence for 2 weeks.  As ever, Paula is incredibly organised and things are shaping up well for the cell.
Dean has been really struggling trying to get books from UNISA in Pretoria.  He eventually got one book on Wed and another should arrive tomorrow (Fri).  In the meantime he's been downloading copious amounts of info from all manner of related websites.  Thankfully it's possible to download entire books and journals from certain websites so that's been a blessing for him.  Also, church recently got a 'broadband' connection (not UK standard!) which has been really useful for downloading 10mb books etc.
As we said at the beginning, we're off on Monday for 2 weeks in Plettenburg Bay towards the end of the Garden Route.  We're really looking forward to having two weeks by the sea (Indian ocean) and Joel should have a ball.  We plan to chill as much as possible whilst giving Joel a really good time.  Please pray for us as we enjoy this break, we're both ready for it and can't wait.
We'll post some photos when we get back.