History In The Making!

Last night Paula was invited for the first time for tea with some ladies in CNP.  She drove down at 7 pm last night to meet 5 ladies for tea and cake despite the freezing conditions.  They spent the time in the house of a lady whose house had been deliberately burnt down a while back and whose court case against the perpetrator was about to draw to a close the following day.  Paula was really humbled by the reception she received.  The ladies simply cannot believe that she, a white woman, will drive alone to CNP at night and spend time with them.  On top of this, it really dawned on her for the first time that for 3 of these ladies, this was the FIRST time since independence (10 years now!) that they had sat and had tea with a white person.  They were incredibly nervous at first whilst history was being made, but soon warmed up as the conversation, cake and laughter flowed.  God was so good as He allowed them to talk about being one in Christ as well as speaking plainly about the problems of gossip and dissension in such a small community. 
 
The ladies really want Paula to come down every Tuesday night to meet up with women who cannot meet her during the daytime because of work commitments.  Paula has said that she would be willing to meet every other Tuesday night as she has church leadership meetings twice a month.  The spirit amongst the women is so high and the desire for change and for friendship is very real.  They hope to share a light meal together as well as to chat and pray when they meet.  Please pray for Paula as she starts Afrikaans lessons on 11 July.  This, together with her weekly daytime visits to CNP is really going to help to speed along the process of changing the lives of women in CNP.  Praise God for history in the making and for the huge open hearts of some of the women in CNP who have a vision for the future.  It is so great that none of this happened at Paula's instigation!  The evening ended with women who have NEVER sat with a white woman socially, hugging her and begging her to come back the following week - WOW!

Life in CNP

Below are some photos taken in the last few days in Chris Nissen Park, we hope you enjoy them. We feel that they give a taste of life in CNP and some of the issues people have to deal with on a daily basis. As you can see in the photos the sun is shining which has been a welcome break from the rain, Sunday was truly awful! As soon as the sun is out in winter we all pile outside to get warm! We know most of you don't believe us when we say it's cold here in winter, but this morning there was ice on my windscreen and I had to spend a few minutes scraping it off! The thing about the cold here is that unlike the UK, we don't have any heating and the houses are built for summer so they're very cold in winter. The houses in CNP are even worse and that's part of the reason why so many guys fall ill. The other thing about winter here is the fluctuation in temperature, at night the temp' can dip as low as 1 or 2ºC but during the day the temp might be up to 20ºC, this makes it quite difficult to dress appropriately, also, you'll be sat shivering inside, but as soon as you go out it's really warm. This can be quite trying at times and definitely leads to a lot of people suffering from bad bouts of colds and Flu.

Free At Last


Jerome with his mum & dad. Jerome was released from prison yesterday morning after a year inside. He was so glad to be back home! Please pray for Jerome, he is basically a good lad but is easily led and has previously fallen in with a very bad crowd. Pray that he would get work so as to distract him, but also pray that he'll be strong enough to stay away from his old crowd.

Seven Leaves Utd


Seven Leaves United. These are some of the men from the football team which is mainly made up of Rasta's. We'll let you work out the significance of the name!

Many thanks to the subscribers of CP-FRIS and Neil at the Palace Echo for the shirts.

Aunty Poppy


Aunty Poppy enjoying a bit of sun. Aunty Poppy has not been well lately and she appears to have some long term health problems, but like so many folk in CNP she's not really pursuing the health service to get them sorted.

Dina & Miriam

Dina with her boss Miriam from the local ANC office.

Child-care


It's not uncommon for older siblings to be left 'holding the baby' whilst parents are out working or otherwise engaged. This is an area of need in the community, if we had a suitable building for a pre-school, the lives of so many kids would be improved dramatically.

Chatting


Some of the CNP menfolk stopping for a chat on their way home from work. Thankfully unemployment within the community is quite low.

Playground


Kids playing in CNP. The swings are still holding out and the kids are having a ball enjoying a sunny break from the rain.

Scrapyard



Many folk in CNP seem to turn their gardens into scrap yards. This household has 3 wrecks in the garden and they're trying desperately to get one car working so they can go into business.

Live8

We've recently been asked what we think about Geldof's Live8 and the general issue of Africa, Aid & Debt Relief. These are huge areas and brief answers will always be inadequate. However, we will try to respond as briefly as possible.
Firstly, anything which moves this glorious continent toward debt free existence should not be knocked gratuitously, after all, Africa really needs all the help she can get. We fully support the principals of the 'Make Poverty History' campaign and are pleased to see Gordon Brown doing so much to champion African poverty. Equally however, Africa cannot be generalised about, especially in terms of development as the continent is huge and incredibly diverse. If you've not travelled to more than a handful of countries you can never fully grasp the diversity of this beautiful land!

We've read many criticisms of Live8, some we agree with and some are rubbish. A good example of the latter is W. F. Deedes in the Daily Telegraph who is anti Geldof et al as he feels that Africa's problems have two-fold roots; corruption and arms expenditure. However, such dismissal of the efforts of Geldof et al represents naivety at best and bigoted ignorance at worst. On the other hand, Tom Eaton in the South African 'Mail & Guardian' said:

"..perhaps my unease with Geldof, Tinkerbell and Jimmny Cricket and all the other public figures who step out of private jets to read their anti-poverty statements is based on the creeping suspicion that they don't have the faintest idea what they're talking about.

Yes, they've been to Africa, and they've seen poverty, stepped in it, and scraped it off their Nikes. But have they understood it? How can they, when the European Union defines poverty as living on 60% of the average income of one's country? What kind of coked-up hyper-bourgeois Eurotrash thinks that earning [Rand]16 000 a month -60% of the average income of Liechtenstein- has anything in common with being poverty-stricken? Do Swiss who earn R10 200 a month loll hopelessly in tent camps, rationing their Riesling and Camembert, as they ponder the hell of living below Switzerland's EU-defined poverty line? These people really need to get out more."[1]

We'll probably revisit this issue as we don't want to pontificate too much in one go. Our closing comment here is best left to an SMS currently doing the rounds which we received from Dean's brother, it's a limerick and goes as follows:
There was a campaigner called Ure
Who'll raise millions for charity sure,
But with figures of hate,
Like Sting at Live8,
The line up's like Africa: poor.
Somewhat in poor taste but hey, much of what passes for constructive comment on Africa is exactly that.
_____________________________
[1] Eaton, T. 2005. Mail & Guardian 17.06.05 p19

Dean's Week

Dean's week was generally good, but unfortunately he was told on Thursday that he could no longer use the containers in CNP for his Men's Bible Study group. The reason given was that the key will "..never be given to one of Dina's friends." Oh dear! The petty mind games have begun again. Thankfully Dina has risen above this and is not bothered, but the men in the group are absolutely livid. Cyril went to see the person who made the comment and got a few things off his chest (well done that man!). This is such a pathetic situation and it's quite amazing that one person can decide who does or does not use the 'community' centre. Please pray against such churlish behaviour, it doesn't bless anybody.

The Bible study went well and we spent quite a bit of time discussing the future of the group. The first decision we made was to keep going through the winter break, which I'm really chuffed about as it means the men are beginning to own the group. We also agreed do some Old Testament character studies, so we'll start with Noah in a few weeks time.

On Friday Dean was able to go to Helderberg Hospice and get some colostomy bags for Sarah (Paula had taken her to hospital, see 'Life Of Contrasts' below) as she had been discharged by the hospital without having been given any! What utter madness!!! Dean has also referred another CNP resident to the Hospice and we're hoping this might be the start of a fruitful relationship with them.

Dean got his mountain bike back from the shop today after a very protracted saga. There was a problem with the front chainset being too big and this caused the chain to scrape up against part of the frame. Dean had wanted the frame to be repainted and for a smaller chainset to be put on. Eventually after about 5 weeks he's achieved 1 out of 2, with a new smaller chainset being put on. However, the damage to the frame is till very much in evidence! Customer service is almost non-existent here in South Africa with many shops having truly appalling attitudes to their customers once they've taken your money. On the exercise front Dean finally relented and joined the gym today. Paula has been going to the Virgin Active near us since we got here and it's been really good for her, plus Joel loves the crèche there. Hopefully Dean will benefit as much as Paula has.

We've passed the winter solstice down here which means that for you folk up North you summer is but over. Hopefully things will improve here within the next month, although we do need a lot more rain yet to fill the dams. They're running at about 60% full at present and if they don't fill up some more then we'll have another summer of water restrictions only they'll be more punitive.

As you can see in the photos below, Joel is on top form and causing chaos when given the chance! He doesn't seem too convinced by his new hairdo yet, but we really had no choice as the cream was so well ground in. Joel was in the bath for almost an hour and was getting really fed up with us rubbing his head trying to get the cream out. Poor love!

It Wasn't Me

Joel had a bit of a disaster at lunchtime... he discovered a pot of Sudocreme and spent quite a while in his bedroom massaging it into his scalp as well as the carpet and on the door. We tried really hard to wash it out but unfortunately the cream is waterproof and after using a whole bottle of washing-up liquid we had to resort to some fairly drastic action...

Drastic Action


As you can see, drastic actions lead to drastic consequences! Thankfully Joel has a lovely smile to compensate for the 'knuckle dragger' hairstyle. If only it was as easy to get the carpet clean.

A Day In A Million!

Thursday morning marked a one-off highlight for Paula and her mums and grannies cell group!  They all went off to the Spur (equivalent of UK Aberdeen Angus steak houses) for coffee and dessert courtesy of a wonderful gift from 2 very special people in the UK (thank you, thank you!).  It was a tearjerker as 4 of us drove in to Chris Nissen to collect the ladies and children.  All 15 of them were there eagerly waiting, dressed up to the nines, some even with new hair do's and everyone else wondering where they were going!!  Only 2 of the ladies had ever been to the Spur before and certainly none of the children.  In all there were 25 of us, 10 children, 2 babies and 13 adults and we all had a ball.  You should have seen the ladies' faces as their chocolate brownies and cheesecakes arrived accompanied by huge bottomless coffees!!!  All the children played in their special children's area and had their faces painted.  We then treated them all to Coco the Clown icecreams.  Again, this was a picture to behold!!  After 1 and a half hours we departed having had such a special time.  This kind of outing is one of those high moments that makes all the frustrating and hard times worth it.  Thank you so much to our donors for truly changing lives yesterday.
 
Paula had another excellent morning visiting in CNP.  This time she was on her own, which was really great and not at all difficult.  Lorraine is well today and even said that her passion would be to eat a pepper steak pie (Paula sent one in for her in the afternoon!).  She then visited Sarah, one of the ladies who she took to hospital.  She unfortunately has cancer of the uterus, so no wonder she was so sick that day!  She had been sent home a week ago with no colostomy bags - just imagine (or don't!).  Thankfully, Dean was able to sort this out with the Hospice this afternoon.  Please pray that a solution will be found for transporting folk to church on Sundays during the winter.  Many people would dearly love to go, but are too old or sick to walk any distance in bad weather.  Unfortunately, the bus has been stopped and costs the equivalent of 10 pounds a week to re-instate - simply impossible for them! 
 

Praying The Future

As you might have seen from the posts below we've just had Mary (our Pastoral Director) from Crosslinks stay with us for a few days. Mary's visit was a great time, as we were able to take some time out to visit some of the sites such as Cape Town, the penguins at Simon's Town and drive over Chapman's Peak. We really enjoyed her visit and it was great to have a Crosslinks visit at a time when there is no crisis (present or looming) which need sorting as was the case in Zim when Andy Lines visited!

However, Mary's visit was not all play and we spent some really good time discussing the future as well as spending time with Gary & Francois (2 key elders at church) talking about the same issues. We discussed issues such as long term service at Helderberg, permanent residency in South Africa, frequency of Home Assignments and their length and most importantly, calling. Our calling is very important and key to the other issues which we need to bring before God. The long and the short of this is that we now need to take some time out to spend time in prayer and listening to God. We plan to have a night away (without Joel) in the middle of July after Dean returns from his week in Pretoria.

Please pray with us as we bring these issues before God, we want to be sure that we're open to his leading and being obedient to his word, not just chasing personal goals and dreams.

Panorama


Panoramic view of Hout Bay seen from the road on Chapman's Peak

Chapman's Peak


Paula & Mary standing in front of Hout Bay as seen from Chapman's Peak.

Cape Town


Paula & Mary in Cape Town. Unfortunately Table Mountain was covered in cloud so we were unable to go up, however we had a great time walking around the Waterfront and then going on for a drive over Chapman's Peak.

Emyezweni

Below are some photos of Emyezweni taken on Monday morning when we popped in briefly with Mary. Crosslinks are considering the possibility of SMILE teams coming and serving at Helderberg Christian Church and Emyezweni would be an excellent place for SMILE'rs to serve.

To see more photos and learn more about Emyezweni visit Deb's SA News

Calling The Register


Deb's is calling the register with her class at the pre-school in Lwandle

Paula & Katherine


Paula talking to Katherine at Emyezweni

Playtime


Kids in the playground at Emyezweni

Busani


Busani at Emyezweni

Nature Reserve


Dean, Paula, Joel & Mary in Helderberg Nature Reserve. We had a lovely afternoon walking around with Joel as he chased some Bok and discovered a tortoise (see below).

Tortoise


Joel exploring a tortoise's home! The tortoise was wise enough to remain hidden indoors!

Father's Day


Joel & Dad on Father's Day.

Excited By Penguins


Joel was enthralled by the penguins and made sure that he pointed out each penguin that he saw, as you could imagine we were viewing penguins for quite a while!

Exploring The Beach


Not really sunbathing weather, but this didn't stop Joel from looking for a close encounter with the penguins. Sadly, there were none on the beach today.

Mary, Paula & Joel.


We've posted a similar picture before with our dear friends from Zimbabwe. This really is an amazing experience to get so close to the penguins.

Enjoying The View


What a stunning view! Even Joel made time to stand and enjoy it.

Pesky Penguins!


We thought this was quite amusing.

A Day Of Contrasts

Dean went to Patrick's funeral in Chris Nissen Park this morning.  It was a moving service conducted by Donald, one of the community leaders.  He did an excellent job and Francois our lead elder at church gave a short preach.  This was great and has really helped our witness in the community.  Patrick's family were deeply upset, but again Aunty Kuku barely registered any kind of emotion, we are really concerned for her.  Dean felt really saddened for Enslen who appeared to understand what was going on but was not being given any opportunity to express his own grief, rather he was forced to sit in a corner and not move.  Amazingly the funeral started bang on 9am and the coach was spot on time to take people to the cemetery in Sir Lowry's Pass.  We really praise Goad that the funeral went so smoothly with so much glory being given to God.
 
This afternoon we went with Mary to see the penguins at Simon's Town.  Joel really enjoyed pointing out all the penguins to us and Mary was stunned by the scenery on the drive and then the location of the penguins.  We feel so blessed to live just 40 minutes by car from such amazing experiences.

Dina & Mary


Mary is our Pastoral Director from Crosslinks and is staying with us for a few days, what a privilege to have her here. Dina enjoyed meeting Mary and was pleased to be able to show her around CNP.

Aunty Kuku


Aunty Kuku enjoying the sun. If you want to get warm in winter you sit outside as our houses are all so cold!
Aunty Kuku's family are really concerned about her as she's been unwell for a while but refuses to admit it. Also, she doesn't appear to have registered Patrick's death at all. Please pray for Aunty Kuku, we love her dearly and long to see her in full health and enjoying life.

Enslen


Enslen is one of Patrick's grandchildren. He has some form of palsy and receives extra support from a local special needs school.

Washing Day


Ouma Sophie is making the most of a welcome break in the rain. It has been raining non stop for the last week which is great (unless you're English, then you can't get excited by it!).

Helderberg Mountain


The Helderberg mountain viewed early in the morning from Chris Nissen Park.

Ouma Sophie can be seen on the left of the photo.

Patrick

Patrick died at lunchtime this afternoon, having been ill over the weekend the ambulance was called this morning and took him to hospital around 11am. Dean has just been with the family to see Patrick in the morgue and to start the claim with the funeral policy. Afterwards we returned to CNP to spend some time with Aunty Kuku. She doesn't appear to have registered Patrick's death yet and to be honest her relief will probably outweigh her grief for a while, but who can blame her, she's had so much to deal with over the last year.

We rejoice with Patrick however, as he ran a good race and finished strong! Praise God!

The funeral will probably be on Friday.


Below is a photo Dean took of Patrick with his Grandson Eugene in Feb 05.

Life Of Contrasts

Paula had another interesting and emotionally exhausting morning in Chris Nissen on Friday.  She spent quite a while with Lorraine talking about her illness, general health and the various options that she now finds herself faced with , particularly with regard to her little daughter.  She is very anxious and tearful about the future for Evidine, her daughter.  Lorraine is not afraid to die, she said, but she is so afraid of what will happen to Evidine.  This is such a common story and yet, thank God, she does at least have wider family who will care for her.  Lorraine's dilemma is when to send her to live with them.  She obviously desperately wants to be with her daughter for as long as possible and yet, only wants the best for her.  She is concerned because Evidine has obviously guessed that something is up with mummy and is becoming extremely clingy.  All of these worries are so natural for any mother and it was a complete privilege (if not a little bit bizarre) to be taken in to her confidence in this way and to try and help her come to the best decision. 
 
I then went on to visit another lady who is recovering from AIDS related TB.  She was extremely weak and brow beaten but was so pleased that someone stopped by to listen and chat.  Language was so difficult with this one - I really do need to get learning some Afrikaans.  I am excited that she wants me to come back next Friday so that she can tell me the story of how she became sick.  This is a real privilege, so I will do this.
 
Finally, as my time was running out before collecting Joel, I visited 2 other ladies whom I had been told were sick.  I wasn't quite prepared for just how sick they both were.  Amazingly, they were sat outside in the sun trying to keep warm (as everyone does these days!) and yet they were both very unwell.  After just a few minutes of listening to a translation of what seemed to be wrong with one of them and hearing the rasping cough of the other, I told Dina that I was going to take them straight to hospital if they were willing.  This turned out to be quite a saga - with me single handedly lifting a wheelchair into the boot and then having to carry one of the women out of the car at the other end!  The hospital casualty is depressing.  There are signs up everywhere saying that the minimum wait is 4 hours and yet these women are really sick!  After staying to help them check in I left them with my phone number to ring to take them home (otherwise they will walk!!).  So far, 2 days later, I have heard nothing! 
 
So all in all I have had a very typical week of contrasts here in Somerset West.  One minute I'm at home entertaining Joel, then I'm working in an office training someone in administration, then I'm caring for my own sick child, washing, shopping, ironing, going to meet with the mums and their children, leading a cell group, going in to Chris Nissen and listening to some desperate life circumstances and eating out in a very nice restaurant as a treat on Saturday night.  I can remember sitting out on a milk crate talking with Lorraine on Friday thinking that I would never have guessed I would be doing this at nearly 37 years old with a degree in Biblical Studies and 11 years work experience.  Yet I also wouldn't be anywhere else at the moment!!
We thought you might like to see this Report on the Helderberg Basin area compiled by the Unit for Religion and Development Research (URDR) in the Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch. The report was compiled in 2001 but remains highly relevant today. Don't be put off by the title or authors, it's a highly readable report and offers some valuable insights into life in the Helderberg Basin. There are also 8 other reports on other parts of the Cape Town municipality which are worth looking at.

One interesting aspect of this report is the comparison between places of Christian worship (p20) in the Helderberg Basin compared to the number of liquor outlets both licensed and unlicensed (p23). There are 226 places of Christian worship and 487 liquor outlets!

You can visit the
Transformation Research Project's home page for more info.

The report is in .pdf format and can be downloaded using Adobe Acrobat Reader

Pirate Party

The photo's below are of Joel at his friend Sean's Pirate Party. As you can see from the photos Joel had great fun even though he was significantly younger than the other children.

The rain has been pretty relentless this weekend, don't be fooled by the sun in the photos below, the rain abated for Sean's party but kicked in again afterwards with a vengeance! The rain is desperately needed and the locals are quite excited about it but somehow, being English, we just can't get excited by rain!

Dean is beavering away on his paper ready for his first submission on Wednesday, so he's camping out at the church office where it's nice and peaceful over the weekend.

Well, more later in the week.

What A Mess!


How nice was that cake!

Fishing For Apples

Joel fishing for apples

Joel On Slide


Joel having a whale of a time on the slide at Sean's Pirate Party.

Photos

Below are some photos taken by Tim Glass (one of our FYP volunteers - visit Tim's Blog for more) we hope you like them. The explanation with each photo is probably enough but we'll just fill in a little detail here.

Ouma Sophie is a relative newcomer to CNP but has made quite a mark on the community and on us. She lives in an appalling shack and pays rent for the dubious pleasure! Sophie is in an unhealthy relationship with a man half her age who is regularly getting drunk (at Sophie's expense) and is also known to be sexually active with other women, putting Sophie at huge risk. Please pray that she would be strong enough to do the right thing with regard to this relationship.

Paula went in to CNP early this morning to take Lorraine to hospital for an appointment, sadly however Lorraine was unable to go as she could not make appropriate childcare arrangements for her daughter. Lorraine is clearly a very responsible parent but is caught in a trap of not being able to afford any kind of childcare (other than goodwill from neighbours) but equally she can't afford to miss her hospital appointments. Lorraine told Paula that she was feeling well this morning, but the reality is that missing these appointments will only hasten the inevitable for her. Please pray for Lorraine, for strength and for support from the community to enable her to attend necessary appointments.

Dean has a whole set of Palace shirts ready to give to the CNP football team, known as Seven Leaves United (we'll let you work out the significance of the name!) and is made up primarily of the Rasta's in the community. Many thanks to Neil Witherow at the Palace Echo and the subscribers of CP FRIS for the shirts!

Kids On Railway Line

CNP kids playing on the railway line. You can see how close the line is to the backs of some of the houses in CNP. Thankfully, only about four very slow moving freight trains use this line each day.

Ouma Sophie's Shack



Ouma Sophie's shack in CNP. We wouldn't let a dog live like this, but the sad reality for many in South Africa is that this is all they can afford.

Lorraine's House

Lorraine sat outside her house. Lorraine is part of Paula's cell group and a lovely lady who is doing the best she can in very difficult circumstances (see Paula's post below).

Rasta In Palace Shirt


One of the Rasta's resplendent in his Palace shirt. The indoctrination has begun!

Helderberg Mountain reflected in the pond in Helderberg Nature Reserve. Paula & Joel are barely visible standing on the decking near the middle of the picture.

Joel Chasing Bok

Joel chasing some Bok in the Helderberg Nature Reserve this afternoon. We had a lovely afternoon enjoying a break in the rain for a day.

Running Around

Joel running around in Helderberg Nature Reserve on Sunday afternoon.

Tyrone

Tyrone has been offered an appointment by an eye Dr (one of the best in the country) in our church in 2 months time. This is a real answer to prayer and will be a real blessing for Tyrone and his family.

Living with AIDS

Paula had an excellent morning in Chris Nissen on Friday. It was pouring with rain but she really wanted to go and visit some of the women. At last, after over 2 weeks of not seeing Dina, she found her curled up in bed recovering from a very nasty bout of gastric flu! Dina was so pleased to see her and they had a good chat. Many bridges were built and it was so good to hear from her why she has been so upset lately. It is amazing how easily an action or words can be misconstrued and misinterpreted so as to cause offense. Paula was also able to advise her about her diet, the drugs she was trying to take and her busy lifestyle. They prayed together and then Paula set about trying to catch up on Dina's busy 'visiting and caring' schedule that she had had to drop during her illness (typical Dina! always thinking of others).

It was also so good to go and visit Lorraine. Praise God, she is back home in CNP with her little daughter. Lorraine is a typical example of someone we would describe as 'living with AIDS' rather than 'dying of AIDS' as we so often hear people say. Her story is remarkable. We all thought she would be dead 2 months ago and all the practical preparations (particularly with regard to her little girl) had been made. However, she is a strong Christian and has received so much prayer and she is still soldiering on, giving all the glory to God! She is extremely weak and frail and I found her in bed watching TV with her daughter running around. My heart really went out to them because I could only try to imagine how I would be feeling with a 16 month old Joel running around! The daughter is obviously bored, quite hungry and teething all at the same time. All Lorraine can do is try to lift her into bed with her, to try and get her to calm down. It was heartbreaking! Her house is incredibly clean, but she can't manage to day to day upkeep of life like cleaning, washing, washing up or really caring for her daughter. This upsets her and she is really trying to get out of bed as often as she can to do some things. She also feels guilty that her husband has to do so much after a long day at work, and the fact that she can barely even lift her daughter up let alone play with her or cook her a meal. Again, Paula was able to chat things through with her and we now have another of the women looking out for the daughter during the day to check she is warm and fed. I am also looking out a couple of toys for her and some healthy cereal style food to be going on with (the sort that only requires added milk or water). Again, we are so aware that this is only a drop in the ocean, but we feel that we must start somewhere. On Tuesday I am going down at 7.30 am to take her to hospital. She was going to walk the equivalent of 8 miles in her condition, with her baby! It was good to talk and to pray with her. Please keep praying for those who are so weak and vulnerable. Pray too that her amazing witness will speak volumes as she lives with this terrible disease.

This morning of visiting has confirmed in my heart that this is what I should be doing on Friday mornings. I can see the good that solo visiting is doing and I can also see how much more could be achieved if I commit myself to this. Please pray that I will be faithful to this commitment and that much fruit will come as a result. I would love to spend time visiting the women who come to my cell group in particular. It would be so great to eventually help some of them to learn to read and write. I am also feeling convinced that I should give Bibles to all 5 of these women. They have all shown such enormous commitment to the group and to God and yet only 1 of them has a Bible, and this is a very old fashioned Afrikaans version. The new Afrikaans translation costs around 5 pounds. If you feel you want to contribute to my little Bible fund, do let me know. I can't wait to bless the women, even if they can't read. We can read to them!

Very Wet!

Dean had a good afternoon in CNP although it was cut short by the weather.  The rain is here with a vengeance today and the cloud is so low that we can't see the mountains.  As we've said previously, as English folk we really can't get excited about the rain even though we desperately need it.
 
Paula went to CNP on her own this morning and had an excellent time with Dina, which resulted in Dina asking Dean to visit in the afternoon. Paula also saw Lorraine.  Lorraine is a classic example of someone living with AIDS.  She is incredibly weak and yet she soldier on day by day doing the best for her family with very little support.  She is married however so at least she has some physical support and some income.  Lorraine was staying with her mother until recently as her daughter was also being cared for by her mother, however now that she is back in CNP with her daughter she appears to be struggling.  Paula gave Lorraine some Pro-Nutro to help and arranged for Dean to take her to Hottentots hospital on Tuesday morning.
 
Dean had a good time with Dina and her family.  Dina was very honest with Dean and told him that she had been upset with him. However, Dina's upset was over an issue we hadn't given any thought to.  We recently had a medical training session in CNP one Saturday morning and Dean had printed up some leaflets publicising the event.  Unfortunately, Dina thought these were personal invitations and she hadn't been given any.  Whoops!  This shows how easily we can offend folk without realising that we are or meaning to.  Anyway, we resolved that issue and then spoke about Michelle's funeral.  Dina suggested having a memorial service in the community so we're working on that now.  Dean then went to see Michael, who was keen on the idea so they'll meet again on Monday to start arranging details.
 
Dean hasn't seen Patrick for a week as he's either been asleep when Dean's called in or he's been hiding from the cold.  We're really concerned for Patrick as he doesn't appear to be receiving the level of care he needs and his family aren't being very forthcoming about how often his dressing is being changed.  We also don't know whether Patrick has been to the clinic since his discharge from hospital and it's vital that he does.
 
Tomorrow Dean & Joel are doing a 'sponsored Father's Day walk as a fundraiser for Joel's nursery.  The forecast is for decent weather so hopefully we'll have fun.
 
Please pray for the following:
*  Dina as she recovers from flu.  Pray that she'll soon be able to get stuck back into life in the community.  pray also for her grandson Leeton who has a bad case or worms.
*  Lorraine as she battles with her illness whilst trying to run a home and care for her daughter.  Pray for more physical support for her.
*  Patrick as he struggles with his lack of mobility and consequent bedbound'ness' day in day out.  This is very humiliating for him and has robbed him of his last bit of dignity.
*  Michael as we put together a memorial service for his daughter in the community.

NEW LOOK

The more observant amongst you might notice our 'New Look' blog, we hope you like it.

We've added in some links of useful websites and some of our favourites (Delheim is a little piece of heaven on earth).   There are also some links to other webs and blogs directly connected with Helderberg Christian Church.

We've also enabled the email button on individual posts which allows you to email any posting direct to yourself or to someone else who you think might be interested.

Thanks for taking time to visit our blog, we hope it's useful for you and feel free to post comments on any of our posts or to make suggestions as to how we can improve the blog.

Men's Bible Study

We had an excellent bible study this morning, looking at baptism (see the material below). Unfortunately we were not able to use the container as there was some building work on the go but we managed to cram into Michael's house. as it turned out we had all been baptised as consenting believers which is excellent.

Michael as ever was on a slightly different tangent to the rest of us and asked a brilliant question. He wanted to know whether or not it was better to be baptised in a river as the water was flowing which would stop the person being baptised from 'picking up' other's sins from the water. We had a healthy discussion around this issue and we think Michael grasped the point that our sins are dealt with at the point of repentance and that baptism is symbolic rather than literal.

Below is the material we used as the basis for our study, we hope it gives you a feel if the kind of things we are doing. This term we are looking at the basics of the Christian faith such as How do I know I'm saved? Prayer, what is it and how do we do it? The church, why should we bother?



Water Baptism

Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Matteus 28:19 Gaan dan na al die nasies toe en maak die mense my dissipels: doop hulle in die Naam van die Vader en die Seun en die Heilige Gees
Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Handelinge 2:38 Toe antwoord Petrus hulle: "Bekeer julle en laat elkeen van julle gedoop word in die Naam van Jesus Christus, en God sal julle sondes vergewe en julle sal die Heilige Gees as gawe ontvang.

Reasons to be baptised:
1. Jesus was and we should follow his example.
2. We should obey the command of scripture (Acts 2:38).
3. Going down into water and coming up out of it is symbolic of your old self dying and the new self being raised up! It is simply the outward sign of the inward change that has happened in our hearts (Romans 6:4-5).
4. It is the way to PUBLICLY show your commitment to Jesus (Romans 10:9)
5. Many people testify that at their baptism God gave them a new strength and courage in their Christian Life.

Other helpful verses:
Matthew 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.
Matteus 3:16 Jesus is toe gedoop en het dadelik daarna uit die water gekom. Meteens het die hemel bokant Hom oopgegaan, en Hy het die Gees van God soos 'n duif sien neerdaal en op Hom kom.

Mark 16:15-16 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Markus 16:15-16 Hy het vir hulle gesê: "Gaan uit, die hele wêreld in, en verkondig die evangelie aan die hele mensdom. Wie tot geloof gekom het en gedoop is, sal gered word; wie nie glo nie, sal veroordeel word.


Quick Update

The last few weeks have been a bit of a strange time. CNP has been a bit of a frustration for Dean, particularly as Dina is not making herself available, we've not seen her for 3 weeks now. Dean has rung the ANC office but received no reply. Please pray for Dina as we know she was upset about the funeral arrangements for Michael's daughter and we think that her absence is related to this.

Patrick is struggling since his right leg was amputated just below the knee. He's fed up with lying in bed all day and his family are fed up with him, it really is a lose lose situation all round for them. Michael is getting on with life again after the funeral of his daughter. There was a lot of resentment in the community regarding the funeral arrangements as folk wanted it to be done in CNP but Michael was forced to hold it elsewhere as the funeral policy was paying. Sadly no-one in CNP appeared to understand this and he was seen as being a problem. Michael feels that he's learnt who his friends really are through this situation as just when he needed their support, many turned against him.

Winter has truly arrived, the weather is appalling at the moment with lots of rain and very strong NW winds pumping. We know that the rain is desperately needed and yet there is something about being British which prevents us from getting excited about it, how we long for the sunshine!

Dean's first MA deadline is fast approaching (16 June) so he's working hard and panicking in equal measure! We had no idea just how much work would be involved and the standard at which Dean would be required to work. It's really good for him to have such a challenge but it does throw up certain complications when trying to juggle the course with family life and full-time work and Dean is an expert juggler!

Joel has been unwell in the last 24 hours with very runny diarrhoea and some vomiting. We're keeping an eye on him and are in touch with the Dr. so we'll continue to monitor his progress. Poor little love is so listless and fed up. The only good thing for him s he gets to eat lots of jelly which he enjoys.