Almost 100%

We're both getting stronger and putting the worst of the illnesses behind us. Dean definitely suffered a bit worst than Paula, but Paula was still very unwell. We are so grateful to Felicity for taking Joel off our hands on Wednesday, there's no way we could have got through the day without her support. Dean said his tummy felt like the roundworm he had in Tanzania whilst the diarrhea was like his Shigela dysentery he had in Zimbabwe, sounds nice doesn't it!

Spiloxene Capensis

Recently we posted a photo of a stunning flower but didn't know the name of it. Well we now know that its proper name is 'Spiloxene Capensis' also known as the 'Painted Peacock Flower', it is classified as a weed (remarkable!) but we think it has to be one of the most beautiful weeds on the planet.

Illness

We have both been really sick for the past 48 hours with some sort of a virus. Unfortunately, it led to Dean vomiting up blood all of last night and we are both wiped out from this and lack of sleep. We have a very wonderful friend however, who, on hearing this, came and washed our dishes, picked up Joel and took him home to her place to play with her 2 year old son for the day. This was absolutely fantastic, allowing us to sleep for the day and try to recuperate. In 14 years of marriage, we have never been so sick at the same time. There was no way we would have been able to look after Joel today, so thank God for friends! We are both feeling a little better tonight- weak but not as sick.

Gert

I eventually found out yesterday (Monday), after much phoning around, what had happened to Gert. It turns out that he was discharged on Friday shortly after arriving at hospital. He had 2 X-rays taken and was given a letter of referral to Ikhwezi clinic (where he'd been on Friday morning!) and then left to get himself home. So that's why the hospital couldn't trace him on Friday evening. Yesterday afternoon in CNP we managed to piece the whole story together. Gert had no means of getting home after being discharged and certainly couldn't walk, so he spent 2 nights sleeping in the hospital car park and spent the daytimes in the waiting room. Luckily, a lady from CNP attended the hospital on Sunday evening and whilst there bumped into Gert and brought him home.

This is an outrageous story but sadly a true one! Sadly it's not an uncommon story for folk in Chris Nissen. In fact, the ambulance had been called into CNP on Thursday for Gert but never arrived.

Weekend

Friday was a busy day for Dean starting with his first clinic visit at 7.15, followed by a second clinic 15 minutes later. It’s quite disconcerting having a car load of sick people when 2 are coughing and wheezing with TB, not a totally pleasant experience! Gert was taken to the hospital by ambulance from the clinic which is what was needed all along. The ambulance was called for him on Thursday, but as so often happens, they refused to attend – can you believe it! More on Gert in a minute.

Bible Study

Dean had an excellent small group this morning with 8 men attending which was a first. They all said they enjoyed the study (we were looking at Samuel) and said they would come again next week, so that's really exciting. To think that just a few months ago I was struggling to get 2 regulars to commit! The three new guys this week were Danny (Anna 'Bop's' partner) Trevor & Willem (see photo below). The group want to continue our season of Character Studies so we will carry on with that and include some New Testament characters in the coming term.

Anna 'Bop'

During her visiting in CNP on Friday, Paula went to visit Anna 'Bop', a dear friend suffering from AIDS, who very recently became a Christian and who had been attending Paula's cell group on her stronger days. Anna was really weak, but was battling courageously. They prayed together and Paula gave her some baby porridge in the hope that she might be able to keep it down, as she wasn't able to eat anything. Sadly Anna died on Monday morning. Obviously, this has been a bitter blow for Anna's family and all her friends. Death is never easy, even when you watch someone you love slowly deteriorate. Tonight Paula went in to visit Anna's family.

SCAS Team

Dean was in CNP early this morning (Monday) to take Vissy to the Dr's but unfortunately she didn't want to go (that is so annoying when you get out of bed an hour early!) but whilst he was talking to her, he heard that the lady across the street had just died. Anna Bop had been seriously ill for a while and Paula had visited a number of times. On Friday afternoon Dean took her some food and spoke to her partner about getting to the clinic. Apparently they had been and Anna was waiting for test results before being referred to the hospital, sadly she never made it.

Scoop!

Dean's cell was cancelled yesterday morning as most of the members went to collect their grants, so he looked after Joel whilst Paula was leading her cell group. Dean & Joel had a fun morning watching a 'Scoop' in the fields opposite our house. Joel is really keen on 'Scoops' and tractors so he was in heaven watching this one for almost half an hour. After eventually dragging Joel away from Scoop Dean & Joel had a good walk in Radloff Park and spent some time throwing sticks into the river.

Cooker

Aletta is a faithful church member and a lovely lady who really does put the needs of others before her own. For a long time she has been preparing meals for sick and vulnerable people in the community with little or no help from anyone else. Basically, Aletta buys the food and cooks it at her own expense and then distributes it within CNP. Unfortunately Aletta's cooker broke down recently and she was unable to provide any meals for just over a month, which had a serious impact on a few folk in the community, particularly as the last month or two have been very cold and wet.

Aletta searched for ages for a replacement cooker but simply couldn't afford one, so we approached Ukuthasa (a British charity working in South Africa) if they would consider helping with the replacement cost. Praise God! Ukuthasa gave R1500 and Aletta made up the balance to buy a brand new cooker (see the photo below). This has been such a blessing for Aletta and for those whom she cooks for. For us, this is the joy of doing what we do, to see someone's life imapcted positively for the gospel.

Rock Star

Couldn't resist posting these photos after lunch. I went home as usual and as I was sorting out my camera for this afternoon, Joel picked up his guitar and 'pretended' to play it (he's only 2½ so can't play it properly), as you can see from his face he really enjoys playing.


14 Years!

Today is our 14th (apparently that's Ivory) wedding anniversary! WOW! Marriage is such a brilliant thing, in Proverbs 18:22 it says: "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the LORD." 14 years of marriage certainly feel like favour from God.

Paula & Joel arrived home safe & sound, it is so good to have them home. Joel has clicked back into his routine and appears to be so happy to be home, he's smiling all the time and enjoying rediscovering all his toys. Whilst Joel was away, I bought him a guitar and he hates to be parted from it now and we're really looking forward to Sunday when he'll take it to church. It's so good to have normal service resumed, the house is cluttered with toys and is a complete mess, but I wouldn't want it any other way.


Reasons We Love Africa


©BBCI said in an earlier post that I would try and find a church website in New Orleans with relevant prayer topics etc, but unfortunately I've not found one yet. However, I did come across the following article and photos on the BBC News website.

It's brilliant to know that the church is responding to the gospel by reaching out to those hit hardest by hurricane Katrina. In Galatians 2:10 Paul wrote: "All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do." The poor are dear to God and close to his heart and when the church acts to help the needy God is really happy. The following article should warm our hearts too.

The following article is ©BBC.

Scarey Photo

Paula's younger sister, Jo, celebrated her 35th birthday this weekend so the family went out for a meal. As you can see from the photo below, there is a striking family resemblance between them all. The photo shows (left to right) Paula, Lisa, Dad & Jo

Dogs Chasing Kites

My weekend's been quite good so far (given that I've not managed a lay-in for 3 weeks, parenthood has definitely reprogrammed my body clock!), on Saturday morning I went to Hermanus on my own, the weather here at home was gorgeous, not a cloud in the sky (maybe Spring has sprung?) but as I drove over Sir Lowry's Pass the fog (cloud) was really dense and once through that it was quite overcast.

Jemma & Freya

Paula had a visit from Jemma & Freya the other day, (Jemma is a friend from All Nations) Paula really enjoyed catching up with Jemma again and spending some time with Freya. Joel was a treasure and helped her with just about everything and then copied her when she was drinking her milk. The things that amuse 2 year olds!

Three Days To Go...

Paula & Joel are enjoying their last few days together in the UK, only 3 (and a bit) days to go and they'll be home!!!!

Paula & Joel met up with Julia & Rebecca earlier in the week and went out for lunch followed by the kids playing together. They all had a good day, as you can see from the photos.

Coffee & Cake

We (John & I) took the CNP Bible Study to the Spur in Gordon's Bay for coffee & cake this morning and had great fun. Afterwards we drove up to the viewing point by Steenbrass Dam, which offers amazing views of False Bay. Hope you enjoy the photos below.

The group in the Spur (left to right: Cyril, Alfred, Stuart -friend of John's from UK- John, James, Peter & Michael).

Katrina - The Aftermath

People on a rooftop desperate to get offLooking at some of the blogs about Hurricane Katrina and life in New Orleans, it does appear that the authorities have dismally failed their citizens, leaving people to fend / fight for themselves, in many cases leaving people fighting for their lives without much success. Government at all levels has failed, locally and nationally and the mayor of New Orleans must take as much criticism as any other authority figure including Bush. Michael Moore has pitched in with a cynical open letter to Bush, which isn't really helpful as the time for mud slinging is not yet - soon but not yet. Now is the time for helping the survivors get their lives back together and help them to rebuild their communities. This will inevitably take a long time, but it's a job that has to start and it will need a huge commitment from all the players. What this job doesn't need is political point scoring.

Wimbledon

Paula and Joel spent the weekend in Wimbledon and stayed with Susan overnight. Paula had a great time chatting and catching up with Susan and then enjoyed meeting up with some old friends on Sunday after church. Joel really enjoyed church as the children stayed in for the whole worship time (here the kids go out after about 10 minutes) and then when he went to creche the 2&3 year olds had their own teaching time, so he thrived.

Hurricane Katrina

Further to my earlier post about the hurricane, I came across another blog: Eye Of The Storm which has lots of amazing photographs of the carnage caused by the hurricane, this Blog is so worth looking at! The best thing about this and the other blog is that they're by normal people living with the hurricane rather than your 'Kate Adie' types who just dip in and out and don't know what it's really like to live in and through the situation.

This is a photo of a train thrown 200 yards by the hurricane, apparently, no-one knows whether or not it still contains any chemicals.

Face Painting

Today is Lytton's 2nd Birthday, so Dina asked John & Sophie if they would come into CNP and do some face painting. Sadly Lytton was too overwhelmed by the whole event to allow his face to be done, but the other kids really enjoyed it as you can see from the photos below.

Face Painting 2

Spickles (on the left) is one of Dina's grandchildren whilst Charlotte is Dina's youngest child.


Face Painting 3

Yet more faces to be painted. It seemed as if the kids would never stop coming!

Hurricane Katrina

I've read quite a bit about hurricane Katrina in the last few day, some good and some very poor. The worst was a supposed Christian website claiming that the hurricane is God's judgement on New Orleans. Where these people get this rubbish from is beyond me! If this really was God's judgement, then things would be significantly worst than they are right now! Read the book of Revelation for full details!

Football Voicemail Messages

I've just nicked these from another Blog which I stumbled across, they're quite amusing.

David James: "I'm not available right now so please leave ...damn, just dropped the phone..."

Wayne Rooney: "I'm at me gran's right now, leave a message I'll get back to you in 3 minutes

Harry Kewell - "Harry was on his way to the phone but has broken down after getting up out of his seat"

Sven G.E - "Hello Nancy, I forgot to set my alarm clock"

Bible Study

We've just had an excellent bible study, we were looking at the life of Elisha as a follow on from the life of Elijah last week. We had seven men plus John & myself which is our largest attendance so far. Ben joined us for the first time and Ernest came too (he doesn't normally like to come out in winter), it's also Ernest's birthday so John brought a cake along which went down well.