Adoption Update

The 60 day consent period has now ended which means that the birth mother can no longer change her mind and request her child back. This is great for us but must be awful for her. Please pray for her as she seeks to rebuild her life, also, give thanks as she is a Christian and knows Jesus as her saviour!.
The social worker was in court this morning and we're waiting to hear what the next step is. As you could imagine we're really excited to know that Eli is now ours pending the technical formalities of the legal process.
Please keep praying that all would go smoothly and quickly!

We're Back Online!

We've had an eventful few days moving house, as ever with such ventures, whatever can go wrong does go wrong, so our washing machine decided that it didn't like the new house and gave up on us, but not before it flooded the kitchen! Dean fell through the stairs on his way down, one step completely collapsed, but thankfully gravity was stronger than velocity so other than a gashed leg there was no real damage. In the midst of packing and moving we enjoyed a series of prolonged power cuts, generally losing the electricity for 7+ hours at a time which had a really negative impact on the jobs we needed to get done before and during the move. The cuts have finished for now but are due again in the next few months as the nuclear generators are repaired. Our phone eventually started working today only 10 days after it was supposed to!
We left our previous house spotless which is always good, our neighbours gardener sorted the garden out on Sunday, so it was ready to hand back to the agent this morning. Since being in the new house we've had loads to do and Dean has spent quite a bit of time trawling around the secondhand furniture shops and haggling over prices which has really paid off. So without spending too much we've managed to kit out Dean's study, the dining room and the playroom for the boys. Dean spent today painting the shelving units in primary colours to liven the room up a bit. Our previous house was incredibly small so we only had the bare minimum of furniture, so it's great to have a dining table again, and Joel appears to be enjoying the discipline of eating together away from the TV.
Joel seems to have taken the move in his stride, he did have a few 'episodes' of bad behaviour in the first few days but seems much more settled now and he's really enjoying the extra space. We're really enjoying the freedom of allowing Joel to roam freely around the garden knowing that he is totally secure. Our previous house was a bit of a disaster in this area as there was no gate at the front so we could only let Joel play outside when we could fully supervise him. Now he charges around on his little trike seemingly oblivious to how reckless he's being, but he's really enjoying himself. Eli's just interested in his milk so really isn't bothered by the move. He now weighs just over 6Kgs and at 9 weeks he's now out of the 0-3 months clothing we had for him! Eli is thriving magnificently and we are so pleased with him and the blessing he is to us as a family!
The weather has just taken an unexpected turn for the worst (or better depending on your perspective) with heavy rain tonight and more expected over the next few days, hopefully this does not mean winter is here early.

That's a Good One!

Eskom (South Africa's monopoly electricity provider) has just blamed a massive 12 hour blackout across the Western Cape on the recent fires and the mist which covered Cape Town this morning! Incredible!
We always thought that British Rail was pushing it when they blamed delays on 'leaves' or the 'wrong kind of snow' but Eskom really has BR licked when it comes to pathetic excuses!
Yes we're cross that we couldn't have a cup of tea when we got up this morning! At least church was interesting and our guest preacher (adrian Holloway) coped admirably and lead 6 people Christ. Praise God!!!!!!

Another Taster

Here's a couple more photos to give you another taster of the photos we've just posted at Finnie's in Focus.

We hope you enjoy them

A Passage I Love

JN 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

I love this passage simply because Jesus let's his followers know that troubles are guaranteed (not promised) for no particular reason (not for character building or testing etc) other than we are of this world and have to live in it. So being robbed or living through Hurricane Katrina are not judgement by some vindictive deity but rather just part and parcel of life on this planet. Whilst this sounds a touch depressing, there is a silver lining; Jesus has overcome this world and so we have NOTHING to fear! Simple as that!

Posted as part of a feature being run by the lovely folk over at Missionary-Blogs (check out their South Africa link)

Photo Update

Here are a few 'taster' photographs, you can see more on our Photoblog 'Finnie's in Focus'.

We'll post some more over the next few days too.

Family on the beach

Jonathon is one of the younger men and fathers that I am trying to befriend. I'd like him to join our Bible study, so please pray for him.

Tyrones mum with her youngest child. Apparently tyrone's eye operation has been postponed until June. Please pray that the operation will take place then.

Palace Result

Palace saw off QPR last night in what turned out to be a fairly scrappy game (at least the 2nd half was) but Palace definitely deserved the win and 3 points are always very welcome! We're starting to cement our 5th place in the play-off zone and hopefully we'll at least finish in one of those places.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Due to our Blogger problems we missed posting our result against Sheff Wed on Saturday when we drew nil-nil.

Next fixture: Sat 18th Feb away to Millwall

Catch Up

We've finally managed to get back onto Blogger after 3 days, apparently our monopoly phone company messed up and barred access to the service which is about what you'd expect from a monolithic uncompetitive monopoly. Gripe over and on with the posting...

Quite a lot has happened and we'll try and give a brief update on each thing.

We've just been through a very tricky and delicate phase in CNP with some major misunderstandings arising out of Michael & Joyce's court appearance. Dina thought we (or at least Dean) had taken a very anti ANC line and so she was very angry and upset. Thankfully Paula saw Dina and was able to smooth things over and calm Dina down before Dean saw her, at which time they were able to get to the bottom of the misunderstanding so it is all cleared up now.

There have been 2 deaths in the community, 2 young men were on their way home with some colleagues from CNP when their bakkie crashed killing the 2 young men, the other 4 all survived. This leaves 2 families in CNP without a 'breadwinner' so life will become very hard for them.

We're moving house early next week and we'll email our new address on masse, if you don't receive an email but want our new address, send us an email and we'll respond to it. We're all excited about moving as we'll be just around the corner from the church building and very close to town. We'll also have a bit more space which we desperately need and Dean will finally have a dedicated work space where he can get on with his studies with no further excuses!

We've had some fun over the last weekend, spending time on the beach and then flying Joel's kite in the park. We'll post some photos soon. Eli is doing really well now that he's used to the Soya formula and he's now just over 5kgs which is great. Joel continues to amaze us with what he's learning. Dean was pulled up short the other day when he and Joel were out in the car. Someone cut Dean up so he hooted them and as he did so Joel said "Muppet" which is Dean's favourite expression to describe people who annoy him. Whoops, we'll have to be more guarded in future.

We've just posted some photos on Finnie's in Focus, hope you enjoy them.

Can't Access Blogger

We're emailing this post through in the hope that it will be posted automatically.
We haven't been able to log onto Blogger for over 24 hours despite trying several different computers.
Hopefully all will be back to normal soon, but if you happen to know why Blogger is down, please email us.

Action in CNP

Dean has just been to an excellent meeting at the municipality with Dina & Mama Jane regarding the vegetable garden in CNP and the proposed netball court for the community. Amazingly, the parks dept have agreed to give the community R1000 towards the vegetable garden for seeds, fertiliser etc so after almost 2 years the garden will now be utilised properly. The parks department have also agreed to fund the construction of the netball court and to supply the basic equipment such as hoops and balls. Needless to say Dina & Mama Jane were delighted and the community will be thrilled when they hear about this.
There was more good news too, as the construction of the court will be done by tender and the winning contractor will have to employ people in the community to do the manual labour. Also, the parks dept are going to advertise a 'warden' type role in CNP and the successful applicant will be paid to ensure that the recreation area in CNP is kept clean and free from vandalism. The final bit of good news for the community was that they will be permitted to fundraise for community projects by selling the produce from the vegetable garden, and Mama Jane's soup kitchen will have to receive either part of the proceeds or part of the produce to help her work.
All in all that was an excellent meeting and hopefully within the next 2 months we'll see some positive action with regard to the vegetable garden and the netball court actually materialising.

The Law is an Ass

Dean accompanied Michael & Joyce to court this morning for the final eviction hearing. You may recall that Michael & Joyce are living with Michael's father (Douglas) who wants them to leave the house, primarily because he's an alcoholic and they've been trying to address this issue with him. As expected, the court made it's decision based purely on the law thus ignoring the moral arguments for Michael & Joyce remaining in the house.

Dean was quite angry afterwards as he feels that Michael & Joyce were steamrollered by Douglas's lawyer as they had no legal representation themselves (legal aid was refused and they can't afford legal fees) into signing a settlement document. This then allowed the lawyer to make direct representations to the chief magistrate in his chamber rather than having to go into court. Also, the ANC arrived after the deed had been done and made no attempt to hide their satisfaction with the result. The lead member of the ANC was particularly smug and when Dean pointed out that Douglas would now be a very vulnerable man within the community due to his drinking she suggested that the community would have to take responsibility for him. This was a red rag to a bull and Dean told her in no uncertain terms that the community is already poor and does not need to be burdened further with having to care for a drunken old man who won't listen to sense or reason. Douglas receives enough pension each month to live on but he chooses to drink it away in one day and spends the rest of the month living on handouts and scrounging. When things calmed down Dean was able to explain to the ANC that whilst legally the issue was clear cut, morally the issue was far more complex with Douglas needing some form of supervision to ensure his health and well being (exactly what Michael & Joyce provided him with!), Dean feels the ANC should be responsible and take up the duty of care for Douglas but Dean & the ANC had to agree to disagree.

The upshot of this is that Michael & Joyce have until the 31st of March to move out of the house. We are now trying desperately to make some appropriate accommodation arrangements for Michael & Joyce. Dean will approach a local pastor on Monday (whom Dean and Michael visited on Wed) to see if his village next door to CNP has any accommodation for rent. Michael is wanting to investigate the possible purchase of a 'Wendy House' which is a very large garden shed (3m X 9m) which he could live in in CNP. This option would cost around R4000 (£400) and if you feel you would like to help with this, please email us or leave a comment on this post.

Please pray that Michael & Joyce will have somewhere permanent to live before they have to move out on the 31st.

Emyezweni Pre School

Debs has just updated her Blog with some cute photos of one or two of the kids at the pre-school. Take a look at Deb's SA News

Here's one to whet your appetite

Palace Result

Palace crashed out of the FA Cup losing 2-1 to Preston. A game that Palace had the better of and should have won, but that's football.

Click below for:
Match Report

Next fixture: Sat 11th away to Sheff Wed (hopefully back to winning ways for Palace)

Palace Result(s)

Palace have had a busy few days having drawn with Preston in the FA Cup (replay tonight) we then lost 2-0 to Preston in the league - ouch!

Palace played Cardiff on Saturday and ran out winners with a single goal sealing the points for the Eagles. Palace put in a strong performance against a determined Cardiff side who are just 7 points below us in 7th place. Aki scored the goal for Palace after enduring 4 months out due to injury, it was a very sweet reward for him.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Preview of FA Cup Replay

Next Fixture: Tonight! FA Cup 4th round replay at home to Preston

CNP Men's Bible Study

Dean had a great bible study on Thursday morning with a possible record attendance of 11, which is really encouraging, especially as most of the guys are now coming along regularly. We're continuing our series of Character Studies and this week looked at Paul and his life.

Left to Right: Cyril (in blue shirt),Danny, Michael, Basil, Peter, Trevor, Vicky, Alfred, Ernest & James.

Please pray for these men, that they would strengthen in their faith and be positive role models in the community. Pray too for growth, we'd love to see the group have more impact in CNP. Dean would also like to run a second group on Thursday evenings.
Give thanks too for our continued use of the containers in CNP, this was such an uphill battle and we feel tremendously blessed by God to have regular access to this resource.

Depictions of Mohammed

Controversy over the publication of images depicting Mohammed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten has erupted into an international furor. While Muslim nations are calling for a boycott of Denmark, Europeans are divided as to whether they should stand up for Western principles of freedom of speech, or cave in to to self-censorship in the name of multiculturalism and fear.

While the debate rages, an important point has been overlooked: despite the Islamic prohibition against depicting Mohammed under any circumstances, hundreds of paintings, drawings and other images of Mohammed have been created over the centuries, with nary a word of complaint from the Muslim world. The recent cartoons in Jyllands-Posten are nothing new; it's just that no other images of Mohammed have ever been so widely publicized.

Any self-censorship would be purely out of fear and that is simply wrong! Any religion which strikes mortal fear into people is missing the point of a loving creator God!

I have not seen the images which are causing such offence amongst Muslims, but I do believe that all religion’s must allow themselves to be made fun of, after all we’re only human. Equally however, by allowing free speech in such a way, we also retain the right to freely share our faith, even when people might not want to hear it.

For some of the many historical images of Mohammed visit:

Wed Afternoon in CNP

Dean had an interesting afternoon in CNP on Wed. He started by visiting Peter (one of the men in Dean’s bible study), whilst there a fight erupted in the street outside a shebeen and Dean noticed that a young man named Colby was one of those fighting. Later he bumped into Colby and whilst they were talking it became clear that Colby was drunk. This is articularly sad as Colby is a young man who has just joined the police force and he has a bright future. However, if he follows the path of so many CNP folk into drinking his future will be over before it’s begun. Dean hopes to catch up with Colby again later in the week to talk some more. Please pray that Colby would be able to avoid alcohol and those that drag him down to that level.

Dina is no where to be seen at present because she’s slaving away on behalf of the ANC (African National Congress) as it’s local election time. So we’re not expecting anything of her until March when the elections have finished. Please pray for Dina as she works incredibly hard for the ANC and we feel she is not properly rewarded for what she does. Pray too that she would be a real blessing to those whom she comes into contact with.

Dean’s afternoon finished with a great chat with Dirk (one of 2 white guys in CNP), Dirk was originally quite antagonistic towards Dean, until Dean took one of his neighbours to hospital (see post on Bep) from that time on they started to chat and then Dirk helped Dean out when he broke down one time. Sadly, shortly after this Dirk was rearrested for failing to comply with his probation conditions and so went back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. Once he returned to CNP he got himself a job so Dean only saw him in passing, so to have an hour chatting was a real blessing. The really good news is that whilst in prison Dirk was saved! Praise God!!!