Mountain Bikes & Baboons

Dean went mountain biking again last night with the regular crowd and again had a real blast on the mountains in Sir Lowry's Pass. The sunset is simply stunning up there as the moutains turn a pinky orange and the light through the trees is almost surreal. Once at the limit of where you can cycle to the views looking back over False Bay and Table Mountain are superb!

Last night Dean and the gang met a troop of Baboons out on the tracks and had some fun winding them up, although one has to be very careful and ready to sprint off VERY quickly should the alpha male take umbrage.

Experiencing nature so closely and in such peace is a real privilege and after a few stressful days in Chris Nissen it's great to be able to escape into the mountains, even if it is only far a couple of hours.

Ouma Sophie's Shack

With the onset of winter those who are living in 'informal' accommodation in Chris Nissen Park begin to suffer. You can see from the photos below the reality of life for Ouma Sophie. Life is hard enough without the extra pain and suffering brought on by the cold and rain. Sadly, this is not an isolated case in the community, but at least in this particular case we are able to rejoice as one of our church members has offered a small wendy house to Ouma Sophie so we're hoping to get it sorted out early next week. Praise God!

Ouma Sophie in the doorway of her shack. The buckets are collecting drips and you can clearly see a puddle in the doorway

The buckets hanging from the ceiling are to help stop the bed from getting too wet. Most of Ouma Sophie's possessions are sopping wet!

The view from the 'bedroom' looking towards the front door

The shack from outside

Ouma Sophie's kitchen!

Click on any image to view full size

Chris Nissen Social

We had a 'Soup Social' at church last Friday for the folk in Chris Nissen whom we are directly involved with, church members, the men from Dean's bible study group and the ladies from Paula's cell group plus children. A good fun evening was had by all and we plan to hold a few more socials in our efforts to get our church members and other Christians in the community to unite and stand together. Hopefully they'll begin to realise that the devil is the real enemy rather than their brothers & sisters in Christ. We decided to do this on the back of our recent cell meeting in CNP when Dean addressed the issues of gossip & jealousy which are two of the biggest hindrances to our work with the community.

Some of the men from Dean's bible study group (l to r: Peter, James, Basil, Michael & Cyril)

After the soup, fun & games ensued

Not everyone was amused!

The kids were catered for

Trevor, Cyril & Quinton compete to make 'something'

Beautiful Baby

Paula recently entered Eli into a 'Beautiful Baby' competition and we recently got the photos back. We hope you like the one below.


Quite where the time is going at the moment we're not sure and we just don't seem to get enough time to write anything serious on the Blog. We'll try in a few short lines to let you know what's happening in CNP and with us, so hopefully you'll be up to speed.
For those of you who don't know yet, we managed to get Eli's passport fiasco sorted out, thanks to our living God who is a lot more accessible than the British high commissioner in SA! We really value your prayers, and can confirm that God did indeed answer them.
Winter has set in now and we're enjoying July's weather in May, which means it will probably rain almost continually for the next 4 months, deep joy! We know the rain is needed but the Englishman in us stops us from getting excited about it. The only real benefit is that the garden is looking good and the grass is green again.
Sadly the onset of winter also brings a dramatic rise in the number of folk in CNP suffering from various illnesses. As ever, TB has raised its ugly (but predictable) head and there are at least half a dozen people suffering right now. Paula visited a few this morning and prayed with them. Please join us in praying for the community, against such illnesses. Unfortunately TB is the most prevalent of AIDS related 'opportunistic' illnesses and the community suffers badly each winter.
This is our 3rd winter here in Helderberg and in the last two we've seen about 30 people die in Chris Nissen. Please pray with us that this year would be different, we'd love to see the mortality rate in the community drop to zero, but even if it only matched the national average, a lot fewer people would die in CNP this winter than in the last two.
Today saw the first death in the community this winter, an old lady known as 'Ouma Joyce' who had TB died during the night. Needless to say her husband is gutted. We took some tea, coffee, milk etc to him this afternoon so he can offer some hospitality to those that come to offer their condolences.
Dean has at last met up with a group of guys who go mountain biking regularly, so he's off each Tue and Thur evening getting muddy, scraped and bruised in the name of enjoyment. The crowd are really good, mostly from church so hopefully he'll build some good friendships through this.
We're all well, although Eli has been a bit sick today, however that was an allergic reaction so nothing too serious. We seem to be getting busier and busier as we prepare for our trip to the UK in June. Hopefully;y we'll get everything done here which we need to before we leave, but if we don't then 'never mind'.
Dean is particularly chuffed to be back in Blighty for the entire World Cup (coincidence?) and will be making the most of cheering England with friends in various pubs around the country. Let him know where you're watching the games and he'll do his best to join you!

Fundamentalist ?

A friend at church emailed this to me today and having read it thought it would be fun to post it and see what reaction (if any) it solicits. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

I'm reading some pretty interesting philosophy lately and came across this quote in an academic book on Christian Philosophy. Read it carefully and seriously... ; )

Plantinga and the "Real" Meaning of Fundamentalist
Having just stated that his Aquinas/Calvin model involves his belief in the “internal instigation of the Holy Spirit,” noetic effects of sin, and other specifically Christian beliefs, Plantinga writes this bit on what it really means to be called a “fundamentalist,”

"But isn't this just endorsing a wholly outmoded and discredited fundamentalism, that condition than which, according to many academics, none lesser can be conceived? I fully realize that the dreaded f-word will be trotted out to stigmatize any model of this kind. Before responding, however, we must first look into the use of this term 'fundamentalist'.

On the most common contemporary academic use of the term, it is a term of abuse or disapprobation, rather like 'son of a bitch', more exactly 'sonovabitch', or perhaps still more exactly (at least according to those authorities who look to the Old West as normative on matters of pronunciation) 'sumbitch.' When the term is used in this way, no definition of it is ordinarily given. (If you called someone a sumbitch, would you feel obligated first to define the term?) Still, there is a bit more to the meaning of 'fundamentalist' (in this widely current use); it isn't simply a term of abuse. In addition to its emotive force, it does have some cognitive content, and ordinarily denotes relatively conservative theological views. That makes it more like 'stupid sumbitch' (or maybe 'fascist sumbitch'?) than 'sumbitch' simpliciter. It isn't exactly like that term either, however, because its cognitive content can expand and contract on demand; its content seems to depend on who is using it. In the mouths of certain liberal theologians, for example, it tends to denote any who accept traditional Christianity, including Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, and Barth; in the mouths of devout secularists like Richard Dawkins or Daniel Dennett, it tends to denote anyone who believes there is such a person as God. The explanation that the term has a certain indexical element: its cognitive content is given by the phrase 'considerably to the right, theologically speaking, of me and my enlightened friends.' The full meaning of the term, therefore (in this use), can be given by something like 'stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine'"
(Warranted Christian Belief, pp. 244-245).

The Child Within

Something about the sight of a new airplane excites the child within, so when photos were released of the Airbus A380 I was enthralled as this really is a behemoth of a plane! Below are some photos of the A380 on its way to Heathrow taken by members of the public. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did (Joel thought they were quite cool too).

©Simon Williams

©Bob Cox

©John Irving

Food Parcels

Over the last few months we've been delivering food parcels to some of the neediest folk in Chris Nissen. We have fairly strict criteria as to who qualifies so as to avoid unnecesary conflict (not always successfully) and also to ensure that we really do target those in need. To ensure that this happens we work through relationship with some faithful Christians in the community whom we know we can rely on. We really thank God that we have such a circle of trusted friends in CNP!

The food parcels contain basics such as 5kgs of rice, cooking oil, sugar, samp etc. and a few goodies, the idea being that one food parcel will enable a family of 4 or 5 to eat for a full month.

Henna & Paula shopping for the food

The trolley loaded

The kids like to help unload the car in CNP

He knows he'll get a sweet for being a star

What it's all about.. families coming to get their food parcels

Enough food for a month

This initiative is made possible by the generous support of Hertford Baptist Church

Eli Can Travel!

Praise God!
Our prayers have been answered and Eli can accompany us to the UK in June! Today Dean flew to Jo'burg and then drove to Pretoria to get the document for Eli, all went very smoothly and wasn't too time consuming.

Dean has come home very tired but delighted with the result of his endeavour. We really appreciate all your prayers, God definitely smoothed the way and oiled the necessary cogs.

Dean also enjoyed a couple of great blessings, firstly, Avis upgraded his car rental so he was bombing around in a Nissan X-Trail for the day which was good. Then on the way home the plane had to circle False Bay whilst waiting to land in Cape Town, so he got a brilliant aerial view of the Hottentots Holland mountains, Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula as well as the Helderberg Basin. Tourists pay big bucks to get that view in a helicopter! The plane was quite low so some of the larger marine life were quite visible in the bay.


God is answering our prayers.... Paul Boeteng, the British High Commissioner has agreed to our appeal and Eli will be allowed to fly with us - praise God!!! HOWEVER, we must get his passport stamped officially in Pretoria. So, Dean is now looking for the best flight price to go on that little expedition!
Thank you so much for your prayers, we really can't tell you what stress we were under here

Serious Prayer Need!

Following the final adoption order for Eli, we applied to Home Affairs to change his name (as ordered by the court) and at the same time applied for a temporary passport in his pre-adoptive name in order to allow him to accompany us on our trip to the UK in June. Home affairs were incredibly helpful and got the passport to us within 7 days but informed us that the name change takes up to 4 months (so will happen by August at the earliest).
Two weeks after we applied for the temporary passport, the British Govt. very unhelpfully announced that South African temporary passports would no longer be accepted for entry into the UK. This has put us in a very difficult position as it is simply not possible to obtain a full passport for Eli until after the name change has been completed.
We have made many fruitless calls to the British High Commission in Cape Town and Pretoria in the last few weeks and eventually yesterday we spoke to a human being who confirmed that SA temporary passports are indeed "not credible travel documents" and therefore Eli cannot travel on his. We explained Home Affairs position of being unable to issue a full passport, so it was suggested we get a letter from Home Affairs confirming this. Again, Home Affairs were brilliant and faxed the letter immediately.
This morning we were informed that the High commission have considered our case and have refused to issue any travel documents! We kept asking them what we should do, but were banging our heads against the proverbial wall. Eventually we were advised to appeal directly to Paul Boateng, the High Commissioner which we have done today.
This problem is totally of their making and yet no one seems willing or able to help us. This is incredibly frustrating and infuriating!
Please pray that common sense would prevail and the High Commission would allow Eli to travel! We will be flying to the UK on the 8th of June.
Also, if you know of anyone who has direct contact with Paul Boateng, please let us know.

Palace Result

I've been a bit remiss in not posting Palace's results in the last few months so here goes with the very last one of this season..

The season officially ended 2 weeks ago but Palace were in the playoffs along with Leeds, Watford and Preston. Unfortunately Palace were stuffed 3-0 in the home leg and drew 0-0 with Watford in the away leg so Watfor will play Leeds in the final.

The highlight of the away leg was the mass brawl which involved 22 players, 2 managers and an assortment of back room staff, Brilliant! Allegedly Dowie thumped someone, so it wasn't a total loss!

So it's back to the fizzypop league for another dreary season. The really bad news is that our old enemy Brighton were relegated as were the Rodneys so we've got no decent derby matches to look forward to.

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson©

A Rare Shot

It's not often that we get a photo with Dean in it as he's usually hiding behind the camera. Hope this one doesn't scare you!

Michael's House

On the Friday before Dean left for Lesotho we managed to get a wendy house for Michael for the exact amount of money that we had raised, so a HUGE thankyou to those of you who so generously helped. Michael & Joyce feel tremendously blessed and are so grateful to God for His provision.

As you can see from the photos below, it's quite a big wendy house measuring 3M X 9M and fit quite well behind Peter's house. Michael has divided it into 3 rooms, he's also got electricity running from Peter's house which is great.

Michael's wendy house nestling behind Peter'shouse

The wendy house seen from behind

Michael in the doorway

City of Joy - Maseru

Reading the 'Welcome' leaflet

Praise & Worship in the 'Big Top'

Exuberant worship, Lesotho style

Lex leading a large crowd in a prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus

Hearing testimonies from those who had been healed

This woman from Dihlabeng was totally healed from Thrombosis in her legs

This man was saved, healed and got a job within 3 days!

More healings and testimony

People standing up to say "Yes" to following Jesus

Click on any image to view full size.

To see more photos visit our Photoblog: Finnie's In Focus

Welcome Break

We're off to Franshoek in the morning for two nights 'sans' kids! We've been trying to organise this for ages (it's not easy when you have no familial support just around the corner) so Joel will be with his friends Caleb & Michelle and Eli will be with another couple who generously offered to help us out.
We really feel the need for this time off and are marvelling at God's timing. We tried to organise this for a couple of dates but it kept falling through, but now after Dean's return from Lesotho and some serious issues arising in CNP this mini break has come at just the right time.
Sadly, we had an incident on the Friday before Dean left for Lesotho in which one of our church members in was involved in gossiping about another Christian and ourselves, this has stemmed from unforgiveness towards the other believer and jealousy of our efforts to help. Dean was verbally abused by this member in the middle of CNP and the incident was witnessed by 4 other church members and goodness knows how many other community members. Please pray for the community as gossip and jealousy keep rearing their ugly heads and destroying so much good work.
We've just arranged to hold a meeting on May 10th in CNP for our church members to try and address these issues and Dean is also in the process of setting up a meeting with one of our elders to tackle this problem head on, which will result in some discipline. Please pray for Godly wisdom and tact as we navigate our way through very trying circumstances. Tragically, our church members in the community are often some of the chief protagonists in keeping the community downtrodden. We long to see each of our church members conducting themselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, whatever happens. Phil 1:27 Please pray into this.