Holiday

We're off to a family friendly farm near Montagu in the morning for two weeks, so we'll be too busy having fun to worry about Blogging anything. Have fun whilst we're gone - we will! :)

IE Bug Fixed - For Now..

I was made aware that the new Blog template had a bug in Internet Explorer, basically the family photo embedded in the template was obstructed by the content wrapper, so I fiddled for a while last night trying to sort it out but had to concede that the only real answer to the problem was to switch to Firefox which is far superior anyway. However, some folk seem to fear change and cling onto IE regardless, so just for them I've spent a bit more time and fixed the bug. The template is now fixed, or at least it is in IE6, I presume it works in IE7 but if not you'll just have to use Firefox ;)

Family Fun

We had a great weekend with Joel's birthday party on Saturday morning and on Sunday afternoon we met up with some friends in the Nature Reserve for a picnic tea. Eli is a real fan of picnics as he gets to graze non-stop with everyone thinking he's really cute (which he is!) and he certainly knows how to play to his adoring fans.

Joel was pleased to be able to play with Natty and together they got themselves plastered in mud as only little boys can (sadly no photos). Eli tried to keep up with them both and put in a valiant effort, managing to get mud just about everywhere.

Blog Relaunch

I've been working on a new template for this Blog for quite a while as I wanted to be able to use some of the cool new features in the 'New Blogger'.

However, the choice of Blogger templates has always been naff and so requiring a lot of hacking to get them into shape.

So here it is.. a long overdue photo of Dean on his bike in the Cape Argus. This photo was taken somewhere in the last 10km's of the race which would explain the lack of a smile on the face having done around 100km's at the time.

As you can see the scenery was truly stunning and the weather was perfect for the race. Some more stats from the race: I finished comfortably in the top half of all the 28748 riders who completed the race and I was 54th in the starting group of 420 riders, not bad!

PlayBall Birthday Party

On Saturday Joel had his birthday party. This year he had a 'PlayBall' party which was fantastic as we only had to provide the food, all the entertainment was done by the PlayBall team, highly recommended! Most of Joel's classmates came as well as his best friend Matthew and our old neighbours Bradley & Timmy. All the kids had fun and went home very tired - Excellent!

The PlayBall team get things underway

Vissy

Vissy died on Monday, after a long battle against ill health. Vissy had suffered from TB for a very long time and we suspect she had a form of cancer but will never know. She was a dear friend in Chris Nissen and was always ready for a laugh, however she never really got over the death of her husband two years ago.

Vissy has been an amazing battler throughout and on a number of occasions it looked like she would die, but each time she pulled through. We are so grateful to God for the witness she was in the community.

The funeral is tomorrow morning and Paula will attend on our behalf.

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Joel's 4th Birthday

4 Today!

Wow, where did those brief years go? Joel's been very excited about his birthday and has been asking for a bike for a while. We had thought to get him a trampoline but when asked he said he wanted a bike and has been asking ever since. So, having sought some professional advice we got said bike and he was delighted. We had a slight panic on Saturday when he told someone that he was getting a blue bike, but the colour issue seems to be irrelevant now, phew!

Politically Correct Madness

Proof that some folk in the UK really don't grasp what it means to be 'multicultural' by applying some very skewed logic to the timeless children's fairy tale; The Three Little Pigs.

Feeding Program

On Friday we managed to do two months worth of food shopping for our feeding program. As ever the food was really gratefully received and has made a big impact upon those families which received it. We're continually grateful to our friends at Hertford Baptist Church for their generosity which funds the program. We're also really proud of our ladies in Chris Nissen who so faithfully package the food and distribute it, particularly Aunty Poppy who allows her house to be taken over for half a day whilst the food is sorted. We marvel at Aunty Poppy, she provides for two of her own daughters and they have both had babies this year with the younger one having twins and they all live in her house! As you can imagine life is a little hectic for the family but they serve so brilliantly and without complaining, a real model to us!

We know it's only March, but already we're having to plan ahead with regard to this feeding program. Our current funding runs out in December, after which we hope that our church will take on some of the responsibility for it. However, we have no idea whether that will happen or not. Either way, please join us in praying for the means to be available for this important work to be able to continue beyond 2007.

Play Date

Joel recently had his first friend from school come home and spend the afternoon playing. Stuart is a really sweet boy and Joel gets on really well with him, needless to say they had a lot of fun especially in the paddling pool.

Meetings About Meetings

Hazel has written a brilliant post on 'Martin and Hazel's Blog' about meetings. All I can say is Hazel is far better at expressing such things than I am so let me encourage you to take a look at their Blog and be entertained.

PS. If you enjoy meetings you might be offended

CNP Update

After taking things easy on Monday post Argus, I was back in Chris Nissen with a 'bang' on Tuesday. Or rather, life in CNP hit me with a bang. I started by visiting two men who haven't been to my bible study for a while. I'd been told they were upset with me, but as it turns out they weren't at all. It was great to spend some time just chatting with each of them and to hear from them about how they're doing, this always helps to stem the gossip. After seeing these two, I then spent time with Aletta and her new grandson, Justin. He really is a very beautiful baby and his mother is very proud of him!

Psychological Barrier

Since getting serious about my mountain biking and generally getting fit and losing several kilos I've been doing quite well and have been pleased with my progress despite the fact that I'm not on a full blown diet, I still enjoy my food but watch what I snack on. I also seem to have lost my taste for alcohol which really helps!

I was really disappointed last week when I hadn't lost any weight (didn't gain either) as I really wanted to get below the dreaded 90kg barrier. Anyway, I weigh myself every Monday morning to see how I'm doing and this morning I was 89.5kgs. I'm now below the 90kg barrier which seemed impossible not so many weeks ago and it's the first time in many many years that I've weighted so little. So now it's on to the target of 85kgs.

Cape Argus

Wow! I rode the Argus, lived to tell the tale and cracked a decent time of 4hours 6minutes according to my bike computer. The official results will be out on Thursday and I expect it to be a bit longer, maybe 4:20ish as I stopped for a few drinks along the way. My computer stops when I do but the official timing chips don't register stops.

Church Planting In Durban

Last Friday I had the amazing privilege of leaving all my boys and flying up to be part of a team that was gathering from all over South Africa to boost the current congregation of Hope Church, Durban and to encourage them by participating in all sorts of evangelism before the official church launch on Sunday afternoon.

What can you say about the following pictures...not a lot so enjoy them.



We finally have a 'broadband' connection. It's great to ditch the unreliability of dial up networking. However, our broadband is actually a 384kb bandwidth adsl line with a 1GB monthly cap for both uploading & downloading. Hardly the whizz bang one would expect in the 21st century, but a step in the right direction. And the cost for all this; a mere R500 (£40) per month, what a bargain - not!

The View From Here - Pt 3

This one is a shorter post than the others as there are only two photos but both are of great views. Today we're showing you views from our church building, so we're at work rather than play.


Almost There

I love our family routine as you know that by 7pm peace & quiet reign supreme as the boys are in bed and adult time takes over - bliss! We've had some fun today, church was rocking this morning, Nick, one of our worship leaders has played with the hymn 'How Great Thou Art', basically he's written new verses and really beefed up the chorus, brilliant. Once again about half the church came forward to be prayed for to released in their gifts, this is really exciting. Steve Van Ryhn from Jubilee Community Church preached on 'the local church' and as ever he was superb. Steve is a really gifted expositional preacher and probably my favourite local preacher, you know you're going to get solid biblical teaching from him and today was no exception.

The Jesus Tomb

I couldn't resist posting this cartoon, judge for yourself but I thought it was quite good.

Further to my previous post about the Tomb of Jesus, Ben Witherington has written two further posts on the subject, both of which are excellent!

PROBLEMS MULTIPLY FOR JESUS TOMB THEORY

THE SMOKING GUN---TENTH TALPIOT OSSUARY PROVED TO BE BLANK

Both of these are well worth reading.
So here we are, the first of three nights without Paula and the house is calm. Eli was in bed at the usual time (6.30pm), fed, watered, bathed and with clean teeth - all 6 of them. Joel was an hour late to bed but that was planned as we had pizza for tea whilst watching Disney's Peter Pan. Joel really enjoyed both and after demolishing his pizza asked for more! He went to bed at 8pm very tired but very happy. I even managed a two hour ride up Sir Lowry's Pass (could that be misconstrued as a 'double entendre'?) this afternoon. I know it's only the first night, but it's great to know that our family routine continues despite any changes.

Paula Heading To Durban

Paula's off to Durban tomorrow for the weekend as she joins the team planting Hope Church. The church is being led by our old elder Gary and a great team of other guys & gals. Finally NewFrontiers will have a presence in the city. The cunning plan is to start the church close to the student area and hopefully spread out from there. However, the church is being intentional in its aim to see students saved and added to the church.

The View From Here - Pt 2

In this installment we're taking in some of the views from Chris Nissen and more specifically from Michael's stoep (porch) at the front of his house. The reason I've included this is because we meet there each Thursday morning for our men's bible study.

Free NHS Treatment

There are many drawbacks to leaving the UK to serve in mission overseas but the benefits DEFINITELY outweigh the negatives. However we tend not to focus on those negatives but every once in a while it's worth drawing attention to them. Some of the biggest drawbacks are unsurprisingly financial.