Palace Result

Palace continued their pre-season winning streak with a 4-1 thrashing of Swedish team IK Oddevold. Palace went into the break one nil up but Oddevold were soon back on level terms in the second half. However, goals by Clinton Morrison, Stuart Green & Ben Watson sealed the win in the second half.

Click below for:
Match Report

Next fixtures:
Tuesday 31st July home to Anderlecht
Saturday 4th Aug home to Everton

The new season kicks off on Sat 11th Aug with Palace away to Southampton

Palace Result(s)

Palace have been busy with a few pre-season friendlies and are unbeaten in 5 matches which is fairly impressive, maybe even unprecedented!

On Tuesday Palace beat Swedish giants IFK Gothenburg 2-1 which is a great start to our Scandinavian tour. click for Match Report.

Other pre-season results:
22/07/07 - barnet 2 Palace 3
21/07/07 - dartford 0 Palace 3
18/07/07 - aldershot 0 Palace 2
16/07/07 - bromley 2 Palace 2

Next pre-season friendly: Tuesday 31st July Palace v Anderlecht

Sometimes you just have to laugh. The hysteria over Harry Potter is just as bad here in South Africa as it is elsewhere, with some bookshops staying open until midnight or whatever ungodly hour it was decided the book could be sold. We know this because our regular babysitter was off to join the queues.

The problem here is that South Africa generally doesn't have a book culture in the way the UK does and so books are very expensive. Harry Potter was going on sale at launch for the usual R240ish (£17). However, Paula happened to see a small notice at our local supermarket saying they would be selling the book for R149 (£10). We knew Paula would be at the supermarket around lunchtime but certainly didn't expect to find any copies left, but lo and behold, there were loads!

So our babysitter and lots of other 'fans' got royally stitched up for the book whilst those with a bit more sense simply saved themselves R100 and a nights sleep by going to the supermarket.

You have to laugh.

10 Years In Mission

This month marks 10 years since God first led us into full time Christian mission overseas when we visited Tanzania for three weeks. Prior to that time we had never thought of serving God outside of the UK and we weren't looking to rock the boat. In '97 we had a very nice life and for the first time we actually had some money and were able to enjoy a few luxuries that previously had been out of our reach. However, God has a funny way of shaking things up and now 10 years on we wouldn't want to give up the adventure He's given us. We own no property, have a minimal monthly income and yet we've never been hungry or homeless and our financial needs are always met through God's amazing faithfulness. Our hope and prayer is that the adventure with God will continue for many more years and we'll continue to be stunned by His world and people in it.

Here are some of the highs and lows of the adventure so far..

The best experience was having a day in the Serengeti. We used to live 30 minutes from the Western gate but only managed one proper trip into the park in our year in Tanzania. We went with Dan Tanner a crazy American who was the best ever game guide! Dan seemed to have an innate sense of where the animals would be and when they would be there and he wasn't wrong once! Two abiding memories of Dan on that trip were when he got a lone bull elephant to charge the car, very frightening and when he got out and chased a herd of buffalo, crazy but it made for some great photos. We only spent 12 hours in the Serengeti, but got to see more game in that one day than we've seen in any other game drive since, and we've done lots of game drives.

The worst experience also comes from our time in Tanzania, we were having real problems with two of the boys we were caring for and after some months of great difficulty we were forced to act. The villagers were alleging that one of the boys had sexually assaulted a girl in the village and they were preparing to deal with it. After a team meeting we agreed that we had to return him to Mwanza, so Dean got the job of returning a child to the streets. This was by far the hardest thing we've ever done! We liaised with the local streetkid project who looked out for the lad and cared for him. The only positive was that the other boy completely transformed and became like a son to us. We still miss him.

The funniest incident probably goes to a day trip we organised in Harare whilst we were at the Just Children street kid centre. We all went to a park in Harare which had a small canal around it. All the staff and kids went into the small canoes and before long utter chaos ensued. We managed to sink every canoe and we all went home saturated. We got many strange looks from passersby in the city as we squelched our way back to the centre!

Our most amazing God moment occurred on our way home from Tanzania. Having resigned in the field and been treated pretty shabbily by the organisation we found ourselves at the Mayflower guest house in Nairobi contemplating the future. We were convinced God had called us to Tanzania but here we were on our way home. We were confused, dazed and a bit angry. We had dinner at the Mayflower and sat with an elderly couple who spoke straight into our lives. They helped us understand that God had called us to serve Him rather than having called us to a specific project or country. This understanding still underpins our basic approach to making ourselves available to serve God. In the evening we went to say goodbye to the couple but couldn't find them so we asked at the reception but they had no record of such a couple. After asking a few other guests, none of whom had seen this elderly couple we realised we'd had a very privileged encounter with angels. a truly stunning God moment!

It is amazing to see how things have changed over 10 years, now email and the internet are common place, back when we started, fax was the preferred method of communicating quickly with the UK. Email was around but so few people had it that it wasn't worth using. In our early days we had to use the available local transport networks, now we wouldn't dream of putting ourselves at such risk, particularly in South Africa. Not all change is for the better, in Tanzania we only knew a handful of other expats so our main friendships were drawn from local people. Here in South Africa it's much harder to develop deep friendships across the very wide cultural divides. We try hard and have seen some fruit as we have a few very dear friends in Chris Nissen, but this is exceptional here, definitely not the norm!

Church experiences have always been very interesting in the last 10 years. In Tanzania we were supposed to worship as part of a church in the village, but invariably we would travel to Kahangala Catholic seminary to worship there. In Zim' we worshipped as part of the Newfrontiers family of churches, with some highly motivated and driven leaders. This was great but exhausting. Now we live in paradise but find church life very tough.

Lessons learnt: Not all aid agencies and NGO's are there to help so don't look to them or wait for them to get things started, It ain't gonna happen! We were truly appalled by the World Food Program, having attended some of their meetings in Zim' we would actively seek to avoid working with them again. Such organisations provide great talking shops and very little action! We've also been disgusted with some of the bigger (secular) aid and development agencies. Please don't give them your money without strict guarantees that it won't be wasted on fancy 4X4s and swanky business cards. Whilst Christians are often attacked and vilified for 'prosletysing' it is invariably the Christians and local churches who have their sleeves rolled up and are getting on with the job at the coal face. For that we should never apologise nor attempt to justify our actions and motivations!

Some things that have happened: crashed a motorbike into a 6ft ditch 30 miles from home, drilled palm of hand, removed a ring from a man's hand using an angle grinder, been robbed at knife point by 4 men, watched 2 lionesses finishing off a wildebeest for breakfast, seen the wildebeest queuing in the Serengeti to cross the Grumeti river,had malaria 6 times, dysentery twice, worms twice and a variety of other pleasantries. watched the police shoot an unarmed suspect, rescued a suspected rapist from mob justice, spent 27 hours in Harare police cells. We've been heavily involved in planting 2 new churches, overseen the distribution of several hundred tonnes of food aid and watched the 98 World Cup in French with a Frenchman in Tanzania. Allegedly learnt three new languages, gave up drinking tea and learnt to drink lager (but not instead of tea!). We've towed a police Land Rover out of a river, provided them with pen & paper so they could record a crime. We've ignored Home Office advice over travel arrangements, sacked a doctor from his job, resigned from a post whilst 4000 miles from home, drunk beer in a catholic seminary with the priests in charge and sat by a watering hole whilst the 300+ strong presidential herd of elephants wandered past. Goats have been slaughtered in our honour and children have been named after us. We've been to Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi & Lesotho as well as several trips home to Blighty. But without question the best thing we've ever done is meet some truly amazing people along the way, many of whom remain really good friends!

We serve a truly AWESOME God without whom we would never have done any of the above! At all times we've sought merely to serve Him and glorify His name. what an honour it is to serve Him!

This was mostly Dean's perspective, Paula might try and write something soon.

Weekend In Montagu

We escaped to Montagu at the weekend and spent a few nights on the farm we visited earlier in the year. The boys had a ball and we were able to chill out a bit before getting back into the routine of school & nursery runs juggled with work commitments etc.

We were very blessed on our last night when Mike the farm mechanic baby-sat for us so we could enjoy the highlights of Montagu's nightlife. Sadly Montagu has no nightlife! Despite that we really did have a lot of fun together.

Ride 'em cowboy

Joel on yet another swing

At 'Kanonkop' overlooking Montagu

Another favoured pastime, throwing stones in rivers

Something was very funny

Joel & Eli desperately wanted to feed the donkey but were too scared

Eli has a go anyway

It was great to chill and play together as a family

Eli seems to adore all animals

Everything had to be investigated and fiddled with

Dinner time

Joel on the 'Zugor' swing

Cute as ever

Cheeky chappies

Joel shows Eli how to jump off the rocks

Roofing Sheets

The Red Cross recently asked us to spend R10,000 on their behalf, the only condition being that the money be used to buy things for those in the greatest need. After a brief assessment (limited by time) we decided that aluminium roofing sheets would be very useful for those living in shacks. The money enabled us to buy 150 roofing sheets and enough nails to secure them (however, the recipients must take responsibility for fitting them). Today Dean delivered the sheets to those who needed them.

Fila outside her shack with her gift of 20 roofing sheets. Currently her shack is covered with black plastic which has torn in the wind causing it to leak. Hopefully Fila will make a plan to have the roof sorted over the weekend.

Anne sat inside her new shack. Anne's previous shack was tiny and leaked really badly as she had no proper roofing materials.

Anne's front door

Anne used the roofing sheets in some interesting ways, but at least now she sleeps in the dry. As you could imagine she was delighted with the gift from the Red Cross.

An Update Of Sorts

The last few weeks have been really busy as Dean was sorting out our BOB campaign and then undertook a three week intensive Afrikaans language course at Stellenbosch university. The course coincided with the school holidays so Paula was stranded with the kids with no help from Dad. Thankfully it all came together with a weekend away in Montagu this weekend. It was a great way to end the school holiday for Joel and we all had a lot of fun. It's so good to be able to chill out and know your kids are safe wandering around the farmyard looking at the animals and stuff.

We'll post more in the next day or so.

Eli as cute as ever

Two very happy boys scoffing jelly & custard

Joel turning on the charm for the camera

Signs Of The Times?

During the course of a fun day I encountered the following signs, each of which raised a smile

I have no explanation for this other than to say the goats must be very smart to read the sign

'Wanda' our language teacher taking a break from her one woman protest on behalf of the goats

An inviting place for a swim

Is this a reflection on the state of the toilets?

Project Fix It - Part 2

On Saturday we completed part 2 of our Project Fix It with a great turnout of folk from church getting involved. This was a great time of blessing for our friends in CNP and a great way for church members to build relationships with people they might not ordinarily mix with.

The feed back from the two days has been very positive so hopefully we'll be able to follow it up later in the year.

David mixing some concrete

Debs & Joan working hard

Rod preparing the step for the concrete

Love those wellies!

David, Joan & Debs admiring their handiwork

Riel, James & a friend patching up Aletta's roof

James looking pleased that his mum's window is replaced

Malcolm & Ruben preparing the new door for Mama Jane's house

Joseph preparing the ground for Dina's new toilet

Rod & Eric sorting out Anne's front step. Rod also built a rain channel to prevent the house from flooding

Ruben fitting the lock to Peter's new door

Aunty Henna with her new front step