Winter has arrived with a vengeance. Gone are the clear blue skies and nice sunny days only to be replaced by angry looking dark clouds, strong northwesterly winds and lots of rain. Such will be our lot for the next 5 months. Thankfully we got our winter firewood a while ago so we'll be getting the wood-burner going soon.
Joel has been very excited over the last few days as one of his teeth became very wobbly and eventually fell out on Tuesday evening just in time for the tooth fairy to come. Thankfully Joel had been prepared by Charlie & Lola so he knew what to expect.
The winter weather makes visiting friends in Chris Nissen and Macassar a bit less pleasurable. Mainly because the Chris Nissen houses are like fridges in winter with their bare asbestos roofing sheets. Driving to Macassar along the N2 in the pouring rain is horrific as the usual poor standard of driving is compounded by the weather. Sadly most south African's seem to think that speed is the answer to all traffic problems. Things are moving slowly in Macassar but we're encouraged by the relationships we're building. Dean has been going in and mapping where each of our church members live and plans to use this as a basis for our outreach into the community. Paula has been enjoying visiting some women during the mornings as well as getting to know a few rather better in her church Friendship Group. She is planning to keep up the visiting and start to look more in depth at what we could do with those who are available. We do feel like it's being back at the starting point of our time with Chris Nissen when we knew three women from church who lived in the community. It took a couple of years to build any meaningful relationships in CNP but our persistence was well rewarded. Hopefully things will be a bit easier in Macassar as we already know more quality people there. Paula is also keeping very busy with the HOPE home based care team in CNP. As usual at this time of the year she arrived last Friday for visiting to find 5 people were either in hospital or at the hospice. This is sad, but at least, in the case of the hospice patient, they are in better conditions for a week or two. Please pray for our patients as they struggle with chronic arthritis, strokes, HIV and its related illnesses and TB. Pray also for the carers as their work really is a labour of love.
Michael & Joyce continually amaze and surprise me with their level of care and love for those in need around them. Today a strange man (definitely not playing with a full deck) was wandering around Chris Nissen and had been chased out of a few houses by angry residents. Eventually he ended up in Michael's partially constructed lean-to at the back of his house, so Joyce took him a cup of tea. As the weather worsened they took him into their home and let him sleep on their couch. Michael tried to talk to the guy and after a long time found out his name was Abdullah but he couldn't get any further so he called the police who gently took the man away. Michael had made clear that he was not lodging any complaint or charge against him but was merely concerned that the man returns to his home, wherever that may be. The police were really good and treated him with real respect. It really warms my heart to see how caring my friends are!