August Prayer Letter

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Daredevil

Eli talks us through his planned daredevil act on the jungle gym. Thankfully mummy wasn't around to stop him!

Down To Earth With A Bump

By the time this blog entry is completed 15 people will become infected with HIV in South Africa. 1 out of every 5 people are believed to be HIV+ One thousand people die every day of AIDS. It is projected that there will be 18 million AIDS orphans in SA by 2010. Sobering statistics or what! This is one of the main reasons why we know God is calling us to be here in SA. Never mind swine flu! - we are living with a pandemic and it is true to say that if you aren't infected with HIV, then you will certainly be affected by it. Not only do we need to get real about our response as individuals, but also as a church. For this reason Paula and a couple of other women from the church are attending a Counselling in HIV/AIDS course all of this week. This is a big commitment in terms of work, time and finance, but we believe as a church that, like Jesus, we must care for the kind of people many would consider 'outcasts'. Please pray that the 3 women will gain so much from the course and will come away with a burning passion to inspire the rest of the church and maybe a clearer idea of how we can be of real practical help in Macassar. Please pray also for Paula as she considers how to use this increased knowledge alongside the practical work of home based care and for the potential of training others.

The course comes on the back of a very interesting fundraiser that Paula attended on behalf of a Christmas party for the children who attend our local anti-retroviral clinic. The organisers want to give the best party yet to over 300 kids in our local Nature Reserve. It was quite an 'amusing' evening as Paula mixed with the local 'private school mums' who are full of good intentions, but often don't have a clue. It's wonderful how God uses people for His work! She was stunned to hear of the new trend for many living with HIV. As the drug treatments have improved in recent years and many people are living healthily and well as a result, they are unfortunately having to stop receiving the disability grant that they used to get when they first became sick and were quite ill. Obviously, it is great news that people are becoming well and learning to live with the virus, but everything comes with a sting. Sadly, the nurses reported that many people are stopping treatment in order to receive the monthly grant again - their only means of income. Finding a job is hard enough, but finding a job after a long period out of work, and particularly with the stigma of HIV status, is well nigh impossible. Rather give up your treatment and head for an early grave in order to receive a meagre source of income! We are living in strange times but we hold on to the truth that though the "thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy, I (Jesus) came that they may have and enjoy life and have it in abudance". (John 10:10).

Brrrrr!!!!

Now it's official.

The weather is freezing!

Joel & Eli were delighted to see the snow, just a shame for them that it's right up in the mountains as there won't be any snowmen or snowball fights. Not that Mum & Dad are complaining.

This is not the first time we've seen snow so close to home.

Roll on Summer!

Family Bits

The rain cleared this afternoon so we made the most of the opportunity and went to the Nature Reserve, amazingly the boys don't complain about how often we go there! We remembered to take their welly boots this time so they were delighted to be able to wade in the streams and dangle their feet in the duck pond.

We're all well and seem to be missing the worst of the inter illnesses. Apparently Somerset West is South Africa's hotspot for swine flu, no crackling on the line here yet. Joel & Eli are thriving, as are we. Church life is good and we're really excited about what God is doing and how we're being used.

This blog has taken a bit of a back set to Facebook so to those of you not on Facebook we can only apologise and suggest you get yourselves over there for shorter but more regular updates.


The rainclouds lifting off the Helderberg

One of the many beautiful flowers in the Nature Reserve

Roundup

We're in the midst of winter here and yet our weather seems to be as good as the British summer. Our mornings and evenings are very cold but during the day we're enjoying temperatures up in the high 20's. It all makes for some fantastic cycling weather so Dean has been doing his best to make the most of it. Today he squeezed in a lunchtime ride with his friend Rod (see the pic).

The boys are doing really well although Joel has battled with a cough and cold over the weekend. They both continually amaze us and are such a blessing! We've got some issues to deal with which we'd appreciate your prayers for. We need some wisdom regarding Joel and whether or not he repeats Year 1. Also, Eli has been diagnosed as short-sighted as well as having astygmatism in both eyes, so we're doing some eye exercises with him (when he's cooperative) which should help. Both boys are loving the winter weather and Paula spent a very happy hour on the beach with them yesterday trying to blow Joel's cold away rather than infecting everyone in church! Both got soaked - naturally - trying to dodge the water and hunting for crabs and Joel enjoyed watching the surfers falling off from time to time! He's got his dad's sense of humour.

Church wise things are going really well. At a recent funeral we saw a lot of old acquaintances who invariably asked how we were getting on at Grace Community Church. We're not sure what any of them were expecting our answer to be but most of them seem genuinely surprised when we start raving about Grace, how God is using us there and what a blessing it is to be a part of such a vibrant and friendly church. As Dean said during his sermon on Sunday, "We're a church who know how to worship, what more can I say?" This pretty much sums up how we feel about church right now as we're really enjoying being part of God's family for the first time in many years. We're certainly being used and utilised more than we ever have been in the past which blesses us and the church enormously which is great as we're here to serve the church.