Weekend

After two particularly stressful weeks we've had a great weekend and topped it off with lunch out after church at a pizzeria in Stellenbosch.

The boys loved playing with the dough and making lots of mess whilst Mum & Dad just enjoyed the food. See the more pics here.

All in all the weekend was great especially with the wedding yesterday followed by a fantastic morning in church with worship led by some folk from HCC and Gareth Naude from Table View preaching as we continued our series on James.


Wedding

We don't seem to go to many weddings these days so when the occasional invite comes along it's really good fun to go. Today we were guests of the groom's parents who we've got to know quite well through church. Dean also spends some time each week with Ernest which he really enjoys. Ernest recently had quite a major stroke but looking at him in the pictures one would never know. God has performed an amazing miracle of healing in Ernest's life!

The wedding took place in the open air in a wonderfully idyllic setting amidst trees flowers and a river running alongside. All very quaint. The wedding service was quite different to how we do it in our culture but it was a beautiful service and it's great to celebrate something as wonderful as marriage with another culture.

We would imagine that Ernest & Annie will be glad when this one is over as that's the last of their seven children married off.

Fantastic Day

Today was a really satisfying and rewarding day in which I can't help but feel tremendously blessed by God.

Through Facebook I recently 'reconnected' (don't you just love social networking speak) with Vanessa a friend from my days at Town Church Sevenoaks. I've known Vanessa since 1984 but last saw her sometime in the late 80's. Paula knew Vanessa from Girl Guides and being baby-sat by her. So after many many years we met up again in Cape Town of all places. What a joy and a privilege to meet up again after so many years and to swap stories about where we are now, how we got there and what we're doing. It seems amazing that we all came form a little town in Kent called Sevenoaks and ended up in different places around the world. Vanessa lives in the United Arab Emirates and of course we're here in SA. Vanessa was always very kind to me when I had just become a Christian back then and gave me my first bible, so I've always been very fond of her. I left Sevenoaks in 1986 and often wondered where many of my friends had got to so it was very special to meet again.

After working very late into the night last night to enable me to clear my diary to go into Cape Town this morning it was back to church for a teaching session this evening about 'How can I be sure of my salvation?' It seems to have been well received and I certainly enjoyed doing it. I love the time it takes preparing such material but I also really enjoy delivering it and I count it a privilege to be able to open up the bible to others and help them grow in their faith. Thank you Lord!

I also had a long conversation with the Dr this morning about Joel's arm and am feeling a lot happier about the situation. We're still going for the non-intervention route but will be keeping a very close eye on how his arm heals. Please continue to pray for complete healing of the arm and specifically that the bone would fuse together true and straight.

Lunch with Vanessa at the Cape Town Waterfront


Vanessa and Paula

Joel's Bent Arm

Poor Joel, we would really value your continuing prayers for him please.  Paula took him back to the orthopaedic doctor today ever hopeful that the cast would be removed and that would be the end of that story!  He straightaway asked for an X-ray and Paula and Joel went on to wait 2 hours for the same (bit like being back in the UK?!!).  Upon arriving back in the doctor's office with a very tired, bored and hungry boy, we could see straight away that the bone in Joel's arm has in fact bent causing the bowing in the photo.  This was so disappointing when just 2 weeks ago, the X-ray showed a considerable straightening in the bone.  The doctor immediately started to talk about surgery and then got cold feet and decided to seek a second opinion from another surgeon friend.  After 10 minutes on the phone in Afrikaans, they decided to try and persuade Paula to hold off on the surgery as this would be big trauma and it is 90% likely that the arm of a 7 year old will right itself with bone growth within a year.  Paula didn't need much persuading (!) but obviously, this is not the news that we all wanted today.  The cast is off and Joel must now wear a sling for a further 2 weeks and go back to the doctor for a final opinion (for the time being).  Obviously, there is still the risk that surgery will be necessary further down the line and, for the time being, the arm is going to look weird!  Life is never straightforward - especially for kids and we really feel that Joel could do without this in his life.  Anyway, he has been very stoical and was just grateful to get the cast off so he could have good old pick at all the dead skin.  Never has the bath been so appealing.  Please pray. We need a speedy and complete healing for him.  Amen, Lord!

Since writing this post we've looked at both X-rays and having compared them are seriously concerned that Joel's arm is worse now than it was when he first fractured it. On the left is the original X-ray which was taken from the front. The right-hand X-ray was taken from behind. Whilst the bone was complete in the original now it looks like a clean break which has failed to heal properly. Oh dear! Definitely need a healing work in his arm.

Star Of The Week


Yes, it's happened!!  Just 1 month into the new school year and our little boy is "Star of the Week"!!!   Perhaps the most amazing thing (for us!) is the reason for the award.... for making a real effort to listen.  Well, all we can say is that he put all his effort into doing so at school!!  What can we say, what a fantastic little boy!!  We are proud of him..... and pray that he starts to put into practice his new skill at home!!

Sweet, he was so proud of himself!!!

Back To School

Thanks for all your prayer over the last week or more for us and particularly for Joel. Thankfully he seems to be well and has returned to school today much to Mum & Dad's relief!

We return to the consultant on Monday to hopefully have his plaster removed which will also delight Mummy & Daddy as we're a bit ground down from being woken at goodness knows what time in the small hours to take him to the toilet as he can't get down from his bunk bed. We had suggested he and Eli swap whilst he was crook but that was not a welcome suggestion.

Please continue to pray for full healing for his arm and hip.

Up With The Larks

I've been back on the bike for a few weeks now and am enjoying my riding again. I lost interest after last year's Cape Epic or at least the fun had gone out of it so I took several months off and planned to start again in the New Year which is exactly what I did.

So this morning I was out at 5:45 to ride with Pete on Sir Lowry's Pass for a couple of hours. We had a great ride and spent a lot of time marveling at how spectacular the sunrise was. sadly my photos do it no justice as they were taken on my cellphone but I had to share them!


I'm not planning on racing this year although I will be riding with a friend in the Cape Argus but beyond that my intention is to simply have a lot of fun on the bikes be it on the road or MTB and hopefully I'll regain a decent level of fitness. One can only hope!

Haneskop from Wedderwill Estate


Stunning view of Hansekop in the Hottentots Holland range


Pete getting bored of me taking photos

Weekend

We had one of our quietest weekends in a long time mainly due to the fact that Joel isn't allowed to walk so our options were very limited. Still, a boring weekend at home is no bad thing (it certainly makes for a cheaper weekend) as it meant the boys would have to find new ways to entertain themselves. As you might imagine, for Eli that meant getting into all kinds of scrapes and in this pic' he's found a new way to get to the toys on the upper shelves of the toy rack. Joel meanwhile was happy with a bit of colouring and watching TV.

Dean had a great start to the weekend joining our youth with loads of others on Friday night (see Cracking Friday) and though the rest of the weekend was quiet church on Sunday was great.

Paula's new profile picture on Facebook


This was actually take last weekend in the Nature Reserve when Joel's friend Nattie joined us for the day.


On a different note we've been mentioned by the folk at Missionary-Blogs as part of the celebration of blogs running for 5 years or more. This is well worth a look as there are some other great blogs listed on the page.

Cracking Friday

One of the things I've always enjoyed about my role in Chris Nissen and now in Macassar and Firgrove is that I get to spend a lot of time sat with folk enjoying a good chat and a cup of tea (although I only drink Rooibos these days).

So on Friday morning it was a real pleasure to watch two worlds collide (not literally) as Ernest came to our house for the morning and Michael joined us too. They got on really well and were swapping plenty of stories about their days as skelms (rogues). I could follow most of what they were talking about but occassionally they'd tell me a story in English and we'd all be laughing at their antics as younger men. I'm really enjoying getting to know Ernest and his lovely family. I love spending time with these guys!

Please pray for Ernest, he recently had his third stroke and it was a major one. Amazingly he's already had some miraculous healing as the church have been praying for him. His arm is almost back to how it was pre-stroke. His leg is still weak but he can walk short distances. Please pray the God would bring his healing work to an end with full health for Ernest.


On Friday evening I joined our youth group; Kingdom Warriors in Macassar as they were hosting a relationships evening. The event was fantastic with worship led by a group from Grabouw and the talk part led by Charmaine and her team from Ukuthasa Peer Education.

A completely cringe free talk about the realities of relationships and sex in a clear understandable and meaningful manner.

Amazingly for a Friday night when most youngsters might be out having 'fun' as the world sees it, over 120 young people joined in the real fun of worshiping our living God.

Wounded Soldier Update

Thanks to all for your prayers. Joel is coping much better today. This may be in part as he's relishing the time off school and getting to watch a bit more telly than he would otherwise.

This morning I took him for a blood test, just to rule out the viral possibility. I was dreading it as the last time we took him for injections he was a nightmare. Thankfully however, whilst I was riding in the Cape Epic last year I discovered a local anaesthetic cream called Anethaine which was great for my bum (long story which you really don't want to know about!). Anyway, I smeared a generous dash onto Joel's arm a few minutes before the needle so that when the nurse attakced him he couldn't even feel the needle going in. Fantastic!

Amazingly the nurse had never come across the cream but said she was going to go and get some later. Also, some of the folks in the waiting area were amazed when Joel emerged as there had been no screaming or crying. I really should have shares in Anethaine!

Palace Result

Palace thumped Premiership Wolves 3-1 in the 4th round replay of the FA Cup to set up a 5th round tie at home to Aston Villa on Valentine's Day. It was definitely the night of the giant killers as League 2 Nott's County also stuffed Premiership Wigan 2-0.

From the whistle Palace were the better team but it took until the 62nd minute to breakthrough. Danny Butterfield was the hero and went on to score the 'perfect' hatrick  within 7 minutes.

It was a strange experience hearing the commentators using words like excellent, astonishing, brilliant, fantastic etc whilst describing a Palace performance but last night's game was all of that and more!

McCarthy was magnanimous in defeat saying: "They have beaten us and beaten us well. They thoroughly deserved it. We didn't mark for the first goal and after that it was a downward spiral.We were out-thought and out-fought. I didn't see it coming."

However, my favourite quote of the evening comes from Neil Warnock. Palace's off-field problems have been well documented recently and Neil was spot on when he said: "We showed the whole country watching on the TV that we're far from dead."

Click below for:
Match Report
Manager's Comments
Photos on BBC

Next fixture: Saturday 6th Feb' home to Scunthorpe

Watch Palace's fastest ever hatrick

Irritable Hip

Please pray for Joel. On top of his broken arm which is almost healed, he's gone and got something called Irritable Hip (never heard of it before now) which is causing him a lot of distress.

The Dr said he needs complete bed rest for a week and must not put any pressure on it. Tomorrow he's going for a blood test to rule out any possibility of an infection and at some point he needs to go for an MRI to check that there is no serious underlying thing going on. 
We just can't believe it and do feel under attack as a family.  Anyway, a week at home is going to be interesting to manage - lots of trips to the DVD shop we think!  Pray too that neither of us injure backs carrying him around for a week!