Aunty Henna turned 60 today and Paula's cell group celebrated with cake, surprise presents, cards and flowers. Poor Henna was completely bowled over by all this love but we all had a lovely time celebrating with her. Later in the meeting we prayed and thanked God for his gift of life no matter what our circumstances. Henna has been one of the founding members of Paula's group and is now one of the home based carers.

Britain's Favourite View

"From lakes, hills, cliffs and mountains to cityscapes and panoramas of outstanding natural beauty, Britain's favourite view has finally been chosen.

A five-part television series Britain's Favourite View on ITV, spearheaded by Sir Trevor McDonald, included 16 celebrities who advocated scenic vistas from around Britain, trumpeting their beauty and explaining their geological significance and historical resonance"

The winner of the public vote was Wast Water and it's very easy to see why. If you've ever been there you'll know just how stunning the place is.

So here we go with a couple of photos from our trip to the UK last year when we took Joel & Eli to Wast Water

Health Blues

We have had a really poor couple of weeks healthwise as a family. It started with Eli's ears pouring fluid, which quickly turned into thick gunk and more recently is stained with blood. In many ways this is a good sign that his grommets are working but it is messy and makes him feel quite under the weather. Joel went down with a nasty strain of flu last weekend which took a week to clear and he is still coughing a bit now. Paula started with a sore throat in the week and now has stuffed up sinuses! On Sunday Dean woke up unable to speak (yeehah!) and with a killer sore throat. He quickly started barking like a dog and has spent most of the past 48 hours in bed exhausted. He is now on major antibiotics and cortisone as well.

Citizenship

Although there is no such thing as a British Citizen (don't get me started on that!) Eli has been granted British Citizenship. We received his certificate of registration today from the British High Commission. This is a real answer to prayer and a massive blessing for us as a family, especially for Eli (he now has dual nationality). As far as we can tell he also has full rights of descendency for his future children which is great. Next step is to get him a UK passport, there always seems to be one more form to fill in.

Hanskop

On Saturday morning I rode with Paul & Pete to the top of Hanskop from our house. This was a big ride measuring 60ks with just over 1450m of climbing. Hanskop forms part of the Hottentots Holland range of mountains which enclose the Helderberg Basin. This particular mountain is a communications relay base hence the access road to the top. I was particularly pleased with this ride as I kept my heart rate to an average of 136bpm and burnt 3450Kcal of which 45%were fat burning. Brilliant! This was a great ride and excellent prep for the upcoming Karoo to Coast 100k race on the 23rd.

After a few false starts and teething problems, Paula today officially launched her faithful home based care team in Chris Nissen. It was a special morning. Thanks to a financial commitment from our church she had been busily buying basic items for each carer and putting them in special bags for them to take around with them to house visits and was able to officially hand them over today to her 4 delighted carers. If it wasn't enough to see their beaming faces at being presented with a few essentials, the next couple of hours in the community more than gave hope, if ever we were doubting, that God is at work both in their lives and in CNP.

Place Of Safety

It warms my heart to think of Michael & Joyce as a 'place of safety'. As a couple they have grown and matured so much in the 3 years we've known them and Michael has become a trusted friend whom we love dearly.

The sheer joy on their faces when they received Hayden would have melted the hardest heart. We really are incredibly proud of Michael & Joyce and the example they are being in the community.

Praise God for their faithfulness!

"Tonight I am drinking the last of the cool drink we have, tomorrow there is no cokes or fizzy drinks in the house and no water mixers, if you want a drink you have a choice between tea with no sugar or water, that is it. I have nothing to offer my kids. I have used all my contacts , been everywhere and never been in this position before. I have not had beef for probably 3 months now and if you know me that's tough.

What will I be writing to you next that has run out, will it be no food in the house from tomorrow, who knows , someone please nuke this place and put us out of our misery, I am tired...............
"

That was a quote form an email we received recently from our best friends in Zimbabwe. Somehow it conveys the truth in a very simple way that is so often missed by the mainstream media. Life in Zim is desperate and there are no immediate solutions waiting just around the corner.

Please pray for Zim and her people. Pray for the church, that she would be "..the light of the world" in a very dark place. Pray too for a Godly solution to the crisis in the nation. Man has no answers to this mess!

The results of the Stellenbosch Wes 55k MTB race are available on the RaceTec site.

My official time was: 4:04:13, with an average speed of 13.51kph which was due to the numerous portage sections.

Stellenbosch Wes MTB Race

This morning a few of the guys I ride with went to the Stellenbosch Wes MTB race to ride the 55k race starting from the Oude Libertas theatre.

This was a tough race as the mud was far worse than at the last Stellenbosch race. Despite the race being 5km's shorter and with only 1200M of climbing as opposed to 1400M in the previous race this one felt tougher, probably because of the mud. Also, my maximum heart rate was 1bpm less on this race and my average heart rate was 2bpm less. I also burnt 4435Kcal on this ride! Think I've earnt a beer or two tonight.

Our best friends in Zimbabwe sent us this photo of some friends of theirs paying the bill for a meal out. The party of 8 had two courses and a few beers which came to Z$6million which they paid using Z$1000 notes. If it wasn't so tragic it might be funny but it really isn't anything to laugh about.

Our friends in Zim really need your prayers, life is really tough with even the most basic of food items being scarce and very expensive.

How we long for change in that amazing nation!