Monthly Archives: September 2010

September 9th Visit

As usual our visit to Daveyton was unique!  This week was much calmer – after three weeks the teacher’s strike was settled – so the school age children were gone.  The few patches of grass are turning green, which is amazing considering we have had no rain since April.

Thank you so much for your prayers for Palissa and Phinehas.  Palissa was much calmer today.  Phinehas was there when we arrived, dropping off a bag of food.  He had come home on Sunday, not to sleep there, just to bring food.  Palissa was very sad that he had not returned to stay, but was grateful for the food.  Her brother had come to visit her and help out as well.  Her face glowed when he reached for Gift (her son – age 1 yr 3 mos).  As we were preparing for our Bible study a young girl arrived with a small container of food for Palissa.  God has blessed her with good neighbors and she was thankful.  Pray that Phinehas will admit his need of a relationship with Jesus.

Palissa, Gladys, and Sunday are studying the book of John.  Today we looked at John 1:19-51.  Gladys was not able to come since she was washing blankets.  They had not been washed since her mother died a few weeks ago.  A friend on the other side of the township was letting her wash them at her house.  She promised to join us next Thursday.  Hopefully Sunday will come next week as well.  (I asked about Sunday, but it was just too confusing.  Gladys’ English is not the best, so when I said Sunday she thought I was coming back on Sunday.  I said I would see her on Thursday and decided to inquire about Sunday then!)  Pray that Gladys and Sunday will join in the study next week.  Gladys seems to always say, “next week.”

This week Dianne was back from her three week trip to Zambia.  I went with her to find the Portuguese speaking women.  One household had moved back to Mozambique since they were not able to find jobs.  The others were not home.  Dianne had an interesting conversation with a woman who spoke no English (native language Zulu), but could speak a little Portuguese.  It’s always interesting to try to find a combination of people speaking various languages – sort of like the game “gossip” where you hope what you said to the first person gets translated down the chain to the person the message was intended!

We then went to the other side of the settlement to visit Margaret and Nellie.  We had a group of four young women – reading the Bible in English, Zulu and Tsonga.  Denise has them doing a topical study to encourage them to pray, read the Word, and apply what they learn.  I filled in for Denise and took them through the study.  Having them look up the scriptures from Isaiah to Philippians was very time consuming – but I’m sure worth every minute.  These young women are praying that they will find jobs.  We pray that if God provides jobs, they will still be able to study the Word with us.  They are very excited about going to the church on Sunday.  Please pray that a location near the settlement can be found for the church to meet.  Dianne has suggested they have church at Margaret or Nellie’s house.  That would be a great solution.

Larry (Dianne’s husband) was back and went with Doug on visits to the men.  When we arrived at the township Larry locked his keys in the car.  He couldn’t leave the car since the keys were visible and someone could easily break the window and steal the car.  Margaret’s neighbor came over and showed Larry how to remove the rubber in the door and open it!  He didn’t ask how the man learned such a skill or how often he used it!

From City to City

During Communion Service, Pastor DeBruyn directed us to Hebrews 13:11-14.  He pointed out from verse 12 that Jesus was crucified “outside the city.”  Jesus’ death on the cross “outside the city” fulfilled God’s requirement for atonement for sin.  Verse 13 says we should now also go “outside the camp” and willingly bear the disgrace He bore.  We should walk with Him; never ashamed, but always ready to voice the reason for our hope.  

There is no need to stay “inside the city.” Life is no longer filled with “working and striving.”  Jesus said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30)  We no longer have to “do” in order to have a relationship with Jesus.  Jesus did all that was necessary.  Within the Temple within the city of Jerusalem, sacrifices were being made continually.   Praise God there is no longer any sacrifice for sin!  Jesus sacrificed for our sins once for all when He offered Himself.  (Hebrews 7:27b)

 Verse 14 mentions looking for “a city that is to come – an enduring city.”  Looking for that city took me to Psalm 84:5-7 (with thanks to Dauw for reminding me of this great Psalm).  The idea of wandering – with purpose – seeking to find that city – heading out on a pilgrimage!  Wikipedia defines pilgrimage as, “a long journey or search of great moral significance.”  What could have greater significance than a pilgrimage that ends with us face to face before God in Zion!  Living within walled yards here in Jo’burg has given me an appreciation for freedom to roam!  We have been set free to travel!!  (Just don’t forget that we will all stand face to face before God in heaven – make sure you are ready to tell Him the reason for your hope of eternity in heaven!)

Back to Psalm 84:5-7 . . . “Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Baca (literally “tears”), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.”  As we walk with Jesus, “willingly bearing the disgrace He bore” we are not promised an easy life.  We will pass through deep valleys where there will be shedding of tears.  I have been there and I am sure you have been there as well.  Those tears turn to times of refreshing ultimately as we spend time with our Savior.  We look back on those days and see how we were kept as we poured out our tears and our hearts to Him. 

The writer of Hebrews reminds us in 13:15-16, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name  And do not forget to do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  As we walk through those hard times, when it is hard to praise God – that is exactly what we must do!  Offer that sacrifice of praise to Him who gave His all for us!  And what is the best thing that we can “share with others” but our faith in Jesus “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)  Can’t wait to see you in that crowd as we are face to face with Jesus at the throne of God in the New Jerusalem!

September 2nd Visit to Township

Today, I think for the first time, the poverty and hopelessness of Daveyton really struck me.  We arrived at Margaret’s house around 10:00, prayed together began walking to the settlement.  (We have been told that though the township is called Daveyton Township, the area we have been visiting is actually a “settlement” – a place where people have constructed shelters out of whatever they can find.  Many are illegal immigrants or South Africans who do not have Identification Cards.)   Doug walked ahead to find his men. 

When we arrived at the dirt field, we noticed two boys fighting.  They were probably around 10 or 12 years old.  An older boy and a mother were trying to break up the fight.  Margaret began shouting at them to stop, but they didn’t listen.  By the time they were separated one boy had blood pouring from a cut in his head.  He then chased the other boy, threw a broken brick at him, and then headed to the settlement on the other side of the field.  Denise (a nurse) dug in her purse for Kleenex for the boy to hold against the cut (instead of the dirty shirt he was using).  I admit I was very afraid Denise would touch the blood that was flowing.  (Hopefully she will start carrying some rubber gloves in her purse!)

Then Margaret set off to meet with Margaret!  Denise walked with me to Pala’s* and then went on to meet Nellie and (you guessed it) Margaret!  I love it when the women have names I can pronounce and it’s even better when they have the same name – fewer to have to learn!!

Pala came out the door and I asked where her Bible was.  We were supposed to walk next door to meet with Ana* and Sunday.  She said she didn’t feel well.  I asked what was wrong and her eyes began to tear up.  She ran back inside and I could hear her sobbing behind the curtain that divided the kitchen from the bedroom.  I talked to her baby who had crawled out the door and waited, hoping she would come back out.  She returned and sat down on an upside down bucket.  I pulled up a chair, sat down and asked if there was a problem with Phas (her husband).  She then told me that he had not been home for 4 or 5 days and she did not know where he was.  She had no money to buy milk for the baby and was giving him juice instead.  I hugged her, prayed for her, and then told her I would return after going to see Gladys.

Gladys’ door had a lock and chain on it.  Her neighbor said she was not home, but would return Monday or Tuesday.  I guess she was still at the funeral of her husband’s grandmother.  Funerals last as long as the family stays!  They can become very expensive for the family, especially if the relatives decided to stay for weeks!

I tried calling Doug to tell him about Pala’s plight, but he didn’t answer.  I really believed that we should provide her with some milk.  It’s hard to know what to do.  We want to point people to Jesus as their ultimate Provider, not put the focus on us.  We want them to depend on Him not on us.  We can’t meet their needs, but He can.  As I was walking across the field to see if MInky was available, Doug returned my call.  He agreed that we should get some milk.

There are rows of houses on each side of the field.  Minky’s section has houses that are closest together.  All the women from that side have to get water from one faucet at the beginning of the path.  Little children were playing in the water that had filled a ditch (from people running water to wash clothes).  The path is maybe five feet wide in some places, but has a little ditch going down the middle.  I caught a glimpse of someone who looked a lot like MInky in her house and called out to her.  A little boy came out and said she wasn’t home.  I told him to tell her that I had come to visit, and then headed to the other side of the settlement to find Denise.

Denise was sitting with a group of four girls (probably between 18-20 years old).  She would give them a scripture to find, and then one would read it in English, one in Zulu and one in Tsonga.  Then they would discuss the verse.  It was so encouraging to see those girls reading out of their own Bibles and discussing the Scriptures.  Pray that those Words will take deep root in their lives and grow and flourish.

Eventually I saw Margaret coming up the dirt road toward Margaret’s house.  (Don’t you just love that – it’s like Mary, Mary and Mary in the Bible.)  I got up and met her at the gate to ask her about getting the milk.  Margaret lives in the township so she knows where to shop and what would be appropriate to help Palissa.  When we walked back to Palissa’s house Margaret was able to talk with her in her own language and encourage her.

We were standing outside Pala’s house waiting on Doug when we noticed a group forming across the field.  The fight was about to resume only this time it wasn’t going to be between just two boys.  The instigator took off running across the field.  As he entered a section of the settlement a woman stepped out and kept the crowd from following.  Thankfully the fight was diffused for the time being!  Teachers have been on strike for at least three weeks now, so the kids are getting bored and are looking for trouble.  Pray that the strikes with end soon!

We took Margaret with us to the grocery store so she could show us what to buy; then dropped the milk off at Palissa’s house.  She accepted it with tears in her eyes, a hug, and a quiet “thank you”.  It seemed to be such a small thing and I get overwhelmed by the physical needs in the settlement.  Yet I know in my heart that all the money in the world will not fix their ultimate problem.  They desperately need Jesus.  Pray that the gospel will be preached in Daveyton Township and throughout the settlement and that hearts will be receptive.

*Names changed.

Around the House and Neighborhood

Looking Like Spring!

Herb Garden on the Left!

View from Upstairs Window

Tall Cedar - What is the purpose?

Love the Palm Trees!

A Eucalyptus Tree

Irises bloom year round!

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