Friday, November 18, 2011


We had a great day at the Soup Kitchen.  Last week I had challenged them all to memorize John 3:30 and John 4:14 and to tell it to me this week.  The man I had the privilege of leading to the Lord last week was able to say both verses today!  Not only that but he then told everyone what the Bible study was about last week in great detail.  It's incredibel to see the change in his life. 

After the Soup Kitchen I took a man home that lives in a township that I would like to see a new church planted.  It's awesome to see how God works because he approached me about wanting to start a Bible study there before I ever mentioned anything to him!  We drove around the area trying to agree on a place to meet.  We finally found find an area with a large tree that provides good shade.  There was a group of men already under the tree so I suggested we go talk with them.  They loved the idea of starting a Bible study there and want to meet next Wednesday at 4!  Please pray that God's will be done and many will come to accept Jesus as their Savior.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Heaven is Rejoicing!

What an incredible day.  We arrive at church and I see a man that has been coming to the Soup Kitchen sitting outside the church.  I went up and started talking with him and he told me he accepted Jesus as his Savior last Sunday!  He said, "I was looking for you last Sunday but you were not here so I talked with someone else."  I rejoiced with him and assured him that was the best decision he will ever make and then told him that we were out of town the last week.

I sat by him during church and learned more of his story.  He is married and has 4 kids, but they are all living with his wife's mother in another village because he does not have a job or money to buy food for them.  I asked him how long it took for him to walk to church and he said 1 1/2 hours.  I immediately told him we would gladly take him home after church. 

When church was over I went to the market (tuck shop) to get some groceries for him and his family.  We drove to the village where his wife and kids are staying and it was quite the cultural experience!  He described how his wife was very negative towards him before he accepted Jesus because there is no food.  Since he accepted Jesus she has been positive towards him.  He asked me, "Do you have a word of encouragement to give my wife?"  I told him that I was praying that the Lord would give me something to say that would encourage her. 

As we approached the one-room house he said we must wait in the car.  I was expecting him to get out or something but he just stayed in the car.  He saw one of his kids and called them over to the car.  Something was said in Zulu, but I'm not sure what it was.  He then called another one of his kids over and said something to him.  A lady then came out of the house and I asked if she was his wife.  He said no but she will come out soon.  She finally came out and as she approached the car, he said under his breath to me, "ask her if you can come inside."  I told her I had some groceries for her and her family and would like to bring them inside.  She agreed and said to come inside.

As I set the groceries down the man asked me where my Bible was.  During the confusion in the car and carrying the groceries I had forgotten it in the car.  I went and got it real fast and then came back and sat down.  It was a bit awkward as his 6 year-old daughter was taking a bath in the middle of the room in a large rubbermaid-type container........

I explained to her that her husband is a new person because he now has Jesus in his life.  I asked her if anyone had ever told her about Jesus.  She gave an answer of 'not really.'  I then asked if it would be ok if I shared with her about Jesus.  She said that it would be ok.  I opened the Bible to John 3:16 and spoke with her about this passage for about 15 minutes.  I could tell that the Holy Spirit was working on her and asked if she saw herself as a sinner and would like to accept Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.  There was another lady in the room that I was not introduced to but I could tell she was listening very intently.  I shared with them a little more and then they both prayed to accept Jesus!  It was incredible to see the huge smiles that came on their faces.

As I left I assured her that her husband desperately wants her and the kids to come back home and be together again as a family.  I told her that we would be praying for God to provide him with a job so they could have food.  Please join us in praying for this young family and that God would provide for them in a mighty way.

As we were taking him back to his village he patted his knees and sighed great big.  He then looked up and said, "God is so good!  I have such peace in my life now and can actually go to sleep tonight."  This man is very interested in beginning a Bible study in his home.  I can't wait to see how the Lord is going to use him because he lives in a village that we have been praying for a new church to start there.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Power of God's Word

I was reminded this past Friday of the power of God's Word.  It is so incredible to see the Holy Spirit move.  A typical Friday at the Soup Kitchen has us sharing a Bible story that is translated into Zulu, eating a meal, and then having a Bible study.  This past week we decided to change things up.  I had noticed a change in the men's demeanor the past couple of weeks during the Bible study and wanted to see where the Lord would lead.

This past week we only had a Bible study that was done in English.  It's almost as if the men sat on the edge of their seats when they saw the Bible and I began to read from it.  They were hanging onto every word and taking it all in.  Usually when I hold a conversation with them either before or after the Soup Kitchen, it is difficult for me to understand them and vice versa.  Durnig the Bible study there were no problems at all with them comprehending what was being taught!  I just want to praise God for working in this way and opening the ears of 35+ men to hear His Word in a language that is not their own. 

I felt led to give an invitation at the end of the study.  In an African culture, if they can tell the answer you want them to give you they will do so, so as to not be rude.  If you asked them to raise their hand if they wanted to accept Jesus, every hand would immediately go up.  Same thing if you asked them to come forward.  I decided to have them close their eyes and then asked them to look up at me if they wanted to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  About 6 or 7 men immediately looked up.  I said a prayer and told them to say it in their heart if they truly believed it.  I encouraged them to come tell me afterwards if they accepted Jesus.  This is another big deal in African culture to admit you have become a follower of Jesus because it may mean you are shunned from your family/community because you have turned away from ancestor worship.  No one came to me afterwards but I know that the Holy Spirit is working on many of them.

Please join me in praying for these men.  Pray that they would see their need for salvation and how Jesus is waiting for them with His arms open wide. 

Fun at Suikerbosrand!

We had such a great time this past weekend camping.  It was nice to get away and just enjoy God's beautiful creation.  2 other families went with us and one more family joined us for the day on Saturday.  It was nice to get to know our new friends better. 

The boys loved getting to sleep in a tent!  They keep asking when we get to go again.  This was Erin's first camping trip and she really enjoyed it as well so I think we will be going again!  Great memories were made that we won't forget.  One of them being the baboons greeting us each morning by knocking over the trash barrels and going through whatever we left outside the night before!  Luckily they would scare off easily.  I was amazed at how large they are.

The campground had a great swimming pool and 2 large water slides that provided hours of entertainment.  Kaleb also got to ride another horse so he was thrilled.

It did rain on us each night but that didn't spoil our fun.  We got the kids down pretty early each night which left a lot of time for the adults to play games and talk around the bonfire. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Soup Kitchen Update

The Soup Kitchen began dwindling in numbers about a month ago.  The Pastor spoke with me about canceling it during the summer months here since there is typically more work available so less men would be available to come.  I told him we needed to pray about it.  

Well, God answered that prayer and showed us His will about 30 minutes later!  We had gotten down to only around 7 men coming but that day over 25 men showed up and they all stayed for the Bible study!  This pattern has continued over the past month and we have had anywhere from 25 men to 40 men each week with maybe only 1 or 2 having to leave before the Bible study. 

It is incredible to see them soaking up God's Word.  They all have Bibles now and are beginning to ask for Bibles for their wives.  Most of them can't share their Bible with their wife because they speak different languages.

We are going through the book John and have made it through the first 2 chapters now.  I'm amazed at how much they remember from previous weeks.  They really enjoy hearing about the miracles Jesus performed.  Please pray for them as next week we will begin chapter 3.  My prayer is that their eyes will be opened and they will see that God truly sent His only Son to die for everyone, which includes them.  I pray that the story of Nicodemus will show them how we can be born again when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Many of the men have expressed interest in coming to church and some of them have started coming.  There is one man that I just love seeing the smile on his face that shows the transformation that has happened in his life!  Pray for them that the Holy Spirit would give them what they need to overcome the pressures and temptations that they face daily.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Excitement in 2012

We are so excited that my parents get to come in February!  Can't wait to see the look on the boy's faces when we pick them up at the airport.  It will be a lot of fun to spend time with them and show them our life here in Africa.  I hope we can see the Big 5 on one of our adventures!

After Mom and Dad leave we will be preparing for our first volunteer team coming in March!!  We are very excited to see how the Lord will use the team from Broadway Baptist.  We will be holding a VBS during the afternoon in a township that we would like to see a new church planted and then having a revival each night at our church!  Please be in prayer that God would be preparing the hearts of the volunteers as well as the hearts of those we will be serving.

After the volunteer team leaves we will be preparing to spend a month in Zambia for training.  We will gain a lot of African culture on this trip that we are not exposed to everday. 

We look forward to an exciting and busy start to 2012 and can't wait to see what else God has in store for the rest of the year!

Craving Mexican

So we both have been craving Mexican since we got here but salsa is ridiculously priced and if you can find tortilla chips they are very expensive too.  There is a restaurant up the street from our house that has 'Kids Eat Free on Wednesdays.'  We had noticed on the menu before that they had nachos.  So we thought this would be an excellent way to satisfy our Mexican craving and not have a big bill. 

The description for the nachos sounded really good.  It mentioned, 'zippy salsa with guacamole.'  We both ordered the nachos from the starters (appetizers) menu and then ordered the chicken nuggets meal for both boys.  The waitress had a funny look on her face and asked if we realized that tonight kids eat free.  We both agreed and said that's why we came!  She then informed us that we would each have to order a meal in order for the kids to eat free.  I told her we needed a few more minutes.  She came back and asked if we were ready.  I saw on the menu that the nachos were also available as a meal.  I verified with her that the nachos would work and she said they would.  In the meantime Erin decides she wants a quesadilla instead of nachos.  As the waitress walks away she gets another funny look on her face and comes back and says, "this will still not work."  She said both items are still considered starters.  I pointed out on the menu that we ordered the 'meal' portion of both dishes under the 'meal' category and not starters.  She stood there for a minute and then decided she could make an exception.

The food finally comes and I just had to smile when the nachos were set in front of me.  The tortilla chips mentioned on the menu are miniature cheesy Doritos and the zippy salsa is spaghetti sauce!!  It was an interesting combo that somewhat satisfied our Mexican craving!

On Saturday we actually found tortilla chips at the market.  We bought 2 bags since this is the first time we have seen them and they are just slightly larger than a small individual bag.  Those 2 bags cost us $10 but it was well worth it!!  We made some homemade guacamole that afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed our high-priced Mexican snack!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Praise and Prayer Request

I am continually overwhelmed by God's grace and love.  The past 2 weeks at the Soup Kitchen have been incredible to see how God works.  Our translator has not showed up several times but God has always provided another one!  The number of men for the Soup Kitchen has been down some but the past 2 weeks the attendance has been great.  Last week we had 25 men and this week we had 15 men!  Those staying for the Bible study are also increasing.  We had 12 the previous week stay and this week all 15 men stayed!!  It's amazing to see them so engaged with the Word of God.  Each week they continue to ask more questions and remember more from the previous week.  Lots of Bibles have been passed and some of the men are now asking for Bibles for their wives!  My prayer is that the Word of God will penetrate their hearts and they will see their need for salvation and accept Jesus as their Savior.

On Wednesday we were able visit a new township that we would like to see a new church planted in.  The people were very receptive to us and gave us lots of information about the community.  Please pray for relationships to continue to be built that will lead to starting a Bible study that will lead to forming a church. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The African Bike Saga

The boys have really been wanting bikes so we decided last weekend to go buy them.  Kaleb got a "big boy" bike and Blake got a "bike" that you see most African kids have (one that you push with your legs but doesn't have pedals).  Blake decided when we got home that he liked Kaleb's bike better and has been trying to ride it everyday.  He actually does a pretty good job and has figured out a way to make it go even though he really can't reach the pedals! 

To try and prevent an injury we thought it would be better to go buy Blake a small bike.  I went to the store this afternoon and bought the only bike that size they had.  When I got home I noticed that it wasn't pedaling correctly and that the chain kept falling off. 

I took it back to the store an hour later and explained what was going on.  The man looked at the bike and said, "yes, this is a problem."  We went back to the bike section and he said, "I know what is wrong with the bike, it is the chain."  I agreed with him and said that is definitely the problem.  He then looked at me and said, "you do not want this bike.  It has problems."  Again, I agreed and said I wanted a different bike.  Another employee came up and asked what was wrong with the bike and they talked about it and then he told me again that the chain was bad on this bike.  They then told me to choose any bike that I wanted.  I looked around and told them that this was the only bike this size and this is the size that my son needs.  They told me again that I needed to choose any bike I wanted.  I said I would love to choose one of the bikes there but they are the wrong size.  One of the employees said he understood and the other just walked off.  I asked if we could take the chain off of one of the other bikes and place it on this one, but they said that was not allowed.  I then asked if any more bikes were in the back or in a box somewhere.  He replied and said that there were more bikes but just stood there looking at me.  I asked him if we could put another bike together and he said we could.  We walked over to a set of boxes and found the one I needed. 

Watching them put the bike together was very interesting!  It was very much trial-and-error, and they would bring the defective bike over to see how it was supposed to look and then push it away.  I was keeping track in my mind over everything that needed to be redone or tightened when I got home!  When it came time for the training wheels to be put on he looked up at me and said, "Oh, I now see the problem with the other bike.  It's the chain.  This chain is fine now but if we put the training wheels on it will be bad like the other one.  So we are going to leave them off."  I told him that wasn't going to work because this little bike is for my little boy that still needs the training wheels.  He said, "Oh, I understand."  So they agreed to put them on but not how they are supposed to go on.  Again, noting in mind to fix this once I get home!  They finished the bike and with a big smile said, "Here you go!"  While he was saying this the front break completely fell off the bike.  He said, "Oh, that is not good.  I need you to find me a screwdriver in my toolbox because I cannot find one....."  I'm looking through the tool box and there is not a screwdriver to be found but there was something that could work instead. 

Now the bike is finally assembled and he told me I could leave.  I asked him what do I tell the people at the front of the store.  He said, "Oh, let me go with you."  As we approached the front of the store the queue (line) was very long.  Instead of going down the side of the store, which would have taken us directly out of the store, he decided to go through the queue as he bumped them with the bike to make them move.  Everyone looked very strange at me as we passed them. 

We finally reach the security guard at the door that stamps your receipt and allows you to leave.  I thought I was going to have problems because when I bought the first bike he was not there when we were leaving and I did not get the stamp on the receipt.  He looked at the receipt very carefully and said, "Oh, you bought this today, you are free to go!"

When it was all said and done, Blake is happy to have a "big boy" bike now!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Eight is Great!

Another M and I have the opportunity to lead a young women/mom Bible study every Sunday afternoon at a township in Daveyton, which is about 45 minutes away from where we live.  It's amazing how just 45 minutes can take you from big American-like city to poverty African style.  Yesterday was our 3rd week for the study, and the number of ladies has increased every week - 3, 5, and now 8!!!  Yes, I know it's not all about numbers in ministry, but it's encouraging none the less!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

God's Merciful Love

I still can't believe that God has allowed us the privilege of being here and sharing Jesus with those around us.  Today was the first day of the Bible study we began with the men from the soup kitchen.  I had been praying that God would be working in the lives of these men and that we would at least have one person show up.  I struggled with it though because if they showed up that means they didn't find any work for the day and also means they haven't eaten anything.......but I know they need Jesus more than anything!  

God doubled my prayer request by sending two men!  They were very eager to learn more about the Bible.  I had gone out and purchased Zulu Bibles for them but one thing I didn't think about was that they had never used a Bible and had no idea what to do with it. 

We studied the first 18 verses of John 1 and the men were really taking it all in.  You could tell that the Holy Spirit was working on them.  They asked some really good questions and Klaas said he wanted to know more about becoming a follower of Jesus Christ!  I had the amazing privilege of leading him to the Lord!  It was a joyous moment and you could just see the peace that overcame him.  His friend Humphrey said he had accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior when he was younger but had turned away from God.  He said he wanted to come back to God so he prayed for God to forgive him for turning away and to help him walk closer to Him.

Please join us in prayer for Klaas and Humphrey as we disciple them and that the Lord will give them the strength to overcome the temptations in their life and provide work for them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What an Amazing God we Serve!

What a great day! Good turn out at the soup kitchen. I shared the Creation to Church Bible story and most listened very closely. The greatest part was that around five men are interested in starting a Bible study! We will start this next Thursday at noon. I am so thrilled that God has provided this amazing opportunity!

Please pray for God to move in a mighty way in the lives of these men that are showing an interest in learning about Him! We will start with going through the book of John. Thank you Jesus for showing Yourself to the South Africans and that Your love and forgiveness is for everyone!

The soup was really good too! It was chicken curry pap with lentils. (Pap, pronounced "pop", is similar to a mix between mashed potatoes and grits. This is put in the bowl first and then the chicken curry soup on top.) Yum!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The First Week!

It's hard to believe that we have been in our house now 1 week.  Thankfully the temperature has warmed slightly and we haven't had to use any heat the last several nights.  The rise in temperature is a big blessing since there is a shortage on propane and no one is able to buy any right now.  God always provides and meets our needs! 

The kitchen is pretty much stocked with the basics now.  Some of the shopping experiences have been very interesting, both getting there and then what's inside!  Erin has cooked some amazing meals and improvised quite well when needed.  Kaleb and Blake are so excited that we can buy strawberry powder for their milk!

The boys are adjusting much quicker than we expected.  Kaleb has already made some great friends.  There is a boy his age that lives across the street from us and they played all Saturday morning together running back and forth between the houses.  He has also made friends with the other missionary kids here and Erin and the boys have been at their house twice so far this week!

We attended Northmead Baptist Church on Sunday and really enjoyed it.  The Pastor had a great message and the church has a heart for reaching out to those around them.  There is a great blend of several cultures and everyone was very welcoming.  Please pray that God would make it abundantly clear as to where He would have us serve Him.  We are very excited for the ministry opporunity with this church every Friday.  Each Friday they hold a soup kitchen for those in need in the community.  Last week over 20 people came and got to hear about Jesus!  We have the privilege of going this Friday to see how God is working there.  Please be in much prayer for those who will attend.  Pray that their hearts will be prepared to hear the Gospel and respond to Jesus by asking Him to be their Lord and Savior.  Each week Bible stories are shared and then there is a time where they can respond and ask questions. 

Pictures will hopefully be posted this weekend as we hope to have our internet established then.  Driving lessons begin this weekend for Erin as well.  Please pray for confidence for her that she will get it down.  Driving a standard on the opposite side of the car and road can be very intimidating. 

Words cannot express how much we treasure your prayers.  We can feel them everyday and I know that God is faithful to hear the words of His children.  Please let us know how we can be praying for you.  We would be honored to intercede on your behalf to our Father. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red Carpet Treatment

We made it!  The plane ride wasn't so bad with two little first-time flyers.  I could have done without all the turbulence, but the boys didn't even notice.  Thank God for TV screens behind each seat!  Traveling with all the bags, trunks, double stroller (not to mention the boys) was pretty intense.  But like my mother-in-law wrote in an e-mail, God sends guardian angels at just the right time.  As we were watching for all our bags on the carousel and wondering how we were going to get all of our stuff to the next location, an airport employee came rolling our trunks to us and offering to assist us.  How did he know???  God!!!

As we rounded the corner, we were overwhelmed with the entourage of team members welcoming us to Joburg!  What a sight for tired eyes!  They brought us to the place we're staying for a couple of days to help with transition.  How bizarre to drive on the other side of the road (prayer request!!!).  The fresh roses were a wonderful hospitable touch!

I believe it was about 1 AM (our time - 7 hours ahead) when we heard "Mommy, Daddy, I'm starving!"  So we had pb&j sandwiches and watched movies until the boys were ready for bed again.  Last night was a repeat, but hotdogs instead.  :)  It's pretty chilly in the house, but the space heaters and heated underblanket keeps us nice and cozy at night.

We had a wonderful evening yesterday with great friends we met in Virginia, their supervisor's family and another couple to celebrate our Independence day.  Pizza and games!!!  We have also felt the outpouring of love from Kody's co-workers as they are taking turns hosting us for a meal each day.

This morning we had a lovely meet-and-greet/tea time at Kody's office.  The next part wasn't so pleasant, for me anyway - driving...  Kody of course had no problem, but for someone who just learned how to drive a stick then to drive a car in a different country on the opposite side of the car and street created a slight panic attack.  I believe I'll be sticking with just neighborhoods for a while.  It is nice to have a car now, though!  We will be driving a Toyota Corolla (African version, very compact).

Thank you so much for your prayers and messages.  You all are a great encouragement during this time of transition.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Our family is embarking on the next phase of our life as missionaries to Johannesburg, South Africa!  Kody and I are so thrilled and humbled that God would want to use us; we feel so inadequate.

That is why we are designating the theme for this first term of service as F.R.O.G. - Fully Rely On God.

"I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."  John 15:5

I know that God will teach us more in the years ahead than we could ever imagine.  If we abide in Him, He will prune us until we bear fruit that resembles Christ-like qualities and that bring glory to Himself.

While I laugh about Field Personnel Orientation (FPO), being missionary boot camp, we wouldn't dare go out to the nations without the tools learned over the past eight weeks.  As FPO comes to a close next week, we will greatly miss our new friends and only hope that God will bring to mind what we need from the abundance of materials gained at just the right moment.

Thank you for your support for our family as we set out on this next phase of the journey.  We will count all the uncertainty, anxiety, trials and tribulations that face us in the days ahead as pure joy as we see the peoples of South Africa turn from their sinful ways and experience Christ's love and forgiveness.