Thursday, August 31, 2006

Excitement is in the air. . .

Okay, you’re probably thinking I’m talking about a something profound like I just signed a three book contract (okay, so that would be great too) but no, I’m talking about excitement over a new grocery store. Or at least a new improved one.

You have to understand when we left Joburg last year to move to Duiwelskloof I went through a bit of culture shock. Gone were the big grocery stores, movie theaters, and McDonalds, and in their place was a small town with little amenities to offer. For the most part, I’ve had little to complain about. The people are friendly, and I never tire of the mountain views and tropical setting.

But then there was the day I want to look for a bag of apples.

I stopped first at the main grocery store in town, but all I found were a few bags of bruised fruit. So I trudged on to another small store I’d never stopped by before. Again, it was the same thing, but worse. I found a broken down cardboard box, with a few very rotten apples. There was one last store to check. I stepped inside and scanned the small room. Canned goods, milk, chips, and a row of open deep freezers. . .but no fruit. Something did catch my eye though as I started to turn toward the door. In the freezer was. . .a cow’s head. No kidding here. Someone had shoved a cow’s head, horns, blood everywhere, and all, into the open freezer.

I remember flooring it home and wondered why in the world we’d left behind the ease of city life.

Needless to say, I don’t do a lot of shopping in our small town. Instead I drive into the town of Tzeneen about twenty minutes away where I can find most everything we need. Until now that is. Our Spar, a chain store in South Africa, is totally renovating inside and expanding, and I have to say I’m quite excited. We’ll see in a few weeks if what they offer is really an improvement, but being the optimist that I am, I’m saying it will!

Until then, enjoy a few pictures of our town.

Coming soon. . .The price of gasoline and other such commodities.

Be blessed,


Our new Spar grocery store

A local clothing store

One of two gas stations

The butcher shop

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A baby who doesn’t cry, doesn’t get any milk. . .

I recently spent time doing extensive research for a historical novel I'm writing that’s set in southern Africa, and in the process, discovered a gold mine of African sayings and Proverbs. From stories like ‘Why the Zebra has no horns’, to sayings such as ‘Even a wise man can’t catch hold of a shadow.’

The one in my title came from one of our new Christians who was asking me a number of questions after church. He told me that some people had criticized him for asking too many questions, but I assured him that asking questions were the way to learn.

So, if you’re ever afraid to ask a question, remember this:

Ngoana ea salleng o shoela tharing. . .or a baby who doesn’t cry, doesn’t get any milk!



Monday, August 28, 2006

Hope from the heart of Africa

(Our internet has been down for four days, so I’m posting last Friday’s a bit late)

I hadn’t planned to add commentary to my slide shows, but tonight I wept openly and felt the need to share. I brought in Gabriel, my nine year old son, to sit in my lap and together we watched the story of Alone through a slide presentation from the New York Times. His story ripped my heart into pieces.

Alone is nine years old, the same age as Gabriel, and lives in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. It’s a place we’ve been to many times. His mother died in 2001, and he hasn’t seen his father for years. He lives with his grandmother in a one room, cinderblock house. At night he sleeps on the cement floor. During the day, he rises at six thirty in the morning to go work in the query crushing rocks. He works for two hours, with no breakfast then goes to school. At school, he has a hard time concentrating. He’s hungry and tired. At one o’clock, he returns to the query and works for another five hours until it’s time to walk home. Supper is his only meal of the day.

Nine years old, small, undernourished. . .and truly, alone.

There are three hundred children from Alone’s school who also work in the query. Barely making enough money to help their family with a place to sleep, one meal a day, and enough water to survive.

I first thought I’d entitle today’s slideshow Tears from the Heart of Africa, but instead of tears, I’ve entitled it Hope. Hope from the Heart of Africa. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I realize that I can’t change the whole world. I can’t take away poverty. I can never insure that each child has three meals and a warm bed at night. I can’t give a loving home to every child who’s taken into child labor to work as a prostitute, a miner, a street vendor, or a full-time servant. But I can still make a difference. Each one of us can, one person, or one child at a time.

I doubt that anyone reading this post will go to bed tonight with no supper. We have shoes on our feet, and warm beds to sleep in. We are blessed. Because of this, go out and make a difference in one person’s life today. . .and tomorrow. . .and the next day. A neighbor, a friend, someone who’s lonely and needs a phone call, someone you see on the street, someone who needs a friend, a hot meal, a shoulder to cry on. . .and start changing the world, one person at a time.

Be blessed,


Link to the New York Times slide presentation on child labor:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006


Okay, no, my title is not a typo, but can you pronounce it?

Scott just returned from a very productive ministry trip to Zimbabwe where he and Allen met with about thirty church leaders for a three day, intense conference. “Can you pronounce it?” was one of the first questions he asked the group.

Why? Because this ‘word’ describes the problem he wanted to address.

“If You Keep Doing What You’ve Been Doing, You’ll Keep Getting What You’ve Been Getting.”

Scott’s focus for the weekend was the importance changing our way of thinking from survival mode to intentional evangelism and church planting--and becoming fishers of men. He shared on the importance of finding a person of peace, like Lydia and Cornelius, and how from the very beginning, we want our house churches to be groups that are evangelistic. We want our cells to have a group DNA that includes the urgent mission to reach out to “ALL.”

I won’t go into all the details of his talks in my post, but the power point he put together was absolutely fantastic, and I’m excited to see how God will use this information to motivate the churches here throughout southern Africa for His glory.

As for happenings at home, life is never dull. Our internet is finally up after being down for two days, we have limited water for the next two weeks (complete water outages from time to time), and some nasty pluming problem. All of that and another snake! But spring is in the air and we are all healthy, so there are no complaints from me!

Next week I plan to post a slideshow of photos each day. . .from the heart of Africa. So stay tuned!



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Playing catch up. . .

I thought it was time I took a breath and sent a post. I've discovered that with Scott out of town, life gets very hectic for me. I temporarily become the parent, chef, chauffer, mentor, disciplinarian, tutor, pal. . .the list goes on and on. These last few days have been no exception. With school in full swing, life is good, but full.

Today, Gabriel played his first field hockey game, and wouldn't you know I forgot to bring the camera. I'm hoping he will have more so I can take a few pictures. He certainly loves his sports and does very well. He's concentrating on swimming right now as he's recently joined a swim club, something we feel will be good for him. Mariah continues with her ballet, loves spelling and reading, and Jayden just loves to play and be around people.

I have a bit of good news; I just sold my tenth book! This latest sale is the second book in my cozy mystery series. I can hardly believe it, and feel so blessed to have the opportunity to write as part of my ministry. I still feel like a newbie in the business, though, and know I still have so much to learn!

In the next day or two, I'll share about Scott's trip into Zimbabwe. They've crossed the boarder back into South Africa, so I'm praising God that not only did their trip go well, but they are safe.



Saturday, August 12, 2006

If you died tonight. . .

I continue to be excited about the growth God is bringing us through our cell group. We are specifically reaching out to the domestic workers in our area, a group of people often overlooked. I’m constantly amazed at their excitement as they learn stories from the Bible that they have never heard before. Often David, who translates for those who don’t speak English, gets so drawn into the lessons that he forgets to translate. His enthusiasm is refreshing.

In the African cultures, it’s considered polite to receive gifts with both hands as a sign of thankfulness and honor. One of the questions we often ask people is if you were to die tonight, would God receive you with both hands. We asked the question on Wednesday night to our group. Two of the new Christians said yes, but the other three said no, they didn’t believe that God would receive them.

This led to a time of David sharing why he could confidently say yes, God would receive him. Our goal is not to simply make converts, but to train disciples. Disciples that will develop a deep relationship with God, an understanding of God’s word, and who will in turn express the joy of their faith with others. What a wonderful experience it was to watch as David shared why he was confident that God would accept him with two hands. Their conversations continued after our own study and onto the next evening as David continued to share with them.

On another note, please pray for Scott and Allen as they are now in Bulawayo teaching a number of our leaders. The situation in Zimbabwe continues to worsen by the day, so we ask for your fervent prayers for their safety during this time.



Tuesday, August 08, 2006


(To be sung to the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas)

On our recent trip through Africa we saw the strangest things. . .

Twelve lazy hippos

Eleven elephant crossings

Ten armed police checks
(no photos allowed)

Nine million kwacha

Eight border crossings

Seven plates of Nshima

Six shopping malls

Five. . .malaria infested mosquitoes.

Four-wheel driving

Three thousand miles

Two weeks of cold showers

And a troop of monkeys in a baobab.

Prayer update and a BIG thanks!


Grace is now home from the hospital after delivering the baby. We found out that the reason the baby died was that it was severely deformed. Please pray for this family as they work through the loss of their child.


Scott and Allen leave on Friday for a week of teaching and training of a number of our church leaders from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia. We ask for your prayers as they go into Zimbabwe as the country continues to fall apart. Most services are at a stand still and gas prices have doubled the past week. People can hardly afford a loaf of bread. The list could go on and on.

These two pictures I’ve posted are of our first visit to Zimbabwe four years ago. Plans at that time were to move to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, but because the government offices were shutting down, we were unable to get any visas. Four years later the situation is only worse. Please pray for the people of this country who are facing enormous difficulties right now. Please pray also for Scott and Allen’s safety, and that the leaders of the churches will be encouraged and will take to heart the things that they learn.


I think I mentioned earlier that we are in the process of selling our house in Dallas. We’ve had renters in the house since our arrival in South Africa, but are needing to sell now. Scott’s dad graciously drove down to Dallas last week and has been fixing up the house and getting it ready to sell. We appreciate his help so much. I also want to give a big thanks to Lynne, Jane, Meredith, Matt, Amy, Tory, Duane, Diana, Rick and Jackie from our home church in Dallas who spent time cleaning and repairing the house as much.

You all are a big blessing to us and we are humbled by your generosity!

Thank you so much!


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Prayer Update

We just recieved word that the baby has died. Martin and Grace are a big part of our ministry as missionaries to the Lozi people in western Zambia. We ask for your prayers as Grace waits to deliver the child and as the family goes through this difficult time.



Urgent Prayer Request

We just received word that Grace Mulyata, the wife of one of our church leaders and the coordinator of our orphan program in Zambia, has just returned from the hospital with possible problems with her unborn baby. Grace is nine months pregnant and they could not find the baby's heartbeat. Her husband said that they are planning to induce this afternoon.

We are concerned not only about Grace and the baby, but the medical care she is receiving as well. Please pray for these dedicated servants of the Lord.


Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Scott recently traveled with Allen and part of the team that helped us at the medical clinic to Mozambique where we are starting a work among the Tonga. The Tonga are one of the unreached people groups in Mozambique with less than one percent claiming to be Christian of any kind.

In our recent survey of the tribe, with the help of a local Christian, we learned that the most common reason stopping the Tonga’s from become a Christian is that they are happy to serve the witchdoctors and continue with their ancestral worship. They have not been receptive in the past to the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they are content to keep their relationships with the ancestors and witchdoctors. We have discovered the tremendous need the Tongas have for a living Savior who will deliver them from the bondages of witchcraft and syncretistic Christianity.

Inhambane is located on the coast of Mozambique and we can get there in one day’s drive. Much of the group’s time was spent meeting government officials to get permission for us to start working in the area, a very important step in the process. Time was also spent talking to many of the local people.

One man, Eduardo, gave his life to Christ during this time. He is planning to go back to his family’s village and share with them his new faith. This is exciting for us as we prayed for a ‘man of peace’ who would help to open the way for us into the country and give us a place to start our first home church. Scott and Allen will be returning next month for follow up and more teaching for Eduardo and his family.

Some of the people they met.

African Outreach Ministries is a non-denominational ministry whose goal is to reach unreached people groups with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are currently needing people who will partner with us both financially and prayerfully. Please contact me for more information if you are interested in being a part of this ministry.

I'll share more in my next post.