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Monday, October 30, 2006

Languages

My children have Zulu and Afrikaans words sprinkled into their speech.

My neighbor, and most of the town we live in, speaks Afrikaans.

I have friends who speak Indian, Greek, Xhosa, Venda, and Sotho.

Officially, South Africa has 11 languages.

Language is all around us and the impact on our lives continually proves to be interesting. Our weekly Bible studies are a prime example. Out of five people, last week, I could communicate with three of them in English. Two of the women can’t communicate with each other. God has blessed us with David, our translator, who can communicate with all of them and speaks about ten languages.

Pretty humbling for a girl with a college degree and a smattering of French. David never went to school to learn English or most of the languages he can communicate in.

In December, we will be working in Mozambique for three weeks where the official language is Portuguese. Because of our French background, Scott is able to understand about 70% of what is spoken and believes I will as well. (We’ll see how far my smattering of French takes me.)

I am excited though to pick up a bit of the Portuguese and am starting now with David’s help. I’m also using my daughter as my language tutor to pick up some Afrikaans.

So for now good-bye. . .or shall I say. . .

Vaarwel. . .Salut. . .Adeus. . .Sala sentle. .and Sizobonana!

Lisa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

God's Love

I’ve started a discipleship class for some of our new Christians, and we had a great study last night doing an overview of the Bible. I was reminded once again of God’s love for His people, His never-ending desire to bring us back to Him no matter what we do, and His amazing gift of Christ on the cross.

Next week, we will begin going through the Steps of Freedom from sin, a simple adaptation of some of Neil Anderson’s fantastic material. We’ve found that many people don’t even have a clear understanding of what sin is. In a study I had a couple weeks ago with a woman, she said that the only sin she knew of was to steal. Because of this, discipleship has become a number one priority for us. It’s exciting to see the joy in their eyes as they learn God’s will for their lives, often for the first time.

We had a group of six last night and are waiting for the return of another new Christian who had to return temporarily to Zimbabwe. Please pray for these men and women as they seek to know God better.


On another note, I’m posting a couple pictures from Gabriel’s last swim meet. He is really enjoying the training and while he isn’t going to compete this year, other than a couple small meets at the school like this one, he seems to be loving every minute of it.

We also received feedback from Mariah’s ballet exams two weeks ago. She received an
A+ along with some wonderful comments on how graceful and poised she was. Way to go, Mariah!

Blessings,

Lisa

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

High crime and miracles. . .

It only took me a few hours being back in Joburg to be reminded of the horrid traffic and to hear stories of the city’s high crime rate over dinner. It also didn’t take long for me to remember just how much I missed many of the friends I made during the time we lived there.

With Scott leaving for the States on Sunday night, we left Friday and were able to spend time with some of our friends over tea, lunch, and even for a nice long chat during a thunderstorm. Sunday was a blessing as we worshiped at our old church’s new location and were blessed to see even more great people we’ve come to love.

It’s always struck me odd that I can miss the one city I was told to avoid living in. Joburg might be known for its crime, but thank God for wonderful friends who made it one of the best places I’ve ever lived!


One of my great Joburg friends, Gizela.


As for miracles, we are thanking the Lord doubly for His care and protection lately. Saturday afternoon, Scott dropped me off at a friend’s house. On his way back to the place we were staying, the brakes on our truck went out. I’m not sure if I’ve had the chance to mention it yet, but we recently traded in our double cab truck for a Land Cruiser. The mileage is low, despite the fact that the vehicle is fifteen years old. And while this is a very sturdy truck for our treks into the bush, there have been a few kinks to work out. The brakes, of course, are one of the more serious issues.

Scott managed to pull off the road with no problem, but discovered that a hose had cracked and brake fluid had spewed everywhere. Where’s the miracle in this? Well, the very next day I was to drive the four and a half hours home alone with the kids. The last hour of the trip is through the mountains, much of it being downhill. If the brakes had gone out then, it would have been a very serious situation. The second miracle was that the neighbor of the friend we were staying with was a. . .you guessed it. . .a brake specialist.

Isn’t God good! The man managed to find the parts needed on a Sunday morning and fixed the vehicle for us before I needed to leave for home.

So, today I’m thanking God for high crime cities filled with great friends and His abundant miracles!

Blessings,

Lisa

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pretty in Pink


One of the blessings of living in South Africa, is the opportunity for our kids to participate in various sports and cultural events. During the past few weeks, school children have been participating in various activities from art, to ballet, to speech, to drama. They are then judged in their category. Both Gabriel and Mariah entered the art competition and received gold stars. Last Saturday, Mariah and her ballet class preformed in Tzaneen in an informal performance we all enjoyed.

Here are a few pictures from her ballet as well as a picture of her artwork that was displayed in the mall recently.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Christmas shopping for something unique?


Christmas is just around the corner in case you haven't yet noticed the on slot of lights and decorations at your local Wal-Mart store yet. If you live in the Dallas area, Scott will be a part of a fun evening of fine dinning, silent auctioning, and live entertainment. This is all a part of a fundraiser for our ministry that will be held on the 29th of October. There are also dinners being held in Houston in November. The dinners will be a time of sharing about our ministry (with a cool new video) as well as our needs.

If you’re interested in attending, drop me an email and I’ll send you an official invitation with all the details.

I’ve posted a couple pictures of some of the African items that will be included in the silent auction. . .just in time for Christmas!

Blessings,

Lisa

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jacaranda trees. . .


Beth asked me to post a picture of a Jacaranda trees. The countryside around us is dotted with these trees and their bright purple blossoms. They're the kind of tree, though, that you want to enjoy in someone else's yard as their flowers leave a mess when they fall to the ground. All the same, I'm certainly enjoying them this spring!

Blessings,

Lisa

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Rejoicing. . .


My week has been so full, I haven’t had time to check my email let alone post a blog. Trying to overcome the effects of jetlag, reconnect with my family, work on looming book edits and deadlines, as well as ministry have left me running, but God is good and has given me the strength to keep going.

For those of you who keep up with my blog, you might have noticed that one of our passions here in Africa is discipleship. When someone accepts Christ, we spend a lot of time training them in the Word (many here have never heard the story of creation or of David and Goliath. . .) and then we train them how to reach out to others and share their faith. The learning process and growth never stops after conversion.

David has been a Christian about a year. When he first started working for us in Joburg as our gardener, he had no interest in God. Two years later, David is now sharing his faith with everyone he comes in contact with, and it’s amazing to see the transformation in his life because of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

David brought a man, who’s working temporarily across the street, to our Bible study Wednesday night. Darlington was not a Christian, but expressed a deep desire to know more. He came back the next night to study with David and Scott and brought with him Joyce, a maid who recently moved into the area. Scott studied more with Darlington, while David and I shared with Joyce. After about two hours of study, like the Ethiopian eunuch, they both pronounced their desire to follow Christ and be baptized immediately.

So, despite a very chilly night and even chillier water, Joyce and Darlington were baptized into Christ beneath the stars of our Creator!

Rejoice with me today and pray that they will grow in their faith!

Lisa

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Home again. . .

As much as I miss my friends, family, and the local Tex Mex restaurant, I have to admit that it’s good to be home. One of the things God really confirmed in my life while I was gone was that He has us exactly where He wants us to be. And for that I’m thankful, because while it might be hard to believe for some, I love where I live.

No, everything’s not perfect. There are things I really miss about the good ol’ USA, but God put a longing in my heart to serve Him here, so for me it brought a deep measure of peace to be able to visit, yet still hold an excitement to return home. I was welcomed by a beautiful mist across the mountains and the bloom of the purple
Jacaranda tree whose blossoms fill the view with their color.

The trip back was uneventful, for the most part, and LONG. I left Tulsa Sunday morning and after four planes with fifteen hours of layovers I finally arrived in South Africa on Tuesday. And we still had to drive the five hours home! I suppose the most eventful part of the trip was making our way down the steep and narrow pass through the mountains about forty minutes from home at dusk and discovering we had no headlights at all on our vehicle. Yikes! We managed to follow a car to where we were meeting Gabriel, then followed Allen on to our house because by then it was pitch dark with no street lights.

I do want to give a special word of thanks to my mom who made the trip possible. I enjoyed so much spending time with both my mom and my sister and her family. It was a true blessing to shop, chat, and drink coffee together.

Thanks as well to my wonderful husband who cooked, shopped, did homework with the kids and all of the other Mr. Mom details that have to be done to keep a house running while he had his own work and ministry as well. And my darling kids who did great helping dad, even fixing lunch for him one day so he could catch a breather.

Allen and Janelle, thanks for letting your teammate run off halfway around the world and supporting my family here.

Okay, enough of me sounding like I’m accepting some Oscar award, but I am thankful.

One the home front, I’ve jumped back into life with only one nap today. It was off to grocery shop, get the kids to and from school, start unpacking, straighten up the house for our Bible study, and try and stay awake until bedtime.

So, I'm back to catching up for now. . .

Lisa

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Espresso Anyone?

Okay, we’re back to the subject of the unbelievable amount of choices in the USA again. This time? Coffee.

Tonight was girls’ night out. A rare night when I got the change to laugh with my mom and sister over coffee. The talking wasn’t the issue. Bring in the Barnes & Noble coffee choices and I stood out like a glazed over, wide-eyed giraffe.

My sister was my translator. “The difference between a cappuccino and a latte is foamed milk verses steamed milk. . .”

I raise my eyebrows, but the choices only continue.

Tall, grande, or venti.

Regular or decaf. (Okay, I get that one)

Latté, Cappuccino, frapuccino, or espresso.

Whipped cream or non-fat. . .

And wait! There's more. Now we move on to flavors.

Pumpkin spice, cinnamon spice, mocha, raspberry, almond, vanilla. . .

Choices. Choices. Choices. Don’t you love them?

So, if you happen to see me sitting in the back corner of a bookstore, I’ll be the one drinking plain black decaf coffee. . .with a dollop of whipped cream on top.

Blessings,

Lisa (who won’t even begin to go into the trials of trying to buy a pair of jeans. . .)