Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some R&R

Hello friends and family!

We have been a bit slow on our blog updates this week because we are out of town trying to rest a bit! Casey was asked to help coach at a soccer camp for disadvantaged kids in a town called Stanford here in SA. We were REALLY excited about this time of volunteering when we learned that we got to stay at a beautiful farm turned into resort! Turns out we have a gorgeous luxury room overlooking a river and mountain range! It is ridiculous! Casey has been helping a team of people, mostly from the United States, who are here to help coach the kids. The first day over 300 kids showed up from a local township and they were overwhelmed with all the chaos, but some rain today slowed the camp down to about 200 kids and it was a huge success. While we can only stay until Wednesday afternoon, they will have the camp through Friday. It's been fun to meet some new people from the States, get to know this incredible (American) family who owns the resort and is hosting us all, and just have some time away from the View! It's beautiful here, and Kieren and I have enjoyed some great times just relaxing and listening to the birds chirping all around. Her favorite part of the room is the huge jacuzzi bath tub that she swims and plays around in. She gets SO upset every time we take her out of it!

Prayers for Kieren this week, she has been sick with a stomach bug and now cough, but we have learned today by seeing a nurse that it is probably WORMS. Yuck. It's VERY, very common in the townships, but usually doesn't happen to kids as young as her. Kieren is special in every way :) We got some meds and pray she is back on track soon - but today she is really hurting and can't sleep! Prayers for her (umm, yeah, and us...).

Lots of love,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Women's Ministry

Just wanted to share an update about the Thursday meeting I had this week. After planning the women's rally and seeing the women coming alive in that environment and a longing to have more time together and to do more ministry, I decided to gather them more regularly. I want to gather these women who are leaders in different churches to have a time of women's devotion and fellowship, where I can be building them up as women of God. Then we will meet and talk about support groups and future rallies in Ocean View where I can equip and empower them to take on those ministries. So about 12 women came to our house on Thursday night for this time of ministry and it was wonderful! We had a time of devotion where we looked at the 'Christ Hymn' in Philippians 2:5-11. We shared and challenged one another and then had a time of prayer. It was rich and heartfelt. Afterwards we split into two groups, focusing on the support groups and the next rally. The women decided they want to do the next rally in three weeks - they are crazy! Also, I have asked our 'granny' Jacoba to be a support leader as well as my friend from the Methodist church, Denille. They have both accepted and I know God is going to use them powerfully to lead, encourage, and empower women in their support groups. I would love prayers for myself and these women as we work through many details in the coming weeks for both the next rally and the groups.

Honestly, as the night ended I was deeply encouraged and pumped up about these women and what God is doing in them! It is surely something I am most excited about in ministry right now and I feel so privileged to be working with these incredible people!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

She's Growing Up!

Lately we have been having some moments with Kieren where we just realize she is growing up! Crazy! On Saturday we tried to 'dress her up' for the Women's Rally and put on this beautiful African dress that my parents bought her when they visited. It was funny because she is such a tomboy already that she tried to rip it off and eventually just melted down until we took it off! But before the fireworks we got some cute shots! The sweetest part was that I (Sarah) dressed her and then took her in the bathroom the show Casey, and he almost got teary about it! He said she is getting so old and that he can see her getting ready for dates and stuff and it broke his heart already! SO SWEET!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dominate the Day

This morning as we prepared for the the day ahead and talked about all that was going on Sarah said to me, "Dominate the Day!" It was appropriate because I had a lot going on and needed to have a bit of 'success' with all of it. Well, being the obedient man that I am, I did what I was told!
We had an important meeting at Capricorn Primary School at 11:30. I've been trying to get into this school for a while, so I was really excited to finally have the opportunity. I had a great meeting with several teachers that are involved with sports and they seemed VERY excited to have us involved. It's a new school, only 3 years old, and they have a pretty nice facility (considering the other places I've been). I was really pumped about a great meeting.
Then, we headed over to Christian David Primary School where we were doing a clinic to introduce us, and the ministry, to the kids there at the school. Principal Erasmus is a great man that makes me laugh a lot. He had preselected 25 6th grade boys to be part of the clinic. So, as the school day ended we grabbed the boys and had a good hour-long clinic with them. They were hoping we would be there again tomorrow, but we told them that they would be having a coach coming to work with them in a few weeks time. (Now we have to find the church to fill that need!)
Next we went back to Capricorn to meet with a young man named Grayson who attends Capricorn Baptist Church. We are hoping that CBC will be the church partner for Capricorn Primary and Grayson has been given the freedom by his pastor to lead their sports ministry initiatives. We had a great meeting at the local McDonald's (the fries taste the same all over the world) and I feel confident that they will become a church partner.
We finished the day with a marriage course we are doing with 3 other couples. Sarah cooked an amazing tortilla casserole and we had great conversation as a couple as week to continue growing our partnership.
So, the day was dominated, but I didn't tell you what the most random part of the day was yet. So, as I walked out of Capricorn Primary, ready to leave our meeting, we noticed a group of people were gathering across the street at a community center. As we continued investigating we noticed that they were gathering because, sure enough, there was Sir Elton John. I'm serious, in the flesh, in a township in Cape Town!! He is here playing shows this week, and apparently had some involvement in the building of that community center. So, not only did all of that other stuff happen today, but I also saw Elton John!
How can you dominate your day tomorrow? Seriously, go do it!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Women Moving Forward

Tonight was a special night. I have had this dream and vision for months to start support groups for women where they can truly open up, be real, share their stories and lives, and find love and courage among other women. In many ways, the secret purpose of the Women's Rally this past weekend was to kick-off these groups I had been longing to start, and then these rallies have become something on their own (that we plan to do more of). But these groups have been close to my heart, and we announced this meeting for tonight (Tuesday) at the rally and to anyone else that would listen. I found myself anxious all day about this gathering tonight, as suddenly something that was very important to me was about to happen and I had no way of controlling the outcome! Those are usually the BEST occurrences, but nonetheless, they frighten me anyways. Through talking with some people and prayer I calmed myself today and felt a leading on something to share with the women who came. In the end, it was only about 15 or so women that came to the Methodist church to gather and talk about starting a women's group, but the night was PERFECT and beautiful and encouraging. We shared some fun stories, laughed together, and got to know one another first. Then I shared about my vision for the groups and the ways I believe it can empower and build women. Ultimately I believe that it's in groups, with other people, that we are finally given the opportunity to truly be ourselves, all the good and the bad, and then encouraged to be our truest and most real selves. Also, we see that all we hope we can be, all we wish we could be, is somewhere down in us, and true friends help us to believe in ourselves enough to become those things. That is the power of groups and friendships. These women really get this dream, and I think they are going to have the courage to try to make this happen. We ended the night by gathering in two small groups where I asked each person to share a prayer request and then we prayed for one another. Women shared deeply, cried, and prayer fervently for one another. Ahh, so beautiful! I have no idea what I really wanted for this night, I mean obviously hundreds of women beating down the door to be in a group wouldn't have been bad, but those who came arrived with open hearts to listen and share and 'be.' It was perfect and gives me SO MUCH hope for what God is doing in Ocean View and what these women are on the way to becoming.

Lots of love,

An Incredible Story...

This is random, and not something I have ever done on our blog, but I am posting another blog to share because it is an incredible and poignant story that moved me deeply tonight. It's from the blog of one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller, but it's a story of one of his readers. Evidently, his recent book has inspired and moved people in awesome ways, and this is one story of someone who was affected by it. Anyways, read this blog entry if you too want to be moved...



Monday, March 22, 2010

Sarah's Talk from Women's Rally

Copy and paste this link into your browser to read Sarah's talk from the Women's Rally this weekend.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Pictures from Ocean View Women's Rally

Hello friends and family!

First, THANK YOU so much for your prayers ad support for the Women's Rally this past weekend! Wow, I was so humbled by all the support I received from my friends here in South Africa and back home. It was very special to know so many people were a part of the event that couldn't be there! I am blessed way past what I deserve!

Well, the event was incredible, amazing, and words really can't describe it! Every detail just fell into place and the women who were leading the team for the rally were so excited and in ACTION to make it all happen. There was just a buzz in the air, this great feeling of joy as women started to arrive and gather around! We had every woman fill out her contact information and check a box if she was interested in joining a women's group - and the 'draw' for giving these details was that we had a raffle with prizes at the end! I love presents! My friend from the Methodist church, Charmaine, was the emcee of the event - and she did a GREAT job! She is a wonderful woman of God and has become a good friend in the church and leads praise and worship for us, so I knew she would be great to tie the whole event together and she was AWESOME! We had many elements of the rally because so many women wanted to bring something to the event - which I loved because it made them 'own' the rally even more. There was singing with a local group called 'JWC,' a dance, other songs sung by women, poems read, and just women sharing with one another and encouraging. My friend from the NGO 'Sisters for Sisters,' Eunice came and shared her testimony of abuse and violence, encouraging the women to get in a group and break their own silence. Then towards the end I preached a short message from the Romans 8 and there was a time of prayer for the women. Charmaine led some singing, and at one point, spontaneously asked the women to join hands as we sang 'Bind Us Together.' It was beautiful! We ended the rally by passing out the raffle prizes and one of the oldest women there won the tiara!

Overall, it was a huge success, and the women continue to share about how wonderful it was to be together as women of different churches and backgrounds. I truly believe this was something that many women had longed for but just didn't know how to make it happen - and I was the lucky one to put it into action! I could NOT have done it without my team, and I am so honored to be a part of how God is raising up the women of Ocean View.

Two prayer requests for this week. On Tuesday night I have invited any and all women to the Methodist church for a 'Women's Group' where I want to start support groups for these women who would like to share and encourage further. I have NO idea how many women will come or how we will put these groups together but I am excited to see what happens! Then on Thursday night I am going to meet with the leaders from these churches to start something new. These women would like to help in teams to lead more rallies and help with the support groups, so we are going to gather monthly for a time of prayer and discipleship that I will lead and then I will break them into two teams so they can lead these two new ministries. I am VERY EXCITED about this, because I love equipping these women to minister as they are incredible and will be the best ones to minister to their own community. So prayers for both those events!

Again, thanks so much for your support and I will keep you posted on these events coming this week!

Oh, and another prayer, Casey is having his first meeting tonight (Monday) for a team that is putting together a big community festival for May to 'kick off' the World Cup and get the communities here together. Prayers for him and Andy and the team!

Lots of love,

The group 'JWC' playing and everyone singing along at the rally

Singing and dancing along to JWC

Beyda dancing to the beautiful song 'Alabaster Box'

The 'Sisters for Sisters' women join the rally!

Dancing as we sing praise songs together - that is 'Granny' Jacoba next to me dancing like CRAZY!

The women coming together praying and singing 'Bind Us Together"

Me preaching to women

Presenting raffle prizes at the end of the rally - I love giving presents!

This beautiful 'auntie' won the best prize - the TIARA! Love it!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading." - Oswald Chambers

Friday, March 19, 2010


Tomorrow is the day! Finally it has come and we will be having the Women's Rally tomorrow (Saturday) at 3:00pm. My mind is constantly racing thinking about it and I have butterflies I am so excited! Many women in the community have come on board to help and I am just praying that God will bring the right people to need to be encouraged and hear our message! Pray for all the details, that we won't get 'shut down' because of the noise (we have this all worked out we think!), that all the pieces of the rally flow together, that many women come to join, and that God is glorified! I just think it's going to be a blast - how will I sleep tonight??

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers - pictures and stories to come!


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Could it happen?

Not long after we arrived in Cape Town I told our good friend Michael Jenkins about an idea/dream I had. One thing I've learned since then is that if you aren't serious about something, don't say it out loud in front of Jenks. So, I had been thinking that if I resurrected my soccer career and started playing on one of the pro teams here that it would bring some credibility to Ubuntu Sports Outreach (also thought maybe I could coach goalkeepers for a pro squad). I know it sounds far fetched, but goalkeepers play longer, it's a weak position in Africa, and I'm still in good shape. Well, Jenks jumped all over the idea and he developed the whole plan to make it happen! I started training on my own with Andy to get back into playing goalie, and then in January we started training with a local club in Fish Hoek.
Recently Jenks has amended his plan. One of the local clubs, Vasco da Gama, just secured promotion into the PSL, the highest pro soccer league in South Africa. We already had 2 clubs from Cape Town in the PSL, but Vasco be the 3rd. He started thinking they would be the easiest to jump into. Last Friday he started making some calls. Found the owner's phone number in the phone book and called his house. His wife gave him his cell phone number. The owner was interested and gave Mike the number for the manager. After the owner let the manager know that Mike would be calling, Mike called and talked with him. The manager suggested that I come play some games with their reserve squad and then train with the goalkeeper coach some. So, last Saturday I played part of a friendly game with their reserve team and did well. Tonight I went for training and it turned out that they were playing another friendly. I played another half a game and did fine. Early next week I'll start going to train with the goalkeeper coach. He will sort of be able to tell if I can 'cut' it anymore or if I'm seriously dreaming.
Right now I feel decent about how I'm playing. I just need to get on the field more. Get used to making decisions again and playing in the flow of the game. I'm definitely fit right now, so that's not the problem. We'll see what happens. At this point, I've been amazed at how quickly God has opened the doors. I ask you to join me in prayer that I would play well, stay healthy, and have the wisdom to know what to do. Who knows, I may just be on a PSL roster next August!?!


"Christians don't think God will love us because we're good, but that God will make us good because He loves us."
-CS Lewis

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


This week is flying by and crazy! Casey and I are both finding ourselves so busy with ministry and other things so just wanted to check in with some updates. Casey is working hard on finishing up finding relationships with churches and schools so he can start teams in the schools after Easter. He is doing a great job and working so hard -and already having some partnerships beginning to form! Pray for him, that God would grant him favor with these new people and relationships. I have been working on all the final details on the Women's Rally I am hosting (this is my new term for what I am doing with this event) coming up on this Saturday. The more I talk about this event the more I realize that it's something that was in the hearts of many of the women and churches here in Ocean View, to gather women from different backgrounds and minister to and encourage others, and I was just the one to say out-loud 'let's do this!' What a privilege to be used, but I see this is much bigger that me. I came together with a group of women from different churches on Monday night and we talked about details and then prayed for the night and it was a beautiful time of worship together. These women are incredible and they are going to change this community. I just love being able to see God already at work. So some of the details that I need prayers for: 1. I am 'preaching' or sharing a short message. I have been praying about it and working on it in my head, but haven't written anything down, so TIME to actually do that and then that God would give me wisdom on what to share. 2. We realized late (this week) that we need a noise permit and event permit and I was denied these today... woops. I have talked to others in the government who don't think we need it at all, but we just need FAVOR by the Ocean View police on Saturday, who would be the only ones to get upset and who could possibly shut down the entire event. We really feel a peace about it, but what a buzz-kill would that be if it all just got cancelled!?! So yeah, that. 3. Protection over the leadership team (spiritually and physically) as domestic violence (the major theme we will be talking about) is a major stronghold here and NOT something many people want to change. I am REALLY excited about the event overall and have butterflies about it, but I really think it's going to be awesome. Can't wait to share what God does. Yikes!

Other than that, we are just hanging out, meeting with friends, ministering to different people in the community, and watching Kieren grow and have fun. This week Casey and I have also started a small group of sorts where we are going to do a 'Marriage Course.' We played catch up this week as we missed the first session, but got a double dose of wisdom on marriage in the past two nights. It's a great series already and has sparked some wonderful discussion and time together. And it was Casey's prompting that actually got us to do this - awwww!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I read this quote yesterday and it really echoed many things I am thinking about and wrestling with in my heart.

If forming friendships with exploited people is important to us, we will be drawn into some complicated situations. We will probably get splashed with some of the ambiguity and uncertainty. Can we really be friends of war criminals and girls who abuse their unborn children? What does it mean—for us, for them, for mission?

Ambiguities often cause us to pull away. The circumstances are too tainted, too unclear. We worry about becoming complicit in the evil, about facilitating the wrong or being personally corrupted. It’s not just these very dramatic circumstances that challenge us—anyone who has a family member or close friend who struggles with an addiction knows about some of these questions.

We want to fix things and people. As Christians, we long to bring healing to broken circumstances and to be instruments of God’s reconciling and healing work. Americans tend to take that a step further and expect to be able to solve problems quickly, on our terms and with our tools. But that assumes a level of power and control that is sometimes unavailable and often inappropriate.

— “Friendship at the Margins: Discovering Mutuality in Service and Mission,” by Chris Heuertz and Christine Pohl (IVP, 2010): page 96

I have longed for years to have genuine friendships with people 'in the margins' or those who I call the 'last and the least' in our world. The hurt, the broken, and the forgotten. Now I am working on forming those friendships and I have realized it's such a struggle! I lately have found myself hurt because these people who are broken will sometimes lie to me, or live secret lives or drugs, abuse, or addiction, or they keep me at a distance because I am so different from them. It's very different from my experiences in ministry back home where I easily and quickly would create relationships and trust with people that I am ministering to. I come with a pure heart (or honestly try and pray to), but feel like there is sometimes such a great divide between myself and the people I want to love. And my honest desire is to build friendships with these people. But I am finding it's not that simple. This quote really spoke to me and some of my deeper motives and how I need to surrender what I want to get and see accomplished through these relationships. I am certainly in some very complicated situations, but I think I am exactly where I need to be, and the fruit will come through time as I really allow these friendships to authentically grow and develop. I need patience, grace, and a deeper love than I can give with my own strength. I pray for God to give these things to my spirit and to see great things in time through these relationships. I believe I will.

Lots of love,

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Video

Here is a video that we made for our home church, Grace Community Church, in Raleigh. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My ride in the Cape Argus Pick N Pay Cycle Tour!

My Ocean View friends who cheered my on during the race!

I did it again! My 2nd Argus Cycle Tour was quite the experience. I had nobody to ride with so I headed off alone. The streets leaving Ocean View were all closed so I had to ride my bike to the train station in Fish Hoek to get to town. I was just ahead of the leading group and people were cheering for me not realizing I hadn't even started. One poor lady even asked me, "Are you Lance Armstrong?" Really!! I replied, "Though I am American, I'm not Lance." I started in the VERY LAST group at 10am (the pros start at 6am). Though I was by myself I would periodically slide in behind people going the same speed and let them pull me along. My goal was to ride it in 5 hours. My first time took 6, but the course was easier back then. I wasn't feeling good about my pace when I arrived in Ocean View having just gotten my first cramp. But people were so excited to see me, so that got me pumped again. And sweet Sarah gave me an apple and granola bar and I was off again. Not long after I stopped to see another group of friends right at the base of Chapman's Peak (the 1st of 2 major climbs to finish the race). That's when Wayne gave me some magic pancakes. I ate like 3 pancakes in just a few minutes, but they made me feel awesome! I felt great the last 35kms and killed the 2 climbs and the finish. My cramp returned about 5kms from the finish, but I just fought it off. My finishing time ended up being 5 hours 8 minutes, so just off my pace, but better than I expected midway through the race. With the old course I think I would have broken 5 hours. All in all, it was a great day and another great experience. Thanks to all my loyal supporters and to Lance Armstrong.
Oh, 2nd best part. We decided to go to church at Hillsong after the race since I was already down there. So, Jenks and Sarah met me there with stuff to shower and change, but it was like 5 minutes before church. I had to walk all the way through the auditorium to the front with my little bike outfit on, to find the guy to take me to the shower. Then, I wore my medal around afterwards!! I know, I'm a goofball.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Pictures from Melissa and Heather's Visit

Melissa and Heather on the Table Mountain hike

Casey with the girls at a Stormer's rugby match

Melissa at Noordhoek beach at sunset

Sarah and Kieren during our day cooling off at the pool

Kieren enjoying an afternoon with her friends - the Ocean View girls wore lipstick that day and gave her some kisses!

Melissa and Heather playing with some girls in our 'lounge'

Kieren enjoying the soccer game in the yard

Heather and Kieren hanging in the yard
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

-Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Howzit from Melissa and Heather

Melissa here. I grew up in Raleigh, NC, and went to Grace Community Church, where I met Sarah and Casey. Sarah was my small group leader and we have remained close throughout the years. I went to college in Baltimore, MD, where I now reside. Heather and I played basketball together at UMBC (University of Maryland Baltimore County). Heather loves Jesus and adventure as much as I do, so I thought she would be a great fit to come visit Sarah and Casey here in Cape Town. Heather grew up in Indiana, came to Maryland for school, and now works in D.C. Okay, so enough of the introductions, let's get down to business.

We arrived here two weeks ago and hit the ground running. Our trip started out with a bang when our great host, Casey, was not at the airport to pick us up. It was okay, a nice woman thought we looked like we needed a phone, so she lent us her cell and we got things straightened out. Something about losing track of time, rugby, and Jenks (a friend of theirs)... So we have spent the past 2 weeks going on tons of adventures and learning about life here in Ocean View. Some of the highlights:

-Hiking Table Mountain on our 2nd day here. Forget about jet-lag! See their previous posts about that adventure...

-Learning to drive a manual car in a foreign country on the other side of the road while dodging baboons and western leopard toads. Don't mind having to decipher the road signs... But really, Casey was an excellent teacher - he prepared us well in our 45 minutes (each) of instruction. The very next day, we went with Sarah to pick up our rental car, Dora. And yes, we drove home by ourselves. And yes, we didn't stall on the way home. Praise Him! Our first few times out on the road, Heather was singing "Jesus Take the Wheel" and it helped. Lots. Sarah became our Coach because we spent most of the time driving around with her and she should coin the phrase, "Just be Calm and Confident." It got us through many inclines.

-During our first full day with Dora, okay sidenote - the woman who rented us the car names ALL of her cars, some other examples are: Clyde, Edward... and Helmet. Very interesting lady! Now, back to our first full day with Dora - we arrived home from Pick n Pay (grocery store) to find Jacoba (aka Granny) asking if we could take her, Kieren, and her friend, Katie, to the Fruit and Veg. She said it was "just down the road." I (Melissa) was not feeling too confident about this because I had stalled about 5 times on the way home from Pick n Pay, but I was more than willing to agree and 'let' Heather drive. I'm sure she loves me for that. So, we piled into Dora and were on our way. And apparently, "just down the road" means driving over a mountain and to Tokai, a town about 30min away. I do have to say that Heather did an admirable job. I am sooooo thankful that she drove. Especially since once we got to Tokai, the traffic lights were out so every intersection was like a 4-way stop. Remember, this is a foreign country, on the other side of the road, during your 2nd day driving stick, with your car full of people, including a precious baby. Again, Heather did amazing and did not stall one time. Jesus take the wheel. Once inside of Fruit and Veg, it was a mad house. They were running a special and that was the whole reason the ladies wanted to go that day. Only to find out that the store claimed to be out of some produce. Granny was not taking any of that nonsense, she spoke to the manager and eventually got the produce that they claimed to be out of. She definitely knows how to get things done! We made it out of the store alive and made it home safely. It was a great adventure.

-Biltong. We were introduced to this local favorite snack. MmmMmm good. For those of you who don't know, Biltong is like jerky, but wayyyyy better. You can get all kinds, but our favorites after recommendations from our new friend, Naomi, are beef and chili beef. Delicious.

In addition to those experiences, we have spent a lot of time here in the community. We have spent most afternoons out in the yard playing with the kids. It has been great fun being able to just hang out and enjoy laughter with them. I am awful at soccer, but the boys have had fun trying to teach me some tricks and how to get better at "taps." Heather is way better than me, she can do 10 taps compared to my 5. The boys can do like 30. We need to work on our skills. It's been great getting to know them and love them. We have also spent a lot of time going to support group meetings with Sarah and it has truly been a blessing. We have gotten to meet some incredibly strong female leaders in this community. Most of these women have hard lives themselves, but realize they have gifts to offer others in the community. It has been really neat getting to know them, learn about their stories, and pray with them. There are a lot of poverty, abuse, and addiction issues in Ocean View, but it is a vibrant community full of loving people. There are people who really love the Lord here and are trying to bless this community with Him on their side. After being here, it is obvious that people wake up everyday, faced with a battle to fight. Some people choose to fight and others choose to give in. Even though we were here a short time, we have grown to love this community and hope to return sometime!

Sarah and Casey are truly loved in this community and there is a definite need for them here. They are helping to inspire and bring hope to these people. Prayers are needed for community as a whole, including Sarah and Casey. So pray! We are really grateful for their allowing us into their home and opening their lives here to us.

Peace, Love, and Biltong.

Heather and Melissa

PS - Kieren is really cute. And so is her poop. And we will miss Dora a lot. Oh, and Kieren has toobs (toobs = toddler boobs).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"The only way to live an undefeated life is to live looking to God."
- Oswald Chambers


This place can be rough and harsh and often it seems like people get stuck in cycles where there lives might never amount to anything worthwhile. But then last week I saw Jackie again. Jackie was a women I met on December 1st at 'World AIDS Day' in Ocean View at the rally Living Hope was holding at the free clinic. I was there to see my friend Joanne, in my support group, who was disclosing her HIV status in front of the community that day to encourage others to be tested. Many people were walking around the area, and one young girl came up and started talking to some of the Living Hope support group leaders. I noticed them praying with her later and she was crying. After the prayer I was introduced to her, and her name was Jackie. Then after a bit, one of the leaders was leading her in to the clinic because she was feeling sick. As the rally ended I was asked to come into the clinic and pray with Jackie as she was really sick and distressed. Our friend Kate Berry was visiting from Raleigh at the time and we came into the clinic, into a room with Jackie hooked to machines, crying, with her mother by her side. The doctors told us that they believed she was having a bad reaction to 'tick' (crystal methamphetamine) and her heart rate was erratic. Jackie's mom was angry with her, and scared for her health, and Kate took her aside to talk to her. I sat with Jackie for a good bit of time and we talked as she dozed in and out of a clear state. She was terrified of what her boyfriend would say, that they would take away her kids, that her mom was mad at her, and just if she would make it through this bad reaction. She said she wanted to get clean and get her life straight and we talked about prayed about those goals. She was mostly 'out of it' but every once in a while she would focus very clearly on my face and what I was saying and I knew she understood. We stayed for a bit and then left. I never knew what happened to Jackie after that day, and was very troubled and burdened by the encounter.

I had heard recently from my friend Bernadette, who leads support groups at Living Hope and was there that day at the rally, that Jackie was doing better and trying to get her life sorted out. Then last week, suddenly I saw her at the local supermarket in Ocean View and I knew exactly who she was (which is CRAZY for me because I am horrible at names and remembering things!). She smiled at me and came right up giving me a hug. After I got my milk and bread, we walked back towards home together and she excitedly shared with me about where her life is now. She is clean from drugs, doing drug counseling, taking care of her kids, and even has reconciled with her mom and they have a good relationship now. It was beautiful to hear about how her life has turned around, but what struck me most about our chat was the look in her eyes. She looks alive. She looks brave and strong and NEW. Beautiful. We said goodbye and I'm sure I will see her again, and I certainly hope to see her much more.

Obviously I was so encouraged by this change meeting again, as I counsel and work with so many women in desperate situations and often do not know the outcomes. Or, even worse, I do know the outcomes and they are hopeless. BUT, there is HOPE and God can do ANYTHING and I was reminded of this through Jackie and the new life she has. She has a faith in God and has been leaning on Him to get her life clean and the new life in her is evident. What a blessing to see this life change and to claim once again that God is at work!

Lot of love,

Kieren Is Fat

So recently, some kids were hanging out in the yard, and one was really young. I learned later from his parent that the child asked, 'Mommy, is there a baby in that belly?" Yes, the child was asking about Kieren.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sarah's Sermon From Sunday

Copy and paste the link below to read Sarah's sermon from Sunday preached at Ocean View Methodist, titled "Are You Thirsty?"


Monday Update

Hello friends and family!

Well one person has told me that they look forward to my Monday morning updates, so I am going to keep them coming :)

It's a HOT HOT HOT!!! Monday afternoon for me here. Shesh, it's March but it's blazing summer here in Cape Town. MEXICO hot here. No, actually AFRICA hot here. Haha, fun to say. Here is the difference and the problem with the heat here, there is really no buildings other than McDonalds that have air conditioning - not even the malls near our house! So you just sit and feel the hot air slowly moving around the room. Pretty miserable and a bit embarrassing last night as our guests had to suffer sleeping in a stifling hot room. It gave Melissa Book and I crazy dreams which did provide an entertaining ride to the gym this morning as we recounted the tales...

Another great weekend here in the Prince world and we know we are blessed! Friday we just rested and hung out with Casey as he had a FULL week of Coaches training in the city (he will update more about that later). Melissa and Heather have been great about hanging out with the kids in our yard each day, and we seem to have quickly been forgotten as they now come to windows saying "Meyleesaa! Heeter!" It's cute. Saturday we made a trip to the gym early, and after Kieren's nap us girls then went to a local farm called 'Imhoff Farm' for a wine festival there with some friends. Then Casey and Jenks took Melissa and Heather to a rugby game (Go Stormers!) and then to a birthday party celebration for our friend, Wayne. I had a quiet night at home finishing my sermon for Sunday morning (procrastination what?). Sunday morning I preached at Ocean View Methodist, which went very well. Next I went to two different churches to make announcements about the upcoming Women's Rally I am planning in Ocean View in two-weeks time. We lounged around in the morning and then went to Jenks' house to join other friends for a 'braii' and some pool time. WOW what a blessing because in this 90 degree weather we needed a cool-down. And the great food didn't hurt either. Then we headed to Hillsong Church for a great worship service and finished the night with Thai food for dinner. Again, we are aware we have a GREAT life.

Looking forward to another good week here. Casey has hit the ground running this week, and is starting a new work routine of working some in Jenks' office to really focus. I did receive a random and sarcastic text from them mid-morning so I am still skeptical of the word progress there... Tonight I am having a group of women over for tea and 'biscuits' (what they call cookies) as we plan and pray for the Women's Rally we are having. I have had some anxiety about this upcoming event and how big and important I think it can be. I KNOW God has called me to do this, but it seems so great and I am overwhelmed by it. THANKFULLY, there are many women in this community who have the same vision and are coming alongside me so we will work out details tonight and really lay it down before the Lord. Yeah! I will also be doing a few sight-seeing things with the girls as they finish their visit with us and leave mid-day on Friday. It will be so sad to see them go as they have been GREAT guests and given us such a refreshing perspective and view of our lives here. Kieren is doing great - really working on cutting some top teeth, so we are hoping those come through soon. She is really sweat-tastic in this heat with her extra layers of fat, but still happy and having fun. Funny fat Kieren story: we have caught her lately playing with her knee fat. She will grab it and pull it and then let it flop back into place. Hahaha! Oh wait, yesterday she tried to do it to me and it was NOT as funny....

Lots of love and have a great week!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

"God will either give you what you ask, or something far better."
- Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Pictures from our Table Mountain Hike

Heather, Melissa, and Sarah beginning the hike

Andy and the boys up ahead on the trail

The group at the top - we are SO happy!

Melissa and Casey (looking diesel, I might add)

Casey and Andy with their 'boys'

Friday, March 5, 2010


These are things I am thankful for this week, just some of many:

Our friends Melissa and Heather. They have been a breath of fresh air, so much fun and laughter, and just wonderful people to share this place with.

The kids that play in our yard daily. Because of Mel and Heather, we have been spending extra time outside with the kids, and it has made me enjoy them even more lately. I am getting to know them better, hearing more about their lives, and just enjoying time with them. Kieren is also thankful for the extra time.

Kieren. She continues to grow into her middle name, 'Joy.' She has the greatest smile and giggle and has become so confident in her new walking skills. We took her (and the guests!) to see the penguins in Simon's Town this week (and she called the penguins 'doggie' which was so cute). She became a toddler as she refused to be held but wanted to walk by herself along the boardwalk for our outing. I have a toddler now!

Diet Coke. Lately a can of diet coke in the morning really brings me joy. If this is wrong then I don't want to be right.

GLEE. Mel brought me the DVD of season one of the TV show Glee. If you haven't seen it you must. It gives me chills, makes me laugh out LOUD, and brings me happiness. So creative.

Casey. I am so proud of him, and was reflecting on that today as I was talking to our friends Wayne and Laurel who live here. He has completely changed his life and 'vocation' in the past year, and he is thriving in his new role. God has placed favor on Him and Ubuntu Sports and it's so inspiring to watch. I am proud of Him for so many reasons.

Maggie. This week I was introduced to a young mother named Maggie, who lives a street down from me. A group of women do 'outreach' at the Baptist church and were minsitering to Maggie this week. As one of them was praying (Auntie Netta they call her) my face came to her mind so she brought me over to meet her. I met with Maggie today and spoke with her and played with her two year old daughter, Mia. We are going to start meeting regularly as I counsel Maggie, but I am really excited to see what God is going to do in her life. She has a past of drugs, is newly separated from her husband, and her daughter was recently taken from her custody, but she wants to get her life on track. She is a beautiful person, we definitely connected, and I have so much hope for her.

Kieren's future. The possibilities are endless. She might be a soccer player, as she already kicks the ball around the house, she might be a singer as she loves to 'sing' to us throughout the day, she might just flirt with boys all day as she is very coy with them, or she might just be around people and love on them. Also can't wait to see what God has in store.

These are just a few of the many, many things I am thankful for.

Lots of love,

Great Devotional

Devotional from "My Utmost For His Highest"

March 5, 2010

Is He Really My Lord?

. . . so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus . . . —Acts 20:24

Joy comes from seeing the complete fulfillment of the specific purpose for which I was created and born again, not from successfully doing something of my own choosing. The joy our Lord experienced came from doing what the Father sent Him to do. And He says to us, "As the Father has sent Me, I also send you" (John 20:21 ). Have you received a ministry from the Lord? If so, you must be faithful to it— to consider your life valuable only for the purpose of fulfilling that ministry. Knowing that you have done what Jesus sent you to do, think how satisfying it will be to hear Him say to you, "Well done, good and faithful servant" ( Matthew 25:21 ). We each have to find a niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive a ministry from the Lord. To do this we must have close fellowship with Jesus and must know Him as more than our personal Savior. And we must be willing to experience the full impact of Acts 9:16 — "I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake."

"Do you love Me?" Then, "Feed My sheep" ( John 21:17 ). He is not offering us a choice of how we can serve Him; He is asking for absolute loyalty to His commission, a faithfulness to what we discern when we are in the closest possible fellowship with God. If you have received a ministry from the Lord Jesus, you will know that the need is not the same as the call— the need is the opportunity to exercise the call. The call is to be faithful to the ministry you received when you were in true fellowship with Him. This does not imply that there is a whole series of differing ministries marked out for you. It does mean that you must be sensitive to what God has called you to do, and this may sometimes require ignoring demands for service in other areas.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday Update

Hello everyone!

Sorry this update is late on the day of Monday! It's been a busy day but still wanted to share a bit of the details of all that has been going on with us. More to come for sure, but it's been a great weekend and Monday so far.

We are enjoying our time with our new guests, Melissa and Heather. They are refreshing friends to have around, always enjoying playing with Kieren, helping around the house, and open to any and all new experiences here in South Africa. Sunday we had one of our coolest adventures here so far as we climbed Table Mountain, one of the great sites of the city of Cape Town. We took four of the young boys from the community for our hike, which took over two hours, and it was a great accomplishment. Pictures and more to come about the day!

Today (Monday) I took Melissa and Heather to meet with the support group leaders of Living Hope who work in Ocean View as I had a training with them this morning. We had a great time of learning and sharing and the girls loved meeting these incredible women who exude joy and love and are used by God in powerful ways. We then played more with the kids of the yard and then they babysat Kieren as Casey and I had a date night out to a local restaurant. Great day!

We love having these friends here and sharing our lives with them. It's such a blessing to have visitors because it helps you see your 'world' with fresh eyes and a new heart. More stories and pictures to come!