Friday, April 30, 2010

Getting to Know the Family

Yesterday was a random day, Casey and I were both home a bit, out and it, but working on various things on our computers. It was beautiful and I decided I needed a change of scenery to work on some 'talks' for the summer. I went to a local town called Muizenburg and worked at a bakery/coffee shop while I looked out at the ocean. I know, it's pretty lovely. After getting some work done, I went to visit my Congolese friends Antoine and Mathy at the township where they lived called Capricorn. It's a pretty down and hectic place, but they are always so warm and joyful. They have very hard lives, as xenophobia (fear of other races and cultures) is happening a lot in their township these days, and being refugees makes you the bottom rung. But they have big visions of going back to the Congo and starting an NGO there that helps people with AIDS. They are inspiring people and I love seeing them.

On my drive home I began thinking about the kids that would inevitably be filling the lawn and house when I arrived. We continue spending more time with them and are seeing some cool relationships form. Mostly the boys are always hanging around, but lately I have gotten a little 'posse' of girls that I hang out with and talk to. Last weekend when I went to Casey's soccer game I took the girls with me since the boys always go to the fields with Casey! We are having a great time and Kieren loves to see them and play with them. They are very attentive to her, carry her around, and laugh and play with her. They are sweet girls, and two of them are sisters of Regan (the one who wrote me the sweet note last week). My girls have also been writing me some sweet notes and coming over daily to hang and talk. Yesterday I decided it was time to go and meet their mother and find out who was behind these great kids I love. I went to the 'flats' to the house where Regan, Megan, and Jadine live. It made me realize that I had never visited these flats (low-income housing) right across the street! Jackie was hanging in her little apartment and was happy to meet me, which is always such a humbling thing! What I loved most about visiting their home, was to see on the walls numerous certificates and medals awarded to these great kids. Their parents are so proud and we talked about how their lives are devoted to them and their success. She didn't go into detail, but you could tell that she had a 'rough' life before, and she didn't matrick (graduate high school), but now has her life on track and focused. I have so much admiration for Jackie and the kids, dad (they are still married after all these years) and the kids they have raised in this difficult environment. These are truly special children and I can't wait to see how God continues to work in their lives.

Lots of love,

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Book Review: Your Money Counts

The book I just finished comes, how should I say, ‘more than recommended’ by my friend Lyston Peebles. He almost forced me to read it. First of all, he gave me the book, then he came all the way to South Africa to make sure I read it. The second part isn’t totally true, but when he was here recently he did harass me a bit to make sure I was going to read it. So, I did. It’s called “Your Money Counts” by Howard Dayton. Howard helped start Crown Financial Ministries with Larry Burkett (Lyston was in on that, also, that’s why he ‘sells’ this book so hard).

This book is a really practical and Biblical guide to earning, spending, saving, investing, giving, and getting out of debt. It’s easy to understand and apply, especially if you joined a Crown Bible study. We have always been pretty good with money. We have never made much as two full-time church workers, but we have never had any debt other than our mortgage. And we made tithing an uncompromised staple of our life early in our marriage. So, the book was actually pretty affirming of how we have led our financial lives up to this point. But it also challenged me in some areas. How do we continue to live with absolute honesty in our finances? How do we save and invest now that we are TOTALLY reliant on the generosity of others as missionaries? And how do we teach principles like this that are geared to people making normal American money in a context that is so different here in South Africa? (Obviously, Biblical principles are the same everywhere, but there is a difference when people here are worried about getting food on the table and our friends at home are wondering if it’s time to upgrade their ipod.)
So, I’m thankful that Lyston made me read this. It’s encouraged and affirmed me, but also given me ideas for our new lives here. I even know whom I’m giving this book to next!
Overall Grade: B+


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life of Kieren

Hello friends and family!

Thought I would share a quick Kieren update! Kiers is doing great these days - she is 'growing by the day' as her Granny Jacoba tells us all the time. She is very healthy and up to date on all her immunizations. Granny INSISTS on taking her to the free clinic here in Ocean View to get her shots and takes her and waits about two hours for the nurse to see her there. The report is always good though; Jacoba says Kieren loves playing with all the other waiting babies and the women all talk about the pretty white baby with beautiful clothes. We did take Kieren to a private doctor (the same one I see) last week just to get her checked out and make sure all the shots are indeed up to date - which they were! Casey and I take turns on worrying about her still gigantic belly and so we also checked that out and everything there is also fine. Kieren is on a monthly de-worming regimen because they think she might have had a bad infestation, but all seems well. Kieren is a good eater, although a bit picky, and has a mix of healthy foods. However, daily she will open our food cupboard and pull out chips, crackers, candy, or cookies and bring them to us to share. We try to limit these foods - but we also can't help ourselves!

Kieren is walking fast these days and even prefers to walk mostly rather than be carried around. Truly a 'toddler' these days. She continues to work on her soccer ball kick, and it's even a running kick now. Her love of the game only is a problem when she toddles onto the soccer field where the boys are playing. She loves her 'boys' still and even says a few of their names, mimicking us after we call out to them. But her favorite boy is her daddy, of course, and then our Ubuntu intern, Andy Chenlo. She is going to be SO SAD not to have him here with us when he goes back to the States! We are hearing more words daily, usually coming as she mimics what we say to her. She loves to babble and it seems she is very confident of what she is telling us even if we don't understand. This girl is going to have a lot to say!

The best thing about Kieren is her JOY and happiness that she spreads all over. Kieren loves to laugh and smile and does both all the time. She is very silly and fun and has a big personality - where does she get that?? We are loving this little person and can't wait to share her with many of you when we are back in the States in July and August. Get ready for a fun time!

Lots of love,

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Holiday Weekend!

Hello friends and family!

We are enjoying a beautiful day in Cape Town and celebrating 'Freedom Day.'

"Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections of 1994. Peace, unity, the preservation and the restoration of human dignity hallmarks Freedom Day celebrations on the 27th of April of each year."

It's unfortunately another day here that most people don't know the meaning of, the kids are all just happy to be getting out of school! Many people also had Monday off and took a long weekend. It's fall here and the weather has been perfect - 70 degrees and blue skies. We have been enjoying friends and have had some good times together as our family. It has been a great day to reflect, however, on the 'freedom' of South Africans and the fight that still lays ahead for true freedom. There is much work to do, and racial hatred and social inequalities still cover this land. God is at work here, but hate is also a powerful weapon in the hands of many. I pray and work with God's power to see his full dreams realized in this place and all peoples created equal. It is not an impossible dream.

"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
- Nelson Mandela

Lots of love,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lamenting the Realities…Celebrating the Possibilities

The schools here aren’t great. That’s the first reality. They are overcrowded, teachers are exhausted, they take exams too often, and the grading scale is suspect. It’s weird, the scale actually changes in different grades. In late primary school (grade 6-7) you get a 1-5 grade, 5 being the highest. In Grade 5 it’s 1-4. But it’s equally divided across the 100% spectrum. So, you get a 4 for 75-100% proficiency, a 3 for 50-74% proficiency, and so on. A 3 is actually considered pretty good. So, if I only know just over half the right answers I’m doing pretty well. Obviously this doesn’t show much learning. I think you only have to get 2’s to pass the grade.
Well, yesterday Kyle brought me his report card for 1st term. He got mostly 3’s and a couple of 2’s. So, he was decently pleased, but most of his 3’s were right at 50%, so he’s very close to them all being 2’s. I’m disappointed because Kyle is really bright. He communicates well, especially compared to his peers, so I figured he would do decent in school. Yesterday he asked me to help me with his homework. I have NEVER actually heard him say he has homework. I ask the kids all the time if they have done their homework and they ALWAYS say that they don’t get homework. I think in high school they start getting real homework.
So, he brought over a little worksheet that was practicing capital letters, commas, and full stops (that’s what they call a period). He had to rewrite some sentences with the correct punctuation. I would have him read out the sentence first and I realized that he was really struggling with the reading. He’s in grade 5 now and it seemed like stuff he should be able to handle. The scary part was that he had no real concept of how to sound out the word or break it into manageable parts. We did about half the sheet and then he stopped to eat some dinner with Kieren because he was going to ‘babysit’ her while I went to practice and Sarah had a meeting at the house. (He basically keeps her entertained so that Sarah can focus, and he gets a few rand in his bank.) There he was sitting at the table and he looks at me and says, “Can I ask you a question?” Of course I’m like sure, but very interested in what was about to come. He asked, “Can you help me with my reading?” It was such a sweet moment. It was so humble of him to ask for help with something. I don’t really know how to teach reading (maybe Woo can give me tips since he was my STAR reading teacher at East Millbrook when I was in 6th grade), but I think he really just needs somebody to practice with him. So, another door has opened to implant something really important in him. More important than an opportunity to play with a soccer ball (though I hate to admit it!). Most kids around here ask to play our XBOX, for some food, or to play with the ball; but Kyle is starting to ask for something else really important.
We’ve been sad recently because Kyle’s mom said he can’t go to church with us anymore. They go to the New Apostolic Church, which I’m learning can be a bit of a ‘cult’. The evangelical churches here seem to be disconnected from it. I need to learn more about it. But with him continuing to open the door for us implant these other truths I’m not worried about that. Please pray that we’ll get this time to help with reading and to study the Bible.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Such a sweet moment.

Last week we got this note from Reagan, one of the boys we spend a lot of time with. The funny thing was that he didn't give it to us. Apparently, he had written it in his school notebook, but was too embarrassed or shy to give it to us. Well, his sister, Meagan (it's okay to laugh), knew about it, stole it out of his notebook and gave it to us! It was so sweet!!

Here is basically what he is trying to say, despite the spelling and grammar:
Sarah, I just want to thank you for all that you do for us and I just want to say thank you that you teach me how to be careful that I don't need to fight with kids that are smaller than me and I hope God will will help me to show you how good I can do. I hope I will let you see me everyday in church and in Sunday School. And I just want to tell Casey thank you that he encourages me to go to Teen Club (at Living Hope).
To Sarah and Casey
(and the picture at the bottom is supposed to be me!)

Isn't that amazing that he just wrote that all on his own!?! I love it!



Kieren is teething these days, working on four new teeth about to pop through. This is her new 'teething' face - not sure how it helps but she likes it and so do we!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Link to Sarah's sermon from weekend

Busy God

Seriously, our God has been very busy. I am so thankful for Casey writing up our Monday blog to update on the weekend because there is so much happening it's hard to even keep up with it all! I was talking to someone today about our past week and she remarked that we have been very busy but I still sound very excited about it all - and I am! There have been so many amazing things to happen in the past week and I feel deeply grateful to God for the ways His blessings are falling into our lives.

Saturday was an amazing day and the rally was nothing short of INCREDIBLE. God just showed up in so many ways! The women were excited to be there, the music was exciting and fun, and women were touched by the power of God. My friend from Hillsong Church, Chantel Norman, who is one of the pastors, spoke and shared her testimony. She is a Mexican-American and grew up in East LA (near where my mom grew up!) and has an intense testimony of pain and abuse. But God took her out of that situation, helped her to forgive those who hurt her, and helped build up a beautiful life. She really connected to the women and they loved her! She also invited them to come to a Hillsong Women's event in early May, and they have reserved and PAID for a bus to take 60 of us there. It's going to be such a fun event!! Hillsong just continues to be deeply encouraging to us both, and I am really enjoying the friendships that are growing there. They are so positive and uplifting!

Sunday morning I preached at Ocean View Methodist and really felt like I connected even more with the congregation. It was my best sermon so far for this community. It's been such a learning process preaching to a community that I honestly don't understand so often, and God is helping me to understand and minister to them. Afterwards we went to Hillsong Church in the city of Cape Town for a service in the morning AND the evening. It was a bit out of control, but a guest preacher was visiting from Hillsong Sydney named Robert Ferguson. Both services were incredible and God spoke to us in great ways. We feel so built up by that place and always have a blast!

This week is already passing by quickly as we are both busy with ministry, training, contacting people about future events and ministry, and hanging out with Kiers and one another. Lots of great stuff happening.

Thanks for all the support and love!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pictures of our Amazing Weekend in the View

The gang headed to the Ocean View Carnival!

Sarah and Danielle

Kieren getting excited for an outing with her 'boys'!

Saturday, April 17th, the second Ocean View Women's Rally
Our band, Joyous Worship Crew, leading us in singing and dancing (and jumping!)

Women singing and enjoying the rally

Our speaker for the rally, Chantel Norman. She and her husband are the associate pastors at Hillsong Cape Town and she leads the incredible music ministry there. This girl is amazing!

Chantel praying with a woman, Nicholene, who is new in our support group and just shared her story last night!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Weekend Update

I know that Sarah will post a very eloquent update of our weekend later today (as she always does), but I thought I would give you some of my thoughts, in case she leaves me out! :)
I'll start by saying that you can get an update on Ubuntu happenings at the blog there, so I won't repeat it all here.
I really want to start with Thursday. Had a great meeting with my pastor's fraternal (love those guys) and another successful meeting at a school (we are now up to 7 schools signed up to partner with Ubuntu). But then I went to soccer practice in the evening. Things at Fish Hoek soccer club are a bit frustrating right now. I'm being "punished" a bit for the fact that we're coming home this summer, so they are sticking me on the 3rd team, which is mostly made up of white guys (not a good thing here!) who haven't really ever played much soccer. That's obviously not what I had in mind! Then, to jump ahead to Saturday, I thought our game was at 2pm at home, which is what was said. So I turned up there ready to, at least, play in the field. Turns out that only the 1st and 2nd teams were playing at home. The 3rd team was supposed to play in Bellville (an hour away). So I decided not to go because I REALLY wanted to be at Sarah's women's rally. So, all this is to request your prayers there. I'm frustrated and really resisting the temptations to both give up and be super prideful. Pray that my attitude would honor Christ both in its humility and its strength.
Back to the week. Our Friday was pretty typical, but that night we went to the Ocean View High School Carnival. It's like a weak version of Selma Town Fair (just picked a random small town), but a big deal here in The View. Kids kept asking us all week if we were going. We ended up buying some tickets before hand and spent them on Danielle's kids Joshua & Natalie (who we love) and our boys Kyle & Reagan. There were special parts, including me eating two mielies (corn cobs) and a boerwors roll, but one you have to know about. We recently got a piggy bank for Kyle. He had us keep his money one night b/c he was scared somebody at home would take it. We decided to get him his own 'piggy bank' where he can keep his money at our house. We also occasionally give him some money for chores around the house like cleaning up trash, babysitting Kieren, stuff like that. It's giving us a great opportunity to teach him about being smart with his money, saving, and generosity. So, his granny gave him money for the fair, but Reagan didn't have any. So, since we were paying for their ride tickets we got Kyle to pay for Reagan to get into the fair. It was a great chance to talk to him about generosity. Later in the evening Kyle bought Reagan food with some more of this money!! And NOBODY suggested it! It was beautiful!! We had a fun time at the carnival, but that was definitely the highlight.
Saturday was such a busy day. We had our first Ubuntu coaches training which you can read about on the blog there. Please do have a look.
After my soccer game situation, the day got a lot better when I went to Sarah's rally. I know she will tell you about so much more, but I'm just so proud of her. It's amazing to see how much God is using her! They had another great crowd and God really moved. MY WIFE IS A ROCK STAR!!
Sunday was another fantastic day. Sarah preached her BEST sermon in Africa! It really was inspired! Again so proud of her. I hope she will post the notes here. Immediately after we went to our first morning service at Hillsong, which was great. But the best part was that we took Kyle, Reagan, and Kaka. They had already been to Sunday School at our church, but were excited to go along. At the end of the message, during the invitation, they each raised their hands for wanting to have God in their lives! (Our eyes were closed, but I was peeking!) The church usually has people walk forward, but didn't this week, so I didn't get to see their response. A host was supposed to bring a Bible to people who raised their hands, but nobody brought them one. But I just asked them why they raised their hands and what they were thinking. They all said that they wanted God to be in their lives, they love him, and want to live for Him. As we talked, I found that they had each asked him into their hearts before, but this was a big moment for me. We tracked down the folks with the Bibles and got them one. The best part of this is that it opens up the door for me now with them. They have been responding to Sarah and I tremendously, but now I feel like the time is ripe for us to really push them. I'm feeling like I want to start a Bible study with them every week to start teaching them what the Word says. No frills & fun, just us sitting and reading the Bible together. I'm excited about that and actually have a vision for the day when they have brought so many of their friends that we have to meet out on the lawn!
Seriously the day gets better. Met with a pastor in the afternoon from a church in Capricorn that I'm hoping will fill our need at Christian David Primary. Then, we went back to Hillsong for the evening service! I know, 3 services in one day! We are spiritual giants!! :) It was another great service, where God showed up and did some powerful things in people's lives. You should have seen the throngs of people running to the front to receive Christ. It was amazing, because it wasn't even an evangelistic message, but God was there and people couldn't help themselves! I know Sarah will talk much more about this, but wanted to give my thoughts.
Afterwards we discovered a new fun restaurant where I ate too much (with Andy and Jenks) and then had some good prayer time with Jenks back at the house.
SO IT WAS AN AMAZING AND FULL WEEKEND!! I'm in awe of all that God is doing and love being a part of it. I especially love seeing Sarah being unleashed on this community. IT WILL BE DIFFERENT!!
I know this ended up being really long, but it helped me process many of the things I was thinking. So, thanks for listening! Pray for us, please, and make sure you are sending your prayer requests our way!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Love these Methodists...

Thursday night was an incredible time and I can't let this full and wonderful week pass without sharing about it. Hillsong Church has a quarterly 'Leadership Vision Night' and our friend Jenks and I went last time (even though we aren't leaders - shhh!). They open it up to anyone and we thought it would be fun. It was very inspiring and challenging and got me all excited about working with the leaders at Ocean View Methodist - which was one of the goals Kyle and I had set for my ministry at the church. So, this week another 'LVN' came along and I decided to invite a couple of the women leaders in the church to join me. Next thing I know we are taking a caravan of two cars and nine people an hour away to this Hillsong event! They were tired from a busy week, skeptical of what the white lady was dragging them into, and not even sure about this Hillsong stuff, but I was seriously PUMPED about having them along. I have been talking more and more with the leadership at Hillsong and so couldn't wait to introduce my View people. We got there early and enjoyed tea while meeting new people and talking to some of the pastors. I finally got to have a great conversation with Lucinda Dooley, who is the head pastor's wife, and also preaches and does a lot of women's ministry at Hillsong. She was so fun and encouraging and really wants to get Ocean View women to the next Hillsong women's event - fun! Then came the actual Leadership event - full of music, excitement, leader awards, church updates on the inner 'happenings,' and GREAT teaching from a visiting pastor, Robert Fergeson, from Hillsong Sydney. The skepticism of the Ocean View crowd quickly disseminated and I could FEEL their excitement and God really working in them. We had such a fun night and all felt like God challenged and encouraged us in our leadership roles at the Methodist church. We ended the night with a McDonald's stop for ice cream and were all like little kids with our excitement.

I just feel deeply, deeply grateful for the ministry Hillsong Church is doing, how they continue to build me up, and now how they are welcoming these Ocean View leaders and want to encourage and build up the ministry happening in the View. The support feels great and I was so proud to have my OV peeps there with me. Once again I am SURE that God is moving here in Ocean View and I am in awe of what He is doing. It's so fun!

Hillsong Church Cape Town website:

Lots of love,

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Hey friends! Just wanted to share some pictures from our fun get-away to Mosaic Farm in Stanford here in South Africa. It was a gorgeous place away, beautiful sounds and LACK there of, great camp for some excited kids, and wonderful new friends! We are so thankful!

Lots of love,

Kieren hanging out at the Mosaic Lodge 'Spokhaus' or 'Spook House'

The view at the Lodge

"Mommy, I have worms and they are BUSY in my tummy!"

Casey and Sarah at the Lodge

Kieren with our new friend Vivan at the Stanford camp

Images of camp

Last night with our NYC and LA friends in Cape Town. We love these crazies!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

New Favorite

OMG my BFF Kerry Mandulak sent me this blog: - and this lady is my NEW FAVORITE. She is hilarious (to me... and Kerry). I was laughing so hard out loud reading it last night and Casey was like WHAT are you doing?? But I didn't have him read it because not sure if he would have found it funny, you know? So if you like my humor, or laughing AT me, check it out :)


Great Scripture

This scripture came to my heart on Monday night during our women's group at my friend Danielle was sharing. I feel like God gave her and our group this incredible word so that we keep speaking up and sharing what He is doing!


Psalm 107

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
2 Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
Tell others he has redeemed you from your enemies.
3 For he has gathered the exiles from many lands,
from east and west,
from north and south.
4 Some wandered in the wilderness,
lost and homeless.
5 Hungry and thirsty,
they nearly died.
6 “Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and he rescued them from their distress.
7 He led them straight to safety,
to a city where they could live.
8 Let them praise the Lord for his great love
and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
9 For he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Time with Kelly

Today I got some great time with my buddy Kelly Kosky that we have wrote about on the blog. Kelly is the one that lost his leg in a cycling accident. I had the opportunity to take Kelly to his appointment to start getting his prosthetic leg. Today they started the measurement and casting process. It was very interesting to see how they do all of it. Hopefully by Friday he will get to try out the part around his stump. If all of that goes well then they will build the rest and he may walk out of there next week on a new leg. Amazing! Kelly is attacking this new challenge in life with vigor. He is determined to cycle again, and according to the doctor, it should be no problem. He may have one walking leg and one cycling leg! (Sounds crazy to say.)
The best part today was just having time with him. Learning from him. Hearing more about the ministry they are doing. We started dreaming today of days when Sarah and I would go to the Eastern Cape and do some ministry with their church plants, Bible School, and other folks there.
I'm thankful for a man that has been here for so long and can really speak truth and wisdom into my life. Please continue to pray for his process and recovery.



Just wanted to share a huge praise about what God is doing! Many of you have known that we are starting support groups for women in Ocean View and that has been a big focus of my time and prayers here. We started a couple groups in March and they have started slow with some people just getting to know one another. I think they have been small though because it's something pretty intimidating for people - to come together and share about their lives and hearts when gossip and backstabbing is something women really struggle with here. Well, my friend Danielle and I are leading a group on Monday nights and last night we hosted our third meeting and my little lounge was full of over 10 women! I asked Danielle to share her story, as we are going to take turns sharing our life stories and praying for one another - honestly a huge thing for these women. I was so deeply humbled by Danielle's story because she has a dark and painful past and was confident about sharing all of it - because she knows who she is in Christ! It was truly a beautiful thing and the women responded to it with all their hearts. They were encouraging and saying they too had experienced the same things and were so proud of where she had come with God. Then we gathered around her and prayed for her - even breaking out into a song of praise at one point! It was a moment of beauty and grace for this incredible woman, Danielle, who loves God, has experienced a lot of pain, and even made her own mistakes. But she knows God is bigger than all of the and only He defines who she is. I was in awe of her, and more in awe of what God can do in our lives. I was reminded that when we share our stories, we aren't just telling about ourselves, but we see that hand of God at work in our lives, protecting us, moving us, directing us, and loving us. This morning, Jacoba and I decided that we are all going to meet together for the women's group instead of being broken into two nights because we don't want to miss out on anything and there is power in being together! I love this idea and am so excited!

Woo hoo! Great night and I am THANKFUL to be a part of what is happening with the women in Ocean View! They are amazing!

Lots of love

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday Update

Hello friends and family!

Hope you had a beautiful weekend - ours was wonderful! It was a slow and restful one which was welcomed by both of us. The weather was perfect - sunny and getting cooler. One fun thing about the weekend and the past week is the number of kids that have been hanging out - both inside and out! They have recently discovered our X-box and love to challenge Casey and each other with the 'FIFA' game. As it's been Easter break (two weeks off school) we have welcomed them in the house more to hang out. What is cool is that they are finally understanding if they behave, are kind and thankful, and not too loud we love them hanging out! On Sunday they were in the house watching a soccer game and we had to leave to go to church and we actually felt sad about kicking them out of the house - they were so cute all laying on the floor watching tv! Saturday night we had Shagmie and Lauren and Lauren's sister Samantha over for dinner and just caught up. Sunday we had church at the OV, the hanging with a local pastor in Simon's Town and his wife, Martain and Roxy. Fun! Relaxed in the afternoon with the OV boys and then Hillsong Church and dinner. We took my View friend Danielle (it SOUNDS like Denille, but I have been spelling it wrong!!) with us and she LOVED it! It was a special night and now we take that passion back to our spot. Great weekend and working on a very productive Monday. Lots for both of us to do and we are very excited!

Lots of love,

PS. Is it strange that our pastor friends Martain and Roxy felt the need to pray for us before they left our house in the View? Hahaha, just thought it was funny :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'd Encourage You...again

I stumbled upon another great article that would really help you understand our world here better. In October Cape Town is hosting the Lausanne Evangelism Conference. This only happens about every 10 years. This article was written in preparation for that. It's focused on the role of the church in reconciliation here in South Africa. It will help you understand a lot of the struggles this nation is experiencing. It's shorter than the last one I posted, but still very good. Check it out:

I'm just trying to make you guys smarter along with me!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

I'd Encourage You...

I'd really like to encourage you to read this article "The End of Suffering" by our 'friend' Chris Huertz. Chris runs an organization called Word Made Flesh and has really shaped our ideas on to serve amongst the poor by his writing, friendship, and example. He is even in Durham this weekend celebrating the tenure of a professor at the Divinity School.
The article is a bit lengthy so sit back and be ready to be encouraged and challenged. Here is the link:
And you can check out Word Made Flesh at


Fun Pictures

Kieren hanging while her two boys, Vano and Kyle, play X-box

Kieren showing us her favorite toy, her BALL

Our Easter breakfast with friends in Ocean View

Sarah and Kieren talking with our guests

Andy, Casey, and Kieren with our guest of honor, Jamie Kallis who is home in Ocean View on a break from her basic training in the military! She is BUFF now (not just preparing for military but will go on to medical school after this training!) Smart AND strong!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Is It Friday Already??

Hello friends and family!

We have been bad about blog updates this week - sorry! It has been busy as usual, but actually for me things have slowed down a bit and I have taken full advantage of it! I even went to the beach by myself for an hour yesterday on a beautiful and clear 80 degree fall day! As all our friends in North Carolina are lamenting about the yellow overtake of pollen, we are experiencing fall here in South Africa. It is getting chillier - which I do not like - summer is my FAVORITE time of the year. Some days though, it's cooler and beautiful and refreshing. Things are changing - as is life! This week we kicked off the women's support groups on Monday and Tuesday nights. I helped lead the Monday night group with my friend, Denille, from the Methodist church. In the first minutes of the group I was so quickly reminded how much I LOVE small groups! It was a great group of women, and in particular, one woman that I invited really warmed my heart. I have been counseling and working with a woman who lives near me named Maggie, and I went to her house Monday afternoon and during our visit invited her to the group. I was actually shocked when she showed up! She opened up to the women and shared about her separation with her husband and fight for getting her daughter back, who was taken away because of past neglect and drug abuse. She is really trying to get her life back on track and could really benefit from women coming around her. I visited again on Wednesday and sighed and say, "I really enjoyed the time with the group on Monday." Wow. Her face said more than her words even, and I could tell she felt accepted and love. This is what it is all about. Thursday night I held a women's ministry meeting with women from different churches in Ocean View, and we had a time of devotion, bible study, discussion, and prayer. It was very rich and is quickly becoming one of my favorite ministry places I serve. I LOVE THESE WOMEN!! Then we had a time of planning for our rapidly approaching second Women's Rally on Saturday, April 17th. It is going to be exciting! Please pray for me as we prepare and especially that God would draw women to this event. We are excited because a new friend of mine, one of the pastors from Hillsong Church, Chantel Norman, is coming to speak, tell her testimony of her own abuse and freedom, and sing for us (she leads the worship ministry at Hillsong). Wow. It's going to be awesome, I can feel it.

Today, Casey and I are at the gym, going for a lunch date, and then getting some work done out before we jump into the weekend. I love these days that are quiet and productive and lots of time with Casey!

Lots of love to everyone!

Raleigh Peeps...

Our Raleigh Peeps need to check this out. The World Vision AIDS Experience is coming to the Triangle. Go to this link to get the info:
This would show you so much about what HIV/AIDS is doing to communities like the one we live in and those we serve in.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Book Review by Sarah

"When the Darkness Will Not Lift" by John Piper

This was a book I randomly found at the local Christian bookstore here, and I went in search of something just like it and found the PERFECT book for me. As I have been here serving as a missionary, and particularly living in the community where I serve, I have had seasons of feeling down and a great weight upon me because of the things that I see around me. I have such a burden for the situations that I see and my heart feels like it is constantly breaking. I know that I am not these people's savior and that I just need to point them to my God, but I still wish I could do more and I hate seeing so much darkness around me. Even the title of this book called to me and John Piper is an author, speaker, and pastor that I greatly respect. This is a small book but very powerful and to the point. It gave me great clarity and understanding about my own darkness and those whom I love that also faces times of depression, sadness, or their own darkness. I felt like John Piper was my pastor who gently came and taught and encouraged me in something I really needed to learn about. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is experiencing darkness of their own, or loves someone who does. It will lead you to a light, THE Light, and give you a fresh hope.

Grade A+

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Pic of Kieren

Kieren enjoying her Easter friends!

Beautiful Holiday Weekend

Here is something interesting about South Africa. They evidently love the Easter holiday around here because they make it a four-day weekend. The kids are out of school for two weeks for 'Easter holiday' and everyone has off work on Good Friday (and the shops are ALL closed - even the grocery store!). Most people also have off today, which they call 'Easter Monday.' We have had endless kids this weekend tell us that Easter is really today, Monday, and they are ready to fight about it they are so sure. Hilarious.

We have had a wonderful weekend here. Friday we had a 'Good Friday' service at Ocean View Methodist in the morning and I helped with another church service at Simon's Town Methodist church in the afternoon. On Saturday we hung low and relaxed - I was in my pajamas until 4pm! Then we went to a friends house to watch some rugby and have pizza with a small group. Sunday was a wonderful day, as we woke up to celebrate Easter and all Jesus Christ has done for us with our church Ocean View Methodist. Afterwards we had a big breakfast here at our house with some kids and friends from Ocean View. Then we went to visit our dear friends Evan and Kerryn Torrance and their son Cameron and had lunch with them. Next we went into Cape Town and met up with our NYC friends who were a part of the soccer camp we worked at during the week, as they were hanging in town for their last night. Afterwards we went to Noordhoek to have Easter dinner with a big group of friends. One couple planned this huge competition with events like speed scrabble and rifle shooting (it was just an air gun... I think... but I was really good at it...). It was an incredible dinner and everyone left way overstuffed. Kieren was SUCH a champ with only two short naps all day and being dragged all over town! It was a very special day to celebrate all Jesus Christ has done for us, and the lovely people God has brought into our lives here.

We have both jumped into a busy week already (even though it's a holiday for everyone else around here!). We hope you had a blessed holiday weekend!

Lots of love!

Book Review: Outliers

I read "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell and have just been slow to write the book review.
This was such a fascinating read, especially as it relates to what we are doing here in South Africa. The subtitle of the book is, "The Story of Success." That's what it really is about, studying what makes people successful. What is so interesting is that success is a lot less about WHO people are and a lot more about WHERE they are from. He makes the most compelling arguments for the whole thing. The chapters that have meant the most to us are the ones about the 10,000 hour rule and the one on cultural legacies. I could bore you for hours on how I think cultural legacies, left from Apartheid, are affecting soccer in South Africa. I really do think there are massive links.
All in all, Gladwell writes a research book with tons of science in a very compelling way. I would REALLY encourage this one! I have continued to talk about it since I read it. Check it out!!
Overall Grade: A+


Great Easter Video

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday Devotional


“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God.

–Oswald Chambers

Casey and Kieren on our holiday in Hermanus

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Back in the Crazy View....

Whew! Is it time for another 'holiday' (what they call vacation) again? It's our first day back in Ocean View today, and honestly I really did miss this place! It's been a busy day here of catching up and seeing people. The day started with Jacoba taking Kieren to the clinic early to check her out and make sure that big belly was okay. All is good, the doctor recommended de-worming meds (which she was already taking) and then did some immunization shots. They said the reason for her irritability, 'runny' tummy, and pain and fever is 'teething.' Can I just take a moment to say something?? Here in Ocean View, there are always two reasons for any sickness. If a baby is sick they are always said to be 'teething' and if anyone else is sick it's because of the 'weather.' What?? So I have decided I must also be teething because my body was hurting today! So yeah. Anyways, Jacoba helped with a cranky Kieren while Casey worked and had meetings and I still rested and was feeling bad - I am hopeful that tomorrow I will be on the mend!! This afternoon the kids started to come around as they are on Easter holiday (for two weeks) and played soccer outside, hung with Kieren, and came in the house to watch a soccer game on the tv. This evening Casey went to soccer practice, Kieren went to the airport with our neighbors the Kallis family because their daughter Jamie is coming home from basic training tonight (Jamie LOVES Kieren and the feeling is mutual!). So I'm resting at home working on a few things and watching some silly tv. Honestly, I feel tired from the day - people stopping by and calling and checking in - but I feel so blessed to have this life full of some many people I love. Looking forward to a beautiful Easter weekend with friends!

Oh, and Kieren finishes her 'worm' medicine today, and I think it's working because her belly is getting SMALLER. I mean, it's not gone, don't worry, but there is a shrinkage happening. Of course I am happy for her, I mean I don't think she loved being a living worm farm, but still it was so cute! The nurse we saw this week about the medicine was talking to me, "yeah, when I first saw her I thought, wow that belly is big and the rest of her is so skinny. Well... she's not skinny or anything, but you know, not THAT big." Love it.

Lots of love,