September 2017

‘Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name over the earth’ - Psalm 8.

Considering the truth of this psalm, we are humbled that God would be interested in our lives at all. That the creating and sustaining God would be concerned about our family or the ministry we are involved in is astonishing! And yet he is and thus what an awesome privilege to serve him here in Heideveld, in this part of his earth. This psalm has been one that Likhona and Malachi have been learning at breakfast each morning – isn’t it good to remember the truths of scripture together each day?

This past term has been busy with Alun attending a conference for youth workers, a youth sleepover and youth rally, preaching through September and gearing up for the George mission and Crossword Youth Camp (see below). Whilst the wrench of leaving family in the UK is always hard when we return to South Africa, it was such a joy to be back home with our church family here and get stuck back into our bible studies / Sunday programmes.

This week we are preparing to leave for our annual George mission trip (3-8 October). Alun has been busy training the team from St. Thomas, who will in turn teach the bible to children. This year we are extending the opportunity by running a second club in the afternoons. This is a much larger club with about 200 children attending; we pray that our material based around the ‘Two ways to live’ evangelistic booklet will challenge the children to explore who Jesus is and why he came to earth. On the practical side of things, we are thrilled that our combi (minivan) has come through a major rebuild and looks fit and well to serve us (God-willing) for many more years. This trip is thoroughly cross cultural – do pray for both our church and our host church - for unity in the gospel. Our country remains deeply divided and we earnestly pray that God will use this trip for good.

Arise is gearing up for its annual adoption conferences – this year in Pretoria on 7 October and Cape Town on 14 October. At the conferences we will be celebrating 10 years since Arise was formally registered as a non-profit organisation. As I type this, I am reminded of many children and their families whose lives have been entwined with Arise over the years. Some have come to the knowledge of salvation, some have been rescued from abuse and neglect and some have found new families. Some have, with intervention, been able to remain in their families, some continue to experience devastating trauma and some have died. This is the reality of work in a community such as Heideveld – a complex canvas of brokenness, sin, violence, rescue and redemption. A particular encouragement to us personally is to see Tara, a young psychology graduate who attends St. Thomas and grew up through youth with Alun, taken onto the Arise staff as an intern initially for six months. This has been a hope and a prayer of ours for several years as we know Tara to be a hard worker with faith and compassion. Tara has already encountered much brokenness in the lives of the clients that come into the Arise Family Centre - she would appreciate your prayers! It is a real answer to prayer that financially Arise is on a better footing. Please continue to pray for the ongoing fundraising efforts that support this vital work.

When we were in the UK in June/July, we shared with many of you our plans to begin home-schooling Likhona. We have been aware of your prayers as the transition has been really positive and much more manageable than we had feared. We cannot recommend Sonlight as a curriculum highly enough – our boy who has always highly resisted reading is now reading and beginning to enjoy it! Sonlight has sparked great family conversations, such as why it was wrong for the ancient Incans to want to make other nations into Incans, and yet we are to go and make disciples. Or a question from Malachi as to why the psalmist thinks about ‘what your fingers have created’, when God created with his words? Mummy refers to Sonlight as her ‘second education’ as she is learning so much and re-reading some of the books in her own time because they are that good! It is wonderful to see the difference that changing the learning environment has made to Likhona – he loves the read-alouds and narrates back orally what he is reading with incredible accuracy. Having taken this term gently, we now want to enrol Likhona in a couple of home-school groups so that he can learn a wider variety of subjects and meet fellow home-schoolers. Pray for us as we decide which groups to pursue and for him to thrive in these new settings.

Ilana continues to grow at Grace Primary and has developed a real love for poetry and singing. She can be heard reciting a Tennyson poem to herself or singing loudly in the passageway. The school is a real testimony to God’s grace and an answer to many prayers. They are busy planning the last two classrooms that are needed as the school grows. Check out their website/facebook to see what they are up to. Malachi has discovered the joy of chapter books and is enjoying endless stories. His love for Lego continues unabated, with some reprieve to be ‘a scientist’ in the garden or do some electronics with Dad! Timothy is beginning to talk and despite being quite unwell with a bad cold for much of this last month, continues to thrive.

Thanks for your generosity to us – we are humbled every time we visit, by your commitment to us and the work we are involved in.

With every blessing,

Alun, Debbie, Likhona (12), Ilana (9), Malachi (5) and Timothy (18 months)

Help send our Youth to Cross Word Camp

Every year we try and take our whole youth group to the Cross Word Youth Camp. A week of fun, friendship and life-changing bible teaching, with youth groups from across Cape Town. This year Justin Mote from the UK and Solanga Mkiva from Port Elizabeth will be teaching us, and we will be enjoying a new campsite in the mountains just outside Cape Town. The cost of the week’s camp is too much for many of the families of our youth to pay. So we are inviting you to help send our youth on camp. £30 will cover a third of the fees for a young person. Last year we made a similar appeal and your generosity saw us send ten teens on camp, as well as run a second camp at Easter. If you would like to help us send our teens on camp this year, please send a cheque payable to Crosslinks (251 Lewisham Way, London SE4 1XF) along with a note specifying that it is for Crossword Camp sponsorship. Alternatively if you would like to donate by bacs then please send an email to contact@crosslinks.org for Crosslinks to arrange the donation.

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