March 2019

Hello all, Ella here this time! These past two weeks have been slightly calmer than the last - but we have still had plenty to do! 

Last Saturday Iona and I visited Johannesburg Zoo - this is quite a feat as we’ve been saying that we’d visit the zoo for the past five weeks! It was lovely to be able to spend the day outside in the hot weather as although it is lovely weather here, we tend to spend most of our time inside in the office. We were quite shocked at the zoo itself as it was much more open than English zoos, feeling more like a park than a zoo. Unfortunately this Saturday was slightly less relaxing as it involved getting up at 7 in the morning! This was because we went to an “Old Boys” day at a nearby school - Parktown Boys - to experience South African school sport (two hockey matches and a rugby match) and we had to get there for 8:30. We we were invited to watch by one of the families at church. It felt extremely different to English sport matches as the whole school came to watch (especially the rugby), with the band playing throughout the match and the rest of the school singing along with chants. It was an amazing atmosphere and to my absolute shock I actually enjoyed watching the rugby! Though Iona is a keen rugby supporter and was explaining to me what was going on in the match and the six nations at the moment. In the evening Kylie (a friend from JBC) invited us to go to a place called Northcliffe Tower with her and Tshego (friend from church). Northcliffe Tower is a viewing point from which you can see across the whole of Johannesburg. From the photo (at top of page) you can really see why people call it the concrete jungle!

On Friday night there was an event called “Lyrics for politics” at church. It was a really fascinating event as there was five performances of the written word - songs, poems or raps - addressing the issue of politics, power and religion. There was a mixture of performances in different languages, which made some of the performances slightly hard to understand from Iona and I’s perspectives, however they were still moving even with the language barrier.

Since church had to be set up for lyrics and politics in the evening, Kids club and TGIF last week both had socials outside on the lawn area behind church. Both included an obstacle course of some sort, with it being slightly more complex for the older kids. It was very entertaining watching the kids picking up marbles out of an ice bucket with their feet, putting their hands in the ‘mystery box’ and having to guess what was inside each section (including raw egg and pasta, jelly and a tennis ball that some were convinced was a dead animal!) and complete the race parts of the course. However, it was slightly less entertaining when Lindo (one of the leaders) suggested it would be fun for the leaders to complete the course while the kids watched… it was especially interesting as the course was made for kids and so various sections were quite an issue to get under/around! 

Last Sunday Iona and I led a somewhat impromptu Sunday school as two teachers ended up dropping out so we were asked to teach the Grade R-3 by ourselves on the Saturday night! Needless to say it was quite a stressful hour or so while we figured out what we needed to teach them. Iona did the actual teaching while I did the introductory idea, game and craft. Considering everything we think it was quite a success as the children seemed to understand the message and the session went well on the whole! After church we went to a meeting led by Jane, the new women’s and care worker at Hope. It was a really lovely afternoon, we heard Jane’s own testimony which in itself was incredibly moving, along with hearing her vision for the woman and care work within the church. 

This Sunday we both had the opportunity to teach Sunday school again, though we had a bit more time to prepare! With Iona teaching the Grade R-3 and myself teaching grade 4 and 5. It was really interesting to teach the slightly older children this week as I have only previously assisted and taught the Grade R-3 group. Although the message was the same, the dynamic of the group as well as the conversations were a lot more different than I was expecting them to be despite the fact that the children were only one or two years older.

Intern workshops and JBC continue to be highlights of the week, with the topics getting more interesting and detailed. Next week it will be Iona’s turn to do the talk at the beginning of the session, we both can’t believe how quickly this has come around since it seems like yesterday that we had our first intern workshop!

One aspect of home life that would be helpful for your prayers is both Iona and I’s university applications. Both of us are now only waiting for one uni to reply and then we will have to make the decision on where we will be going next year. We would very much appreciate your prayers for wisdom and guidance in making that decision along with patience for our final university’s response.

How your prayers for us have been answered:

  • Our Visa applications are now at the Department of Home Affairs. Both Iona and I are feeling less anxious about the whole situation (though not very patient!).

Prayer Points:

  • Praise God that we continue to be safe and are having an amazing time.
  • Please continue to pray that the visa process would be resolved quickly.
  • Please pray for understanding and clarity for Iona whilst preparing and giving this talk.