‘Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28

Many of you have noted over the last couple of months that we are increasingly weary and heavy-laden. In fact, James has been signed off work for the foreseeable future with severe adrenal fatigue/burnout and Lucy’s sabbatical has not been as restorative as we had hoped either.

Praise the Lord that we have an opportunity to take time off work at Hope to rest and recuperate. Please pray for us as we really seek to recover our joy and energy in the Lord and his work. We know that this is God’s church and his kingdom work here at Hope Church and with the Gauteng Alliance and that his work not reliant on James in any way. We know we are not indispensable, but it is hard to stop and not feel like we are burdening others or leaving people in the lurch. Please pray that we would rest and recuperate as we seek to spend time with the Lord, rejoicing in all he has done and will do. Please pray we would know our identity firmly secure in Christ and not in our own feeble efforts.

Praise the Lord for the love and care we have experienced from the rest of the staff team, the council, and the congregation throughout this time and the opportunity to have time off. We are so grateful for them as they shoulder some of the burden of extra work, preaching, decisions, budgeting, etc without James. Please pray for them in all of this. Pray especially for the appointment of a new director of student ministry to take over from Simphiwe May as he takes some time out of ministry from September as well.

In general, the kids are doing well – they are doing well academically at school and are involved in things like the school choir and sports. Sam, Hannah and Sophie especially love netball, but Rachel prefers football (or soccer as it is known here) and plays as goalkeeper for the primary school girls team. They all seem very settled in South Africa. Practically it would be really useful if our permanent residence visas would come through soon as it would allow the kids to study at university here and even get jobs here in the future. Plus Lucy’s visa (temporary or permanent) would allow her to actually leave the country again for the first time in 4 years! So please do pray for this too.

Please do also give thanks for the Crosslinks gap year team (Harry, Tom and Sophie) who we have just said goodbye to. They have helped with the kids and youth work at Hope over the past five months and their energy and enthusiasm has been infectious. Plus our kids adored spending time with them! We are hoping for another successful gap year team January to June 2024 so do pray for the preparations for that even now. In a few weeks’ time, we will be hosting some other short-term ministry workers from the UK, so please do also pray for Sarah Akande (coming for six weeks) and Jack Dowdy (coming for 11 months) who will be joining the team at Hope Church.

With love,

James and Lucy

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