"Pure and undefiled religion before God is to visit strangers, orphans, and widows, in their struggles." James 1:27
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As I reflect on this past year I am truly amazed at the goodness of the Lord that has been shown to us who BELIEVE!
Provision to carry out the Lord’s vision everywhere my feet have tread! Though my home has been in South Africa the past 8 years, God has begun to enlarge my territory and take me into many nations. As I continued work in South Africa teaching English, running the After School Program, Church, and children’s home, God enlarged my territory even more! He brought volunteers and missionaries from around the world to accomplish His mission in the earth! So much has happened in so many countries this year, as the Lord has provided for the needs of those He puts before us. It was great to see fruit and transformation in areas I have visited over the years, and also to enter into new territories.
February was a month of seeing God’s hand stretching across the landscape of South Africa. Land was provided by a chief for a new Church in the mountainous region of Thabankhulu. I was able to visit the families of that village, give more than 20 kids school supplies, and provide food, clothes, and supplies to the Pastor and his family.
In March, I went to Zambia in Sub-Saharan Africa, to teach at a multi-Church gathering in Ndola, and met a lovely group of pastors truly "doers of the WORD" according to James 1:22. Many salvations and healings occurred during the conference. Pastors saw Church members rise up to new levels of FAITH, as people shared testimonies of physical healing and deliverance from witchcraft, the glory of God was revealed among us.
My heart was touched by one older Pastor and his wife, who are caring for over 80 orphans, feeding the poor through a community garden, and providing a two room school for orphans. As I looked around the barren classroom I knew God wanted the teachers and children to have supplies. I was thrilled to find a Muslim merchant selling school supplies eager to do business with me. God provided the funds just two days before I was scheduled to leave, and I was able to buy chalk, writing tablets, pens, pencils, books, and most importantly a large stock pile of food supplies to feed the kids!
In April the Lord took me and 7 German volunteers to Lesotho. After an amazing journey of driving more than 14 hours into the mountains, we arrived just before dark. A young man I have known from that village since 2005 came to greet me and explained he wanted to show me where the "new white people live". We walked to the next village over the mountain and into the valley and found a lovely South African family who arrived just 2 months earlier as missionaries to the area. We fellowshipped, prayed, and they shared the struggles they’ve encountered in starting a Church there. I encouraged them to build upon the musical gifting of the youth and embrace them through worship and prayer services.
In South Africa, Celia’s kids at the baby shelter are growing up into lovely toddlers and 4 kids are now school age! We now have many local ladies who are willing to take the children out for picnics and outings, so they get more individual attention. We praise God for His miracle of saving baby Charlotte’s life back in June when she almost died. Today she is a healthy and high functioning 2 year old! My first boy to arrive in 2005 at the Makhulong Children’s home near Pretoria, graduated high school, and started his own little shop this year!
The After School Program will be run by Michael Lancaster and missionaries from Goshen International in 2012, Praise the Lord! We now have more than 85 children attending the program daily. They enjoy activities, classes, play and receive their evening meal. Our new volunteers are assisting with more academic focused activities to help kids with math, English, and homework. Good news, we have been given permission to use the space next door! We hope to repair the old tin leaking roof and rotten wood floors next door on two classrooms that we want to use in the future. Estimated building cost for concrete slab, refurbishing interior, new roof and electricity will be about $5,800. Currently we only have one big class, which is the Church, and a small train container which is now our Learning Center.