January Update from South Africa
It's exactly one year since I left the UK- it's strange to think this time last year I was packing my bags and boarding a flight to South Africa!
We started working with the younger children this month! We are focusing on the children who are the siblings of the teenagers and young adults already connected to Hope Town. This way we can build into the whole family a knowledge and understanding of who Jesus is. Getting to know the children has been a lot of fun - they are so eager to learn and have a safe place to be themselves. We focused on Zaccheus last week and had a great time acting it out, and then drawing the story so the kids could then recount it to their family when they got home. The kids had some great insight: 'If God loves Zaccheus, He must love me too'. There was one funny moment when one of our staff asked who the story was about and one kid said very seriously 'A zebra!' The staff member looked at me baffled, and I realised that earlier we had played a game where we all picked an animal beginning with our name to help us learn names - Laurie the Lobster etc - and i'd done the same for Zaccheus to help them remember it 'like Zaccheus the Zebra'. I learned my lesson to not do that when explaning a story!
We have also been working hard at helping the local Ocean View interns, Carlo and Jesse, set up a t-shirt printing business. It will have two arms, to provide income for local people we work with such as Carlo and Jesse, and also to help sustain the work of Hope Town. I have been helping with the design aspect and we are looking at selling t-shirts in local surfing shops in Cape Town, as well as local markets & internationally through people that support the work. If you would like a t-shirt get in touch ;)
We have also had challenging times in the communtiy - shootings are a weekly occurence and people are very fearful. I was chatting to one of the girls from our Thursday night community, Lauren, one morning. When I asked her why she wasn't at school she said very casually that she had witnessed a shooting on the way to school and was worried that they would now target her as she was witness, so she left school early via different route in case they were waiting for her. She is 13 and this is the environment that she has grown up in and knows no difference from.
We have also had some difficult Thursday nights with the teengagers - they are the wildest group of people we work with and have little idea of how to treat people. It is the norm to put people down, be rude, be violent, or bully, and to teach them a new culture and way of treating people is a long process. But with God it is possible!
Please pray for rain - it is very urgent. We are expected to reach 'Day Zero' mid May, where the council will have to cut off the water supply as the resevoirs would have reached critical level. This is already having a big impact on businesses, schools, healthcare, etc. At the moment we are getting used to washing with baby wipes, preparing for sawdust toilets, and wearing dirty clothes! We have had some rain this last week which we are very thankul for, and with stricter usage Day Zero is being pushed back, so we are thanking God for small steps.
Thanks for getting off to a good start with the younger kids, prayer for us as we get to know them and share about Jesus with them.
For the continued work with teenagers, for us to have grace as a team for challenging situations and to respond well, especially for a girl called Tamaryn who is dealing with a lot of anger.
For focus for me as things are very busy at the moment.
There are potential opportunities for me to visit All Nations work in Jordan and/or Lebanon in April - information is a bit vague at the moment so prayer for having the right conversations to move this forward would be appreciated!
I send out short prayer updates every Monday via whatsapp broadcast - if you would like to receive just let me know or send me a message on whatsapp. If you don't have whatsapp let me know and I can pop them in an email!
A big thank you as always to those of you praying and supporting me in so many ways. As always i would love to hear your news and what i could be praying for you for!