I would like to begin by thanking you all for your prayers over the past month as I did a bit of traveling. If you remember from my last email I had the opportunity to go on a couple of mission trips this month, to Eden Park and East London… I'd like to take a moment to tell you about each of them.
Eden Park – I went with the youth group from my church and we met up with another youth group from a church in Sassolberg. We spent the week at a hospice that cares for terminally ill Aids victims and their children; the people involved in that ministry are amazing. Not only is it a hospice, but a sort of makeshift orphanage as well. Once a patient dies the hospice normally assumes responsibility for their children, unless there is a relative willing to take them in. There are currently four orphans that live at the hospice. The mission trip itself was great as well. We ran a 'Holiday Bible Club' (VBS) during the day for neighborhood kids and held open-air services each night with singing, dancing, drama and testimonies. I feel like we made a real impact on the community, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to go back to Eden Park on another mission someday.
East London – It was great to spend time with familiar faces from home! I knew about half of the group from FBC McKinney that went to East London and made quick friends with the other half. We spent our mornings in EL painting and serving in other areas at First City Baptist Church. First City has several amazing ministries they are involved in. There is a free daycare they run for underprivileged children who are too young to go to kindergarten, a hospice called the Dignity House where they care for people who are dying from Aids, and they run a job creation program for men and women in the area who are without work. We spent the afternoons in an elementary school. Part of the school's curriculum is 'Life Skills' and they allowed us to come in for the last hour of each day that week to teach the classes (7 in all). We shared different bible stories about intellectual, physical, social and physical health, and even presented the gospel to the kids!
The one day I had off between these trips I spent running in a 15km mountain race called The Harrismith. For those who wish to know, I actually finished the race! (I was surprised too.) My time was just over 2 hours, not as good as I'd like but I learned a lot about the course and hope to compete again next year.
It's good to be home, but just as things were getting back to normal I found out that I'm going to be leaving again. One of the J-Life team members who are working with the church we attend has to go home for a couple of weeks. That person happens to be the only one on the team with a driver's license… so I'm going to be staying in Vereeniging for a couple weeks working with the team so that their ministry will not be hampered by not being able to get around. BUT the good news is that the family I'm going to be staying with for those two weeks has satellite, which means I'll be able to watch the World Series!! So I've got that going for me… but I will have to wake up at 2am to catch the games.
I don't know what internet access will be like while I'm gone, but I'll definitely send another update out when I get home. Hope you are all doing well, and thank you again for your prayers and support!!