New Year 2017

Here in Cape Town, we have entered the New Year with strict water restrictions due to the ongoing drought.  Our supply dams are at less than 30% capacity, which a very serious situation.  Please pray for rain.

It is all systems go for 2017 and the mission work I am involved in.  AFMIN has undergone some changes, which includes a name change.  Now known as EMIT based on the fragrance of the Lord that we emit.
Although I shall continue doing volunteer clerical work for my project leader, I possibly will not be travelling to East Africa as much as in the past, due to various restraints.  These include health issues and also financial challenges.  Not only do I need to provide my own travel expenses, but I also need to provide for myself on a day-to-day basis, both in the field and here at home.  Past support is greatly appreciated.  However, due to the economic situation in our country, sponsorships are not easy to obtain, and therefore I need to look at other forms of income. 

Recently, I was reading about Daniel  (in chapter 10).  Daniel had had a bad dream and was very perturbed by it.  For 21 days he fasted and prayed. Then the angel of the Lord came to him and said that the Prince of Persia  (an evil spirit) had delayed him….  I could relate to this as although I pray earnestly, I do not receive the answer I need.

Family news:
Baby Eva Rose joined our family in August last year.  I lovely little girl, who is very people conscious and smiles a lot.  She is all eyes for big brother Cullen.  I am blessed with these 2 little people in my life.

My daughter, Roelene is leaving the nest.  She has been offered a teaching post in the Far East and leaves in a few weeks.  This is quite an adventure and I send her with my blessing.  I am looking forward to following her adventure via photos and social media.
Thank you for your prayers and support.  May the Lord bless you all.

 

Preparing for Graduation

Suddenly, we find ourselves in the 2nd half of 2016.  But it is not time to start winding down to the end of the year.  Quite the opposite.  Here at AFMIN, we are busy with Schools in all the countries and the highlight of the year – the graduation ceremony.  Students who have successfully completed there 4 years of studies, covering 37 subjects and  trained up at least 10 other church leaders qualify for graduation.  It is a time of pomp and ceremony.  Family and friends gather and the students, dressed in their graduation attire, enter the auditorium.  Each graduate is presented with his diploma, together with certificates for the 10 people he/she has trained during the 4 years. 

With these ceremonies in mind, there is a vast amount of admin work required.  Through the 4 years, the students’ progress is individually monitored, checked and audited.  Correct spelling of names for diplomas and certificates is crucial.  Once this information is finalized, the information is sent to head office for checking and printing of diplomas and certificates.

I am directly involved in the monitoring of Students’ progress.  Data capturing and producing updated reports is essential, albeit time consuming.   Currently, we are preparing for 3 graduations in our geographic areas of ministry, namely Uganda (September), Namibia (October) and Kenya (November).

 

Winter 2016


In August 2016, our family welcomed Eva Rose..my beautiful granddaughter.  Birth is a miracle and we are honoured that the Lord has sent this little girl into our lives to bring joy.  Together with big brother Cullen, this is one proud Granny!!

Newsletter - Autumn 2016

What a start to 2016 !!….and to think we have reached April already.


In the 3rd week of January 2016, I had to undergo should surgery, on my dominant side.  The rotator cuff had a 100% tear and quite a bit of work was done on 2 bones in the joint.  I was not prepared for the levels of pain or the long-term recovery period.  After a few days, I was re-admitted into hospital because my blood sugar levels were too low and I was not coping with the pain.  Thankfully, I am on the mend.  I am able to drive my car again and have become more independent.  Physiotherapy is tough but necessary and I hope to have full use of my arm within 12 months.

Family news:
My daughter, Roelene has an on-going battle with health issues, due to  her thyroid having been removed 6 years ago.  At that time, she was treated for Thyroid Cancer.  Recently, she spent a week in hospital as further tests were done, as her body is not absorbing the replacement thyroid medication correctly, and was diagnose with Thyrotoxicosis.  She has also been tested for metal imbalances. The results have not been very good, with very high levels of mercury and other metals. A new course of medication has been added to detox her body and we have to research all foods to be sure that she is not consuming too many metals  (goodbye Sushi!)  Slowly, she is recovering and has been able to return to her teaching position.




My grandson, Cullen, will be turning 1 year old in April 2016.  He is Granny’s heart-throb and came into my life at the perfect time to fill the gap left by Peter.  Another blessing is that he will become a big brother later this year.

Ministry News:
The shoulder operation limited my typing abilities but at last I am managing to keep up with the clerical work that I do for AFMIN  (Africa Ministries Network).  In 2016, we will be holding graduations in the four countries where I am involved.  This means much updating of student data and reports.  I love this sort of clerical work which the Lord has allowed me to use in ministry.  As I am not a a pastor or evangelist, this is a wonderful way for me to be involved in service to the Lord and the people who do go out and win/nurture souls.  
 Many of the pastors and church leaders who are been trained by AFMIN, would otherwise not have the opportunity to gain this type of knowledge. 37 subjects are offered over a 4 year period.  Further to this, Students who graduate with an Advanced Diploma have the opportunity to register to do a Degree in Theology at the South African Theological Seminary (SATS).
Currently, I am involved in ministry in Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.  The year ahead:
There are 4 more AFMIN Schools (Conference weeks) during 2016,  which I am trusting the Lord that I can attend.  Due to the operation, I had not been able to travel but have now been given the go-ahead by the medical people. 
During the Schools, I am directly involved with interviewing each student so as to ensure that they remain up-to-date with their studies and other practical requirements, so as to aim for graduation.  Considering that 35 to 70 students attend each “School”, time is of the limit as we strive to give each person quality time, during their interview.  I continue with admin work at home which equals a full-time clerical position. 
This ministry is extremely fulfilling and has been very beneficial in my searching for purpose after losing Peter.  The Lord has a calling on each of our lives and it is up to us to seek His Will and then put ourselves into 100% service, no matter where He leads us.

Prayer Requests:
*For the Pastors and Ministers of the Churches in Africa.  Ephesian 4:11 – that the Lord will use them to build up His People and to supply their needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
*Afmin staff and volunteers and each one strives to fulfil the vision  (www.afmin.org)
*The safe arrival of Simon and Melanie’s baby in August 2016.
*For Roelene regarding her health issues.  For wisdom to be given to the medical people involved in her case, so that they can treat and advise her positively.
*For my health issues.  I am Type2 Diabetic and I have a constant battle as to whether it controls me or I successfully control it!  The diabetes affects my eyes, kidneys and often is responsible for low energy days.
*For my safety when traveling, protection on my belongings and that the Lord will supply my financial needs both for travelling and daily living.  As a volunteer, I am responsible for raising funds through sponsorship.

Please feel free to send any prayer requests through to me, so that I can support you in your endeavours and the situations that life present you.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter.  

Family Reunion

There is something very special about arranging a big reunion with cousins, who one has not seen for many, many years.  So many years in fact, that our children are now adults and parents themselves.  

75 people descended on my childhood hometown of Dundee in South Africa for a period of 5 days.  We hired the local junior school hostel as our base.  Many activities were planned, including visiting the local museum, a hike to bushmen’s paintings and a clime but the mountain on the family farm.

Besides keeping an eye on the cricket, we survived without TV, and spent much time out on the rugby field with a ball and also playing other games.  The children all got along famously without any squabbles.  The only tears I saw came from a 2 year old who was over-tired.  Previously unknown relatives made firm connections with cousins, which is bound to produce many contacts for the future.

I can encourage all families to consider holding a family reunion.  Weddings and funerals are not the appropriate places to enjoy the fun and laughter that a reunion provides.

Kenya my joy

There is something about Kenya that really touches my heart.  This may be due to the connection I have through family who have lived or been born there.   Or that the calling that the Lord placed in my life many years ago is still very alive in my spirit.  Whatever the reason, every time we fly into the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, I am aware that I am there for a reason.

My reaction was purely for 
the benefit of the children!
The Sunday after we arrived, saw us attending a church service at Revival Christian Church, in the outskirts of Nairobi.  What a blessed time we had there.  We were welcomed as guests of honour and treated as such.  Not been someone who enjoys attention on myself,  I am learning to enjoy the blessings church leaders and members wish to bestow on us.  During the service, I noticed a little girl of about 8 years of age, watching me shyly.  After the service she found the courage to approach me and touch my hair.   She called some friends closer and soon they were having much fun messing with my hair.  They were totally surprised when they counted FIVE colours in my hair... black, brown, yellow, white.... and grey!!

Alta and me working in 
extreme temperatures
We then flew to Mombasa where we were involved in the Afmin On10 School.  37 Students graduated at the end of the week.  It is wonderful to see these people succeed and complete the course begun 4 years previously.  Well done to all the graduates...

Mombasa is extremely hot in November and we had to cope with temperatures of 30°C and up to 97% humidity.  Bottled water was the order of the day and we also used up a few packets of hand wipes.

We returned to Nairobi where we were blessed to spend a few days of rest, at the AIM Guest house.  This is a wonderful place for missionaries to stay-over en-route to the mission field or on the way home.  One gets to meet other wonderful servants of the Lord and to hear their stories.  It is inspiring to hear how the Lord has called each one to the different types of ministries He requires of them.

Uganda

Lake Victoria at sunset
As the plane approached Entebbe International Airport, we flew low over Lake Victoria at sunset.
This is the first time I had had a clear view of the lake, due to cloud cover on my previous trip.
The scene was an amazing example of the creation of our Father.  I have never previously seen such a magnificent shade of orange in a sunset and I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty.

Uganda has an extra special place in my heart because it was the first East African country that I visited.  Although the weather was rather hot at times, every afternoon ends with an electrical storm which cools everything down.
Stella with Alta and Johan Cronje at Namirembe 
We stayed at Namirembe Guest house which is run by the Missionary Society of the Anglican Church of Uganda.   The accommodation was comfortable and homely  and we will definitely return.  A wonderful thing about staying at a missionary guest house, is the fact that one meets people from around the world.  It is encouraging to hear their stories and what they are doing in the county.  Many are blessed by our work amongst pastors and church leaders and once again I realised the important role that the Lord has called me to.


Our office in the lecture hall
The Afmin School was a great success.  The students are progressing well and 31 are preparing for graduation at the end of 2016.  I had the privilege of meeting one-on-one with each potential graduate, and getting to know them.  Their enthusiasm for their studies is very evident and each one is every appreciative of the knowledge they are gaining. 

Kenya

Since I was a child, something about Kenya gripped my heart and I have always wanted to go there.  So it was with great excitement that I boarded a bus in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzanian to travel to Mombasa, Kenya.  When we crossed the border at Horohoro, my heart was in my throat…well, that is how it felt.  We were required to walk across “no man’s land” and I did so on my own, as I just needed time alone to absorb the reality of where I was and why I was there.
Standing at a Boabab tree
The coast is very busy with many, many people.  I do not recall ever seen so many people in one place!  There is a vibe and sense of expectation which I have not experienced anywhere else. 
Afmin Office Kenya
The Afmin team in Kenya welcomed us with open arms.  We all immediately “clicked” and this resulted in us working very well together.  We set up office on the veranda outside the lecture room.  A breeze blew most of the week, which eased the humidity. 
Once again, it was wonderful to meet and interview the students.  This time, I dealt with those who are heading to graduation this year.  Their enthusiasm is wonderful.  These people serve the Lord under trying conditions and yet the love they have for the Lord is very evident.

I was asked to describe my impression of Kenya.  My reply was :  So many people. Huge task and responsibility for pastors / church.

Tanzania

Just when one thinks one has “seen it all”, God leads one into a new life experience.
Lecture time
Recently, I visited Tanzania as part of the Afmin Team attending the On10 Conferences in those two countries.
What a privilege to meet such wonderful people of God.  In Tanzania, I immediately felt like one of the family.  Everyone was so friendly and went out of their way to make sure I was been well taken care of.
Alta and I about to board
the bus to Morogoro
Our journey began in Dar-es-Salaam.  We traveled there on a Thursday, having previously made an appointment for the Friday.  However, this appointment was cancelled, so we had a couple of days to rest and fellowship as a Team.  We then traveled by bus for a journey of 5 hours over a distance of about 190kms to a town called Morogoro.  The scenery was magnificent and I just sat in the bus, next to the window, soaking in all I could see.  The roadside stalls provide families with provisions and stall owners with an income, not matter how small.  It is good to see people willing to do their best to support their families.  Everything is sold from mattresses, furniture, air-time and dried fish.  One thing that stood out to me, is how well these people take care of their appearance.  Their clothing is clean and although many live below the breadline, they do not allow themselves to look unkept.
Discussing admin procedures
with the Tanzanian secretary
Morogoro  is a very pretty education-based city, lying between 4 or 5 different mountains.  There is no time for sight seen, but our accommodation was on the 3rd floor so I was able to look out into the distance and see the beauty of the area. 

Meeting the Students was once again the highlight of my time in Tanzania.  What an honour to encourage them with their studies and to assist them with their progress.  The worship times were especially blessed  with magnificent voices raised to song to the Lord.

Bible Stories

Here is a question..... What does John 3 v 16 say?  Yes, that's right:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.

Good….  Now, can you quote verse 15?......... what about verse 17?

Have these questions caught you off your guard?    Yes, you are sure you know them but just can't remember them at this moment?  I was stymied.

Let's take this discussion a little further... besides Jesus, who are the 2 people spoken of in John 3?

When I was a child, my Mother taught me the stories of Bible heroes.  I have a large blue Bible Story book, which she encouraged me to read.  The knowledge gained was very useful when, in my teens, I participated in Bible quiz competitions with Youth for Christ.  However, as I reached adulthood, learning to quote Scriptures by chapter and verse became important.  This led to quoting the Word of God from knowledge, albeit not been able to remember the references.  A blessing indeed when one faces a situation and wants to declare Word over the problem.  My Bible became marked as I underlined, highlighted, made notes and dated verses of importance, which spoke to my soul.

Soon the story (content) of a passage of Scripture was forgotten. 

Why did Cain kill Abel?  How many times did Joshua and his army march around Jericho and then what happened?

My Mother was very particular about the content of a passage.  She said that if a verse began with the word WHEREFORE or THEREFORE, go and read the verses BEFORE and get the full story.

The first section of John chapter 3, is the story of Nicodemus, who came to Jesus in the night.  Jesus told him he must be born again.  Did you know that Nicodemus assisted in the burial of the body of Jesus after the crucifixion?

The second part of John chapter 3 find John the Baptist speaking to his disciples about Jesus. 

There is so much to be learnt from the stories in this chapter.


May I encourage you to start reading the stories of the Bible again?  Teach them to your children.  Consider the humanness of each character.  Put yourself in their shoes.  Learn from the lives of the Bible characters.  Make them your own.