13 December 2008

The Lynch Clan....

Well, Don and I officially have no more “school” children. Our boys are all grown up! Matthew officially matriced from school in October, and finished his matric exams in November. We are very proud of him.

At his valedictory service, he was awarded the “Leon Schauder Memorial Prize.” This is quite a prestigious award given for “character, scholastic ability, tolerance, leadership of a non-aggressive type – a boy likely to serve the community without thought of personal gain.”

Drew is almost “21!” He is halfway through his sophomore year at North Carolina State University and continues to make us proud. He will be arriving for Christmas on Tuesday after 3 days of travel. He will be tired and we will be worried until he lands, so please pray for his safe and uneventful flights! Then, only 2 short weeks later, he will be returning. Please, pray for those trips also.

The question that you may be asking is “What about Matthew?” Matthew has applied to several universities, has been accepted to one and is awaiting responses from the others. Pray with us as he chooses the university he will attend. Pray that the Lord will guide him in making this very important decision. We will keep you updated on this.

The three of us will be returning to the States in May of 2009. Don and I will remain until the end of December before returning. Please be in prayer for us, as we face this huge change. Not only is it an “empty nest,” but it’s an empty nest on the other side of the world!

A Refreshing Time!

Recently, we were fortunate to lead and participate in a Prayer Retreat. We held it in October at a camp near Hermanus in the Western Cape. As missionaries from the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Namibia and even a few from Johannesburg gathered for a time of prayer, all were blessed. The power is all solar energy, so we “suffered” with no hairdryers, curling irons, etc.. The food was simple but filling… But most of all, we had a quiet, spirit-filled time with the Lord. One of our prayer times was held on the sand dunes facing the ocean. Yes, it was a little cool, and we had a good hike to get there, but on top of those dunes, we were able to focus on God’s power and what a wonderful creation He has made. (Picture #1: some of our missionaries, Picture #2: Missionary Kids at the beach)
We had times of individual, group, team and cluster prayer. As we prayed for our home country, the USA, and for our temporary countries, South Africa and Namibia; we were able to remember who we were and what a mighty God we serve. What a privilege it is to be here! The simple truth is that we couldn't be here without your gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Those gifts are the means by which we devote ourselves to full-time ministry, providing us with a place to call home, food, medical care - even schooling for our children. It is both a humbling and exhilarating experience to live life dependent on the faithfulness and generosity of Southern Baptists. Thank you! Please know that many people around the world are truly celebrating Christmas for the first time this year because of your sacrifice for God's Kingdom.

So, What’s Been Happening…

Much has been happening since we last had an update, and we will probably forget to tell some of it. Here are a few highlights,

3 Bible Studies started in Barcelona Township, 2 are still going strong and 1 is struggling. 1 is a Ladies Bible Study and 1 is a Youth Bible Study being led by a missionary on our team, Cathy Burleson. The one that meets with couples and families is struggling. As we have known before, men are the hardest to commit and to attend. We are not sure if the location or the time we hold it is a problem. Please continue to pray that the Lord will direct us on how He would like for the Bible Study to move forward.

Speaking of Barcelona Township, how about a fish story:

Do you remember when Jesus told Peter and the others to cast the net out and it was so full they could not pull it in? Pictures come to mind of fish jumping in the nets wanting to be caught (Luke 5). Praise the Lord for just such an experience recently. In Barcelona, many people have accepted the Lord as their Savior. Recently, Pam and Jerry (Don’s assistant) were looking for Phillip’s house (a new believer) to tell him of the Bible study that would be starting. As we walked down the rocky, dirt street a lady came and asked why we wanted to find Phillip. We explained that a Bible study was starting and we wanted to invite him. The lady, Chanelle, immediately said with fervency, "I need Jesus, tell me how I can have him." Chanelle turned out to be the half-sister of Phillip, who had shared with her. As she told us about "what a bad person she was," she kept insisting that she was serious and that we must tell her what to do. However, we wanted to be sure she understood. She continued to insist and it soon became very apparent that she did. She willingly prayed and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior in the middle of the street. Yes, the fish jumped in the net! Praise the Lord! Continue to pray for good fishing as He directs!

Finally, as this is the Christmas season, please remember the people in Port Elizabeth who are less fortunate. Remember them not only because of their misfortune and living conditions, but also because of their spiritual starvation. Please pray that this year will be the time when many will seek and find the light that has come into the world. Pray that they will hear the Gospel message and accept Jesus as their Lord, Savior and Counselor!

29 August 2008

Whew! It's finally updated and online!

Rejoice with us! A heartfelt need has been realized! Since Don took over as SF (Strategy Facilitator) and Pam took over as Cluster Prayer Advocate, we have had a goal of completely renovating the "Forgotten Peoples" website to make it updateable and useable. We decided what information needed to be conveyed on the site and by the time our summer volunteer Wes arrived (see earlier blog), we allowed Wes to use his creative gifts and younger set of eyes & perception to help us bring it to final form. Please check out the site at www.forgottenpeoples.info (see column called "other interesting places to visit" on our blog)! Our prayer is that this site will inform and encourage people to pray for these forgotten peoples and for future workers among them.

Ramadan Begins

When you think of Central, Eastern and Southern Africa you may think of tribal people, with bright colored clothes or wraps, wearing beads, singing with drums and shakers. But in the CESA region the increasing number of mosques and the influence of the Muslim faith impact most people groups. On September 1, with the sighting of the new moon, a time of fasting begins called “Ramadan”. This month of fasting, one of the five Pillars of the Islamic faith, is a result of obedience and causes Muslims to remember the qualities of Allah. Because of the spiritual dimension to fasting, many Muslims study the Koran and visits increase to mosques during Ramadan. We would like to challenge you to pray for Muslims during this month by using this CESA specific prayer guide. Pray that many will hear and entrust their lives to Jesus. If you would like to see the "CESA Ramadan Prayer Calendar," please click on the following link:
Thanks for being in prayer with us!

08 August 2008

Family Happenings!!

Wow! The month since the last family update has flown. On June 25th, we welcomed our youngest niece into the world. Hailey Murphy Lynch joined her mom and dad (Trish & Danny) and her big sister, Hannah. We can’t wait until we get to see her in person in about 9 months!

On July 3rd, Drew left and began summer school. His last day of class is today and his exam is on Monday. Yes, that was a quick class! He has also been busy working on the NCSU rugby schedule for the fall semester as well as recruiting new players during freshmen orientations.

On the 16th, Don & I celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary. It is really hard for us to believe that we have been married that long, but we praise the Lord for his love, protection and guidance in our marriage. We were able to spend a few hours in Jeffreys Bay that day watching the Billabong Pro Surfing Competition. It was really exciting and we were able to see the World Champion (and eventual winner), Kelly Slater from the USA, in action. He was impressive to watch.

Other exciting news, Matthew finished 3rd in the country in the Bio-Science Olympiad. This is a nationwide competition between Grade 11 and 12 students. There were around 120 high schools competing and several thousand students. The test was long and Matthew said is was “quite challenging.” We are very proud of him. Finally, last night was Matthew’s “matric dinner.” This is the formal event of the year for Grey High School. Since it is an all-boys’ school, they don’t have a prom but have a formal dinner. The guys rent tuxes and have a great evening. I think it is finally sinking in for him, and for us, that he is almost finished with his “school-boys career.” We will not dwell on that aspect right now.

Thank you for keeping us all in your prayers!

Lord, help Thine servants to multi-task with you!!

Do you find it hard to do more than one thing at a time? I do!! It has been a challenge to try to keep up with all the Lord is doing around us (just the part that we know about). The Lord has given us many opportunities to serve him these past few weeks. Praise the Lord for 15 new believers in Barcelona. I also thank him for sending Wes our way to help us create 5 new people group websites. Can I hear an amen in the house? Pam and I are currently creating a new Forgotten Peoples website through GoDaddy.com and will transfer the domain name and scrap the old site soon. We will keep you posted.

Wes, Jerry Reid and myself (Don) traveled to the Garden Route cities of Knynsa, George, and Mossel Bay. Tourists from around the world travel here to see the breath-taking, scenic beauty of the land and ocean, whales, elephants, birds, and much, much more. The picture at the top of our blogsite is from Dolphins Point at the Kaaimans River Mountain Pass. We did not go there as tourists. We came to pray, explore and survey how best to reach this area with the help of a very few small, scattered Baptist churches in an area of exponential growth. Please pray that we will follow the Lord’s leading as to where we should place new mission personnel and with what people group(s). Who knows, maybe the Lord will show you that you are the one we have been praying and longing for to come join us.

Lastly, isn’t it great to see prayers answered? Two years ago at our annual meeting near George, a group of 40 or so of us prayed and did evangelism one day with Pastor Peter and his small, struggling, township church. His wife died 2 months prior and he was considering throwing in the towel. The work was hard and the results were meager. We also prayed over the ground where he hoped beyond hope to build a church. Praise the Lord, his church now averages over 100 and they have a beautiful, church building with no debt. Other churches pitched in to help them build it. Not only that, but he is now engaged. God is so good!!

18 July 2008

The Crimson Tide Rolls into South Africa!

On 6 July, Big Al the elephant in the person of Wes Tate arrived in South Africa. Wes is a 21 year-old Public Relations/Graphics Design student from the University of Alabama who has come as a one-month volunteer to help in the Southwest Area Cluster office. He has been a huge help in just two weeks. He is helping us set up 8 websites for our unreached and unengaged people groups. We are changing the Forgotten Peoples website to bring it up to date to get more people praying and possibly encouraging mission trips by some of you to visit these people who desperately need the Lord. He is also assisting us in the Barcelona where 7 people prayed to receive the Lord as their savior on Thursday. We are setting up a new Bible study and working with two converts to go out with us to share the Gospel. The Lord made it possible and he deserves ALL the credit and glory and praise.

It hasn’t been all hard work!! Wes has held and played with lion cubs, spent 15 minutes petting and stroking a 5 year old Cheetah named Duma, seen adult lions, rhinos, giraffes, warthogs, and many other types of animals. He also saw a few hours of the Billabong Pro Surfing Competition in Jeffery’s Bay and the breath-taking Indian Ocean several times.

Wes has been a joy and a wonderful help. Sadly he leaves on 3 August. Pray for him and his return to the States and pray as to whether the Lord may be calling you to help short term or long term. Thanks for praying for us.

29 June 2008

Little Pieces that form the Big Puzzle!

It amazes me that God in his overall plan works through us as if we were little pieces of a puzzle that he uses to fit together to finish the giant picture puzzle of His kingdom work. Occasionally, he allows us to see multiple pieces fit together that form this huge puzzle. This past week on a trip to East London (a city of 1 million located 3-4 hours north of Port Elizabeth), Don and one of his team leaders, Bob Morris, were thrilled to see a portion of the puzzle fitting together. In October, Roxie Shore and Deb Russell will come to serve among the Xhosa youth and young adults in East London. They will be the only 2 missionaries in this city. Don and Bob met with 2 local pastors in East London, who are being led by God to start or expand ministry works through their churches. Both of them feel that Roxie and Deb can be a vital part in this work. Pastor Vuyo’s church in the Cambridge Township (pictured above) has a preschool and an AIDS care ministry. They desire to reach youth with the Gospel as well as helping in practical ways. The church received money and bought some computers and will begin teaching computer skills in the township to help people in getting a job. They also desire to reach high school youth and young adults. Pastor John heads a more affluent Baptist church in the middle of the city, but they desire to reach the Xhosa people that now predominately make up the community around the church with the Gospel. They have an AIDS clinic, a daycare, and are opening an AIDS hospice. They will be starting a Xhosa-speaking service soon after the ladies arrive. It is not mere coincidence that the pieces seem to be coming together, just as the girls arrive. Join us as we praise the Lord for His work!
Pastor John, Bob Morris, Pastor Vuyo

Drew's visit home draws to a close! :-(

Drew has been home with us for almost seven weeks and we have had a wonderful time with him here. He will be leaving on Wednesday to head back to America. Please be in prayer for all of us as we separate again. During his time here we have done quite a few things. We’ve gone to many rugby matches (Matthew’s rugby season is about half over), traveled to Cape Town and Queenstown, played games of Jenga and Scrabble, seen a few movies, visited a few of Drew’s favorite restaurants (enjoyed some of his favorite home meals also), played backyard rugby and had a few golfing adventures. He was able to see many of his friends here and had some good times with them. All in all, it has been wonderful for us and him. He will be leaving us in the middle of winter (gathered around our heaters) and heading back to the heat of the North Carolina summer. Fortunately, he will be leaving the North Carolina winter in December and joining us again in the middle of our summer. (Boy, is he confused on what to wear!?!) Pray for us as we are apart and we look forward to our time together with him again as well as time together with our other family members and friends in the near future!

Boys chat about Dad's golf game!

12 June 2008

Barcelona Township, Thursday, 06-12-08

This Thursday morning was our weekly outreach in Barcelona township in Port Elizabeth. Today, Don, myself, Betty Goeda-one of our national friends who regularly goes with us, and Cathy Burleson-another missionary in PE who joined us for the first time, participated in the outreach. Barcelona is one of the poorest and most crime-ridden townships here. We shared the Gospel with many adults and some children were also present. At the last house we visited, we met Maggie and Charles Olifant (olifant is the Afrikaans spelling for "elephant"). They are in their 50's and have heard of Jesus, but are not attending a church and have no relationship with our Savior. After a time of sharing, they both prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Not only
that, they were so excited that they insisted that we start a Bible study in their home for their friends and neighbors. Wow! We have been searching for such a place and the Lord has provided. Maggie says that she will "gather the people." Continue to pray as we work out the time. Pray for Maggie and Charles as they begin this journey. Maggie shared that their household (we are not exactly sure how many live there yet), has been a household with not only unbelievers but full of alcohol, drugs, fighting and many other things. She asked that we pray for those in her home. Pray for Maggie and Charles!


10 June 2008

Moving Forward!?!?

Can you hardly believe it? The Lynches have a blog site. After much thought and many reservations, we decided to go ahead and try it! Hopefully it will work out well. We will try to have a short blog as regularly as our schedule allows, so that you-our prayer partners, friends and family can keep up to date with
"The Lynches in South Africa!" Yeah!!!

Let us start with the most recent events and then maybe later we can inform you of things from the "not so far ago" past. Hmm.... One of the most exciting things that has happened recently is that Drew came back for his summer break from university. He arrived on May 9th and will be with us until July 2nd. Although Matthew is still in school during this time, in fact he is going through exams right now, we are enjoying time with Drew. The boys have enjoyed some time together.

Drew and Matthew at a rugby game!

This past week, while Matthew was slaving away in his exams (he has 14 in all!), Drew went under the knife to have all 4 of his wisdom teeth surgically removed. He came through the surgery and recovery well (and mom & dad were glad that he was here so they could take care of him). Matthew still has 5 more exams to go!