24 November 2009
If you have looked at some of our previous blog postings, you have seen that Barcelona Township has been an important part of our work as well as on our hearts. Pam and I started in Barcelona and Betty Goeda also came along with us. Through door to door witnessing, Bible studies, help from other missionaries and nationals, and volunteers such as the folks from Kirby Woods Baptist, we have been ministering in this area. When we return to SA, we will be moving from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and we have been praying about how the work in Barcelona would continue. Praise the Lord because Pastor Jonathan Gallant and the West End Baptist church have come alongside these new believers and this month the Barcelona Baptist Church had their first church service inside a garage. A couple of weeks later a baptismal service was held; ten youth, a mother of two and Sarah, an 82 year old grandmother (in red dress above), were baptized. Sarah’s son also made a profession of faith. It is because of your praying and your support of the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Christmas offering that the Lord used this to grow his kingdom. It takes the whole church to reach the whole world. Thank you so much for doing your part.
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Really, we do. It has been a great joy to meet so many brothers and sisters who have a passion for the Lord and the lost. Pam and I and a South Asian colleague were the IMB representatives at the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia State Convention. It was wonderful to see the church planting that they are involved with in VA, North America and the world. We met many great folks. Norfolk has the "Hot Sign" as well.
We then traveled to Denver Baptist Church in Denver, NC for their 4th annual Missions Conference. We had the pleasure of staying with Bill and Carolyn Ratcliff and they frequently travel and minister in South Africa and Mozambique. The staff and the whole church were a joy to be around. Hickory also has my favorite bookstore and doughnut place beside each other. We fed our souls and our body. We love to tell about the things that the Lord is doing in SA. You are a big part of that as well, but He alone deserves the glory.
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We have not seen a Fall Season in North Carolina in over nine years. The evening air is cool and the leaves from the trees fall to the ground like the first good snow of the year. Falling leaves may be your pain, but we watch in child-like wonder. God is such an artist. On 31 October, Reformation Day, we got to watch the Cary Band Day Parade. I have not seen a parade like this in a long time. We enjoyed the floats, the bands, fire trucks and much, much more. Pam also carved a small pumpkin to greet any kids that may come to the door for goodies. That night, under the bright Carolina moon, we saw several high school marching bands compete in the Cary Band Day. Still the beauty and wonder of even this day will not compare with the beauty of that day when we will see the Lord. Tell someone about the Lord so that they may get to enjoy it as well.
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We had the joy, the honor and the privilege to share with God’s people about the work that is going on in our part of Southern Africa. Your prayers and giving are making a huge impact on the world. We tell the stories of changed lives due to the power of the Gospel and also what it is like to live, eat, and engage the many cultures in normal every-day life. We shared with the saints at Ca-Vel Baptist in Roxboro, and in Johnston County with St. Mary’s Grove and Pisgah Baptist. We also had a wonderful time with the WMUs of The First Baptist Church of Cary and Forest Hills Baptist. Your questions and encouragement and your desire to know what is going on is so heart-warming. It is good to see God’s people still focusing on the millions that have never heard. May God continue to bless you as you diligently serve him.
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26 October 2009
It has been 10 long years, but the wait for the NC State Fair was definitely worth it! We visited the fair on a couple of occasions with Don’s mother, brother (Danny), Tricia (his wife), Hannah & Hailey (our nieces). Another time, we went with Drew & Matthew.
We saw cows, horses, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese! We saw all kinds of exhibits from the largest pumpkin (376lb or 171kg) to award-winning cakes & fudge. We also ate lots of delicious foods that you can only have at the fair, including frozen chocolate covered & nut bananas, deep-fried moon pies, corn dogs, funnel cakes, hush puppies, roasted corn, blooming onions, and lots more… Yes, we were suffering when we departed. The boys rode lots of exciting and breath-taking rides! We decided that the fair was designed to give a heart attack, either through the food or the rides! Yes, the theme of the NC State Fair this year was very appropriate, we had “a whole lotta happy!”
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We had a wonderful opportunity to speak to the WMU ladies at Cooper’s Gap Baptist Church in Mill Spring, NC and share what their prayers are accomplishing through the Lord in South Africa. The Harvest Festival Dinner and fellowship were a blessing to us. Also, they are only a few minutes away from Lake Lure and Chimney Rock. We also visited the 225 room Biltmore House in Asheville.
The drive through the mountains of NC and East TN was spectacular.
The drive through the mountains of NC and East TN was spectacular.
We then attended the West Africa Base Camp training in Murfreesboro, TN. This training will help us to be more effective with partners like the Bi-Fork Association and any of you who might want to adopt a people group in the future! (hint, hint :-)
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25 October 2009
One thing that we miss in South Africa is American Football. In SA, they call it Gridiron since football is what they call soccer. They find it hard to understand Gridiron with all of the stopping and starting. The concept of the huddle is definitely a seemingly unsolvable mystery.
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In early October, we flew into Dallas for a short trip to the Lone Star State. Saturday night, we accompanied Donna Kirtz, Pam’s sister, to her church service and then drove to Vernon, Texas up toward the Oklahoma Border. We had a wonderful stay with Derrell and Janna Monday. He is the DOM (Director of Missions) for the Bi-Fork Association that has adopted the Mbalantu People of Namibia. Don spoke Sunday Morning at the First Baptist Church in Seymour and we both spoke at the Red Fork Associational meeting on Sunday night where we thanked them for their sacrifice and service among this unreached people group. Many of the ladies made dolls & outfits (with matching blankets) with their name & picture, while the gentlemen donated soccer balls. These will be given to the Mbalantu kids in Namibia, while the people in the pictures have promised to pray for the specific children. They are doing an awesome work!!
We also spent a couple of days with Donna and John Kirtz and many times laughed till we cried. We had a fantastic time with them and sadly it ended much too soon. May the Lord bless both of them!
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28 September 2009
Well, well. Yes, it is football time in America. A time we haven't been able to enjoy for many years. However, this weekend was family weekend at NCSU and we were able to spend time with Drew and his friends. Drew was able to get tickets for us to the NCSU vs. Pitt game. So, after enjoying some really great food (of course, BBQ) at the tailgate, we headed for the game. Even though there was a light mist most of the game, we stayed and cheered until the last minute. Who could have left, it wasn't decided until the last 30 seconds. But the Wolfpack pulled it out and beat Pitt 38 to 31. It was great and our voices will come back soon! (We eagerly look forward to our next football game, NCSU vs. Duke, then its UNC vs. Florida St.) But then, the grandaddy of them all, November 28, UNC vs NCSU!
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One week later, we were privileged to take part in the 1st GIC (Global Impact Conference) at Colonial Heights Baptist Church in Virginia. We shared with the Sonrisers Class and the Journey in Faith Class about what the Lord is doing in Southern Africa. It was wonderful to be in their homes as well as their classes and share with them. They are all very loving and generous. We were hosted by George and Beverly Stephens in their home. We kept them up way too late each evening but really enjoyed our time with them.
We were able to tour Historic Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and the Blandford Church. Again, as is becoming quite noticeable, we ate way too much delicious food! We were also thrilled to hear of their outreach to Colonial Heights, Petersburg and the surrounding areas. We pray that the Lord continues to bless this church!
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We had a wonderful opportunity to take part in the 13th annual GIC (Global Impact Conference) at First North Church. We were able to share what God is doing in Southern Africa and also met many wonderful folk! We stayed with Pam Benedict and Melanie Watt. They and the Barnabas Bible Fellowship Class were wonderful and generous and we were so encouraged to see the difference they are making in Spartanburg. While in Spartanburg, we had a wonderful time hiking and enjoyed visiting the Hope Remains ranch (ministry for troubled youth). We ate way too much and laughed more than you can imagine! May the Lord continue to bless and prosper them.
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We are sure that many of you debate from year to year whether to go to homecomings and reunions since they happen every year. However, if you haven't had one in 9 or 10 years, it is a wonderful and exciting event. We were privileged to go to CaVel Baptist Church's 75th Homecoming! You probably remember this is where Don served as Associate Pastor of music and worked with the youth and where he was ordained.
We also thoroughly enjoyed the Cameronian Presbyterian Church's Homecoming, where Don grew up. He was also honored to be asked to bring the morning message. We finished up the month at the Gilbert Family Reunion in Kinston. (see photos) It was wonderful to see everyone and catch up on old and new news!
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For the first time in a long while, the four of us went on a vacation! Only Drew had ever been to Charleston, but all of us fell in love with it's old Southern charm and beauty. We visited Fort Sumter, Patriot's Point and Folley's Beach. We also got to see the USA Eagles rugby team defeat Canada! All of us enjoyed dining at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co. and Sticky Fingers. We even visited the Moon Pie General Store!
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As many of you know, the IMB underwent a reorganization to sharpen the focus on unreached peoples everywhere. Although some of the reorganization focused on cost savings, the goal was to effectively use the resources that God has given through the local Baptist churches to finish The Task! Under the new changes, Don will be in charge of strategy for all of the Town, Village and Rural teams in South Africa, Namibia and Swaziland. This is huge and challenging area. Pam is also the prayer advocate for this vast area. Please pray for us to follow the Lord's leading in enabling others and ourselves to reach the lost. When we return to South Africa, we will be moving to Cape Town. Pray that the Lord will give us the right ministry area to evangelize and disciple.
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26 September 2009
The team from Kirbywood Baptist Church has visited South Africa multiple times. We wanted to visit them! We had a wonderful time reconnecting with these wonderful folks on their home turf. We enjoyed times of fellowship, food and worship at their church; plus we got the grand tour of the city. We ate with the team at Rendezvous BBQ just off of Beale Street after watching the world famous ducks at the Peabody Hotel.
We visited Graceland (a first for both of us), the Civil Rights Museum (where Dr. King was assasinated) and Sun Recording Studio (where Elvis, Johnny Cash and others recorded and still record). We also had an opportunity to thank the church and the team for their wonderful support of missions around the world.
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25 September 2009
On 7 May, we arrived in North Carolina for our Stateside Assignment. It has been so nice to see family and friends and to make new friends. First Baptist Church of Cary has graciously allowed us to live in their mission house. We have enjoyed the church, the Sunday School and Don has even been able to sing in the choir (every once in a while). We have been able to spend time with both boys and even help them to start back to school. Our address in Cary is: 208 S. Harrison Ave, Cary, NC, 27511 and our cell phone number is 919-389-2339. Please feel free to call or visit us, and even visit the church!
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