Dear friends and family,
Greetings from Cape Town…
As we wind up another year, we thank God for his daily grace and for friends like you who pray for us and support our ministry. As we serve the church, our prayer is that we will be a community that extends grace to all those around us. We’re convinced that this is the natural response of those who have experienced grace. We recently celebrated some baptisms as the church picnicked together and watched friends publicly declare their faith. We love these times as we see the evidence of God at work.
The church is supposed to be shining the light in the darkness, but we are not immune to the brokenness around us. It has been extremely difficult to see a marriage crumble before our eyes. A couple that Mark married didn’t last 6 months. They signed their divorce papers at the beginning of December. It was devastating to all of us. As we head for Christmas, I’m aware of another wife who has left her husband and children to pursue her own dreams. We are a broken people who need the gospel.
Klipheuwel is a township 10 miles away and we have partnered with a missionary who serves in this poor area. This community is broken by drugs and young girls tend to get pregnant. Dream-girls is an initiative to mentor these young girls and show them that they are valuable, being made in the image of God. They are being taught that they can live with self-control; They can follow God without needing a boy to “complete” them. It has been great to see ladies at DCC sharing their lives with these young girls.
Serving the Kids
ChildrenWarren Holland has managed an Aids orphanage for 6 years and has a natural ability to work with children. He is joining us in January to oversee our children’s ministry and to help us serve the children in the poorer communities that surround us. We have started working with a school and have been given a slot during the day to help with life skills using soccer. Warren and his team will continue with this ministry and pursue other ways to connect with them.
We have encouraged our congregation to use their abilities and hobbies with an eternal perspective. Brad, one of my friends who enjoys kickboxing has started going on Thursday afternoons to a poor community to teach the children. It just happened that at the same time, a new visitor at our church met Brad and he owns a gym nearby and he has opened it up for their use on Thursdays. Now we have more children coming under the influence of the gospel. We’re excited about next year!
We all need to be set free. As we have intentionally pursued working amongst the poor, we are aware that our church is predominantly middle class and comfortable. It would be easy to isolate ourselves from the needs in our own community. As we look around us, we see people struggling with depression, divorce, alcohol, sexual addiction, etc. In fact, we have one of the highest rates in the country for domestic violence and divorce. Next year we are starting up Redemption Groups that will help people understand how the gospel frees them from the damaging effects of sin. We are grateful to Mars Hill Church in Seattle for this great resource. We have a number of people working through the materials now so that they can lead others next year.
A Bit of Christmas Spirit
Christmas MarketWe have been doing various fund-raising activities for our future church building. Last week, we hosted a Christmas market alongside some other
crafters. Our people were cooking, selling items, playing games with children, painting faces, and whatever else they were asked to do. It was great to see the church working together and connecting with the community. In the middle of the evening, we started playing Christmas carols on the grass and people joined in and were handed songsheets and candles. There was opportunity to proclaim Christ and invite many to join us at our Christmas service.
After many months of battling with social workers and government agencies, we have officially fostered Anita and have been given assurance that we have her for the next two years, after which we can apply for adoption. All three children have worked hard this year at school and have earned excellent report cards. They are now on holiday and enjoying themselves at the pool, at the beach, on the trampoline, at sleep-overs, etc. until January 9th, 2012.
We recently had some friends sleep over in tents and cook marsh mellows over the fire. The kids had great fun, so did the parents. Cyndi has organized a nativity
drama for Christmas morning at our church service with all our kids taking part. . and then we will take a two week vacation which will help us refresh as we prepare for a full year ahead.
The weather is warming up and as we enjoy the mountain hikes and the extended time to hang together as a family,we remember that at Christmas, God made it possible for us to be included in his family. Wepraise our Lord and God for the gift of a savior who came to live among us and who now by his Spirit indwells us and empowers us to live for him. May you all enjoy the Christmas season and have a happy new year!