We are in South Africa. Though we left on WEdnesday we did not arrive in South Africa until Friday morning. Hadia and I enjoyed a wonderful thirteen hour layover in the Frankfurt airport. Praise God that all of our baggage arrives saftely with us in South Africa and we were not charged any extra fees for bringing so much luggage into the country. Between the two of us we had eight checked suitcases and four carry-ons. It takes alot of luggage to get so much equiptment into a country.
Friday and Saturday, we participated in a large childrens ministry confrence. Last night and today we had several opportunitys to share and teach, but all of us feel that we recieved more then we gave. Over six-hundred people gathered from over one-hundred churchs to learn how to better share Christ with their children. Hadia taught one lady how to tie balloons who had been teaching for ten years, and was begining to get tired and discouraged. She was overwhelmed with grattitude for the lesson that she recieved and coudn’t wait to try out her new skills. Another lady came up to me and said, "I love you for the blessing." She was so happy at what she was learning but we were the ones who recieved the bigger blessing.
In addition to sharing we also had an opportunity to attend some of the seminars. Roy Lessor traveled from England and taught us many new things that we can’t wait to share with our friends around the world. It was a special joy to see our partners in ministry, James and Lynne Grant, teaching a seminar on story telling and puppets. It was very well attended and the crowd was so excited about what they were learing that they didn’t want to leave. They even sat through tea time so they could learn more.
Tomorrow we will be doing ministy in a multi-cultureal church, Rosettenville Baptist, in Johannesburg that has African, French, and English services. The neighborhood the church is located in began to change, but they did not bar their doors. Instead the began an EE program and began to go door to door, reaching out to the people in their community. There have been many cultureal diffrences that they have had to deal with in order to be effective in ministry. The Africans said that the white people kiss all women, where they only kiss their wife.
Johannesburg is a very high crime area. Everyone has security systems, high fences, many locks, and burgular bars on every window. There is even a security gate that closes off the bedroom area at night. Security is a major concern; every pastor in the church has been car jacked. Please pray for us to be wise as we deal with these diffrent situations.
On Monday we will be working in Soweto, the largest black township in the world. More than a million people call this place home. Christians have a strong presence in this place and there are many churches there. However, Soweto has enormous problems. It is common for young girls, small children to be raped in this place by men who think they are curing themselves of AIDS. Please pray for us as we try to share with these children who have been so terribly hurt, that there is a Father who loves them. Please ask God to help us show them his forgiveness and peace so that they will not live lifes full of bitterness and pain.
Please stay on your knees.
In Jesus, Linda for the team