Unexpected answer to Prayer

29 Sep 2011

Christine: Well God has answered a prayer in an unexpected way.  We were looking for a gymnastics class for the girls but could not find one. We ended up finding a ballet school 20 minutes walk down the road.  I never imagined taking the girls to ballet but they love it. And how is it an answer to prayer?

I have been unable to connect with local mums or find friends to practice Spanish with because of the time needed for language study and just managing the kids. Also they don’t seem to have playgroups or mothers groups like we have at home. But what I have found at the ballet school is a captive audience of mothers who wait the whole hour for their girls twice a week in a small room. We are not allowed to watch the class so we are forced to chat with each other.  How nice! So today I wrote down a few of their names. I met a teacher, dentist, accountant and, of course, stay home mum’s like me (well, excluding language study ). Of course some topics are universal for mothers: breastfeeding, how you fared in your pregnancy and what cute thing your kid did yesterday. To my surprise I can understand a lot of what they are saying. Sometimes the lady closest to me kindly repeats the key information more slowly and simply for me, but none the less, it is all in Spanish. They have encouraged me and say I am doing well for such a short time in the country. This is great to hear as in the language school I am reminded constantly of my mistakes. I cannot use all the tenses we have learnt yet but slowly and with practice I am sure I will get there.  The ladies said they are happy to help me and I am more relaxed in this situation of immersion. 

I am going to look forward to Monday and Friday afternoons sitting around with other mothers of little ballerinas. Who knows where God will lead our conversations in the future. Please pray for opportunities and praise God for answered prayer.  The ballerinas get a lollie at the end of each class – to which Annabelle asks ‘Why did I get a lollie?’ It’s definitely a win win for everyone (though maybe not their teeth).  

Reaching out to Street Children

28 Sep 2011

These boys are abandoned and were previously street children. They are now in a government orphanage. Some have come from family with alcohol problems or with sexual abuse and as a result have hate and anger in their hearts. Many have drug addictions eg. sniffing halucinagens. They are in need of the love of God. So next November I will start a Bible study twice a week to disciple and share God's love. We have permission from the social worker for this.

Update

22 Sep 2011

First up, thanks to those who've shared our excitement on the removal of Clarissa's medication, it's great to hear from you. She has gone fine without her medicine and so we're continuing to trust that all is fine.

Thanks too for those who prayed for our mobilisation conference (mentioned in our newsletter), the team related well despite only meeting 'in person' a couple of times a year - we are all committed to one purpose and that becomes clear whenever we meet. We also enjoy enjoying one another and God, and especially appreciated the opportunity we had one afternoon together to get out and see some of Sydney on a beautiful sunny day.

This Sunday we'd appreciate your prayers as Sean is speaking at our church here (Ashfield Baptist) on 2 Corinthians 4:3-7, followed by the chance for church attendees to come along to an open day at a local Mosque, where Muslims literally open their doors for anyone to come in. We'd love for it to be an opportunity for people of our church to interact on a deeper level with Muslims - pray for this.

Thanks very much, we appreciate you all!
SJG&C

Why we're looking forward to working with University Student?

21 Sep 2011

Latin America is an exciting place to be with so many opportunities to serve.

Students at a youth conference in Arequipa

We look forward to serving in a University, discipling and empowering students to follow Jesus. Students are the future leaders of the nation and are an incredibly strategic group of people to work along side. Our vision is that many students will be inspired to serve God and will go proclaiming and living out the message of Jesus. Arequipa, the city we work in, has several major universities. Some students come to Arequipa to study from different parts of southern Peru. If we can reach these students, they are able to take the gospel back to their communities in their own language. We met two students who did exactly this. In their holidays they went back to their incredibly remote village high in the Andes and they taught the Bible in their native language Quechua. Read the amazing story of how this remote village turned to Jesus.

Our prayer is that Peru will not only send missionaries within the country but also beyond. This is already starting to happen. SIM has spent many years preparing the church in Peru for this. A couple of months ago SIM Peru sent its first missionary to Asia. Latin American missionaries are able to go into countries in Asia and the Middle East that may not be open to western missionaries. They are also able to blend in more easily in these countries with their darker complexion. There is a SIM team that is working hard to put together documentation and training that will help to mobilise the Latin American church for missions. A lot of work is still to be done and a lot of prayer is needed. We look forward to seeing what God will do.

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The Q

18 Sep 2011

'Anj what did you do whilst in the petrol queue for so many hours' someone on FB asked me?

In the last two days I have spent 8 hours and 40 minutes in two fuel queues. The answer to the question is that I cant be sure. It is entirely likely I slipped into another dimension.

Take this morning for example. We jockeyed for position in the queue from 7:15 to about 9:30 or ten. This involved nudging forward and chatting to other drivers about what order we go in and how we block people from pushing in. I tried to read my kindle but there were people coming and going to the shop at the servo. I ate a banana and drank some water then decided I should find where the bathroom is. Reconnaissance mission done I settled back to my car to listen to the BBC world service. I tried reading a chichewa newspaper without much luck.

The truck carrying the diesel arrived just after I saw my fellow team members rushing off to church around 9:15. They were rushing as church starts at 9.

Did you know fuel tanks are in sections like the titanic? Fuel tankers are virtually unsinkable!!!

Around 10:30 was time for a snack/breakfast. I scoured the shelves of the shop at the servo for likely food items:maize flour..no,sugar..no, chewing gum..no. I settled on yoghurt and caramel milk from South Africa. I know the milk will upset my stomach but that is tomorrows problem. I got to the counter to discover they had no spoons for the yoghurt. No problem. Having had African yoghurt before I know it is the pouring variety..not a solid but a liquid.

In between I carefully observed the unloading of the tank. I looked for any safety breaches.. because I could and it would have made a great photo. Alas they even wore harnesses atop the truck.

I grabbed a coke. I thought it might give me something to do for 5mins rather than watching the tanker impatiently.

I chatted sporadically with an American teacher who was keen to go to South Sudan to work. I gave him the name of my mechanic...the sage (from a previous post). The truck departed at around 11am and they started pumping the fuel.

There was more jockeying for space. A few guys just pushed in by driving to the front of the queue and stopping. One man was trying his level best to push in in front of me so I got out of my car and said to him 'I hope you werent planning on pushing in infront of me as I was here before you and it would be wrong to push in'. He muttered embarrassed about others pushing in but agreed he would not try to push in before me. 

Finally it was my turn to get fuel.. AHHH the jubilation. I felt like I had won and a prize in a gameshow. The pushing in man came up to me to try and explain and I commented that he was a bit unethical in his approach as he just pushed in front of the next car. He was actually driving and filling two cars at the same time so technically he pushed in twice.

When I got home I did a happy dance and shouted woohoo. the victory was mine

So that is the answer of how you fill 4 hours and 40 minutes in a queue.

now yesterday was different. There was the where to put the the temporary tattoo that came with the World Cup bubble gum.

Excited

07 Sep 2011

Hi everyone,

Unfortunately last weekend Sean got sick with the family flu and so couldn't go to either event. However, we were still able to have a 'virtual presence' at the Saturday event & others went to the Sunday event where over a dozen Muslims gained access to the Word of God in written, visual & oral form.
Everyone in the family is now well on the road to recovery, and looking forward to a short break this weekend at a friend's wedding.

We did have some exciting news we wanted to share. Just days after we asked you to pray in our newsletter that we would have news from Clarissa's doctors, the cardiologist rang.
He has given the ok for her to stop medicine in the next week, as her previous test showed no signs of abnormality. Praise The Lord!
She still has 2 more tests to go (the first on 13th Oct), but if they all go smoothly - as we believe they will - then she is free of the medicine forever.

Thanks for your prayers, we love them.

The Sage

02 Sep 2011

Its hard to believe but my mechanic is a sage. One time I dropped my car off to him he asked me about culture shock. Yes the fuel queues were bothersome, yes riots were freaking me out, yes I found it difficult to get some foodstuffs and medicines but no I was quite pleased to be here and had no sign of culture shock.

He said that at 6 months when it all sinks in and becomes a reality of life that then I would experience culture shock.

His words rang true at 5 months, though I prefer to call it culture frustration, culture annoyance, culture disappointment. This was really brought to the fore when people smashed my gate lights the other night. I am still unsure of their intentions.

Good news is after much processing over lunch with Jacky and pots of marmalade with Helen I have made a few steps through this latest transition.

Today I told my sage (the mechanic) that he was right and that the honeymoon was over. He said that was good as now I can start finding all the good things about Malawi like coffee.

Tomorrow I am going on Safari to Nyala Park. I am so excited and grateful to be given an opportunity to go and view animals. Incidentally I am taking a thermos of good coffee.

There are many good things about being here like sharing about Gods love with orphans and HIV sufferers. I am learning Chichewa and I have learnt a chorus and actions. I have lots of great new friends who are becoming like family.

I am in a beautiful country and I feel truly blessed. Each night I still put on the full armour of God and I do sleep like a log

blessings

Anj

 

A wild weekend

01 Sep 2011

Before we talk about this weekend, will you please pray for Jan & Georgi who haven't been well this week - some sort of flu type thing has slowed especially Jan down. Thanks!

From Fri-Sun a teammate is running a 'Missionary For a Weekend' here in Sydney. Participants will take part in all sorts of activities that missionaries do all round the world, including prayer walking, Bible storying, hearing from people of other cultures & religions, and eating some great food! We'll be a part of a couple of things they're doing. Pray for participants to really impact those they meet and be impacted as they think about what their experience then means for them.

On Saturday, Sean's been invited to display at a men's conference here in Sydney, pray for good interactions with participants as they think about what it means to be a Christian man and where missions fits in.

On Sunday, Sean will be part of a team displaying something quite different to that on Saturday - he'll be at a major Muslim festival, offering people the opportunity to buy a New Testament, Psalms or Torah - all of which are books that Muslims respect, though often contending that they have been changed. Please pray for people who are truly seeking God to interact with the team, and for wisdom as we share with them.

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