Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I finally got my towels washed this week! Actually, I washed them yesterday! After they finished washing, I decided (as I normally do) to hang them up on the line outside to dry. Joburg has perfect weather for hanging clothes out to dry: sunny and low humidity. But, when I went outside to hang the towels, my lungs filled with smoke! The smell was aweful! Josh, my 4 year old, was holding his nose, asking, "What is that smell, Mommy. It stinks!"
What was that smell? A "veld fire." What is a "veld fire?" Well, it is a field on fire! During May and June, veld fires are an all too common experience around Joburg and other areas of South Africa. Because the weather is so dry during the winter, many grassy areas are set on fire to prevent "accidental" burns that could get out of control. Also, burnings help replenish the ground and kill insects , so the grass usually grows back greener when the rains come in late September or October.
Needless to say, the towels didn't get hung up that day! In fact, I forgot all about them in the wash and had to rewash them and hang them today!
Ruth Anne, my daughter in grade 7, came home with a graded exam from her Natural Science class. She had missed the question, "South Africa has four distinct seasons" by answering "false." So, that means the teacher thought it was true...South Africa has four distinct seasons! Well, I love South Africa, but I had to break it to them. They do NOT have four "distinct" seasons. Maybe two...warm and cold. However, I will give them credit; they do have some trees whose leaves change color and fall when the weather becomes cold. And, I might give them credit for another season..."veld fire" season!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Today, I'm sitting at my computer, wrapped up in a blanket and drinking hot tea! Why? You might be asking. Because it is FREEZING in my house. Ok, Ok...reality. I know it is not 0 degrees C (32 F), but it is really cold! It did get down to freezing last night, actually below freezing. Yes, Africa (at least this part) is cold! But it is now quite nice outside. So, why am I wrapped up and drinking a hot beverage? The houses in South Africa don't have central heating (or central air, for that matter). Most houses are built of brick and cement so there is no place to hide pipes and vents. In fact, plumbing pipes are put on the outside of the houses. And, our house, being older, has these special bricks with small holes they put in over doors and windows! Being the good Americans that we are, we've covered these "special" bricks with contact paper! We use gas heaters for big rooms and electric heaters for smaller rooms (like the bathrooms). But, gas can get expensive! Since the winter of 2001, the price of gas has doubled! So we try to conserve and only use heaters at night.
What are some ways to get warm? Well, do what I'm doing...wrap up and drink hot tea or coffee all day (some people even drink hot water!). Or, you can go outside and stand in the sun! Yep, in Joburg, winter is the dry season and there are many day where there is not a cloud in the sky! The temperature goes up 10 degrees from the shade to the sun! My face can get quite a tan in the winter!
So, today, enjoy your central air conditioning or heating. And, if you visit South Africa in the winter (May-Sept), bring warm clothes...especially warm pajamas!

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Move to South Africa

Well, here is my second post...catching up to where we (my family and I) are today.
My husband had always wanted to teach baseball and share the gospel (sports evangelism) in Russia. In 1998, while we were living in North Carolina, he got an opportunity to go to Zimbabwe, Africa to teach baseball and lead Bible studies at a local school. When he returned from that trip, I knew something was different. During his time in Zimbabwe, he and the missionary there discussed possibilities for coming to Africa long-term.
Right then, I knew...or had a pretty good feeling...that God was leading us to Africa. I was anxious, but excited about it. We prayed and prayed and listen to God through His Word. Through it all, it became clear that God wanted us to go to Africa. We thought that he would take us to Zimbabwe. But He had other plans. There was no job for a sports evangelist in Zimbabwe, but there was one in South Africa. That is the one we answered!
We came to Joburg in October 2000 and have been here ever since. Our job has changed quite a bit. We started out teaching baseball at schools in areas where there was no church work. It helped us get into the community. We also taught life skills with other team members (missionaries working with us) at the local schools.
Now, we do mostly Bible studies and leadership training that will help start new churches. We are currently doing most of our work in Soweto and informal settlements (squatter camps). But, we have helped our Baptist partners in Joburg start a church in a nearby middle class neighborhood. It is an area that is growing rapidly!
When we came to Joburg, we brought one child with us, our daughter, Ruth Anne. In 2003, we adopted a boy, our son, Joshuwa. The children are very happy at their schools in Joburg. Josh is 4 now and VERY active. Ruth Anne is 13, loves riding horses and competes in dressage.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My Story

I thought that for my first post I must catch you up on who I am by telling you my story. So here it is!
I was born in Houston, Texas to wonderful parents. I grew up in church. Actually, I went to church before I was born! I knew so much about the Bible. I knew most Bible stories. I knew who Jesus was and why he came to earth. By the time I was 7 years old, I knew Jesus had come to earth, was God's son, lived a perfect life, died in place of me for the forgiveness of my sins, and rose from the dead then ascended to heaven. I knew all this! But for some reason, I was a fearful child. I was fearful of many things...dog bites, breaking arms or legs, etc and especially dying and going to hell.
I knew many people at my church were being baptised. So I thought that if I got baptised I wouldn't go to hell. So sometime before my 8th birthday, I went to speak to my pastor. I remember telling him that I knew all about Jesus. So I was baptised.
But, that was where the problems began. I knew about Jesus in my head. But, I didn't really believe in my heart. When I became a teenager, fears began to take over me, especially the old fear of going to hell. I used to wake up in the middle of the night calling out to my parents just to make sure they hadn't been "raptured" and left me alone. I just knew I wasn't going with Jesus. I would also sit in the bathtub and make myself sick thinking about "forever." I would pray constantly that Jesus would let me into heaven.
Finally, one Sunday night at church when I was 18, a lady (and I will add that I had never seen her before or after that Sunday night) gave her testimony. Even though she was sharing her story...she was really sharing my story. All her thoughts and fears were mine! I knew things were not right.
By that Wednesday, I had gotten up the courage to call my youth pastor and told him all I had been going through. He told me that I hadn't taken what I knew in my head to my heart. I didn't really believe. That night, I realized, I did believe. I knew without a relationship with Jesus Christ, without truly trusting in his death on the cross and resurrection, without faith...I would die and be in hell. Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and BELIEVE in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you WILL be saved." So over the phone with my youth pastor, I confessed to God that I did truly believe in Jesus, His Son, and all he did for me!
Wow! What a burden of fear was lifted from me! I was certain that heaven would be my home! It was very freeing!
Now, to this day, I know where I will be when I die. But, not only that, I know who is with me everyday. No matter what happens, good or bad, or what I do, good or bad, I know God loves me, forgives me and is right beside me! What an wonderful feeling!
You can also be sure of heaven. It is faith. It is not based on anything you have done or will do. It is based on what Jesus Christ did for you because of God's great love for you!
Next post, I will share how we got to South Africa!