Thursday, 23 December 2010

Settling in...

Settling into a new community is something many of us have experienced at some point in our lives. It always takes longer than you think it will… especially when you’re setting up home in a new country with no furniture and little spare cash in the bank. Trying to figure out how to pay the electricity, whether you need a TV licence, how to get hot water working, where the nearest shops are, what’s the exchange rate, how to work the security gate, what’s the number in emergency etc can be somewhat draining.

Then comes the culture shock… “I miss Christmas in the cold”…and …”it’s snowing back home and I’m missing it!” Or, “they don’t do that here?!” or “Why can’t we go out alone at night?” or “Why is everything so expensive?”

Thankfully, we see these as tell-tale signs of moving to a new place and despite our – relatively minor – struggles, Becky and I have been blessed by such a great community around us. We do miss England and our friends from Luton.

This year we will be celebrating Christmas with some people we got to know already (albeit briefly, as we were students then) last time we were here and some people we have only just met. None of the people we are spending Christmas with are family and none are ‘old friends’. Christmas with family will be limited to telephone calls and ‘Skyping’! Thankfully telephone calls and internet is much more accessible and cheaper than it was just a few years ago.

Christmas will not be the same this year as it was last, but should it be?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Christmas in the warm

Stepping off the plane from -3 degrees in England to +24 degrees in Cape Town was a pleasant feeling, though we were far too over dressed, with socks, shoes, coats and scarves - shedding layers as we drove across town to our new home in Muizenberg.
It has been a great time meeting and greeting folk from the time we were here last and seeing some new faces around. People have been extremely accommodating and welcoming.

Becky's pregnancy is going well and we're due to go for the next check-up (with our new midwife) next Tuesday. The house we've moved into is lovely, albeit a bit furniture-less. Over the past week we have managed to acquire a refrigerator, two sofas (although one needs repairing - time to buy some tools!), a kettle, a toaster, a single bed (yes, we know, a double bed would be better, but as it stands double beds are hard to come by or extremely expensive).

Christmas is not going to be the same without family around us. We will definitely miss all in England and wish we could be there with them. We had our work Christmas 'do' which was a picnic in the park with salad, chicken wraps and soft drinks. It's not like any Christmas meal we've had before! Christmas falls in the middle of a long summer break in SA, so while everyone in England is busy with carol concerts and family gatherings with mince pies and mulled wine, most here are gradually winding up their work to go on a camping holiday or something similar. Muizenberg will certainly be quiet this year. We have attempted to decorate our house with some fairy lights, but it is still looking somewhat bare!

Some friends (those who haven't left already) have invited us over to celebrate Christmas with them, which will be lovely.

Please keep sending us your messages, we love to get your updates on how things are going your end. You can email us, pete@clemison.co.uk or Facebook message us, or call, +44 (0)1344 576494.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Baby coming

In case any don't know, Becky and Peter are expecting a baby! We are now more than 6 months into the pregnancy now. We have had the scans and both mum and bump are doing well.

We are hoping to have the baby in South Africa, if all goes according to plan. Becky will be having a baby shower in early December, so if you're around in Luton, UK then, please get in touch and we'll let you know the details. Please pray that our South African health insurance will cover all the costs of the birth and that there'll be no complications.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

A new perspective on mission

I have had the privilege of spending the past two weeks travelling with Ismael (pictured) through Angola. I have a great admiration for Ismael. He is a hard working man who has a passion for mission work in Angola.

He is a Brazilian whose job it is to oversee the work of YWAM mission in Angola. This vast country has several bases and many ministries in extremely remote locations. Travel around the country is not easy, but he manages it with enthusiasm and an everlasting smile.


He once went to a village for a pastoral visit where a team was working. As a gesture, he took with him a blanket, because it was approaching winter and he knew it was something that they would value.

The blanket was very well received. So much so, in fact, that the chief decided to bless Ismael with a live pig. Ismael tried to refuse. He said: “I can’t take this, it’s far too valuable for you to just give away.”

The chief responded with: “It’s ok, sir, I am rich. Please take it.”

To which, Ismael said: “Please, I cannot take it. You need it more than me.”

“I am richer than you, so I must insist that you take it.”

Ismael was taken aback by this comment. Ismael had turned up in fine clothes and drove a new car. Here he was in a dusty village where the people lived in mud huts and valued the donation of a blanket. ‘How can they think that they’re richer than me’, thought Ismael. So he asked: “How come you think that you’re richer than me?”

“How many cows do you have, sir” asked the chief.

“Five.” Ismael responded, positively, knowing that he’d just taken over a farm and inherited five cattle.

“I have 30. How many goats do you have?”

“Eight.” Replied Ismael, wondering where this was going.

“I have 75.” Said the chief.

“But I have a new Toyota Hilux. It’s very valuable.”

“Can it reproduce?” said the chief, inquisitively.

“Well....”

Angola is a rich and beautiful country. Wealth is so much more than where you live, what you drive or how much you have in the bank.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Our work in Africa

Now the World Cup is over, our work is finished, right?

In reality, our work has only really just begun. For Becky, the Justice ACTs team are continuing their anti-trafficking work (more on this later) and Peter is busy in the process of communicating the work of YWAM in Africa.

Communicating remote ministries
Peter is currently heading up on a three-day drive towards Angola on a three week trip with AfriCom. As the communications team for Africa, AfriCom staff need to keep in regular communication with the ministries of YWAM – and sometimes that means physically going there to see what is happening and update the international office on the activities.

This particular trip will be an opportunity for AfriCom to put together some video footage of the work in several of the bases across the country. We will be interviewing people and gathering information on some of the ground-breaking work done by these teams. It's a really exciting time for Peter as he ventures out on some of his first 'mission' work since studying the DTS.

The particular mission posts we are visiting are very remote. For one of them, we will have to hike 6-8 hours from the nearest road. There aren't many details that we can share until we've completed the visit, but we'll look to update you on return.

Becky will be returning to England on 23rd July and Peter will follow after his Angola trip on 9th August. We look forward to meeting up with friends and family. This will be a visit as we are planning to return to South Africa in November 2010. If you'd like us to visit you when we're in England, please do get in touch soon as our diary is filling up quickly!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

World Cup fever


Warm greetings from South Africa. It's actually quite chilly here at night, but daytime temperatures are comfortable (16 deg). The world cup fever is still alive, despite England and South Africa's performance! It is awesome to be here at this time with all the excitement and sound of the vuvuzelas. We feel blessed and priveledged.

However, we're not here to watch the 'soccer' as they call it here. We're working with YWAM charities based here in Cape Town. Becky is busy with Justice ACTs (Alliance of Christians Against Trafficking) to raise awareness of Human Trafficking in and around the World Cup.

Becky and colleagues have been handing out beer mats & fliers and having conversations with lots of football fans to warn them about trafficking in South Africa and asking them to report anything suspicious to the helpline number. Lots of training has been done with 'at risk' communities on how to protect themselves from being trafficked, and this training (and the drama that goes with it) has been passed on to others, to reach as many schools, churches and communities as possible, especially before the World Cup. We heard recently that over 40 girls have been rescued from traffickers in South Africa! Justice ACTs is working hard to get funding to start a safe house for those that are rescued. We hope this will start very soon and Becky is hoping to get involved. We regularly attend a 24 hour prayer room (boiler room) in Cape Town which has been set up to pray for the World Cup, especially about trafficking. We are very impressed with what the local churches have been doing and their hard work and concern.


Meantime, Pete is working with AfriCom, YWAM's communication team for Africa. He's worked with them for a week now and is really enjoying making new contacts and being part of a Africa-wide team. He'll be travelling to Angola in July to help with the development of a educational video, sharing what God is doing through YWAM in Angola.

Both of us will be back in the UK from August to October to see friends and family and share what we've been doing in person. We'd love to come and visit you and we're busy creating a diary to make sure that we can see as many friends as possible. Please let me know if we can come and see you and when it would be suitable. You can email us - peterclem@googlemail.com or send us a message on facebook!

Monday, 24 May 2010

My first night in Chiang Mai's red light district

Peter's reflections:
My heart goes out to Emmi. She has a passion, love and commitment to bringing the love of Jesus into some of the darkest places of Thailand.

Seeing her father kill her mother at the age of 3, then sold into slavery by her grandparents at the age of 6, Emmi herself has faced some tough situations. Thankfully, she was rescued before anything bad could happen to her, but her best friend who was sold at the same time, wasn't so fortunate.

“It's only by the grace of God that I was rescued,” Emmi told us. “I was too young at the time to do anything about helping my best friend”. Eventually, however, Emmi managed to track her friend down; she had contracted HIV which had developed to AIDS and she was in the final stages of her young life. Emmi's heart went out to her friend as she sat by her bedside. She shared her testimony – about how God rescued her – and her friend gave her life to Jesus. Within a month, Emmi's friend was gone.

Emmi's own story has moulded her. “God planted this ministry in my heart”, she said. She took us to one of the red light districts of Chiang Mai. On the surface, the area seems a friendly, welcoming and open. It's warm cultured, with everyone saying 'Sawadeekaa' to you as you pass by and smiling. Thailand is, after all, the nation of smiles.

But scratch below the surface and you'll find people being controlled. Fear of 'letting down' the trafficker or pimp is high and image is everything. As you walk down the street, you know that you're being watched. Having Emmi there was very insightful. She told us what was being said in Thai that the foreigners (mainly middle-aged men) are oblivious to. On this street you can buy sex for as little as £4. For £10 you'll get whatever you want for the whole night.

There is a darkness over this place that is hard to describe. Each bar hard one or two men older white men sitting alone, drinking. Meanwhile, ladies, dressed provocatively smile and joke in groups. Some tables had one or two women chatting to the man (who was often in his 40s or 50s).

While we were standing on the corner, a guy on a motorbike dropped off a few kids who couldn't be much older than six or seven years old. He spoke to them in Thai: “Go sell these flowers. You'd better sell them all if you want to sleep or eat tonight”. Trying to help, we bought them some small snack food. Becky handed them the food and, with the help of Emmi translating, told them that we bought it because Jesus loves him. He took the food and walked across the street to a dark corner and handed them to a man who was waiting for him. Once he'd handed the food over to the man, the kid continued trying to sell the flowers.

Emmi, having compassion, then bought some flowers off the kid, realising that he really wasn't going to eat if he didn't sell them all. I watched this in amazement. Everything inside me wanted to take the snacks from the man and give them back to the children. From several strategic locations these traffickers sit, watching their 'workers' do the dirty work, whilst they collect the 'reward'. They watch the women; they watch the children; and they were watching us. My view went from the warm fuzzy feeling when people smile and say 'welcome' – which Thai's are famous for – to the sick feeling you get in your stomach when you know that something is most definitely wrong.
The traffickers have a tight control over this area. There was no police to be seen. They know who is a punter and who is a troublemaker. The 'peaceful' atmosphere has been manufactured and it is entirely false in this area. Very different to most other parts of the city, where the welcome feels and I believe is, genuine. I could only describe this like a piece of rotten fruit, which as been covered in sugar. On the surface it looks really good, and sweet, but underneath it is rotten and disgusting. The lust-filled foreign men, who visit these areas do not look happy or contented. Neither do the women. In their eyes, and behind the smiles, they look so depressed. They do not have joy in their hearts. The old men lie to themselves about how these ladies and children are treated to ease their own conscience. They want to believe the lie that these ladies tell them that they are happy and do it voluntarily. They tell themselves that they're 'supporting the Thai economy' and 'helping feed' poor hungry children by buying flowers from them. But if you look deeply enough, you'll see, I'm sure, that they know fully well in their heart of hearts that they are fueling an industry which is crippling and destroying the lives of so many people in this beautiful country.

I honestly felt sick walking down that street. I asked God to take away my anger and frustration as I was helpless to do anything to help these people trapped in the circus of trafficking.

Shame and honour is a huge part of Thai identity. I cannot think of anything more shameful than putting innocent men, women and children through this nightmare life, where most live a short and very unfulfilled, unhappy life. I pray that God restores true honour to these people: brings reconcilliation between him and the traffickers and him and those trafficked. That repentence and healing is brought and truth prevails.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Adventures in China

After an incredibly long journey, we arrived in a city where we were to stay. It was a large city of about 7 million people, (although for the Chinese, they would call it a small-medium sized town) high up in the mountains (2,000metres). The altitude was hard to cope with at first and we needed to drink a lot of water. You'd wake up in the middle of the night gasping for water; the air was very dry. The apartment we stayed in was very nice and clean with a live-in maid.

It was strange at first to adapt to the culture of eating all meals out. This is not something that is done on a special occasion in China, rather a daily occurrence for most. It is the culture and custom to share dishes and offer each other food. We thought our daily food budget of $2US per person was crazy and we expected to either starve or live on pot noodles. However, we discovered that we could eat out for three meals comfortably (in local 'simple' restaurants) for this money. Foreign foods, however, like KFC or Pizza Hut was an expensive treat!


Probably our most challenging, yet very rewarding activity were our trips to a school for poor, unregistered and orphaned children. On our first visit, without any prior warning, we were each asked to teach two 15minute English lessons – one after the other. Being totally unprepared, we had to frantically think on our feet (there were hundreds of children, split into groups of 40!). Thankfully we had translators, so we managed to survive. But, keeping the children's attention for such a length of time proved difficult. Our favourite thing to do there was playing with the very little ones, who were all incredibly
cute (over forty 2-4 year olds).


Becky and Li. Particularly, Becky got attached to a little girl called Li who took an instant liking to Becky and was very friendly, jumping and climbing all over us.

The orphanage was run by a kung foo master, so all the children learned Kung foo which they all performed to us (even the little ones had a go, which was very cute). Becky was tempted to adopt little Li but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), she was already adopted by the Kung foo master!

We also visited other schools where we taught English and performed South African dances. Many Chinese have never actually met a foreigner, so this was a very big deal for these children and gave the schools a more privileged status in the community. As thankyou's we were given traditional minority ethnic paintings.

We spent a lot of time visiting various universities, English corners where students come to practice their English. We were told many times that we were the first foreigners that they'd ever met and they wanted to build a friendship and keep in touch.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Arrival in Hong Kong

Destination: China
We arrived in Hong Kong on the 1st April after some very long flights and a long layover in Doha. However, the layover wasn't wasted as we were able to have great conversations with some Japanese people in the airport.

We spent five days in Hong Kong. Mainly helping the people at the YWAM base in practical, physical/DIY ways. We also visited a few churches and were able to help by serving them as and where we could.

Our favourite was a youth service attended by numerous young Chinese people which was all in Cantonese (but luckily we had an interpreter!). It was great to sing along in Chinese! We had the opportunity to teach them some South African songs (including Bambalela).

Being in Hong Kong was also a great opportunity to meet people who work in China. They were able to give us a good detailed orientation on what to expect and how to behave in Chinese culture, amongst other things.

After a few days in Hong Kong, we prepared ourselves for our long journey into mainland China. We wanted to stay longer, but we had to leave for financial reasons (HK is quite expensive). It took us two days, including a 27-hour train journey to get to our destination in Yunnan province, southern China.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Blessings and challenges

God changed Pete this week in an amazing way...we'll tell you about that in a minute, but first we've got some great news: we've reached our fundraising target for our Asia trip! Most of this came in the last week which has been 'very God' - testing us and teaching us to trust Him to the last minute! A huge thank you to everyone who has given. We are very grateful.

God has led us to be generous to others in the group who still have a long way to go, so any extra donations we receive (with your permission) may go to help other team members who deserve to go just as much as we do.

This week in short:
We have been really blessed over the past week with some amazing teachers. Last week we had a guy called Ron and his wife, Judy teaching us. They talked about faith and finances and submission to authority. It was very refreshing and the teaching gave us some really good principles on how to manage our money and belongings effectively. We also had some very good teaching on Godly leadership, after which we forgave those who had abused positions of leadership in our lives.

The second part of the week was spent looking at the importance of reading the Bible. Ron did an activity which supernatually affected Pete! He asked us to talk to each other about our favourite food, which Pete talked about lamb (secretly in his heart Pete loves Mars bars more, though lamb is good!). So, when we'd finished chatting among ourselves, Ron asked us to pray out loud "Lord please give me a hunger for reading the Bible more than XX food". Pete, for some reason at this point said "Mars bars" and from that moment on, Pete could not put down his Bible. He read through the whole of 1 Kings, chatting about it to everyone about what he was learning about, from Solomon to Elija! He's now onto 2 Kings.

Did you know it is possible to read through the whole Bible in 79 hours? ... theoretically ...

Please pray that this hunger continues, because Pete has been so frustrated about his lack of passion for reading the Bible for a while. This is great stuff!

A challenging evening:
Tonight has been a testing time for our group. Last Wednesday (10th March) was D-Day for the finances to come in (for the flights at least). We've been praying and seeking God for His provision for the entire group.

Our leader, Virmz, announced that some members of the group will not be able to join us, as they do not have the funding in place to go. Most of those staying will be working here in the local township and at the orphanage Pete currently helps at. We struggled with this concept and many have been wondering why. However, we all trust Him and His ways, knowing He knows best. Our team (Asia outreach) is now smaller, but we are pressing on nonetheless. God has called us to serve Him in specific locations and we are being obedient to His call. Please continue to pray for us.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Finding our place

The lectures continue
Our speaker last week was a guy from England called Richard. He spoke on the importance of accountability and resisting temptation. It was really powerful how he unpacked this through his teaching on how Jesus lived his life. He was a very funny speaker and it was good to hear some good ol' British humour for a change. He had quite a testimony himself and was very open about sharing it. This week learned about relationships with our teacher from America, Lindsey. It was refreshing to hear her talk about the tough issues that the church often avoids. She was open and held no holds barred discussions on sex, friendships and dating. There was a lot of wisdom in what she had to say, even for us married folk!

Getting more involved
Every Wednesday afternoon we make the 30 minute walk to the nearest township to us. There we meet with anyone and everyone who's around. It's a time for us to love the people and listen to them and find out what their hopes or fears, problems or dreams are and we pray with them and for them. Sometimes our group holds Bible studies, sometimes we play with the kids and just hang out. We invite them to an evening event in the township that some of the other YWAM guys run each week.

Thursdays are very busy days for Becky. After class she helps out with a Bible study / group therapy called S-CAPE (run by Justice ACTs) for homeless people, most of whom are, or were, drug addicts or sex workers. This is very rewarding and Becky feels like she's getting to know some of them. They're such lovely people - so intelligent with fascinating stories! Straight after this, she gives an English language lesson to some Brazilian YWAMers... and at night goes out with Justice ACTs (in small teams) to meet the working ladies of this area and chat and pray with them. Most are quite open about their lives, they seem to enjoy chatting to people who care and appreciate the prayers. Our aim is to ultimately help them off the street. One lady has already accepted a volunteer job (supported financially by YWAM) which will give her a skill and employment experience and a good reference. Our hope is that she will one day be able to do a DTS and be the first of many like her. Becky has been invited to join Justice ACTs full time after our DTS. We are praying about this move, but it looks like an exciting opportunity!

Meanwhile, Peter has been getting closer to the work with AfriCom - YWAM Africa's communication team. He's been meeting the team and getting to know the set up with a plan to hopefully work with them on return from outreach. He has really enjoyed spending his Thursdays getting his teeth stuck into the core of what it means to be YWAM in Africa and hopefully spreading the news about what this organisation does, both inside Africa and around the world using his marketing and fundraising skills.

We've also been helping out occasionally babysitting for a YWAM couple who live in a nearby town. Perhaps this is practice of what the future holds...? It feels like we haven't taken five minutes to take a breath!

Tomorrow we're off to Cape Town to meet Pete's brother, Mark. This should be a great outing and refreshment from the hard work we've been doing over the past few weeks.

Again, please keep us in your prayers. We still need at least £700 for us to complete our fundraising to go on outreach and the official deadline is today (Saturday). Please also pray for the exchange rate to be a bit more favourable for when we transfer the money. If the pound keeps on losing it's value against the Rand as it has been, we may need to fundraise £200-300 more to make up the shortfall!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Action stations

We've just come out of a meeting to discuss outreach. It's really exciting and the Lord is speaking to us through many different verses from Scripture. The main ones are Isaiah 61: 1-2, 54:17 and Isaiah 30. There are others too. We feel God telling us to abide in Him.

Our deadline as a group of 15 to raise £30,000 to enable this outreach to happen is 6th March, so the heat is on! Please pray! To raise these funds, we will be selling cookies, doing carwashes and anything else we can think of. We'd love any of you to also partner with us in fundraising if you feel led to do so ... please pray about it. Perhaps your church may also be interested in getting involved. The deadline stated is for pledges, actual funding can come a little later, if need-be.

To help with our fundraising, Becky is going to be selling African arts, crafts and jewellery. Please contact us if you're interested in buying any, or promoting/selling on our behalf..

Thanks for your prayers
Thank you to everyone who prayed for Pete today. Thank you also to all those who emailed us to let us know that you're praying. It means a lot to us and we love to hear your updates too. We will respond to each email individually (when we have internet access), but please be patient if you don't hear from us the same day (things are a bit slower here!).

Pete's meeting with SU went really well and he's hoping to build good relations with them over the next few weeks and after the outreach (from June). This work would be voluntary.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Getting into the Word

Last week we had teaching from DeWet who's a speaker in the School of Biblical Studies. He has an amazing knowledge of the Bible and he really helped us unpack the book of Ephesians. While doing so, he taught us a number of techniques for Bible study. Mainly, the inductive method: reading and observing the passage; contextualising; asking what it meant to the original audience (i.e. what overall message was the author trying to convey) then identifying practical ways we can apply that message to our lives today. He really helped the Bible to come alive and his passion, enthusiasm and motivation was contagious!

Also during that week, we spent some time receiving teaching on a Biblical overview: looking into the big picture of the Bible and how throughout the old testament God's plan of redemption and grace led to Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross. It was quite an eye opener and really showed us how much more we need to learn! What struck us most was how strict God's laws were on purity and holiness and how expensive it was for the Israelites to give sacrifices for their sins. This showed us how valuable Jesus' sacrifice really is. The price he paid means that we can live - for free! This is something that's easy to say, but we're really starting to appreciate really how great this gift from God is.

This week we're learning about the Father Heart of God. We have a well respected speaker that is sought after by lots of schools. Virmz - our school leader - managed to get him to come all the way from Hong Kong, where he currently lives. So far he has given some amazing testimonies about how God has touched his life. We have been so amazed by his humility and openness. We have been set a lot of homework recently, but today's was slightly different. Part of it involves praying for a fellow student and asking God if He has a message for them. The twist is: we have to deliver the message in a way that God shows us. This involves lots of praying and listening! Danie (our teacher) told us how 17% of what was said is remembered, but 83% of how it was said is remembered (this apploies to any context). He told us that's why God is so creative (citing the burning bush etc). Over the past two days he has been laying a foundation for the teaching. We are looking forward to what God will be doing in our lives this week. The DTS school from Worcester has come to join us for this week. It's lovely to meet them again and get to know them a bit better.
Peter continues to volunteer at Sibongile (a home in one of the biggest townships for children with cerebral palsy) where he helps the mamas by spending time with the children, feeding them, changing nappies and generally helping out (with a team of other volunteers). He's finding it both challenging but extremely rewarding.
Becky will be getting more involved with Justice ACTs now that one of their staff members is back. More on this later.
Please keep praying for us! Send us your news: peterclem@googlemail.com We miss you all.
If you'd like to call/text us, please let us know and we'll send you our numbers.

Friday, 5 February 2010

A week in Worcester (updated)


Just an update to let you know that over the past two weeks we've been delving deeper into our walk with God.

Becky has begun work with Justice ACTs – once a week to start with – on the investigation team doing research into trafficking and prostitution in Cape Town. We can't put too much on here but please do email us for more information. Needless to say, Becky's loving it.

Since our last update, we spent a week in Worcester – a town about 2 hours north east of Cape Town (though it was a 4-hour train ride!). In Worcester we learned about the Holy Spirit. The week was challenging for most of us and we are still processing what we heard. It was strange, too, to be at a much bigger base, where there were many different teams and a different 'culture'. All in all, we were all grateful to return back home to Muizenberg and 'back to normal'.
Worship last Sunday was awesome. The whole group became much much closer and there was a real feeling of unity among the group. People opened up and shared deep and personal things.

This past week we've had an amazing man of God speaking to us about the cost of discipleship. It was really sobering and powerful stuff. Please pray that we can be obedient to God. He's been speaking to us about being generous with our belongings and has sometimes called us to give things away. We are learning to be obedient with the right attitude (which is sometimes difficult).

Meantime, we're still planning our outreach to Asia. We need to raise 18,000 ZAR (1,500 pounds) each. So please also pray for that. We'll keep you posted as things develop.

Thank you for your prayers.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Baptisms in the sea

Today several of our group (including two staff) felt called to be baptised. Our group leader, Virmz, along with the teacher for this week, James, led us down to the sea. After a short period of worship on the beach, we waded in to the ocean to witness people publicly declaring their faith by means of baptism. It was wild...nobody could stand still as the waves came crashing over us.
But it was also a very moving experience as, one by one, they came forward to be fully emersed in the name of the father, son and holy spirit.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

No turning back now


Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us and supporting us. We're here now and this is our first proper update since the course started (yesterday). Last week was orientation, explanation of assignments, learning our chores, house rules and administration.

We've had a tour of Muizenberg. It's a lovely little coastal settlement, just south of the city and Table Mountain. The weather is really windy here, so you don't really feel the heat, which is nice, as there is no air conditioning. Although the downside is you don't notice the strength of the sun, so us brits tend to look a bit like lobsters! The prices here (probably due to the weak pound) are really expensive. Most things are just as expensive as in the UK and some things even more so. Let's hope the pound strengthens, so we can last a bit longer on what we've funraised.

Please pray for guidance. This week we need to put forward our choices for outreach and we've been asked to seek the Lord on where we should go. If you feel God is leading you, please email us – peterclem@googlemail.com

So far this week we've been learning about the complex nature of the trinity. There was a specific focus on the nature and person of the Holy Spirit. This was very interesting and helped unpack something that we knew already, but in a way that we can demonstrate to others (also, we hadn't really thought about it in that much depth). We've had a very enthusiastic speaker who has been very hands-on with visual demonstrations and lots of useful diagrams! It's very biblically sound.

The training that we're doing at the moment is mainly to help us have a theological foundation and knowledge for outreach and further ministry. There are many people from all sorts of denominations here, but as the speaker asked probing questions on where our churches stood on certain theological issues (such as is it possible to lose one's salvation) many didn't know. This is key to when we might be asked or challenged by non-Christians or people interested in becoming a Christian.

It has also been a great opportunity so far to have some 'time out' to reflect. We hope that God will guide us as we learn of His plan for our lives.

We're staying in a former hotel. Advantage: en-suit bathroom. Disadvantage: it's a large building (in some disrepair) and we are responsible for all the cleaning!! There are 20 other people on the course and it's fascinating to live in community. Because of the nature of this course: people are far from home and the security aspect of having to lock yourself in the building and only leave the building in groups of three or more, we end up spending many hours here, so breakfast, lunch and dinner + lectures + socialising is all done with the same group. There are other groups here, but we're definitely finding a very close bond within the DTS group.

There are 100 staff who work here. They run several schools, plus accept people staying here while they are doing outreach to Muizenberg from other locations around the world. Currently there are groups from Carlisle, Switzerland and Hawaii. So, all in all, it's a pretty busy place. You can always here someone playing a tune on a guitar somewhere!

Meantime, for us: our stomachs are still acclimatising to the diet (institution food).

We'll keep you posted regularly

P&B xx

Monday, 4 January 2010

Here at last

Greetings from sunny South Africa. This afternoon, Becky and I arrived into Cape Town International Airport. We were picked up by Matt Shields and have been well looked after by the extended Shields' family who live not far from Table Mountain.
We begin our DTS on Wednesday, so we're going to spend today and tomorrow recovering from the journey and getting aclimatised.
We'll update the blog soon with pics of where we're staying and what the course entails.
Until then.... thanks again for your prayers and support.
Blessings,
Peter.