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!