Monday, 31 August 2009

Farewell Cape Town...

This will most probably be my last blog update from Cape Town, South Africa, for a while. I leave this coming Wednesday bound for Johannesburg and then catch a flight early the next morning to Cotonou, Benin. If all goes to plan and the flight arrives on time, I should touch down Thursday afternoon at 14h40 in Benin (local time).

This past week has been a mad rush of seeing good friends and making sure that I have everything ready for my departure. And then yesterday my family and I all got together and had a lovely braai (barbecue) for Sunday lunch. It was good fun. My siblings and I also decided to have a photo taken, as it had been at least five years since we had one taken of us all together. The first photo here was taken around 1989 - 1990 and is of the four of us together - Me, Lindsay, Debbie, Shirley (from the youngest to the oldest).

The second photo was the one taken yesterday. No longer is Shirl the tallest! It's now a toss-up between my brother and I.

The other photo here is with Shirley's husband, Montassir, and their two children. And of course my Scruffy-dog! I'll definitely miss my beautiful family.

Thanks to you all for the prayers and support and for being a very real part of my story by, well, reading my story! Please continue to pray for good health and safe travels to Cotonou, Benin - thanks! For the last time from Cape Town, South Africa, I bid you farewell and God bless!

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Farewell Breakfast...

This morning my cell group put together a lovely continental breakfast as a farewell for me - and also a way to raise some more support. There were between thirty and forty people who came and it was a lovely morning.

I shared some of my story and was honoured to have Mike Boone, a good friend and member of my cell group (who has kept me busy these past few days proofreading his PhD dissertation), share a message for all of us. Mike shared on Matthew 9: 35 - 38 and how Jesus saw the people and had compassion. We (as Believers) should never lose sight of the people. We are given skills and talents to make a difference.

Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field."

Mike also shared that there are three sacrifices taking place - and with each sacrifice comes a sense of responsibility. The first sacrifice is that of the community. My church family and friends sending me out. They have a responsibility to continue to pray and, where support has been promised, support. Then there is the sacrifice that my family have made in giving me up so that I may leave for Mercy Ships. That is a huge sacrifice for my family - knowing that I won't be around for quite sometime. I know I'll miss my family when I am away. (By the way, the last photo here is with my parents and one of my sisters.) And lastly, there is my own sacrifice as an individual - giving up my home and family here to go and serve. My responsibility is to God firstly, to Mercy Ships, to my family and supporters back home, and then to myself as an individual.

Mike ended with a really encouraging statement - actually from a young missionary serving in Africa. And I will end this entry with it. It certainly is true!

The safest place to be is in the centre of God's will.

What an awesome thought! When we are serving God and in His perfect will for our lives, we are safe! He is my Fortress and my Strength. God bless you all!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Our Gateway-BST Course...

Here is a video from the Alumni site of Mercy Ships ( that they put together of our Basic Safety Training course! We appear just over half way through the report. I hope you enjoy it!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Introducing Jesse!!!

Here is the latest addition to our family, baby Jesse, a healthy 3,4kgs, born via C-Section on Friday, 7th August at 16h15 SA time. Congrats Shirley and Montassir and brother Rhyenn! Photo here of a proud Uncle Murray!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Playing the Waiting Game...

In between things. Waiting. Preparing. Planning. Avoiding H1N1. Seeking God. This is what this time back home has consisted of as I prepare to leave Cape Town bound for Johannesburg and on to Benin in a little under four weeks time.

In a sense my whole family are waiting. Waiting for the new arrival in the family to arrive. My sister Shirley went to the maternity hospital for a check-up yesterday. She is pretty much full-term now. Baby is fine and could come out at anytime. Mother has a little high blood pressure, but is otherwise healthy. She went to the hospital again today and they checked her blood pressure again and have admitted her overnight and she will most probably have a C-Section sometime tomorrow (Friday) or on Saturday. (She had my first nephew, Rhyenn, by emergency C-Section in 2007 due to serious pre-clampsia.) Due to Baby's imminent arrival, we decided to celebrate Rhyenn's second birthday a couple weeks early this past Saturday. It was a really fun time for little Rhyenn, as the photos on this entry show.

And whilst the family wait, I also prepare. This past Friday I purchased two-years worth of travel and health insurance which will kick in on September 2nd. It worked out much cheaper (half the cost) to purchase travel insurance here in South Africa, than to go with an international (American) insurer. I've also gone to the Automobile Association (AA) of South Africa and bought an International Driving Permit. (In case of problems with driving in the Canary Islands on a South African driving licence.) This past Monday I also found a handy duffel-bag (on wheels and with a handle) which should be perfect for my travel needs.

And while I prepare to return, the news is inundating me with dire warnings about the spread of swine flu, more correctly termed H1N1. It has hit South Africa hard the last few weeks. For example, when I left South Africa bound for the USA just over seven weeks ago, there were no confirmed cases in South Africa. There are now approaching 1,000. My alma mater has twenty confirmed cases, and a school nearby had 250 students absent out of a total of 1,000 just yesterday. To make matters worse, there is a really virulent strain of normal flu going around this winter. And with SA's first death from H1N1 last week, people are panicking and are stockpiling Tamiflu. But I'm not too worried about it all, and I certainly won't allow myself to panic. Concerned, yes, but not worried. After all, God is in control.

But more importantly than any material needs or physical health, is the time I spend now with God. I've been challenged to seek first His kingdom, before I embark on this new adventure. And I've found that I am being prompted to do little acts of service in my daily life. It's a still small voice that tells me deep inside, "You should do that, Murray. Go, lend a helping hand." It's encouraging because I know that God is at work inside me. And if I am to reach the heights of my potential on that Mercy Ship, I need to listen to His voice in my heart everyday. That is most of all what I am trying to practice now. An awareness of God in my life - and following His prompting no matter where He may lead.

Stay posted for pictures of new Baby shortly!