Tuesday, 30 April 2013

More than enough...

I was trying to think about a title for this post. It could be "Skewed Expectations", but that wouldn't be quite right. It is in essence a blog post about the fragmented, challenging life that Candace and I lead. But I hope by the time you've finished reading you will see that there is very much a bright hope for the future.

Candace and I are back at Zithulele. We were told before we came that our own place was almost ready and that we'd have to stay in student accommodation or a bed and breakfast before we could move in. That was almost two weeks ago. Since then we've moved from the bed and breakfast in Coffee Bay (Geckos Guest House is an amazing place to visit and we highly recommend it!) back to Zithulele, where we've been blessed by being able to house-sit for a couple of families. Our new home was quite badly damaged by some severe rain that hit the Eastern Cape a little over a week ago - hence the repairs and subsequent delay that has resulted in our home not being ready. God came through in a big way providing house-sitting opportunities at just the right time.

It has been a frustrating time as we live out of our suitcases, not really having a home of our own. It was a battle not knowing where we'd be staying a few days down the line. Our new place is a lot smaller than we initially expected - which will be a challenge, too. Candace and I both welcome structure and routine - we thrive on it! Here we have battled to find any of it. It is difficult to be taken out of your comfort zone and thrown into the deep end. Sometimes it feels like that here. I guess all we can really do is trust that God is in control and knows what He is doing.

And yet, through it all, God has an amazing way of coming through. He must have a deep sense of humour. After writing my thoughts down, I read a few verses in John 14 that instantly struck me. Candace and I have been concerned about the size of our accommodation. We're staying in a room about half the size of a couple's cabin on the Africa Mercy. But God tells us:

 Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?
(John 14: 1 - 2)

It doesn't matter how small our physical home here on earth may be, because this is only our temporary home. After all, THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH ROOM IN MY FATHER'S HOME. Jesus' home is our home. In fact, He should live in our hearts, and our eyes should be focused on things above and less on the things of this world.

I'm not saying that it'll get any easier, but I am thankful that in moments of trial, we have a God who does care - even through his sense of humour revealing awesome truths. Thank you Lord!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Return to Zithulele...

Candace and I returned to Zithulele Mission Hospital last week. We are continuing to work alongside the Mercy Vision team, providing cataract surgeries and healthcare to eye patients. Please keep us in your prayers as we serve here!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

SA Navy Day 2013...

The SA Navy Festival is an annual event held in Simon's Town, a historic coastal town and headquarters of the South African Navy. The Festival showcases various branches of South Africa's military, focusing primarily on the navy. Displays include army tanks and weapons, the Cannon Society of South Africa, firefighting, a dog show, a flea-market and food stalls, tug boat rides, and many ships (and submarines) open to the public. Candace and I joined Mom and Dad in taking my little nephews on this fun outing last Friday. (5th April.)

 Cannon Society of South Africa.
 Tug in dry dock.
 Candace and I enjoy the tug boat ride.
 Tug boat ride.
 Naval vessels moored in the harbour.
 SAS Drakensberg, fleet replenishment vessel.
 SAS Protea, hydrographic survey vessel.
 SAS Mendi, one of South Africa's four Valour-class frigates.
 SAS Charlotte Maxeke, a new submarine.
 Army tank.
 Rhyenn and Jesse in an armoured personnel carrier.
 Ship on the tracks in dry dock - much like where the Africa Mercy dry docks in Gran Canaria.
 Rhyenn and Jesse have some fun on the AA-gun.
Frigate in dry dock at the Simon's Town Naval Dockyard.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Easter 2013...

After going to the Easter Sunday service at church, Candace and I returned home to have some lovely family time - consisting of a family braai (barbecue). We also had an Easter Egg hunt for my young nephews, and they had loads of fun looking for eggs in the garden. But Easter is about far more than Easter Eggs, so I hope that wherever you were, you had an amazing day celebrating Jesus' victory over sin and death!

 Easter Egg Hunt.
 Easter Cake.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Winter in Cape Town...

April has arrived and with it the temperatures have dropped considerably. It is my first time in four years that I'm in South Africa for winter, and I am so excited by the thought of long, rainy days and cold weather! I've missed it!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Miller family visits Cape Town...

Candace's parents and sister came to visit us here in Cape Town the week before Easter. We were very excited when their plane touched down on the tarmac at Cape Town International on Saturday night, 23rd March. I had been monitoring their progress on a couple of flight tracker websites throughout the day! Due to work and school constraints, they could only visit us for one week. So we had to fit as much "touristy" stuff as possible into that time period, but also allow moments to relax and hang out with us.

 Little welcome packs we made for their arrival.
 Proteas (indigenous flowers) for Lavone.

The day after they arrived we took them to my church where they enjoyed the service and were able to meet Pastor Peter, who married Candace and I last year. Once home, we had a braai (barbecue) in the back garden with the whole family. It was great fun.

Monday dawned with a strong wind blowing, but since I'd been following the weather reports and knew that Tuesday would be the perfect day for the cableway, we decided to make this the day to travel down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. We drove roughly the same route Candace and I cycled for the Argus Cycle Tour, some two weeks prior. We stopped at Boulder's Beach and saw many African penguins, and then headed down to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, part of Table Mountain National Park, where we saw tortoises, some bontebok (a type of antelope), ostriches, baboons, and many beautiful views. We headed back via scenic Chapman's Peak Drive and Hout Bay, and then had supper at Newlands Spur.

 Simon's Town.
 African Penguin and eggs at Boulder's Beach.
 Miller's Point. :-)
 King Protea plant.
  Bontebok grazing.
  Ostriches own the roads here.
 Cape of Good Hope.
 Baboon and baby.
  Chapman's Peak Drive.

Tuesday was a day that tested the patience of all of us, as we had to queue for a couple of hours waiting to go up Table Mountain in the cable car. Candace and I had some promotional offers that we got in our Cycle Tour race packs. These allowed a two for the price of one special offer. My sister came along too and once up we had a lovely time marvelling at the breathtaking views of Cape Town and the surrounding areas - all the way out to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years prior to the dawning of democracy in South Africa. We then visited the V & A Waterfront on our way home. A highlight for me was to enjoy a lovely traditional Mennonite meal that Lavone and Candace made for supper. It was amazing!

 Camps Bay.
 Mountain lizard.
Dassie (Rock Hyrax).
 View looking down at the lower cable way station.
 On top of Table Mountain.
 Lion's Head and Signal Hill with Robben Island in the distance.
 View across to Devil's Peak.
 Clock Tower at the Waterfront.
Devil's Peak and Table Mountain from the Waterfront. The upper cable way station is at the very right of Table Mountain.

A visit to Cape Town wouldn't be complete without a drive to see the view of the mountain from across Table Bay, and so Wednesday we drove up the West Coast and found a lovely beach near Blouberg. Here we enjoyed walking, wading in rock pools, and gathering shells. It was a lovely day with a chilly north wind blowing, causing some cloud cover on the mountain.

South Africa. 2013.

Thursday my parents took Candace's parents for a drive of the country outside Cape Town. They drove through farming and wine country out to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. While they drove through the lovely scenery, Candace and Hannah enjoyed browsing through Canal Walk, one of South Africa's largest shopping malls.

Good Friday saw us, after the Good Friday service at church, head up to the University of Cape Town where we all took part in the Two Oceans Marathon Fun Runs. The Two Oceans Marathon is a 56 kilometre Ultra-marathon that occurs every Easter Saturday in Cape Town. The fun runs are part of the build-up to this event. Candace, Hannah and I struggled through the 5,6 km route, while my sister Debbie, Mom, Dad, Mike and Lavone all managed the 2,1 km stroll. We had supper that evening at the Mugg and Bean at Cavendish Square.

 My sister and brother-in-law and my nephews came to visit us at the Mugg and Bean.
Family photo. Got to love Jesse's mouthful of chips! :-)

Before taking them to the airport on Saturday, we were able to go to Craft in the Park at Rondebosch Park, which sees many vendors selling their lovely arts and crafts. But after an amazing week (which went by too quickly) we were heading back to Cape Town International, where some sad goodbyes were said. Thanks for coming to visit Mike, Lavone and Hannah! Hope to see you in the USA soon!