We have held off on writing to you in the hopes that we would be able to let you know that we were back in South Africa and update you on our ministry there. We were due to fly back on April 14th but due to the coronavirus our flights were canceled. We rescheduled each month only to have those flights canceled and now have flights booked for the 16th of July. Now we will wait to see if South Africa will open up to international flights. They have just resumed domestic flights.
South Africa has had a much stricter lockdown than we have experienced here in the States. For pretty much the first two months they were only allowed to leave the house for food or medicine and then they could only go .6 of a mile from their home. No walks (not even to take the dog for a walk), jogging or cycling. No take outs or deliveries. Even in our complex the neighbors were not allowed to interact except by phone. There was an 8:00 pm curfew nationwide. They just started to lift some restrictions this month but most public places other than what is considered essential are still closed and there are still restrictions on how far you can travel without a permit.
We are grateful to have had time to spend with our children and grandchildren. Time to catch up with some reading, filing (computer), sorting things we have stored at the kids houses etc. We were also able to help Emily and Brian move house and spend almost a week at the mission headquarters. We are now really anxious to get home but we know that God is in control and that gives us joyful peace.
We were reminded that even if we were in SA we would not have had anymore contact with those we minister to than what we have from here. We are so thankful for the technology that allows us to message and make video calls internationally for free. We have used this to do a lot of counseling and encouraging with our friends in SA.
We have been so proud of the way the pastors there have used this technology to minister to their flock during this difficult time. We have appreciated being able to listen to the Sunday services and daily devotionals that they have prepared so faithfully. We believe the Christians will come back even stronger as we have interacted with them and they have expressed how thankful they are for the time to study God's Word without all the normal distractions. Only time will tell how many others have trusted Christ for salvation as a result of this ministry. Pray to this end.
That God would work in the hearts of Joan and Jessica through materials that we have given them to read.
For Standwell and Immanuel that they will maintain a good testimony during these difficult circumstances.
For many that will be without jobs and are already struggling to make ends meet.
That Robyn will seek out Godly friends and an older Godly woman that can disciple her there in Las Vegas. She is hoping to visit SA later this year.
For Anthony and Ronel, Mary, Barbara and Gareth and Robert and Jenny. There are so many we could name. All with particular needs that God knows. They would so appreciate your prayers for them.
We praise God that we were able to complete all of our scheduled furlough meetings the Sunday before the stay at home orders took place. We visited all of our personal supporters in the northern states and had a great visit with so many of Tom's family in PA. All of you encourage us more than you know and we thank God for each of you.
We fly from Dallas back to SA and ask that you pray with us for God's perfect timing and for many opportunities to serve Him while we wait.
Thank you for your faithfulness.
If you love coffee like we do, there's a unique way you can help us here on the field by simply drinking coffee!