Team South Africa News Updates
June 4, 2011
A week has passed by in a blur as we have ministered across 5 different towns along the Cape Garden Route!
This has been an eventful week with some unexpected events and trials, but God has shown Himself in ways we could not have imagined. His ways
are perfect even when we face difficulty -- the deepening of faith and trust has been evident as God has bestowed His grace on us.
We are so thankful that He is in control of this entire trip. I know my faith has been weak at times and God has continually taught me that I
am not in control (as much as I think I am!). My doubts and concerns are always overruled by His perfect plans and provision! I am humbled
that He continues to work in us as broken earthen vessels!
The team has experienced a land of beauty, a people of warmth and gracious hospitality and the thrill of sharing a universal language -- music!
Monday began with practices for the concerts and a combined practice with the Knysna Elementary school choir. I was expecting a small untrained
choir and was stunned when we found 60 eager students singing beautifully in 3 parts! They had prepared one number to sing with the group and
also 3 of their own. After an easy rehearsal with them, the 6 pianists in the group went to the Dutch Reformed hall to practice for the 2 piano
concert. That evening we put on a variety concert and sang to a full hall. The parents and students were very responsive and we loved singing
"You Raise Me Up" with the elementary choir at the end of the program. The principal of the school is a Christian and made wonderful comments
about our performance and the work of the Lord -- Amazing in a secular setting!
Tuesday was our rainy day so the plans changed and we spent much of the day practicing. That evening we traveled up to Sedgefield for another
variety concert and had a wonderful performance there. The audience in Sedgefield is very receptive and encouraging. Many promised to come to
future concerts and services.
Wednesday we sang to 1100 students at an Afrikaans high school in George (an hour away). The students were very attentive and heard the Gospel
clearly in our presentation. We had many stay behind and talk to the team. That night 6 of the team gave an exciting 2 piano concert to a
smaller audience -- all did a superb job performing.
Thursday we gave a morning concert at Belvidere Park -- a retirement community, followed by a concert at Loeriehof nursing home and then a
trek an hour up the coast to Nature's Valley -- a remote community. All went well and the team truly ministered with excellence and enthusiasm.
Friday we were able to visit a local township to feed HIV kids. The team was able to see how a large part of Africa lives. That evening we
did a variety concert at Mugg and Bean. M&B is not usually open in the evenings in Knysna but they opened especially for our concert. I did
not have much faith that it would be a great event and wondered if anyone would come out for the evening. Much to my surprise, the restaurant
was packed to capacity with both church folk and others! Our 2 hour concert was very enthusiastically received and the team presented Christ
clearly in our sacred section. Many promised to come to our last 2 church services, which will be tomorrow. We were thrilled at the contacts
that were made.
Today started with a men's breakfast meeting, a morning Mugg & Bean concert (again, a huge success), a free afternoon (Whew! That was a first!)
and then our last variety concert at Hunters Village in Knsyna. A great crowd was there and we pulled out all the stops with our last concert.
I marveled as I sat back and saw how our team had grown musically over the week. Good performances come from performing and we sure have done
that this week! Our students were professional, musical and a joy to watch!
Our last day of ministry will be tomorrow with 2 church concerts and a concert in the township. We trust our energy will last through the day
before we have our final pot luck dinner with many of the people that have supported us through the week, and the missionaries. I know that the
testimony time will be sweet and sad at the same time.
Monday we head back for Cape Town and fly back to London Monday night. We will be across the water Tuesday and will arrive into our home locations
Tuesday evening -- Exhausted but exhilirated I am sure!
Please allow us to tell all our stories and to show the many, many pictures we have taken! You will want to join us on the next African ministry
trip I know! (They are begging us to come back in 2 years if not sooner!!).
Thank you for your prayers and your continued support! There are details of this trip that are still awaiting God's final provision (our funds
are still not all in) but we are trusting for Him to continue working in His mighty way!
With gratefulness for what He has done,
(for the South Africa Team)
May 30, 2011
Greetings from the Garden Route, Cape, South Africa...one of the most beautiful places on earth!
We have had a whirlwind of a first week with very little time to write a report -- plus we did not have internet access for our first
4 days. So please forgive the lateness of this first report!
We boarded our flight to Chicago with 10 of the 12, meeting Hannah and Ahna in Chicago. It was Hannah's birthday so we gave her a princess
crown and wand to wear around the airport -- her birthday treat was a sundae from McDonalds (not very exciting but the best we could do
in the airport!). We then flew to London after a short delay and arrived on time into Heathrow Monday morning. We put out luggage in a
locker and caught the underground (tube) into the city. We were blessed with perfect weather -- clear skies, cool breezes -- and made it
in time to see the 'changing of the Guard' at Buckingham Palace. We enjoyed seeing the guards, bought a few souvenirs at the Queens
Gallery shop and headed off through St. James' Park to Westminster. Big Ben and the Parliament buildings were gazed at briefly before
we took a ride on the amazing London Eye, seeing the sights of the city from the heights of the slowly rotating 'ferris wheel.' After
we boarded a boat for a cruise on the Thames -- which was very cold from the top deck as the sun was descending quickly and the wind
had picked up. We briefly stopped at Piccadilly Circus and ate a quick lunch at Subway before finding Jillian a birthday cake at M&S --
our second birthday to celebrate on the trip. We made our way back to Heathrow and checked in for our British Airways flight to
Cape Town direct. We were blessed to have a plane that was not very full so most of our team had 2 or 3 seats each!! Needless to
say we all slept at least 8 hours on that flight! We arrived Tuesday morning into Cape Town and were greeted by our hosts, Dave and
Julie Rudolph along with Abby Hall (our team member who was already in South Africa with her family).
The rental vans did not work out as booked (too small for our luggage) so we upgraded to larger vehicles and had the back seats
taken out for luggage. The rain was steadily pouring down as we made our way to Stellenbosch for lunch and some amazing market
shopping. (Some of our team learned to barter for the first time!) We then headed on to Paardeberg Camp where we settled into 3
chalets perched on a mountainside. The camp is owned by a group of independent churches in the Cape (Our previous team stayed
there and loved being out in real Africa!) After hot showers we headed down to Cape Town to the waterfront where we had a good
meal and walked around the water and shops.
Wednesday we started our ministry with a chapel concert at Good Hope Christian School. The students in their uniforms were so well
behaved! After that we drove all the way south to Cape Point (the rain had abated and left blue skies and cool breezes) to see where
the Atlantic meets the Indian oceans! We took great pictures and then headed back to the city to do our first church concert at
Community Baptist in Blue Downs. The church was full as we ministered. We had learned 2 songs in Afrikaans (the Dutch language
that everyone speaks besides English) and they loved our accents (thanks to Dr. Peters!!) and the fact that we had learned a song
in their home tongue. We were blessed by their open hearts and their receptivity to our ministry.
Thursday the skies were clear again and we headed early for Table Mountain. We caught the cable car to the top of the mountain and
had incredible 360 degree view of the Cape peninsular -- Truly spectacular! We will post some pictures soon. Thursday afternoon we
practiced for our concert and Thursday night ministered at Everglen Baptist Church in Durbanville. Again, we had a wonderful time of
ministry in music, and I was able to see many friends from our past trip in 2008 as well as family and friends from my early days of
growing up in Africa.
Friday morning we left the camp early and headed for the Garden Route and for the town of Knysna. We drove through mountains,
forests, valleys viewing miles of vineyards, farmlands and tribal communities. We arrived in the afternoon at the Rudolphs and
split up the team to our host homes. We then had dinner at the Rudolphs and practiced further for our concerts.
Saturday proved to be a very busy day with 4 different opportunities. We drove 45 minutes to the town of George to do a 'flash mob'
sing at the Spur restaurant at George Mall followed by a 30 minute concert in the mall. Many contacts were made during the mall
concert as the mall rarely has performers like our team come and sing. We advertised all our upcoming concerts and many promised
to attend. We then did a 30 minute concert at a soccer stadium followed by a wonderful traditional braai (barbecue) at the Crane's
house (George missionaries). We left for Wilderness (believe me, this is NOT what you imagine for a town called this -- it is a
gorgeous hilltop town with incredible views and beaches) to do a home concert for the Building A Nation organization (for which
Dave Rudolph is chaplain). After some Broadway numbers we sang sacred songs and Dave brought a very strong Gospel presentation.
Two people raised their hands for salvation so we were thrilled that our music and the Word spoke deeply.
This morning we left for the Protea hotel in Knysna to sing for a 9:30 a.m. service in the brand new work the Rudolphs have started.
It was a moving service as we sang the truth of God's love and the work of Christ on the Cross. What a thrill to see visitors in
the service and to lift our voices in praise to our great God. After lunch at the Knsyna waterfront we drove back to George to do a
4 p.m. concert at Bible Baptist Church and then a 6 p.m. concert at Agape Baptist. Both services were well attended and many were blessed
as the team ministered. We had a huge pizza dinner with church friends and then came back quite exhausted to our homes.
The team is doing INCREDIBLE work as we travel and minister. The attitudes are positive and servant-like as we interact with each
other and then with the local South Africans. This is a most unusual team -- not only musically but from a character/personality
standpoint. They are a joy to travel with, and it thrills my heart to see them minister with excellence and hearts overflowing with
His love. The comment we have received after every concert is "we have seen Jesus." That is our goal. To show only Christ!
We are very thankful for safety, health and incredible ministry opportunities. We could not ask for more! God has been faithful
and is supplying our every need.
Please pray for continued safety and health (Nate is somewhat hoarse tonight) and for a very busy week. Our schedule is very
demanding but we are doing what will impact this part of South Africa for eternity!
With eternity in view,
May 25, 2011
The team arrived in London on time and saw many sights during their 10 hour layover. Their flight to Cape Town, South Africa,
was on time, and it arrived only 30 minutes late. When they went to get their vehicles, the vehicles they rented online were not
the same as the ones being given to them. The full sized van was much smaller and the mini-van was a mid-sized car. So, they had
to rent two vans and have the back seats taken out for room for luggage. That took a couple of hours. Then they drove out to the
camp where they are staying. It is out in the mountains, and it is very beautiful. They began concerts today locally. Dr.
Ralston will send a more complete picture of what is going on later today.