In Heathrow

We made it to Heathrow! One ten hour flight down, one to go!
We’re almost home 🙂

Our last team picture before we departed119

The view from the window of the plane

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Looking down on London

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Nice to stretch after a long flight

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Waiting to board our next flight! In good spirits, of course

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Kayla is happy to be here

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Ready to come home!

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Those who stayed behind in South Africa will be living there permanently.
Just kidding, the plan is for them to be boarding a plane to Heathrow in about 10 hours. Please keep praying for us as we have a total of three flights left as a team.

The first group is on schedule, and Lord willing, will arrive in the States this afternoon. (Monday the 17th, that is)

Day 12 ~ Church & Travels

We got to sleep in a bit this morning before packing our things and meeting at the Mack’s. We celebrated Muphamuzi’s birthday (which is today) with a breakfast cake! After breakfast Bryan led us in a devotion based on Revelation 7:9-12, reminding us that the multicultural experience of worship that we’ve had here is a little taste of what heaven will be like.

We spent a little shopping for some last minute souvenirs and loaded our bags. We then all went to church and enjoyed our last service with Living Hope Church. We said a quick goodbye and most of our team headed to the airport. Bryan, Joshua, Sarah, Hannah, and Rachel all stayed because of a ticket complication. They will be flying home tomorrow. (Leaving South Africa on Monday & arriving in America on Tuesday)

The rest of us are on our way to London and we’ll do our best to let you know when we’ve arrived there. Please pray for us to have a safe flight, and that we would be as comfortable as possible on this crowded plane.

Because of poor internet, no pictures will be attached to this post. Sorry :/

Day 11 ~ Ministry in Modimolle

Our last full day here in South Africa. There’s a very mixed bag of emotions that comes along with that. On one hand, we are deeply saddened that our time here has to come to a close. On the other hand, we will soon be reunited with our families and friends back home.

The sky was clear blue this morning for the first time since we got here

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Rather than being bogged down by the fact that we will be leaving soon, we set out this morning full of energy, ready to see what the Lord would do through us. We began with breakfast at the Mack’s and a devotion led by Marty Krebs. We looked at Colossians 1:15-20, one of the greatest passages of scripture explaining who Christ is. We were reminded of the truth of who Christ is. Seeing who He is gives us a foundation to base our attitudes and actions on.

“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
~Colossians 1:17~

With this in mind, we drove about two and a half hours to Modimolle, where we were greeted with a number of friendly faces. We started off our time with some singing, and a teaching from Bryan Bush on Christ as our one and only mediator based on Hebrews 12:24. Though there weren’t a ton of people there to hear the message, it was still a great opportunity to encourage those who came, and to bless the pastor of the church.

After the message, we split up. The guys, minus Jim, Josh, and Matthew, went to do some gardening for a number of people in the community. The ladies and the three mentioned above stayed at the church to work with the kids. They did some Awana games, shared the gospel message & taught the kids how to do so with a Gospel bracelet, and sang a few worship songs. There was also a delicious pudding, oreo, gummy worm snack!

Kayla made a new friend

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Rachel also made a new friend

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The kids sang Melo some songs

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Melo & Chris got to share the gospel with the kids

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The pudding crew!

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The kids enjoying their pudding (some of them for the first time ever)

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An action shot of one of the AWANA games

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Jim Hughes organizing games, trying to get the kids in line

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Kayla (err.. her hair) drew quite the crowd

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Everyone came back together for lunch, which the church ladies graciously provided for us. Once we were done enjoying our meal, we split up into small groups to do a family style devotion. The purpose of the devotion was to teach the church members how to hold their own family devotions. A number of the men from the team got to lead small groups and did a great job explaining how to do a devotion with the whole family.

Steve Manthorne’s small group

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Jim Hughes’ small group

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Bryan Bush’s small group

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Marty Krebs’ small group

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Tracey Murphy’s small group

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Randy Clark’s small group

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The group shot

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Once we had finished up and taken a group picture, we headed back to the Mack’s. After a long drive (on which one of the cars sang hymns for about 2 & 1/2 hours straight), the team made it back to the Mack’s and all of the younger adults & kids on the team got to wash the cars. A church that has close ties to Living Hope church lent us the use of their large van at no charge. This was a huge blessing, and so the least we could do was give it a good washing before returning it. We also got to wash the Clark’s van, which they purchased just days before we arrived (and we proceeded to make quite dirty…).

Before washing…

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After washing!

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Hard working group

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Andre, the model

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Julia showing off her hard work

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Andre giving Josh a little whipping

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Matthew & Taylor cleaning the inside of the van

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Fancy shot – photo credit:: McKenna Mack

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To finish off our day, we had a delicious home-cooked meal, and got an update from the Clark family. We have so appreciated our time spent with this dear family. They have been such a blessing to us, even though we came seeking to bless them. We were especially encouraged by their transparency, their openness, and their love for our church & team members. For most of the team, this will be our last night here in South Africa. Please pray for a good night’s sleep and the ability to enjoy our last hours, and church service in Pretoria (last… At least for this year ;)).

Important update!
Pastor Doug made it home safely! We as a team are especially grateful to those of you who prayed for him during his travels. It has been good for him to be home, and though we were sad to see him leave, we know that it was the right thing for him to do.

Home! Safe, sound, and happy

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::Looking forward::
Tomorrow most of us will head home. Before we do that, the plan is to enjoy a little bit more time with the 1Hope family here in South Africa & to worship alongside the body of believers that gathers at Living Hope Church. Please pray for safety as we travel, a good last day here, and the ability to bless the families that we’ve been honored to stay with here. Your prayers have meant so much to our team–please keep them up!

Day 10 ~ Work Projects & AWANA

We began this morning with breakfast at the Mack’s once again. The hospitality that we’ve been shown has been incredible. Bryan Bush led us in a devotional based on Matthew 6:25-34–we were reminded to not be anxious, even (and especially) when there are things going on around us that are out of our control.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ‘Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.’”
~Matthew 6:33-34~

We began our day being encouraged to renew our trust in God, knowing that He is sovereign over all things. We individually and collectively worked at not being worried about what was going on or changes in plans. With this in mind, we all went to the Baby Home to continue some of the projects we had started on Wednesday and to continue loving on the precious babies.

There were a number of projects going on including tree removal, brick coating, wall building, and counter tiling. It’s such a joy to be able to use some of the gifts that God has blessed us with in order to bless and encourage His body on the other side of the world. Another gift that we were able to give was a fourth laptop. We gave three of the caregivers laptops on Wednesday, but the forth wasn’t there because she got the day off. Today we blessed her with a laptop of her own. She was in tears, filled with gratitude that the Lord had answered her prayer for a laptop. It’s amazing how such a simple gift can mean so much to someone; and to think that God blessed our team with the chance to give it to her, that’s incredible.

Patricia receiving her laptop

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Josh getting ready to work

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Matthew working on removing a tree

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Before…

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After! They built a wall

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They also moved the water heater (which is called a ‘geezer’ here :))

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Another before…

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And after! (Completed Wednesday – posting late)

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The tiles on the wall were one of the many projects

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The ladies finished this on Wednesday, but this is a better picture of it

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Someone’s having the time of their life. Oh, and there’s a happy baby too

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In the afternoon we took off from the Baby Home and went to Awana, leaving a few of the men behind to finish up some projects. We got to teach the kids how to use a gospel bracelet to share the good news of Jesus with their friends and family. We also had the privilege of hearing Bryan Bush teach the kids about God’s power as we see it through creation. Jim & Paula did a great job of leading the game time and most of the team got to share the gospel with at least one group of kids. It’s really amazing how receptive these young ones are to the Word of God.

The Awana kids waiting excitedly

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The gospel bracelet we used to teach the kids

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Bryan Bush teaching at AWANA

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After Awana, we got to enjoy a relaxing evening with the 1Hope team & some delicious pizza. It’s so cool how quickly these people have gone from strangers to family. We are blessed to be received with such open arms. These are some caring, generous, and loving people.

::Looking Forward::
We don’t know exactly what tomorrow will hold. We will be going to a place called Modimolle. Whether we’ll end up doing a children’s program, holding a church-like gathering, doing some door-to-door evangelism–maybe all of the above? God knows. We are trusting that He will guide us so that we will know what it is we need to be doing. Please pray that we would be open to whatever God has for us. Also, pray that we would not be anxious, but that we would trust Him completely.

Day 9 ~ Safari & Stone Cradle

Today could be appropriately titled our ‘fun day’. We got to enjoy some of God’s beautiful creation. First through a safari; getting to see some of these animals close-up. And later through a delicious dinner at the Stone Cradle; getting to eat some of these animals after seeing them today.

There isn’t too much to share about the safari other than the fact that it was awesome. Oh, and that we’re very thankful that we got to go on it.

A few people taking a peek outside their windows

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Lookout group picture

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Panorama

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Sarah & Kayla walking back from the lookout

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Some wildlife – so close!

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A few wildebeests

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Zebra

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Trying to stay out of the rain… mostly

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Giraffes bidding us farewell

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Unfortunately, we did have some sad news tonight. One of our team members, Doug Roller, had to go home tonight due to a family emergency. We are sad that he won’t be here for the remainder of our trip, but we are thankful that he desires to be a faithful and loving husband who puts his family’s needs before his own desires. Please join us as we pray for safe travels, favorable flight seats, and a quick journey back home.

::Looking Forward::
Tomorrow is planned to be another day at the baby home. We will also get to take part in the AWANA program. Please pray that God would use us in mighty ways, even if it’s through our construction or holding babies.