Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Eish I was so busy talking about all that is happening I forgot to mention the counseling I was doing with some local refugees. Some of you know about this because I asked for your prayers as I knew it had huge possibilities of being highly emotionally difficult. So for a few months I was going down to Hope Farm where a group of about 150 refugees from Burundi and the DRC were staying. I went weekly and mostly met with two young adults women struggling with various issues. It was challenging at times and my heart broke a million times at others. Thank you to those that covered me in prayer and practical advice when I was first starting! I finished with the ladies at the end of the year and trust that they are better off because of our time together! 
Happy New Year Everyone! We hope that the holiday season treated you well and you were able to take time to reflect on the incredible gift that we all received in God coming down to earth as a vulnerable, helpless baby; born to poor parents, in a land not his own, and surrounded by scandal, but sent to dwell among us and to be the savoir of the world! :) How amazing….

On the home front, we are doing well. The girls celebrated their birthdays over the holidays; Naomi turned 4, and Grace turned 2! We hosted the lovely Mallorie Miller for 3 weeks and the next day my (Abby's) Dad, brother, and nephew arrived for 2.5 weeks! It was very busy in our house, but we loved it and it was so special to spend time with family and friends. I am in my third trimester of pregnancy and we are expecting our son sometime mid April- give or take :) The girls are very curious about this baby growing in Mommy's tummy and ask a lot of questions and look into my belly button to try to see him ;) Naomi also started pre-school 5 mornings a week and is really enjoying it! The school is just up the road which makes it very convenient! Sandile continues to pastor the Grace Love Truth Kloof church, and oversee, mentor, and disciple those in Molweni at Isaiah House, and pursue business all the while being an amazingly present husband and father…lets all say a prayer for him! :) 

Things at Isaiah House are going extremely well! Although we have had some changes….Thandeka who had ministered with us for quite a few years felt it was time to move on and she left us at the end of October. We were very sad to see her go, but it has encouraged some of the other ladies to step up into more of a leadership role which has been amazing to see. Sifiso will end his time with us at the end of February this year. Sifiso has been an integral part in the day to day runnings at the base and the discipleship courses. We are very sad to lose him but know that his season has ended with us and we bless him wherever God takes him next! Emmanual has been brought on to pastor the church that meets as Isaiah House and to take a leadership role in the ministry. Sandile has been meeting with him a lot to mentor him (although he is much older and has decades of ministry experience!) in what we do at IH and how things are run. We are very excited to have Emmanuel join our team and know that he will be a great asset! It is amazing how when someone leaves, God makes a plan to bring another along!! Nathi is still with us, running youth and working with the discipleship team and local volunteers, and Sindy is running Kids ministry and manages the practicalities of the base. 

This past year we were able to secure funding from a government program for 10 of our local volunteers who now receive a small monthly stipend for their time and talents with us! Praise God as we had been looking and praying about support for them. 
We also linked two others into full time paid jobs with another organization that we work with. 

This past year IH and the team focused mainly on discipleship and teaching. The team went out to various other communities and ran 2 week discipleship courses on Grace, Healing, The Holy Spirit and a variety of other topics. We saw many testimonies and emotional headings take place through these courses and they will continue into this year as well. One of the most amazing testimonies to see is our local team of volunteers going out and doing ministry and teaching with others, and taking ownership and leadership in various areas of IH. This has been our vision from the beginning and it is actually now being played out! Hallelujah! :) 

Two more testimonies..this is what happens when I leave it so long to write! 

Firstly, a while ago we had a Braai/BBQ at our house with all the leaders/volunteers at IH, it was just a time to hang out and have fun together but without Sandile knowing they had made a video for him in which they all spoke and talked about how he had impacted their lives over the past few years. It was so beautiful and encouraging to hear things that we had forgotten about or didn't see as a big deal, making a difference to them and their walk with the Lord.
Secondly Sandile ran into a former High school student from Molweni who know works at a local restaurant. They were chatting and the boy told him how appreciative him and his friends were to IH because we had opened up the building as a place for high schoolers to come and study in a space that was safe and free from distractions. He then told Sandile that him and all of his friends who studied there all received distinctions in their final year of high school! Letting them use the building was such a simple thing, but with huge results! 

Thank you to all of our supporters near and far!! This ministry is soley run on donations and support from people like yourselves and none of this could happen without you! As always we are constantly in need of more financial partners, especially as our team and ministry has grown, and with the crazy town inflation of South Africa! Please contact me if you are able to join our financial team!