Friday, March 24, 2017

GPS...or lack thereof...

We are all gifted and graced at different things.  Said differently we can’t all be good at everything. 

Well one of the things that I am not good at all is directions.  The only sense of direction I have is to get lost.  I also am not the best at telling my left from my right.  Family and friends love to tease me about my ability to get lost even in a place where I have lived for years.  Joe says that if I say to turn right then he turns left (that has only backfired on him a couple of times but still not consistently enough to change the thinking.) Needless to say I heavily rely on GPS and Joe to give me directions. 

Well last week Joe was traveling in Swaziland with two couples that helped to build a church there and he needed the GPS.  Which was fine, since while he was gone I stuck to places I knew how to get to…or so I thought. 

I was driving home from church a place that I have driven and ridden to and from numerous times in the three years that we have lived here.  But there is one spot where I always get confused.  And sure enough I did on this occasion.  I got off an exit too early.  I knew my mistake as soon as I made it but didn’t think going in reverse on the highway was a good idea.   I pulled up the GPS on my phone and put in our home address and started following the new directions home…or so I thought.  For the first little bit as we were driving I had no idea where we were and so didn’t know we were heading in the wrong direction.  Then the GPS on my phone kept shutting down on me.  So I kept having to pull up the directions again and again.  Well at some point in pulling up the directions I pushed 35 Street Name ROAD instead of STREET.  Well unfortunately for me the Road version of my address is near the airport which is 45 minutes away from my house.  I knew at some point that I was heading towards the airport but didn’t quite know how to fix it.  So I went to the airport pulled over and figure out what was going on.  Eventually I arrived home but not before going all the way around the city of Johannesburg to get there. 

Now it is something to tease about.  But at the time it was frustrating because I knew where I was going was wrong but I didn’t know what to do to fix it and the thing I relied on to point me in the right direction pointed me in the opposite direction. 

There are lots of sermon illustrations and teachable moments in that experience.  And I am sure I will use it as such. For now I am thankful that Joe (and the GPS) has returned home. 

Life on the mission field is a lot like life in our passport country some days, other days it is not.  But everyday we are thankful to be doing what we are doing where we are doing it, even when we get lost. 

Other things happening in our lives and ministry:
My parents are with us for the next several weeks helping out with projects and spoiling Peter. 
Next week we have around 80 leaders from all over the field joining us for a training on church planting. 

Until Next time- If you let your toddler help with something once then he will forevermore and always want to help with said activity again. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The 411 on 12 and 1 aka a blog update for December and January :)

NYC Serve Day, Vacation, Christmas, Missionary Retreat, and Beyond

NYC Serve Day was an amazing day where around 400 youth, young adults and youth leaders from all over Africa went out to 9 sites around Johannesburg.  The various teams did children’s outreach, construction, clean up, evangelism, soccer outreach and lots of fellowship and encouragement of local churches.  It was an amazing day and God worked in and through everyone who participated.  Thanks for your prayers!  Please continue to pray that the youth will continue to remember they are Chosen 2 Change and that they can change their cities and villages.  If you are interested here is a link to a highlight video of the event.

The day after the NYC event was over we went with some good friends, and missionaries on another field, on a vacation for a few days.  It was a great time of rest relaxing and fellowship.  The view from our balcony was amazing.  And the time away after a very busy few months was much needed.

Christmas was a lot of fun.  Peter is old enough now to open presents and get excited.  So it was fun to enjoy Christmas with him.  During the week of Christmas we also spent lots of time with our Fr-amily hiking, bowling, braaing, playing games, playing soccer, laughing and just spending time together. 

The first part of January found us at the Missionary Retreat for all the Nazarene Missionaries for the Africa Region.  It was a great time of connecting with old friends and making new ones.  Peter enjoyed playing with all of his Missionary cousins! 

The rest of January was spent preparing for upcoming assemblies, upcoming W&W trips, upcoming trainings, and events and catching up on things after a busy few months. As well as doing all the paperwork and appointments that go along with the VISA Application Process.

In February we will return to the US to apply for our new VISA’s as well as being commissioned by the General Board of the Church of the Nazarene.   For a missionary being commissioned is like being ordained for a pastor.  We are honored to be a part.  Pray for us as we travel.  Peter is a very busy and active 19 month old so holding him in our laps for the long journey will be…fun.  Please pray for an empty seat beside and a sleepy or relaxed boy for the journey.  Pray also that our VISA applications go through without any trouble. 

Life is busy but good.  We are thankful and blessed to be a small part of what God is doing on the Africa South Field. 

Until Next Time Remember:  If your toddler is quiet be afraid be very afraid, it almost never means that they quietly reading a book or put themselves down for a nap!  J

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Long and Short of the Last Two Months

It has been close two months since our last blog and what a busy two months it was. 

Here is the cliff notes version of our lives since we last updated.  The rest of October was spent preparing for the W&W team to Swaziland as well as preparing to be gone from our home and other ministry responsibilities for about a month. In the month of November we were home a total of 8 days spread throughout the month.  We were in three different countries (Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa (both Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.).    Once we returned from Port Elizabeth on the 28th of November we focused on getting ready for the NYC Event and the NYC Serve Day.   

The longer version of the past two months.

We had a wonderful two weeks with a W&W team from Venice FL (with team member additions from Ohio, Texas, and Pennsylvania.)  They were working in a small village in Swaziland.  During the two weeks the team built friendships, helped in building the church, built pews for the church, got to see the well they raised money to provide in action, they did a kids day outreach, as well as doing some site-seeing and shopping.   One of the exciting things is that the well will open many doors for the church to reach out and provide for the surrounding community.  Peter loved all the extra people to play with and snuggle with.  He also enjoyed wandering around the work site and finding all sorts of things to get into.  In this picture he is near the water bucket that he loved to try and play in.  This picture was right before he was told no for the 17,000 time. J 

After the team left we had a day at home and then headed back out to go to Lesotho to show one of the team members what God is doing there.  We had a great time seeing the various ministries that are happening.  They are focusing on two projects right now.  One is chickens for pastors, where local pastors are provided a number of baby chicks that they are trained to take care of and feed.  Then when they have grown they can sell them and have money to buy more chickens as well as provide for their families.  Another project they are really focusing on is starting a couple of Christian schools.  They are working hard to get everything ready and approved for school to start in January. 

After returning from Lesotho we spent a few days at home catching up on lots of things including sleep, laundry and emails.  Then we went to Port Elizabeth and spent a few days enjoying the beach and the city.  On Saturday we attended the Eastern Cape Assembly and on Sunday attending their rally where Beth preached.  It was a blessing to see and hear what God was doing through their ministries as well as enjoy God’s wonderful creation. 

Now we are gearing up for the NYC Event.  Where around 500 youth from all over Africa will come together for 4 days and worship, pray, learn, serve, fellowship and grow together.  Joe and I have been helping to coordinate the NYC Serve day.  On Saturday December 17th all the youth of the event will go out to 10 different sites around the city and Serve.  They will put into action what they have been singing, praying, and learning about.  With the hopes that they will make a lasting impact in the communities they are serving as well as take what they have learned home and serve there. 

Once NYC is done we are going away for a week with some friends.  We are looking forward to a week of relaxing, hiking, swimming, fellowshipping, and being outdoors. 

We hope and pray you each have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed New Years.  In the midst of all that is going on may you find time to rest, relax and reflect on the many blessings of your life. 

Until next time; When checking for teeth on a toddler make sure there is something else besides your finger to bite or you may lose said finger. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


There is a lot of learning going on in the Heath household right now.
Peter has learned to walk and he is learning what things he can get into and what things cause a reaction from my mom and dad. 

His newest reaction causing activity is climbing on the coffee table.  He is still “learning” the meaning of the word No. 

Joe and I are taking Zulu lessons.  Every Wednesday and sometimes on Saturday’s Awande comes to our home for two hours.  She is very patient with us as we learn to pronounce words and make sounds that are not common to us.  We are learning clicks and sentence structure and verb stems.  Our house has all sorts of stickers, all of it reminding us of the Zulu word for Bathroom, door, wall, kitchen, etc.  We also have flash cards stacked here and there to try and learn more vocabulary. 
We are hopeful that our time in Swaziland will help us practice our Zulu skills.  SiSwati is the language spoken in Swaziland and it has many similarities to Zulu.  Whenever you are learning a language there are always things that stand out to you.  When you greet someone in Zulu (Sawbouna) you are saying I see you.  I like that.  I do not like however the word for the color blue it is 28 letters long (yes I counted) okuluhlazanjengesibhakabhaka.  You are literally saying the color green or blue the one that looks like the sky.  Needless to say I will not be saying blue very often (if ever).  Someone suggested I just always have something blue on so I can just point to it.  J

Learning is a good thing.  It is also a humbling thing.  Watching Peter learn to walk and explore is fun.  Teaching him boundaries is not as fun.  Learning a new language is a great skill but also takes a lot of brain power.  But we should never stop learning.  What are you learning this week?

Other Updates:  During our time in the states we were raising funds for a Field Bus.  We are happy to report that we found that right bus!  We also are happy to report that we have found a driver that will be a part of our team as well. 

November is going to be a busy month for our family.  For the first two weeks we will be with a W&W Team in Swaziland.  After we drop the team off at the airport we will spend a day at home and then head to Lesotho for a couple of days.  After Lesotho we will take a week of vacation and then we will go to the Eastern Cape for an assembly.  We will be busy but we know that God is going to do great things during this time and we are looking forward to telling you about it. 

Until next time: Once you show your toddler something once chances are good he is going to remember it…that is unless you want him to and then he won’t J