Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas 2014

It is hard to believe that Christmas is only two days away.  Time really seems to be flying by.  It has taken some getting used to having Christmas during the summer.  But I am looking forward to a braai (cookout) on Christmas day, the chance to play outdoor games and to go swimming.  We will also enjoy church Christmas morning with our Church Family at Regents Park Church of the Nazarene.  Churches here have services on Christmas morning instead of Christmas Eve.   We are looking forward to celebrating Christ’s birth in a new way and in a new place.  And we are thankful for Skype and Facetime that allow us to connect with our family and friends back home.

Each year we realize more and more that not all gifts can be wrapped and placed under the tree but they are wonderful gifts all the same. 

Some of the gifts that we are blessed to have but that won’t fit under the tree this year are:

·      Amazing family and friends around the world who love us, support us, pray for us, and who help to make us who we are.
·      New family and friends here in South Africa and around the Africa South Field who we are excited to celebrate Christmas with this year.
·      The opportunity to join what God is doing here on the Africa South Field through the Church of the Nazarene. 
·      The gift of the experiences that we have had and the hope and expectation of what is to come.  

As of December 28th we have been in South Africa for 6 months.  We are so thankful for all that God has allowed us to be a part of and expectant for what the next year will bring. 

We pray that the Gift of Christmas through Christ fills your heart and home with peace, joy, hope and love this Christmas season.  We love you and miss you and we are praying for you. 

Merry Christmas
Beth and Joe

Monday, November 17, 2014

Botswana, NTC, and a camping turned stay-cation weekend.

This last weekend Joe and I had the opportunity to return to Botswana for their District Assembly.   It was a great weekend of catching up and of hearing what God is doing all over the Botswana District. 

We drove there on Friday afternoon and were blessed to arrive at the border moments before a large charter bus full of school children arrived :)!  We were very thankful that we arrived before and not after them! :) 

We stayed with the DS and his family and had a wonderful time of fellowship with them through out the entire weekend.  We even had the opportunity to have a Botswana braai (cookout) with them. 

On Saturday we were able to see the Pastor and his wife and several other people from the Bokaa community that we had been with the Team.  It was great to reconnect with them and hear the stories of how God is working.  We just heard from them again this week and they had 82 in attendance in church last week!  God is blessing their ministry and the community around them.  We are excited to be a small part of that revival.  Pray for Pastor Oboy and his wife Tiny as they continue to lead the church in Bokaa!  Pray that God would also raise up other leaders to help them in that work. 

On Thursday we were invited to attend the closing chapel for NTC where the 3rd year students who are graduating had a chance to share what their time at NTC had meant to them.  The Principal of NTC also washed each of the 3rd year student’s feet.  It was a blessing to be a part of that service.  Pray for them as they return home and seek God’s direction on what to do next. 

Following the service there was a lunch to honor a retiring missionary who has been serving for almost 30 years in Theological Education on the South Field.  She is a testament to being faithful to the call of God on her life.  Pray for her as she returns to the states to a place that has not been home for almost 3 decades. 

This weekend we were planning on going camping with the Marshall’s (fellow missionaries on the South Field).  But the forecast called for rain most of the weekend and we decided to have a stay-cation instead.  We built a fort in our office and the kids had lots of fun playing in that.  Then on Saturday we went to an indoor water place and swam and played all day.  Sunday we went to church and then had lunch with another missionary family.  All and all it was a great weekend of relaxing and enjoying being together. 

God is good!  All the time!  And He continues to bless and keep us and we are thankful!  Thanks for your prayers, emails, and support!  We love you! 

Until next time remember – kids have infinitely more energy than adults do so if you start something like an active game you better have an exit strategy or an energy drink :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Joe and I had the privilege of being a part of the Lesotho District Assembly last weekend.  It was an amazing opportunity to hear and see how God is working in the beautiful country of Lesotho. 
We heard the reports of the various leaders.  Now as we pray for our brothers and sisters in Lesotho we have specific requests and faces of friends to pray for.  God is alive and at work in the country of Lesotho.  There are struggles. Some of the struggles are universal that all ministries experience in one form or another some are more unique to their culture and context.  However the beauty of the God we serve is that no matter the struggle He can overcome it. 

We were also able to stay for Sunday Morning Service before heading back to Johannesburg.  The pastor asked us both to share in Sunday School and for me to preach.  So Joe taught the Adult Sunday School class and I lead the youth Sunday School class.  Then I preached.  It was my first time to preach in Africa and it was a humbling opportunity.  As we spoke it was our prayer that God would speak through us and that we would be His mouthpiece and say what He would want us to say. 

Some of the highlights of the weekend include meeting and fellowshipping with, praying with, worshipping with, and laughing with our brothers and sisters in Lesotho; seeing some of the beautiful scenery of Lesotho, and getting to taste some of the Lesothian food, which was very yummy.  

Over the next few months we have the privilege to travel to other District Assemblies throughout the field.  This weekend we will return to Botswana for their District Assembly and we are looking forward to reconnecting with our friends there and hearing how things have been since we were there with the team a few weeks ago. 

In other news our garden is doing remarkably well.  Much better than we expected it to!!  We have more butter lettuce than I can eat on my own (Joe doesn’t care for lettuce much.) so I have been giving it to our neighbors and guests when they come over.  Soon we will have more cherry tomatoes than we know what to do with so I will be making lots of salsa and maybe even some sauce as well as giving lots away.  We are not sure how the beans and cucumbers and squash are going to do, but it has been fun to watch everything grow.   Yesterday we bought a Christmas tree and I am getting excited about getting to decorate our home for Christmas.  We also bought a rowing machine which I am loving to use. 

We are blessed beyond measure and loving the ministries we are a part of. 

Until next time – It is really probably not advisable to realize just how blind you are when driving at night while driving a stick shift at night in Johannesburg in the rain.  Don’t worry there were no accidents or even close calls but I did stall at a red light and we decided that maybe Joe should drive at night.  So at least there’s that!  J

Remember you are blessed to be a blessing to others around you. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Building THE Church

They came expecting to build a block and mortar building.  They came hoping to dedicate a building at the end of their time.  But the Botswanian Land Board and God had other plans.  Instead of building A church they spent their 10 days building THE church. They did not build it through manual labor instead they built and encouraged the church through building relationships and helping to draw people to Christ. 

Instead of building a building the team worked together and set up a tent along the main road in the village of Bokaa Botswana.  The tent was the place where 5 evangelistic services were held, where the Word of God was preached, where there were testimonies given, where God changed lives, where God was worshipped regardless of skin color or nationality.  Sunday Morning the tent was where a couple area churches combined together for a morning worship service and Sunday School.  The white and blue tent was also the place where we held several VBS type services for the children of Bokaa.  Bible stories were told, games were played, songs were sung, dances were taught and then danced and there were lots of smiles and laughs. 

On Friday the team was also able to see the site where the Bokaa Church of the Nazarene will be built.  Currently the church is meeting in the home of the pastor.  The Circleville Team was able to walk around the property and catc

h the vision of the Pastor.  They were also able to spend some time praying for the church and ministry that the church will be a part of.  The team gathered in a circle and sang a few hymns and shared how God was speaking to them in those moments.  They were also able to spend some time encouraging and praying for the local pastor.  It was a powerful time spent together.

The team visited the nearby Primary School and got to visit most of the classrooms and afterwards pray with the teachers and headmaster.  The headmaster also shared some of the struggles the students and teachers face.  As we were walking back to the tent we were able to stop in a visit with someone from the community and we were able to pray for the husband of one of the teachers who was sick. 

The beauty of building relationships instead of building buildings is that age and strength are not factors.  The teenager of the team was a huge bridge builder.  And gave us plenty to laugh about.  He tried with everything he had to catch a chicken, goat, and a cow.  He had a little help from several of the young boys of the village in catching the chicken and goat. But Botswanan and American alike got lots of good laughs watching him and several of the village young boys taking off after the goats and chickens around the village.  When he was not chasing animals he was easy to find because he was almost always surrounded by a group of guys playing a game of catch or chase.  The oldest member of the team was able to connect with several of the village ladies as well as able to encourage several of the female pastors who were there.  And all the other team members were able to connect with people in various ways and encourage, pray for, laugh with or share with those they came in contact with.  God was clearly at work in the 10 days the Circleville Team was in Botswana.  We know that the relationships built and commitments made will have eternal impact.  Thank you Circleville W&W Team for being the hands and feet of Christ and for building THE Church! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014



…which means "we are well" in Zulu. 

This past weekend we were blessed to be a part of the South Field NMI Convention.  NMI Leaders from local churches and the districts that make up the South Field came together for times of worship, conversation, and learning together.  At one point during the weekend I was struck again by the realization that we live in South Africa and have the amazing privilege of ministering with and learning from our brothers and sisters here.  I was also struck again by how blessed we are with family and friends who love, support and pray for us!  Thank you for helping to make our ministry here possible! 

The weekend before that we went camping with some missionary friends of ours who are also serving here in Jo’berg at the Theology College.   It was a great weekend of camping, hiking, and rock climbing.  It was a great time to get away and reflect some on the past few months.  Also it was great to be camping again.  Joe also enjoyed to continue to work on his new hobby, rock climbing.

We have also been working on getting things painted and completed in the Field Office.   We also moved the things that were in storage into the office and we bought an office plant.  Now we just need to work on getting some pictures and things hung on the wall.  We are planning on having some sort of Open House/Office once we get more settled and inviting our office neighbors and the nearby leaders on the field. 

We are getting ready to receive another Work and Witness team.  On October 15th, the team arrives from the states in the evening. Then the next day we head to Botswana with them for 10 days.  We will be joining our fellow Nazarenes there in building a church building as well as doing several outreach events.  We are excited to see how God will use His servants to do His work in Botswana. 

In case you were wondering, our garden is doing great and soon I will be able to have a garden salad from my own garden.  J

Until next time remember a smile goes a long way especially when you are asking for help or for directions. 

Salani Kahle (Goodbye! Stay well!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

August and September

September is quickly turning the pages towards October.  Sometimes it feels like if you blink too long when you open your eyes back up another month has passed.  This week marks our 12th week here in South Africa.   In some ways that is hard to believe in other ways it feels like we have been here even longer. 

In the past few weeks we had the blessing of having my dad and another family friend in our home.  We called them our mini Work & Witness Team.  They were here to help out with a couple projects on the region, including remodeling one of the guest flats here in our complex.  They helped turn what was essentially a studio flat into a two bedroom flat.  They also worked on building a wall in one of the offices at the Africa Regional Office.  It was a blessing to have them in our home and to get to share meals together as well as lots of conversation and laughter.  Here a few pictures of our time together. 
The Mini W&W team with Cicso and Jeffery, two of the other guys working on the project. 

We were able to take a day and go to Lion and Rhino Park here in Jo’berg and got to see all kinds of animals; which was a lot of fun.  While the guys were here we went to a nearby nature reserve to hike and this has turned into a Sunday afternoon tradition.   The guys were also able to work on a work-bench for Joe. Here is a picture of Joe in his “Man-Cave”  And they helped to tame our backyard jungle. 

While the guys were working on their projects I had a project of my own.  I was working on entering statistic for the churches and districts of the Africa South Field.  Each morning when I logged into the program it would tell me what percentage I was at.  It was a great thing to see when the percentage reached 100% after several weeks of work.

Last week we were able to spend some time at the Nazarene Theological College here in Johannesburg.  It was a blessing to be able to spend some time with the students and faculty there.  We were also able to share in their chapel service about how God was working in our lives and some ways that they can get involved in what is happening on the Africa South Field and in missions.  It is amazing to see how God is work in the hearts and lives of His people.

This week we are working preparing for the upcoming Work & Witness team, continuing to work on getting the Field Office set up, and working on a few projects at home.   Joe painted a few walls in our flat as well as worked on a raised bed for our garden.  I was able to plant some potted plants.  We are excited to see what “fruits” we get from our vegetable garden. 

Before                                                                            After

Until Next time remember – when making a freezer meal and mixing the ingredients in a gallon freezer bag it is important to make sure that the bag is securely closed otherwise the contents of the bag end up on the kitchen counter… L

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Soweto Sports Day

Last Saturday Joe and I had the privilege of helping out with the Soweto Sports day, which is put on by Africa Nazarene Compassionate Ministries.  Each year they pull together the children from 7 different Child Development Centers and they compete against each other in soccer, volleyball, netball and other relays.  The winning CDC gets the Soweto Sports Day Trophy for the year. 

This year the day started with light rain (which was ironic since it hadn’t rained in over a month).  But that did not put a damper on the kids excitement.  The morning started by gathering all the kids and introducing them to those helping out for the day.  Then using the Evange-ball the Gospel was presented to the kids.  Next, a prayer was offered for the kids and the activities of the day.  Then the rules and activities of the day were explained and the competitions began. 

The kids played hard and there was lots of cheering and dancing by those not competing.  At the end of the day the same CDC that came with the trophy went home with it.  No matter if the kids came from the winning CDC or not they all home with full bellies, hands full of goodies, and lots of great memories.  I don’t know what situations the kids go home to but I know that they went home after being loved on for a day. 

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau said “Don't do nothing just because you can't do everything. Do something.” 

We can’t solve all the problems in the world, we can’t even solve all the problems in our own lives, but that should not stop us from doing something.  It should not stop us from loving and serving those around us.  We can’t do everything, we can’t solve all the problems around us, but we can do something.  We can love on the kids around us, we can give what we can, and share the love of Christ.  We can do something. 

So this week if you get overwhelmed with problems that exist around you don’t let it stop you from acting.  Pray for guidance, wisdom, and discernment and then do something.   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

14 days

14 days is not so long.  14 days doesn’t seem like enough time to truly make an impact.  Mix in the fact that several of those 14 days will be spent traveling from one place to another and one wonders what kind of impact can be made in 14 days. 

It started with a vision.  A vision from God given to Pastor Robert of the Good Hope Church of the Nazarene for a place where the people of the community surrounding the church could be feed spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even financially.  The Church of the Nazarene in Idaho Falls, Idaho became a part of making that vision a reality for two weeks.  A team of 16 people joined together with Pastor Robert’s vision, the people of the church and the surrounding community and a whole lot of God’s grace worked together. 

Master brick layers we were not.  However we did get to watch a master at work.  Tony the brick machine (as the team nick named him) is a gentleman from Hazyview who is working to start his own brick laying business.  We were able to assist Tony in starting the work on Pastor Robert’s vision.  By the time the team left two classrooms were almost done and the other two were well on their way to being done.  The Idaho Falls Team also had a VBS on three different afternoons.  They were able to love on the kids of the community as well as tell them about the Love of Christ. 

We also were able to accompany the team to Kruger Park and see some amazing animals and scenery.  God is truly a wonderful artist.  We were able to see all of the Big 5 as well as lots of Giraffes, Monkeys, Baboons, Hippos, Crocodiles, Birds of all kinds and lots of Impala and Kudu. 

14 days is not really a long time but when joined together with a vision, a group of amazing God loving, hard working people, and God then what is done in 14 days can have eternal results.    Rev. Mashangu (the FSC for our field) said it best: when he told the team that they “left their fingerprints on the community and the people of the Good Hope Church; and the community and the people of the Good Hope Church left their fingerprints on the hearts and lives of all of the team.” 

So this week don’t worry about how much time you have or how much you have to do.  Worry about leaving lasting fingerprints on those you come in contact with. 

Until next time:  Word to the wise when unlocking the back of the van; be sure not to break the key off in the lock or if you do make sure you have someone who can fix it.