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

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ministry, Motherhood and Marriage

There are three M’s in my life right now and they all need to be a priority and they all need my attention.  But there are only so many hours in a day and only so much attention one can give.  So how do you balance the three?  For that matter how do you balance three things? 

What do you do when:
  • ·      What is best for your son is not what is best for the ministry you are a part of?
  • ·      What is best for your ministry is not best for your marriage? 
  • ·      What is best for your marriage is not best for your son?
  • ·      What do you do when competing things are not just competing for your attention but also conflicting?

I don’t know?  I don’t have it figured out.  But what is currently working for our family is assessing each situation for what it is.  I can’t say across the board that I will always do what is best for my son, or for my marriage or for ministry.  Sometimes we will attend the special event as a family even though it has been a long week and what we really need is to be at home as a family.  Sometimes we will say no to the meeting or request because our son needs his parents and needs to be in bed at a decent time.  Sometimes we will go on a date and spend time together just the two of us even though the to-do list is long and the inbox is full.  But we have to constantly be making sure that we are not always choosing one thing.   We cannot always put ministry before our marriage and before our son. We cannot always put our son before our marriage and ministry.  We cannot always put our marriage over our son and ministry.   We don’t always get it right.  Sometime at night as we are reflecting on the events of the day we say today we should have ______ instead of…, today we messed up…, tomorrow we have to make _______ a priority.   

We have always felt that our call into ministry was something that we were called into together.  We are a team.   We have responsibilities that we share as well as individual responsibilities.  Our marriage, our son and our ministry are things that we are trying to do our best at together.   One of the ways that this works is by lots of communication. We talk about what we are working on, the things that are happening or need to happen this week.  We try not to commit to things without talking to each other first.  We don’t volunteer each other for things until we have talked first. 

Right now our son doesn’t have much voice in the matter but when he is old enough to have a voice, we will give him one.  Side note: that doesn’t mean he will always get his way, but we will listen to him and hear him (right now his voice is a little harder to translate) J. 

A question that we have started asking each other is: What can I do for you/how can I help/serve you today/this week?   Another question that we have started asking is: What is one thing you would like to do by yourself or with me or as a family this week?   Again when our son is little older we will also ask him the same question.  Sometimes the answer is going for a hike together as a family, sometimes having time to work on a puzzle or read a book, sometimes it is going out just the two of us, sometimes it is spending time with friends, sometimes it is taking a day to be away from everything. 

The specifics of the answer to those questions, we are finding are not as important as making sure the three things that are a priority in our life are all given attention.  Not necessarily equal attention but the attention that is needed that is best for all three or best for the one that needs to be priority at that moment.     

That is not even mentioning a fourth M…Me.  Sometimes what is best for my ministry, marriage and my role as a mother is taking care of ME.  I am finding that as we are doing better at balancing the other three M’s I am able to do a better job of taking care of me. 

Also as I read through this post I realized that I never mentioned making our relationship with God a priority.  We spend time in prayer together as a family each night.  We are continually lifting each other up in prayer as well as our ministry  Again when we do this we are finding it is easier to find the right balance for the other things. 
and the other needs that we see and hear about.

We don’t have it all figured out, but we are trying.  I will try to post another blog later on about what we have been up to, but this is something that has been rumbling around in my head awhile so I thought I’d share.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  What works for you and the things you are balancing?

Here is a recent picture of the two men in my life.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Life After Home Assignment

Life After Home Assignment:

We have been back in South Africa for a little over a month now.   ~~~Between starting and finishing this blog and it has now been two month since we returned from Home Assignment.   J J

The first week we were back we focused on recovering from jet lag, unpacking, laundry and getting things sorted after being gone for 3 ½ months.   Peter took most of the week to get adjusted to night and day.  But he enjoyed playing with toys and being able to crawl around and play as much as he wanted.  We were so blessed to be able to stay in lots of wonderful homes while we were on Home Assignment.  However there is nothing like coming home to your own home after being gone for so long.  It is nice to be back home and knowing where the utensils are and where the candy is hidden and where the extra toilet paper is.   Even though we have and will do some travel in the coming weeks and months we will be returning to our home which is a huge blessing. 

The next week we travelled to Swaziland for a few days to do a site visit for an upcoming W&W Team, see some friends and missionary colleagues who had moved there, as well as a few other meetings.   It was a wonderful time spending with our friends and letting our kids play together and being able to catch up with them.  It was also wonderful to be able see what God is doing and how He is preparing the way for the upcoming W&W team. 

The following week we hosted a District Superintendents Retreat for the leaders on our field.  We were together for 3 days and 2 nights and had a wonderful time together learning, growing, listening, praying, eating, and fellowshipping.  One of the afternoons we had a team building time and had lots of fun and lots of great laughs. Please be in prayer for the leaders of the Africa South Field and their families.  There are lots of struggles and obstacles that they are facing.  Be in prayer that they would have the courage and strength to do what God is calling them to do. 

The following week Peter started at a nearby daycare two days a week.  And he loves the ball pit they have there, playing outside and playing with his new friends.  The teacher is wonderful and sends me photos several times a day of what he is doing.   Having Peter in daycare two days a week will allow Joe and I to be together in the office those days.  It will also allow us to be able to focus on work when we are working and focus on Peter when we are with him.  The days that Peter is not in daycare we will take turns being at home with him and being in the office.  When we are traveling we will adjust our schedule as needed. 

August  5-7 we helped Zanele our field literature coordinator sells books at the Women’s Extravaganza Event.  Close to 2,000 ladies from the South Field and Mozambique and Zimbabwe joined together for a weekend of worship, preaching, teaching and fellowship.  It was a great time to see some of friends and colleagues from across the field.  Everyone was amazed at how much Peter had grown. 

The rest of August passed with catching up on projects that had been neglected while we were on Home Assignment and preparing for the next few months events.  The last weekend in August we travelled to the Free State District and taught a class on the Nazarene Essentials. 

September has been a month of sickness in our house.  Peter caught a stomach flu which then turned into a double ear infection.  Since he has struggle quite a bit in his short little life with ear infections he will be getting tubes put in on Wednesday.  Joe and I caught some sort of head cold congestion bug. Thankfully with the help of some medicine and resting and snuggles we all seem to be on the mend. 

Well there are many other things we could share but this blog is already longer than usual because I was trying to sum up two months of life.

If your still reading thank you and we love you.  Thanks for you love and support and prayers.  We felt them! 

Until next time:  Remember that just cause it looks good on Pintrest, All recipes, etc  DOES NOT always mean that when you make it will taste good or look anything like the pictures.