Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Helping Others

The children here are taught Bible principles to live by and they really eat it up! Today Okuhle (a-cuth-lay) came up to me and asked if I had any jobs to do. I asked why and she explained that the younger kids at The Pines "had to stay here all the time and never get away except for church on Sunday." She wanted to throw a "picnic" for the younger kids on Saturday and she needed 10 rand (about $1.50) to buy some food items to share. It didn't take me long to find a job for her helping me clean a window that really needed it. Here she is standing in front of the 6 foot by 6 foot window that she helped clean. You can't see it but she has 10 rand in her pocket.

Louis is currently at the Bible study with the boys. I am amazed every day how God's Word penetrates the lives of these children.

Today a 15 year old girl came up to me and asked if I would come back for her wedding. A little shocked I said "Yes, when are you getting married?" We then had a discussion about marriage and things she had learned from the BIble about marriage. She finished by saying that Uncle Brian told her that she had to bring the boy that wants to marry her to him so he could ask him many questions! She wants to make sure he is a believer and that he is a good person! She was concerned about men she has known who beat their wives. Wow, what a dedicated girl! She has learned much in her short time here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Where have you been?

That is the question you are asking. Would you believe that I was going to post an update but the internet was down and then we all left on a 4 day "holiday?" Yeah, right... Well, true enough. We lost internet sometime on Thursday and we left on Friday for the Indian Ocean near Durban in the South African state of Kwa Zulu Natal. We had to brush up on our Zulu language and sharpen our brush cutters (like a machete) Ok, some of Louis is rubbing off on me! While the people speak Zulu and the brush is so thick you can't see past 3 or 4 feet they speak English and have paved roads. Our "self-catering" condo did not have towels or soap, we enjoyed our stay and family time together this past weekend.

Some of the tropical sight seeing included a visit to a banana farm and lunch at their cafe--banana "pancakes". Pancakes here are really crepes and this time there were about 3 bananas stuffed inside each one! We thought we were eating the whole farm! That was yesterday and I am ready for 3 more bananas today! We visited a crocodile farm (really) and saw about 50 crocks that were 30 years old--about 10 to 12 feet long each and about 1000 lbs. They fed those beasts while we were there--Wow!

We were a short boat ride from Madagascar but never made it!

Along the way we saw a little boy (about 6) who was begging at the gas station when we took a break. Brian & Lois gave him a banana and some carrots. He went over to the grassy area and immediately ate the food. We wondered what his story was--is he an orphan? neglected? Everywhere you go in this country you are faced with reality if you take time to open your eyes. When Christ said "the fields are white unto harvest" He must have been talking about places like South Africa where sin has had such a devastating effect on people that many open their hearts to God's Word and the truth of the gospel. They are ready to listen and eagerly accept Christ. If only there were more to tell them...

Pictures today are obvious and it is Brian. Lois & Liam on the swinging bridge.

Long blog today...sorry but had some catching up to do.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two Day Summary...where does the time go?

Is it Tuesday already?

Monday we spent a lot of time with The Pines children since they did not have school. We played across the road on a bike trail mowed in the 3 foot high African jungle (weeds for us Iowans). They rode dirt bikes, a 4 wheeler and just had fun. Oh, I probably shouldn't say that because this is an orphanage--where kids go to live, not to have fun. Oh well, I bet the kids at The Pines receive more love than any other orphanage in the world because they have Louie, Amber, Brian and Lois! Of course I am partial. The missionaries here are dedicated to these kids and it shows! An american baseball game broke out later in the afternoon. Some of these boys are headed for the Cubs! Chicago, that is.

The highlight of the day was a trip to the hospital. If this is government health care (and it is) I don't want to be a patient. We distributed tracts and bubble gum. The Pines kids are excellent witnesses--we pray that God will water the efforts of these kids as they passed out around 100 gospel tract/booklets. Louis headed up this project. Pictures in this post are of kids witnessing to people our entire group and dirt biking in the jungle.

Today the O'Tools and Niehoff's ll took off for a day of business and pleasure. Since the business was 2 hours away and Brian & Louie had to go we all decided to go. What a wonderful time of fellowship for all. Thank you SBC for sending these missionaries here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Arrival in South Africa

After what seemed like an endless 24 hours of flying and waiting we were greeted by Brian & Lois & Liam! A grandparents heart is satisfied best when in the presence of a grandchild.

Our greeting team at The Pines consisted of the dozen or so children who were not napping. It was great to renew friendships with the children and housemothers. The older girls wanted to welcome us by singing for us. As we made our way to the activity room we discovered that they had quickly changed from play clothes to their best dresses to perform! That singing consisted of 20 minutes of a variety of songs in a variety of languages. What a treat--our eyes teared up as we reflected on the lives of these children and the wonderful work that God has done in their lives. They sang songs of praise to God and Jesus Christ for saving them. Wow. They looked so beautiful!

Today is national holiday named Freedom Day to celebrate the end of Apartheid. Since there is no school we are taking a group of children to the hospital to hand out tracts and witness to patients. The children are experts at this--more tomorrow.

Liam and Drake are the object of our attention quite often. This place is a grandparents dream. You can literally go outside and make a child's day anytime by playing with them or just talking to them. Tomorrow school starts again and it's back to life as norma--whatever that is.

Thanks for your promise of prayers--it means a lot to us and to Louis and Amber, Brian and Lois.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On Our Way Back

Bob & Susan Niehoff are headed back to South Africa on Friday, April 24. Follow their trip and activity on this blog. Your prayers are appreciated as they look for ministry opportunities and enjoy family time.