RAY & SUE LOWE -South Africa Travel Log 2018

Apr 11, 2018 | NEWS FROM THE NATIONS, Ray, VISITING THE NATIONS

It’s been more than a month since Sue and I left the UK for 2 months in South Africa.  We battled through the snow in minus temperatures to get to Heathrow to fly overnight to Jo’burg, arriving in temperatures of over 30c –  wonderful!

Our first stop was 10 days in Mtubatuba in the Zulu Natal region with our friends Lawrence & Esther Hurter who lead the church there as well as the wonderful mercy works that have grown up in that church.  Their impact on the community never ceases to amaze us.  Esther’s influence through her work in Destiny House has opened many doors of opportunity in the town.  Destiny House, a children’s home, has in excess of 20 babies and young children who would otherwise be homeless or living in unsuitable and in some cases dangerous environments.  Since last year they have opened a playgroup, another purpose built facility on the church land which already has a growing waiting list.  These church based ministries demonstrate a practical outworking of their Christian faith.  Jesus said that we (his church) were to be salt and light and they are definitely that to the community in M’tuba. We have written more about Destiny House in travel logs of previous visit.

Our first stop was 10 days in Mtubatuba in the Zulu Natal region with our friends Lawrence & Esther Hurter who lead the church there as well as the wonderful mercy works that have grown up in that church.  Their impact on the community never ceases to amaze us.  Esther’s influence through her work in Destiny House has opened many doors of opportunity in the town.  Destiny House, a children’s home, has in excess of 20 babies and young children who would otherwise be homeless or living in unsuitable and in some cases dangerous environments.  Since last year they have opened a playgroup, another purpose-built facility on the church land which already has a growing waiting list.  These church-based ministries demonstrate a practical outworking of their Christian faith.  Jesus said that we (his church) were to be salt and light and they are definitely that to the community in M’tuba. We have written more about Destiny House in travel logs of the previous visit.

 

There is also a school on the church grounds which provides an excellent education for 6-18-year-olds and one of the highlights for me was addressing nearly 200 students of the upper school (13 – 18 years).   I was given 40 minutes to speak at their weekly assembly and spoke on Jesus living in his humanity “a God-filled life”.

 

At the end I challenged them to emulate Jesus as the Holy Spirit empowers them.  The response was virtually 100%.  Sue and I as well as the school staff were thrilled.  The school has just built on a new wing and now has over 600 students but a growing waiting list is encouraging them to make plans to build more classrooms so the school can facilitate 1000 students.

We love staying in Mtuba at a B&B with Esmond and Merle, the owners who look after us so well.  The accommodation is purpose built in the beautiful grounds around their home.  I had the privilege a few years ago of praying for Es who had suffered from serious back problems for years.  He was wonderfully healed and this visit we enjoyed some good golf together, another big South African who hits that little ball a mile!

So it was hard saying goodbye to all our friends in Mtubatuba.

Next stop Clarens at Steve & Heather’s farm in the beautiful Maluti mountains bordering on Lesotho.  This is the third time I have conducted a small conference on their farm entitled “If Only I’d Known” for young men in church leadership.  Basically it deals with issues and challenges that you are generally not aware of or prepared for as you enter church leadership.  There were 9 of us plus myself as you’ll see from the attached photo.

5 days, quite intensive at times but bathed in the presence of God from our joint devotionals (open air) at 7 am until we finished our supper at 9.30pm.  Gareth & Lesley Wales organized much of the necessities for such a conference, Steve & Heather hosted it as well as Steve & Gareth leading us in our early morning devotions.  It was an outstanding time.  These 9 young men came from 5 continents and next year we will do another conference about the same time.

Master Builders conference in Clarens followed the following week but Sue and I took off for a 1000 mile drive through the beautiful country to Cape Town.  Here we are based in the Bay City Church with Sheldon & Kathleen Kidwell.  Easter Sunday the church building was packed with 100’s and the sense of God’s presence was awesome as we worshipped and celebrated the resurrection and the life it brings to those who believe.  I preached from 2 Peter ch.1 on the text ‘God has given us everything we need for life and godliness’.  Again wonderful response from those present, Sheldon leads a church that loves to worship!  Recently he and quite a number of their members have enrolled in a Bible school which offers serious theological courses leading to Degrees, Masters, and Doctorates.  I looked at some of the material which was excellent and was so impressed that quite a few of the members are taking this study so seriously.  Churches, where Spirit and truth are well balanced, is a much-needed feature.

Before we arrived in Muizenberg, Cape Town Sue and I took a few days relaxing and some exercise on the golf course but also visited a young couple who grew up in Biggin Hill church.  They moved to South Africa 12 years ago and now live in Bredasdorp 2 hours east of Cape Town close to the most southerly point in South Africa.  Simon & Emily Wichall have always been community minded so they started a charity to serve the poor in the region.  They purchased old oak wine barrels and began to make furniture and kitchen equipment such as chopping boards etc.  The work has been blessed and is now a full-blown business called The Joshua Tree providing employment for over 20 young men and women and they now export their creations to various parts of Europe including Sweden and the UK.   We visited the factory and shop and were amazed at the excellent quality of their work.  They will visit us while we are in Muizenberg so that we can introduce them to Sheldon and the church but especially to Anton & Elana whose work called Sozo in the township really impresses us.  I believe this is more than just a nice reunion but our linking up old friends again from Biggin Hill with purpose.  Watch this space!

Well, that’s our first month.  Sorry, it’s been delayed but communication facilities here are frustrating, to say the least, and Sue also now has a new laptop which is still being broken in!

That’s it from us.  Thanks for your support and prayers.  I’ll touch base again just before we return to the UK on 1st May.

Regions Beyond

Your friends

Ray & Sue