Adventures with God

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Thankful Thursdays

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 13:03
Having launched The Gathering a few weeks ago we've wanted to spend time working on the DNA of church and what it means for us in our daily lives.

So last night we gathered for an amazing time of praise and worship and then we launched our Thankful Thursdays Challenge.

Ask for nothing, 
Give thanks for everything!

It's really very simple. We give Thursdays over to thanking God. No prayer requests, no shopping lists, none of the usual directing God through our prayers. We simply thank God!

The bible is packed with commands, instructions and examples of giving thanks and in 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 18 we read: "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". Being thankful is part of God's will for our lives and yet so often we spend time grumbling and complaining when we just shouldn't.

Being thankful to God is a massive part of the DNA of The Gathering!

So here's the challenge...give thanks for all God has done in your life, give thanks for all He's doing in your life, give thanks for the tough stuff. Ask for nothing, no shopping list. We're aiming to make this a new habit in each of our lives, why don't you join us?

"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything" Ephesians 5:20

Miss You Dad!

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 14:02
I miss my dad!

My dad died 30 years ago today when I was all of 18. He was only 55 but looked much older as he'd been battling MS for twelve years.

They say it gets easier over time but it doesn't. All you do is put your loved ones out of your mind as much as possible. The hole left in your heart after they depart is never really filled! 

 How many conversations do I wish I could have had with him. How much advice would I like to have asked of him. But more than anything, I wish he'd met Paula and my boys.

I don't have any decent pics of my dad but this is one of my favourites amongst the few that I do have. This was taken in 1953 whilst he was serving his National Service with the RAF at Biggin Hill.


Mon, 09/15/2014 - 10:49
I wasn't going to share this testimony but then I felt God speak to me on Sunday about not denying him, so here goes...

Almost two weeks ago we gave away one of our couches to some friends who were experiencing some difficulties. We had two couches and could survive on one so we were very happy to bless our friends. It was amusing when the boys got home from school and noticed the gap where the couch had been. Eli said in a sullen tone: "I suppose you gave it away.", we could see his little brain thinking about how much we could have sold it for.

We were quite happy with just the one couch but late last week we were blessed with a gift that allowed us to replace the couch. In fact, the gift was so generous and we were blessed with such a great deal that we were able to replace both couches and give our second couch away too.

God is awesome!


Sun, 09/14/2014 - 03:00
Twenty three years ago today we'd gone for a quiet day out with some friends and family. The day started brilliantly in church followed by a slap up meal together but then to ruin it all some morons individuals (we know who you are!) vandalised our car.

You can't trust anyone!

Seriously though, that was a great day out and Paula has been a legend for these 23 years, she definitley deserves a medal!

Mr & Mrs Mapanda Return

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 14:01
I had the joy and privilege of going to Belville to pick Ziggy & Mercy up this morning after their eipc bus ride home from Harare. They set off on Tuesday!

It's great to have them back and we're grateful to our awesome God for making straight paths for them. They belong to us (Tree of Life) and we're delighted to have them home!

Despite having been gone for just a few weeks I had forgotten what it's like chatting to good friends who are grounded in scripture, they truly are a breath of fresh air.

The bus arriving back in Bellville

10th Blogoversary

Thu, 08/21/2014 - 13:09
We're not sure how but somehow we missed the 10th birthday of our blog, though according to the anniversary isn't for another 37 days!

We've been a bit lax with the blog over the last few years and we'll make no promise to be better at it because that would most likely be a lie. We do love the blog and enjoy it but sadly facebook has largely taken over.

10 years ago the blog was called Adventures With God and looked like the picture to the left. In July 2010 we relaunched the blog with a new look and the new name: Facing The Mountain. Maybe we need to freshen it up again?

Happy belated birthday Blog.
Not sure where the 37 days come from!


Wed, 08/20/2014 - 06:10
We are so proud of Joel who participated in the Helderberg Eisteddfod yesterday afternoon. He was awarded Gold for his poetry recital and Gold Plus for his prepared reading.

Truth be told Joel's a little disappointed in himself because it's the first year he's not got a Cum Laude, but the judge was very clear that the bar was set a lot higher this year and she was marking them accordingly.

Regardless, we're very very proud of Joel!
Next stop the Music Eisteddfod on Friday in which he'll be playing his own interpretation of Stairway To Heaven by Led Zep. He's going to be amazing!

Non-Return Valve

Tue, 08/19/2014 - 13:01
The non-return valve has been fitted. Hooray!

In fairness, once the municipality had been convinced that our sewage problem was of their making they acted well and reasonably swiftly to install the valve.

Hopefully this will be the end of sanitary products etc. winding up in our garden when the storm drains burst and flood the sewers.

They remain perplexed as to why the sewers get filled by the storm drains overflowing but hopefully they'll be able to fix that problem too. For now I'm just happy to know that the risk of our home flooding has been dramatically reduced.

The floods in November last year were a close thing for us, the waters stopped by our gate but our garden was badly flooded mainly by the storm waters flushing back into our garden through the sewer. Nice!

A bird's eye view of our sewer. The municipality took some convincing that the problem was theirs but they convinced themselves by sending a camera down the drain.

Finally the work is underway

You can follow the saga by clicking on the links below.
Sewer Inspection
Sewer Inspection Update

Zimbabwe Thoughts

Sun, 08/17/2014 - 10:44
In South Africa we regularly use the expression "we'll make a plan" or "ons sal 'n plan maak" but up in Zimbabwe they actually do it! There's no talking about making a plan, just the reality of having to get on with it.

I loved every minute of being back in Zim, despite the constant power cuts, water shortages and shocking roads. I loved how the locals don't waste their time complaining and moaning about how bad it is but rather get on with life. I loved every minute of being back there because it made me realise just how much of my heart I left there when we were thrown out in 2003.

I loved every minute of being back in Zim because I felt a freedom there that I never feel at home in South Africa. The welcome I received in the high-density suburb of Warren Park where Ziggy & Mercy got married was amazing and sincere and it was pure joy to spend the day there celebrating with dear friends!

I loved every minute of being back in Zim because of the friendliness of the people. Uncle Bob might have tried to portray the land issue as one of race but the people aren't as stupid as he'd like to think they are. Zim is light years ahead of South Africa in terms of race relations!

I loved every minute of being back in Zim because I was able to do things I wouldn't dare do in SA. One time as I was walking back to my friends house a Shona guy pulled up and asked if I knew where a business was. I didn't until he said it was on Tunsgate. I told him that I used to live on Tunsgate, so I got in his car and we drove there. On the Sunday I got lost on my way to Westgate so I pulled into a driveway to turn around. A soldier knocked on my window, fist-bumped me and then asked what I was doing. When I told him I was lost he called another soldier over. He got into my car and together we set off for Westgate. I would NEVER do either of these things in South Africa!

I loved being back amongst friends, especially Mark & Leanne and their family. I'd forgotten what good friends they are and how close we had become. I loved meeting up with Shepherd and revisiting the now defunct Just Children Foundation where we worked in 2000-2001.

I loved visiting River of Life Westgate, the church we'd been instrumental in planting back in 2002-3 and hearing about how so many of our old friends had gone on to plant a number of churches out of Westgate. I loved spending time worshipping in Shona, it lifts the soul like little else on the planet!

I loved being stranded at Harare airport for two and a half hours and spending the time chatting with locals, laughing about the country and what had happened since 2003. I loved the joy that folk had and were unable to hide.

Now don't get me wrong, Zimbabwe is a country riddled with problems, a morally bankrupt government that has stolen every election since independence. A govt so corrupt it makes the ANC look like amateurs. Roads so poor that people accept wild driving around potholes as normal. Power cuts for half a day at a time. Water that rarely runs out of the tap and when it does it's so weak it's pathetic! A country that uses the US$ because it's own was so totally worthless, which means locals pay more for their groceries.

No, Zim is far from perfect but it's a country I love dearly and I hope that one day God hears my prayer and makes a way for my family to return to serve him in this amazing country.

Westgate Revisited

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 07:56
For most of our time in mission we've been involved in sowing seeds and rarely got to see the fruits of our labours. This is why I'm so thrilled by what I'm seeing in Zimbabwe.

This morning I went to River of Life Westgate, the church we were instrumental in planting back in 2002 with a team from River of Life Mount Pleasant.

Those were exciting times as we gathered at Westgate as a small team with a giant vision to see a church planted and a variety of social outreach projects established.

I arrived late for the English service so I got the sermon in English and stayed for the worship in Shona. I'd forgotten just how great Shona worship can be and Westgate was pumping this morning!
Today Westgate has a thriving church and is the base for Foundations For Farming, an amazing farming project setup and run by Brian Oldrieve, a great man of God.

It's an immense privilege to return to a ministry one was involved with and to see how it's flourished in one's absence. I feel very privileged to have been a part of the team that planted Westgate and all glory belongs to God for what he's doing in the Westgate community.

It was also great to hear that so many of our old friends from Westgate have been heavily involved in planting a number of churches out of Westgate. It was a little sad not to see the likes of Chav, Bonface and Tichaona but so exciting to hear about their church planting exploits.

The Westgate church building. This was being built as we left.

The building inside is quite something.

See more photos here.

A Special Day

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 17:30
When asked how today went I simply replied: "Today was one of the happiest days of my life!"

Ever since we left Zimbabwe so abruptly in 2003 I've longed to return to see our many friends that we never got to say goodbye to.

So to be here for the wedding of our dear friends Ziggy & Mercy and to get to meet up with Linus, Emilia and Shepherd was a real privilege.

Emilia and Shepherd really put themselves at risk back in 2003 when they accompanied Paula to the immigration dept to argue our case for us. Their selflessness was truly remarkable and we will be forever grateful to them!
So as Ziggy & Mercy got married it was a real pleasure to spend time with great friends, reminiscing about good times and bad times but doing it with a smile and a lot of love.

I am also deeply grateful to Tree of Life for allowing me to be with Ziggy & Mercy as they got married and for enabling my trip.

We are definitely coming back to Zim next year as a family!