Adventures with God

Syndicate content
Updated: 27 min 24 sec ago

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 blogoversary.com 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!




Eisteddfod

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!

The Passing Of A Legend

Tue, 07/15/2014 - 12:10
We heard on Sunday lunchtime that our 'dad' had died. Uncle Paul was a giant in the faith and a man we had grown to love very dearly.

I never had the privilege of meeting Nelson Mandela, but I did have the awesome privilege of knowing Uncle Paul and I now treasure the few occasions I got to sit with him and listen to his stories about his life and growing up in this amazing but divided country.

Today I look back on those special times with this amazing man of God and I'm humbled to have known him and I count it a pure privilege to have had him speak into my life. I will always be grateful for his wisdom!


Some of my favourite photos of Uncle Paul


This is Uncle Paul & Aunty Molly at a wedding in Simon's Town


Please pray for me as I lead my first ever funeral this Saturday as well as doing the committal at the graveside. I long to do nothing more than honour Uncle Paul and bring glory to God.


You can read a bit more about Uncle Paul on the Tree of Life Church page.

Macassar Protests

Wed, 07/02/2014 - 12:55
Recently I posted "Love Your Neighbour?" about some evictions in a local township and our attitudes surrounding the whole debacle.

Well for the folks in Macassar the issues just got very real and tensions will only rise in the coming months.

SANRAL (South African National Roads Agency Limited) had obtained a court order to remove squatters from some land in Lwandle but they had no plan in place as to what to do with those displaced by this action. Initially the displaced moved into a community hall and then in a very short sighted move by SANRAL the people were moved to a site in Blackheath which they also owned. This lead to an immediate and angry response from locals there who have also been waiting a long time for housing, so the people were moved back to the community hall where they remain.

In another spectacularly short-sighted moment it was announced that these displaced people would be moved to land in Macassar later in the year, where they would be provided with accommodation. Needless to say those living in informal dwellings, also known as "back-yard dwellers", were very angry and took to the streets to protest about this. These protests then took on a life of their own as others used them as a vehicle to protest about the lack of service delivery in Macassar.

The cynic in me wonders why the initial evictions didn't take place until after the recent elections but that's just me being cynical.

So thanks to some truly naive local politics the usually peaceful community of Macassar was rocked by several days of violent protests in which water cannons were used and rubber bullets were fired.

It is true that there is plenty of land available for accommodation in Macassar but it's also very true that to ignore the very pressing issue of local need is to set the touch paper alight. Sadly the local authorities seem to enjoy setting off the fireworks and then standing back to watch their handi-work.

I don't believe this is a case of Nimby'ism but rather a simple case of folks in Macassar feeling aggrieved because their needs are being overlooked whilst a problem not of their making is being dumped on their doorstep. If the local needs were being met then the evictees from Lwandle would be welcomed in the community but as ever, politicians have their eyes fixed on short term goals rather than the bigger long term picture.

Pleas pray for Macassar in the coming months as the community will be back out on the streets as the planned relocation gets closer. Pray too for Tree of Life Church that we might be the salt and light in the community that is so desperately needed.

The police planning their response, the water cannon is on standby


The locals gathering to express their frustrations


Read some local media coverage of the incidents...
Deep-rooted anger behind Macassar protests
Police monitor Macassar
Macassar protesters torch council building
CT protests are incidents of thuggery
And here's what started it all... Sanral evicts squatters in Strand








Let The Games Begin

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 10:53




We're all ready for the World Cup.

How about you?


Thanks to Andy for sending us the bunting and inflatable hand. Much appreciated mate!

The Cotton Picker Eli

Fri, 06/06/2014 - 08:15
We had the privilege of attending the school's Music Café even this morning in which Eli was performing his first ever piano recital. We're very proud of he's doing given that he only started learning in January.



Click here if video not visible.

Love Your Neighbour?

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 03:37
This picture looks like a scene from the dark days of the apartheid era, but sadly it's not. This was taken yesterday right here in the Helderberg Basin as some squatters were evicted from private land.

The tragedy is that the private land is owned by SANRAL (South African National Roads Agency Limited) which is in fact a govt owned public company) and so the govt and law enforcement agencies refuse to get involved hiding behind civil law and neglecting their duties. The cycnic in me also wonders why these evictions didn't take place before the recent elections, but that's a whole other debate.

I understand the arguments for and against the squatters and their eviction, after all I'm just as much a NIMBY as you are. Yes I'm appalled by the images but if this had been next door to me I'd have been happy to see the evictions taking place. And therein lies a big problem.


To what extent do I really love my neighbour as myself?
Where my neighbour is respectable it's easy to love them. When my neighbour was down and out and in need of my love where was I?  I don't have easy answers to these questions, just as I know you don't either. However I do feel very ashamed that here in our democratic South Africa we've just witnessed some events that wouldn't have been out of place in the apartheid era.