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Friday, October 28, 2011

The Life & Times - A little bit of growth

The first day the Lakeside Team was here we planted a couple gardens for needy families in the township.  We were excited to see that a few of the plants have already started to sprout and grow.  This is sweet corn planted at Zachariah's house.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Life & Times - Construction Progress

The Life & Times - Innocent?!

"While being about his alleged involvement, Drake pleads ignorance."
(Hint: see t-shirt)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Lakeside Team has arrived.  And with their arrival we've been able to complete an outreach ministry that has been on our hearts for a couple weeks now.

Through our church plant we've become acquainted with a man named Zachariah.  I have been doing a discipleship Bible study with him and several others for quite a few months.  His testimony is often challenging to us.  His family of six is struggling financially due to his unemployment.  Several times we have been able to provide food, both through our ministry funds and through the provisions sent over by some generous donors.
He was led by the Spirit one day to another family.  This family is headed by a 72 year old granny who cares for 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.  This family group has numerous needs including health, financial, and security.  The overwhelming need however is spiritual, namely that they come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and experience His forgiveness of their sins.
Through Zachariah's deacon-like ministry we've become involved with this family as well.  He has faithfully been bringing them to church, although a couple of them have resisted.  One challenge last week was that two of the children didn't want to come because they have no shoes.  Zachariah called me 15 minutes before we had to leave for church to tell me this.  Obviously Amber didn't have time to go out and find shoes, not even considering the fact that we didn't know the sizes.  I told him to encourage them to come anyway and surprisingly they did.
I've been in their house, which is probably 20x15 (remember that there are 12 people living there).  There is nothing at all in the house.  Nothing.  As in, not even food.  Several times we have been able to provide food for them, but that isn't a long-term solution.
With the team here, we had a great chance to take a couple hours, a roto-tiller, shovels, rakes and seeds and prepare gardens for these two families.  This helps us fulfill James 2:15, as well as evaluate how willing these families are to help themselves.  Zachariah has committed to oversight of the new family's garden, ensuring that the grandchildren water and weed it.  And while we have shared the gospel with them both at their home and in church, it is a chance to show that we care about them - that we truly care about them enough to do something for them.  And in this culture, for white people to go out to the township and actually work for a black family is unheard of.  Several times we actually had an audience, and with my rudimentary understanding of Sesotho, I could hear the people asking what these crazy white people where doing.
You can see in these photos that it was very moving, especially to the grandmother.  Now it's your turn.  Pray that the seeds in these gardens will grow to produce bountiful fruit for these families in need.  And pray that the spiritual seeds we have been planting will grow into spiritual fruit in the souls of those who hear.
Next week we have scheduled for a children's outreach and some street preaching in Thabong.  Zachariah will take Day 1, then the Lakeside team members and I will split the other days.  We trust the Lord will provide fantastic fruit through these ministries.

The finished product.  Well, hopefully not finished.  We'd like to see a harvest at some point.

Pictured here: Butternut Squash.  Also planted:  Tomatos, Onions, Sweetcorn, Cucumbers, Cabbage, Swisschard, Green Beans and probably a few other things as well.

Grant's philosophy is "The more, the merrier".  He likes to drop a couple dozen seeds in each hole, just to make sure.

Two of the grandchildren.

The granny was moved to tears by this relatively minor display of love.

The Lakeside Team with Granny and several of her grandchildren.  Zachariah is the man in green/white stripes on the left.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Life & Times - Green Thumb

The other day the O'Tool family planted a little garden.  We have a big garden at The Village, but we wanted a few more things to help Meredith and Drake learn how to grow things.  So we took an evening after work and tilled up a little patch that had been left weeds when we prepared the rest of the garden.  Then we planted some sweet corn, onions, cucumber, watermelon, beans, and assorted peppers and tomatoes.

Then a couple days later Brian told me he had just sprayed that weed patch with weed killer several times before we had planted.  So...I don't think this is going turn out to be a very good lesson.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Life & Times - Kung Fu Drake

We just recently started Meredith in Karate lessons.  We hope she learns discipline, coordination, respect, and some form of self defense.  She loves it, so much that she has been giving lessons to Drake and some of the kids from The Village.

Drake has picked up a lot of the nuances.  One of Meredith's and Drake's favorite movies is Mulan, the story of a young chinese girl who goes to war disguised as a boy to save her aged and crippled father from conscription.  There is a song where the captain tells the men that he'll make a man out of them.  Drake really likes that song...alot.  He memorized the first verse and sings it to anyone who cares to listen.  We convinced him to do it on video.  Hope you enjoy as much as we do:-)

Let's get down to business,
To defeat...the Huns.
Did they send me daughters
When I asked...for sons?
You're the saddest bunch I've ever met
And you haven't got a clue
Mister, I'll
Make a man
Out of You!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Life & Times - That's a lot of dung

Several months ago I wrote about some of the strange wildlife we had found at The Village.  See it here:  the cricket

A couple weeks back I found this fantastic specimen.  It is a dung beetle, but not just any dung beetle.  You can see from the pictures that this isn't your normal, everyday, conveniently packaged fun-size dung beetle.  This is the king of dung beetles.

Courtesy of Wikipedia, I've posted a bit of information about the Scarabaeoidea superfamily.  The most interesting note of which is that dung beetles are native to every continent, except, of course, Antarctica.  I'd always thought of them as African, probably because they're so commonly related to Egyptian culture.  Also, they're pretty cool to watch as they shape their collection of manure particles into a ball and roll it backwards.

Dung beetles are beetles that feed partly or exclusively on feces.  Many dung beetles, known as rollers, are noted for rolling dung into spherical balls, which are used as a food source or brooding chambers. Other dung beetles, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are often attracted by the dung burrowing owls collect.