Friday, June 2, 2017

News - May 2017

Arthur Lomax
Between the years 1869 and 1873, my great-grandfather, Arthur Lomax, served as a Missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, Curate and then Rector of St Mary the Virgin Anglican Church, as well as Sub-Warden at the College and Industrial School in Zonnebloem…all in Cape Town. 

On Saturday May 20, Louise and I tutored a student in the very same buildings Arthur must have frequented. In one sense it was rather surreal, but in another sense we felt like we have come full-circle. In our work here, we are continuing what was begun more than a century ago. I have seen the church where he served, but we have not attended any services there yet…we also intend to trace his footsteps through the Eastern Cape in the future.

As you have no doubt realised, we hit the ground running here, but it sometimes feels like we are running through mud. South Africa, and Cape Town in particular, makes you think you are in a first world country…and one is pleasantly deceived for a while until you try to get something done. Then the lack of resources, supplies, and efficient time-management dispel any doubts that you are no longer living in the instant get what you want when you want US of A!

Add to that mix the recent wiki-leaks-like revelation of government corruption, bold-faced lies, the mind-boggling theft of billions, and the devastating effect of mismanagement on all different levels…add to that the worst drought in living memory threatening to bring a city of 3.7 million people to its knees if we do not get any rain soon…add to that the glaring contrast between the abject poverty of many and the ostentatious wealth of a few…and you find yourself rudely awoken to the realities that are southern Africa.

We live in a lovely flat in an area known as Upper Wynberg. In the 1600 and 1700’s this whole area was farmland…many vineyards, hence the name. It is still a very beautiful and historic area and we love it. The flat is tiny…you can swing a cat in it…barely...and it is pricey, but it is a ten to fifteen minute walk from our offices in Kenilworth.

Marianne, Louise and the Queen in our flat.

Mike and Marianne, Louise’s sister and brother-in-law, have been helping us make it home…hanging curtains and blinds, sharing their furniture with us, and supplying us with cushions and paint at retail prices from their Décor Centre. We will post photographs when it is complete.

Johannesburg, Christ the King, Pretoria, and Highveld Diocese

We have been learning a lot…as I said before in our previous newsletter, a lot has changed in twenty years! And we have been meeting a lot of people, both here and in Johannesburg where Wayne, one of my GtC colleagues, and I participated in training men and women in how to do and teach discipleship, based on the life and ministry of Jesus. 

Louise has been busy cataloguing our material, creating a Province-wide prayer network, preparing teas and cooking meals for training events and the gathering of the GtC Board, as well as caring for an ailing Queen. Louise’s mum injured her leg a while back and the wound has become infected. It is not a good situation and she was quite low the other evening. Louise is with her at present, so she has rallied, but we will see what the future holds. This is the most frail I have ever seen her. Please pray for her.

We are still trying to find our way around here. At least we know where a fabulous Indian Restaurant is! We have yet to find a home church, as we have either been busy over the weekends or away. Hopefully we will find one soon. Both of us need to find spiritual directors as well…but it is tough when you don’t know many folk. Pray for the Lord to lead us to the right people.

Mannenberg Praise Band
Belhar's Marimba Band
We recently celebrated GtC’s 10th Anniversary! The event was held at St John’s Church in Wynberg, but many folks came from all around to give thanks to the Lord with us. An amazing Marimba band from St Mary Magdalen, Belhar, a praise band from Mannenberg (a place where gang-warfare is a daily reality which made their joyful praise all the more meaningful), and a stunning youth choir helped make the day a memorable one indeed! Wish y’all could have been there!

Amici De Lumina Youth Choir
Louise and I are busy planning a road trip up the eastern coast in June to introduce ourselves and our work to the Diocese along the way. Please pray that things will fall into place soon. Louise is planning a huge breakfast get-together for the Mother’s Union and Anglican Women’s Fellowship on July 15, so all has to be squared away before that time.

So much of what we are doing right now is ground work and foundational and is therefore extremely important…but, to be honest, I can’t wait to start laying the bricks! I love this discipleship material – it makes so much sense, it is so thoroughly based on the Gospels, and it is so easy to internalise! I look forward to the day that it is being used in every Diocese of this Province. Pray with us toward that end.

On a personal note:
*    We are still trying to get South African Driver’s licenses as our US ones will expire in July and September. The wheels of the DMV here move slower than in the US!
*    I have seen my doctor and she is very satisfied with my health, but wants me to stay on my current meds for at least another year. Obviously, there is no change in the thyroid meds and heart meds…sigh…getting old is not for sissies!
*    We still do not have Internet access in our flat and so Face-Time with our children and grandchildren has to take place in our office. Pray that this might move forward as well.
*    We are still in need of a few more generous supporting team members as far as our support through SAMS-USA is concerned. Ask the Lord of the Harvest to supply supporters for His labourers in the harvest-field!
*    Crime is rather high here…theft is rampant, car hijackings are commonplace in certain areas, together with murder and rape, and open gang warfare is on our doorstep…pray for our safety.
*    Pray for open doors with regard to the discipleship training with more dates than we can handle!

Please do drop us an email or snail-mail from time to time. We LOVE to hear from you…we do pray for you and it would be great to know more specific things to pray for!

Love, hugs, and blessings.

Johann and Louise

Our bedroom, complete with baby warthog...

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