It’s COLD here in Africa! And with no indoor heating and air it feels even COLDER. It has been winter break for the last 3 weeks, so the pre-school at Ithemba where I volunteer was not open, and Emi was also out of “school” too. I tried to do a few fun things with Ems during her break. She went to a petting zoo with her Korean friend Yieon where she fearlessly rode a horse!
And we did some baking and gave some beautiful cookies to some of our elderly neighbors.
Also during these past few weeks I've been on a committee planning a big fundraiser for Ithemba. We're hosting a Woodwind Band to come and play in Jeffrey’s Bay and they’re going to donate all of the proceeds to Emi's Closet. Even all of the refreshment sales. Yeah! Please pray that LOTS of people come to our concert on August 1st.
Emi’s Closet will be giving ½ of the proceeds to Ithemba, the Family Support Center I work at with vulnerable children and orphans, and the other half we will be donating to the building of the new Global Leadership Academy. Here’s a 3-minute you tube video that showcases the school which our organization - Global Challenge Expeditions - is busy breaking ground to build. Check it out – it’s really so cool and such a privilege to be a part of!
I have also been distributing some more of the funds from our Emi's Closet sale that was such a great success earlier this year! We are now supplying daily vitamins for 250+ kids, and I’ve been continuing to do my weekly puppet shows, with Bible lessons and life stories.
And thanks to the Jingle Jog, I'm still handing out lots of fresh fruit each week as well.
It has been a bit of a tough winter for me. I had a bad bout with bronchitis for 6 ½ weeks! And I have never really regained my energy. So many of you responded to my prayer request and told me to rest. And I have tried to – it’s just hard to do that when you’re here on the mission field and when you have a WILD 3 year old who doesn’t comprehend the meaning of REST! I’m very grateful to all of you for your prayers and encouragement. I am lots better -THANKS!
Marius has also been working very hard lately. He has been helping out at our friend's Christian coffee shop here in J-Bay. Their baby had lots of complications when he was born recently, so since Marius had restaurant experience, he volunteered to step in for a while to help manage the coffee shop while they took care of their new baby son. The couple that owns the coffee shop has been so impressed with Marius's help there, that they have actually offered him the opportunity to be a part owner of the coffee shop. Of course we don't have that kind of money lying around, but we've actually been praying about and considering this. This couple is also full-time with Global Challenge (the mission's organization we work for here) and they use the coffee shop for all sorts of Christian events - meetings, concerts, Bible Studies, prayer meetings, and then just being a shining light in this community in the sphere of business.
Global Challenge is considering adding a new program to their short-term missions department, in which students who complete their 1 year mission trip would have the opportunity to stay here and continue a discipleship/mentoring relationship at the coffee shop (and a few other businesses) for a 3 month internship where they would learn business principles and learn to balance that with living their life as a light in the community. It’s actually a great opportunity for some of our students who experience amazing things on their year-long journey and need a place to transition back into “normal” life. This shows them that missions is not a trip – it’s a life! Regardless of whether they decide to go on to become doctors or professional football players or pastors – their lives are to live out the mission of loving God and helping others to know HIM too.
While I continue to do my Ithemba and Emi's Closet work, I personally think Marius should do this coffee shop thing. He's very good at the restaurant business, he's good at discipleship, and he can still balance his time to do his training at the beginning of each year as well as take a shortened motorcycle mission trip throughout the year. We will let you know how as things progress, and if we are able to source the capital it would take to purchase our share - around $25,000. We just want to be where the Lord wants us to be, and doing what the Lord wants us to be doing.
Thank you so much for your prayers, for your love, and for your encouragement.
We genuinely appreciate and love you all.
Jodi, Marius, & Emi