Thursday, April 29, 2010

trip to northern cape

Last Thursday, we set out for a long weekend, extended by public holidays on Monday and Tuesday, in the Northern Cape Province. En route we stayed overnight in the town of Aliwal North, on the border between the Eastern Cape and Free State provinces. The town boasts natural hot springs. We took this picture of our boys beside one of the pools.
We resumed our travels on Friday. Our destination was the small town of Philipstown, located in the scenic Karoo region of South Africa. This field of cacti was on the long gravel road between Colesburg and Philipstown.
The purpose of our trip was a weekend of seminars with two churches, Grace Community Church, with headquarters at Philipstown and branches throughout the Karoo, and New Beginnings, a church in the nearby town of De Aar. GCC is a member of Mennonite World Conference and has recently expressed a desire to know much more about their Mennonite identity. New Beginnings is a church which has also expressed interest in Anabaptism and recently made contact with us Mennonite mission workers in South Africa.
We proceeded by exploring the identity and mission of the church from the New Testament and church history. In this session I am leading a Bible study on Ephesians 2:11-22. You can see that Isaac is also participating.

Though this was our first trip to Philipstown, our American and Canadian colleagues have been nurturing this relationship with GCC over the last four plus years. The weekend was for us a wonderful experience of giving and receiving gifts within the Body of Christ.

-Joe

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Easter break

We spent our two-week Easter break with colleagues and friends in Pietermaritzburg and then back home in Mthatha hosting guests from Mennonite Mission Network, Wayne and Lois Hochstetler, now based in London. Their work is pastoral care for the Network's workers across the globe--and they seem to do a great job of it. We enjoyed having them in our home. See their blog for images of our boys and our time together.

-Joe