Thursday, December 20, 2012

December trip

From last Thursday through Tuesday we were away from Mthatha on a family fun and work trip to the Northern Cape.  On Sunday, we worshiped with the Grace Community Church in Philipstown.  On the way to Philipstown, we spent two nights near the Eastern Cape town of Cradock, home of Pastor Lawrence and Juanita Coetzee, also of the Grace Community Church family.  Around these visits we enjoyed much good family time (see below).

Isaac, Moses, and Levi man our cooking fire at Mountain Zebra National Park outside of Cradock.  We stayed in the campground for two nights.

Our family tent (left) and Uncle Jacob's one-person tent (right).
One of the park's friendly beasts.

Near Philipstown we stayed at our usual spot, the guest farm of Andries and Kay Fourie. Andries gave our boys rides on his motorbike.
The meals at the guest farm are always a highlight.
Monday's main activity in the swimming pool.  Uncle Jacob throws to Moses.
We managed to get this family picture on one of our walks around the vast farm premises.

We found this amazing stick insect on the farm.  The resemblance to a blade of grass or  straw is uncanny.

Isaac at work designing soccer jerseys, his art project of choice for the trip.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

known and loved

Something very beautiful happens when our seven-year-old Moses enters our backyard chicken pen.  Since August we've had a small flock of birds, and Moses knows them by name.

A couple of weeks ago he led me to the pen to exhibit the skills of his flock.  Moses climbs a small tree, bird under his arm, and places the chicken on a branch.  Then he patiently waits for the chicken to fly down from its perch of its own accord.  He notifies me ahead of time which birds are reluctant to fly, and which birds descend without deliberation.  Every time the result is as Moses has foretold.  One small hen he has named Bravey, because she shows courage in her quick descent from the tree.

If Moses is in a bad mood, he transforms into an exceedingly polite and gentle young man in the presence of his chickens.  I cannot help but remember "the Good Shepherd" (Jn 10) when I see Moses and his flock; Moses truly "knows his own and his own know him" (Jn 10:14).  And if this level of delight in and loving kindness for his creatures is a reflection of who Jesus claims to be, then those who belong to his flock have much reason for quiet confidence and strong hope in the midst of adversity.  The One who holds the universe in his hand loves us, and nothing else matters.

If a seven-year-old's care is a reflection of our Creator, then truly God is love (1 Jn 4:8).