20 December 2010

waiting for the beauty hidden in the ashes

In so many ways it's a lovely week - a week filled with anticipation and our favorite Christmas carols and the ever present smell of freshly baked cookies. It's a week rich with relationships:: Morne spent the day with us today - tomorrow, Jane, Joyce and Dikeledi are coming with some little ones to swim and play. Wednesday we'll share time with Pinky and Anzani and Ipeleng. Last Friday we had a fabulous day with the Lockwoods from our home town. We are waiting happily for our friend from MI - Luke - and his father - to fly in for a couple of days on their way through to do some ministry in another part of South Africa.

But streaking through the layers of joy have been some pretty serious attacks.

Late last week, heavy storms flooded our church, leaving four inches of standing water - ruining computers and carpets.

Those friends who are on their way to South Africa from MI have been stuck in Paris for three days now - with no hotel and no promises they'll get here reasonably soon. We are praying for their sanity, for their safety, and for a plane to open up to get them here - or at least get them somewhere they aren't sleeping in an airport.

A friend of Billy's was shot while checking on noises outside his house in the middle of the night. Thankfully, only one out of the four bullets hit him. Doctors say that if his body can get through the next few days, his lung and liver will self-heal. He's in ICU but Billy, saying he is with the church, got to go in and see him before surgery today. Billy says he has more color than expected - but doctors are hesitant at this point to give him more than a 50% chance of recovery.

Dearest friends of ours lost everything they owned in a fire that demolished their home on Saturday. Everything gone. We are so thankful they were traveling at the time - the flames were obviously at their fiercest by the only door in the house. Standing in the charred room, we were very aware that anyone inside the house when the fire started would have been blocked by the flames and trapped. Our friends have such beautiful hearts in this tragedy though. They continue to say "We are fine - and we are going to be fine - this isn't the worst that could happen."

Today I took a friend to the hospital. A friend who has been sick for more than a year. A friend with a good education and big dreams, a wonderful husband and beautiful young child. She is so frighteningly thin and so weak... and she is scared. I cried after I dropped her off.

And just now another precious friend called, a friend who is more like family. Three armed men just walked into the house he was visiting and used force to rob the family. They were shaken up, but thankfully not hurt, and couldn't get a hold of the police. Billy called in for them and sent officers to their home.

Continue to pray for us my friends. And continue to pray for those in our community. Something is going on - something that is desperate to rob people of their joy this Christmas season. Pray for an absolute sticky-fingered dripping of delight. That hearts would be set free from the severe bondage's that hold so many here. That we, as a family, can enter well and bring God's words of hope and peace and strength. And that we are all caught up in the anticipation of the new things God is doing in the world - joining us - Immanuel - God With Us. Setting things right.

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