Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Treats

Phil and I passing out some Christmas treats to our church people at Manyatseng.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gwen's Birthday

Gwen cooking her birthday supper.

We really didn't do much special for Gwen's birthday, except I made breakfast for the family. Gwen did take the morning off from regular responsibilities to get some things done that she has been waiting to do. In the evening we enjoyed a very nice supper that Gwen made. The roses you see on the table came from our own yard. Gwen, of course, really enjoyed talking with different family member that called to wish her a happy birthday.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Improvements at Hope Christian Academy

A couple of weeks ago a friend of ours, who has a sod business, gave us about three truck loads of off-cuts. The boys and I planted some of the sod at our house and then we also spent some time fixing up some bare areas at our school here in Ladybrand.

As you can see below we also added some trees to the school property. In all I planted eight trees. In a few years the students will be very thankful for the shade.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Night Sky

Last week the night sky was really beautiful. The crescent moon along with Jupiter and Venus made for some interesting photography. If you look closely at the photo above you can see Venus just under the moon. I was surprised at how well my little point-and-shoot camera did with taking pictures at night. Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork." Abraham Lincoln once said: "I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Day

Psalm 107:1 O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

For our Thanksgiving day we drove about 3 hours North East of Ladybrand to fellowship with other American missionaries. Everybody brought some food, and you can see below that we had plenty to eat. About half way through the meal a thunderstorm blew up, so we all got a little wet, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

We spent Thanksgiving with Bro. and Sis. Darrell Miller (left), Bro. and Sis. Thorton Merrifield (center), and Bro. and Sis. Roger Smith and their son Caleb (right). Phil and Amrie also rode along with us. We trust each of you had a blessed day with family, friends, and the Lord.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Boys

This week we had a tent meeting in Manyatseng. Isaac went with me one day to pass out tracts and invitations. He had some children's tracts that he handed out. He is normally rather shy, but he is doing much better now. We had a great time with the all the children as we walked through the streets passing out invitations.

Micah enjoys anything that has to do with dirt or mud. He enjoyed helping to plant the garden. He is very active, and it takes a lot to stay ahead of him.

Titus is really growing. He loves to smile, and is normally a happy baby. He has been quite fussy lately. I think he is getting his first tooth.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

House Guests

We frequently have these visitors in our house during the summer months. Just this morning there was one in the boys bedroom. Micah picked it up, but dropped it after it started moving. As far as I know these millipedes are harmless. We just scoop them up and throw them outside. What a way to treat a guest!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Thatched Roof

The two pictures are good examples of the thatched roofs we see here in South Africa and Lesotho. The first picture I took a couple of weeks ago before my camera locked up. It is a picture of a house here in Ladybrand. These type of roofs are fashionable and normally used by the wealthy. You can see in the first picture that someone is up on the roof. He is replacing the top layer. That has to be done after a few years because of deterioration due to the weather.

The second picture I received from someone else. It was taken, I believe, in Lesotho. These types of houses are very common especially in rural areas.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Both Steve and Micah had birthdays last week. Steve turned 33 on Thursday, and Micah turned 3 on Friday. We had a nice visit at the farm with Phil's in-laws on Thursday. Gwen made homemade pizza and the ladies made an "airplane" cake for Micah. He is always wanting to go to the airport and ride on the airplanes. On Friday, Micah's birthday, we all went to a small coffee shop here in town and Micah really enjoyed his milkshake and playing at the playground. Sorry we don't have more photos, but our camera is still non-functional.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Camera On The Blink

At the moment our camera isn't functioning properly, so there may be some time before we can share more photos. This week both Micah and I have our birthdays so maybe we will try to borrow someone else's camera for those occasions.

The end of this year is shaping up to be a busy one. In November I plan to start teaching a course in counseling to two of our national workers. Gwen will also probably resume her classes with the young ladies from our churches. During the third week of November we are tentatively planing a week of evangelistic tent meetings near our Manyatseng church. The school year here ends during the first week of December. So that week there will be an end of the year program.

I serve as school treasure for Hope Christian Academy and up till now we haven't gone through the receipts and paperwork for the six months while we were in the there is a lot of calculating ahead of me.

During Christmas week there is a possibility that we may hold a special Christmas conference. Last Saturday Phil and I had a meeting with our national pastor to begin the process of sharing more and more of the church work with our nationals. We are excited about the possibilities that are opening up for the work here in Ladybrand. Last evening we attended a very profitable school board meeting. Oh, we also need to begin language study in earnest....sometime!

Well, enough of my ramblings. At least you know we aren't on vacation. Steve

Saturday, October 18, 2008


We decided to try our hand at a small garden this year. We thought we were going to have to move at the end of November, but due to some unexpected circumstances it looks like we should be able to stay in this house at least another year. Since we are planning on staying we decided to have a garden. The first project was to remove a mostly dead peach tree. After the tree was cut I worked on the stump for quite a while before it finally yielded. Next, as you can see below, I began "tilling" the plot. As I was using the pick on the hard packed soil I remembered how easy it was preparing our garden in PA with my in law's tiller. Oh well, the produce will make it worth while. I'll try to share more pictures as we make more progress with our garden.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Gwen and Isaac were busy today putting away some sweet and some bread and butter pickles. As the summer goes along we hope to do a lot more canning. Not only is a great learning experience for children, but it also can save money in the long run. Besides that there is something fulfilling about eating what one has worked to make.

Monday, October 6, 2008

American Visitors

Steve's parent's, Steve and Janet Geise, missionaries in Guatemala, were able to be in South Africa for about a month. They were a real blessing while they were here. Dad Geise is a handyman and he fixed many little things while he was here. He also spent a lot of time under Phil's truck and Steve's car. Mom Geise spent a lot of time reading to the boys and playing with them. That was especially helpful during this extremely busy time.

Gwen's Father, Rev. James Susan, gave the message at the wedding. It was really nice having him in our home.

We enjoyed having the newly weds, Brent and Alisha Susan here in Ladybrand. Though they didn't stay with us, it was nice having them around.

Rev. Grant is the president of Hope International Missions. It was a privilege to have him preach at our Manyatseng church the Sunday morning after Phil and Amrie's wedding. He was able to really connect with our people. Bro. Grant and Bro. Howard also both spoke in chapel at Hope Christian Academy.

It was so nice to have Bro. and Sis. Howard in South Africa. Bro. Howard is our African Regional Director. The Howards spent several years in Ghana and Lesotho as missionaries.

Our friend, Juleen Wilson, was a huge blessing during her three week visit. She and Alisha helped Gwen unpack and get organized.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

More Pics of Phil & Amrie's Wedding

The fathers prayed during the ceremony.

Instead of rice, bird seed, or bubbles, we threw colored feathers at Phil and Amrie. Whatever the children didn't take home the wind blew away!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Philip and Amrie's Wedding

Phil and Amrie were married in a beautiful Dutch Reformed Church here in Ladybrand.

Phil and Amrie were married in Ladybrand, South Africa on September 20th a little after 11:00 am. We were privileged to have our parents here for the occasion. We were sorry our sister Debbie Anderson and family couldn't be here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Wedding Pictures.....

One other different thing that Alisha did was she had our two oldest boys, Isaac and Micah, and Janet's two oldest sit in the aisle on stools with parts of her bouquet. As she walked up the aisle she stopped and the children gave her their flowers which she put together to make her bouquet.
The James Susan Family with Raymond and Gladys Hommel

Our Family with Gale and Betty Geise

Our Family With My Parents and Grandma Hall

This summer our family has had the privilege of visiting with all our grandparents. We were able to spend a considerable amount of time with Gwen's Grandparents Raymond and Gladys Hommel before Grandma Hommel passed away in July. Also on several occasions we were able to visit with Grandpa and Grandma Geise (Gale and Betty Geise) and even spend a couple of nights with them. Then most recently we were able to visit with Grandma Hall(Patricia Hall). My Grandpa and Grandma Hall were missionaies for 40+ years. My parents have now been missionaries for 15+ years. I count it an honor to be a third generation missionary.

Wedding Bells

Brent and Alisha were married on August 15th, 2008. The wedding was very nice with several unique features. I really enjoyed hearing the bells ringing after Brent and Alisha were pronouced husband and wife.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Rocky Mountain National Park

This week we had the opportunity to vist the Rockies. We had a service in Denver on Wednesday night and the following morning we drove up into the mountains for the day. It was very beautiful. There was still snow in some places. A special thanks to the individual who made it possible for us to go.

The boys really enjoyed playing in the snow. Isaac especially has been begging to play in snow the whole time we have been back in the U.S.

Brent & Alicia

I thought I would share a picture of Brent and his fiance, Alicia Redmond. The wedding will be on August 15th, near Mifflinburg, PA. After they are married they will be living in Ottawa, KS where Brent teaches in a Christian School.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Creation Museum

Yesterday we went with Gabe, Janet and their family down to Kentucky to the Creation Museum. What an incredible day! It is definitely worth the time to go. They told us by 2009 they plan to have an actual size Noah's ark built. The museum is state of the art, high quality, with a Christian atmosphere. It was both educational, inspirational, and refreshing. Go if you can.