Saturday, October 31, 2009

Micah's Birthday

Thursday night we had a little birthday celebration for Micah and I.  (The get-together also doubled as a going away for Phil and Amrie since they will be in the States for the next four months.)  We invited all the missionaries who work with us and also Fanie and Rose Blignaut and their family. 

Gwen was very creative with Micah's cake. I thought the giraffe turned out pretty good.

This morning we went to a local coffee shop for a birthday breakfast.  There are toys and also playground equipment for the children. The boys really enjoyed our time there.

Here is Africa's version of a rocking horse.  A rocking elephant, of course!

I'm an uncle

I don't know if you have the problem of feeling younger than you are, but sometimes I suffer from the ailment.  Sometimes when I see young people I still feel like I am one of their peers. But as I found out yesterday, which happened to be my birthday, I am no longer a youth. Here in South Africa among the Afrikaans people if someone is ten years old or older than you they should be addressed as Uncle or Aunt. Yesterday as I was in a place of business a young man walked past me.  As he did he greeted me with "Hello Uncle". 

My birthday is on October 30th and Micah's in on the 31st.  So we got our picture together today.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A full life

The past month has been a bit hectic with visitors, traveling, special business meetings, a funeral, lots of sickness, a new dog in the family, and even looking for a different house to live in.  Now it looks like the next month is promising to be just as full.  Mainly due to the rising housing costs here in town and the devaluation of the dollar we have been considering moving out of town where rent is less.  Well, it looks like we have found a house.  The rent is less than 1/4 of what we pay now so that will be a great help financially.  So in the next few weeks we will be busy packing, moving, and unpacking.  On top of that it is spring and it is actually getting a little late to plant a garden so we have to hurry.  As soon as possible we plan to get things planted out at the house in the country.  We have tried to get ahead us much as possible by planting seeds in pots and containers, so the vegetables will get a head start.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


On Tuesday the 13th Gwekn and I drove to Johanesburg to pick up Mr. and Mrs. Howard at the airport. Mr. Howard is Hope International Missions Regional Director for the African Region.  The Howards have been very busy since being here. I believe they have had a total of 12 meetings in 7 days.  We thank the Lord for His help during this time.  One evening the Howards took our family out to eat.  We certainly enjoyed our time with them. 

On Sunday Bro. Howard preach a very good message at the Manyatseng church.  He spoke about how strong families make strong churches and strong churches influence the nation. 

This last picture is of the missionary team we work with here in South Africa.  From Right to Left: Glenn and Stephanie Gault, Pieter and Hester Marais, Johan and Hessie van der Merwe, Philip and Amrie Geise, Steve and Gwen Geise, and our Regional Director Jim and Freddie Howard. We are thankful for the great group of people we have to work with.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Funeral

On Saturday Gwen and I went to the funeral of one of the girls from our church.  In most funerals even though the person that died may have been a Christian unsaved family members do many things that are not Christian.  The pictures below are from a funeral earlier this year, but the practices are basically the same at all funerals.

Here you can see men lowering a cow skin to be placed over the casket of the deceased.  The Basothos have a lot of beliefs and practices that center around ancestor worship. Many of these practices can be seen especially around the time of a funeral. The cow skin "tradition" comes from the time when animal skins were the only clothes that were worn.  When someone dies the Basothos believe that the spirit of the deceased will be cold and will come back to haunt the family unless a skin is placed over the casket.  Thus the cow skin over the casket - to give warmth to the spirit.

One custom is for close family members to throw dirt down on the coffin before the grave is filled in.  It too is closely tied together with ancestor worship, though many people today simply do it as a tradition. It was originally intended help keep the spirit of the deceased from coming back to haunt the family. Family member file past the one holding the shovel full of dirt.  Each one takes a handful and throws it into the grave.

Also as you can see in the two pictures below after the grave is covered and the soil is mounded up some form of container is placed on top of the grave as a way of providing water to the deceased spirit.

The reason I included the picture below is so you can see the vast amount of fresh graves in one of many cemeteries here in the Ladybrand area. Many of these graves are more than likely from AIDS related deaths.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Here are a few things Micah has said in the past few months:

One morning Isaac got hurt and Micah said: "You'll tell the tale". (He wanted to say "You'll live to tell the tale.")

One afternoon Micah said he wanted only mayo on his sandwich for lunch. Gwen said "that's boring" Micah replied with "Sorry, that's life"!

Sometimes we give the boys a little food to "hold them over" until we make a larger breakfast later in the morning.  One morning Micah said: "Daddy, will you start me up with some cereal?"

A while back Micah was sitting looking at a magazine.  Apparently he couldn't remember if he was turning the pages backward or forward. He said: "Dad, now I'm confused. I don't know which way I can go."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nigel and Forgiveness

Well, our new puppy has given us the opportunity to practice forgiveness.  During his first night with us he was missing his mommy and all his brothers and sisters so he put up quite a fuss.  Around 3 am Gwen and I heard the loud honking of a car horn. We wondered what the purpose of that was at that time of the morning. We didn't have to wait long until we found out.  Right after the horn stopped honking our doorbell began ringing incessantly. I quickly unplugged the bell so as not to awaken everyone in the house and then I saw through the window that there was a man at our gate who was obviously very agitated.  When I opened the door he began a tirade about how my dog was keeping him awake and how I was cruel (apparently he thought I was mistreating the dog).  His mostly one-sided conversation was punctuated with obscene language and even a threat to me personally. 

Well, obviously I was a bit shocked as that was my first experience of being the recipient of such curses, especially at three in the morning. I quietly shut the door and brought the puppy in near our bedroom where the rest of the night I tried to get a little rest between the times of keeping the dog quiet.

The next day (Sunday) on our way home from church I saw our neighbor was out in his yard, so I went to ask his forgiveness for keeping him awake in the night.  Immediately he apologized for his language.  I understand the man is a rather rough man, but I'm thankful for the opportunity to show God's love and forgiveness to him.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Anniversary "Time Away" Four Months Late

Our tenth wedding anniversary was back in June but a lot was happening during that time so we really didn't do anything special. This past week though we were able to schedule some time away, so the boys stayed with Uncle Philip and Aunt Amrie and Gwen and I went to Bloemfontein. I surprised Gwen by taking her to the Free State Botanical Gardens. That's where we got the pictures of the clivia miniata (above).

We stayed at a little Bed & Breakfast for one night. It wasn't high class but it was comfortable and relaxing.

Sitting at the little table above was a nice place to read the Bible and enjoy the cool morning air from the backyard of the B&B.  Below you can see our little breakfast corner. The food was first class.  We couldn't eat everything our host provided.  We had a nice time and we are thankful God has given us ten years together.


Our boys have been wanting a puppy for a long time, so
when we found some labs for sale we decided it was
time to get a dog. It seems that his handle will be "Nigel".
One of the meanings for the name is "Dark Night", and
since he is black we thought it would be appropriate.
I've been struggling to remember what his name is
let alone call him by one that is so high-class.
Isaac suggested we call him "Snicklefritz".

Thursday, October 1, 2009


It has been cloudy for the past three days and we have been anticipating some precipitation. In a place where rain comes infrequently I find myself longing for wet days.  Last night during the night we finally got a little rain. Though it wasn't much at least the ground is wet, the leaves are greener and the air has a delicious, fresh, rainy smell.  Thank God for the RAIN!

I feel sorry for those who dislike rainy days.