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“It’s quarter to Jesus!”

  • Timon 

… says our our 5-year-old son David as he looks at the clock. If the pointer is at the top, his mid-day break is over and thus his “lockdown” is lifted. He can go play outside in the garden. It’s his moment of liberation. With the current restrictions that governments have set in place, some really wish it was “quarter to”, or even “quarter to Jesus’ return”! In a sense we are all waiting for a moment of liberation, liberation from restrictions, liberation from the virus, and perhaps liberation from a fallen world.

However…

…despite all the restrictions in everyday life, we sense that many are reminded again things that really matter. Prayer life is revitalized, spiritual messages are getting more attention. The ancient scriptures of the Bible appear as fresh and relevant as never before, such as chapter 8 of Romans. In verses 18-21 it says

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God."

As children of God we have an eternal perspective. This life is not everything there is. There is a liberating glory that God’s children will taste and Jesus is the only way in getting there. There are so many opportunities in this time to share the gospel.

Pretty much everyone in our family is…

…busy learning language. Our Aaron is learning his first words in German, David is becomming chatty with his English, Jael repeats what she hears in parrot fashion and Timon has delved in the deep of his Xhosa studies. On top of that, our newborn Luisa is getting to know her mother’s caring love language. This week we ordered the grade 1 German homeschool material for David. We are still praying and hoping that a volunteer homeschool teacher will be found, despite the current travel bans and VISA restrictions. Applications to the DMG are still possible.

Here in South Africa…

…the government has issued a very strict national lockdown that will last until end of April. Only essential things like shopping for groceries or appointments with the doctor are allowed. All leisure activities such as going for a walk, jogging etc. are prohibited and have been declared punishable. For some, it is not more than a longer vacation at home. But for many who live here in poverty, it means an even tougher struggle for survival. Alcoholism and violence are already a big challenge in the townships. Pray for provision and protection of the most vulnerable households.

Pray also for the Christians in the African communities. Some see the corona virus as “God’s punishment” and repentance must be done. This is a very typical reaction in a culture in which the deceased ancestors are appeased by animal sacrifices when disaster threatens. Others resist. The government “wants to forbid us to pray” and “the blood of Jesus makes make us immune to the virus”.

So far, language studies have started well. Anni has paused her language learning due to the birth of our Luisa. And with four kids in the house, everyone knows that a “full-time mother” is definitely needed. Timon’s language studies can continue from at home to some extent. Before the lockdown, he was able to help out at a community development centre on the edge of a township. They offer an after-school and homework care programm for disadvantaged kids. It all runs in the Xhosa language. So Timon is exposed to both culture and language.

The other day, Timon joined our missionary colleague Barry Adkins who was invited to a local amaZioni service:

Der typical circular dance during the amaZioni ceremonies

Annis parents from Germany…

…miraculously managed avoid travel bans and lockdowns and visit us for two weeks in March. They were even here for Luisa’s birth! We are so happy for the wonderful time we could spend together.

Prayer items:

  • Praise God that we as a family are all in good health at such a time
  • Pray for a volunteer to help with David’s homeschool
  • For everyone’s language learning progress
  • For the poor and vulnerable households here in South Africa (violence, unrest, and lack of provision threaten millions)
  • For the amaZioni who usually hold some of their biggest ceremonies around easter and are not allowed to due to the lockdown

Let us know of your prayer request. We’re happy to prayer for them. Have a blessed easter!

Your Steiners

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