This pretty much sums up the year 2020 for all of us: “Not what we expected”! And as much as we’d like it, there won’t be any “restart button” for 2020. We too had imagined to get off to a different start in mission field.
James 4:13-15 "Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
As a good mission candidate you try to embark into your new environment as impartially as possible. You want to go as one who “learns” and takes in everything like a blank sheet of paper; the culture, the language etc … Of course, a certain idea of the mission field should be there. Questions like, “What am I getting myself into here? Does it fit the gifts, the calling? etc…” are all important to consider. But then there are just always things that turn out differently than expected. And it doesn’t even need a pandemic to bring them about.
A pioneer ministry?
When we decided to serve in Port Elizabeth, we as “young missionaries” expected to join an established ministry. But the more we are in conversation with our missionary colleagues here, the more we become aware of how little the AmaZioni have been reached with the Gospel in this region. So it feels more like a pioneer ministry at the moment than anything else. As one missionary described it: She has never seen so much passion for God and so much darkness side by side. Pray that much fruit will come out of the few opportunities that have opened up so far.
A new family routine
We not only had to get used to a new way of life in Corona times, but also to the fact that we will be spending this school year without a volunteer. Unexpectedly, our volunteer candidate canceled her assignment with us. Anni now teaches David herself, who started his grade one of German home schooling with a lot of motivation. This situation actually helps us as a family to get used to a new routine with 4 children. Pray for strength and especially for enough sleep!
We are grateful that David can keep on going to kindergarten for three days a week. After such a long lockdown, the time with his newly made friends is what he desperately needs. He thrives when he’s around other kids and learns English as if it’s a game! That in turn is good for all his siblings. Jael then surprises us every now and again with a new English word.
Mosaic and language
The easing of lockdown restrictions made it possible for Timon to be involved at Mosaic again, a center for marginalized families. The interaction with the local staff and the children who are cared for there offers a playful environment to get to know the Xhosa language and culture. Pray for good progress and that the kids would encounter Jesus this way.
“If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” – That is our prayer at such a time as this.
- Pray, that God would open more doors among the amaZioni in this region
- Praise, that Timon is able to find more opportunities to learn language again
- Praise, that David has started school with such motivation and eagerness
- Pray, that home schooling him will work well in the current setting