We made it home in June to meet a lot of our family and friends. It was so wonderful to spend that time with you all. We were blessed by so many words of encouragement and gifts. We need to thank our son (Brent) and daughter (Jennifer) for hosting a wonderful party where we got to see many of our friends and family members. The family time, camping, mountains of Tennessee and baseball games were highlights of our trip. God has been so amazing to us. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing with our church friends and family what God is doing in South Africa to bring the nations to Himself.
July in Florida at Teen Missions was a great training ground to prepare our team of 10-13 year olds that were coming back with us to reach out to orphans. We had three wonderful leaders, Cat, Tracy and Samuel, assisting us. They were such a blessing and did much of the work as we traveled around South Africa. The kids spent two weeks at Boot Camp learning things such as block laying, painting, puppets, singing and working together as a team, all to prepare them for what was to come when we reached our ministry outreaches in South Africa. Our team was made up of mostly U.S kids plus one Canadian and one South Korean.
The team arrived in South Africa on July 12th and realized immediately that winter in Africa is very cold! So we shopped for blankets, coats, and supplies, then drove south towards a small country that is in the center of South Africa, Lesotho. At Tshepong Community Center there were around 70 children. We performed our puppets, singing and dramas for them then had time to simply play. We walked home with the orphans and got invited into some of their small shacks they live in. We worshipped at a church in a cave. We attended an HIV/AIDS support group and learned many things from the ladies including you can’t tell when people have the disease. This disease is taking the lives of thousands each year in South Africa including babies and teens. On Mandela Day we did our presentation in Ficksburg and passed out bread at Itekeng OVC Home. OVC means orphans and vulnerable children and many were disabled. It was such a blessing to see their smiles as we interacted with them. In LeSotho we had a bumpy truck ride and long climb up the mountain where around 30 orphans live. We were able to do our presentation and pass out bread to them. After playing games we surprised them with stuffed animals and dolls and warm hats that we brought with us. We did see snow here!
The second week we headed north to Hazyview which was much, much warmer and we were usually in just light jackets. Pastor Solomon and his wife have a very busy church and they had our team going out during the mornings and working with home-based care workers. We visited those sick with HIV, TB, and cancer and elderly shut ins and cleaned their homes, gave them bread and prayed with them. The church also runs a clinic and feeds orphans every day after school. After our presentations to the orphans each day, there was many salvations and then we played games and fellowshipped with them. We really enjoyed our tour of Kruger National Park. The kids got to see many animals and received a “special blessing” to see a leopard sunning itself on a rock.
After praying so much about homesickness at Boot Camp, there were no tears and very little homesickness in South Africa EXCEPT on the day to fly back to the U.S., there were several crying and wanting to stay! Did everyone pray too hard? We made some awesome friends both with the people we served and with our team members who we still miss so much. We realize everything was so wonderful because of all your prayers. We know “many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many” I Cor. 1:11.
JOY –“Boot Camp was a very hard place for me as it was super hot and the Obstacle Course almost killed me! But South Africa was much better but very cold. I enjoyed doing our presentation and watching older women read the Scripture on the bread we gave them and trading it back and forth.”
JOLIE –“At Boot Camp I liked the missionary speakers and the stories from other countries. In SA I had fun cleaning AIDS orphans houses and playing games with them like Fire On The Mountain.”
August was catchup month on school, work and ministry. After the team left, we all had colds and Joy had three rounds of antibiotics before she got well. Jason is teaching the Poetical books this term in BMW. Exciting news is that we are working on all the paperwork to get our visa changed from a volunteer to a work permit. Our current visa expires in December. We are applying for a five-year permit and Lord willing, after that permanent residence. We still need to raise the remaining funds for this and the lawyer that is helping us.
September brought an awesome surprise of three staff from Malawi—Shannon and Justin O’Hara and Isaac Harryman, a one- year volunteer. They found out they could not renew their Malawi visas in country, so they are assisting us at the South Africa base while trying to work out their visa situation. Justin was our assistant leader on the 2008 foot washing team so we are enjoying having him back. They have all jumped right in on projects and ministries and have been a huge blessing for us.
Praises: 1- Joy & Jolie survived their first team and Bread of Life Team-was a huge success with 124 salvations! 2- Jenn is wonderfully settled in Karen, Kenya and has a great school, friends and teaching schedule
Prayer Requests: 1- Pray that our 5 year work permit is granted and finances provided. 2- Wisdom about the girls education as they have been really struggling the last few months. We are praying about other options for schooling. 3- Boot Camp starts December 5! Pray for recruitment, team set up and all the preparations that are underway.
Grace and peace,
Jason, Karen, Joy & Jolie PO Box 865, Pyramid, SOUTH AFRICA 0120 Cell: 027 079 393 0492 Email: email@example.com Pictures(lots of them) are on our family album at: http://picasaweb.google.com/jasonshrock/