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Sunday, July 27, 2014

The suicide next door

We had a party in our house a week ago last Tuesday!  We had cause to celebrate as a book Paul wrote was just back from the printers and it is his prettiest book yet, with lots of pictures.  It's called In His Service and Loving It and you can see it and read it on our website at under "Paul's Books".   One of our kids sat right down and tallied up which child in the family got the most pictures of him or herself in the book.  We were leaving for a trip shortly afterward, so we just invited everyone for a drop-in that Tuesday and had at least one free book per family. 
Our guest list was long and our house is small so guests, especially of the teenage variety, were spilling over into the outdoors and the park down the street.  Tim and Josh and a bunch of boys had gone to try out their friend Oliver's new bow and arrows.  After awhile, Evangel and three teenage girls went to join them.  As they were leaving, they heard a terrible scream next door.  Evangel's friend Feylin, a good friend to have around in an emergency, stuck her head over the wall to see what was wrong. 
"My daughter hanged herself!"   
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to heart.
Ecclesiastes 7:2
Did you ever ponder that?  Why is it better to go to the house of mourning?  I believe we have to have close contact with death before we really start to face our own death in the future.  I wonder how many deaths we hear of each day.  We hear of them in the news, on TV, and through friends on Facebook, but it usually takes getting quite close to us before we begin to feel it. 
There were 2 houses in Muizenberg that day, our happy party, right beside a house of mourning.  Our party kind of moved next door for awhile with coffee, blankets, and prayers and hugs.  When the emergency people got there, we had to get out of the way, and we kind of drifted back to our "party".  It was a very quiet group.  Feylin and Aquilla were the only two who actually saw the body hanging there, and it was rough on them.  Feylin helped cut it down. 
I suspect no one who was there will ever forget the Youngs' book signing party.  I don't think I ever will.  Jamie's death continues to weigh heavy on my mind.  She was only 21, but sounded like she had enough hurts for a long, long life.  Her own dad had hung himself, her grandmother was murdered, and Jamie herself had been kidnapped a few months ago and used as a sex slave in Soweto.  I wish I had helped her.  We talked twice that I can remember, but I didn't hold out the Lord Jesus.  Why do we think we have to wait?  Why do we waste time "building relationships" when people are desperate for help now?  Who knows when a person is on the brink of eternity.  We all are.  Our lives are merely vapors, floating away. 
This morning Paul preached on Psalm 90, and drew this picture (above).  "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." v.12
I hope if anyone else I know wants to commit suicide, the Lord will nudge me hard to help them, or they will just be blunt and tell me, "I need help!"   One time a girl in Pretoria told Paul, and we were able to help from afar.  I don't know how she's doing now, but she didn't kill herself then.  
Our souls don't quit being when we die.  After death there are Heaven and Hell.  The Bible says all murderers shall have their part in the lake of fire. Rev. 21:8   I don't know if taking your own life counts as murder, but I wouldn't risk it.
Jesus Christ died to save us from that lake of fire.  He holds out that gift of salvation, but we must move to take that gift, to go His way, to walk in His commandments.  "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the ends there of are the ways of death."Pr.14:12.

Monday, July 14, 2014

In His Service & Loving It---the book!

 "But this I say, he which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."  2 Cor. 9:6

Our family is known mainly for Paul's chalk art evangelism, but it is not the only way we try to reach people to tell them about Jesus.  Paul write books that can go where we can't, and can be read while we sleep, and can even speak after we're all in Heaven.  We do other things too, but these books are a big deal to us, so a new one, back from the printers after years of writing, editing, formatting and then waiting, is a BIG DEAL!!! 

 Tandym is our printer, so when the truck pulled up in front of our house last week, we all spilled out like ants to welcome the load. 
 Tim's friend Daniel was visiting, so he got roped into helping unload the shipment of 3000 books.
 In His Service and Loving It--fresh from the printer!  It's biographical, with lots of pictures. 
 The front cover...picture taken in March in Sasolburg, South Africa...
 and the back cover on our last day in Zimbabwe in May. 

James was here passing books to Daniel and Tim.

Gabby was here, acting with Evangel, another ministry.  They didn't stop to unload books as the guys had that well in hand, but they continued filming the last scene for Evangel's movie.  
Recognize Evangel?  She looks like a gypsy, but it's all part of sowing bountifully. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Camping with the Collins in the Karoo

 The Karoo is the semi desert to the north of us here in Cape Town.  We were invited by our friends Nick, Margie, and their son Oliver Collins to spend the weekend with them. 
 We in turn invited our little 5 year old nephew Daniel.  I was a bit nervous about how we all would mesh, 4 adults, eager for relaxation, 5 teens, eager to giggle, and one 5 year old, eager to be included in all.  I need not have worried, everyone got along great!
 Daniel hiked the trails with the best of us, climbed the rocks and the water tanks, and learned to play Uno with the guys. 
 He had a faithful little follower who he didn't much like because it jumped on him.
 And a whole group of big people to do whatever he needed done. 
 He enjoyed having a stick like Josh. 
 Instead of the puppy, Daniel liked this white cat.  I detested the cat at first, because it howled non-stop.  Then we fed it, and it got quiet.  Apparently the animals had been alone awhile and were starving.   I came to like that patient cat.  It let Daniel carry it all over the place.  It even let him catch it out in the bushes, though they gave me a bit of a start when I saw them out far from the rondavels once.  A leopard was photographed on this land recently so I didn't think any small people should be off alone in the bush.  
 Evangel and Daniel gave the outdoor tub a dry run. 
 It was also our first overnighter out in our new red car.  We hooked the trailer on so we could bring as many blankets as we wanted to. 
 Daniel and Evangel shared this little rondavel. 
 Daniel wanted pictures inside too, to show his Mom. 
 The Karoo looks so dry and brown from a distance, but we did some nice hikes and saw brilliant little flowers along the way. 

 Nick cooked the meat over the fire fire, and Daniel enjoyed hanging with his buddy Josh.  Simon and Oliver seemed OK with the little guy too. 
Nick and Margie were our host and hostess and are dear friends.  They took us to see these bushmen art paintings in the cave.  How cool!  I wanted Paul to bring along his chalks and add some more artwork, but that fresh art is frowned upon.  Wonder why.  :- ) 
When I consider thy heavens, the works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him?                       Psalm 8:3-4a

I'm glad He is mindful of us.  I like that my Creator cares about us, enough to give us this beautiful world to live in and explore. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Our Glad Grad

 We have had our daughter Evangel for over 18 years now and I still like telling her birth story.  Partly just because it's a good story, and partly cuz it's fun to see her blush.  Evangel was born the 9th of October, 1995, 11 days before her due date. 
 She was born the same day we decided to go see the Grand Canyon for the first time.  Truthfully, I was a little distracted from the wonders of the Grand Canyon.  We finally left the Canyon, with just a quick stop at McDonald's, when my contractions were about 6 minutes apart.  What were we thinking?  You have to wonder.  We drove about 5 hours across Arizona, to Gallup, NM, where I gave birth at 8:30 in the evening. 
It's so fun to embarrass her.  If I just told that much each time, she might not blush.  But she's brave enough to wear grad gear in our public park, so she isn't too timid.
 Evangel's our child with fingers in every pie, literally!  She's cooking a lot lately.  She may have graduated in the sense that she finished all her curriculum, but now she's doing a post-graduate culinary science course that means a lot of cooking.  She's got oodles of craft projects in the works and a movie she's editing too. 
I like her new devotion to her brothers. She has set aside Sunday as "brother day" to help them with their projects.  That's special.  I've never heard of another girl doing that, and I just love it.  If I try to schedule anything on Sundays, someone, usually Josh, says, "Wait, that's brother day."  Sweet.  
 In the past few days she had jogging dates with Becky, tract passing dates with Feylin, and get togethers with Mrs. Ross.  She does crafts with Eleanor and chipped in to help with the little guys during our ladies Bible study.  She rescues me on the computer more often than I like to admit. 
She's the light of our home, our beautiful, talented daughter who walks in the fear of God, eager to do His bidding.  We just thank God for her! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

All precious and pleasant riches

 Through wisdom in an house builded
 And by understanding it is established
 By knowledge shall the chambers be filled 

With all precious and pleasant riches. 

Our art gallery is expanding!  Evangel intended to do this for Christmas, then for my birthday in April, or Mother's Day in May, but we were gone to Zimbabwe, so it became Paul's Father's Day gift!  I'm glad I live with Paul so he can share it with me. 

What shall we call it?  James called it "2 Birds on a Branch" which is descriptive, but it isn't the most romantic.  How about "Lovebirds in the Moonlight". 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Joys of Joy Club

 On Thursday afternoons we join with the Apps family at a Bible Institute and have a Bible club. 
 These little cuties can give you a run for your money! 
 Pippa Apps (left) is the organizer of this club.  She just loves these kids. 
 We didn't play all the time, but we only took pictures during play time.  Winter is settling in on us. 
 Notice Tim in the background with a child dangling over his shoulder.  They LOVE to be carried, in whatever way. 
 Sarah Apps puts up with a lot and appears to be enjoying herself. 
 Evangel piled a load on too.  Notice how I'm not naming anyone.  That seems discreet and safe.  Plus they have a lot of names I can't pronounce or remember. 
 Please pray for these kids.  They need to know the Lord, for real.   We'd love to hear that our children walk in truth.