Journal - April 2011


April 28 – Cold Feet

In the West - when we think of "cold feet" - we think of someone ready to bail on their wedding day. Here in South Africa, "cold feet" are exactly that - feet that are just plain COLD.

Out of the 60 kids at practice tonight – maybe 4 have parents who pick them up to take them home.

Tonight I (Karl) had to stay late to watch another game and didn’t realize one of the boys was lingering, in hopes I would give him a lift home. As he started to walk away, I called after him – asking if he needed a ride. It was so cold I could see my a chilly Nebraska fall day.

Did I mention he was barefoot (and prepared to walk alone...two miles in the dark...back to his township in the cold)? Talk about cold feet!

As we wound through the back alleys of Masi, he explained that he couldn't walk home in his soccer cleats - they hurt his feet and were giving him blisters.

Barefoot was his best option.

I could sense his deep gratitude for toes that are just a little warmer tonight. As for me, I was grateful for the priviledge to be available - even for something as simple as a warm ride.


April 26 - The Forbidden Word

Today I (Julie) took some of our Sisterhood of Success graduates out to apply for jobs! This is the first time in their life they have walked into a place of employment and turned in their resume (CV) to a manager – remembering to say “Thank You” and smile big.

In the car on the way we practiced basic interview questions like, “What did you do at your last job? Why did you leave? Why should I hire you?”

A few days ago I was practicing interview questions with a woman and asked her “Why should I hire you?"

Her answer...“Because I struggle.”

"Struggle" is the forbidden word in South African job hunting that most candidates are tempted to leverage.

I said, “No! That is why you want a job – but that is NOT why an employer will hire you. Sit up straight, look me in the eye and tell me again why I should hire you.”

I think she was startled, to say the least, but she sat up a little straighter, looked me in the eye and told me what a hard worker she will be. She is one step closer to securing a job and providing for her family.

With little education, desperate poverty and no parents able to teach the basics of professional communication – these women are working hard to learn how to become hireable and once employed, indispensible!

I tell them all the time, “God is on your side! I am praying for you to get a job. Good things are ahead!”

PRAYER: If this is on your heart – please pray the Lord would a provide a job for each of our Sisterhood of Success graduates. Many have been out of work for over a year and most are single moms struggling to provide for the most basic needs of young children.

Creating the resume (CV)
Ready to turn in their resume (CV) to the Spur
Love those big smiles!


April 21 – 10 Shocking Things

In addition to the Ubuntu U13's, I (Karl) help coach a U18/U19 soccer team from Ocean View with my friend Cedric, who has grown up in Ocean View and now works with All Nations.

We had a game tonight and here are some things I noticed that makes soccer different in South Africa.


1) There is NEVER an assistant referee (linesman) for youth games.

2) The main referee is always provided by the “home” team. He may have a uniform, but most likely is wearing jeans and dress shoes. Calls mostly favour the “home” team. Home games are nice.

3) Coaches are free to roam the entire sideline. One minute the opposing coach is on his bench, the next minute he is standing RIGHT next to you yelling at his players.

4) Coaches take great freedom to walk out onto the pitch (field) to coach during the game…like 10 yards out.

5) Players don’t have positions like “center forward” and “right midfielder”. Their position is described by the numbers (4, 9, 5, 10) and so on.

6) Games never start on time… ever…like half hour to an hour late.

7) All clubs have locker rooms that are used by both the home teams and visitors. There is also a clubhouse that sells coke, chips, beer etc.

8) They are strict on the sub rule…like World Cup strict. Come on, it’s a youth game!

9) Everybody here is a Manchester United fan (a few Liverpool fans too).

10 The players are amazed at my American accent. They always want to know if the team I coached in the US was any good. How about a friendly say in… North Africa (that’s half way isn’t it?)


April 18 - Esther Movie Night

Ahh...I (Julie) love giggly 16 year old girls!

Tonight I had my Ocean View Bible Study girls over for dinner. During the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) this afternoon – the girls talked about what they are thankful for, what they need, prayed for each other, and then chatted about what stood out to them from the book of Esther.

Based on Esther’s story, each girl decided on one thing they wanted to change about their life.

After the DBS, the girls had their dance class. Then everyone headed over to our place for pizza and the movie about Esther, A Night with the King. These are amazing girls with big challenges...but BIG potential!




April 15 - Living Statues
Did you know 2/3 of the world’s population doesn’t read or write? We didn’t!

In other words – most people learn orally – so if you can retell the Bible as a really good story – people will actually learn it, love it, and pass it on!

We have a cool new way of doing Discovery Bible Studies – using short stories and actions (called “Living Statues”).

By the end...everyone in the group has had a blast learning the story – barely noticing that they just memorized a little section of the Bible. This irresistible method allows everyone to participate and lead.

We are learning how to do "living statues" - sitting around in a circle and each taking turns creating actions to one phrase of a story at a time - repeating all the actions and phrases previously learned. Strange...but surprisingly effective!


April 12 - What Do You need? Simple Question...Hard Answer

During our devotion before soccer practice, we were going around the circle asking each player, "What do you need the most today?" and then we would ask, "Can anyone here meet that need?"

When we got to Simitimba, he said, "I need to know how to take better care of my little brother."

Wow – a 12 year old with the pressure and responsibility of caring for his younger siblings!

We ended by praying for each request. I’m (Karl) continually aware that life’s perspectives are in the eye of the beholder.





April 5 – Ocean Baptism

Wow! Today was a privilege! Alli and I baptised two women from Ocean View.

Alli did a great job explaining that baptism is a declaration you want to make in front of your community - a way of “drawing a line in the sand and deciding ...’I want to follow Jesus with my whole heart'." It’s a symbol of dying to ourselves and coming out of the water a new person.

It’s incredible to see the Lord changing lives before our very eyes.

On a side note...let me just say – an Ocean baptism is a tricky thing – the tide keeps going out on you and you think you’re in 3 feet of water and all of the sudden you’re in 3 inches of water. Not to mention it’s cold! Nothing like the warm, bath-temperature baptismal water I experienced in my home church. Keep in mind, this water is so cold the PENGUINS enjoy swimming here. That is, when they’re not in ANTARCTICA.

See Baptism Photos



April 4- Emme turns 3

We can’t believe our sweet Emme turned three years old today! Recent accomplishments...

  • Says “Ball"
  • Eats oatmeal, fruit and soup all by herself
  • Signs “sorry” when she pulls hair (wish we could say she’s stopped pulling it)
  • Loves to sing the lyrics to “You are my Sunshine”
  • Can’t get enough of the tire swing, cuddling with her papa, and Cedarmont kids (DVD of Sunday School Song singing kids from the 1990’s – songs you just CANNOT get out of your head)



April 3 – A Little Love from Home

Ahh...there is nothing quite like having family here!

Uncle Curt was amazing! Jensen insisted on sitting by him at every meal, talking to him non-stop and in general not letting him out of her sight. He was a little slice of home!

He brought us Mac N Cheese, tortillas and Easter dresses from the Grandparents. What more could you want?

It was also such an encouragement to see Pastor Lincoln, from our home town, and Ryan Hansen. Linc spoke to the CPx students and encouraged them to pursue the destiny the Lord has for them. We didn’t want to let them go home!

See the Photos of Curt's trip!



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