Life and Times…

““Why aren’t you married yet?”

“Are you getting married soon?”

“Why is there a ring on your hand if you aren’t married?”

“Why haven’t you found a husband yet?”

These are the questions I am asked on a nearly weekly basis. As if my worth here is directly linked to my relationship status. I’m mildly tempted to just go find a man and ask him to marry me so that I can stop fielding these questions!!! Kidding. Mostly.”

“I told myself that I would be a better communicator than this. I promised that I would write more. I was determined to send regular updates. But I have failed once again. Do you want to know one of my great fears? Despite knowing that the people in the states that are partnering with me, holding me up in prayer, are gracious and kind people, I am desperately afraid that I will be a disappointment. That I won’t meet expectations. That I won’t keep up with communication well enough and that you all will get fed up with me.”

These are just a few ways I tried to start this update. Sometimes it is difficult to write. So much is going on that it is hard to condense it all into a blog post.

Term 2 at JCA flew by! I am now two weeks into my holiday and I almost miss my kids 🙂
I am so thankful for the 22 little hearts that God has put into my class. They are a sanctifying challenge and I have enjoyed seeing them grow and change over the past two terms. Please continue to pray for their hearts!

June 10th came and went quickly and quietly with very little notice. I was teaching and finishing out term 2. A few days later I realized the forgotten significance of that day. The 10th of June marked my 6 month anniversary here at Bethesda! And I was too busy to notice J I have now been in South Africa longer than I ever had been before. Now here we are and I am almost to my 7 monthaversary!

In the last month, many of you have seen prayer requests for unrest here in Hammanskraal. We have had a number of different riots and protests because of the upcoming elections (On 3 August) as well as fights over land near us. Please continue to pray for this nation! We are safe here on property and we are working to make wise decisions. I am thankful for a village manager and housedads who are diligent about keeping us all safe!

We are in the middle of team season here at Bethesda and I have really enjoyed being able to help in a variety of ways with the teams and interns that have come here to serve! I get to participate a bit more with the teams that are here during school holidays. I have helped with many meals and during the last team I got to run a ‘Jewelry Day’. We give our older Bethesda kids the opportunity to learn about business and earn a little money by making jewelry to sell to the teams that cycle through. Our kids pay a small fee for the supplies to make jewelry and then they receive a profit once their piece sells. This last day that I was in charge of, we had 12 children come and we spent several hours making jewelry to sell. It’s always fun to see how creative our kids are and to see them working hard to make a beautiful product.

Last week I was also able to have some older girls over to have a pizza/nail painting party! It gave me a wonderful opportunity to talk with and get to know some of our kids here that I don’t always get to spend time with. I loved the evening. While I was painting one of the girl’s nails, she asked me about my testimony and then I had the opportunity to ask her if she had been redeemed. It was a sweet conversation and I was thankful that God opened up those doors for me to talk with her.

I spent much of last week helping with my church’s holiday club (VBS) and driving 4 of our missionary kids to and from every day. It was a week that afforded me the opportunity to begin to build relationships in the church I have chosen. It was also a week that brought a few firsts…first time building a ‘boat’ and using oobleck as an illustration, first time cleaning up vomit from a car, first time getting pulled over for speeding in SA…lots of fun times!

Thank you so much for your prayers and partnership! I am filled with thankfulness for each and every one of you. Truly. Please continue to bring me and Bethesda Outreach before the Father!

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6 thoughts on “Life and Times…

  1. Ellie, thank you for the updates and let me assure you that the fears of disappointing others is pretty normal – so hard to fully rest in our identity and worth and value in Christ alone! God works I think over and over to yank those roots of fear out of us – and being honest about what’s there is the best place to start! So thanks for sharing and we pray for continued opportunities to connect with the kids there and share your testimony and the love of Christ! Praying too for his continued work in your heart and mind and life as you walk this journey with Him. Blessings, Sara Yant

  2. I know what you mean about Disappointing others. Just remember you are not there for our benefit. You are there for God’s work. We are praying for you daily.

  3. Enjoyed reading your update and learning about what is happening with you in SA. Your writing style really paints a picture so we can “see” what you’re doing as you serve the Lord there. Glad to be able to pray for specific things.

  4. Thanks for the update Ellie! It is fun to see how the Lord weaves His will into your life through the changes and experiences you have encountered. May you continue to find your hope in Him alone.

  5. Ellie,

    It is so good to hear from you! I pray for you every day. I know you are shining the Light of Jesus to those students of yours! Am I’m sure God is teaching you a lot as well. That is so funny about “Why aren’t you married”. I never did get married and I ALWAYS got that overseas. Just unheard of for a woman to not be married!

    I think people (including me) understand that your life is busy. You do not need to feel guilty about regular updates. I think in the olden days an overseas missionary would write a newsletter once maybe twice a year. Now with social media the pressure is on to write a lot. Here what I would suggest … take it or leave it 🙂 Once a week, pick a specific time, like after church on Sunday and write a blog entry that contains three bullet points. Maybe …

    (1) highlight of the week

    (2) low point of the week

    (3) prayer request.

    Or …

    (1) highlight of the week

    (2) something I saw/learned for the first time ( I think low point of the week might be off putting to Americans who see Meijer not carrying their brand of coffee as a hardship 🙂

    (3) prayer request.

    I have a niece who’s 4-year old son has leukemia. DRAT!! He was diagnosed at age 2.5. It has been hard, but he is in remission now. Praise God! She has a blog and she writes in it after his appointment each Monday. It is short and to the point. Occasionally she writes a lot. Usually, just what went on at that appointment and when the next appointment is.

    I for one just want to know what is on your heart in terms of prayer requests. If you did something like this it would be WAY less intimidating for you. If you felt like writing a paragraph – you could. But you wouldn’t feel like it was expected. You could also glance at the last couple week’s prayer requests and comment on which ones were answered and how.

    Just a thought!

    Ellie, I thank God for you and your willingness to work so hard to get financial support to go to SA. You got there. You and God! It is amazing. You go girl!! I know you are doing a great job and God is teaching you lots about Him and His provision.

    Barbara Guest

    ________________________________

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