Update from an American-African Redhead

Friends! It has been far too long since I sent a formal update out, and since I am booked off work for the rest of this week because of pink eye (yay…), I am trying to redeem this unexpected time off.

The first term of the new school year flew by! I met my new class in January and they are a very different bunch of students then last year. I have 25 students this year, and my class is comprised of 9 girls and 16 boys! They are proving to be a challenge, but I am enjoying getting to know them as we learn and grow together.

Three days before the end of term 1 my parents arrived for a visit! They joined my class for the last three days of school and my dad conducted interviews of different staff members here at Bethesda in order to ‘assess’ me and gain a deeper understanding of the ministry as a whole. One of the ways my parents helped me in those 3 days was setting up a blanked fort in my classroom! During the first term, we worked together as a class towards the goal of a ‘blanket fort and movie day’ reward party for making right choices and choosing to work hard. We reached our goal and were able to enjoyed a day together in a fort watching “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” – the book we had just finished reading as a class. They way my kids’ eyes lit up when they came to class and found the fort was definitely worth the effort!

After school closed for the term, we were free to spend time together exploring Hammanskraal and Pretoria. It was a delight to be able to show my family life here in South Africa. We drove down to Durban for a quick adventure together and enjoyed seeing the Indian Ocean and being ‘tourists’! We packed the 12 days we had together and tried to make the most of our limited time. It was a great visit and it made me very excited to come back to MI for a visit Lord willing in December.

On a more personal front, my roots here have been growing deeper still. It is such an encouragement to see relationships begin and continue to grow. I am loving my church here and have started singing on the worship team and teaching Grade 1 Sunday School. It is so fun to see my SS kids and have them run to say hello and give me hugs. One of the most difficult parts of moving to a new place for me has been being ‘unknown’ in a church. When you grow up as the pastor’s kid, you know everything that’s going on at the church…you know everyone and everyone know you. But that’s not so here. I am slowly developing relationships and friendships at my church and it has been refreshing! I also joined a wonderful small group and am thankful for the added fellowship every week.

I am planning to be back in the states for a visit at the end of this school year! I am still getting all the details settled, but am so excited to meet my niece and 2 newest nephews and spend some time with my family! I hope to make it out to some of my supporting churches, but I won’t be able to get to everyone this trip. I plan to be back June/July of 2019 to meet with all of my supporters! I am looking forward to catching up with life in the states soon!


I have a few new requests for you all to pray for as you think of me. My younger brother had to have his second back surgery about a month ago. A few days following that surgery he was taken back to the hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia, sepsis, and blood clots – in his legs and lung. He spent the next 12 days in the hospital and was finally released on oxygen to recover at home. On Easter, he was once again taken back to the hospital with pain in his other lung and it was found that he now has blood clots in each lung and will be in the hospital several more days. All of this on top of recovering from a back surgery. Please be in prayer for our whole family, but especially Ethan and his wife Sarah. You can pray as well for a quick recovery for my lovely pink eyes! Finally, please pray for my students this year, some of whom are relatively unfamiliar with anything Biblical. Pray that God would use this year to shape them and make them His own.

As always, thank you so much for your love, support, and encouragement. I am thankful for each one of you and could not minister here without you. Thank you. I pray often that God would use you all for his glory where he has placed you, just as I pray that He would use me for His glory where he has called me. I am grateful for all my ‘family’ across the ocean.


3 thoughts on “Update from an American-African Redhead

  1. Ellie, Thanks for sharing. I have been back in SA for a few weeks, and would love to see you. Is there somewhere we could meet for lunch between Mokopane and where you are located? I believed we talked about meeting in Bela Bela. Would that still work for you? I am assuming with teaching school that we would need to meet on a Saturday? Many blessings, Tonya

  2. Ellie, I enjoyed reading your most recent post. I like your fort pictures! You were our featured missionary in our bulletin at church last weekend. You, Bethesda and Jabulane have been in my prayers this week. ( :
    Clover from Parker Hills Bible Fellowship, CO

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