Christmas Greetings!

AWANA Update  Earlier this month we met with a core group of Living Hope Church members to train them on the AWANA program.  We are so encouraged to have a team that is eager and enthusiastic about reaching the children of Sunnyside Primary School with the gospel.  Our plan and prayer is to kick-off AWANA as the new school year begins in January.  Please continue to pray for all the details that will be involved in the new year:  recruitment and training of more volunteers as well as the recruitment and registration of the students and structuring our time with them.  Also, pray that the parents and families of the students will become involved and that the light of Christ will shine bright and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.

Our AWANA Team: Vanessa, Idelheit, Ian, Randy, Thebang, Rebecca, Susan, Julia and Baby Aya

Our AWANA Team: Vanessa, Idelheit, Ian, Randy, Thebang, Rebecca, Susan, Julia and Baby Aya

Lesotho (pronounced luh-SUE-too)   The Monday following our AWANA meeting, Randy and Marissa travelled with other 1Hope team members to the small country of Lesotho.

1Hope Team on their way to Lesotho: Randy, Marissa, Cambria, Josh, Andre (with Baby Kara, who did not go, but stayed behind to keep her mama company)

1Hope Team on their way to Lesotho: Randy, Marissa, Cambria, Josh, Andre (with Baby Kara, who did not go, but stayed behind to keep her mama company)

Lesotho is a mountainous country completely surrounded by South Africa.  About 40% of the  population live below the international poverty line of $1.25/day.DSC_0202

The primary purpose of this quick trip was to connect and deepen relationships with Pastor Thomas and members of his church.  1Hope would like to determine how it can effectively use its resources to strengthen and encourage Pastor Thomas in his ministry. 1Hope is especially seeking to support the church in its ministry to the 40 orphans that attend the school run by the church.

Andre, Pastor Thomas and Pastor Josh

Andre, Pastor Thomas and Pastor Josh

Child-headed household.  Terms that should not ever be used together, however this is the description of the home shown here with Pastor Thomas. The older boy is 17 and sadly he is the main caregiver for his younger brother and sister (pictured).  They live in this tiny tin shack.  They lost their mother a few years ago in a car accident and their father has been gone for awhile. All three children attend the school at the church which faithfully provides a daily meal, clothes and and education for these beautiful kids.Lesotho with 17 yr old

Delivering the 40 gift bags filled with food and toys for these precious children was a definite highlight of the trip. Adventurous Marissa was thrilled to partner with daddy on her first short term mission trip!!DSC_0142

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Baby Home  We are so excited to be bringing one of the babies from the Baby Home home for Christmas!  No, it’s not what you may be thinking.  In order to give the caregivers, who work tirelessy and endlessly around the clock caring for these children, some time off over Christmas, a handful of families have been asked to care for the babies for a few days at Christmas.  We are honored and delighted to be one of those families! We will be caring for a 6 month old baby boy whose name means “Gift”.  Indeed, caring for him will be one of our gifts this Christmastime!

Julia with the little "Gift" we have the privilege of caring for this Christmas

Julia with the little “Gift” we have the privilege of caring for this Christmas

Of the seven babies that have come to the Baby Home since it opened it February, two have been placed in permanent homes, one has gone home to her biological mother and two more are in the process of permanent placement.  God is good!

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families  Ps. 68:5-6

 Holiday Getaway  This week we had the amazing opportunity to see more of this spectacular country!  We took a trip to the town of Bela-Bela which is know for its natural hot springs.  Although the kids had an opportunity spend a day at the water park to enjoy these springs, they, instead, chose to interact with God’s amazing creation.  We spent one day at a crocodile farm where we watched hundreds of these enormous reptiles lounging and lunging.  This was not my favorite activity, but the kids (except Julia) found it fascinating.  We also drove out to Bambelela Wildlife Care and Guest farm which works for the rehabilitation of the endangered Vervet monkeys.  A highlight from this tour was holding and feeding the orphaned baby monkeys.  Not nearly as meaningful as caring for the babies at the Muphamuzi Baby Home, but thrilling nonetheless. DSC_0309DSC_0301

DSC_0331We were surprised and excited to observe so much wildlife as we drove out to this guestfarm: impala, zebra and ostrich.  The next day we drove through Marakele National Park and again so many “aminals” (as some of my younger kids say).  Right through the gate, we were thrilled by wildebeests, monkeys, baboons, impalas, kudu, zebra and warthogs.  This national park boasts the big five, but we were not fortunate to spy any of these. We all agreed that the most memorable part of the day was following a bend in the road to a giraffe very casually walking down the road straight towards us.  We stopped the car to see what it would do and when it closely approached us, it turned off into the bush.  And to think that in California, we would get excited when we saw deer on the side of the road!!

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Christmas  As we reflect on Christmas time this year we are once again in speechless awe at the miracle of the incarnation and the gospel. The Holy God of all creation came to His creation in the form of a baby.  Born that He might die in our place, take on our judgement for our sin once for all.  This is indeed not just good news, but greatest news of all!!  We have no choice but to give worship, honor and praise to Him for the wonders of His love, the wonders of His love…

We pray that you will rejoice and be renewed by God’s magnificent grace this Christmas season and that the new year will bring you into a deeper knowledge of His love for you!

    And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  (Luke 2:10-14)

The Clark Family wishes you a Blessed Christmas and Joy-filled 2013!

The Clark Family wishes you a Blessed Christmas and Joy-filled 2013!

5 thoughts on “Christmas Greetings!

  1. That picture of Julia and the baby…so beautiful! Thanks so much for the update! We pray for and think of you often! Merry Christmas!!

  2. So good to read your update…makes us feel a part of you!! And as Mike said we also are looking forware to seeing you guys in less than 2 months too! Can’t wait!
    Love and hugs,
    Melo
    Have a wonderful Christmas

  3. Pingback: Grace Church Mission Team | Journey with us as we follow Christ to South Africa.

  4. Pingback: Living Hope Church News- Grace Church Missions Team | 1Hope News

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