Day 1 The Grace Church of Orange Mission team arrived early on the morning of February 22nd. After over twenty-four hours confined to an airplane cabin and a ten hour time change, the 18 member team miraculously came off the plane smiling!
After arrival at the Macks, hugs all around, a brief breakfast and orientation,
From there, it was AWANA time where they were able to witness the ministry in action.
What a blessing to have Pastor Mike Sciarra give the devotional during Awana council time. He openly and honestly gave testimony to God’s greatness and how the Lord, who calmed the winds and the waves, was able to calm his own fears allowing him to faithfully board an airplane after 13 years of avoiding any type of travel that involved not being on the ground. We are so thankful and blessed that he and his family made the journey. It was such an encouragement to our family and the 1Hope Team to have them with us.
Day 3 On Sunday the team experience worship at Living Hope Church and then packed their bags to head out to the small country of Lesotho to partner with one of 1Hope’s Mercy Network pastors and his church.
The women and children on the team spent their time playing with and cooking for the children.
Day 6 After two nights in Lesotho, the team once again crossed the border back to RSA, cleaned up and headed for an outreach in Salvakop. We walked the streets of this small, impoverish community inviting those we met to join us for dinner and a movie (Campus Crusade’s “Jesus” film).
Day 7 Thursday morning the team was given the opportunity to finish some of the projects at the Baby Home and then to experience one of the beauties and wonders of Africa: wild animals. The afternoon was spent at a local game park here in Pretoria where we viewed the animals up close.
Day 8-9 Together for Adoption, South Africa After the Muphamuzi Baby Home was set to open, Marda Mack had a burden to promote adoption and orphan care in this country. In faith, but not really expecting a response, she emailed Dan Cruver of Together for Adoption asking if they would consider hosting a conference that would focus on the believer’s adoption into God’s family and helping believing families and churches understand how to care for needy children through adoption and other mercy ministries. To her and Josh’s amazement they received a very quick and positive response.
After a year of planning and praying, the conference was held on the Friday and Saturday of the team’s time with us. Their job was to run the childcare program, freeing parents to soak in the worship and speakers without distraction.
Mike and Sonia Kostura, our very dear friends and fellow adoptive parents are board members of 1Hope USA and leaders of the mission team. They were given the opportunity to be speakers at this amazing Christ-center, gospel-exalting conference. Mike lead a break-out session on Parenting Adopted Children and Sonia boldly gave testimony of their adoption journey during one of the main sessions.
Day 10 With all the guests from the mission team and the T4A conference, Sunday service at Living Hope was jam-packed, joy-filled and jubilant! Worship was lead by Doug Planck who came from a Sovereign Grace church in Pennsylvania to lead the music at the T4A conference and God’s word was delivered by Dan Cruver, one of the main speakers at the conference. There was no where else we would rather have been! What a joy to be a family because of Christ’s redemptive work in our lives!
Finally, in the few hours remaining before they were to head to the airport, they made a quick stop to pet and play with the lion cubs.
As you can see, the team did not have more than a minute to catch their breath before they were headed off to the next event. Tirelessly, like the Energizer Bunny, they kept on going and going, so willing to put aside their own comfort to serve. Many members of the team had obstacles and fears to overcome, and could have easily used these as reasons to not make the journey to the other side of the world. But, thankfully their faith and trust in our mighty and trustworthy Lord allowed them to spend time with us and bring much blessing to the 1Hope team. Thank you Grace Church team members!! We love you! Read more about the teams adventures on the Grace Church of Orange website.
One team member has stayed behind. Eighteen year-old Josh Bush who made the journey last year with the previous team, has decided to stay another month in South Africa to serve alongside 1Hope in anyway needed. We are hosting him in our home and the kids now have a new older brother. The day after the rest of the team left, Randy needed help getting the rental van returned and so, for Josh’s initiation onto the South African roads, Josh bravely got into the driver’s seat on the wrong side of the car and followed Randy on the wrong side of the road!
Exciting Baby Home Update! The morning of the final day with the team, the Macks received very exciting news. The home directly next door to the Baby Home has been up for sale for quite some time. Longingly, fellow 1Hopers have looked to the property and thought and prayed, “Wouldn’t it be nice…” That morning the 1Hope team was informed that a very generous supporter has offered to purchase this home for 1Hope’s use to expand and extend the current Muphamuzi Baby Home! So exciting! It is not a done deal as we must wait until the beginning of next month to find out it the offer will be accepted. Please pray with us that God would open the doors wide for this to happened!
Cladious’ New Home Cladious has finally been given the keys to his new home! It still has a few minor finishing details, but he and his family have moved in and we are so humbled at his gratitude and pride in his new home.