A Time for Everything – Ecclesiastes 3: 1-7
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
A Time to be Born September 27, 2017 – Randy’s 52nd birthday.
We were on a family outing to celebrate the occasion visiting a small, but mighty zoo where you can observe up close all the major large cats. Desiring optimal medical resources, the Chilingulos were staying in South Africa awaiting the birth of their child. Newton had made a quick trip to Malawi leaving Vanessa, his very pregnant wife, and 5 year-old Chisomo with Vanessa’s mother in South Africa. Vanessa was not due until the 10th of October, so Newton calculated that he had plenty of time to return to be present for the birth of his child.
While observing the white lions who were so fat from being in captivity, Randy received a call from Newton asking if he could pick him up from the airport that afternoon. Vanessa had gone into labor!! Oops, guess Newton miscalculated! By God’s grace, he arrived at the hospital just in time to witness the birth of his son! Karabo Newton Chilingulo, born on Randy’s birthday! What a sweet gift it was from the Lord. His name means “answer to prayer”.
And a time to die Our visitor’s visa that allows our family to live and work in South Africa expires at the end of this year and so we scheduled our next visit to the U.S. for early November. We also worked with a lawyer to help us apply for a work permit in the hopes that we would be allowed to stay in the country longer ( 5 rather than 3 years) and work towards a more permanent status. About a month before our departure date, we received word that the pancreatic cancer that Randy’s father had surgery for a few years earlier had returned and that he had only a short time to live. We changed our plans and flew back to the United States three weeks early and by God’s grace had time to visit with and care for Dan during his last days on this earth.
A time to heal We have been spending lots of time with Barbara (Randy’s mom) helping her with clearing out her house and just keeping her company. Just after Thanksgiving, we dropped in to visit her and discovered that she had had a minor stroke. We are thankful that we decided to visit her that afternoon and get her in for proper medical attention. Thankfully, she has since recovered and had enough energy to take the grandkids to the movies the other night!
A time to keep and a time to throw away We have also spent quite a bit of time helping Susan’s parents clear and clean out their home to make their living situation more comfortable. We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to be here to serve them.
A time to plant and a time to uproot For five years we have planted ourselves in South Africa and when we left there in October, we had every intention of remaining planted and returning in January, 2018.
In fact our application for a work permit was submitted earlier in the year with the intention of being even more firmly planted. However, the first week of December, we received word from our immigration attorney in South Africa that our application for the work permit was denied. This does not mean we may not continue to work and live in South Africa, only that we need to reapply for the visitor’s visa we have always used.
At around the same time we had a long meeting with the Mission’s Director of Calvary Church, Liz Gold. After we spent time updating her, she told us that normally, after their missionaries have been on the field for four years, they are expected to return for a year furlough as a time of renewal and reflection. Since we have been in South Africa for five years and with all the different family issues, she has very strongly recommended that we extend our time here in the U.S. for a year. She assured us that we will be still be doing ministry (as a believer, isn’t all of life ministry?), but this now involves also “restrengthening yourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically.” This will allow extended time for both our immediate family and our parents who, as we have said, are requiring more personal care. This will also give us the opportunity to assess our years of ministry in South Africa and prepare for the future. Randy has shared this with the leadership and mission’s board of Grace Church of Orange and they are also supportive. This was a bit of a shock for us and took us some time to process . After much consideration and prayer, we have seen the wisdom in this recommendation and have accepted that for the moment our lives in South Africa will be “uprooted”.
A time to love We are so thankful that God has blessed our dear Lu with a godly man for her to have and to hold until death do they part. Susan and Marissa are planning on flying to South Africa on their existing return tickets in January to attend Lu’s wedding and love and hug every Living Hope Church member they can find.
A time to weep The same day we had the above meeting with Liz Gold, we received the heart-breaking news that our dear sister and friend, Marda Mack was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Marda has been and is foundational to the ministry of 1Hope and Living Hope Church. A godly wife to Living Hope Church pastor, Josh and gracious loving mother to nine children. A dear dear sister, friend, confidant to many of the ladies. The news has saddened us all deeply, but Marda lead the Living Hope ladies this past year in the study of the attributes of God. Through that study we learned: Our infinite never-changing God is all-knowing and all-powerful, ever present, on His throne and sovereignly in control of all things. This is the God we trust. This is the God we belong to and this is the God we know is holidng tightly to the beloved Mack family. Please, please pray for them as Marda has a year of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation ahead of her. We are trusting that for dear Marda this next year will be for her A time to heal.
A time to dance I just wanted to share this video because I love it. The quality of the video is terrible, but the quality of the worship is like none other. So fun to see our Living Hope church family worshiping and having communion in our home even in our (physical) absence. Thank you, Sarah Ray, for this video!
A time to embrace As much we are missing our Living Hope Church family, we are also rejoicing in spending time with family on this side especially for the holidays.
- It is always a time to pray. We are trusting our God for the future . Please pray for us
- We will need a place to live for our time here. We are currently in a mission house provided by Calvary Church, but will need different housing at the end of February.
- For our generous and all-knowing God to provide the extra funds we will need to take care of our daily expenses while living in Orange County. Grace Church of Orange has hired Randy to work part-time at the church until the end of the March, filling in for one of the pastors that has recently left to plant a church. Randy is also substitute teaching at his old school district a couple days a week. Both of these have been a blessing, and we truly trust God to know and provide for what we need.
- For wisdom and resources as how best to care for Randy’s mother who is now alone, and Susan’s parents who are also elderly and frail.
- For our children as they adjust to unexpectedly living in Orange County rather than Pretoria. Each child has their own specific needs.
- For God to continue to bless and grow the ministry and work He is doing in South Africa. We understand that this is not our work, but His. He can and will accomplish His purposes.
I am reading through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and this prayer found in chapter 3 is ours for the New Year:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.