It is hard to believe we are an entire month into the 2018 school and ministry year. We find it difficult to send the boys back to school. This year it was particularly hard because we had such a lovely and relaxing Holiday in Cape Town. It was so special for Richard to show his boys where he grew up and recount all the coinciding memories attached to his, "hometown." While we packed every moment in Cape Town with activities, we truly rested for the first time in what felt like years.
So, with such a special time in our rear view mirrors, we were a bit apprehensive to forge on into 2018. In a forced attempt at embracing the new year, Abe picked out several (made in China, highly illegal in the States) fireworks. We lit up the South African sky on our last night of freedom. The symbolism of sharing God's light in the invasive darkness surrounding us, was not lost. As the fireworks banged and streaked across the sky, we were reminded of our calling to the mission field. Why did we come to Africa in the first place? Why do we continue to stay in a place, immersed in such spiritual darkness?
The simplicity of our calling illustrated by the fireworks was a good reminder, and an even better incentive, to get our fires started for the Lord in 2018.
The following is a brief description of our little flames burning for Jesus in Africa:
"God sent his messenger a man named John, who came to tell the people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. He himself is not the light; he came to tell about the light. This is the real light, the light that comes to the world and shines on all people." John 1:6-9
Richard has officially handed the daily administration responsibilities over to an administrator. This has allowed him to spend much more time on the gym floors building relationships with community members, running classes, leading mentoring and discipleship courses in both the Marburg and Murchision locations. He continues to provide over sight to the local staff, but it seems the hand over has been a success thus far.
The plans to expand the gyms as an outreach platform have been developing nicely. Richard has been establishing partnerships between American gyms, overseas mission groups, and local interested parties. A team from Cross Fit RX (an American gym outreach ministry out of Nashville, Tenn.) will be coming to visit us in the Spring with the purpose of seeing how they may partner with Genesis Gyms. It is interesting to see how God has used gyms as a starting point for the Genesis Centers in Marburg, Murchison, and Lambert's Bay. It is our prayer this model of ministry will continue, resulting in the expansion of Genesis Gyms and youth centers across South Africa.
Megan is busy rebuilding and updating the Genesis Trust website along with maintaining all of the other websites she manages. She keeps up with the boys and home, and helps out wherever needed in the Genesis Youth ministries.
Alex is in 9th grade at Port Shepstone High School. He will be 15-years-old next week, and is officially 6'1 ... and some. He was named captain of the rugby team, and was recently elected RCL for his class. He surprised us by volunteering to teach kids church this year.
Aden has a particularly challenging year ahead. He is in grade 7, and his final year at primary school. The academic pressure is intense this year, and this has left him a bit overwhelmed and forgetful starting off. He enjoys art, golf, reading, and a good debate.
Aron Elijah is in grade 5. He still suffers will severe migraines every week, which we are trying to manage. His doctor would like to try out a new pain management procedure involving injections of medication directly into his neck muscles. Aron won an award for swimming at the end of 2017 (only 2 are given for grades 4-7), so he thinks he's pretty something in the pool in 2018. His November birthday means he must play rugby with grades 6 and 7, so he will only start next term. He is chomping at the bit to make tackles, so volunteered to hold the tackling bags at Abe's practices.
Abe is in grade 4, which means he is no longer in the foundation phase of his education. He finally gets to play on a rugby team. He's having so much fun on the rugby field and in the swimming pool. He's a diligent student and has turned into a responsible little guy (we can thank the strict SA school system for this). Abe loves to sing, but did not make the cut for his class choir. He's consoling himself by working on the action side of his quest of becoming a movie star!