Monday, April 22, 2013

Of this and that and a few other things.

Every other week or so, the Amigo Orphan kids who live close enough to our base to walk here, come for a meeting with Pastor Mariano. They spend a few hours, playing, singing, hearing a Bible story, and especially lately, memorizing scripture.

A few of the verses the kids are memorizing.

We have given them a challenge to memorize 10 Bible verses this year, and if they can do it, they will get a prize! We are hoping to hand out lovely portuguese children's Bibles if we can find enough cash to purchase them. The children who live close by are getting lots of help because they have the meetings to come to where Pastor Mariano is diligently demonstrating new ways for them to memorize and encouraging them. Hopefully the children who live a bit further off will be able to memorize as well- we will have to make sure to encourage them quite a bit!

Some of the girls reading from the Portuguese Children's Bible.

Last Friday we had an orphan program, which most of the local kids attended since they are on holidays from school. Usually the kids are broken up into two groups, some who come in the mornings and some who come in the afternoons, since they attend school at the opposite time. It was so nice to have all of them together again and to spend some time playing and chatting with them.

Rimbudzai 2 (there are Rimbudzai's in the same family so we distinguish them by a 1 or a 2) brought her tests from the first term of school for me to see. She had very good marks in almost all of her tests, with only a few below the passing mark. Here kids are graded out of 20 and with pressure on teachers to prove their position of power over students, it is rare to find find kids who are actually excelling enough to get these types of grades! It is encouraging to see that there are many kids in our program who are not only passing, but passing WELL!

In addition to the scripture memory challenge, we have also challenged the kids to really work at getting good marks this year. The attitude here is, "as long as I pass, who cares? why bother putting in effort to get a higher than passing mark?" We want to encourage the kids to strive for excellence not just in their schooling, but in all areas of life! One of the things we are doing to motivate them is by letting them know that at the end of the school year, those with an average of 15/20 on their school marks will be going on a "little trip." They dont know where, or when, or what they will see, but the prospect of going on a little trip has most of them so excited they are working VERY hard to try and reach that 15/20 average. We are hoping we will be able to arrange to take them north of here, to a game reserve where they will be able to see lots of wild animals- which most of them will have NEVER seen before- there is even the possibility of seeing elephant and lions- a true adventure for anyone, let alone these kids who were thrilled last week to see Dwight and Lynn's little Duiker, Pumpkin wander thru their game of soccer.

In other news, our house is trucking along- though at this point it feels like every small thing takes FOREVER!!! We are finishing up odd jobs right now, such as the final plastering under the overhand of the roof, the lid on the septic tank, painting touchups, roof work on the porch, etc, while we wait for our order to arrive on a really big truck from South Africa.

The mission is purchasing fencing for the front of the farm as a security measure, and its coming from SA, so we were able to combine our order with that and get a much cheaper rate on transport costs. All of our toilets, sinks, tub, showers, cabinets, remaining paint we need, and even our fridge will be coming on the truck! We cannot wait for it to get here!!! :) Our goal had been to be in the house by our 12th anniversiary on the 28th of April- but the order from SA has taken much longer than we anticipated, so it looks like I will have to hope on being in the house before my birthday in June instead.
Please pray with us during this "home stretch"- we are still short of funds, and have had to borrow from other areas to purchase these items up front. Pray the remaining funds will come in and that we can get the work done, even with Rick spending a good chunk of may up north doing Children's Ministry Training seminars!

We had family photos taken this past week, which was a good thing bc Rick woke up on Saturday morning with one side of his face VERY swollen and in pain. Despite several days of antibiotics, etc, the swelling has only increased and at this point we feel he has been bitten by a spider. We are seeking medical advice from South Africa regarding how to proceed, but we ask for your prayers- Rick has quite a bit of pain now from the swelling and is pretty uncomfortable.

And, just purely for the sake of cuteness to brighten your day after that lovely pic of Rick's swollen face, here is a pic of Tendai and our two dogs, Magnum (the big black one) and Higgins, (the soon to be big brown one) playing in the grass. :)


Thanks so much for all your prayers and support! Since I started writing this blog update this morning, Ricks swelling has already started to go down somewhat! We pray it will continue to go down further, and stay away! (the last few days it has gone down, but returned in the evenings, though today it has gone down the most) If you would like to get in touch with us, to drop us a word of encouragement or get more info on how you can pray for us, or support us, please use the email up on the right hand side of the screen.

God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai Neufeld


1 comment:

Gillian Gauthier said...

Just dropping in to say I'm thinking of you and pray for your often! The girls asked if we could go to Africa soon ...
Hope you are doing well! Love to see your house coming along!! Prayers sent to you and your sweet family as you do the work of the Lord! xo