Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A New Season

This is the latest update from Ruth Turner who is working at Footprints South Africa, a ministry of Iris Global.

Hello! The seasons are changing again here as we go into Spring in South Africa, and I’m thankful for it. These last couple of months have felt really quite hard if I’m honest, I’ve felt very tired a lot of the time and struggled to keep up my energy levels to meet the needs of all the children. We’ve had a lot less volunteers on base than normal (at times only 6 when often it can easily be 15 or so) and so had little time to rest.  An amazing friend of mine blessed me with financial provision to go to a country hotel for 4 days, it was honestly incredible. I slept most of the time and spent precious time with Jesus. I felt like He gave me a new perspective, and honestly in coming back it feels like I’m breathing again. He helped me to see that all the things I do everyday, whether it is feeding our 50 chickens, 20 rabbits, playing with kids, teaching, reading stories etc, please His heart, and if my aim is to please Him always (2 Corinthians 5 v 9) then I will feel His pleasure in it. I also realised I was putting way too much pressure on myself, we do that so easily don’t we? Once I changed how I viewed my day from a long list of things “to do” to seeing His heart in it and enjoying the life He has blessed me with, I got my joy back. I wanted to be “real” in writing this in the hope that it may encourage you too if you find yourself in a similar struggle. It may be a hard season just now, but after the night comes the morning, just hold on and trust Him in it. 

So Footprints life continues to be full of surprises and fun: Recently our boys found a snake – they pulled it out by the tail (don’t even get me started), put it in a box, and then called everyone to gather round whilst they did a snake show!

One night I found a big spider on my bed, unable to tell if it was a venomous one or not I’m afraid it met its untimely end with my boot and a big bottle of “Doom” (bug spray!)

It's at times like these that I definitely know I’m living in Africa!!

Hospital update:  Two weeks ago my friend Jackie and I were in the Tuberculosis ward praying for the ladies. We had just left and were walking away from the isolation wards when a male nurse came chasing after us. He asked us what organisation we were with, to which I replied “we follow Jesus” and then he said, please come and pray for my patients, they are very sick. We followed him into the Men’s TB ward, and sure enough there were 3 gentleman who were very ill indeed. We spoke life and prayed over them, two of them were unconscious. One man, named Sepo had his blanket pulled over his head, but he was conscious. He was emaciated, had open sores and skin literally peeling off his face. The nurse told us that Sepo used to also pray for people in hospital. We prayed for his healing and that He would know the peace that only Jesus can bring, and he uttered just one word “Hallelujah”. That one word really spoke to me, here was a gentleman, clearly  suffering and yet the word he spoke was to give praise and glory to God, knowing that our bodies may fade away but he is loved by the King of Kings and will be for all eternity. He was dying yes, but he knew the secret, that true life is found in Jesus.

 Keep praying for the TB wards – they are emptying, I know this sounds incredulous, but the last few times we have been there there have been so many empty beds, the nurse’s answer:  “God has healed them”. Yay Jesus!

At Munsieville: My heart for the people of Munsieville (the white squatter camp) continues to grow. I love those people so much and I love how God is transforming their lives and giving them identity. In the last few weeks we’ve been super blessed to have the Harvest school teams (32 people from nations across the world) come from Pemba in Mozambique full of the fire of God and with His heart to help all they can. They stayed for 3 days in Munzieville and poured out God’s love in so many ways. One of my friends there, Nelly, a single Mum, had not had a door on her shack for 2 weeks, which is neither safe nor practical in sheltering her and her child from the cold at night. I was with a team of 3 guys who fixed her door in less than half an hour. Nelly was so happy and relieved. We’ve also been able to give another lady an extra room in her house so her grandson can come to live with her (he is currently in an orphanage). Love really does look like something, and I love seeing the changes in my friends in Munsieville as they begin to realise they are not forgotten, that they have a purpose and a calling in life and that they are very loved.

Fixing the door

Munsieville kids having fun with their cart with the team

Praying for a friend

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for more volunteers to come and help us here at Footprints... I think we have over 20 people here just now including a family where husband and wife are both GPs. We are very excited about this because they are here to get our mobile medical clinic up and running (a caravan that has been equipped with medical supplies) to take into the local townships to help all those who cannot afford to see a doctor. God’s provision is wonderful and I’m excited to see what this new season holds. 

Thank you so much for your support and your prayers, it means the world. Please let me know how you are and send me your news.
 Please pray:

  • -          For Pastor Yolanda (the children’s Mom) who is currently out in Sierra Leone helping as part of a relief team after the mudslide disaster

  • -          For my friends Mark and Tashi who have been trying to adopt their daughter Hope for four years (she is in my preschool class) , they found out their social worker is corrupt and they have to pay an immense sum of money and restart the process

  • -          For health here at Footprints – for the past two weeks almost every adult and child has been ill at some time with either the flu (the real version) or a tummy bug, and we are still fighting it        (I currently have the flu but I’m on the mend)

  • -          For the mobile medical clinic – that it will be well received and God will lead us to the places where it is needed the most

Monday, 10 July 2017

An Update from Ruth Turner

An Update from Ruth Turner

Ruth Turner has just sent us this update from South Africa:

First of all, I would like to thank everyone massively for their prayers, knowing I have a church family in prayer behind me and that I’m not doing this alone is sometimes what gets me through the day!! It was so interesting when Ruth (Paton) said that you have just had “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4: 13) as your memory verse as that describes exactly the season I’m in. When I came back to Footprints I wanted a really nice Scripture wall art sticker for my wall. I found the one I liked but I didn’t leave enough time to order it from good old Amazon. The only one that would arrive on time before leaving the UK was Philippians 4 v 13, which, although I love it, was not my first choice. It's funny though how God knows exactly what we need, as it’s been so prophetic for the season I’m in! 

Strength. It’s come to mean so much more to me than it previously had. Does it mean having endless energy to be on the go constantly?  Does it mean emotionally being steadfast? Does it describe our physical state? It may entail all of the above. However, for me personally, it's come to mean having a firm and secure trust in the hand that holds me. He is my strength and my song. Its not about striving, or going at one hundred miles an hour, its knowing that He is my refuge, my fortress, my rock on whom I stand, and because of that, I can do all things.

Why has this been a season of finding strength? I’m going to be real, I absolutely love being here, and doing life with these children whom I'm not sure I could love anymore than I do if they were my own, but I got to the place where I was just exhausted. I live in a house with 7 boys, and take part in the life of 27 on a daily basis. From morning till night there are children clamouring for attention whether its because one has fallen over and needs a plaster, another has chewing gum stuck in her hair (this happened to me a few days ago!) a third wants to sit and read a story and a fourth wants to play a game of cards, a fifth needs his nappy changed and a sixth thinks its an amazing idea to try and rewire the toaster whilst it is still plugged in (do not try this one at home kids!!) Often they all appear at the same time! We have a lot less volunteers here than normal, when I arrived last year there were 17, we currently have 6. I woke up the other morning and I literally prayed, Jesus give me strength!! I listened to a sermon, from Bethel I think it was, and God spoke clearly to me from it. The sermon was about Moses being asked to go and speak to Pharaoh and when he was doubting, God telling him, "But 'I am'”. That’s when I heard God speaking to me, whispering, I have put you here, so you CAN. I felt His gentle, non-condemning prod, making me realise that if I am doubting whether I can do this, then I am doubting Him, because He is the one who has brought me here. Has God always been faithful to me? Yes. Has He always provided for me? Yes. Can I trust Him? Yes. So instead of focusing on my tiredness, I am focusing on Him who has said, you can, because I AM. I hope that may be encouragement to some of you. We can, because of who He is. I have strength because the one who is strong has got me. 

These are a couple of stories Ruth sent to be shared as part of our All Age talk on Sunday 9th July:

We had a missionary stay with us, for about 8 months, who had only partial sight, she was amazing. Whilst she was here her sight deteriorated badly and she had to have an operation to stop her from going blind. For a week after the operation she could not see, she had patches over her eyes. The children were brilliant with her, going to talk to her, getting her her meals, leading her over the house, and obviously praying for her. The operation was to stop her from going completely blind, but it no way was additional recovery of sight expected. The miraculous happened, and not only did she regain her sight (that was not a given) but she received more sight than before the operation, being only one level below being able to legally drive!!!  This lady, my friend, does not yet have complete sight, and she is now not here with us in South Africa, but back in her home country, yet our children still pray for her, and believe that one day she will see completely.  I also told our children about how when I was in Mozambique, a girl who lived in my house prayed for a man they met in the Bush who was completely blind, his eyes were white. She watched as Jesus turned his eyes from white, to gray to brown, and he was able to see perfectly. The man was of a Muslim before he was touched by Jesus, afterwards, he gave his life to the One who helped him see the truth. 

The Powerful Prayers of a 3 year old

This testimony is about a girl, Helen, from Scotland who came to Footprints for a couple of weeks. She is very athletic, but about 15 years ago she had a blood clot in her leg which traveled to her lung and almost killed her. Ever since then she has suffered from clotting and pain in her leg when she exercises. I knew none of this whilst she stayed with us until the last day or two. Our youngest child had just turned 3. Like many 3 year olds  he likes to crawl around and under tables, so I thought nothing of it when I often saw him climb under the dinner table. This lady finished her trip in South Africa and went home, and I met up with her when I was back. It was then that she told me that this little boy had been sitting under the table, massaging her leg in the exact spot where the problem was. After a few times of this happening, she asked him what he was doing, and he replied “praying to Jesus”!! By the time Helen left footprints, the pain was 90-95% gone!!! That little 3 year old had clearly heard Jesus telling him to go and pray for Helen’s leg, and so with the complete trust and faith of a tiny child, that's exactly what he did. I told this testimony to our Footprints family a couple of weeks ago, the same little boy was there as I told it, sitting on another child's lap, sucking his dummy. It struck me, not for the first time, why Jesus said we are to be like little children! They are so powerful, so faith-filled, so able to hear God’s voice!!! 

Prayer Points

As I said, I so value your prayers, so please join me in praying for these things:
  • Protection. I have no doubt that we have massive angels guarding our property but I would very much appreciate prayers for protection for us and the children. The level of crime in this area has increased. Twice this last week I have been lying in my bed when I’ve heard quite a lot of gun fire due to armed robberies in the area.
  • The incidence of child kidnapping in South Africa is massively on the increase. Horrifically children are being kidnapped for their organs, which come at a high price (they are often used in witchcraft). The police, not too far from here have found houses full of children that have been taken purely for this purpose. Please pray that the enemies plans will be thwarted, and for safety and protection for the children of South Africa.
  • We have started a support group in Munsieville, the white squatter camp, it's being going really great but those women really need our prayers. Specifically for health and against fear.
  • That I will feel refreshed and filled up completely in Him! 

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

World Horizons - An Update

David Storm writes about an upcoming trip to Egypt:

Long Term Training

I'm thankful for a really good relationship with the Gap Year and Long Term Training leaders and this has resulted in the opportunity to provide more input into the course syllabus. With each Gap Year group in September/October we run several cross-cultural training and preparation classes before taking them on a mission trip, in November 2016 we visited Egypt, in November 2017 we will go to Morocco. 

With each Long Term Training group from November to February we run 6-8 classes on leadership development in a mission trip setting. This provides them with the real life opportunity to plan, run and lead a short term mission trip to a location of their choosing in March. Whilst on the trip they each lead different days and each day we spend an hour discussing and reviewing what has been observed and learnt. It is a great opportunity to develop cross-cultural people focused leaders. This March I go with this group to Egypt.

Pray for Egypt - for Christians to live a life of love and mercy towards their Muslim neighbours and colleagues.

Pray for our group - that they would learn and develop in cross cultural group leadership and be an encouragement to the mission partners that we will visit.