April 19, 2009

April update

We are still recovering from the 7 days that we invested into our church’s youth conference and family camp. On Monday, it took about 6 hours of driving to get there since all of us in our convoy were pulling ridiculously heavy trailers with sound equipment, freezers, camp stoves, portable showers and more. The place is actually a farm that God told a family in our denomination to purchase and convert into a conference center. Last year for the youth camp, it was in the middle of construction and kids slept on cement floors in the converted stable. (not ideal!) This year, it was much improved, but they weren’t quite ready to handle the 600 people that descended on them for Easter weekend. We had to bring in loads and loads of supplies to make the venue workable.

On Tuesday, they put Dan in charge and by the end of the day, the open field on the farm did resemble a proper campsite complete with the portable showers and makeshift toilets, electrical outlets, lights on poles, and generators to service the 230 campers. (We stayed at a nearby B&B since we vividly remembered how challenging it was the year before and frankly, at 5 months pregnant, anything that isn’t my own bed feels like roughing it!)

Dan worked approximately 14 hr days all week to get the campsites ready, the sound system up and running (in two different places), playing drums on the worship team, and then trouble shooting all the problems that cropped up all week. J He was highly commended for his contribution and our pastor told me that there was no way they could’ve pulled off this high level of an event without Dan’s help. Our assistant pastor said that all the men are happy Dan is going home to the states for six months so that their wives will stop placing such unrealistic expectations on them based on what they saw Dan doing!

At the youth camp, there were approximately 150 students ranging in age from 13-30 and they met with the Lord in a powerful way! Many committed their lives to Christian service and all were challenged to live out their faith in a way that would practically impact their communities for Christ. This is an applicable message for people all over the world, but especially here in Africa.

At the family camp 450 more people joined the students till we had 597 people walking around the property! We didn’t fit into the gorgeous conference hall where the students had met, so the church hired a tent that could seat 500 people underneath and we all enjoyed the Lord’s presence outside! There were two sessions a day and most lasted somewhere between 3-4 hours. The worship would last for 1.5-2 hrs and then the teaching was after that! We are used to this length of service now, having been here over 3 years, but I am telling you – the time seemed to fly by! It is incredibly liberating not to have to worry about time and just enjoy God’s presence together. We were challenged and encouraged and loved the extra time with church friends as we are transitioning out for a season.

I am SO sorry that I don’t have pictures to show you in this letter, but Dan is out of town and took the camera with my camp pics with him. I’ll post some on facebook when I get a chance.

Dan is in the Eastern Cape this weekend with his friend Rob on a hunting trip. Rob’s relative is a professional hunter and was happy to let Dan come for a couple days to go exploring and hunting with them for free. It was Dan’s birthday on the 18th and he is having a fabulous time. He text messaged me around 9am on his birthday and he had already shot a springbok. (see pic)

Talk about incredible birthday memories! (it isn’t too late to send him birthday wishes – danielhartley@oci.org ) Although as he was leaving he was stressing about all the things we still need to finish here around the house, this trip away will be restful and rejuvenating and just what he needs!

We get on a plane soon and we have been very blessed by all the friends surrounding us to help us pack and move things out of the house we have been renting. We can’t wait to rest with our families and to see all our friends!

Please pray for Miesha – our poor girl has been pretty sick since we’ve been home from camp. She was running a slight fever for two days, but I thought it was because she is in process of cutting 4 more teeth. On Thursday, about halfway through the day she broke out into a horrible rash on her torso and face. I took her to the Dr and they confirmed it was an unknown viral infection and that I should just try to make her comfortable until the virus runs its course. She was up lots of times during the night and this morning she vomited after her breakfast. I am hoping the Dr knows what she is talking about and it isn’t anything more serious. Please pray with us that Miesha will be restored to complete health again right away. It is challenging to pack with a sick little gal who needs to be held all the time.

Please pray that we’ll be able to find a family who will be willing to take care of our cats while we are gone.

We are in Swaziland Monday and Tuesday this week with Jasmine and with the Chomba family. Please pray we have an incredible time encouraging them.

Lastly and of most importance – please pray for South Africa this WEDNESDAY during the presidential elections. There is a ton of tension and there is always the potential for violence. Please pray for PEACE throughout the whole process.

Thank you! We can’t wait to see you all again soon.

Janell for us 3.5

PS. We had another ultrasound this last week and our baby is still a boy!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

sounds like an amazing and powerful experience at the camp...and a lot of work.

hope your sweet girl is feeling better. It's no fun when they are sick.