You don’t have to be a ballerina to keep on your toes. We may live in a big city, but our life as missionaries has already proven this fact to be true.
Change of Plans
Shortly after we sent you our last family update, we made a pretty significant change regarding our mode of transportation to Back to the Bible Mission (BBM) in Barberton, South Africa. Rather than travel by air, we decided to travel by road as this would save us significantly in travel costs. This, naturally, affected our itinerary just a little since that involves driving nearly 4,000km (2,485mi) round trip. To give our American friends some perspective on how far that is, it’s the equivalent of driving from Phoenix, AZ, to New York City, NY! Another comparison would be driving from San Diego, CA, to Orlando, FL. That is literally across the U.S. from West Coast to East Coast!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Suffering, Sacrifice and Sanctions
It was surreal walking in places littered with fox holes and bomb shelters, knowing that a little over a year ago, bombs were being dropped on the very places I was travelling through. The thousands of children we shared the Gospel with in schools had endured aerial bombardments by the Sudanese government time and time again. Although horrific, it is commonplace for the Nuban people to have seen friends and family die in bombings and military attacks. By God’s grace and pressure from the US with a promise of sanctions being lifted, a ceasefire has been implemented in Darfur, Nuba and the Blue Nile. President Al-Bashir was not driven by compassion on the people he was killing, but by a financial raise in the country’s economy. This time of peace made our task of distributing Bibles to the Nuban schools possible.
On May 1st, Hunter, along with a team of three other missionaries, left for a month-long mission trip to Sudan. By God’s grace, they distributed 32,000 Bibles to 130 local schools. Many of the people told us that they had been praying for years for Bibles and now they had their very own Bible! Among those who eagerly accepted the Bibles were some Muslim schools, due to their eagerness to learn English (Arabic is the primary language spoken in the areas where the team ministered). Please join us in prayer that the Lord would transform the hearts and lives of all who received His Word!
Jesus said to them, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
No one could ever claim life in Africa is boring. This is exactly the way we like it.
Cape Town Outreaches
We have been involved in many exciting ministry opportunities since we have been in South Africa. We have been doing regular outreaches at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and in a nearby Muslim neighborhood. Students on campus are open to the Gospel and we are working on building relationships with on-campus ministries to build partnerships with.
After 30 hours of travel, on three flights, touching three continents (from Phoenix to Seattle to Amsterdam to Cape Town), we finally made it to our long-long-long-anticipated destination: the stunning and draught-stricken country of South Africa. Jeremy impressed us with how well he did on all three flights and layovers, and he didn’t take long to adjust from jetlag. With only 50 liters (13gal) allotted per person, per day, what we have had to adjust to are 60-second showers (using buckets to catch excess which we reuse for toilets and gardens) and overall careful, minimal use of water. Nonetheless, our feet have finally been planted firmly on (extremely dry) African soil.
It is a joy to be here with the family and with friends at Frontline. On our first Sunday here (the 18th), Hunter was given the opportunity to preach about Jesus being our victory over the spiritual battle. Since then, he has been preparing for more teaching opportunities here, such as an overview of early Christian responses to Islam at the Reformation Society meeting tomorrow and a podcast or two with “From the Front Line.” The three of us are beginning to settle into a delightful rhythm here, and we are eager to see what will unfold in the days and months to come.
The Cats and the Castle Update
Thank you all very much for your prayers! We have found a home for our kitty Juliette and are still looking for a home for Romeo. We also discovered after our last inspection that our AC unit had given up the ghost sometime since we last used it in the summer. Thankfully we have a very competent realtor who is helping us work out the logistics of replacement so that the next owner of the Castle will be blessed with a brand new unit. We also as of Monday night are under contract again! Praise God!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! Phoenix has finally caught up with the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, temperature-wise, which means we can actually begin to believe that Christmas is right around the corner! I know we aren't the only ones who love to enjoy a cup of tea in the evenings with a good book and a warm blanket. Unfortunately, there's little of that going on over here at the Combs Castle.
It seems that life, much like a book, is filled with many, many chapters. Some are filled with highs, while others with lows. Some drag out in mundane monotony, while others glide by in their exceptional noteworthiness. The past two and a half years working with International Students Incorporated (ISI) has been one of those latter chapters, filled with some of the most wonderful experiences for our family.
Sadly, our chapter with ISI is soon drawing to its close. Due to our plan to move to Cape Town later this year and with the academic school year coming to an end for our student friends, our time on staff has come to a close with ISI. We are so grateful for all we have learned from our partnership with ISI and the amazing community we have become a part of because of it.