Numbers 7 verse 24 “The Lord Bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you ; The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”
A brief family break
I have been blessed with the most incredible break in Dullstroom with my family. We stayed at Dunkeld Country and Equestrian Estate .
The Lord provided it to us at a fraction of what it should have cost. We had a wonderful stay, climbed to the highest point , played tennis, mountain biked, played put-put, table tennis and even fitted in some fly fishing. It was cold but we had two fireplaces and it was spectacular waking to thick mist. Once more my old and trusty bakkie (okay make that just old), played up but thankfully we managed to get home without major incident. It was three days of bliss and I felt like I was gone for weeks. Just as well as it turned out!
Biblical direction and guidance
My morning readings have taken me back to Numbers. I always find it fascinating how my readings seem to be well timed to deal with the situations and difficult scenarios that I face in life. It usually means that I get perspective of how small my problems actually are!
The book of Numbers focuses on the behaviour of the Israelites under Moses’ direction. It highlights their rejection of the good things provided by the Lord . It records their disobedience to the Lord, despite dire consequences. These were a people promised a land of milk and honey , who experienced the miracle of manna being provided daily. They then complained and demanded meat? The Lord provided quails in massive numbers till they were literally sick of them!
To get to the land of milk and honey they needed to trust in the Lord ( He had given them enough physical evidence to do so) and to physically cross into the new lands despite these being heavily armed and guarded. But they had to first believe and secondly physically move using their own energy and effort. Some were clearly lacking in both requirements.
How did Moses feel? He had to keep listening to God, keep begging forgiveness and trying to direct the Israelites for their own good, despite his own frustrations, disappointments (remember the golden calf?) and probably exhaustion. God did keep providing more resources but Moses definitely had tenacity, perseverance , stubbornness and faith in God’s ability to achieve all things.
If it was for the people and not God, I believe he would have handed over the reins and lived out his remaining days with a lot less stress. He did it for God, not for the thanks from the people!
You may have guessed by now that we are having a lot of blame, falsehoods and complaints thrown at us by “the community.” We had what we thought was a very successful meeting with the chosen committee. We offered to listen to anyone who had any complaints and gripes. It was a slow process often requiring translation. However, we were able to answer the questions asked. We even provided documentation to prove that the land belonged to the Cradle of Hope. (this was to quell the rumour that persists that the land belongs to me?) Everybody was happy – briefly!
We were still enjoying the success of the day when the first whatsapp message arrived making the same allegations. Once more from the “community”. I believe that it is from a small group of agitators hiding within the broader community but it does slow our progress and focus our attention on all the wrong things. It is also very confusing and de-motivating to have someone watch you working on their behalf without offering any assistance. Then to be told by the the same individual that you are not doing enough.
This is not a moaning session (I try to avoid negatives) but rather just to ensure that you our supporters and any future, additional volunteers do not have a false picture. We remain committed , will celebrate our successes and try to focus on the end goal of bringing this community closer to the Lord, through action and care.
Edwin and I would love to do more, much quicker for all the community members !
Edwin has informed the committee that we have agreed for the individuals to bypass the committee and to come and speak to us directly. (This has always been the case but we have stressed it again.) We are hoping to be able to explain and set minds at ease. We also believe that it is difficult to argue with the progress already made that can be seen and experienced by all. (Okay so it did not work for the Israelites but please Lord let it work at the CradleArk.)
I thank the Lord for the feeling of Peace He has given us which allows us to bite our words, stay pleasant and keep going. I do feel we are making a lot of progress and there are many exciting things happening behind the scenes. Please pray for the broader CradleArk community to see it in the same light.
We have managed to install 3 double sets of solar lights within the housing area of the community.
The lights that we sourced turned out to be a different make to what was shown in the picture. These were Jortan Lights and we have had great results using Hoselect before. We will monitor these and see their suitability going forward.
The community leaders chose the location of these lights to hopefully have the maximum impact on the larger community.
It was fun using up the “reject” spray paint tins that were donated to us and I believe the fun element can be seen in the solar poles colour schemes.
Slab at the well
The farming team threw a concrete slab next to the well. The pump can rest on this to try to reduce the dust intake and wear and tear on the pump. We would still like to enclose the well and then throw a slab for the irrigation manifold.
Edwin sourced a whiteboard to be used in the Sunday school and this was handed over to pastor Matthew.
Chairs and table
We managed to locate two tables which were donated to Jesta’s Wahvudi restaurant as well as several chairs.
Some of the additional chairs were donated to the Tarlton Livingstone Church.
Version 3 of the rocket stove was handed over to pastor Matthew for daily testing. The explanation can be found at How to build a rocket stove under the “how to”tab on the main menu.
This seems to be a great success and will be used to provide boiled water for tea and coffee at the church using minimum fuel.
We collected 19 more bibles in the various black languages and these were handed over to Pastor Matthew for distribution.
We thank our generous donor who not only purchases the bibles, but also allocates precious family time to facilitate the collection of the bibles at our convenience. You are an integral part of our team and we really appreciate your support and availability for discussion, direction and motivation. God bless you.
A new Rooster
Madre donated her rooster “Spotty” to the CradleArk and he has fitted in immediately. He has been placed in the coop with the rest of Pastor Matthews chickens and we therefore know he will be well fed and watered
The chicken farming is proving to be a great success evidenced by numerous chicks and eggs.
We are also happy to report back that the adaptation we made to an internet sourced chicken feeder design, is working well.
A security gate for pastor Matthew
The initial welding of the security gate for pastor Matthew’s home has been done. We have taken the gate through to ensure that it fits correctly . A locking mechanism and a receptacle for the bolt will need to be added. We will try to finalise it and install it this month.
We have been blessed with the donation of a “wendy house” which Ed and I plan to collect on the weekend. We are thinking that by combining this with a structure made out of a repurposed trampoline frame, we will get the hairdressing salon up and off the ground! The long awaited 12v hair clippers have arrived but we still are waiting for the hairdryer!
We must thank Prinesh for the seed that he donated. He met with Pastor Mattthew and was shown the current growing project. As Prinesh farms in the area, his input and assistance will be invaluable. I am eagerly awaiting further feedback from him to share with you.
In terms of the field we are now getting close to our summer plantings. Please will anybody willing to contribute any amount of compost or organic fertiliser, please do so! We need it quite desperately and want to get the soil ready for the season.
The picture above is a reminder that God is in control. These were little dried out forgotten sticks and with the rain last year they recovered! Part of our plan is to run a line to the container from the irrigation dam and then to use an IBC to have an additional water supply on hand for showers, building and watering of plants!