Friday, July 22, 2005

With Malcolm and Jacqui in Polokwane

Lego and St Helena?

Some unquotable quotes: “Thank you for God’s Word, and please give it back to Him when He’s finished. Amen.” - Caleb, aged 4

Nick to Caleb at MacDonalds: “Caleb, go and get us a table.”
Caleb: “Dad, I can’t carry it; it’s too heavy.”

Aaron (all the time): “But why?”

In this update we can really say that God has been working with us in many and wonderful ways, and we give Him much thanks and glory for His involvement in our lives, interest in our emotions, and dealings with us!

The prospect of a call to St Helena is still on the go; we have no finality on that yet. We have been corresponding with them since the end of February, so this is really quite a lengthy process! The call committee has narrowed their selection down to just Nick, so although it looks like our future does involve boat rides, coastal living, isolation and other such things, God may choose to close the door at any point. Nick has answered some extensive questions from them, and submitted an audio tape of his preaching, which they have received. They are in the last stretch of deciding (apparently island lifestyle is slow…). It is a little unsettling living like this, not knowing if we are facing an emigration in the next few months or not, but we trust that God has it all worked out and will wait for His timing. Isn’t it glorious that we serve a sovereign God who has a master plan and will bring it to pass?

The last three months have been as busy as usual. Caleb’s birthday celebrations in April were a bit squashed by rain, but I doubt he’ll be emotionally scarred for life by our having cancelled half his party…there was still cake, presents, and enough people to fill the house, and photographic evidence that at least there was a party! Lego has become quite a favourite in the Clevely household since Caleb’s birthday (I’m sure Lego is intended more for parents to play with than kids – it’s really fun!) Lynn’s birthday in May came and went fairly quietly. She is now well and truly “in her 30s”, without minding terribly much (and got Lego for her birthday). Our church held a Family Camp at the end of May which was thoroughly excellent. This was the first year of going on a camp or retreat where the kids almost took care of themselves – with so many other young children, and slightly older young children as well to keep half an eye on them, we hardly saw them. In June we spent a night with Malcolm and Jacqui Cunningham in Pietersburg, as Nick had to attend the BNA meeting there. It was so good to renew an old friendship, and see how God is working in their lives as well! We had Lynn’s cousin Heidi and one of Heidi’s friends with us for a weekend in June – they have been doing a missions course at OM and had a free weekend. Again, glory to God for how these young people have handed over their lives to Him for Him to use them in any way He pleases. For Father’s Day, Nick was awarded…you guessed it…Lego!

Our third Skogheim adventure happened at the beginning of this month. Thankfully, this year, none of us was sick or broke any toes. In fact, as far as health goes, we were all terribly well – even Caleb’s usual runny nose cleared up with the sea air. The conference this year was an incredible blessing to us spiritually. Don Theobald, one of the main speakers, addressed us from Genesis on the life of Abraham, how God told him to sell up and move away. Abraham had to trust God and obey, without knowing where he was going or what would happen next. He experienced many trials in his nomadic lifestyle, but this did not mean that he was not in God’s will! I guess sometimes we worry that if the going gets tough, that we are doing the wrong thing or in the wrong place, but that is not necessarily the case. I suppose too there is the concern that people will tell us that we have missed God and made an unwise decision, but we see in His word that He does lead His children to strange places in order that He will be glorified. We felt that God has really been preparing our hearts for a move, if not to St Helena, then somewhere else, but there is a definite excitement stirring, where before there was, in me particularly, much apprehension! With this in mind, we were also reminded that Abraham had to wait a long time for God’s promise to be fulfilled, and so we too are to wait patiently for His plans to unfold, and not rush ahead by ourselves to move things on. Many other things have ministered to us along the way as well, such as Martin Holdt’s talk on how to deal with depression, which may be a problem if we move to the island.

Nick continues to preach a few times a month at some local churches, such good experience for him. All feedback has been very positive – his ministry is being used of God! This weekend we are travelling to Mooiriver for a weekend of ministry – at youth on Friday night, and in the churches on Sunday. Nick also still takes our young adults out evangelising in the heart of Pretoria on Saturday nights, interspersed with other bible studies. He will be missed if and when we leave this church.

Now, for those of you who don’t have children – if you want some real works of sanctification in your life, have kids! Parenting seems to bring out our worst character traits, which we can then identify and hopefully work on. The boys test us, either by doing openly naughty stuff, or just being silly and exasperating. Aaron discovered that lighting matches by himself is not a good idea. Fortunately Nick got there in time to blow out the flame before any damage was done, and the disciplining that followed will remain fresh in his head (and on his bottom).