mitch & char

mitch & char

Thursday, March 27

Feed 100 kids a nutritious meal AND get a Tshirt!

Hi Friends, just a creative way to get involved.  Buy a t-shirt to support Spark Foundation Feeding Kids.
We are trying to raise enough funds to feed the children at Phakane for 2014.  Each tshirt purchased feeds 100 kids a nutritious meal!  Let’s do this!
Pray, buy and share!!!

Bringing Christ to Kids in creative and fun ways!

Monday, March 17

Mid month update from Spark Foundation - South Africa

We are nearly complete with the transition for Children's Cup (hosting our final team; 17 women from usa), remaining available for any unanswered questions, see to it the Government financial audit is finalized and then the handover is complete to Patrick/Leah and Chris(the 3 new missionaries that we have shown the ropes, details and whose/whose, where's/where to).  We have turned over all sites started under the name "Children's Cup" (26 locations providing some form of assistance to 3800 children) to them.  It is a little bitter sweet, but knowing that the work that has started will continue in some fashion is a blessing, and knowing that the relationships we have created will remain and stand a duration of time-is heart warming.

As Spark Foundation: (but we really don't care about the name, it's just a formality)... so, "AS CHRISTIAN MISSIONARIES"...

LEGAL STUFF-we should be finalizing the registered trust within the week (a trust is the type of non profit organization we created to allow us to stay legally and operate legally in South Africa)

MSHOLOZI (em-show-low-zee)-with Pastor Paul, we are assisting with a church plant by supporting the current pastor- a young and brilliant, biblical sound young man and his wife(a very poor community)- this will evolve into facility and children's care/feeding location(kingdom center) in time.

PHAKANE (paw-gone-knee)-with Pastor Muzi, we are assisting with a 2 year old church plant and have started 5 day a week feeding. We have built a kitchen and put in soccer field and netball courts for youth and children, the numbers of children active at the church has doubled in the past weeks as they now have a safe place to come and play after school and a smile greeting them as they dish a plate of food.  The community already tends to a garden and has been taking up their own offerings to add additional foods(meat/fish) to what we provide.

CLAU CLAU (Shlaw shlaw)-we provide food for feeding and Pastor France and wife continue to be fully onboard with assisting their community twice weekly.

TRAINING-We are going to Pretoria for a children's discipleship training and connection at the end of the month-it will greatly enhance our work in educating young people to empower children in the Lord-it is a program called AWANA and is something we were involved in in the usa as well.

GROWTH-we are providing foods to a church plant in Kabokweni, as well as Tonga, and we are looking at new sites in  Barberton, as well as Hermansburg and Tekwane - all 3 of the latter would be church plants and children's kingdom centers eventually; should they have the necessary ingredients and community involvement for success.

SCHOOL OF MINISTRY-we are teaching a discipleship course every Tuesday night at our house-18 students registered for the current course, and we have 22 young adults in a course every Wednesday night in the township of Mahushu from 4-8pm- seeing amazing results and testimonies from this group.  We are blessed by them weekly.  Graduation is set for the first week of December.

KIDS PLAYGROUNDS-we have purchased and are having fabricated 2 sets of swings and seesaws -one for Mahushu and one for Phakane.  Though Mahushu is now a "Children's Cup" site, we still have deep relationship there, and believe in the local pastor and his efforts.

PASTOR AND LEADER TRAINING CENTER-we have secured the funds for a building project in Elukwatini for a leadership and pastors training center. Our dear friend and partner Darryl(the white South African) has been teaching Wednesday nights in a rented hall, and the pastors all want more and want more opportunity for their leadership teams.  We have over 400 video training's, and 200 of those are English translated to Zulu(one of the many local languages-and generally the heaviest used(similar to siswati)).

NEW MISSIONARIES -Dave and Beth Philips have joined us from the USA- She is a brilliant children's educator(preschool) and has all the materials and supplies for success.  He is a talented project manager and will be overseeing building projects once we locate a work foreman.  In addition, John and Kay West have joined us from the USA via Swaziland.  Kay is a professional counselor and specializes in women's ministries and will take on the task of working with the community women who care for and cook for the children, John is gifted at youth boys ministries(boyscout style) and all around as a solid example.

TEAMS-we are open to hosting you!- get 10 people+ and let us know your dates and your talents.  We will get you a budget and connect the pieces and dots for you... we prefer to have people fit into the ministries we are already doing- so will want to compliment those things with your gifts!

We are now being very diligent to take our time and do things at the speed the community needs and is willing to own and be involved in.  These projects must revolve around the local church.  If the community is not taking ownership, we don't want to work there(if the church is already trying to do something with what little they have- we explore partnership). If the student does not want to be involved in a leadership/discipleship course- we won't push it on them.  

We believe firmly in connecting local businesses and individuals into these township projects, as well as always having an exit strategy- we must approach every project knowing that in due season- they must take it on themselves with less and less oversight.

We are gifted in creating systems, accountability and networking, and want to use those strengths to our advantage to make long lasting, community driven projects that glorify and honor Jesus.  

We are seeing something exciting happen...  multiple people, multiple organizations, all working together for a common goal and a common King.  Banners and flags set aside to see people connect with Christ- it truly is BEAUTIFUL and God Wins!

Saturday, March 8

There were 9 witch doctors...You need to dig

I never EVER want to give credit, glory or power to the Devil, but i do recognize that he exists and is one nasty dude(along with his armies).. OK, so many people already quit reading-as i just made them uncomfortable, but i encourage you to read on (if you are still with me here).

Spiritual warfare is real; good, bad, and ugly.  Something i experienced while in a coma in the hospital 2 years ago is something i have yet to talk about much(and have never shared openly).  I guess i wanted to be careful in not talking too much about a negative experience, and lets face it- you put up with ALOT of updates about my medical condition(sometimes folks just need to move on)

I have felt a burden for sharing this for a while now, so here goes:

Coma, drugged, unaware of time, circumstances and surroundings.  I could see out of my room in ICU when i awoke... it was very cold(and by default i was shivering), The window across the way was broken.  It had snowed, and a tree fell through it and they could not repair it quickly-so there we all lay- cold patients.  The lady across from me had just passed away- leaving behind a 7 year old and a nursing baby (i thought it was odd that while she was in a coma too, they allowed the baby to nurse).  She had a major head wound, and what looked like a cast on her entire head.
Then they came...through the window they crawled in.  I was panicked!  9 witchdoctors came to collect her body, but first-the rituals.  I saw it all, the removal of the cast on her head, filled with "fluids", a straw handed to the child who was to walk around the body 7 times and drink the fluid.  Paints rubbed on her and child, figures and small stick statues hung from the IV poles.  They looked at me as to say "you are next"  I reached for my phone and started taking pictures.  They carried her off through the broken window and no one tried to stop them.  The nursing staff calmed me down and said that when it comes to that part of culture, the government and families can not intercede- the Witch Doctors have domain.  Later that evening one of the ceiling tiles was loose and there was a cobra hissing whenever anyone tried to replace the tile.  He was a BIG snake.

I woke the next morning with a tracheotomy (that's the tube through the throat to breath) and was not able to talk. Still panicked and insistent on what i witnessed the night before. Luckily while dating- Charlotte and I took sign language courses for fun- so we were able to slowly communicate. I became angry at her when she showed me my phone and the pictures were not there.  I accused her of deleting them for some reason.  She calmed me down in a way that only a soul mate can, and we began to talk and debrief.

NONE of that big paragraph happened...  Let that sink in.. NOTHING- not one bit of it.  It was and IS still real to me, my perceptions were my realities whilst in a coma.  The cold air of a sterile room in a hospital keeping germs low, the noises of construction, sounds of people coming and going, and the drugs- OH LORD, the Narcotics are awful- I see now why the dark world loves to use them- it opens you to things you NEVER want to experience (i am even filled with a little fright and much emotion as i type this).    Cobra-had to be my breathing machine hissing with every strain for breath...

We live in a dark part of the world, rituals and witch doctors ARE real, curses are real, spiritual warfare is real.  Even had a counselor suggest that part of my condition was from a curse of the witch doctor in Swaziland. Was it?-i dunno.  But i do relive this in my mind every day since.

What i DO know is the steadfast love and strength of our Father, it was in those dark times that Charlotte and mom prayed over me, put earbuds in my ears with Christian music, and hundreds of encouraging notes came in with verses from the Lord, cards hung on the wall.  The thing i cling to is that HE is greater than ANYTHING and EVERYTHING.  Look, if you have read this far and you know me, you know i have never been outwardly "religiously cookoo"(be honest, we have all thought at one point in our lives that someone we know that was heavily involved in religion was a bit weird... something we have all seen has made us go hmmmmm).  I Love the Lord and do my best to do as He asks and if it is weird or freaky to you, i am truly sorry, i NEVER want to cause someone to not enter into a relationship with our REAL GOD out of seeing or hearing from someone that is cookoo for coco puffs.  

Moral of the story- Get people to pray for you, over you and with you.  Seek out those that would encourage you.  Turn your face toward the Lord.  The enemy is strong, and trust me- he does not want you to succeed in following Christ or bringing others along to follow Him. I see now that what may have been an attempt to discourage us out of ministry, God has used this to bring us into deeper relationship with Himself.  We had a choice; abandon or dig.  Sometimes you will have to rely on those around you, when you haven't the strength or wherewithal for yourself. BUT, when you have a choice to do the same every day.  I pray you DIG and DIG DEEP.  His Word is truth, it brings LIFE.

Thanks for listening(reading)  May the Lord guide you and keep you safe.  Lean not on your own understanding!- i encourage you TODAY; with reckless abandon, FOLLOW Jesus!

Saturday, March 1

School of Ministry pic and March update!

(image too small?  click to enlarge)

We are SO blessed.. as many of our friends and family are fighting frigid temperatures, it has been blazing hot and humid here. 
attached is a picture of us and 3/4 of our class of ministry/discipleship students.  Charlotte's sister Renae is a photographer, and came with us to class for pro photo shoot.  unfortunately, 5 of the students were sick/out that day.

also attached.. YUP- you guessed it- the March update.  Hey, its a simple 1 page read- Check out what YOU are equipping in Southern Africa, and see how you can pray with and for us!

we love you