Currently it is burning season in South Africa. Almost everywhere one goes rurally, there is a fire somewhere along the way. Most of these fires are set purposely as a means of prevention (fire breaks) to stop run away fires.
The MCV family is always growing and learning. After having 2 small fires on the adjacent property which MCV owns, we sought out some help in being more prepared. Therefore, Jean helped organize a Fire Certification Seminar to train up our team of missionaries, house fathers, guards, gardeners, and some local leaders to form the MCV Fire Brigade! The 3 day training was quite intensive and included burning a few fire breaks. And the training was just in time. The next Saturday following the training, there was a massive fire that was rapidly burning on our large adjacent land. Not exactly the restful Saturday that we had hoped for:) Jean and the crew jumped in (even a visitor) and helped control the fire and back burn to contain the blaze from not touching any neighbors property. After 5 hours of hard work, the fire was out. Our dear visitor suffered a small, but nasty burn on his face. Bless him, he took in stride and bashfully showed off his battle scar of his love and service at MCV.
We are so grateful for your prayers for God’s protection and faithfulness! We indeed welcome the fire of God in the Spirit, but we hope to not see any more fires in the natural!
We recent hosted a team of students from Africa School of Missions for a week of intense ministry and outreach. The eight students are from the neighborly community of Masoi and currently are enrolled in the pre-nursing program at ASM. It was thrilling to watch these students pour into the local community/MCV. One of the highlights from the week of ministry was during home visits when the team prayed for a dying man in Backdoor. The man was critically ill and his home was in such horrendous state- the team could not properly breath inside the house (the odors were extremely overwhelming). Without any prompting from us, the team responded by returning the next day and thoroughly cleaning the man’s house and yard. Many of the team testified that God used the experience to change their calling from just nursing to being a missionary via nursing! We are excited and blessed to be a part of God’s amazing adventure of love and destiny for these students. We also look forward to an ongoing ministry partnership with ASM and these future South African world changers!
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap…” Luke 6:38
Every Tuesday morning, the MCV houseparents, missionaries, and volunteers gather together for a time of worship, prayer, and devotion in God’s Word. We love this time of prayer and testifying together. Each week the Holy Spirit leads us to pray very specify for different needs and breakthroughs. And each week there seems to be more and more answers to our prayers! A local restaurant (Loose Mongoose) did a winter clothing drive for MCV. A local AFM church donated 30 blankets. A thoughtful neighbor helped get sponsors for clearing our massive overgrown field and dropped of a box of blessings. MCV was blessed with a generous cash donation by the BMW Bikers Association. Another neighborly business gives MCV an abundance of weekly fresh eggs (which we share with Jabulile preschool, Back Door feeding program, local widows/orphans, and other local ministries/NPOs. Truly the blessings are running over when we give ourselves wholly to God’s purpose! James 1:27- “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Please pray with us for God’s continued provision will flood MCV and the surrounding community
Recently, Papa Jean, the MCV fathers, and older boys (10years old and up) enjoyed the Nedbank Cup at the new Mbombela stadium. The group went several hours early to ensure receiving the coveted new T-shirts, hats, and flags☺ The day was amazing fun and the game was action packed with two goals scored in the final minutes. Many of our boys aspire to someday play soccer professionally so it was awesome to cheer the SA teams and the dreams of our boys!
During the craziness of the Easter Conference, our sweet Thapelo was rushed to the local hospital with pneumonia. Due to severity of the sickness, he was admitted into the children’s ward….not the favorite place for a little boy who spent months there fighting for his life less than a year ago. As you can imagine, our little guy was not happy. Add the horrible sickness, weakened immune system, and fear and trauma from the past experiences, who could blame him for being grumpy?
Well as the visits and days went on, we saw our little Thapelo break free from the shackles of sickness/sadness and embrace happiness/healing! His breakthough released more breakthroughs! That night, the MCV papas who came to visit Thapelo boldly prayed for all the staff nurses….this lead to praying for most of the children in the ward. The next night, we prayed for all the children in the ward. Releasing heaven and healing, we were rewarded with lots of smiles, some ‘feel betters’, and Thapelo being released the next day.
Just to give this all a little context- this was one of the busiest weeks of the year for us. But in stopping for the one (Thapelo), we were able to see a multitude be touched by Jesus. Our Daddy God is sooo awesome!!!
Every year the Iris family in South Africa//Swaziland gathers to celebrate Christ’s resurrection at the annual Easter Conference. We were especially excited to have the first service in the newly roofed church in Backdoor. Although the church is still under construction, it did not hold back the people or the presence of God! We have so many testimonies from the three days of meetings, but our favorites relate to the children at MCV☺
In one morning service, the guest speaker was speaking on the Father Heart of God. The speaker asked everyone to raise their hands if they had a father living with them during childhood. Very few hands were raised in the crowd….but then something caught my eye….many tiny hands proudly raised in the section where most of the MCV kids were seated. My heart almost burst with joy and praise. Looking at the faces of children “orphaned” in the eyes of the world, but wondrously adopted in the eyes of God and the MCV houseparents!
Another amazing moment was at an alter call for people to receive a greater revelation of God’s Father Heart. The first person to the alter was one of our MCV daughters. Prior to coming to MCV, this young lady has known unspeakable abuse and horror from a father figure. Still in the healing process, she bravely called out to God. With tears streaming down her face, she refused to leave the alter until He touched her. What an honor to stand with this dear daughter and see God’s transforming love at work!
Isaiah 60:1 Arise and shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you!
Psalm 2:8 Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possessions.
In April, I (Jean) and four national leaders left for a week of revival meetings in Mbizo Zimbabwe. What should have taken 14 hours became 21 hours as we were delayed at the border for 7 hours due to a crazy technicality with the vehicle. Miraculously, we were finally permitted entrance to Zimbabwe. After arriving at our host church we were given a few instructions : 1) No political talk. 2) No mentioning the name of leaders in any way that could be construed as negative. 3) No negative talk about how things are or were. We were told if we abide by these rules that we would have no problems and we would be in no danger at all.
Only three years ago, life in Zimbabwe was horrendous. Political unrest and violence caused millions to flee. Uncontrollable inflation and corruption devastated a previously prosperous economy. There was no food, water, or electricity. Due to the total breakdown of civil services and basic sanitation, cholera was killing thousands of people.
When I asked some of the church leaders how they made it through the most difficult of times they said, “We just survived. I don’t know how, but we survived. We Zimbabweans, we are survivors It was by the grace of God we survived.” Those words penetrated deep into my heart as I was told testimony after testimony of the goodness and grace of God during the most difficult of times. They were not complaining, but they were sharing how God had been faithful. We were greatly blessed and humbled by the love and generosity of our hosts.
We came with a message of hope, bringing the good news of the Kingdom of God to a nation that has suffered beyond measure. The power and the love of God were demonstrated each and every night at the tent revival. Over 50 people gave their hearts to Jesus during the meetings, and many others were healed and delivered from evil spirits. The Spirit of God was poured out on a dry and thirsty land. Hope was brought to the hopeless and freedom to those who were bound. For this reason, Jesus died and rose again. What a joy to daily lay our lives down and see His resurrection power manifest!
As I reflect on the past week in Zimbabwe, I find myself very overwhelmed by the goodness and faithfulness of our God. Would you please join us in praying for Southern Africa and specifically for the nation of Zimbabwe? Let’s believe God for restoration of all that the enemy has stolen…Africa (Zimbabwe:) will rise up and be called blessed! We are so grateful for your prayers and monthly support! Indeed His glorious African bride is arising from the ashes of poverty, HIV/disease and the depravity of sin. Thank you again for making this outreach and so much else possible!
Many of you have been praying for us regarding our staffing needs at MCV/White River Iris base. Jean and I faced being alone in January, but God faithfully sent amazing labors in His perfect time! One of those awesome answers to prayer- Linda Chapell, a long-time friend of Jean’s, came from Connecticut! Sent with wonderful gifts from one of our sending churches, ValleyBrook CC, Linda came bearing gifts, but really became the greatest gift! She served so selflessly in very practical ways- from cooking for the pastors, tutoring MCV kids, and countless other areas; she also babysat Johanna for us so we could sneak in an occasional date night! Thank you again Linda! We will be praying for God’s best for you (which we hope means returning to Africa!)