Blog

Miracle in the making…part 2!

Thank you so much for praying for Thapelo! Globally, we know the extended MCV/Iris family is interceding for our little miracle! Locally, we have been so touched by the passionate intercession going forth at local prayer meetings!

Within hours of the request going out, Thapelo stabilized. The doctors put him on oxygen to strengthen blood/lungs and then sent him home! After a good night sleep, Thapelo woke up like nothing happened the day before. He was laughing and playing with the other kids all weekend.

During the ultrasound today, the doctors were surprised and amazed to find Thapelo’s kidneys completely normal size! And there was no blockage in the bile ducts!!! GLORY!!! No surprise here. We know our Heavenly Daddy’s promise and plan is just beginning…

Please keep praying! Thapelo’s liver is still oversized and causing stress on his small body. Pray against some other causes like cirrhosis or Hepatitis. Also pray with us for Thapelo’s new liver friendly diet. He can be quite emotional when we deny him some of his favorite fatty foods. Pray he can embrace and love the diet changes! And pray for his little heart as he says goodbye to one of favorite people….

Jean and I (and the MCV family) want to send out a huge thank you to Catherine Restiu, our medical intern, who leaves us this week to serve in Madagascar. Catherine was scheduled to leave a few days after Thapelo arrived, but the Holy Spirit led her to stay on to help assist in his medical care. I honesty do not know what we would have done without her…Day after day, she was at the hospital (it would have been me without her!) She has been huge a huge blessing to us and especially little Thapelo. Catherine has truly stopped for the one and we are praying God’s best blessings for her.

Read more

From trash to treasure….

Last week I received the most amazing gift on my birthday…..I was told that the newest MCV princess (lets call her Princess P) tested HIV-!!!!  Gloriously, this is the third time God has wondrously healed HIV at MCV.  So today I wanted to take a little walk back in time and reflect on each precious miracle.

We begin with Baby J.  The day he was born at a local government hospital, his young mother refused to nurse him. After receiving some bad news (Baby J tested HIV+), the mother darted out with her/baby’s medical files…maybe trying to erase her connection to him?  The nurses waited for days hoping she would return….one week turned into one month.  Nothing.  Social workers were called in and we were alerted.  Staff went to the hospital the next day to visit.  Baby J had the most striking face- an old man face.  He looked like he felt. Alone.  Sad.  Forgotten.

But Jesus never forgot Baby J.  He was quite busy working out the most precious plan for him.  He was welcomed home at MCV by quite dotting houseparetns.  God even provided breast milk for him!  A staff member had just given birth and was able to pump extra milk after every feed of her newborn….and the milk flowed in abundance.  Within the first month, Baby J began looking like a baby.  Cutesy smiles.  Cuddly kisses.  Giddy gurgles.  He bloomed in the amazing safety of love.  And after months of prayer for healing, he tested HIV-!  To this day- Baby J is a treasured son and beautiful example of God’s glory.

We shall call the second precious healing- Baby P.  Also born in the same local hospital, Baby P’s mother died during childbirth.    Very small (less than 2 kg) and testing HIV+, the father asked the social workers to find a suitable family for him.   So Baby P came to MCV, but did not stay long.  It was love at first sight for our wonderful Mama Tryphina and Pastor Surprise.  So Baby P went home with them that day and remains a beloved son years later. And also tested HIV- after months of love and prayer!

Back to Princess P☺  Left for dead in a trash heap in a local township on the day she was born.  Wrapped in a bloody skirt…barely 1kg….with the umbilical cord still attached and not even tied…the baby should have bleed out.  Police got the tip and rescued her by rushing her to the hospital.  She almost died in those first hours of medical care (one nurses says she did die and came back!).  The police named her “Princess” and the name stuck.  The nurses began praying for her and doing their best to hold/feed her every two hours.  One of the head nurses would even visit the hospital on days off to make sure the staff was properly feeding her Princess!  She slowly began to gain weight.  Social workers gave us the call.  Once we found out which hospital she was at, we went to visit the same day.  

I could hardly contain the joy…maybe  God would bless our family with this princess? A few close friends also expressed their desire to care/adopt her. However the Khozas, our MCV house parents, had received very strong words from God that this baby was their daughter! So that settled it:) And once again, after much prayer and love, Princess P tested HIV-!  From the trash heap to treasured daughter… Jesus reminds us that He is indeed the God of miracles and that nothing is impossible in HIM!

Read more

Thanksgiving and God’s will

Most American holidays escape us. After 15 years of living in Africa, we sometimes chuckle how South African holidays have championed USA ones. But there is one exception- Thanksgiving! We love sharing about this precious American holiday with our African family. It is so much more than the narrative about the Indians and the Pilgrims- it speaks of the power between perspective and provision. When the Pilgrims choose thanksgiving over entitlement, they positioned themselves to receive…It was a humbling journey but they reaped peace and provision! Thanksgiving centers our hearts in God’s will!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess. 5:16 -18

If we can choose joy, regardless of circumstances, Jesus draws near to us (Phil 4:4). By staying in constant fellowship with Jesus (praying continually), we allow God’s perspective to reign. He reveals His will to us (John 15). And if we can train our hearts in thanksgiving, we follow Jesus wherever He leads. How can we not obey Him?

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col.3:16 -17

Thanksgiving is a daily festivity, Amen?! I love what W.J Cameron said, “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” Everyday. In every way. Siyabonga Jesus! We love and bless you family.

Read more

Christmas Tidbit

We love Christmas.  We love the gatherings, parties, and outreaches.  We love the noise, the laughter, the music, and the tears.  Our phones ring endlessly with requests.  This pastor needs gifts for four orphans at his church.   That older lady needs food for eight grandchildren.  A woman working the streets wants to quit, but needs support during her transition.  We could go on and on. We need extra time.  Extra food.  Extra resources. Extra strength. Going the extra mile requires us to press beyond our ordinary…

Jesus – the ultimate Christmas gift.   From the most humble of beginnings, Jesus came to show us the way.  “When the extraordinary compassion of God our Savior and his overpowering love suddenly appeared in person, as the brightness of a dawning day, he came to save us.” (Titus 3:4-5).  Jesus, our perfect Savior.  Our extraordinary example of love, joy, peace and so much more!

But we are not Jesus.  We remain so far from His perfection.  But remember my friend that Jesus chose YOU to be His Bride and His Ambassador.  What Jesus sees in you is EXTRAORDINARY!  To Him, you are beyond lovely, wonderful, and worthy.  It’s pretty simple.  All He wants this Christmas is you.  And everything you need this Christmas is found in Him (2 Peter 1:3).

We are keeping it simple this Christmas.  Spending time in His presence and then being His present to a dying, lost world. May it be the same for you!  We are so grateful for your prayers, faithful support, and love.  Thank you for making so much possible!  Together, transformation is happening in South Africa!  It happens every time we give that little extra… Extra smiles.  Extra hours on a project to show love to your boss.  Extra games with your kids.  Extra walks with Jesus.  An extra gift to some struggling ministry.  May this Christmas and New Year be the most extraordinary yet!

Read more

Unhealthy Healthy-part 2; the Christmas version

Lets admit it. Christmas is an insane time of year. Already full schedules make room for more events and demands. More is crammed into our boundaries, budgets, and bellies than ever before. Unless we are very careful, we can get swept away by it all and celebrate the holiday itself…or we can prayerfully choose a better way.

Speaking of choices, its pretty crazy how God choose to send His greatest gift to mankind. Why an unwed Jewish girl? Uneducated. Poor. It was scandalous. Downright offensive to some. God knew all that when He choose her. Something in Maryʼs heart caught Godʼs profound favor. Was it her child-like faith? Maybe. Maryʼs gentle and kind spirit? Another really good thing, but something else really set her apart. God knew she would cherish His will above her own.

And Bethlehem? “Nothing good ever comes from there.” On the busiest night in years?! A night which forced Mary and Joseph to seek the humblest of places- an animalʼs stable. It was loud, dirty and smelly. And it was highly favored, blessed and glorious!!! Because of JESUS….

Friends, when we have Jesus, we have all we need. Period. Mary understood. The scandal, the hardship, the isolation, the pain were all very real for Mary….but her heart was set on Jesus. Even before she looked into his precious, physical eyes- she fixed her wholehearted focus on Him. We must do the same. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God…consider Him…” Heb 12:2-3a

Many of you are going thru intense, challenging times. Things may look quite ʻunhealthyʼ on the surface. Do not believe the lie that this can ruin your holiday season. Be encouraged and rejoice! Center your heart on Him and not your circumstances. This is the key to rising above and taking our place for the best Christmas ever! (Seated next to Jesus, FAR ABOVE it all Eph 1:19-22).

We love and bless you! Thank you for making it possible to be the hands and feet of Jesus in South Africa! We are so grateful and humbled by the faithful, generous support of our global family. 2016 was one of the most fruitful years yet, but we know the best is yet to come! May Jesus reign and may we stay seated next to Him this Christmas and New Year!

Read more

Our unhealthy healthy

Now that we have your attention:) Lately, our hearts have been reflecting on what ‘healthy’ looks like for us…And other families on a mission (not just mission field, but any family called by God for greatness- so that means YOU!) As we inquired of the Lord- He revealed a few things which we hope inspire and challenge you.

  • God’s perspective is key! Many times we can go through things which look horrible, hard, and definitely unhealthy on the surface. However- God sees things very differently. He sees the beautiful character being formed or perseverance being worked out. Asking God how He sees a situation allows one to partner with what He is doing (which is much better than fighting it!) Did Paul demand God to give him better living conditions in the prison? Nope. He pressed on for the prize- JESUS! Make HIM the focus- not ‘healthy’ life! Remember, abundant life comes as we lose our lives in Him…
  • Understanding times/seasons. God works in times/seasons in our lives. Joseph is such a powerful example- lots of ‘unhealthy’ seasons on the road to ‘healthy.’ Did Joseph pitch a fit and demand God to skip the whole slavery thing? We probably would have! Joseph trusted God in spite of the hardship. Seasons come and seasons go. Knowing the season allows us to align with heaven’s purpose. And also remember, “This too shall pass!”
  • Let go of the mainstream definition. ‘Healthy’ has been a buzz word in churches for quite some time. But the pursuit of a ‘healthy’ church or workplace/ministry can be dangerous. Why? It can lead to unending comparisons, judgments, a critical spirit, and overall self-centeredness. For example- name one person in the Bible who had an easy, comfortable, solely prosperous life/environment? Maybe God’s idea of healthy is more about cultivating righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost- in ANY circumstance?!
  • Regarding family- consider the ‘radical middle.’ We have learned lessons from great generals of the faith that we do NOT need to sacrifice our children on the altar of ministry. Likewise- we need to avoid the other extreme of our families becoming an idol. When we are more family focused in our daily lives than Christ-focused, we may need to repent and change a few areas. Make sure your family boundaries do not bind the Holy Spirit, but invite HIM to lead your family!

We love you friends! May Jesus be the center of your unhealthy healthy!  “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,  because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” Philemon 4-7

Read more

Forgive our silence…again!

Blessings dear ones!  Forgive us again for letting months upon months slip by without an update:)  Anyone who knows us, knows we are devoted to the one before us….We feel the physical one before us always trumps things like email, FB, websites (we are trying to get better on these too though:).

God put a very special someone before us on June 8th- our sweet Victoria Hope was born:)  ‘Queen V’ or Queen Victoria has ruled our hearts since- captivating her sisters and parents.  She is truly an angel- so happy and easy going:)  We think she will be our ‘savory’ one (since we already have a sweet and spicy:) lol

So thank you for the grace dear ones:)  We have found our rhythm as a tribe of 5, so you should be hearing more from us now:) xoxoxo

Read more

Love Invasion at local hospital….

One of our amazing fellow missionaries- Comella wrote the following testimony….Part of our calling is empowering our leaders to walk out their dream/destinies and it has been so exciting watching Comella/others do it at Themba Hospital!

It has been so incredible in the last six months to watch what the Lord continues to do at our local hospital that we visit 1 – 2 times per week. It is one of our greatest JOYS to go there to love on the people and babies! We usually have one or more of our older girls who go with us from MCV. It has been beautiful to watch one of our girl’s heart of compassion and confidence grow as she prays for the sick and broken. Last week, she confidently shared a couple of scripture verses with the mamas caring for their sick babies.FullSizeRender-1 IMG_0091-1

A desire and heartthrob of our hospital ministry is to love on the babies who don’t have any visitors due to being abandoned, parent’s passing away or very ill. We declare the goodness of Jesus over each one of them proclaiming that they are adopted, healed and loved with an everlasting love. We also lay hands and pray for as many babies as we can believing they will be fully healed and walk in their fullness. Aside from the babies, different wards continue to open up to us within this very big public hospital, recently, nurses have directed us to different wards for us to pray in. Slowly, bit by bit, we are covering the whole hospital which was a dream of ours! Our long-term dream is that we come with big teams and scatter in small groups covering the entire hospital.

 

We have many testimonies of Jesus healing and touching those we prayed for and His love continues to be expressed as we continue to pray for those that are in front of us.

*We prayed for a beautiful mom who had a sick child. We asked her if there was something we could pray for her and she said yes, her eye. She could only partially see out of one eye and after praying, she said her eye was fine, she could see again!! Hallelujah!

*In the one of the men’s wards where they are severely ill, we prayed for this man who was so sick, it seemed he couldn’t even walk. Yet, when we touched his head praying for him, the JOY that overcame his face was just Amazing and unforgettable as He prayed in his native language as well! It was very moving to see the faith of a believing member of our Kingdom family and observe the joy that Jesus had placed in him. That day he ministered to us in a powerful way reminding me of the simple things I take for granted!

*We recently heard of an incredible testimony from one of the nurses. We prayed for a baby in ICU not knowing that she needed to be transferred for urgent surgery either later that day or the next day. The doctor came in one more time to examine her before she went in for the surgery. The doctor said that it was a miracle, the baby did not need to go for surgery and she was removed from ICU.

 

We are so blessed to get to be the hands and feet, it reminds me of this scripture:

God always blesses those who are kind to the poor and helpless. They’re the first ones God helps when they find themselves in any trouble. ~ Psalm 41:1

 

 

Read more

Jean’s America/April Itinerary

April 2- The Merge- GWC, Omaha NE

April 3- Glory Worship Center, Omaha, NE

April 4- The HUB, Omaha, NE

April 10 am- New Beginnings Worship Center, Bellevue, NE

April 10 pm- Kingdom Encounters, Omaha NE

April 13-16 Voice of the Prophets Conference, Lancaster PA (for enrichment/not speaking)

April 17- Atlanta Revival Center, GA

April 17 in evening- Flying stand-by back to SA (so pray he gets a seat! We need him home!!)

 

Please send us an email if you need Jean to call/connect during this time!  runwiththeglory@msn.com

Read more

Both and more!

Recently- we have been pondering about the great number of labels the world/culture (even within the church) loves to use. There seems to be a disheartening trend toward classifying everything and everyone. Social media makes it easy and seemingly necessary these days…but is it?

In Africa, titles are especially revered. “Apostle Yadda” “Bishop Blahblah” We constantly battle this need to define and elevate oneself. It is nothing new. The disciples frequently squabbled over who was the greatest. Jesus exposed this heart weakness and flipped their thinking upside down by pointing to a little child and the lowest servant.

Jesus refused to be defined. He was King. And He was a servant. He was Rabbi (teacher). And He was devoted student of His Father. He was 100% God. He was 100% man. He was not either/or. He was both and more! He knew His identity. He had no need to prove himself to anyone. He knew man’s pursuit to classify him was futile.

Friends, we also need to refuse the labels. Even the good ones can be cleverly disguised traps of the enemy. Everyday we are learning to sit before Jesus and embrace His identity for us (letting go of everything else). And everyday we live for an audience of One. His love alone satisfies. In Him, we are free from all boxes/labels. We are His. And that is more than enough.

Jesus longs for you dear one. Wholeheartly seek Him and He will be found…and so will YOU! Let Jesus reveal the treasure you are to Him. He dreamed of you in the beginning. Take your place beloved of God. This world needs the Jesus in you. Right where you are and wherever you go:) We love and bless you….

We…do not cease to pray for you, and ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened in all might according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light! Col. 1:9-12

Read more