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Retreat again!

You may remember I told of my first adventures on retreat here in South Africa, well we have just been on another retreat same place but with Erin my wife! first time ever.

It has been quite challenging here at MA for a while so some perspective was needed not so much retreat as in pull back, but charge forward into Gods presence for a concentrated time, we found a window (God given) to travel in the province.
So once again we travelled to Belfast a little more aware of what and who I was going to, the advice we were given "it will be cold". What God whispers into your life on a retreat is not usually for public consumption, but I would like to share the structure and rhythm.

We were hosted by Heidi and Hermann who own and run the center. Their lives and the rhythm of prayer are base around The Society of St Francis and they are both Anglicans. The day began with Eucharist at 7:30, midday prayer at 12 and evening prayer together at 6, a helpful …
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seeking new ways to be loving our neighbor.

One of the main strands of our roles here at Mercy Air is to help our brothers and sisters in Mozambique. But of course not being able to fly has brought that part of our lives to a halt for well we don't know how long. We had planed for our vision team who were due out from the UK in August to assist with a housing project here at Mercy Air but once again that has stopped. .
So Erin and I have taken the opportunity to do this project ourselves with some assistance. Vusi lives most of the time on the Mercy Air farm his house is about 90 km away, he has been part of Mercy Air for 10 years and a valued member of my team, it is where ne lives on the farm that will be the focus of our attention.

We have build a dividing wall to create a bedroom fitted new water supply of hot and cold, new lights and a ceiling fan for the warm weather. Philip our Mercy Air helicopter Mechanic has been a great help as he is a qualified electrician. He has also been giving my team some education on basi…


I find it a challenge at times to describe the issues that face South Africa on daily bases. It seems each day I read the news there is a new low, a new revelation, a new disappointment, today was no exception. As I read The BBC News Webb site I came across Andrew Harding report on South African government hospitals it was indeed a new low for this country. For many months under sever lockdown South Africa had hoped somehow it would pass the worst of this Covide 19 virus and for a while it seemed we were hopeful. But now the number of infections are on the rise dramatically. The easing of the lockdown has been reversed; no alcohol sales at all, because the hospitals are being filled with patients due to drunkenness' and domestics violence. Still no international travel allowed, we are not allowed home to the UK. Face masks must be warn outside all the while or a fine and a curfew every night from 21.00 - 05.00.
We had a visitor come to see us from the UK many moths ago, our unswe…

Ladies ladies ladies

On another trip today to deliver food parcels here in South Africa, working with partners who know the hungry the orphans those poor on the edge. The sense of excitement has seemed to have gone out food delivery for me. Do not get me wrong I do not mean the desire to do the work the kingdom has evaporated but that initial sense of excitement of who will I meet? where am I going? Delivering food to poor hungry people has become the norm for us. That does not mean it is of any less value perhaps the opposite. I think it means for me driving to feed the poor and hungry has become way of life at the moment, it is as normal as being hungry for some people. One of the things Jesus is recorded as saying is this “you will always have the poor”. There is such a certainty about his observation, statement, assessment and unfortunately, Jesus seems to be right even today. So to serve and care for the poor does not need excitement it needs commitment, love and a servant hart. Which in the Kingdom…

food delivery number I forgot

In one way there was nothing new about this trip, I had not been to this particular centre before, that’s new!. Oh yes, another new thing traveling with an English lady called Jo, who has wonderful stories of Gods provision to tell. We delivered 30 food parcels and maize but no children yet on site, helpers preparing for the day all the usual stuff.
So the highpoint of the journey, apart from Jo’s stories. As I was driving slowly down the road toward the centre I saw a young man looking to cross the road, so I slowed down thinking he would cross the road. He declined my offer so as I passed him slowly he looked into the back of my truck saw food parcels, he reached over and pulled one out. I am still driving slowly. In his desperation he drops the food parcel and the tomato’s go rolling down the road towards us. In the rear view mirror, I see a young man frantically trying to pick up the food to load it back into now, his food parcel. At first Jo and I were surprised but soon surprise …


My first stop was at a local farm to pick up 600 bags of narchies which, I think! Are oranges, a lot of vitamin C. then onward to meet my guide for the day Aron who is a full-time care worker for Church Unlimited. The journey took us to through Kanyamazane a busy town on the edge of Nelspruit then on into the hills which became a very beautiful drive. Passing by Game reserve lodges eventually the tar road run out the dust arrived, and we came to Mpkeni. 

The centre was based out of a small building on the edge of the village it reminded me of any youth club you would find in many urban areas of Birmingham England. Aron enlisted the help of two local girls and three women who help run the centre, no men, to empty the vehicle of vitamin C. In conversation with the girls who were missing school because of the lockdown I was able to ask them about their future. One said on leaving school she would like to join the police force, the other girl wanted to be a doctor.
 It took me wonder how po…

Somerset Care Point

For many of the Mercy Air team much of Tuesday was spent shopping for, organising and packing food parcels to be loaded onto the vehicles for the following day journey. Some of us were at the shop at 7 in the morning, alongside long queues of seniors waiting to collect their pension. We traveled in the baaki with 40 food boxes to Hands at Work mission centre, just the other side of White River. We met some of the ‘Hands’ team, who also attend the same church and cell as us. It was great to catch up after 7 weeks!

Part of their outreach is to support poor communities in rural areas, and they have 5 centres in South Africa and more across Africa. The task of the day was to travel with Angie (my ‘Hands’ guide and partner for the day) to Somerset, about 1.5 hours North (70km) of the Mercy Air farm. As we traveled through small towns, we saw many very long queues of people (up to 1km) waiting to get into the shopping centres. ‘Hands’ support a community in Somerset and each day they feed 100 …