Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Difficulties and Answers to Prayer

August 14th, 2018

     We thank all of you for your persistent prayers on our behalf. We have not been able to update you as often as we would have liked to, since living here is all consuming.  The difficulties of this week were Thomas having a fever of 105; Thomas, Myra and Gabriel all needing antibiotics; Nathan being sick for two days; large parts of our roof blowing off in a crazy storm that made it so cold in the rondoval that we could see our breath in the middle of the day, and everyone having a cold right now.

      The blessings from prayer were that we had antibiotics from America that we could use instead of driving our three fevered children many hours to the clinic; Nathan didn't fall off the roof when he was on the outside during the storm putting heavy things where the grass was blowing off; he was able to patch the holes enough to keep us dry and warmer; the roof stayed on all night; none of our things were destroyed by the rain coming through; we had many opportunities to practice speaking Xhosa earlier this week. Please pray for Thomas to sleep through the night so we all get better rest.

To the praise of His glorious grace,
Nathan & Sunny-Mae Morin

Monday, July 30, 2018

Ministry and the Xhosa's Religion

Grandmothers who invited Nathan to talk and eat with them.
Ministry and the Xhosa’s Religion
July 12th, 2018

    As we enter our fifth week in Mgwebi and our sixth week in South Africa, we can not believe that we have been here that long already.  Every day has held new and interesting challenges that God has prepared to bring us through.  At breakfast we have loved reading the journal that you all at Calvary Chapel Flathead wrote encouraging notes in, and it has been nice to get encouraging emails from some. First, our children are healthy, making friends, and they tell me they don’t miss the U.S. too much because they are having so much fun here.  We have had many sicknesses pass through the family, but a day’s trip to a clinic provides the medical care and medicine we have needed.  God has given us many unique ways to minister this last month, and we are grateful that God brought us here to serve Him.  We had to move to the second rondoval since the first one was cracking where the walls meet with the roof, but first we had to spread the cow dung and water mixture to make a fresh floor on the new rondoval, and it has and will need much more work while we live in it.  While having electricity lets us keep better food by having a mini-fridge/freezer, in the last seven days we have only had electricity for one day.  God connected us with a pastor and his wife in East London (3 ½ hours South of us) who are excited about what God is doing with our family, and they have been very helpful.

Witness and Ministry

    A good question posed to us was, “Have you had any opportunities to minister or witness yet?”  It surprises me to discover that just being here as a family is an incredible witness.  There are almost no families together.  I have walked to and spoken with over half of this large village, and I have only met one man who was raised by a mother and a father.  These people have never seen the picture of Christ and the Church played out through marriage.  No one has seen biblical parenting with love, discipline and grace.  They have never seen a father playing with his children or serving his wife.  They have rarely seen people give up their wealth and comfort just to be with and love them as Jesus did for us. Please pray for us to be holy, for Jesus light and life to shine and live through us.

    Bukho, a 10 year old boy, had a bad infection in his hand from a puncture wound that was so bad it hurt to touch his wrists.  This scared and stubborn boy barely allowed me to flush the wound, but thanks be to God for answering our prayers, the infection went away and his hand is fine.  This same boy had another rapidly spreading infection on his thigh that spread to the size of a woman’s hand in three days.  We took him 2 ½ hours to a clinic where we were able to pay for his visit and the antibiotic cream that has helped him recover.  I don’t know God’s plan for this wild and stubborn boy, but God has used us to save his life twice.  Please pray for Bukho, his older sister Lusanda (Sunny-Mae’s friend and language helper) and the other four children that she raises (only one is her’s, the rest are children of family members who work hundreds of miles away), that God would make our lives instrumental in their salvation.
    I was able to use the Landcruiser to pick up a team of Bible college students from a two week outreach and bring them back to the mission/Bible college.  I have been invited to drive the man who heads their outreaches far away to a funeral so he can minister to the bereaved this Friday.

Culture and Religion

    The Xhosa worship their ancestors, which the Bible calls necromancy and divination.  Their weddings, funerals, and celebrations are social gatherings full of Xhosa traditions.
    When a person has a dream from the ancestors (who biblically, are demons) in which the ancestor asks for a goat to be sacrificed at a certain place and time, the person who had the dream tells their elders, and everyone who is related to that ancestor is invited to a celebration.  At the celebration a goat is sacrificed to please the dead person.  The dead are praised for who they were during life and what they do for the living, and are asked for things the living people need and only God mercifully provides.  Their dead family members are thanked for things God has mercifully given:  health, rain, crops, food, relationships etc.
    Many people who profess to be Christians have no idea what being a Christian really means, and they worship the ancestors as well as Jesus.  This mixing of religions, or syncrotism, is widespread, since to reject one’s worship of the ancestors is seen by some as rejecting their family, heritage and upbringing.  People who abstain from ceremonies where the ancestors are worshiped are abstaining from the only social gatherings that their village has.  Besides widespread ignorance, another hindrance is Christians who do not want to be hated, so they lie, saying, “Worshiping the ancestors is not bad, but worshiping Jesus is better.”.

Please pray for God to open the Xhosa’s eyes to see the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

To the praise of His glorious grace,
Nathan and Sunny-Mae Morin,
Xhosa men and women gathered in front of the cow kraal to praise, thank and pray to the dead.

Welcome to Village Life

 June 12, 2018

Thank you all for your prayers and support! It is obvious that God has gone before us. If you only have time for a paragraph, here is our overview. We spent the week before last with Kelly Kosky getting supplies in East London. This week we set up our home in the village Mgwebi, found where to walk for drinking water and where to walk for cleaning water, and met dozens of new people. Sunny-Mae and I, Nathan, each have friends who want to teach us to speak Xhosa. The people have helped us greatly and we have had opportunity to help them too. Today we attended our first church service here in Mgwebi; there were five women, three men, and eight children. It is harder to live here, but we love the people.  Pictures are at the bottom of this newsletter.
When Kelly and our family arrived to Mgwebi with our supplies we had gathered in East London, the principal of the school next to our rondovals helped us unload our things. Kelly said his good-byes to each of us, and then returned to Willowvale. Our children had grown quite fond of him over this last week.
Before we could begin to sort our things into our new home, two women and a few children came to see some of the few or only white people they had ever seen and to chat. Then when school got out at 1 PM, all of the children came to the fence that surrounds the school to watch us. They began to come around the fence when we were talking to them (with the little language we knew), and to surround us and look at us. Their kindergarten teacher came and introduced us and asked us if we love Jesus, declaring that she loves Jesus. Rain began to sprinkle, so Sunny-Mae invited them inside, and over 20 children crammed inside our already crammed and unorganized rondoval, where Thomas practicing walking was the main attraction.
The rest of the day and all week people have been coming to meet us. Even with all our language preparation, it has been a crash course in speaking Xhosa. Most of last week’s focus has been setting up our home for daily life: unpacking, repairing (necessity is the mother of invention), and also starting good relationships with our neighbors. Every day anywhere from five to ten people trickle into our place, where, as cultural hospitality dictates, we offer them tea or coffee, or share our meal if our food is ready. The people love that we want to learn Xhosa and are more than happy to help us learn.
It took three days for us to find where they get drinking water because we were misinformed about the source. We were asking about the river, but they drink out of a small natural pool that the animals share. A larger, dirtier pool nearby is used for bathing and washing. In America we were spoiled to get to use clean drinking water for washing ourselves, clothes and dishes. Since people have to boil their drinking water here, we have to bathe and wash with the yellow/brown pool water.
God has provided Sunny-Mae and I each friends who want to help us learn to speak Xhosa. We will begin to focus on language learning through relationships from this week forward.
As for our children, they are making friends and having lots of fun here. Sunny-Mae’s new friend gave us a month-old chick which Eliana named Snowflake. The kid’s are loving their new pet.
There is no work for anyone in Mgwebi, therefore families are torn apart by the need for one spouse to go for away for work. I did not see one man here until my third day, though I saw around 60 women and children. The boys love to come watch me make and repair things for our family.
Because of unemployment, the people have nothing. They wear things Americans would not give to a thrift store. A few people have shoes and hats, but they are torn and full of holes, and their “Sunday best” is frayed and falling apart. Though Mgwebi has electricity now, few people can afford a light bulb or enough electricity to power one. One man, the oldest I have met in this village, hoped I could help him get his broken light bulb to work, as well as a stereo that looked like it fell out of a moving vehicle. It was my greatest honor to give a pair of my shoes to a different man who helped repair and prepare our rondoval for our arrival. When he came to finish our water tank and put a toilet in the latrine, all he had were sandals and socks with holes, even though we were mixing concrete and digging. This man in his late 40s or 50s was so happy about the new shoes that he jumped and clacked his heels together!
Lastly, we want to share some observations about South Africa. Rules on the road are very... flexible. Spiders the size of a man’s hand like to come into the latrine for shelter from the wind at night (a scrap 2x6” makes short work of them). Everything in the house must be clean, or else within an hour, hundreds of miniature sugar ants make holes in the floor and cover any scraps. We never knew how little water we needed for a shower or how little time we needed until we have to shower with cold water. Americans say the world is held together by duct tape and super glue, but this side of the world is held together by wire and cowdung-concrete. When Xhosa say church starts at 11 AM, people will not begin to show up until 12:20 PM. While the people are poor materially, they are rich relationally; they value each other more than things and productivity.

To the praise of His glorious grace,
Nathan & Sunny-Mae Morin

Saturday, June 9, 2018

We Are Home!
5/25/18 Friday

We have safely arrived in South Africa, our new home. We thank God and all your prayers on our behalf.

While the three days of travel were difficult and tiring, God kept us from almost losing 2 suitcases in Johannesburg, and a flight agent almost sending us on the bus to the plane without all our boarding passes in Johannesburg. We also had staff at Jburg help us past the lines to the front to show our visas, and past customs with our 3 giant carts of suitcases and a stroller, saving us hours.

In the first picture we are in the Dubai Airport after a 13 and a half hour flight from Seattle.

In the second picture we are eating omelettes on the 8 hour flight from Dubai to Johannesburg and Gabriel is enjoying his cracker with jam.

In the third picture we just arrived to the mission in Willowvale and unloaded our suitcases, and the kids are having a snack.

5/26/18 Saturday
This link will show you a panorama of the rondovals in Mgwebi. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AeWHlwJmLv9Mm5yt-oKHmcMNVfXiX0Zc/view?usp=drivesdk

5/27/18 Sunday
The 4th picture was Pastor Sepho teaching from the Word of God. When he read a scripture, everyone's Bible turned or phone went to the reference. The service went from 9:40 to 1:30. My only complaint is that the singing was so loud that my ears are ringing. But more importantly, Sepho taught the word of God faithfully and with conviction (people translated for us during the sermon).

The people here are more friendly and kind then we could have imagined, and it is not mearly an outward  show. You would not believe how much they love our children and how much our children like them.

Please honor Joe and Kourtney Wright, who took the day off from work just so they would be available if we needed help our last day. Without their help, our departure would have been very difficult and extremely stressful. Thanks to Pastor Mark for helping us with the suitcases at the Kalispell airport. Special thanks to Lorrye Hellem  and anyone else we don't know about who helped her clean our apartment after we were gone.

5/30/18 Wednesday
We have been in the large city of East London since Monday, getting supplies and a bank account. Yesterday only, a generous lady by the name of Jessica took the day off from her work and helped us all day to find the right stores for what we needed, and she was a great help with the kids.

Until now we have not had Internet to send you an update. We may not be able to send another for a few weeks, but if we can we will send some short videos.

Thank you for all of your support and prayers! Please pray for our next few days in East London to be productive, since we will be getting more supplies so we can live in Mgwebi this upcoming week. Also for our first days getting established in Mgwebi and for finding the right helper there to assist us in learning Xhosa. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.
To the praise of His glorious grace,
Nathan & Sunny-Mae Morin