As many of you have heard, we were supposed to fly out on April 23rd for the States to be back for my son’s wedding and to also raise extra support for Camp Rhino. Unfortunately, because of the lockdown, our tickets were canceled. We originally decided we were just going to wait it out and hope to fly out in May, but it looks like South Africa may be shut down longer than that. Some are saying it will be shut down until July and some are even saying it will be longer.
With that possibility, we have decided to go ahead and fly out on Friday while there is still an option. The American Embassy is offering a charted flight for all Americans, and it’s the last flight out of South Africa. That will put us back in the States on Saturday.
With the thoughts of being locked down here for a couple of months and then going to the States for a couple of months afterward, we decided it would be best for the ministry just to go back now. Our hopes are that we’ll only be back in the States until July and then back to South Africa after the lockdown is over. That should only put us away from our churches for 3 months versus 5 months if we waited for the lockdown to be over to leave.
Please be praying for the ministries here. We are not allowed to have services, but we are trying to do an outreach that will allow us to reach out to our communities. We have raised money to purchase 2 kg bags of rice, that we can attach a church invitation to along with a Gospel tract to leave at peoples’ doors. Our pastors want to try to continue reaching out despite not being able to interact with people face to face.
There will still be 12 people staying at Camp Rhino that our Pastors, Khona Nohamba and Mvumelwano Johnson, will be overseeing. We have 4 teenagers from our church along with 2 interns and 2 full-time maintenance workers that will be staying on campus.
Also please be praying for our extra expenses. We lost the original tickets and are not sure if we will get our money back. We purchased the tickets through Travelocity, and right now they are saying we will only get an airline credit versus a refund. The flights through the embassy also cost a lot more than normal. For my family of 5, it’s going to cost us about $8000 to get back to the States. Pray we can get our money back, instead of an airline credit, and also pray we can get the other paid off as soon as possible.
South Africa is currently on a 21-day lockdown like many other countries. This, of course, is affecting all our ministries. Pray God does a great work during this “downtime.” No one is supposed to leave their home unless it’s for food or medical needs.
We were going to fly out through the American Embassy this next week but have decided to wait here in South Africa for the lockdown to end. The flight they are offering is the last one out of South Africa for Americans, but it comes with an $8000 price tag:). Pray the lockdown will be lifted in time so we can make it back for our oldest son’s wedding. Lord willing we’ll be back sometime in May or June:)
Please pray for two of our most vulnerable churches during this time. Light House Baptist Church and Nkandla Baptist Church are just a few weeks old. Pastors Nohamba and Johnson aren’t able to have more than telephone contact with those that have been attending.
Pray we can raise $5000 soon so we can build facilities to start our 4th church. We have the property now but need help with the slab floor and building. We want to start construction as soon as the lockdown is over. With the economy being hit so badly, the value of the $ has risen about 25%. This is bad for South Africans overall, but it is helpful for building. We should be able to build for a lot less right now.
Quick Updates & Reminders:
We would love to have you be one of our 2021 Mission teams. Bring a group and help be a part of what’s going on at Camp Rhino and all our churches. Construction for our new auditorium is on hold at the moment. The walls have been extended and some of the trusses have been put together. Our construction crew plans to be back the moment the lockdown is over.
Being quarantined at Camp Rhino isn’t so bad. Our two new pastors live on campus, along with Khona’s wife and daughter. We also have two of our full-time workers, two interns, and 4 teenagers from our church staying on during this time. We are having Bible classes, while all the guys are putting in 4 to 5 hours of work around the camp each day to keep themselves busy. Playing soccer and taking time off in the pool has worked at keeping them from being bored.
Athi, our deaf teenager at New Life, is one of the boys on campus. We are hoping to use this time to learn more sign language to better minister to him and also one day start deaf ministries in all our churches. Khona, who is one of the pastors and a Xhosa language school teacher, is still teaching Xhosa classes online. We are also working on materials where we can soon start an Afrikaans language school as well.