Mission to South Africa

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News from Grace Place
31 March 2014

Marilyn continues in the ministry in which she became involved in 2001 – that of sharing the gospel and a substantial meal with around 500 children in Leseding, the township near her of about 70,000 with approximately 70 per cent unemployment. This began as a ‘soup kitchen’ in which we actually served soup. But when summer came and it was too hot for soup, the menu was changed to peanut butter and jam sandwiches and fresh milk. Lethabo Kid’s Club is where the children know they will hear God’s message, sing praises, and have a substantial meal. You should see them running to get there!

The youth are a special part of her weekly ministry. God is at work in their lives, and many are developing into leaders in His work.

Hospitality has always been a major part of Cook’s ministry and Marilyn continues to host the youth, visiting missionaries, others who have come to help her and work in the ministry. For this, Grace Place, her home is ideal in providing a quiet place to draw near to the Lord and experience His beautiful creation.

The Sounding Board The end of another month and I continue to Praise God for health and strength. 
It has been quite an eventful month as we’ve had rain, rain, rain. After about 10 days of big rains the Mogol, the river I cross to get to the farm, flooded over the bridge – the only way in. Fortunately, I was home when that happened, but was marooned this side of the river for nearly 5 days. As I was well stocked on food it wasn’t really a problem to me. Many people all over this area had dams breaking and flooding and bridges out, roads impassable. Our Groenfontein ladies meet once a month for a morning coffee to keep in touch and we were able to do that although the house we were meeting in was dripping with water and we had to wade in a little mud to get there.
My biggest problem was that I couldn’t get into town for Kid’s Club – but the Lord sorted that out nicely with some of the Americans in the area buying cups and milk and bread and all went well. Visitors taught the kids some new songs and played with the children so it was a really special day for them!
My worker, Eric, had a couple of miraculous incidents of the Lord’s protection over him. He had gone to Messina (border town to Zimbabwe) to meet his brother and get his International Drivers license. I prayed the Lord would protect him on his return home. On the way back he was attacked in Polokwane by three with a large knife. He showed me the t-shirt the next day with a big slash across the front. The shirt had a Christian fish on the front and the back and the words, “God is Good”. Yes, He certainly is! Eric came out of it without a scratch! Then two days later when we were marooned this side of the river he got a phone call that someone had stolen his TV and DVD player. The police had the man and needed Eric to come and identify his things. So, he got a ride to the bridge with deep water flowing over it and walked in the dark with only the light of his cell phone. (The bridge is probably 300 metres across and no sides on it!) Again, God protected him! He is so good! And yes, Eric got his things back!
A week ago for the younger youth (Revolution Bible Study) we had 44 kids. We’ve been doing the 10 Commandments and then giving them Jesus’ teaching to go along with it. That day was on “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The main emphasis in this group is the 10-14 year olds and we had a very strong lesson on what adultery is and how they should live their lives. My heart trembles for them, and I pray they will not follow the ways of their older siblings and the culture. There are too many babies born to very young mothers, and too many of them end up with HIV, sick babies, no help from boyfriends who just drop them. Please pray with me that they will choose to be different and follow Jesus.
After the Bible Study, one of the youth asked to speak to me. He said, “If we want them to not do naughty things, we need to keep them busy. I will come to the church every day after school and get them to play soccer or with hoola hoops. His name is Stevie and he’s been in Kid’s Club for many years. I’m so proud of him.
This past Saturday was a funeral for a young woman of 31 who died of HIV leaving 5 children for her mother to care for. I pray these children will now be raised up to love the Lord. Two of my youth leaders are in this family and I pray they will have a great influence on them.
We were up early on Saturday (the youth with me) and into town for the funeral. 
As usual I was asked to say a few words at the cemetery and used Psalm 103:8-18, encouraging those there to fear the Lord and obey Him.
After the funeral, we brought 23 youths to Grace Place for a day’s outing. About half-way through the afternoon it poured rain and they all ended up on my veranda – a good time for laughing, telling stories and joking and just ‘hanging out’.
Took them all to town about 17:00, then returned with four of the boys who spent the night. They got a hearty breakfast before we left early for church.
Today as I was driving into town a young kudu bull was in the road and couldn’t decide which way to go. Coming home it was a herd of cattle that slowed us up. Terrible traffic in the bush! I prefer it much to Johannesburg’s traffic.
The photos are of some of the youth who were here one evening and my dam in full flood. In Him,
Marilyn

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