South Africa 2010
Posted May 16, 2010
We begin our journey home today with hearts full of joy! As you have faithfully prayed, the Father has poured His love on every time that we spent with the children. This letter will make you happy!
On Friday, we ran a race to try and finish 3 programs so that we could arrive at the youth prison by 1: 30 for a fourth show. Since we first arrived in South Africa, we had been praying about this opportunity. Until Thursday afternoon, the day before we went, we were not sure that we could go.The only time that we had was not a time that they would let us come.
I met the lady that God touched at the prison. She told me that no one had wanted to bother with the afternoon idea of a program, but she had pushed to make it happen. Praise God!
The boys were charged with a variety of crimes, some serious and some not as serious. Most have lost childhoods. They came into the room and stared with cold, uninterested eyes as we began. By the time we finished the first puppet song, they were all smiling. I watched their faces as Cornelius and I told the story of Joseph. Forgiveness is what these boys dream about. Hope is something they cannot imagine. When you have never known your father, it is difficult to understand God’s offer to be your Father. Most have stories that are heart breaking. They have suffered much and since hurt is all they know, they hurt others. These teenagers, these boys, listened with their hearts. Please pray for them to trust in God’s promises! Ask God to give them the courage to believe!
The youth prison is part of a huge prison complex. It is located on a beautiful reservoir surrounded by huge mountains. The prison trains some of the inmates as waiters and cooks. There is a lovely facility there right by the water where you can have your wedding reception. The prisoners will cater your wedding and serve the food. The idea is a little strange to me.
Three little boys, 11 and 12 years old came to see me after we finished a show in the school yard. All through the program, we were praying that the rain would not fall. We were at a rural farm school beside a squatter camp. The pastor that we were working with plans to start a new church there. No one has any transportation, so the church must be in walking distance.
The boys live in the squatter camp and were very excited to speak to me. One said, "Thank you Grandmother!" The other little boy said,"That was a great story!” Together they said,"We believe in God!" At the puppet show, they had prayed and put their trust in Jesus! Please pray for these little boys. I still see their smiles. They live in a terrible place, but I know that the Lord has a wonderful plan for them!
OUR NEW TEAM
We spent most of Saturday finishing the training of our new team. I am thrilled with this group of people as I know they have real passion for the cross. So many things confirmed to each of us that this is what the Father is calling them to do. All of the schools are still open in South Africa to the Gospel. This is an amazing door that we do not want to waste. Please pray for them as they have much to sort. In 3 weeks, they will travel to Mozambique and share with the children there. They are already planning on training some of the children's workers there and giving them equipment so that they can tell their children about Jesus. We have such joy for these new friends, Blom and Reena, and expect the Lord to use them and their friends in a big way! Pray!
After more than 10 trips to Africa, I finally saw an elephant in Africa. I was close enough to a giraffe to see her big eyelashes. Three lions walked all round the area near us and gave us spectacular photos. A water buffalo tried to charge our vehicle. I cannot count all the zebras and other animals we saw. I especially loved the rhinos and the blue wildebeests who look like the Father used parts from 5 other animals to make them. I was delighted!
After we finished our day of training, Cornelius, our dear pastor friend who has been with us every day at shows, gave us an incredible gift! He took us to Fairy Glen which is a wildlife refuge. We rode around the park in a giant converted military vehicle. We sat way up in the air. Even the ride was fun as it could go anywhere.
God's creation amazes me! I have so many great pictures of these animals, but I have even better memories of telling children about Jesus with Cornelius. Please ask the Lord to bless him as he has blessed thousands and thousands of children with the Gospel!
We will start home on Sunday, but will not arrive until Monday morning in the Atlanta airport. I plan to visit with my Mother and sister until friends can come after work and take me home. So, Monday evening, I will be home. Please pray for all of us as we travel home. Ask the Lord to make us a light to all we meet.
Sam & Silvana
Posted May 13, 2010
AN OCEAN OF CHILDREN
In the last 2 days, we have done 8 programs and told an ocean of children about Jesus Christ. We have heard them pray out loud and in soft whispers. Many of the children are desperately shy and though we felt in our spirit that they were praying, we did not hear a sound at 2 of the programs.
Our friend Cornelius talked with many of the children after the program. He asked them if they had prayed and asked Jesus to be their Savior. Their answers confirmed our hopes. Only 2 that he asked said no. So many children had trusted in Jesus. Praise God!
Five of these programs were done for the sons and daughters of farm workers. The children have very little and most of them have homes that are hard places to live. Alcoholism is a problem for many children and we shared with so many little ones who suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.
Still, for a little while, they laughed and smiled. The children arrived at shows in giant vegetable trucks, standing, and packed like a tin of sardines. They came in pick-up trucks and some walked. At one program, we stopped the show as over a hundred more children arrived. We backed up the stage 3 times trying to make more room.
They sat on packing crates or stood. They sat in plastic yard chairs or on the concrete floor. No one complained. As I saw their faces fill with wonder, I think of all of you who gave to make this trip possible. Your money was well spent on these children. Your prayers have opened their hearts to truths that will change them forever. Most have never seen puppets or anything else that we bring with us. By God's grace, we use all of these things to make a lasting impression on their hearts for the Gospel.
It is hard to forget a big Irishman who juggles big clubs and tells about Jesus. It is difficult to ignore the reality of God's love when Silvana tells you about the Father's care. They will not forget Meg's story or the way she sung about the hope we find in Jesus Christ alone. Always, the children will know that nothing is impossible for God because Billy put a giant needle through a balloon and it did not pop.
They are surrounded by the most spectacular scenery. The mountains that surround their valley climb into the clouds. The fields their parents work yield a rich harvest of grapes, apples, pears, and apricots. From their homes, they hear the sound of the baboons in the early morning or late in the evening. They say, "Baa hoome". Fish eagles can be seen regularly on the farms. It is an amazing place to live!
Please pray that these children will let the wonders of creation point them to the cross. Please pray that those who plan to continue working with these children will be wise and faithful.
These children have such deep hurts. They desperately need the love of the Savior. Pray for them!
Many of the homes in this place are about the size of 2 or 3 puppet stages. They are made out of what other people throw away. It is cold here now, but you can imagine the smell in the summer. Sanitation is a big problem. Roads suddenly dead end and GPS units do not work well.
We set up in the middle of the street and backed our stage up against the truck we are traveling in to the shows. It is actually a uniform delivery truck and once someone even asked us to give them clothes.
The children came to watch a puppet show, but mostly they came to receive half of a sandwich. When you are hungry, such a small gift becomes a feast. Every week, the people that we worked with feed the children. Many have come to faith through this ministry. They tell Bible stories for their hearts and give them sandwiches for their stomachs.
We met one older lady who had only known Jesus for 2 weeks. In her hands, she clutched a Bible and clung to it with passion. Please pray for this ongoing work.
This is a terrible place to live where you cannot walk after dark. Rape and murder are normal problems. The children suffer physical and sexual abuse. They are hungry, dirty, and eager to have someone, anyone to see them. Please let your hearts break for them and pray for these children.
Sam & Silvana
Posted May 12, 2010
RICH AND POOR
Today, we shared at 2 schools. Though they were only a short 15 minute drive from each other, they were worlds apart. At the first school, the children were very blessed. The children enjoyed many advantages and the benefits of a good education. Everyone had plenty to eat and a bed to sleep in at night. You may think of these things as basics, but for many children in the world, they are a luxury.
The second school was a farm school. Where the first school catered to the children of the landowners, the second school served the children of those who worked the land. These children were growing up in great poverty. Their dreams are very different than your children’s dreams. They were so small and thin. Their school looked very different than the first school.
Both schools loved the puppets. At both places, I looked into the eyes of children who were deeply hurt. In over 20 years of ministry, I have never had a child tell me that I am rich or I am poor. They have told me that they need someone to love them. They have said that no one sees them. Rich and poor have said to me that they need a father or a mother to care about what happens to them.
The need of the children is the same. It does not matter how much stuff a child has or how little they possess, both groups of children have the same need. Both groups need Jesus! We had the sweet joy of hearing children in both places call on Jesus to save them. All prayed in soft whispers and found their needs met at the cross. It was a beautiful day!
FUNNY THINGS...DIFFERENT THINGS
The differences in languages can be very challenging. The word bakkie (bucky) can get you a truck or a bowl depending on how you use it in a sentence. The word leer is a ladder or an army or can refer to studying. The hoof (woof) refers to your head or your principal.
You can enjoy many delicious sauces, like monkey gland. It comes highly recommended.
Peach pits are used in the garden as mulch.
It is autumn here and the weather is cold and rainy. I watched a man raking leaves yesterday. When fall comes at my home, Christmas is not far away. This weather is confusing my dreams. I keep dreaming about decorating for Christmas!
A principal guessed my age at a school yesterday. He guessed 65. The lady with him was that she had a better guess. She said 71. When I told them that I was 56, they both laughed at my joke. It was not a joke. I am glad that the Lord gave me a good sense of humor!
We visted Slang Hoek which translates snake corner. I thought it was because of the amount of snakes in the area, but it refers to the shape of the road. The mountains are amazing. Yesterday, we visted a place called Bainskloof. It is a pass between 2 mountains, with an incredible river gorge on one side. I wished I had the time and energy to climb the incredible rocks that I saw. I stared at the mist covering the tops of the mountains and imagined that graet castles were hidden beneath. It is a place that fires the imagination. I am so grateful for all the wonders that we have seen!
Sam & Silvana
Posted May 10, 2010
I experienced something wonderful sitting on the town square Saturday afternoon. The last speaker for the Heart Cry Revival conference was a man named Angus Buchan, a South African farmer. He has no theology degrees, but his deep love and passion for Jesus Christ is evident. In his early seventies, his energy as he preaches is like a man half his age.
Thursday night we watched a movie about his life and how he came to faith. It was called "Faith Like Potatoes." God used this movie to touch my soul. Faced with the loss of his family farm in Zambia, he moved to South Africa. His anger and drinking threatened his marriage .One Sunday morning he and his family visited a small church.
That Sunday God changed Angus Buchan when he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. His whole family came forward and prayed.
In his green cathedral (his corn field), he met daily with God. He learned to trust God with everyone and everything in his life. He saw God do such amazing things and he began to preach. Last year, he preached to almost 300,000 men who attended a weekend prayer meeting on his farm Shalom. Still, he is totally unimpressed with himself and totally impressed by the power of the living God.
On Saturday,he talked about how God uses nobodies to change the world, not important people, not amazingly skilled people, just ordinary people. He talked about prayer and I felt the Father challenging and encouraging me.
Angus spoke on how in Genesis 18 Sara doubted that God could give her a child. God responded, "Is anything too hard for God?" I began to cry. I thought of all the things concerning the puppet ministry that I have faced since Mike went home. My soul was so convicted as I saw my sin with clarity. Too often I have been surprised at provision instead of being confident in my Father’s care. I confess that I have worried about things like support that I should have prayed about.
I am crying again as I write these words. With all my heart, I want to obey. I want to run this race with greater passion. I do not want to waste precious energy and time on worry. I feel the Father is about to open some new doors and I want to walk through them, confident that nothing is too hard for God.
I encourage all of you to read his story and discover the deep faith of a simple man.
I had the loveliest Mother's Day! Last year, I celebrated in Moscow at an amusement park where everyone laughed at the "old lady" riding all the rides. This year, I watched a school of dolphins swimming in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa and ate lunch overlooking the ocean. Both Mother's Days, we shared the hope of Jesus with children and saw some of these precious ones put their trust in Jesus.
I am so blessed! I am so grateful to God that my sons and their sweet wives love Jesus! I am so thankful for all the "sons and daughters" all over the world who give me the privilege of being Grandma Linda to their children and treat me as a mother. I received the sweetest card from our dear friends here in Worcester. It said that it was from my 2 boys in the USA and all my other sons in Christ all over the world. God is very kind to me. Please pray that I will not disappoint my children as I follow the Lord. I want to be a Godly example to all of them. They all challenge me to love Jesus more!
Each day this week, we are doing 4 shows through Thursday. Today was so very sweet as we watched children come to faith. We enjoyed their laughter as they enjoyed the puppets. One group of children had been told not to talk in their assemblies. So, we heard not a sound when we invited the children to pray. Afterwards, so many children ran up to me and told me that they prayed. They told me that they talked to Jesus. At every school, the teachers thanked us for coming. The children smiled.
Again, the children at 2 of the schools we were at live in very difficult places. There is a custom here in some communities where they choose to have a baby before they marry so that they can prove they can have children. An ocean of children will never know their fathers. There is so much pain for these children and so much hurt. Please pray for them.
Sam & Silvana
Posted May 8, 2010
We have received 3 wonderful answers to prayer. Thank you for being so faithful! Thank you for holding us before the throne!
Friday morning, we had no scheduled program, so we prayed ad went, hoping the principal would accept our offer of a puppet show. She said yes! We had the privilege of sharing with 86 children and heard many put their trust in Jesus. The principal was thrilled! She said that when Billy shared about how nothing is impossible for God, the Lord spoke to her own heart.
We only tried to get into this school because another place had cancelled. We made a plan, but God had a better plan. This opportunity was a very sweet answer to prayer!
Our second program was at a school that had originally denied us access. Now, they accept us. When we arrived, they told us these children suffer greatly at home. They are always hungry and often beaten, so they struggle to find any way to effectively discipline them. They told us not to expect them to listen and warned us that they are always the worst in assemblies.
This school has over 400 children, ages 5 to 8. Cornelius, a teacher friend, and I stood at the front of the hall as the children entered and called on God to cause the children to behave as a sign of His power to the teachers.
God beautifully answered our prayers. The teachers and the principal were stunned by the behavior of the children. It was a great testimony to them and encouraged them to consider the children's need for Jesus. We heard the children praying in soft whispers, hungry for hope.
Please, continue to pray for these children and teachers to discover deep faith. We met a strong Christian teacher at the school who is committed to keep sharing Jesus with the children.
I am so happy to tell you that the bank has finally released the funds to our Brazilian Directors. The amount of documentation that they required for this transaction was impressive. At one point, it even looked as though they might send the money back to the United States and not deliver it to our friends. This money will be used to buy the tickets for travel inside Brazil to the Amazon Region. God is so gracious! We are very grateful for your prayers!
Sam & Silvana
Posted May 6, 2010
Today, we did 3 puppet shows for more than 750 children. It was a wonderful day! The children loved the programs. At one program, they stood up and looked for Jesus as I was telling the story about Him. Then, the entire school clapped when Jesus saved Peter. At another program, the children stood up and danced as the puppets sang "Shackles"
I walked down the hall to one show with a little girl hugging me. She had seen us at another school. When we are out in the town, children sometimes come up and hug me. I wonder what their parents are thinking.
These children are precious. They love the stories about Jesus. Hundreds prayed out loud today, responding to what was news to so many of them. I told them that God sees them. He knows their names. You should have seen their eyes fill with wonder as they heard that God had a plan for each one of them.
They loved the story of Jesus feeding the thousands. The children receive porridge when they arrive at school and at noon they are given a plate of rice with a thick soup. For many of the children, this is their last meal of the day. It is no surprise that they loved the story of this miracle.
At one school, I felt impressed to share with a teacher after a show today my husband's testimony. I talked with her about the peace the Lord gives and the hope of heaven. She seemed very touched, but said nothing. A few minutes later, she came over to speak to me. She said that last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. They did what they could, but it is stage three. She is dying. She said that she thanks God for every day He gives her. She lives with hope and as the Father plans, she will die with hope...because of Jesus!
Rejoice! We are seeing the love of the Father poured on the children of South Africa. Tomorrow, we will go to a school that is not scheduled. We have been unable to reach the principal, so we just decided to get up, go, pray, and hope. Pray with us.
Linda for the team
Sam & Silvana Shaw
Posted May 5, 2010
A DAY OF RAINBOWS
Today, one of the biggest rainbows I have ever seen stretched across the Breede River Valley. This valley is miles across, ringed with huge mountains that are topped with snow in the winter. The rainbows were so beautiful! It is fall here and some days it is cold and rainy. After a nice autumn rain, they say such rainbows are common. There was nothing common about this rainbow to me. As the day wore on, the rainbow stretched out flatter and I was looking through bands of color running across trees and fields.
As I looked at the rainbow, I thought of God's promises. Today, I saw the Father write His promises on the hearts of the children at a rural school. They called on Jesus, praying our loud, receiving God’s wonderful promise of salvation. They were so happy. One little girl came running up to me after the show and said with the biggest smile, "My God bless you!" No, this is not an error. She said "my." As she came to faith, He became her God!
We are blessed and happy and delighted with all we see the Father do as He calls children to Himself. They are from very poor homes and have so little in this life. Now, they have the promise of eternity and true riches in their hearts!
Please pray for them to grow strong in their faith and cling to all of God’s promises.
FUNNY THINGS...DIFFERENT THINGS
"Nicnacks" are a cheesy snack that everyone loves. However, to me they are the things you collect and put on a shelf.
A "jammerlappie" (sorry cloth) is a cloth that you use to wipe a table and clean up a mess. Billy was shaking the ketchup bottle and did not realize that the lid was just sitting on the bottle. We needed so many jammerlappies to clean up Billy.
The original people on the Cape were the Koi-san. The other day we saw a shelter like one they would have built. They always placed milkweed around the outside to keep snakes away. It worked! I have decided to invest in milkweed before I go to the Amazon in Brazil.
Samari ,a teenage daughter of our host family, was wearing a t-shirt that said "Jesus is my vonk." It means that Jesus is my spark. The v is pronounced as an f.
A fairy glen is not a place where you can expect to see fairies. You go there to see elephants and lions.
Please pray about a problem that we are having in Brazil. We sent money to a bank in Brazil so that our Brazilian Directors could buy the tickets that we need to travel inside Brazil. They are significantly cheaper if you buy them in the country. However, the bank is requiring unexpected amounts of paperwork before they will release the funds for the tickets. Please pray about this important detail.
Please pray about our opportunities to share in the schools. Some doors are closing and we need you to ask the Father to hold open these doors.
Linda for the team
Sam & Silvana Shaw
Posted May 4, 2010
The following report will make you laugh and cry and praise the Lord. Each of these shows was very different, but blessed. I am so very happy!
ADULTS AND TEENAGERS
Most people would be quick to tell you that puppets and storytelling will not work if you are sharing with adults and teenagers. However, we have done so many shows around the world for these age groups. We have come to understand that it is not the tools you are using, but the message you bring. We always pray and ask the Lord how to make the necessary changes in the program. God answered us so sweetly.
Our friends were so surprised when they saw a mighty out pouring of God’s spirit at a puppet show for drug and alcohol addicted teenagers and adults. Children will often pray out loud, but not these age groups. However, so many prayed out loud, asking Jesus to save them. It was awesome! As we finished, they all shouted “More, more.”
The counselors were also surprised as most of their clients lined up to shake my hand and thank us as they left. One teenager said,” You touched my heart.” Please pray for these new believers and the Christians there who will help them grow.
Corne is a precious little girl with many braids in her hair. Today, we did a puppet show at her school for 1,100 children. She was one of hundreds who called on Jesus to save them, but she was the one who came and told me.
So many children lined up for hugs and to tell me thank you. They wanted the young people’s autographs. Meg signed paper, hands, and shirt collars. She said that she felt like a celebrity. Every one of us was full of joy as we left the school.
This time was especially precious as so many of these children do not receive hugs and encouragement at home. They are from very poor homes where there is little affection. Gangs are very active in this community. It is a honor to show them God’s love!
HYPERACTIVE OLD LADY
It is a sweet sight to see 700 children fill a school hall and know that you have been given the privilege of telling them about Jesus. We were especially excited as Jana, the youngest daughter of my host family, attends this school. When I asked her later what part of the program she liked best, she told me that her friends loved Sam. He juggles, makes the children laugh, and tells them about Jesus. I agree with Jana. I love him too. He is a wonderful blessing on each trip!
As we finished the program at this school, many thanked me for the story. They said it was lovely. However, one little boy asked me a question. He said, “Why are you should a hyperactive old lady?”
The children at this school have a special room set aside for prayer. There are different places in the room, designed to teach a child about prayer and faith. Scripture verses cover the walls. Isn’t this amazing! This was not a Christian school, but daily the children are praying for each other.
THE LONG WALK
Our first school this morning did not have a hall for the children to meet in for the puppet show. They walked many blocks to a church to see the puppet show. There were Muslim children and a Muslim teacher, but all stayed to hear the Gospel! It was so sweet!
One little girl heard me say, “You can be forgiven.” As soon as she heard the words, a big smile spread across her face and she said, “Yes.” Another little boy became very excited when he heard that he could talk to God. His eyes opened wide and he clasped his hands together in joy. I want to remember the wonder and joy of these children. I want to always hold their smiles in my heart.
Sam, Silvana and I are very blessed by the 2 young people that are traveling with us, Meg Abbott and Billy Salinas. Meg is in my oldest son’s youth group and Billy’s parents are missionaries in Mexico. His father works with Evangelism Explosion. We are delighted as we watch God use them to impact South Africa for Jesus.
Today, Billy came to me and gave me a big hug. He said, “Thank you for bringing me to South Africa.” I was so happy that he was being blessed even as he is blessing. He is using a simple trick, putting a giant needle through a balloon, to illustrate an important truth. Billy tells the children that nothing is impossible for God. The children gasped with delight today as he did this trick. I have known Billy since he was a little boy. I love the man of faith that he is becoming.
Meg has a hard story to tell to the children, but many of the children who come to the shows also have very hard stories to tell. With the most beautiful smile, she tells the children how when she was 6 years old her mother and father and 2 brothers were killed in a car accident. She was the only survivor. Meg says that she realized God had a special purpose for her life. Then she sings, “In Christ Alone.” God has given her a wonderful voice. I confess that many times as she sings, tears fill my eyes. This was one of my husband’s favorite songs. Meg and I both cling to the truth in this song as we have both lost so much ( for a time). It says, “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my rock, my strength my song."
THE LOST BAG
Thank you for praying! Finally, at midnight last night, our equipment was delivered. It had been traveling without us. A special thanks to Bruce Schwarz, Meg’s uncle, and to Cornelius and Blom, 2 dear South African brothers. God used them to push the airlines to find the remaining South African puppet equipment. Praise God!
Please hold us in your prayers as we have 2 shows tomorrow and finish our first 5 days of puppet training. Please pray for these dear children who are coming to faith in Jesus and all those who are seeking to follow up with them. Please thank God for this great blessing!
Linda for the team
Sam & Silvana Shaw
Posted May 3, 2010
HEART CRY REVIVAL
We are here in Worcester as part of a big revival effort targeting this town and the surrounding country side with the hope only Jesus gives. This adventure began a little over a year ago when a local South African pastor had dinner with me in my home in Georgia. A friend of an American pastor, he was visiting the states and sharing about the great need in South Africa for the Gospel. He told us about a big outreach planned for May of 2010.
When Francois told us about the many requests that he had had from schools for programming during this time, I knew that God was speaking to me. I believe that this is a critical time for South Africa. In truth, it is a critical time for all of our countries. I am just so blessed that the dear people in this place have sacrificed so much time and energy so that their children can hear about Jesus Christ. I believe that their sweet example should be a challenge to all of us. We must ask ourselves one question. "What am I doing to reach the children for Jesus in my community?"
I beg all of you who are reading these emails to faithfully pray for the children of Worcester and the surrounding countryside. I also ask you to seek the Father’s will and plan for reaching your own children for Jesus.
On the morning after we landed, we all met for prayer at the place where the great revival in 1860 began in Worcester. Perhaps you have read stories of this time or stories about Andrew Murray, the pastor of the church where it all started.
A mighty outpouring of God’s spirit began with the sweet prayers of a 15 year old girl. Teenagers, you can make a big difference for the Kingdom! For over a year, a prayer group has been meeting in the same place to pray for this time.
Our presence here is some of the fruit of their prayers. Saturday night we attended a big outreach with 4,000 people. The World Impact Tour is a group of weight lifters and Samoan dancers from all over the world. They ripped phone books in half with their bear hands grabbing the audience’s attention. One guy by himself, flipped a car over and they talked about how we must turn around and let God make a change in us. I watched as they broke a stack of about 20 boards and shared how faith in Jesus alone can break the power of sin in our lives. Testimonies were shared by young people who tried to satisfy their heart’s needs with everything but God. When the invitation was given, hundreds came forward to receive Jesus as Savior!
It was awesome! We watched all these wonders from the second story of a Coke truck that resembled a double decker English bus. I love what God does!
So many puppet shows, evangelistic meetings, and teaching times are scheduled for the next 2 weeks. Please pray for strength, wisdom, and grace for all of us who are involved.
WHERE THE CHILDREN LIVE
Today, our friend Blom gave us a great treat. He drove us through the farmlands in the area. This is an area well known for its amazing vineyards, where grapes are grown both for wine and as an export fruit crop. He showed us all the different kinds of communities where the children live. These 2 weeks our shows will take us to children from all of these places.
Some of the children live in beautiful homes with lovely gardens, sweeping lawns, and an abundance of roses outside their windows. Their parents are well educated and many are the driving force behind this event,the Heart Cry Revival. They helped to hang ribbons all over the town. Different colors represented the blood of Jesus, hope and love. They are active in a variety of churches and praying for the revival to come first to them and their homes. We are staying with friends in this community.
Some of the children live in tiny tin boxes. The entire house would fit in a large American bathroom. They are too hot in summer, too cold in winter and winter is coming. These communities are very broken with crime of all kinds a common experience. Most of their parents cannot read or write. There is little hope. This is real poverty, such as any westerner cannot imagine.
The refugees from Zimbabwe fare only little better. They are actually living in tents, but the government does provide them with food. They are here illegally. There is much anger against them as they are accused of taking others jobs.
Finally, there are the homes of the colored community. This is not my choice of a word. In South Africa, they have whites, colored, and blacks. I confess these words make me uncomfortable as I am from the southern part of the United States and find these words foreign to my thinking. We have many puppeteers in training from this group. Their homes are mostly small, but so much better than tents or tin boxes.
You would think that each group of children has different needs. In reality each group of children has the same need. They all struggle with loneliness and despair. They ache for their parents to love each other. They want someone to see them, to hear them. They want to be loved. They cry. They hurt. They have no hope. They need Jesus! Please pray that the Father can use us to show all the children God’s love and mercy as found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Linda for the team
Sam & Silvana Shaw
Posted May 2, 2010
WHAT A SWEET DAY!
Yesterday was the best day! Our friends gave us 2 of the sweetest opportunities. We shared at 2 schools with over 1200 children. God poured His spirit on our time with these precious little ones and we heard hundreds calling on Jesus to be their Savior. I feel so blessed that I cannot find the words to describe to you the joy of my heart.
I always go into the crowd after a show to thank the children for listening. I am looking for another opportunity to speak one last word to them about Jesus. Children lined up to hug me. They said the most wonderful things. One little boy said "That was the loveliest show we have had yet." It is good to remember that you could be bumped from first place. So many children thanked me. Others begged for the pictures from the story. One little boy who is in a Bible class with our friend Pastor Cornelius at school, told him something wonderful after watching the show. He said," I have been praying, but now I will pray more.” We always try to put some challenges in the program for the children who are Christians to encourage them to grow in their faith. It was sweet to hear this little boy's testimony!
WHAT SWEET FELLOWSHIP!
Last night was the most wonderful evening. We met with new friends to watch a rugby game. No, I don't really understand the game, but I learned to cheer for the blue team. We all talked and laughed until late in the evening. How sweet it is to discover dear friend's a world away from home.
WHAT A SWEET TIME OF TRAINING!
Twice now we have met for training with our new puppet team. Please pray for this group of friends as God is calling them into ministry. Ask the Father to give them a clear vision for reaching the children for Jesus Christ. The schools are still open here to Gospel programs. They have an awesome opportunity.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMIE!
April 30th my Mother celebrated her 85th birthday. I know Jesus because my Mother was faithful to share with me. She taught me about the steadfast love of God. Pleas join me in thanking God for my Mother's life long example of faith.
- Pray for the new puppet team that we want to see born in this place. Ask God to bring team members that are different ages and different colors. We want the new team to reflect the face of South Africa.
- Pray for all the children that we plan to share with this coming week. Ask the Lord to give them open hearts for His truth.
- Pray for the Lord to bless each one of us with wisdom. There are always so many details to sort in training and equipping any team. We need to know how to best answer each question.
- Pray for the hundreds of children who publically called on Jesus Christ this week, asking Him to be their King and Savior. Ask the Father to connect each one of them with one of the many Christians He has placed around them so that they can grow strong in their new faith.
- Please pray that our missing equipment is found. The airlines are not being helpful when it comes to helping us find our lost luggage.
Rejoice! Rejoice that the Father is calling so many children to Himself in South Africa! Praise God!
Linda for the team
Sam & Silvana Shaw
Posted April 29, 2010
After a 2 hour flight followed by a 7 and a half hour flight, followed by a brief stop in Dafur, Senegal, followed by an 8 hour flight, and then a brief 3 hour flight, we arrived in Capetown. I had forgotten how long it takes to get here. It has been several years since I had the privilege to be in this beautiful country. I am so grateful that the Father has opened this door! This trip, we are working in Worcester, a beautiful place surrounded by huge mountains. The clouds sit on the tops of the mountains and create some amazing views.
This place is like many places in South Africa. It was described to us as walking in the 1st world and the 3rd world at the same time. Where we are staying is very western, but we worked today with children who live very different lives. Truly, they live in another world compared to the lovely homes and beautiful gardens we have seen.
We need you to pray! Though we arrived safely, the airline lost one large tub containing puppet equipment. The Lord was kind to us in that we have most of what we need, but we are missing my microphone, some puppets and other necessary equipment. Please pray that the airline can find this missing tub. It is critical that they locate it in order for us to have a full set of equipment.
THE FARM SCHOOL
The children that we were with today have such hard lives. All of their parents work on neighboring farms. Usually, their parents will not marry. Their homes are not safe places where a child can grow and discover God’s great love. There is a lot of alcoholism and many babies are born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Children usually leave school at about 13 or 14, often becoming involved with the wrong people.
Many walk 4km or more to school in the dark. The principal says that they make a human train with 2 children with reflective jackets at the front and back. In the middle are the passengers. It is not an easy walk as there are no lights in the country and no one has a flashlight. He said that they need 15 head lamps.
These children are poor, but blessed to have a principal who cares about them. He loves Jesus and welcomed us into the school. He gave us complete freedom to share with them.
They loved the puppets, and listened to the story and testimonies. When I finished the story, we heard so many children praying, calling on Jesus to save them. They left full of Joy. Praise God!
There is an after school program called “Treasure Kids”. I met the lady today and she promised to follow up with the children who made decisions for Jesus. She was very happy, but I was even more happy that she was there to love those children and teach them on a daily basis.
It has been a wonderfully sweet day as we also began training our new team. All of us need sleep, but we are blessed and beg you to pray for these dear children. Please also pray for our new team.
Linda for the team
San & Silvana Shaw
Posted April 27, 2010
Today we are on our way to South Africa. Please pray for us to have a safe trip, but please especially pray for the children of South Africa. Their country is number one in the world for AIDS and for child sexual abuse. These children have great need. As always only Jesus Christ can meet the big need of their hearts. Please pray for them to respond to the stories about Jesus with enthusiasm. Ask God to open many doors. Thank you for praying.
Linda for the team
San & Silvana Shaw