It’s hard for any news from South Africa to be more dramatic than the shock of the Brexit vote, the election of a new Prime Minister or the intrigues of the Labour Party. The last three months in the Nesbitt home have seen a number of changes too, with characters departing and staying, leaving and remaining. Here, in diary form, is a snapshot of life since the last time we wrote.
We thanked God for the success of Lizzy’s Africa month at school and were grateful for a break from routine
Glenn remained in Johannesburg while Lizzy and the kids left for a holiday at a farm in the Free State. They had a wonderful time with a German family from church, eating delicious food and going on walks, which Zoë tackled with gusto. Lizzy finished term satisfied, but exhausted by the Africa month of events she had organised so it was the switch off she needed. Shortly after their return, Zoë celebrated her fourth birthday with a party themed around butterflies.
April also saw some major changes to our garden. We felled a number of trees with invasive roots and replaced them with indigenous ones. Whilst Joseph cried as the fig tree tumbled, we have since enjoyed watching sunbirds visiting our new aloes.
We were encouraged by a visit from an Oxford friend and sad to say goodbye to a faithful companion
By the beginning of May, JBC term 2 was in full swing and Glenn had a packed schedule teaching some extra classes. These went well and the students continued to work hard and grow in their faith.
We enjoyed a visit from Richard Weston from Oxford and Glenn quietly planned a camping trip to the Pilanesburg for Joseph. Glenn only informed him of it on the morning they left, in order to avoid the scenario of him packing seven bags two weeks in advance and then wondering why he had no clean clothes.
Our last letter also mentioned the lack of ‘be-doomp’ in Jaiva’s heart and, while Glenn and Joseph were in the Pilanesburg, her heart finally gave out. With the help of our lodger, Adam, Lizzy dug a deep hole, and on the campers’ return, she was laid to rest with Ginger looking on. She had been with us for seven years and there was not a dry eye in the house at her passing. Eventually we’ll find a tree for the grave and a new friend for Ginger, but meanwhile Zoë can eat her food without it being snatched out of her hand.
We gave thanks for five great months with Adam and a new opportunity for hospitality
At the beginning of June, Adam, who stayed in our cottage, returned to the UK after a fulfilling five months serving with a local church. We appreciated his maturity, initiative and energy and wish him well for what comes next. As he was leaving, the Irish rugby team arrived (in SA, not to us), but hopes of a series victory departed in the last five minutes at Ellis Park, leaving Glenn slumped in his seat at the final whistle.
While most of us were still coming to terms with the news of Brexit, Ginger was adjusting to the immigration of three imposters to his house: Boris, Coco and Cadbury. Boris is a cat with poor diplomatic skills whilst the other two are large black Labradors. They belong to a colleague of Lizzy’s who is staying in our cottage while an acrimonious divorce is settled. We’ve encouraged Ginger, in the spirit of hospitality, to take down the ‘Leave’ posters from his basket, but a few angry woofs still exchanged (Ed. Unfortunately that joke has to stay).
In June, JBC hosted an excellent conference looking at the different stories South Africans tell each other and how the gospel can bring transformation and hope. We also praised God for the news that the new home for the Soweto campus has finally been purchased. The site, which previously belonged to a church, needs considerable renovations so please pray for the building work to begin soon and the remaining funds to be raised. Glenn also passed a course training him to be an assessor, in anticipation of JBC offering courses accredited by the South African education department from next January.
We look forward to a trip to the UK and pray for Home Affairs to grant Lizzy a new work permit
Glenn flies to the UK on July 18th to visit a number of churches, and Lizzy, Joseph and Zoë will join him on August 6th. Our itinerary is below and we look forward to seeing many of you while we are back. Lizzy has just applied to the Department of Home Affairs for a ‘waiver’ so that her current work visa can be extended. She has a good case, but the bureaucracy can be hard to fathom, so we would really value your prayers for a speedy and successful outcome.
- 19th July am - Glenn arrives in the UK
- 19th July pm - JBC presentation at Church by the Bay, Morecambe
- 24th July am - Preaching at St Clement’s Church, Manchester
- 27th July am - Visit to Crosslinks office
- 27th July pm - JBC presentation at St Paul’s, Hadley Wood
- 31st July am - Visiting Trinity West Church, Shepherd’s Bush
- 6th August am - Lizzy, Joseph and Zoë arrive in the UK
- 7th August am - Preaching at Church by the Bay, Morecambe for Mission Partners Sunday
- 10th August pm - JBC presentation at Armagh Baptist Church, Armagh
- 14th August am - Preaching at Holy Trinity, Old Hill, Worcester
- 17th August pm - JBC presentation at Holy Trinity, Old Hill, Worcester
- 21st August am - Preaching at St Paul’s, Hadley Wood
- 24th August pm - Attending St Ebbe’s Church Prayer Meeting
- 2nd September pm - We leave the UK for SA
During our time in Oxford, we hope to host an Open House, but will update Oxford supporters nearer the time about the details.
Please pray for:
- The building work to begin soon at the new JBC Soweto site and for supporters to give generously towards the costs of the project
- Students to continue to work hard and be equipped during JBC term 3 and for extra energy for the staff with Glenn away
- Lizzy’s work visa application to be speedily and successfully granted
- A great time in the UK seeing friends and family, deepening old friendships and strengthening new partnerships
With love and best wishes
Glenn, Lizzy, Joseph and Zoë