Some big decisions will be made in the months that lie ahead: Should the UK Remain or Leave? Will Trump or Clinton be the next President? Is Leicester or Spurs the safer bet? Should I enter X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent? Closer to home, here is a brief overview of a few key deliberations in the Nesbitt household, followed by some prayer points.
Zoë: Which book should I get Julia Donaldson to sign?
Zoë and Joseph had quite an adventurous start to the New Year. Along with some exciting visitors from the UK, we discovered that Julia Donaldson (author of The Gruffalo) was in town doing a show. We duly went along and loved it! Zoë queued patiently with her parents so Julia could sign her copy of Zog, a wait livened up by her dad helping Julia’s husband Malcolm sing ‘Stick Man’, her favourite song. Zoë loves listening to stories and shows incredible interest in the details of our days. She is often overheard lying in bed recounting various tales to ‘friends’ on ‘her’ mobile phone.
Lizzy: What crafts would work for the next All Age Service?
At church this year, we have tried to bring new life into the All Age Services, which had become a little stale. Using some of the ideas from ‘Messy Church’, we have pioneered making some small crafts to reinforce the main message and help make things more interactive. Feedback has been very positive, but many of the families we have hoped would come have been absent with other commitments. We continue to trust God with those we have been given, including the German family who are now good friends. Please pray for a growing core of families who are engaged deeply by the gospel through their time with us.
Joseph: Should I pack my bags to go to a game park two weeks or one week in advance (leaving myself with no clothes for that period)? Shall I pack two bags or three or four or five or six?
Joseph decided he wanted to study game reserves at school this year, and we eventually weaned him off this onto the broader topic of Africa. He is very excited about a trip to the Pilanesburg Game Park with an old friend from nursery, Sean, who now lives with his family in Slovakia, but is visiting South Africa with his dad. Part of the extensive preparations have involved writing lists and producing maps. As a result, his handwriting is good! He’s also reading happily, including an old encyclopedia he was recently given, which goes to bed with him.
Glenn: Do we go for these plans … or these plans … or these plans for the new JBC building in Soweto?
The plot does not officially belong to JBC yet (there are still a few more hurdles to be negotiated with the municipality), but the senior staff have been working on what the new building might look like with the architect and are pretty excited by what they’ve seen. Meanwhile, classes at Soweto have gone well this term, with ten new students attending consistently and the second and thirds years producing some great work on Mark’s Gospel. Please pray that they would all be back again after Easter and that term two would be as fruitful.
Zoë: Shall I say ‘hello’ to Ben Stokes, or play shy?
Ten days after the excitement of Julia Donaldson, our joy reached new levels at Johannesburg airport. Walking into the terminal to say good bye to Lizzy’s sister Mary, Zoë, Joseph and Lizzy bumped into the whole England cricket squad heading home. Zoë made straight for Ben Stokes, aided by her mother. Since his famous knock in Cape Town, she has hailed him as her favourite cricketer (Jospeh has remained loyal to Joe Root) so, using that as an excuse, Lizzy suggested he might like to have his photo taken with us. Zoë enjoys doing (or pretending to do) everything Joseph does, whether it’s cricket, playing in the rain or building secret hide-outs in the living room.
Lizzy: Where should we put the boundaries between work and home?
Lizzy has been busy at work organising something called ‘Africa @ our feet’, a cross curricular study month for Grade 9 boys. It has been energising and exhausting at the same time, particularly navigating through some of the individual staff agendas. She continues to run the staff ‘Friday Forums’ and led a seminar at a recent conference on ‘Creating a Culture of Growth amongst staff in independent schools’, which was well received. The head has approached her about a role which would consolidate some of her staff development and cross curricular work. While the post is appealing, she has deferred any decision making until some of the politics surrounding it has been resolved and the job has been defined clearly in a way which uses her gifts, but not too much of her time. Please pray that if this is a positive move, God would open the door, and if not, Lizzy would keep serving faithfully and effectively in her work at school.
Joseph: How much medication will Jaiva need?
Joseph has shown a lot of interest in the health of Jaiva, our female cocker spaniel, whose heart is so dodgy the vet can no longer hear the classic ‘be-doomp’ (sic.) noise it is meant to make. While Joseph was talking sensitively about the dog, his parents were simultaneously, but unknown to each other at the time, pondering where the beast would be buried should the fateful day arrive sooner than they expect.
Glenn: Should JBC pursue accreditation or not?
Senior staff meetings this term have been dominated by discussions about whether JBC should be government accredited and, if so, what this might look like? Although tiring, these have been stimulating and could open a new chapter for the college. Please pray for wisdom and good advice. Praise God for the large number of first year students at Auckland Park, most of whom did OK in their Gospel Assignment. We also have 15 Diploma students, who are fun to teach, but a few could do with taking their studies a little more seriously.
We’ll leave you to decide when and where you pray for the following, but thank you for your support. We really appreciate it.
Please pray for:
- God’s work in those he has brought to church, especially our German friends; for energy and creativity for All Age Services and for more families to come.
- JBC Soweto students to consistently attend after Easter and for it to be a fruitful term. Pray also for wisdom and good advice as we consider accreditation and for JBC and Diploma students at Auckland Park to work hard and be well equipped.
- Lizzy to be fruitful, not frenetic at school and to have wisdom in what she takes on; for relationships with colleagues that point them to Christ and for boldness to speak the gospel as doors are opened.
- For Joseph and Zoë to continue to wonder at God’s world and find joy in their learning; for the seeds of faith in their life to grow and take root in their daily living; and thank God for our lodger Adam, a gap year student from the UK who is serving at a local church, and the blessing he has been to all of us, especially the children.
With love from the Nesbitts
Glenn, Lizzy, Joseph and Zoë