It’s been a quite a while since our last blog, which followed the end of Lorna’s cancer treatment in Glasgow. We left Scotland in January, arrived in Cape Town in Summer, and it’s now Autumn. In South Africa, ‘Winter is coming’.
We had a very enjoyable festive period celebrating with family and friends, but it was a very special Christmas day as we were able to spend it together with all our children, their partners and grandchildren. It was the usual McLean/Hamilton noisy celebration with a Christmas quiz (usual arguments), games, and music. A new addition this year was the conservatory disco!
Our grandson Sam was dedicated to God on the last Sunday we were at home, so this was another emotional highlight and an opportunity to bring family together in thanksgiving. Saying goodbye and leaving is never easy for us, and after such a prolonged period in Glasgow it was even more difficult as Freya and Sam are growing and developing so quickly and we are acutely aware of the milestones we will miss. However, we still feel that our home for this time is Cape Town and neither of us has wavered from this during our enforced time in Glasgow.
We waved Mark and Mali off on their next travel adventures to Central America before the final destination of New Zealand before we took our own flight to Cape Town where we were warmly welcomed by our work colleagues with flowers, balloons and chocolate. It was great to arrive to sunshine, our accommodation above the garage, and our personal possessions, as well as a lovely welcome from our church here in Cape Town on our 1st Sunday back. We were, of course, aware that we would receive a warm welcome and assumed that this would allow us to seamlessly transition into life here. However, it was more difficult, and took longer than anticipated, particularly for Don. Is it really possible to have a foot and heart in both continents?
So, we have returned to Cape Town as planned, even as Lorna continued her recuperation, in the hope that the sun, rather than the short, cold days of Scotland, would assist in this. Since returning time has flown, and Lorna’s health has improved daily, although did for a whilegoing to be part ofthe healing process
As her energy levels have been increasing, she has been able to fit back into the work of NewDay. The number of children attending the Hluma (Prosper) after-school care has grown this year and she felt that she should be involved in this ministry, so leads health education and discipleship training weekly. She has also been able to regularly visit a small, but growing ladies’ group in Sweet Home Farm to discuss health promotion and education which is a new initiative in the township. This is a great opportunity to meet local people and build relationships in a relaxed manner and will hopefully lead to more initiatives in the future once the community hall is built.
Unfortunately, life in Sweet Home Farm is still tense with more deaths marking a violent reaction from the gang culture to increased police presence, which has been necessary to support the contractor’s completion of the road works. Only when these works are completed, hopefully in a month or so, can attention switch back to progress on other things. In the mean-time the UBU team have focussed on completion of the Betty’s Bay house (which was slightly damaged in a bush fire when almost complete) and securing final funding approval from America for an Early Childhood Development centre build in Khayelitsha. A further exciting project will be the building of about 15 units of sandbag housing in a township to the North of Cape Town called Mshini Wam (My Jar). The community there have researched a variety of different sustainable building methods and decided on sandbags, particularly after we were able to demonstrate that the Betty’s Bay house had survived a fire when adjacent houses had been totally destroyed! Workshops are now ongoing with the facilitators and community Technical Team in the planning of this development. Funding by the City of Cape Town appears to have been allocated to this project so watch this space.
The next few weeks are busy for us in work and in other ways. During the second half of 2018 all our children had arranged flights to SA to visit us, but we had to be in Glasgow, so we definitely plan to be here next week to receive Alison & John, Lorna’s sister and her husband. We have already got a busy itinerary planned and we will also take the opportunity to see a bit more of this amazing place with them, and they will visit and experience our places of work.
‘And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.’
1 Peter 5:10 (NIV)