|Family News December 2012|
Dearest friends and family!
I always look forward to this time of the year, as it affords me the opportunity to look back and recall all that God has done in our family and ministry. Without the discipline of reflection on a regular basis, the many blessings our Heavenly Father bestows on us are all too easily forgotten! I trust that you all will take the time to write about your year…..and then send it out for us to enjoy! The many events and opportunities that have come our way this year are so numerous, but I will attempt to highlight a few.
Daniela has, this calendar year, completed both grade 11 and grade 12! Within the last few days, she has taken her final exams, and is now officially finished with High School. This also marks the end of our home schooling career as a family! Ten years in total. It has been a joy and a privilege, as well as an experience I would not trade for anything. This month she won the top marks in her Matric Art class at the Frank Joubert Art Centre, in the discipline of Painting and Mixed Media. She plans to make Art her career, and to this end has been accepted at City Varsity, for their program in Creative Communication.
Daniela has also auditioned for the Cape Town City Youth Choir (formerly Pro-Cantu Youth Choir), and was accepted. She participated in their Carol Service at St. John's Church in Wynberg. She looks forward to the enriching experience of being part of a choir and being able to travel and sing internationally. Click on the link to see a video of one of the choir's past performances: http://youtu.be/7fyqAIaImsc
The National Senior Synchronized Skating Team she has been a part of for some years now, has qualified to compete at Worlds, which takes place in Boston, April 2-4th 2013. This is quite a privilege and will require some serious fund raising, but we trust she will be able to visit my parents and Andrea and Hunter in Arizona once the International Ice Skating event is finished.
Christopher's year began with many hours of extra squad training. This involved early morning sessions starting at 05:30am and many a long Saturday training periods. As the time drew nearer to July, so the intensity increased. He won gold medals provincially and nationally. The Team members were awarded their South African colours and departed for the US July 5th. A kind donor had sponsored my ticket, so that I was able to join him for this momentous occasion. The competition involved 18 Countries and took place in Atlantic City, NJ. Although he did well, Christopher did not win a medal this time, but the experience gained was hugely beneficial. He looks forward to the next World Championships to be held in South Africa in 2014.
Christopher and I had the privilege of visiting my folks and Andrea and Hunter and had a brief, but wonderful, time together. My Mother, Jan Gilbert and Susan Parks arranged for a get together, so that I would be able to see friends at one event, and so that they would have a chance to meet Christopher. As a kidney transplant patient, his life is such a miracle, and to be able to participate in this World Event was nothing short of God's abundant grace and mercy in his life. It was very meaningful to be able to share this and to celebrate with good friends and family in Arizona.
Upon our return to South Africa, the selection and training for the second Dan Black belt took place. Christopher was selected, but was battling with many spells of the flu due to such long flights on aeroplanes, and due to so much extra training and stress on his body. After several bouts of antibiotics, he pulled through and managed to grade for and earn his second Black belt. This completes his junior Black belts. Next year he will be old enough to qualify for attempting to earn his senior Black belt.
Good nutrition and extra vitamin supplements are an essential part of Christopher's routine as he is prone to infections. The many immunosuppressant medications he is on make it hard for him to fight off illnesses. We appreciate your prayers as we combat this constant reality in his life. The doctors have been fairly happy with his medical check-ups this year. Although a few times his creatine levels have been too high. We trust God for His hand of healing as He sees fit in Christopher's life, and that the life of his graft kidney would be extended way beyond expectations.
Calvin, our social extrovert, has had a very busy year. He is involved in sporting activities six days a week. The transition from home-schooling to attending a school has meant that he is now participating in Team Sports as opposed to only individual sports. His favourite summer sport is Waterpolo. We have some very dedicated coaches who invest in our children, and Calvin enjoys this immensely. His sport of choice for the winter is field Hockey, although he plays all year round by participating in indoor Hockey as well. He still fences several times a week, and is gaining in skills and confidence in this discipline.
Being such an outgoing person, Calvin loves every aspect of school. He gets there early almost daily, so that he can participate in Choir, Band or any other activity happening before school. He stays after school for sports, or just watches the other teams practice. The independent school our boys attend is quite small, so Calvin is frequently asked to play hockey on the High School Team too.
This year he was involved in a hugely successful school play, very ably directed by his teacher Les Harwin. The part she chose for Calvin was very appropriate, and we were quite taken by how confidently he dominated the stage.
Scouts continues to be an important feature every Friday night, and he looks forward to Troop Camp in January. He was awarded the 'Junior Camping Prize' as well as the 'Junior Hiking Prize' this year, which gives you an indication of how many hikes and Camps he attends!
While I miss home-schooling the boys, I am also confident that they are both where they need to be. Calvin thrives on the attention and interaction with his coaches and teachers, and loves the fact that he is with other children. Christopher, though very different in temperament, enjoys having a variety of teachers to learn from. The fact that our school is within walking distance of our home is a huge blessing. We are privileged to be a part of this community, and trust the Lord for the provisions needed for their continued education.
Peter's year started with hosting a Worldview Weekend at our Mission. A unique feature this year, which we would love to see repeated, were invitations for Biblical Worldview Summits hosted by Congregations. One was held in Riversdale, and despite the very cold weather was well attended and lively participation and interaction was enjoyed. The other hosts were in Vereeniging.
The Sanctity Life Sunday and the National Day of Repentance formed part of our Calendar again this year, as well as celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Frontline Fellowship! Peter continues as part of the Editorial Staff of JOY! magazine, and was invited to be a guest speaker on one of the 'JOY! Cruises' to Mozambique. I was able to join him for that, and the highlight was being able to dock in Maputo. For Peter it was a trip down memory lane of his first Mission field and where he was incarcerated as a prisoner of the Communists. For me it was a brand new experience seeing a Portuguese speaking ex-Communist state in the tropics.
Peter has also been busy with lectures at Bible Colleges and Universities and is now a part of the faculty at Africa School of Missions as a History lecturer. Conferences in KwaZulu, Mpumalanga, Arizona, California, Florida and Colorado were highlights. Peter was also a speaker at the 'Convergence 2012 Conference' held at Stellenbosch University. This was a valuable time of interaction with people from different denominations and cultures.
We celebrated Reformation Day in Franschhoek by hosting a tour of the Huguenot Museum, followed by an open air service at the Monument. We also organised IDOP-Africa, and focused on prayer for the Persecuted. Due to limited resources, Peter was only able to publish one Book this year – Victorious Christians Who Changed the World, at 380 pages his largest book so far. There are several other completed writing projects, waiting for a publisher, or some funds, to be able to see them go to print.
My year has continued to see my health go from strength to strength. My check-ups are always positive, and while my energy levels dwindle faster than before, I am working very hard at keeping fit in order to combat this. To this end I now paddle with two Dragon Boating Teams in our beautiful harbour. During this year I have been able to compete in several Regattas, as well as attend a weekend of training at one of our Dams. We are very blessed to live 15 minutes away from one of the most beautiful harbours in the World.
My oldest sister Debbie was able to visit in October, and we had a magnificent 10 days together. Debbie joined me on the Boat for two paddling sessions, and also joined me on a 10 km walk to raise funds for fighting Cancer. Debbie spoiled us with great cooking and was also able to be a part of our Reformation Day Celebrations.
I managed to plan and host two fundraisers this year for my cancer support group, both of which my family got involved in, and they were a great success. Daniela and I took part in a 5km walk in aid of Cancer, and Angela Stott and I braved a 25km walk for charity as well.
Andrea and Hunter will soon be celebrating their first wedding anniversary! Andrea is a full time Journalism student at Arizona Christian University, on a full scholarship. Hunter is taking a Seminary class, and has just been awarded a scholarship to work on his Masters in Divinity. This is to better prepare him for Missionary service in Africa. They are the proud owners of two rescued kittens (Sherlock and Watson) and are active in their Church community. They are very eager to return to the African Continent to settle as Missionaries as soon as their studies are finished. In the meantime, needless to say, we miss them terribly. It is still my greatest heartache that my family lives on three different Continents. Our visits are few and far between, although I have been blessed with the occasional opportunity to travel to Arizona. My heart's desire is to live within five minutes of everyone! I look forward to the day when they both are able to re-join us here in Africa again.
As we celebrate the birth of our Saviour this Christmas, may we be ever mindful about not trivializing this Season. So much of the world around us is spiritually blind, and sees no problem with the trivia. The sad thing is that so many Christians need to be reminded of why we celebrate. God sent His Son, so that we may have eternal life. Jesus is the Reason for the Season! Put Christ back into Xmas!
This year has been an incredible turning point in my life! In the words of Charles Dickens' in the opening of his book A Tale of Two Cities; “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times.” This would be a dramatic, yet appropriate, title for this year. Many doors have opened and closed, and I have grown more than ever as a person, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
God has really challenged me and has renewed my way of thinking. Much of what I thought I was right about was completely flawed! It's amazing how much we think we know, and think we are right about, but when seen in God's light, we actually know so little! I wouldn't have gotten through this year if it wasn't for God's daily guidance in every aspect of my life.
Often in life, we are discouraged that we have too much on our plate, and are incapable to achieve all the demands that life throws at us. Life is impossible without God, but with God, all things are possible! God wouldn't give us a duty without seeing us through- no! We must apply ourselves as His servants, and ask for His guidance and help daily; He will help us.
This year I finished grade 11 and all of grade 12 work for the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) Paces. From the beginning of the year this was a lot to get through, and a big goal of mine. I was determined. There were days I seriously doubted I would ever finish in time to hand it all in. But God never let me down! He provided me with everything that I needed, and more, to finish all my goals. My ever-encouraging Dad and Mom and my friends were my cheer leaders throughout. I am forever thankful to those close to me that God has blessed me with.
I have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn so much at the Frank Joubert Art Centre! I am grateful to all the lovely teachers there, and their nurturing in my subject of painting. Going to FJ was one of the best things that has ever happened to me! It helped me realise my passion in creating Art and jumpstarted my future career. I hope that I can use my Art to further God's Kingdom.
Thank you everyone, those whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, and those whom I haven't yet met, for your prayers and support for our family. I am in awe of your gracious deeds. A Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to you all!
With love, Daniela Hammond
The Most Wonderful Time of The Year
Joy To The World
God's timing is so incredibly perfect! As you may know, Hunter applied for the same scholarship a year ago but was not awarded it. This freed Hunter of his obligations to return to the States for the semester, so that he was able to travel overland all the way to South Sudan with Frontline Fellowship's Missionary team! The experience was unparalleled and it has served to further train Hunter to be a Missionary in Africa in the future. We realize that if Hunter had received the scholarship a year ago, he would not have been able to minister in South Sudan, and we would not have gotten married in Cape Town with our South African family and friends… We are absolutely blown away with how God has so clearly gone ahead of us and made everything work together so flawlessly.
Hunter and I are so thankful for all the gifts which God has generously bestowed upon us in our first year of marriage! (We can scarcely believe that it was a year ago when we said our vows under God, before our family and our friends.) As we prepare to celebrate the season in our new home, we joyfully remember what Christ has done for us so that we might have a relationship with Him.
O Come All Ye Faithful
With much love and joy,
Andrea and Hunter Combs
Frontline Social Media
2012 has seen an explosion in our Frontline social media. Our Mission is now maintaining sixteen Websites and 7 Facebook pages. Over 50 of Peter's PowerPoint presentations are now available on Slideshare which you can access through our www.frontline.org.za website, which has been completely redesigned into a more user-friendly site. Many of these presentations have been viewed thousands of times online. This will enable you to see some of the presentations which Peter gives to Mission Conferences, at colleges and at the Reformation Society.
You will also be interested to see the video clips added to YouTube by our field teams from recent outreaches in South Sudan and other parts of Africa.
Several of Peter's books are now available as E-books, including: Answering Skeptics, Practical Discipleship, and The Power of Prayer Handbook. Peter also re-published Rev. Arthur Lewis' classic Christian Terror, exposing the World Council of Churches' sponsorship of terrorism in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia. This is also now available as a free E-book.
2013 marks the 200th anniversary of Livingstone’s birth. To promote and co-ordinate celebrations for the 200th anniversary of the birth of pioneer missionary, Dr. David Livingstone, www.livingstone200.org has been launched. Along with a Dr. David Livingstone Facebook page.
To co-ordinate the bold new initiative for Reformation Today, which Peter launched at the Reformation Day service at the Huguenot Monument this year, FIRE (Fellowship for International Reformation and Evangelism) movement, a new Facebook page has been set up: Reformation500.
You can see lots of fascinating pictures of the logistical challenges and incredible impact of the over 100 tonnes of Bibles and books freely distributed by Frontline Fellowship throughout Africa this last year on Literature4Africa Facebook.
Sermons are being downloaded many thousands of times every year from our www.livingstonefellowship.co.za website.
Our increasingly popular www.reformationsa.org website is a treasury of hundreds of Peter's historical articles, character studies and lectures. This website has been completely redesigned this year to make it more user friendly to empower your school, study group and congregation.
Our www.thebibleandanimals.org website has also been completely redesigned this year and includes Peter's new PowerPoints against Rhino Poaching and Will Animals Be In Heaven?
Andrea maintains a blog and Daniela is setting up a DH Art Facebook page.
Please help us make our social media and website resources more widely known and pass on, or share, e-updates, slideshares, and links that you know your friends, family and associates will benefit from.
"Declare His glory among the nations,