An update from the Stewart family, intrepid travelers now returned to South Africa’s shores. What has this past month brought about and revealed?
First, the pragmatics:
- We arrived back to South Africa on 3 June
- We spent a week and a half in Pretoria (where we had lived since 2003 before our recent sabbatical in California) visiting and reconnecting with friends there, saying goodbye to several who are headed different directions.
- We spent a week and a half in Port Elizabeth with our friends Sean and Jean Daly. This was the beginning of our exploration in South Africa of what “might be” as far as life and ministry on the ground. We were also able to attend a world cup soccer match!
- We drove to Cape Town on 24 June. We have been exploring neighborhoods, meeting with people, and seeing if God confirms this as the place we are to settle for now.
When we left California, we went with a sense that Cape Town is where God wanted us to be. Our picture of how this was going to look has changed significantly enough over the past year and a half that we wanted to put ourselves on the ground, ready to listen to God again.
We have three big questions we are asking in this discernment process:
- First, is this where we think we should BE – do we hear God’s call, do we feel at home, can we see ourselves flourishing here as a family? Are we hearing God invite us
- Second, what is it that God has for us to DO – what unique opportunities open up, fit well, excite us (especially in light of what we have experienced and learned about ourselves during our recent sabbatical)? We’ve had lots of ideas and people in mind, and we want to see what changes or materializes once here. In other words, God has given us pictures – now how will they become more clear? What things in our hearts will God fan into flames? So, we are beginning to get together with people and ministries to see what we might be part of, partner with, or start here!
- And the final question – how is that going to work pragmatically – who will we work with and for, how will we get paid, etc.? We know that if this is where God wants us, it will mean something new as far as our organizational commitments.
We are stepping into a pretty big unknown for us. But it’s our best attempt to respond to how we hear God’s Spirit’s leading. We trust that God will guide, clarify, and provide as we continue to seek Him. I would also point out that the above questions are in an important order. They have kept us focused on asking questions of HOME first. While staying at a wonderful but temporary (and small) house here in Cape Town, we have been spending lots of time looking at houses and neighborhoods. Place is important as it will be our primary context of love, rest, and ministry. God wants us to “be” here before we can “do” here. Also, we have been paying a lot of attention to our family and being healthy and settled before committing to work-related tasks. We’ve begun to see what life here will be like – places to play, school, and other daily life stuff. I believe God is pleased with these being our priorities and has graciously allowed us to experience quite a bit in such a short amount of time.
As a result, I can tell you that we think the answer to Big Question #1 is YES, Cape Town is where we think God wants us to be for now. Within the next few weeks we will share more on what exactly that means, and our thoughts and explorations of Questions 2 & 3. I can say that some great opportunities (both anticipated and unexpected) have already begun to surface and we are excited for what God will continue to invite us to. In the meantime, we are starting our kids in local school and looking for a house to rent. We haven’t got it all figured out yet, but we’re really excited!
Please pray for us:
- that God would provide the right house in the right neighborhood and that we can move in by the end of July
- for the process of moving our things from Pretoria, getting settled, meeting new neighbors
- for the kids starting in a new school, new routines, new friends
- that God would open our hearts to the people and things He has for us and discernment as we consider our new roles and how this is all going to work
- for protection – spiritual and physical – as we live and share God’s love and ways here
Please be patient with us. We’ll keep you in the loop as much as we can, but there are lots of questions that we are still asking – important questions. With inconsistent internet and unsettled housing, it’s a little hit and miss as far as communication right now, but we’ll do our best to keep you updated as we go.
Please continue contacting, encouraging, supporting, and loving us – all crucially important as we begin something new. We are thankful that YOU would take time to care for us and believe in what God is doing in and through us.
may we all be amazed with God at work,
Arthur for the Stewart5
Arthur & Arthur Paul at the Ivory Coast v. Portugal world cup match
Mairin and Melissa visited the orphanage where Mariah Breitenberg volunteers. Mairin has also recently lost her two front teeth but we didn’t seem to have a great pic…next time
The boys attended a 1-week cricket camp. Both did great and Iain won a special award for his “dedication to the game of cricket”