Good and bad news
Update September 2011
We're glad that the summer vacation period in Holland is over now. With so many away, we get very little news from the home front.
Things are going well with the church and the project. Almost overwhelming. There are so many people coming to the church service that we don't have enough chairs for everyone. The church is full, the two carports are full and there are a lot of people sitting on the grass. It's a problem one might be happy to have in Holland! So we've got to get more chairs, a bigger awning and a better sound system because the people outside can't hear. We're asking other churches and a few bands we know, if they have any equipment they don't use anymore. Someone already gave us a synthesizer. Now we need new speakers for outside and a few stronger microphones. We don't need expensive things, just things that can help us out.
From the new baker we found in Pinetown, we pick up about 500 loaves of bread each day. It's a heavy job. The crates filled with bread are carried and put into the car and trailer. Simon was going there daily but it's too much for him. We've found someone to take his place one day every weekend so that he can have a day off. Also we've asked for help from the township itself. We now have somebody to help Simon with the pickup and deliveries, what will cost us about 50 rand a day.
From the lottery we've received funds to buy a new "bakkie". Noma and Mandla are busy working hard to get their driver's license. As soon as they do, Simon won't have to get the bread loaves anymore. Simon is so busy, especially this time of year when we are working on the year-end report, the yearly budget and the annual funds requests. These are very important things. The more people the more costs we have. We have also received money from the lottery to pay the volunteers a small salary. Everything is going well; it just keeps us extremely busy.
We do have some bad news though. We are going to have to move out of our house again. We've know this for awhile now but only told a few friends and our children. We needed to deal with this privately first. We found out after we got back from Holland. Not good news to come home to. They have tried to sell the house to an investor with us in it, but that didn't work out. The downstairs and the upstairs will be sold as one unit.
This news hit us really hard. We are so happy where we are now. This house is ideal for us. The landlord is giving us the money back from all of the supplies and painting we have used to fix it up. But a new move will also cost money and where will we find the time and energy to go through a move again? We've had to cancel our December vacation plans since December is the month we will have to move out. We had made plans to go camping in Capetown,( we have yet to take a vacation here in South Africa) but maybe another year we can go. Instead it looks like we will be searching for another house and have to start all over again with cleaning, painting ect. At this moment we don't see any solution but we trust that all will turn out according to God's plan. Again we are holding onto Psalm 34 vs. 19-20.
The righteous cry out and the lord hears them, he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Sometimes we don't understand the "why's" but we know one thing, that God can be trusted.
Simon and Anneke Taal
Durban, Feb. 8 2011
Greetings from a sunny and warm South Africa. Thank you for your financial support. This has helped us cover the relocation moving costs. We've moved and since last Sunday are settled now.
What we first thought would to be a disaster, turned out to be a blessing. We've moved into a fantastic house. A house that is suited to our needs. It is about half the size as our former house, but it's beautiful and feels like home. The first time we saw the house , we felt it was the right house for us. What's funny is that we heard later that the house was built by a Dutchman.
We're enjoying the things that normally one would take for granted. We can now sleep with the windows open, all of the lights are working and the walls are in good repair. We feel it's also safer here. The house is located on the first floor. There are walls with electric fencing and cameras are installed. Simon is leaving in two weeks for a men's retreat and I'm not at all afraid of being left by myself. I couldn't say that about the other place. Just being able to look out over the wall, and having our windows without bars is something wonderful to experience again. There are lots of people spending time enjoying the outdoors. You might think, what's the big deal? But to us, it's more freedom and luxury than we've ever had before in South Africa.
After Simon's accident in which the car was declared total loss, we've had trouble transporting supplies. We've been using a small VW polo, but this is not a replacement for a transport vehicle. It's already costs us 4 new clutches. The car is not made for these kinds of heavy loads. We've already received a bit of money for another car, but we're not there yet. We are trusting that it will all turn out for the best, just as our sudden relocation did.
During our move I wasn't able to get to the township very often. Simon took care of the more urgent matters, but the team did a great job in our absence. We have a new volunteer, his name is Mandla. He's been helping us for a while but now he's available full-time. He's an older man and the girls feel safe around him. They feel a bit more at ease, and ask him for advice. Everything has been running well. This is the direction we want to go, this is our vision, that the local people will be able to do things on their own. We need to assist them and take care of the finances.
Simon en Anneke Taal
A new home
Durban, January 2011
We've found a house and the lease has been signed. We're really excited. The house is in a neighborhood called Morningside. For the last 7 years Simon and I have been telling each other how nice it would be to live in that neighborhood. The house suits us perfectly. It's on the first floor, making it a bit safer. The house is surrounded by high walls and electric fences. There are also camera's installed. We're able to see everything that happens outside. The house has never been broken into. What a contrast with the old house that had been broken into 7 times in 7 years. The house is smaller than where we live now. There are no more guest rooms, but we are close enough to a Christian hotel and conference center where our guests can stay. Our new home has a living room, dining room, bedroom , and an office. Downstairs we have a garage and a large storage area where we can put our washer and dryer. We really need this extra storage space because sometimes we receive goods but can't always transport them to the townships right away.
We live close to where we receive the donations and not far from the township. What's even more important, is that we'll be closer to our Italian friends. They've become like a family to us. We celebrate the holidays with them and their friends and we feel totally at home with them.
We don't want to worry about a car or where we're going to live. This new home has been an answer to prayer for us. God says in Psalm 34 verse 17, he will help us out of all of our troubles. I remember waking up and hearing this exact verse in Afrikaans. God is always faithful and is faithful now.
Within a few days you should receive the newsletter. It's already been printed so it was too late to tell you about the care accident.
Simon and Anneke Taal.
Durban, Dec. 2 2010
Psalm 34: 19-20
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them, he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Simon was involved in a car accident in the township last Tuesday. Simon is okay but was very shaken up, as was his passengers. Simon was driving with 3 volunteers, transporting the last of the Thanksgiving packages. As Simon was making a right turn (they drive on the left hand side here) he was hit by a taxi bus coming from the right. The taxi struck Simon's car and rolled down the hill. Both cars are total loss.
The volunteers couldn't believe what happened next. The people in the taxi were taken away as fast as possible so that they would not be able to give account as to what exactly had happened. Everything was set up so Simon would be blamed for the accident. After all, Simon is white, so they assume he was insured. We do in fact have insurance. Were also insured for any legal aspects that might come. But the other driver made a lot of mistakes. He is not insured and has no valid driver's license.
As you can imagine, Simon is very upset. Without a truck to transport supplies, and to help us with our upcoming move, we have a major problem. We don't know how this will affect our finances. This is all very discouraging. Apparently the work we do here is very important because the devil is always trying to put a stop to it. But God is more powerful! And I know he is going to help us through this. Please pray for protection, justice and a replacement for the car. I know we'll get there; it's just very difficult right now.
The good news is, is that we've found a house, but we're still waiting to make it official. As soon as we receive the lease, we'll write more about it.
Simon and Anneke Taal
Durban, Spring 2010
Greetings from the township Mpumalanga in South Africa. Due to unforeseen circumstances, we've not been able to send any emails or news outside of the newsletter. Our apologies. At this moment we're working on a new website. When everything is finished, you will be able to follow the latest developments. We will send an email to let you know when it's up and running.
It's springtime here. That means that yesterday it was 17 degrees and today 32. We need to get used to the weather again. The warm weather is very nice though, thankfully the humidity is not very high yet.
Everything is going well in the township, with the church and with the project. The church and the project cannot be separated from each other. Since being able to receive assistance from Youth with a mission, we've been able to spend time on other things. We've been busy here in South Africa putting more time into fundraising. The project is now receives 400 euro's monthly from an organization called Ubuntu which means: I am because you are. Outside of the 400 euros they give a lot of new clothes. Also another organization, The Container Ministry, gives us lots of goods and supplies. The containers came from Canada, America and Europe. Just this past week we received a shipment from Dorcas Holland. It was so special to be able to receive Dutch items. Things like clothes, shoes, dishes, children's bikes and mattresses with the spring boxes for beds, (they use rocks tor underneath). We've also received many blankets, carpeting and rugs. Two weeks ago through donations from East Coast Radio, we received 250 new blankets!
Lately we have been receiving more food products; these are next to the vegetable and bread donations on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We now also receive, soup, cornmeal, rice and flour. The amount donated is impressive. As far as bread loaves go, this will be a challenge because the factory is moving to Pietermaritzburg for 9 months. The factory here is going to be rebuilt. Buying bread is no option; even the cheapest loaves will cost us about 286 euro a week. Please pray we'll be able to find a solution.
The mornings that the food is available for pick-up, we organize lots of activities because the people have to wait such a long time. The food comes between 10 and 11 a.m., but the people are there much earlier. On these days, Monday and Wednesday, there are men and women's groups organized.
We receive help from Youth with a mission, they are helping us with a few more activities. The men's group will be organized by YWAM until the end of the year. Two men from the township will be trained to be able to lead these groups. Already more than 30 men are taking part. They plan to get together more often. We're trying to involve the organization TREE. This is an organization that sells handmade items from the people in the township.
The women's group is lead by Noma and Hlengiwe. First there's a bible study and then there's room to talk about life in the township. After everyone has left for home, the volunteers leave for house visits in which they visit Aids patients. These ladies work very hard even though they are not getting paid but live from the gifts people donate. Would you please pray for them? Please pray that they will receive a steady income for what they do and mean for others. It seems impossible, but for God , nothing is impossible.
Together the women have opened a bank account and weekly they put 5 rand into it. Unfortunately funerals happen often but no one can pay for them. These women want to help. A few weeks ago someone from the church passed away. The women donated the money they had earned from making handmade beaded jewelry. This is what it means to be part of the church.
The pregnancy center (the Dignity Center) will start this month with a course for pregnant girls and women. This will be a weeklong course. At first we thought weekly meetings, every Monday, but we changed our minds, thinking that a whole week would make more of an impact. The different subjects will be: Prenatal care, growth of the unborn baby, and HIV prevention pre/post natal care. During these lessons, medical professionals will be present.
The volunteers are also following English lessons. They are doing very well. Hlengiwe is now able to translate during the church service.
Because our organization is growing, and we have more people involved, the costs have gone up. Prices have risen. The euro was 14 and it's now 9. We need more financial support, especially for ourselves, because now most of the funds go to the project.
If you'd like to support us, there are two ways for Holland:
Through our bank account: giro 1371964 Simon en Anneke Taal in Durban Zuid-Afrika
If it needs to be tax deductable, giro 6200 or ABN AMRO 184.108.40.2061.
Youth with a mission, Amsterdam, directed to Simon and Anneke Taal in South Africa
In South Africa and other countries:
FIRST NATIONAL BANK 318 Tara Road, Bluff, Durban Branch Code: FNB - BLUFF – 250135 Swift Address: FIRNZAJJ Account Number: 62154810595 Account Name: Children Of Destiny At Home
We'll write another newsletter in December and we hope that the website will be finished soon.
Simon and Anneke Taal