October 2021 Tony & Laurie-Ann Copple Update
We Copples continue to nurture and encourage children and teens from two townships as much as we can. Covid-19 changed the character of how we minister, where close contact is limited in groups. We ‘stop for the one’ with the homeless who live under our apartment balcony, and continue mentoring our teen leaders.
We lead a small group with C in the OVD township, although we plan to move that group into a nearby library when the lockdown level is raised to level two. We will be back with worship music and colouring sheets for the attending kids.
[OVD Mailbox Club colouring.]
[C and group listen as Laurie-Ann teaches.]
We continue working in the Kids' clubs in Riverview and Avian Park with our colleagues from Teachers of the Nations. M is an enthusiastic worshipper and loves to share with other local teens about his experiences with us. Another girl, T, finally accepted Jesus through Tony sharing his story. Since then, she’s a completely different child, who is eager for more of Jesus. They all love singing with us.
[Copples' worship at Riverview Club.]
L-A published her second devotional colouring book, “Colouring with Jesus 2,” which has 58 images, scriptures, and devotional stories in English and Afrikaans. We are still working on a book signing for both books – subject to approval by the local Mountain Mill Shopping Centre. The books are at a local independent Christian bookstore as well as a Robertson winery, run by our Iris Western Cape leaders. Otherwise, L-A has sown her colouring sheets for free into various Iris bases in Africa, and the US as well as churches and children’s ministries in many countries.
[Tony and Laurie-Ann with Colouring with Jesus books 1 and 2.]
When we return to Canada (hopefully October 2021), we plan to help care for L-A’s dad in Toronto. Home Affairs in South Africa have had considerable delays processing our visas, which is delaying our return. We need the visas/passports to assure that all will be smooth sailing with our return journey (on the South African side).
We still work with our teen leaders through relief, prayer, Bible study, and the Youth Alpha course. We successfully finished the course with A, and finally were able to baptize her in a local spa pool. We needed to find a pool that was heated, so this was perfect for her public profession of faith. The event was attended by our My Father’s House supervisor Jan, and A’s mom, Tersia. We then began Youth Alpha with C, since we thought it may refresh her in basic Gospel truth, as well as teach her in areas new to her faith. She originally came to faith during our early Mailbox Club training in 2018.
Our Relief work continues, where we help in a variety of situations from family emergencies (food, health, school), stop-gaps (SASSA grants, paycheques), to spiritual/emotional support.
We help the teen leaders by providing items like uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, power, and food. It is in this context that we act not only as relief workers but as spiritual parents. When the teens come to our apartment, it is an opportunity to not only share a meal, but to model our faith in a laid-back way, and to show them a normal relationship between spouses. Only one of them has two parents living at home, but home is so toxic she has opted to leave and live with her aunts. The kids also benefit from our Wi-Fi, which is needed for school communications.
B is still waiting for results on her matric make-up exams that she took in late June. Once she receives word that she has passed these exams, she can be released to go to the Cape Point University of Technology in Economics. Meanwhile, she and her best friend have part-time jobs working in a take-out restaurant. She continues to see us, especially after a shift, to relax, have a coffee, and share her day with us. Then we either share a meal, or Tony takes her home. She’s had several emergencies this past month, but she perseveres with prayer, and guidance through L-A or Tony. We are determined to see her into university, without being dragged home to provide an income stream. We are there for such a time as this.
Meanwhile, we shared the Iris Global movie “Compelled by Love” with B, and she wanted to receive more ‘Iris DNA’ by reading and hearing more of Heidi and Rolland Baker’s story. We invited her to the local Iris Western Cape base, where we stayed during our extended outreach after Harvest School. She shared that this was a place where you could feel Holy Spirit’s presence, which was wonderful after coming from a dangerous township, where she lives. B also was L-A’s translator for Colouring with Jesus 2.
[B pomegranate montage.]
[B translating CQJ2 into Afrikaans.]
As a treat, we decided to take A to Hillsong and to enjoy the sea before it got too cold. She had only viewed the sea once before, and this time, she was not shy to walk right into the waves, despite being fully dressed. She enjoyed her special day (which we used to do with the other girls, but this was her turn).
[A sees the sea montage.]
For some time, we used a line drawing as the ‘logo’ for IWC base on the top of our newsletters. L-A finally completed the coloured drawing and gifted it to our IWC supervisors, Johan and Marie Fourie. We had a special time, and even shared a song that L-A had written to thank Jesus for healing her, called “Thank you, Jesus.”
[Gifting the Fouries' with the Iris Cape Westerm logo.]