Responding to the HIV/AIDS Crisis in Africa

Let me explain what we are planning and praying about as our part to in responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. The closest "township" to us is just a two minute drive away - this is where we will train workers for planting churches in Africa and learning to work in the African context. It is called Massiphumelele. There are about 20,000 residents. 27% of the people are HIV positive, the highest rates of HIV of any community in this region of South Africa. Most of the people in Massiphumelele live in very small tin shacks.

One of the greatest challenges facing young people here in South Africa is hopelessness. There are three things that cause hopelessness in Africa: disease, poverty and not knowing Jesus. One teenage girl from the township, age 14, told a local pastor this story when he asked her how she felt about being pregnant at the age of 14. She told him she looked around at other peoples lives and saw that the only work available was being a servant to a white family. She had no hope of not living in a tin shack or to escape the poverty. She said she didn't want to spend the rest of her life being a domestic worker earning menial wages (being a servant for a white family). She heard that sex made you feel good, so she decided she would have all the sex she could, then get AIDS, with the "hope" she would die before she was 20. Why? So she wouldn't have to live in a tin shack and work as a domestic worker all her life.

I am deeply passionate about responding to this type of poverty, disease and hopelessness. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by it, but we must respond. We know it is what Jesus would do if he was here.

We are developing a sustainable model for responding to the AIDS crisis. We run a baby house for AIDS orphans in Mozambique, and are planning on starting a second house in '07. We have decided not to multiply an indefinite number of baby houses, even though they have an important role in helping in crisis situations where a baby will probably die if we don't take in the baby.

What we are going to do in the future is identify the African "grannies" who are the care-givers for AIDS orphans in the villages and townships of Africa, and work with them. When the parents die, the "grannies" are the ones who end up caring for the babies and children, often their own grandchildren. We will come along beside them and train them about HIV/AIDS, how and why it is important to give the ARV drugs (ARV's = anti-retro-viral drugs), make sure they have access to the drugs, provide them with food to feed the babies and children, and then work with the village and community leaders as they help the grannies. We have plans to develop a micro-lending bank and start small businesses to create jobs as well. Three young entrepreneurs who volunteer with us are giving the next ten years to develop small business models to under gird this strategy.

A key to sustain this strategy is to start small, simple churches beside the grannies to support them and carry on the care our full time workers will give. In this way we will be working with African social structures that are already in place, instead of creating Western models that are dependent on outside money and finance, like big orphanages.

The greatest need to implement this strategy is for dedicated workers and finances to start things rolling. Please pray with us as we seek to put this strategy into practice. Perhaps you would like to help?

Three Incredible Days

It's hard to put into words what has happened in the last three days. But I must try!

Sally and I just returned an hour ago from three wonderful days with our All Nations leaders from around South Africa and Mozambique. There are are a little more than 50 staff and volunteers working with All Nations in this part of the world. They are involved in 21 different church plants and some amazing ministries to the poor. The churches range in size from a new church in Maputo, Mozambique of three young men who are being discipled in a "simple" church, to a thriving house church that has just sent out four teams to the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent.

We came away from these three days tremendously encouraged because of the unity between our workers, the vision they have for discipleship and reaching the nations, the maturity level of our leaders, and the passion they carry for Jesus. After the team that went to Lebanon (there were 32 people on the team divided up into five locations around the country) gave a report on their time of ministering to children, counseling and praying with parents who were traumatized by the war, doing construction on a lone church building in the Hezbollah dominated south of Lebanon, we had an awesome time of prayer for that war torn country. There were many tears shed, and some people who made commitments to go back full time. We have been invited to start a full time leadership training program (CPx) in Lebanon and we are taking steps to accept the invitation.

We also spent time discussing and strategizing how to respond to the AIDS crisis in Africa and how that works with our vision to build church planting movements. We agreed that we must respond to the widows and orphans who are left behind when mothers and fathers with AIDS die. This often means there is no hope of work, food or medicines for those left behind. We have adopted a new strategy as our main thrust of caring for AIDS impacted widows and orphans. That is to support the grandmothers and grandfathers left behind who are caring for their grandchildren, to train them about AIDS, get them food, and help them qualify for ARV's (anti-retroviral drugs). We will train long term workers to equip the "grannies" who are left to care for the children, enlist the help of the village heads or local social agencies and humanitarian organizations, and follow up with church planting teams to win and gather a supportive community of believers who will gather around them. In this way we are working through the existing African social structures, co-operating with the village and township leaders as they seek to care for their own people, and start small churches in each community that will carry on the work of loving those in need.

We will continue to operate baby houses for crisis situations where there is no one to take care of an orphaned child, but we feel in the long run we can do much more by working through the existing African social structures instead of creating new structures (orphanages) that are totally dependent on outside money and expertise.

Of course, the key to all of this is mobilizing and equipping workers who will lay down their lives to bring the good news of Jesus in word and deed. Pray with us for those workers, will you? Our commitment is to train them, partner with local churches to send them, and coach and care for them as they serve on the front lines.

Pictures From Our Retreat

Would you like to visit the recent retreat through viewing a few pictures? Click here to view the pictures

Thank you for your interest of our work in this wonderful continent. God loves Africa... and so do we!

Yours,

Floyd and Sally McClung

Similar, But Different

Living in South Africa now, I've found that many things are similar......yet they're different.  There are still traffic jams - but they're on the left hand side of the road.  Floyd is doing great at driving on the left.  I'm still adjusting!  One very big difference is the unusual items, or large quantities of items,  you'll see strapped to the top of cars.  It sometimes looks like a whole household of furniture, boxes, mattresses, or animals are on top of a car.

There are grocery stores, but things have different names - or they're in a very different place in a store.  Several times I've thought I was buying one thing, but it was actually something quite different.  I looked and looked for poppy seeds one day, and was finally told they are with health food!

There are similar looking electrical appliances, but they have HUGE plugs.  I'm talking 3 or 4 inch square plugs!!!  And then there are 2 sizes of prongs on these huge plugs.  I seem to always be searching for the right plug and right place to plug in.

Many homes have a pool, but they're quite small.  They're called "splash pools."  You jump in and splash when it gets unbearably hot!

We live in a valley - and the clouds keep changing directions.  I'll look out and see them moving east.  Then, an hour later, they'll be moving west.  It's confusing to me......I just hope the clouds know what they're doing.

The home where we're house-sitting is near a game reserve.  It's fun, but very different, to look out the window each morning and see Cape Buffalo, Impala, Blesbuck, and other African animals.  I love it!

The money, of course, is different.  I'm still getting used to all the coins.  Once or twice when there's been a long line behind me, I've just held out my hand and let the clerk take the coins that were needed.  That seemed easier than having the people in line behind me all irritated as I tried to figure it out.

Similar, yet different.  All these different things sure make me glad that "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever."

We Speak the Same Language?

Whenever we've moved to a new country or location, I've learned that there are always cultural adjustments.  I was expecting that in our move to South Africa.  But I am surprised at how many English language adjustments we've had.

I was grateful in our move to Cape Town to know that English is the predominant language spoken here.  Some parts of the country speak mostly Afrikaanse, and in the smaller towns there are many tribal languages spoken.  I've never been good at learning new languages, and at age 58........well, let's just say I wasn't jumping up and down at the prospect of starting over and learning a new one!

So, knowing we would be speaking English was a relief and blessing.  But here I am, in English,  learning a "new" language.  Here are some fun examples:

- robot: a traffic light

- waitron: the new p.c. word for waiter or waitress

- to let: for rent

- lounge: not a sleazy bar, but the living room in the house

- braai:  to barbeque

- bond: a mortgage

- garden: the yard

- is it?: instead of "really?"

- wendy house: a small shed in the yard

- scullery: a "2nd" kitchen for washing the dishes

- bakkie: a truck

- just now: later

- taxi: a minivan crammed with, seemingly, as many people as possible

- lilo: an air mattress

- pleasure: "you're welcome!"

I'm sure there are many more.  I'm discovering new ones every day.  Please pray for my learning of this new language. :}

Sure makes you glad that God understands us all!!  "The Lord has heard......!" Psalms 6:9

Searching for a Home

A week ago I wrote to quite a few friends about a possible house for us to rent or buy here in South Africa. We asked for wisdom and guidance about a particular house. We received a clear answer the next day. The owner of the house we were interested in called us and said she wanted more money, so we said no thanks. We were disappointed, but we had asked for God's direction, and we trusted that he was guiding us. The day after that we heard from two of the people we asked to pray with us. They said they didn't feel at all peaceful about that particular house, so that encouraged us.

I feel very conflicted searching for a comfortable house when so many people in South Africa live in tin shacks. But when I pray I feel God's pleasure and peace, especially when I pray with Sally in mind. Sally is on a journey with the Lord about which home we live in. She takes this process very seriously and has a deep sense of God's desire to provide a home she likes and can live in happily for years to come. I agree with her.

She has prayed for years for the opportunity to live by the water. Sally grew up on an island so it would mean a lot to her to have that blessing from God. She doesn't make demands of the Lord. She is not testing God in any way. Just honestly expressing her heart to her Heavenly Father ( to follow Sally's journey here in South Africa please visit her page on the tab above - her most recent entry about God's care for the "little things" will give you insight into her heart, and more importantly, insight into God's heart for the "little things" in our lives).

We would like to find a home that we can rent with an option to purchase, a home that we can live in long term. Actually, we would like to purchase a house now, but we don't qualify for more than a 50% mortgage until our permanent resident permit is granted. So that means renting.

Unless God does a miracle

What Was Lost Is Found

On a recent ministry trip to Port Elizabeth, on the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa, I lost something.  It wasn't a valuable thing, but it was very special to me.  It had sentimental value, and I had worn it for many years.  It was just a small, inexpensive, not very significant to most people thing.........an earring.  But I was just "sick."

I didn't cry, but I felt like it for days.  I looked and looked.......had our friends in Port Elizabeth look......and no earring.  I wondered why it "hit" me so hard, and why I felt so sad over something so seemingly trivial.

As I was praying about it one day, I began to get understanding.  We have gone thru so much change in the last few months - in fact, for the last couple years.  I guess my heart was beginning to get overwhelmed with it.  The small, simple, little earring was the symbol of all that has been "lost" - things that we have laid down, given up, and left behind.

I was able to pray into these things, and come to a deeper level of peace and security in my heart.  It was actually a very precious process and time of communicating with the Lord.  My heart was strengthened.

But I still missed my special earring that I wore very often.  A couple days later, I found it!!  It was caught in the lining of a piece of clothing that had been in the same suitcase with my jewelry.  The tears I didn't shed when I lost it, I now shed because I found it!

I've always believed, and taught, that God cares about every aspect of our lives.......that nothing is too small or trivial to bring to Him.  The awesome God, creator of the universe, cares about me, my daily life, the ups and downs I go thru, and all the little details that are important to me.  This was just another personal, very special example of that.  It made me love Him even more.

I know God rejoices over the lost sheep that was found (Luke 15:3-6) - something of great value!  And I kinda think He rejoiced with me over finding the lost earring.......and what He did in my heart in the process......too.

Good News From Prison

I received this wonderful testimony concerning Earl, the brother who chose to follow Jesus last February in the maximum security prison:

"A quick testimony is that Earl lead someone to the Lord in his cell on Sunday night, and then another 11 guys at a bible study he lead yesterday morning!! I had the privilege of being there and it was simply amazing. There were 11 unbelievers and 7 believers in attendance. The lesson was about the nature of the wide road vs the narrow road, and at the end when he asked if anyone wants to give their lives to Jesus, all 11 unbelievers stood up as one... Earl was almost speechless at God's goodness and so we left with everyone in the room being saved!!"

Please pray for Earl and the new brothers in the Lord, and for Maritza is discipling Earl.

Creepy, Crawly, Wormy Things

I'm not a fan of bugs! Creepy, crawly things give me creepy, crawly feelings. Someday I'd like to ask God exactly what He had in mind when He created some of these things.

So I wasn't exactly thrilled when I found we'd arrived in South Africa in the "season" of a very creepy, crawly little worm. They are everywhere! They're dark colored, wiggly little things. We are house-sitting in a home built on four levels. They are on the lowest level.......and all the way to the top. I often wonder how something so little can crawl up so high. Our dog, Sossy, has eaten a couple of them and promptly threw up. I have the same feeling just looking at them!

And then there's snakes! We heard they were around. We were looking at a house for sale the other day. I looked out in the back yard, and there was a good sized black snake crawling across the yard. I'm told it was a puff adder. Needless to say, that certainly put me off that house!

Floyd keeps reminding me that this is Africa. I keep saying I don't like creepy, crawly things.

"God made.....everything that creeps upon the ground. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:25 I think God and I disagree on this one!

A Different Thanksgiving

While our friends and family were eating turkey dinners, watching Macy's parade, and arguing over football games.......we had a different kind of "celebrating" here in South Africa. There was nowhere to go for turkey and dressing, but we decided to take an American friend to lunch. We went to a quaint cafe at a vineyard nearby.......nestled up in the hills with a view of the ocean. We enjoyed the fellowship, and agreed that we have so much to be thankful for!

It's only been 8 months since we returned from a visit to South Africa and made the decision to move here. We would have never dreamed that our home would sell in less than 24 hours, that we could sort everthing/get packed up/sell things/and be out of our home in about 5 weeks. We would never have thought that we could get everything done for moving internationally......including the very involved visa application process......and be back here in South Africa in 7 months.

After we returned from our lunch, a neighbor called. She's an American lady married to a South African man. She had made pumpkin pie and had 2 pieces for us. Such a special touch to our first Thanksgiving away from the U.S.! We enjoyed every yummy bite. :}

I couldn't help but think with nostalgia about previous family Thanksgiving celebrations, but I couldn't be sad because my heart was filled with such gratitude. God is so good and has been so faithful to us!

"I will magnify Him with thanksgiving." Psalms 69:30

Baptizing

Baptizing men who have been transformed by the power of God is am awesome privilege. It has been like a kiss from the Lord for our arrival here in South Africa. The three pictures of the baptism capture people's faces but not the emotions we experienced. The three pictures are of me baptizing Earl, one of the inmates and a leader on the church behind bars, the entire group of guys who were baptized, and the courtyard where we held the baptismal service, right in the center of "maximum", as it is called.

Earl's BaptismThe CrowdThe Group

In the Middle of a Maze

I've always been a little claustrophobic. I don't like small, closed-in spaces. I like bright, cheery, open, airy spaces. I've never panicked in a small, tight space (doing an MRI was challenging!), but I feel like someone is squeezing and pressing me when I'm in one. We've sometimes lived in very small spaces (especially in the inner city in Amsterdam), and God's grace was there for that season.......but it wasn't easy on my sense of space.

We are on a journey to find a home here in South Africa. Houses are expensive to both buy and rent.......so we've looked at lots of them, trying to find a bargain, and trying to find what the Lord has just for us.

We've looked at so many that I'm beginning to feel like I'm in a giant maze of houses!!! They're all around me......pressing in on me. It's hard to see the way out of the maze. I realize we're making a decision that will affect the rest of our lives. This will be our home for a long time. So many options / decisions / questions / concerns....... the maze just twists and turns. It's hard to see the "answer," the end of the maze.

As I was praying about this earlier in the week, the Lord gave me a special scripture from Isaiah 42:16:"I will lead the blind in a way that they know not, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I will do, and I will not forsake them."

How precious when the Lord lights the path, and shows the straight way ahead. I'm trusting Him to do that in the maze we're in. I'm confident in His faithfulness. He is so good! He never forsakes us.......and He doesn't get claustrophobic!

Miracles Come in Lots of Ways!

We recently submitted our application for our permanent residence permit to the Dept. of Home Affairs here in South Africa. There were a couple of significant obstacles to this process. Because of these obstacles, there was a possibility that the application wouldn't be accepted into the system for processing now. As it is, it will take 12-24 months for the process. If we had to wait to submit the application, it could take several years. It seemed like the Lord put us with just the "right people," and our immigration lawyer had such wisdom in saying just the "right things." In only and hour or so we left the office with our application "in" and the process started! It was truly quite amazing. When we looked at the crowds and lines, we knew we had just had a miracle! (A week earlier some people had become so angry and frustrated with the difficult process, that a brawl had broken out!)

Our next stop was the shipping company that is organizing our furniture and belongings coming into the country. We received word a week ago that the ship carrying our container will arrive on Christmas day - a nice gift. :} When we walked into the offices of the shipping company, a manager greeted us and introduced himself. He had read some of Floyd's books, and said he would do everything he could personally to make the process go smoothly for our belongings to clear customs and be delivered to us. This can be a difficult and confusing process. The Lord sent us a "man of peace" to help us along! Another wonderful miracle!

"....I will make straight all his ways." Isa. 45:13 God has been doing that in truly miraculous ways! We are very grateful.

Learning to Live in South Africa

nicefloydandsallysmall.jpgThe picture of Sally and me was taken last week while we speaking at Harvest Church in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. We had a great week. We also got to know Ray and Cwyati, a lovely couple who are praying about becoming part of All Nations.

Sally and I are loving South Africa. We spent this week doing the practical things we have to do to live here. One of our adventures was going to the very famous Department of Home Affairs to apply for a permanent resident permit. That are some horror stories floating around about how long, hard and difficult it is to go through the red tape at Home Affairs. In fact, the week before there was a fight between some officials and someone who couldn't take any more delays. Chairs were flying and people were throwing punches in the waiting room!

floydsallyandfriendssasmall.jpgWe also visited the ship handlers to start the process of clearing the container bringing our furniture through customs. The manager was a believer who had read some of my books. They gave us a very warm welcome and made us feel at home and certainly in very capable hands. The container is scheduled to arrive on Christmas day!

The rest of the week has been spent looking at houses to rent. Houses are very small here - our home of 2000 square feet in Kansas City is considered a huge home here, on the luxury side of things. Pray we will find the right home! We would love to have a home office for both Sally and me and extra space for guests and entertaining.

Thanks for your love and prayers!