Nov-Dec 2012 African Newsletter

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Now that the New Year is underway and the latest African Newsletter has been mailed, we can now forward that report to those whose physical address we do not have. Some may receive it in the regular mail, but many do not, especially our friends in South Africa. It is too costly to mail from here. Therefore, we are sending the report via email. This keeps many folks up-to-date on where we've been and what we've been doing the last 2 months. God bless all our friends and dear ones who encourage us and tell us you are praying for us. Your cards and notes to both Jerry and our grandson, Joey, have been received and are appreciated. Thank you so much. During his rehab and recuperation from knee surgery, Jerry hasn't done as much office work as usual. It has been a very painful time for him to get back-on-track with responding to emails and helping with reports. However, he is slowly recovering. Joey has visited the orthodontist and his regular dentist several times, in addition to the Oral Surgeon for the surgeries on his mouth. He now has braces to help the new teeth cutting through to appear in the right places and to pull everything together to fill the spaces. The tumors were not malignant but the Oral Surgeon said they could return and be different the next time. Joey must see the Surgeon monthly to check for new growth of the cysts (or tumors as some medical folks call them). We are grateful for all the prayers for Joey (and for Jerry during his recovery). We are trying to catch up and to plan the work in Africa for the next 12 months. The graciousness of God has seen us through a rough time and we are thankful. Ann, for the Hoggs of Africa The African Report Newsletter: Jerry V. Hogg, 462 Amanda Circle, Knoxville, TN 37922 Email: November-December 2012 Sponsored by: Sunset Church of Christ, Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, TX 79410 THE GOODNESS OF GOD Whew! Glad that is over – the hustle and bustle of Christmas always creates stressful times. Enjoyable as it is, we find ourselves out and about a lot, finding just the perfect gift for loved ones, baking, cooking, cleaning, decorating and a host of other activities. As I only returned home the 21st of December from the Rehab Center (where I had therapy twice a day after knee replacement surgery), most of this work was left up to someone else to do all that running about. The ol’ body just gets tired sometimes and needs rest. I have been forced to rest a lot lately. A POSITIVE OUTLOOK We could talk about stressful days, the sad economy, the bad crime wave in most African countries (as well as here at home), poor health, politics, or any number of subjects that are depressing, but I personally would rather tell you about all the wonderful things that have happened in the Lord’s church in Africa and the goodness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It has been sweet seeing some very good old favorites here at Christmas time, like "Home Alone" and "Sound of Music," and listening to all the lovely Christmas songs this year. Knowing that most of the world, especially the Christian world, is focusing on the event that brought God Himself to this earth, in the form of a sweet and tiny baby boy is wonderful. It was like no other birth in history! There has never been any other like it – a Savior and Redeemer born into a lowly family, nurtured by his earthly parents and worshiped by Shepherds and Wise Men bearing gifts. As sinful man, how blessed we are to know of those events here in the 21st Century! CHRISTMAS IN AFRICA As we learned back in 1969 when we spent our very first Christmas away from home and family, it is different there on the Dark Continent! Instead of expecting a White Christmas, or even daring to wish for one, most families there take their annual leave and head to the beach. Remember, the seasons are opposite, so we spent a very HOT Christmas Day in Boksburg, South Africa that year. That was in the days when most missionaries went to the mission field for a 3-year stint, so we missed Christmas at home at least twice during that era, coming home in October of the 3rd year and enjoyed special times with our family here in the States. Being young and adventurous, I guess, made it all bearable for us at that time in our lives and we adapted to life and conditions very well in South Africa and fell in love with the people we came to know and appreciate over the years. Living in Boksburg that first couple of years (and later Benoni, which are very close in proximity), we always had several American families nearby to spend such times with, some missionaries and teachers at the Bible College, and some vocational or professional workers with an American firm. As we got acquainted with those families later, we became part of the group, but that first year working with a small church in Boksburg, we were pretty much alone. Most of the other Americans traveled for gospel meetings and speaking appointments, took their family to visit grandma and supporting churches in the States, or spent their annual leave away from home at a vacation spot somewhere in Africa for the month of December. All public and private schools end the 30th of November, so it’s the perfect time to travel. We didn’t know that the first year because our son was only a year old and not in school. Therefore, it came as a shock to learn that practically everybody we knew was going away! South African Friends to the Rescue! When an invitation came from a Boksburg member to spend Christmas with their family, we were most glad. But, we still didn’t know what to expect. Yes, it was different alright, but taught us so much of the local customs and manners of the South African culture, we have never forgotten it, and sing their praises to this day. The late Auntie Peggy Myburgh was the lady who invited us for Christmas. She lived in Benoni, but actually attended the church in Boksburg where I was preaching at the time. Her husband was not a Christian back then, but her daughter and family were members in Benoni. Some of the customs were new to us, though we’d been in SA for almost a year. They threw a watermelon in the swimming pool to cool, and of course, the kids pushed it around and had fun with it until late afternoon when we cut and ate that delicious melon. At the luncheon table, outside of course since it was so hot, there were party hats and "crackers" at each place-setting. After grace was offered, but before eating the most delicious meal of turkey and ham cold cuts with a variety of salads and South African iced fruit cake for dessert, we all pulled the ends of the crackers to see what small toy or trinket popped out. That was fun! Then in the afternoon, all the men and children went swimming in the pool, even our 18-month-old son, Ricky, with his water wings and a tubal vest, while the ladies had tea and visited. Families there don’t give their kids an abundance of gifts, only one or two, and small packages for the guests. What a joyous day of being with friends, who in later years became like family! WORKING IN A FOREIGN LAND Missionaries go to the field for a variety of reasons. Some feel compelled to fulfill their life-long dream, some because their folks were missionaries and they were born overseas, while others have a need to break domestic ties and gain independence to do things their way. I don’t think we fitted into either of those categories. Since our baptism in 1963, I wanted to preach and had often stated, "I want to be a missionary!" When the Karns church in Knoxville, TN said they would sponsor us, that settled it. While studying at the Sunset School of Preaching in Lubbock, TX back in 1966-1968, contact with at least 2 former missionaries to South African (Tex Williams & Abe Lincoln), persuaded us to choose South Africa to do our work for the Lord. In the early days, we fulfilled our mission by teaching individuals one-on-one, in classrooms, homes, and by using tent evangelism. Countless numbers were baptized and congregations begun in many remote places. As the years passed and we aged, we saw the need for training others to duplicate our earlier efforts. Replacing ourselves on the field became most important. My work with the Southern Africa Bible College has shown us that training local workers who know the culture and languages are the ones who will take the church of our Lord to a higher level than we could ever have dreamed. Today, we occupy a place on campus to teach, train and encourage others to do as we have done and become trainers themselves. Many are doing that. All but 2 of the faculty at SABC (Al Horne & Fred Bergh) have gone through the 3-year program and most have gone on to acquire higher degrees of learning. We feel this is what Paul meant in II Timothy 2:2 when he said, "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." That motto is noted on a huge banner above the platform in the main hall at SABC and is our marching orders. LOOKING BACK AT 2012 Our aspirations back in February this year were to return once more to Benoni, South Africa, and to the Bible College, to teach and preach as often as possible and remain there until after the Lectureship, returning home the 18th of October. As many of you know through our newsletters and reports, due to a situation beyond our control it became necessary for us to come back to the States in April for our grandson’s surgery. When cysts (or tumors) were discovered in Joey’s mouth, we were advised to "get him to the States immediately," which we did. After extensive surgery in May, we went back to SA in June and stayed until October, after the SABC Lectureship. He has had another surgery in November and is slowly recovering from that. I also had surgery to have my right knee replaced the 29th of November and am still having therapy. Being 2 years older and with a pace maker now, it hasn’t been as easy as it was the first time in November 2010, when I had the left knee replaced. Before surgery, Larry York had set up for me several speaking appointments, which I was glad to fulfill. I also traveled to Middle TN two days before Christmas to speak at one of our supporting churches. However, on the way home, I found that I was not as fit as I thought I was and became very ill. I think I gave Larry, and also Ann when we got home, a fright because I was not doing so good. God in His goodness brought me through that, and I am ever so grateful for His watchful care. Perhaps we tried to get back in the saddle before my body was ready for it! NEWS FROM THE FIELD Almost daily we receive emails about many being taught and baptized by graduates who have scattered throughout Africa. Meetings, combined services and lectureships are planned in various locations during these warm days there. In this way, I feel my work goes on. An important Summer Lectureship was planned in December in the city of East London on the eastern coast of the Indian Ocean. We heard the attendance to that event was very good. We received lots of emails from folks who attended. They were very encouraged and uplifted in the Lord. ****************** Our plans are indefinite right now, but we hope to be able to return to South Africa in late February or early March this next year. Your prayers are welcomed for mine and Joey’s complete recovery, and your financial support is needed to see us through another year. We hope to soon be able to travel and speak at many churches in the States who share a love for mission efforts, and are willing to become full-time partners with us in the Gospel. Pray for us as we continue to work for Him. – Jerry & Ann Hogg & Joey Whited