Jan-Feb-Mar 2013 African Newsletter

The African Report
Newsletter:  Jerry V. Hogg, 462 Amanda Circle, Knoxville, TN 37922       
Email: jvhogg@charter.net   
January-February-March 2013

Sponsored by:   Sunset Church of Christ, Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, TX 79410


After all the holidays, surgeries and rehabilitation are over, we are well into the year, anticipating our return to South Africa on 13 March.  It has not been easy getting through this period of time, doing the usual holiday activities, while meeting many appointments for therapy, doctor follow-ups, plus going to many places telling of the work we do in Africa.  In between these times, I have been able to teach an adult class at the West End church on Wednesday nights this quarter, using lessons from the Book of Psalms.  I have been able to be in town most Wednesdays, except 2 or 3 when my dear friend and co-worker, Bill Elliott, has taken the class.  Teaching here at home has been such a joy for me.  But, then, I enjoy teaching wherever I am!

The South Knoxville church in Knoxville, TN helped us collect and disburse funds in 2010 to purchase a much-needed bus for the Southern Africa Bible College (SABC).  Folks in South Africa also gave money for this project, making it possible for SABC to buy a 10-seater bus to transport the students to and from church services at Benoni, and for out-of-town campaigns. One Sunday morning in January this year, our beautiful bus was stolen from the Benoni church parking lot during Bible Class.  Despite having a tracking system, it vanished without a trace!  The security company was notified right away, but they have been unable to locate its whereabouts. Our replacement insurance did not quite cover the cost to purchase another one, and required additional funding. Again, South African Christians came to the rescue and donated funds to get a new bus.  It was a worthwhile cause. We must provide transportation for the students.


Going into our 47th year of training was an exciting time.  Nine new students enrolled for the First Year Class.  However, one second-year student had to be sent home due to Visa problems.  Though they tried, SABC staff were unable to clear his Visa extension to remain in SA to study.  That happens sometimes.  I met the new group upon after our arrival on the 14th of March.


Bill Elliott and I are contacting many places in Southern Africa to visit during his 2-month stay in SA.  Most schools began their school year in January and that means they are ready for their first “break” sometime in March or early April.  However, we have been able to arrange teaching appointments at some schools before their break and some afterwards.  In between, we plan to visit a number of congregations in and around Benoni, Cape Town, East London and Venda during the school holiday breaks.  We must just adapt to schedules already set before our arrival.  Bill arrived 2 days after Ann and I did, and is staying at Chris & Helen Burke’s home, as he usually does.  They have some chalet-type cottages built out-back for guests, and enjoy having company, especially the Elliott families!


As you might guess, our “home-away-from-home” was awaiting our arrival on 14 March.  Some dear soul at the school (probably Beverly Lothian, SABC dorm supervisor and Jill-of-all-trades!) had the place cleaned for us.  We really appreciated that.  We moved the 4 big suitcases and 2 carry-ons right in and began unpacking.  We learned straightaway (as South Africans say) that some work had been done to the old house.  One of the students had installed an old white wooden wardrobe (which we had looked at last year and approved) into one bedroom.   They also moved the stand-alone varnished wardrobe that Joey had used last year into our main bedroom, giving Ann and me more storage space for our clothes.

     By the way, Joey did not return with us this year.  After learning of his medical/dental problems last year, we could not get insurance for him here, also, we were unable to get him situated in school.  The few months he was with us last year he had a tutor two days a week.

     It was sad for us walking into the ol’ house under the Chestnut Tree, remembering every little detail of when Joey was here.  His “tire-swing-on-a-rope” was cut down from the Chestnut Tree last year in hopes of getting a bigger sized tire installed.   However, we never were quite able to get that done for Joey.  He loved that swing!  Then, there was his bedroom that now stands empty, except for his small bed, desk and the newly-installed white wardrobe.  We’re using it to store some winter-wear, coats and sweaters.  There are many memories here.  We are often reminded of Joey and miss him a lot.

    At the time of our departure from the States the 13th of March, Joey was staying with his paternal grandparents and happy as a lark.  We don’t know his future yet, but hope and pray he will get the medical and dental help he needs, and settle down in a new school somewhere for much-needed education.  We love him dearly, our two children and all our grandchildren very much.

While we were in the States this time (28 October to 13 March), a member at the West End church got us into watching this wonderful, clean-language, Christian-based show on the A&E channel.  Ann, especially, loves it.  She flips through and watches every show that is set regularly on Wed. nights at 10:00 (EST)  and every rerun.  We’ve found articles about them in the Christian Chronicle and other church-related newspapers, and learned that Willie Robertson (CEO of the Duck Commander, as the company is called) star of the show, has visited a number of Christian universities and schools, including Harding University and Boyd Buchanan School in Chattanooga where Ann’s 2 nephews and her niece have attended.  One is still a student there.

    One day she was walking through our local Wal-mart’s Store at the Turkey Creek center in Knoxville, and lo-and-behold,  there was a bigger-than-life photo poster of Willie!  She went up to that poster and “felt” of his long, flowing beard.   She is now a real fan!   Never showed any interest in sports figures or movie stars before, not even Elvis Presley.  She was a teenager when he became popular, but she didn’t gasp and ooh and aah over him, or anybody else that I know of.

    Our daughter was with her at Wal-marts that day, and she snapped a photo of my wife, this 71-year-old woman I’ve been married to for almost 52 years, admiring a photo of a man young enough to be her grandson!   Now, she shows that photo that is on her phone to everyone she meets.  She calls it “Willie & Me!”   It really does look like the real Willie, and they think she has met him.  One of her regrets about leaving the States this time, besides leaving Joey behind, was that she cannot watch “Duck Dynasty” on Wed. nights now, or any of the reruns for a long, long time!  She is sad about that.

   We did learn that the Robertson family who star in this real-time TV show on A&E are members of the White’s Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, LA.  I’ve worked in evangelistic campaigns at this church years ago, when I was a student at the Sunset school.  Good group.

Even before we arrived, we had learned that Al Horne couldn’t meet us at the airport as usual.  He and Donna had gotten here the Thursday before, but he would be at the hospital in Pretoria with Donna.  She was having foot surgery that day.  However, he arranged for Theo Rappard to drive our van out to the airport to bring us home.  That was very kind of Al and also Theo, who came to fetch us, as they say here!  Our trip was very uneventful and we got some sleep on the plane.
    The second day (Friday) we drove through to Pretoria and visited a bit with Donna.  She came home on Sunday at noon and must remain in bed (no weight on her feet at all) for 3 weeks.  Then, 3 more weeks of recovery.  Knowing Donna, that won’t be easy.  She is one more dynamic missionary wife who is involved in many activities at the Benoni church and at the Bible College, doing many behind-the-scenes chores like decorating bulletin boards, typing up reports and letters for both institutions.  Donna is one more busy bee!


We were here last year when the Benoni elders asked both men and women to write down some improvements and changes they had noticed were needed around the church building.  One thing that came to mind was the roof needed attention and some trees in the parking lot were uprooting the paving.  There was much discussion about that:  mostly the women wanted to “save the trees,” while the men looked on the more practical side to remove them and re-pave.  The trees were taken out while we were here last year.   Now, that whole area has been re-paved and lined.  It looks good.  While we were gone, a storm blew down a section of the roof.  I understand it was during a major storm and water ran freely down the aisles.  The insurance paid for the roof repair and for the new blue carpeting that has been installed in the entire auditorium and lobby area!   It looks great.   The old carpet was green and was showing wear-and-tear in many places, having been down since 1974 (almost 40 yrs ago!)  when this auditorium was built!   It was time for a new look.

    Another improvement has been upgrading and repairing the baptistry.  The wooden decor had begun to look tacky and moldy in places.  It is still being fixed.  Also, the bathrooms have gotten a new look, thanks to a dear lady who notices such things.  We now have paper-towel dispensers, flowers, soap dispensers and handicap bars.


We had been warned to:  “bring plenty of money”  because prices had sky-rocketed here.  I haven’t figured it out exactly yet, but petrol (gasoline) is over $5.00 a gallon.  Of course, we had to restock the fridge and cupboards right away upon our return, and we did notice that the prices on food items seems higher since last year.  We don’t usually buy any clothes while we’re here, but occasionally must purchase some household item or tools, and of course, we must pay the going prices for accommodation when we travel.  We don’t know yet what all has increased.


It was great for Bill Elliott and me to speak at the Easter weekend Lectureship arranged by Hubert Ramagwede and other African brethren in Jo-burg.  The event is held in a different location each year.  Next year it is in Botswana. This time we had Jack Evans, Jr., John & Marcia Tillman from Houston and Cedric Thomas as overseas speakers.  They visited our campus one day and were surprised to find such nice facilities.  We had the privilege of escorting them through one of the local game reserves on Thursday before the Lectureship began.  Of course, we enjoyed that a lot.  We saw 16 different species of animals in this small park.


Our trip to the Sunset-related school in Zambia was postponed, but other teaching opportunities are still on the schedule.  As we begin our mission work this year, pray for our safety in traveling, and for success.  Besides the SABC Lectureship in September and teaching at SABC, we have many teaching trips planned. Thank you for faithfully supporting our efforts here.  Most of our supporters are as regular as clock-work - right on time each month. We certainly appreciate your financial assistance, prayers and just being there for us and the work here.  God bless!
– Jerry & Ann Hogg