Oct-Nov 2015 African Report

The African Report Newsletter: Jerry V. Hogg, 462 Amanda Circle, Knoxville, TN 3792 Email: jvhogg@charter.net October-November 2015 Sponsored by: Sunset Church of Christ, Sunset International Bible Institute, 3723 34th Street, Lubbock, TX 79410 SAD TIMES, GOOD TIMES There are many happy days in our life when we are overseas in the mission field, but there comes a time when we must say our good byes to our friends in Benoni, South Africa, pack our bags and board that big "bird" at the Johannesburg airport and fly off into the skies to head home to the States. We always leave there (and here) with mixed feelings – our emotions run high at such a time! We often say we wish our family and friends could all be with us to meet our friends in the USA & vice versa (in SA). It would be a great day if that happened. Only in that "land beyond the sky" (heaven) will this take place. There we will all be together with those we love here and over there! Then it will be a truly Happy Day! ANOTHER DEATH IN THE FAMILY We told you last month about several members in Ann’s family who have/are battling illness of some kind, having been in the hospital for tests and treatments. One of those was an older brother, K.O. (Ken) Donahue. Unknown to us or most of the Donahue family was that the tests he had earlier showed a lesion (or tumor) on his brain. Instead of getting that taken care of at the time, he checked himself out of the hospital and went home. Very typical of K.O. to do this – he didn’t want to be there, and paid no attention to anybody who told him he needed further treatment, perhaps surgery. Well, just shortly after we got home on the 20th of October, we learned that K.O. was back in the hospital, and they had found a baseball-size tumor on his brain. We went to see him on the day he had surgery to remove that tumor. Of course, he was quite out-of-it and couldn’t respond to anything at the time, so we had difficulty talking to him. But we tried, patting his hand and telling him we were praying for him. Other family members visited him after he "woke up" and they reported that each time, he would say, "I want to go home. Take me home!" However, they knew he wasn’t "up" to going home, and tried to calm him down. He was recovering from the surgery enough that the medical staff decided he could finish recuperating in the adjacent Rehab section at the Nursing Home, so he was moved there in mid-November. Unfortunately, the staff didn’t understand his nature and we (the family) will have to admit he was a tough patient to deal with, at the best of times. In any case, his son, Kent Donahue, had told them he must be restrained, and wanted them to have a staff member with him at all times. But, in a nursing home situation, that is not always possible, so he was sometimes left on his own. With his constant expression, "I want to go home. Take me home!" that was in his mind. Then, he got up, tried to walk when he hasn’t walked in several months. He fell, hitting his head on the very spot where that surgery was done. Then, he was back in surgery, but did not recover from that and died a few days later on the 21st of November. We buried him on the family farm in the cemetary the 29th, one week later. His burial makes the fifth family member laid to rest in the Donahue plots on the farm. First, there was Doyle Donahue, Ann's nephew, who had leukemia and died in 2008, then his wife, Tracy – that left 2 orphaned kids, Brittany & Jonathan. They then lived with Doyle’s twin brother, Darel, & his wife, Rebecca. Brittany was about 14 at the time her dad died, and she graduated in 2014 as the valedictorian of her high school class. Jonathan will finish high school next year, Brittany is now in her second year of college. Everyone in the family is proud of these two, having done so well in spite such sad circumstances. In September, Ann’s younger brother’s son, Ray-Jay, was buried there in the family cemetery. We were overseas at that time. Another of Ann’s brothers, Benton, died in 2010 and was also buried there on the farm. TRAVELS IN THE USA We knew when we were in South Africa that it was time to begin thinking of things we would need to do once we got home to the States. There is always a day or two needed to "get over" jet-lag, that period your body needs to adjust to the time-change, everyone goes through this. No matter how resilient one might be, he/she must adjust their sleep pattern and take time to get on the right sleep schedule to be able to function properly. The only person I’ve ever known who could overcome jet-lag instantly was one of our lectureship speakers a couple of years ago. We picked him up at the airport after 5:00pm and he spoke at 7:30, coherently and very well. He was right on track – first and only time I’ve ever seen anyone do that! And do it so well. Anyway, it was 5 days after we landed that I made the first report at West End CoC on our work in SA – after a few days of rest to adjust our sleep pattern. That Wednesday, Ann and I traveled to North Little Rock to meet with a Missions Committee there on the 25th. After that, I was right into the schedule, one after another, we reported to a lot of churches that help support us in the work in Africa. It often occurred to me as I sent emails and made calls, "where is my friend, Larry York?" He always did this, set up the schedule for me, then traveled with me to all the churches. Boy, how much I miss him at times like these! A VISIT HOME! On the Thursday before K.O.’s funeral, our son, Rick (as he prefers to be called now, not our little Ricky anymore!) had a chance to come by for a 3-day visit. He was between loads, from Florida and South Carolina. We enjoyed his visit very much, talking, shopping together–for items he needed, and some tools and things we needed. He decided on some tools Dad needed, too. We also did some cooking – Mom (Ann) made him some mealie pap and curried gravy-mix for the top that he wants every time he comes home, whether it’s Christmas or the Fourth of July. This time it was Thanksgiving, but he didn’t want turkey-and-giblet-gravy, or any of the usual trimmings, he wanted his South African dish of mealie pap that his mom makes! In fact, she had to make it on two different occasions, one for him to take on the road! He has a small fridge in his living quarters in his big truck. He even went out and bought special plastic containers to put the mealie pap in to stow it away! Our Rick is something else! But, Ann was so happy to have him home those 3 days for the first visit in 2 years – the last time was also at Thanksgiving (2013), and she made him the mealie pap then, too. He took some on the road then, too. HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS It is sooo good to be home for the joyous season this year– a lot of "holidays" (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Year’s). We didn’t do much decorating on Halloween, just bought some candy, turned our front lights on and had a few "trick-or-treaters" come by, had the usual turkey-and-dressing/cranberry sauce, etc. at Ann’s sister’s (Arillia & Bob Huff). She’s the best cook! Retired as a cook from the local school district, so it’s no wonder her meals are simply delicious (always). Ann does pretty good, but she’s not the cook Arillia is! However, Arillia hasn’t learned to make the curry & mealie pap yet that Ann makes. Each does good in the world(s) they know. Rick says he has big loads scheduled right up through Christmas, so he won’t get to come home then. We will miss him being here with the family. I have done some "reporting" on the work scheduled at a few churches, that will keep us busy for the next few Sundays. So far, Ann has been able to travel with me to all the speaking appointments, and she has been able to prepare all the hand-out envelopes. During the week, we have doctor visits to check-up on how our health is doing and to renew medicines. Ann has been to two eye appointments, one to get new glasses and the other to the Retina Specialist. He told us he could do nothing to improve her eyesight, and it would probably deteriorate to the point of total blindness at some stage! How we dread to face that day. She loves doing computer work: editing my lessons, reports. and articles, answering emails and writing letters to supporters. Sometimes, she will get up in the wee-hours after she has slept awhile, to work on things. I get up early,too, get a lot of studying in by the time most people get up, but occasionally, Ann will be up and going, before me. Then, sometimes, she will go back to bed and sleep a couple of hours. They say that Blind People have a different sense of Day-and-Night, so she must be learning that (perhaps by instinct) already! Rest-and-Relaxation Our family and close friends don’t always understand why Ann and I don’t just come home from the mission field and just take it easy! They tell us to "rest-up", take a vacation and just relax. We aren’t "geared" to do that! I study about every day, on something, there’s hardly a day that goes by but you’ll find me at my desk, or in my recliner reading some Scripture or material, preparing a lesson or writing an email (setting-up appointments) etc. This year, after coming home, I began teaching an Adult class at the West End church, so I have a specific subject to pursue in my studies, "The Sermon on the Mount". It is relaxing to me to read these sayings Jesus taught so many years ago. We have also made a few hospital visits since we came home this time–folks in the family, West End members, etc. One couple (Verne & Lyn Edwards) had a horrific car accident the week of Thanksgiving, and we went to see them in the hospital. He died a few days later, and she was moved to a Rehab center for therapy and healing of her broken vertebrae. Then, one of the WE elders fell a week ago and broke his hip, so we also visited him. Since the minister at West End, Wayne Miller, resigned and moved away, I have found the ‘need’ to serve some in this capacity. There’s always visits to make, folks to teach or encourage, and work to do in the Lord’s church, whether we’re here or there. *********** While we’re here in Tennessee, trying to improve our health status, renew our meds, rest-up as much as we can during these first few days, our fellow-workers are still busy teaching there at the Bible College in Benoni these 2 months, finishing the assigned courses for this quarter, and preparing to administer final exams for the students. We pray for our Director, Fred Bergh who also teaches a course or two each semester; Theo Rappard, formerly a deacon at Benoni until his wife died about 3 years ago, a graduate and long-term teacher who usually teaches 5 or 6 subjects each semester; Graduate/Teacher, Eddie Baartman, who is also an elder at the Benoni church, Eddie Nkosi, preacher for the Daveyton church; recent Graduate and preacher for the Springs church, Matthew Dalton; Lawrence Ramano-graduate, and a couple of other teachers, all South Africans, who are dedicated to the training of men who desire to preach. Talk to you next time, or somewhere along the way..... – Jerry & Ann Hogg