Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Grace on Campus- UCLA

We have been attending and serving as 'staffers' (as the students call us) at a Grace church student ministry. it's a university called UCLA (university of California, Los Angeles- for the other foreign brains out there... :) ). 

It has been an amazing blessing for so many reasons but one of the highlights for us as a family has been the enthusiasm and joy that is clear from brief interaction with the students at GOC! It is a pretty big group and yet I will never forget how welcome we felt when we first arrived on our first Friday evening (we meet every Friday evening). Another big highlight is how sweet the students are with our boys! It is so fun to see how they pour love out on Jonathan and Benjamin! I can't think of anything better than our boys growing up in the midst of a throng of students who love Jesus and live their lives in a way that is different to the world because of their devotion to our Saviour. I am thankful that the Lord has brought us to this group of students at this time and look forward to seeing what He has in mind for us and for the students!  

This is a link to the Grace on Campus website- http://www.graceoncampus.org/v7/Default.aspx. There is even a Youtube video on the site if you would like to see a little more about the ministry. 




Apart from that, we will be celebrating our next Thanksgiving on the 27th of November and I love the concept (even though we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in SA) because it is such a reminder to count our blessings and be grateful. Who doesn't need an opportunity to eat together and celebrate life and His goodness to us? :)

Psalm 34:8, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It has been too long!

Well, it is official. The Lord has been so kind to us and Izak has graduated from the Mdiv. :) I can't help but exhale with thankfulness when I say that or think about it. What a gift from His perfect hand.  When they called his name for him to walk across the stage, it was as if heaven was celebrating with us in my heart! There was no doubt in my mind that the Lord had taken our hands and lead us through the whole degree and accomplished it in our lives by His grace! Izak worked so hard but the thing about ministry is that we cannot do it on our own strength and He was faithful to show us that!

After the graduation ceremony, we had an 'after party' in a room shared with a precious couple from the UK. Everything was perfect. We just laughed, cried and enjoyed each moment... reminiscing on His kindness to us small town South Africans!

Here is a photo from the evening of graduation!
Now, we are about half way through his first semester (of 4) completing the ThM (there were some other options but in the end this is what seemed the most viable one) and I can see how it is going to be so helpful to us for the future! It is so encouraging to see how He has a plan for our lives and is working it out for our good and His glory. Our God is our gracious and strong Saviour.

Isaiah 43:1b-3
"Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with  you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you."

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

4 years later...

Something Izak said in his Senior Testimony struck me (here is the link to see that if you haven't yet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8qyyTLj4z4&list=UU-deZ7ubmEzKxch1zqAwN6g). He said we arrived with 4 bags, nearly 4 years ago. We now are a family of 4 and have way more than 4 bags worth of stuff in our little home. :) I am just so encouraged by His faithfulness to us. I remember wondering how we were going to make it here for the entire time and not only have we made it through Izak's Mdiv (he graduates on May 11th) but by the Lord's grace, He has opened the door for us to stay on and complete his ThM (Another two years). I can literally only shake my head and smile in acknowledgment of His mercy and kindness showered on us. Wow. Great is His faithfulness indeed. 

I have been meaning to write for months. And, for once, that is no exaggeration! Benjamin Levi Bakkes was born on the 13th of September last year and has taken our world by storm! hehe! I wish I was kidding, but I was not aware that going from one child to two could be such an adjustment! I am convinced that the Lord will make me more like Jesus through motherhood than through any other means! It is such an incredible experience because I have never been this dependent on Him, this humbled, this in love with my Creator. He knows my name and has poured out my cup/portion for each day of my life in His perfect kindness. I am so thankful to look back and see His handiwork in so many areas of my life. Let's just say that I am even more aware of my need for my Saviour today than what I was two years and almost three months ago (when J was born). 

Well, I have decided to try to write more often and less lengthy posts beginning today. Here are a few snapshots of the last few months.

Here is little Ben with his Pappa and Mamma:

And a couple of our little family of four:

Psalm 103:11 (NET), "For as the skies are high above the earth, so his loyal love towers over his faithful followers."  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rowan's visit and some LA sight-seeing

It was such fun to have Rowan visit us recently for two. whole. weeks! :) It was really such a blessing to see Jonathan meet his UNCLE! I will never forget how sweet it was when Rowan said after we had put Jonathan down to sleep for the first night, "So we only get to see him again tomorrow morning? That is such a long time to not see him!" 

Here are some pics to highlight our time together:
*Manhattan Beach: 
Our personal favourite so far- it has an amazing walkway and lots of beautiful houses to peruse as well as surfing and volleyball playing areas set up for people to use...






Malibu: (we spent the day in Malibu with the darling Pinkers... and got to see a few fun spots- like two beaches and an outdoor mall area called the Lumberyard which had a fun outdoor aquarium and also a chocolate place with free samples that were well worth sampling!)







Universal Studios:











General family ones:



It was such a blessing to see Rowan and to have long chats with him and to catch up after all these years. It is crazy to see how easy it is to pick up just where you left off. One of the Lord's many mercies for sure. 

Well, we hope you enjoyed a quick tour of some sights in LA and our little family being reunited with Rowan. :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Family pics and a quick update...

Saying that it has been a looooong time would be putting it mildly! 

It has been a busy, busy summer! Izak has had his hands full and Jonathan and I have also kept nice and busy! We just had a wonderful visit from uncle Rowan! (My brother... and it was amazing for Jonathan to finally meet our direct family!) What excitement! I will be sure to include some pics from his visit soon. :)

Well, here are some of my favourite recent family pics that my sweet friend Megan took for us:




It is so lovely to have some new family pictures to share with you! I am at 31 weeks now- so due on September 21st. It is exciting to think about Jonathan having a little brother very soon! :) What a blessing!

We have so much to be thankful for! The Lord is so gracious and continually proves Himself to be so faithful with how He provides for us in all the ways that He does. Hebrews 10:23 is such a great reminder, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Griffith Park exploring including Big Boy Bob's and Travel Town

For anyone who has undertaken going through seminary or is currently in the process of getting through it, you will know exactly what the 'last month of the seminary semester' means! It is a busy, busy time. It involves Izak often being at the library until it closes and not seeing very much of him. To be fair, this can be all semester long, but it is especially apparent at the end of the semester! I am sure that there are many other students with far heavier loads and I am so thankful for how much we still do get to enjoy Izak! 

The Lord is so gracious and kind. I love Him so much! :) There are so many treasures in my life that reveal His grace shown to me, one of which is my dear friend, Jen. She goes to Grace Church too and I met her at the Bible study that we attend. She is such a gentle and kind person and has been so intentionally kind to us. (Her husband and Izak get along really well too.) 

Well, she does such sweet things like takes me to get my hair cut and takes me shopping for some things that we need etc. It is amazing to see someone who loves the Lord so much and has a heart for others... like her and her husband do. We often thank the Lord for them. 

Well, this was going to be such a very busy weekend for Izak in terms of school work and Jen took Jonathan and I out to explore the Griffith Park area. The below pics will hopefully help you feel like you came along with us! :)

First, she took us out to lunch to 'Big Boy Bob's restaurant', which is a very old establishment in LA, a landmark really. There were photo's of various actor's on the walls who have frequented it. And there were scenes shot there from a couple of movies. It was a fun experience! They also apparently first created the 'double-decker burger'! 

Here is the sweet Jen and Jonathan in front of the restaurant:


 Jonathan being very creative with a crayon! :)
 After lunch, we headed out to 'Travel Town'! It was so much fun! Jonathan like most boys seems to enjoy trains and it was great to see him look at them etc. It was also amazing to see that the entrance was free and a train ride was only $2.50 per person. PLUS Jonathan could go on the train ride for free. I think it is free for children up to 2 years old. 

 Here are some pics from the Travel Town Museum:





 Somebody say "TRAIN RIDE TIME"! I think I was more excited than Jonathan for this one! hehe. It was Bean's first train ride too. 




You can see evidence of the bump in this one. :) Bean at 17 weeks.
 This was so sweet, Jonathan was enthralled with the little stones on the railroad track. He kept going to get a few more and his little fists were filled with them! It is always the most unexpected things that amuse him!


You can just see the delight on his face specifically pertaining to the little rocks in this pic!
 And then, as if lunch and Travel Town weren't enough, Jen took us to the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round! Jonathan was very intrigued and making his excited sounds right up until I placed him on the horse and then he began crying his little heart out... so we sat down on one of the benches on the merry-go-round instead, and he pensively documented the whole experience in his head. :) 

You can't tell, but I was trying to persuade him that he did actually want to be on this horse and did not actually want to cry his little heart out... but maybe next time!

Well, as usual, I hope that you enjoyed exploring with us! It was a beautifully warm day and one that we all enjoyed so much! Like I said, it is so encouraging to have experiences like this in the midst of the final section of this semester.

It makes me think of that passage in 2 Corinthians 12:9, where the Lord reminds us that "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...." His grace really is enough in these harder times and it is amazing to see that if you trust Him, it almost makes you laugh to see how He undertakes for you despite how circumstances appear!

I hope that you are well, and would love to hear from you!

Lots and lots of Bakkes love!