Monday, October 25, 2010

News on Angola Prison, a Surprise Birthday party, In-Out-Out voucher usage and meeting Christopher Robin!

Wow, we heard about this prison ministry in Angola Prison in Louisiana. What an astounding encouragement. This prison was once the bloodiest prison in the US and they started a seminary inside the prison and now the whole place has changed and there are 80 churches or so within the prison and there is a massive drop in crime and the men have hope. They are even sending missionaries to other prisons in the country! Only the Lord could change hearts in such an evident way.
Check this five minute video clip on it if you have a chance:
(It's on Youtube)

We had Vicky's surprise birthday party on Friday night and I am just so relieved that we all managed to keep it a surprise! Here are some pics of them arriving! (Vicky confessed to not knowing anything was going on and that is the essence of a true surprise party!)
Here are her and Andrew arriving: (And the group of surprise guests:)

The happy couple! :)
Also, the theme was 'Fall' and look at what Lynette managed to do:

We all enjoyed lots of Dominoes Pizza:
 And finally Vicky got to blow out the '25 year' birthday candle:
Up next, we went to grab lunch on Sunday at In-N-Out to use our gift voucher. Now, if any of you are wondering whether or not In-N-Out is a popular 'LA thing', here is proof at 2pm on Sunday afternoon:
(This is us waiting in a line for the drive through...)

Above, you can see the little kitchen where they all work on the orders... To produce... THIS! Two cheeseburgers and Animal Fries (Creamy Cheese and onion covered fries!) And... no, I don't think that America is good for our weight! Hehe.
This is the road - called Roscoe Boulevard- we drive everyday to get to the church and seminary. (It is also the road we use to reach In-N-Out. It is normally way busier than this):
Then, this was very exciting! I got to meet 'Christopher Robin D'Angelo! I have heard so much about him from Izak and Jansie and also I first learnt to surf using the wetsuit he left in Jeffreys 'for those that would need to borrow a wetsuit in the meantime til he returned...'. 
Here is one of him and Izak and one of him on his own: (Specially for those of you who haven't seen him in ages!)

Well, we have an intense week ahead.. with a Hebrew exam on Tuesday and a book review on Thursday! Please pray for us and have a great week!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Goodbye to Rachel, Cheesecake factory with Belle, the Fall Woman's Event and Meeting the Gillies'!

This has been such a fun week. First, unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Rachel (who worked at Grace Books.) We all had farewell lunch together:
(Izak was the only one that got the 'farewell expression' right). You can get a look at almost everyone that works with Izak at Grace Books.
Rachel is the one in purple and they one we were saying goodbye to... (Andrew and Vicky managed to be in both pictures!)

Then, my friend Belle (Many of you may have met her when she was volunteering in South Africa) came to visit me from Washington. We met in Pasadena and she took me to the Cheesecake factory. I LOVE cheesecake!

Here is a picture of my South African-American-flatmate:

...And me with my beloved cheesecake! I really wish you could try some of this cheesecake specifically! It was a red velvet cheesecake. I can't even find the words to describe it! (I should probably have taken a picture of it before eating most of it but that just goes to prove my point!) It is a cake layered with this decadent red velvet cake and cheesecake...

And here is a picture of Belle and I together! (Awww! It meant so much to me to see her again.)

Then, on Saturday morning, we had our fall woman's event: (Pat and Ina got me a ticket and it was such a blessing!) 
Here is a link to the ad on the Grace site:
Here are some pics of the event: (Taken with my little camera...)
(It was Vicky's birthday!) 
This picture is taken in the main 'big' church auditorium and you can barely see the speaker, Rosie Martinez... but she is there, speaking to us!

I had lunch with Pat, Ina and Vicky (note the new birthday camera!) We enjoyed a Mexican salad. Very tasty.
Here is the salad:

Now, Vicky got a new camera for her birthday and here are some pics she took of the event. (note the change in quality for the better! Ie you can see the speaker!)
This young lady, Angel Taylor played and sang this incredible song for the ladies: She is verrrry gifted!

 This is the Gospel choir led by Logan Carr- quite spectacular!

I took a video clip with my camera of the Gospel Choir- but it hardly captures the moment and someone seems to be speaking simultaneously plus my hand is anything but steady! But here you are!

Then, something that Izak and I have been looking forward to for for a while is  meeting a couple that have been such a great support to us... Dave and Mary Gillies! (They live in San Jose- close to San Francisco and about 5/6 hours away from LA if I remember correctly...)
We met them at the Masters College, so that they could show us around there. (The Masters College is affiliated with the Masters Seminary and all the Gillies' children have gone to the college. We had our own personal tour.) Here we all are in front of one of the Masters College signs:
Here are Izak and I:
We went to have dinner with their son, Peter and his wife, Christine. It was such a lovely time filled with interesting discussions about Peter's work as an LAPD helicopter operator and testimonies regarding what the Lord has done in all our lives!
Here are some pics from the evening with the Gillies! Here are (from left to right) Mary and Dave, Christine and Peter and our Izak!

We also got to see the Gillies at Grace on Sunday evening:

 ...And we went and enjoyed our first ever piece of Boysenberry pie with them afterwards. I forgot to take a picture, but this is a very close representative of the pie we had:
Dave and Mary have invited us to visit them up in San Jose during Christmas time and we are very excited about the prospects of a road trip plus being able to spend more time with them! (We would get to see San Francisco etc too which would be amazing!)

We were so spoilt this weekend! We got a bag full of goodies and money for gas/petrol!  (Note the box full of Ferrerro Rocher chocolates and popcorn that has dark chocolate and caramel melted all over it!) and notice the little red gift card on the right. This is an 'in-N-Out Burger voucher'!
This is a closer view of the little voucher. In-N-Out Burger is a little take away franchise that makes delightful burgers!  If you turn your In-N-Out take away cup upside down, it has John 3:16 printed on the bottom of it! Here is a link to their website, in case you want to see more!

As a once off thing, we went to visit Calvary Bible church- which is where Jack Hughes is the Pastor. It was great and we went with the Zekveld's: (I love how these pics make us look like BIG friendly giants!)

We have to look back over this last week or so and just smile when thinking about all the blessings! It has definitely been a highlight so far!

Monday, October 11, 2010

New campus and church surroundings, Izak's colleagues, Pat and Ina (our land-ladies) and Banana muffins!

We thought that we would take a few pictures of the church and seminary for those of you who would like to see where we spend most of our lives these days!

Here is a picture of the seminary offices and the library. The offices are on the upper floors and the library is on the ground floor and the lower floors. We are taking this picture from the J Building. Which is another huge three storey block and many of the classes are taught in this building. Ours are almost all on the third floor which happens to be the floor we took this picture from... 
 This next picture is of the roof of the main church building and you can see glimpses of the church offices and the bookstore which would be found between the seminary buildings and the church offices.
And here is a picture of the church from the outside...
Here is a view of the church with a little bit of a view of the J Building stairs... (we travel up and down these very often!)
Izak has been placed in the shipping department for Grace Books and he still works in the bookshop on every second Sunday. Here are a few pictures of the bookshop before we show the basement where the shipping takes place.
Here is a picture of Obed (a fellow first year seminary student from London... he and his wife have such an encouraging testimony with how they got here and it involves a blog!)
Here are a few more of the bookstore:

 And to give an idea of the great service, here is Grace Books (ie Obed) in action! (Note the smiling customer! I am convinced that it has nothing to do with my photo-taking!)
Now, down to the shipping department! Here is the friendliest shipping employee that I have ever encountered:
Here are Izak's fellow-workers, (Brian in the foreground and Brian in the background)- the Brian in the foreground is apparently a great deal like Izak, only he is the American version!)

And Andrew, in managerial mode!

Also, here are a few pics of Izak in 'shipping' action:

Then, we have had a great deal of rain since we last chatted! I mean it literally rained for days! And on the first day that I heard thunder, I was not sure if it was the beginning of an earthquake since I thought that was more likely than thunder and rain in LA! Fortunately it was thunder! Here are some pics of the rain:
This is the little secret alley that we drive down to park in front of our place. (It looks like only one house's driveway but then when you drive down it, it is in fact a little road that leads to the back of all the houses in Adam's street...)

This is a picture of our house's roof from the landlord's place- I go up the back side stairs to do the washing. (I can just go in through the back, without having to go through their house which makes it convenient for everyone.)
Here are some pics of Pat's garden: (The property is on bedrock and so she has had to go the potted plant route.)

Now, to meet our "land-ladies"! What makes this funny is that it was raining and I had mentioned having Kate (the dog) in the picture too. But Kate hates being out in the rain, so enjoy the following scene development! (I just couldn't resist including them all!)

Ina is on the left and Pat is on the right. Kate the dog has raced back indoors! :)

Speaking about plants! I have been dreaming about getting a house pot plant and we found a beautiful 'braided money tree' which is indigenous to  Mexico and Northern America. We are hoping for it to grow dollars and not Peso's!(the Mexican currency)

Also, I found a free black album on the 'magic table' at Semwives! (it's a table full of items that are free for the taking!) So, I think it looks beautiful in our little place:
I recently had loads of over-ripe banana's (3 to be exact!) And I tried to find a banana muffin recipe that didn't need bicarb or baking soda because I didn't feel like a trip to the store. I stumbled upon this great recipe and used yoghurt (where it gives the option of sour milk,buttermilk or yoghurt etc). I am so pleased that I tried the yoghurt- they were some of the best muffins ever! So moist! You have got to love the site I found it on: (It's called Hillbilly housewife!)
Finally, we have had a few car issues. The old dodge can be true to its name and a little dodgy at times! But here are some action shots of my handy husband rectifying a few issues:
Note the dashboard to the right:

Because of all the little 'extras', this last week was one of the toughest yet... We have had to re-think our daily schedules and tightened the reigns somewhat. At one in the morning on Thursday morning, Izak still had to complete a nine page paper and hadn't started his Hebrew homework yet! By God's grace, he managed to get the paper submitted by 4h30 that Thursday afternoon, but as far as we can help it, we really want to try and work harder to avoid anything like that happening again! We have worked out a new way to keep track of the schedule and tasks due and hopefully this will help smooth the workload and deadlines out!

We look forward to hearing from you! Thanks for all the encouragement and we hope you have enjoyed this book of a blog!