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February 2020 – 75 Years Young

On February 4 I will be three quarters of a century old. I am actually a bit amazed that I have lived so long. There certainly have been a few bumps along the way, but at the end of the day my life has been full of joy. I am feeling good and full of energy. I cannot imagine anything that I would rather be doing than living here in South Africa and serving as an ambassador of God’s love for the African people and the many short-term missionaries who travel here to serve with us.

We just finished 10 days with our first team of the year from Father Ray’s church, St. Francis in West Des Moines. They love coming and serving with us and we love working with them. This was the sixth year in a row that Father Ray has brought a team and he has already reserved the second week of January 2021. At first, it stretched us to work with people of a slightly different faith than us, but as we learned to serve together, they have become a big blessing to Blessman International and to the children here in South Africa. When we eventually get to Heaven, I believe that there will be many surprises as to who we see there and who we do not see. I feel my role is to help as many souls as possible find their way there. I remember with a smile many years ago I was on a medical mission to Brazil. I asked this young boy if he would like to go to Heaven and he replied, “No, no, not yet.” In the early days, I was much too aggressive. Over the years I have learned that a slower, gentler approach is more effective and much more enjoyable, even for me. I find that the example of how I am living my life is much more effective than my words could ever be.

We have already started to train our team to start a program called Celebrate Recovery for the youth at one of our large high schools here. Our first presentation to the student body was just one day after the funeral of one of their ninth grade classmates who had committed suicide. Sadly, there is a big drug and alcohol problem in the youth here. Please pray with me that many children will sign up for this voluntary program which can be so effective at healing the hurts and unhealthy behavior that they are mired in.

Next week we are starting our Sports for Christ program. We are creating a new league of eight churches that will each field a soccer and netball team. The games will all be played on our new soccer field at Del Cramer. While the grass and goals have been prepared, we still need to build stadium seating and several other things to make it a sports complex done with excellence. Our first soccer game will be on February 1. Since this is being done as a church league, there will be a spiritually motivational presentation by one of the eight pastors before each game for the benefit of the players and fans.

I appreciate all of the prayers and support from our many friends in America and South Africa.