Thursday, December 28, 2006

Our "Silence"

I'm sure you have noticed that things suddenly got very quiet on our blog!  We apologize....  We went to camp, and then we moved back into our house the week before Christmas, and our internet will not be connected for another week to a week and a half.

We hope that you had a great Christmas!  We had a wonderful time at the Page's on Christmas Eve and our friends, Dion and Marianne on Christmas Day.  It was a great time celebrating Christ's birth and all that He's done for us.

We'll update you more once we get our internet connected and I'll post some pictures from Camp & Christmas.

Mary, for the fam!
Brad, Mary, Brandon & Marissa Hawkins

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Prayer Update

Thank you so much for your prayers! The kids are thrilled that daddy comes home after 5 more sleeps!  I am, too.   We've really missed him.

I had a wonderful birthday as my church family here rallied around with support as Brad was in the US.  I received a number of phone calls, and some of the ladies arranged for me to leave my kids with one of their husbands and took me out for dinner.  I received some great gifts, like chocolates, roses & books, but the best part was an evening out with some wonderful friends!  It is a special memory.

We have been busy preparing our house to move back in.  There are a lot of little details to go over, as the renters just moved out last week, but everything seems to be falling into line.  Christy Page and I have spent many hours over the last couple of days painting the kids' bedrooms and it's nice to see things coming together. There's still quite a bit more work to do in the next few days so that we can move in right after camp.  Brad says we don't have to have all the boxes unpacked right away, but he'll set the Christmas tree ones aside so that I can have our Christmas tree up before Christmas.  He knows me too well!

Tomorrow we are having a staff braai (cookout) and I am excited to see Rachael Schuster & the kids.  I've seen Alan a couple of times since they returned 11/14, but the kids were a bit under the weather and this is the first time we'll be all together. Also, the Applegates, a couple visiting from Word of Life Schroon Lake, will also be joining us.

Please continue to pray about camp.  It starts on Monday late afternoon and will run through Friday, 12/11-15.  Pray that many lives are changed, whether it be a decision for salvation or a decision to be sold out for God. Please also pray for our staff as they finish preparations.

Thank you for your prayers!  They have an impact on our family and our ministry.  We appreciate you!
Brad, Mary, Brandon & Marissa Hawkins
Word of Life South Africa

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Prayer Update

Thank you so much for your prayers for our family! We have made it past the half way point and Dad will be home in 20 days! God has been faithful to us all, meeting our needs through His people. We have both had many invitations to dinner and time with friends. Thank you!

Saturday was our Leader's Braai. We had a great turnout and lots of fun, food and fellowship. We had boerwoers (Afrikaans for farmer's sausage) on the braai (grill). There were leaders from many different churches. This was a year end event to get together and get to know each other better. We played a game called Cranium, which is a mix of pictionary, charades, spelling, true & false and multiple choice questions, and much much more! I think a good time was had by all.

Coming up next is Thanksgiving on Thursday. We will get together as a team and have a traditional Thanksgiving meal, although we will probably swim, which is finally seeming normal after coming from the Northern US and hoping Thanksgiving would bring with it some snow.

The next Word of Life event is Summer Camp. Please pray for us as we prepare. It has been interesting with the staff coming and going to see that everything is covered. Brad found a venue and began plans for camp, leaving lists for others returning from the States. Everyone is very familiar with what has to happen to make camp happen, so please just pray that it runs smoothly! Camp is Dec. 11-15. Brad will be returning around 6:30 am the day that camp starts, so it will be a busy week for him with jet lag!

Thank you, also, for your prayers for Marissa. She is completely back to normal now after temp shot up to 105 F a couple of times, but with a few days of extra rest she is ready to talk and play all day. She has mastered skip counting by 2 and a new reading book.

Brandon is working on learning freestyle swimming, and will be a wise man in his play this weekend. He frequently asks how much longer till Daddy comes home and we have made a calendar so we can mark off the days.

Thank you, again, for your prayers!
Mary, for the fam
Brad, Mary, Brandon & Marissa Hawkins

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Prayer Update

We are counting down the days until Brad returns! But life keeps busy, even in his absence.

We have been attending recitals, end of year concerts, birthday parties, we went to see the Lipizzaner Stallions.... November is probably the busiest month of the year here in South Africa, as it is the end of the school year AND everyone is making preparations for Christmas.

We have been busy with homeschool and Brandon is learning perimeter, and beginning to enjoy writing. Marissa is beginning to read and learning to skip count by 2's! They have recently started swimming lessons and it is exciting to see them try something new at almost every lesson (which is twice a week).

Marissa is a cow in the Nativity scene in an upcoming play, and she announced to her Sunday School teacher that she knew her lines. "Moo!" The best part about it is that she was serious!

She is under the weather today with a fever of 102.6 and a headache, but I gave her some medicine and she went to sleep early. Hopefully we'll be feeling better tomorrow.

Alan, Rachael, Jaden & Kiana Schuster arrived safely back in Johannesburg yesterday morning, and we are hoping to see them all soon!

Please pray for our staff here in South Africa as they make the final preparations for Summer Camp, and as they prepare the materials for next year.

Please pray, also, for Brad in the US and for us in South Africa! Pray for the kids, that they continue to handle Dad's absence as well as they have so far. 26 days to go!

Brad will be sharing the ministry with 2 churches next Sunday. Pray that he is able to clearly share what God lays on his heart. He will also be travelling to New Jersey the following weekend, and then to New York.

Thank you for your support and your prayers!
Mary, for the fam
Brad, Mary, Brandon & Marissa Hawkins
Word of Life South Africa

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Prayer Update

Thank you for your prayers! Brad arrived safely in the US and is surviving despite jet lag. His first meeting to share the ministry went well and the church and pastor were a blessing and an encouragement to him. Thank you, East End Baptist Church!

We were also blessed by being offered 2 cars for Brad to use while in the US! Of course, he only needed one, but God supplied above and beyond what we needed.

John, Christy, CJ and Chae Page arrived safely in South Africa last Thursday and we have enjoyed the time to get reaquainted. (You can check out their blog by clicking here.)  The kids have played together morning till night. God's timing has been perfect with their arrival. For the next month we will be living on the same property and CJ and Chae have been the perfect distraction to keep the kids from dwelling on Brad's absence. Marissa and Brandon have provided a distraction of sorts, as well, helping keep CJ and Chae from being homesick. Isn't it amazing how God works in the smallest of details?

Please continue to keep Brad in your prayers, for safety in his travels and opportunities to share about what God is doing in South Africa. Please pray, also, for the kids and I as we count down the days till he returns. We have been very busy and it helps the time go by faster!

Thank you for your prayers. We would love to hear from you! Drop us a line and let us know what you're up to.

Mary, for the fam
Brad, Mary, Brandon & Marissa Hawkins
Word of Life South Africa

Monday, November 6, 2006

Sam and Mat, by Marissa Hawkins

Mat had a friend named Sam.
Mat and Sam were nice.
They did fun things and silly things together.
Mat walked.
Sam walked.
Mat walked with Sam.
The end.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prayer Update

Brad is leaving today to spend the next 5 1/2 weeks in the US. Please pray for safety as he travels! He leaves SA at around 12 midnight (5 pm EST) and arrives in New York at 6 pm on Wednesday (11 am EST).
There are a few other prayer requests that we have that are related to this:
  • Please pray for the safety of Mary and the kids as they remain in South Africa.
  • Pray that the kids will be on their best behaviour for Mom and won't miss Dad too awful much.
  • Pray that Brad is able to clearly share the vision of our ministry with Word of Life in South Africa with the churches and pastors that he visits.
Also, pray for the safe return of our teammates. John, Christy, CJ and Chae will be flying from New York to Johannesburg Nov. 1-2, and Alan, Rachael, Jaden and Kiana will be flying from New York to Johannesburg Nov. 13-14.

Thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

8 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

pastors are the loneliest people in the church. Often their hours are long, the
pay minimal, the criticism considerable and constant. Feelings of
disappointment, discouragement, and defeat may begin to plague the best of them.

admonition to "serve one another in love" (Gal. 5:13, ‘but by love serve one
another’) should encourage us to remember our shepherds. Here are eight ways to
make their lives better.

1. Cut the

Presbyterian minister Fred Rogers, creator and host of
television's "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood," once gave an address describing the
time he was a student at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and attended a
different church each Sunday in order to hear a variety of preachers.

One Sunday he was treated to "the most poorly crafted
sermon (he) had ever heard." But when he turned to the friend who had
accompanied him, he found her in tears.

"It was exactly what I needed to hear," she told Rogers.

"That's when I realized," he told his audience, "that
the space between someone doing the best he or she can and someone in need is
holy ground. The Holy Spirit had transformed that feeble sermon for her--and as
it turned out, for me too."

Unlike most workers who are evaluated once or twice a
year, clergy are often critiqued weekly after each worship service. It's not
unusual to hear people say "the music was poor," "the hymn selection was awful,"
or "the sermon was boring." We would do well to remember that most spiritual
leaders work hard to make worship a unique celebration each week.

2. Pray

Ask God to shower your pastor with an abundance of love,
hope, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage. Pray for your spiritual leader's maturity and
growth in the faith. As you pray keep in
mind this wisdom from German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: "If you treat a
person as he is, he will stay as he is; but if you treat him as if he were what
he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be."

3. Express appreciation in

A spoken compliment is always welcome, but a written one
can be read over and over again for years.
So, when you hear or see something you like from your minister, write an
appreciative note.

4. Use your skills to

Are you proficient with computers? Help your pastor
master the church's new computer. Are
you a mechanic? Offer to service the car free of charge or at a reduced fee.

One pastor I know recalls: "I was pastoring my first
church -- a small congregation with limited resources. While there, I developed
a series of dental problems and could not afford treatment. What a joy it was
when a dentist in the church offered to treat me for free. Correcting my dental
problem involved nearly a dozen visits. He treated me carefully and cheerfully
each time. I have thought of that dentist many times since then and the memories
of his kindness continue to bless my life."

5. Squelch

If you hear a negative comment, respond with a positive
one. If misinformation is being spread,
correct it with the accurate information. Or, if people are gossiping, just walk

Remember the Bible soundly condemns gossip and careless
speech. James 1:26 says, "
If any man among
you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own
heart, this man's religion is vain
." And Psalm
34:13 reads, "
Keep thy tongue
from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile “.

6. Offer to meet a

Some people make
their spiritual leaders defensive and angry by saying, "You need to … " That
approach is seldom welcome and almost always counterproductive. If you see a
need, approach your spiritual leader by saying, "I'd like to help by …" If you
see an area that can be improved, take responsibility for working on it.

Be an active participant in your church. Get involved by
teaching a class, leading a workshop, singing in the choir, feeding the hungry.
Ask your spiritual leader where and how you can employ your gifts.

7. Be openly

Nothing so animates and excites a spiritual leader as
seeing people respond to the preaching and teaching. Imagine the surprise and
delight of a pastor in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, when greeting a visitor to
his church, found she came because of the kindness of a church member who was
her neighbor.

"I'm recently divorced, a single parent and new to this
community," she told the pastor. "To keep up with rent and provide for my three
children, I must work two jobs. That leaves me very little time for yard work. I
was relieved when the weeds didn't overrun my yard as I had feared they might.
However, when I made an unscheduled trip home in the middle of my workday, I
discovered the reason why the weeds had not taken over my yard.

"My 86-year-old neighbor -- a member of your church --
was on his hands and knees pulling my weeds. I barely knew this man and he was
embarrassed to be caught in this anonymous act of kindness. He explained that he
heard you preach a sermon on the importance of living a life of compassion and
kindness and decided to put that sermon into practice by weeding my lawn."

One pastor's heart filled with joy when a group of women
in Washington, D.C., responded to a sermon preached from the words of
Judge not, that ye
be not judged
" (Matt. 7:1). After hearing the
sermon, the women decided to give a baby shower for the young woman who provided
childcare while they met for Bible study. She was unmarried, close to going on
welfare, and without support from her family or the father-to-be. The young
woman was moved to tears by the surprise baby shower.

Later, the women explained to the pastor, "Your sermon
taught us that it's possible to reach out to someone in need -- in this case, an
unwed mother -- without judging or condoning the situation."

away the measuring stick

expect that your present spiritual leaders will do things the same way their
predecessors did. Lay aside personal agendas and preferences. Instead, focus on how your leader is being
used by God to do effective ministry now. By serving your shepherds, you will
ensure that they will not only be encouraged but will feel appreciated and continue to minister with
enthusiasm and energy.

Victor Parachin

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

October Hawkins Headlines

Here is a copy of our most recent prayer letter. If you prefer this method of reading our prayer letter and would like to be removed from our email list, please let us know!

You will need Adobe Reader to open the file. Click here to download free.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Prayer Update

Dear Friends

just wanted to let you know all that has been happening and what is going to
happening in the next few weeks. We got
word the other day that the Page family will be returning to SA this month. They were able to get the support level needed to
come back for a full term. Praise the Lord!!!

This also means that my trip to the US is a go. The trip was initially for a Word of Life Clubs Conference in NY, but we decided that since I am making the trip I would lengthen it and schedule some church meetings for support raising. Mary and I are still short in our support and
the increase is much needed for the ministry and for us personally. I will be in the US for a little over a month and I’ll
be able to be with my parents for Thanksgiving.
Please pray that the meetings will see God doing some amazing
things. Also be praying for the family
as they will be here in SA without me.
The kids are already missing me.

Coming up in a few weeks is our first ever FasCar Event. This is an evangelistic event geared for the
Olympian age kids. Be praying that all
the churches see the true purpose of the event.
We are excited to give the young ones a chance to bring their unsaved
friends to the event.

Prayer Requests:

  1. FasCar – Oct 21st
  2. *Need car for Nov trip*
  3. Funds for plane tickets - $1500
  4. Furloughing family – Schuster’s
  5. Local Church Leaders and Students

Praise Items:

  1. Discipleship of young people
  2. Pages returning to SA!!!
  3. Gods provision for the Ministry

In His Service,

Brad Hawkins

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Prayer Update

Well, another week has gone by, and life is still busy! I am thankful that we are able to stay that way.... We're all healthy and happy and enjoying life and ministry.

Please continue to pray for our teammates that are in the US raising support! The Pages are up to 87% of their support, and the Schusters are moving along as well, though I don't have an exact figure to share with you at this time. We are excited to see how God is working to get them back!

Please pray, also, as there have been plans for Brad to spend the month of November and first week of December in the US. This hinges on the return of some of our team so that we won't be short on the field. Brad has scheduled church meetings in the US for support raising and sharing the ministry, and is planning to attend a Word of Life Conference in NY. We know that if this is God's will, He will work out the timing.

A couple of other prayer requests - on October 21 there is a FasCar Rally. This is an event for our Olympians (elementary aged children) to race hot wheel's cars, have fun and most importantly share the gospel of Christ. Please pray for strength and wisdom as we plan, and for the children that come to be receptive to the gospel. This is our first time running this particular event.

As well, the same weekend, 10/19-22, I will be speaking at the Ladies' Retreat for our home church in SA. I will be speaking on different women from the Bible, including Eve, Rahab, and Lot's wife. Please pray for me as I prepare and share from God's Word!

Thank you for your faithful prayers and support of our ministry. God uses you to bless us, and to reach the people of South Africa for Him!

Mary, for the fam

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

American English vs. S. African English

South Africa has 11 official languages! Fortunately for us, one of
those languages is English. While we didn't have to learn a new
language to start the ministry, there are a lot of differences! I
thought it might be fun for you to see just a few of them.

Bakkie (pronounced bah-cky) - pickup truck
Boot - trunk of car
Bonnet - hood of car
Hooter - horn
Robot - stoplight
Trolley - grocery cart
Serviette - Napkin
Brinjal - Eggplant
Marrow - Zucchini
Mince - Ground Beef
Peg - Clothes Pin

Cot - baby crib
Dummy - pacifier
Nappy - diaper
Doo Doo - nap

Pronunciation and spelling are also often very different! Here are a couple of examples:
When saying "path" the a would be pronounced like the a in wigwam; but when saying "wigwam", the a would be pronounced like we say the a in path!

Due to other languages, street and suburb names can get quite interesting! We lived in Weltevreden Park (veltefreeden). Yet now we live in Wilro Park, and it's pronounced like it's written. Another suburb is Helderkruin (helderkrane). W's can be"v", V's can be "f", ui says long a....

Here are a couple of the spelling differences: colour, practise.

Dates are written as day/month/year. For example, today is 26/09/2006, or 26 Sept 2006.

Time is frequently referred to as military time. It is currently 22h42.

Needless to say, we've had some good laughs, but we're learning!

We are working at learning Afrikaans slowly but surely, and hope to speed up on it soon.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Prayer Update

Dear Friends,

             Wow, so much has been happening here these
last few weeks, I am not sure where to start.  Last week Friday, when we all got
home from holiday, one of the youth leaders call to let me know how things went
that night at Club.  For you to really understand this story I need to give you
some background.  This church has been struggling with the youth ministry and
they have allowed many of the Biblical Principles to be neglected over the last
year.  About 2 months ago I was able to sit own with them and to teach them why
we do the thing we do in Word of Life.  They made the decision that they needed
to get things right and really focus on the spiritual needs of the young
people.  So, last Friday night they were in their DIA (Discipleship in Action)
groups and they were challenging the teens about committing to Christ.  There
was a student who had been attending youth for about 8 months and they all
believed he was a Christian. However, in the DIA groups it came out that he was
confused and uncertain where he would spend eternity.  That night he accepted
Christ as his personal Savior!  All of the leaders at this church are totally
committed to doing the Biblical Principles themselves and with the youth.  It
goes to show that we should never make those assumptions and we must
always ask the questions!!!  It is times like this that make all the sacrifices
worth it!

Prayer Requests:

  1. T-Junction – this

  2. Car trouble – $1500
    for 2 vehicles needed

  3. Nov trip to US

  4. Furloughing families

  5. Local Church Leaders and Students

Praise Items:

  1. Discipleship of
    young people

  2. Family Holiday
  3. God's provision for
    the Ministry
In His Service,
Brad Hawkins
Word of Life South

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Prayer Update from Mary

We are excited to see how
things are progressing as God continues to work in His people here!

This week I would like to ask you to pray specifically for those that
we are teaching and discipling. These are their names: Earl &
Genevieve, Deon, Chaplain, Trish and Tracy
  • Pray that they are faithful in their Quiet Times and Bible Study.

  • Pray that they are faithful in their prayer life, seeing specific answers to prayer, which helps strengthen faith.

  • Pray that we have the wisdom needed to give advice and teach God's Word.

Another matter for prayer is our support needs. Brad was hoping to make a trip home in November/December and has even scheduled several church meetings for this time. However, in order for this to happen, we need more staff on the field. Currently the Pages and the Schusters are in the US raising support and we are on the field with the Lombards. It would be impossible to leave Garth here alone to run the ministry, so the trip would depend on the return of one of the other couples.

Please pray that if possible we can increase our support without this trip. While we know that God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory, we know that He chooses His people to provide for those needs. Please pray that we connect with those that He wants to be a part of our ministry! We are currently needing an additional $857.31 in monthly support.

Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Prayer Update from Brad

Dear Friends,

What an exciting few weeks it has been here in South Africa. We asked you to
be praying for the Sports Marathon and I am happy to tell you that there are 20
new believers as a result of that event. We are now planning the next
event which is T-Junction. T-Junction is an event designed to share the
gospel while allowing the youth to enjoy a Rugby
game. This has been one of our larger events and it is always been one of
my favorite to be involved with. I am also beginning to work on several
new things in prep for the end of the year. Those being Camp (Dec 11th
thru 15th) and the other is the material for next year. All of
this must be done before my trip in Nov. The trip in Nov is up in the air
at the moment, the Pages need to be back here before I can go to the US.
I have scheduled many meetings and I do pray that it will be possible for this
to work out. Thank you for your continued prayers and I look forward to
sharing with you all that will be happening here in the near future.

Prayer Request:

  1. T-Junction
  2. Radio
  3. Nov
    trip to US
  4. Furloughing
    families – Pages and Schusters
  5. Local Church Leaders and Youth

Praise Items:

  1. Sports
  2. Sold
    out of Adult QT
  3. Gods
    provision for the Ministry

In His Service,

Brad Hawkins
Word of Life South Africa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Prayer Update from Mary

Life is busy in the Hawkins' house this week!!!! Here are a few prayer requests, praises and upcoming events:

Saturday, 8/19, is our Sports Marathon. This Sports Marathon is for Touch Rugby and Netball. This is used as a medium to share the Gospel Message. Please pray that we have a great turnout and that many accept Christ as Lord of their lives.

Our ladies' Bible Study is starting again a week from Friday. We will be studying Ephesians.

Please pray that as our schedules get busier and busier that we listen closely to God's leading and don't take on too much. Right now, outside of Brad working at Word of Life each day and Mary homeschooling the kids and all of our other responsibilities, one or both of us is busy 5 nights a week.

We have guests coming in tomorrow night from overseas. They are also with Word of Life and are on their way to Mozambique. If they are able to make some solid contacts we are looking at taking our annual S.M.A.S.H. camp there. This is our short term missions program for teens (Students Ministering And Serving Him).

Thank you for your part in our ministry! We couldn't do this without your support and prayers.

Mary, for the fam!
Brad, Mary, Brandon & Marissa Hawkins
Word of Life South Africa

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Prayer Update from Brad

Dear Friends

I am sitting in my office thinking of all I
would like to tell you and I am not sure how to fit it all in. As many of you
know, Brandon and I went to an Olympian Club last week and I had the privilege
to share the gospel to the children. I always enjoy doing this and it always
reminds me of why we are here. 5 young people made decisions that night and it
was amazing to see it through Brandon’s eyes. He has such a heart for people
and we talked about sharing with other people the whole way home. I guess for
me it was great to see the young people make decisions but it was also great to
see the leaders in action. The Leaders at this church are fairly new to the
ministry; many were youth themselves last year. It is exciting to see the
fruits of the labor coming about. People we have been praying for and investing
time into now are doing the work themselves. I count it a privilege in so many
ways. Thank you for your part in all that God is doing here.

Prayer Requests:

  1. Sports Marathon – Aug 19th
  2. Radio

  3. Local Churches and Leaders
  4. Furloughing

  5. My trip in Nov – One
    more meeting available

Praise Items:

  1. Challenging Leaders

  2. Focus of Local

  3. All of

In His Service,
Brad Hawkins

Friday, August 4, 2006

From Mary

We are keeping busy and trying to keep warm!!!!!!!!!  It snowed in Joburg
this week for the first time in 8 years, and we had a record breaking coldest
day in Johannesburg
(and very windy)!  Now, I know that many of you will not find 8 C (46 F) very
cold, but in a brick house with no insulation, single pane windows and space
heaters, you would be surprised!  I don’t think our house got above
60 F.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for those living in
shacks in squatter towns.

We have been meeting with the couple that we mentioned, Earl
and Gena, on Tuesday nights.  We are really excited as we get to know them
better.  Please keep us in your prayers as we disciple them.  Pray
that we are faithful in our friendship and that we have wisdom in discipleship.

Pray also for Brad as he has the opportunity to share the
gospel at an Olympian (Children’s) Club tonight.  He is excited at
the opportunity to share as well as to spend some time getting to know the
leaders and youth a bit better.  Brandon
will be going with him. 

The kids and I went ice skating this morning and had a
  There is a local mall that
has an ice skating rink and the homeschoolers meet there the first Friday of
every month.  This is probably our 5th time, but the first time
since we left for furlough in February.  It was amazing to see Brandon’s
confidence grow with each lap around the ice rink.  Usually we stay for
about an hour, but today it was 2 ½ hours!  By the time we left he
was going around and around without holding on to the side.