south of somewhere

Hi, our names are Sarah and Nathan Cooper. We are based in Sheffield in England, but are preparing to move to South Africa in September '06 to join a church planting team in the Western Cape. We hope that this blog will keep you up to date with our progress as we embark on this new adventure. Watch this space...

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Here is a picture of a Black Widow spider taken moments before it's death courtesy of Nathan's shoe. We found the little blighter making a home in a drainpipe just outside our kitchen door (it's a good couple of inches long, so this was one big lady spider), and given that a bite can be fatal, we thought this was no time to show mercy. Hope we haven't offended any spider afficionados out there!

Joel (Nathan’s bro) and his brass quintet did a concert on Sunday night in Manchester to showcase the work we are involved in here and raise support for it. Reports are it was a big success. So thank you very much indeed to everyone who was involved publicising, selling tickets and coming along. Joel and band are playing again this Sunday evening at The Church at the Foundary, Lugsdale Road, Widnes at 7.30pm. Everyone is welcome for what will be a great night.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hi everyone! Just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has left a comment on the blog over the last few weeks. Please keep doing so, we find them all really encouraging.

Well, it's been a particularly busy week here. We are still trying to sort out the mortgage on the house, so have had several trips back and forward between different sets of lawyers. We still can't figure out what they all seem to be doing, other than creating a need for us to pay them!

In between all of that, we have been busy with a lot of childrens' work. I led my first ever kinderbond (a weekly event that attracts hundres of kids), so spent most of wednesday feeling sick with nerves, but I actually really enjoyed it, and it seems that the kids did too. Nathan did a great job pushing boxes round the stage, which variously represented Noah's ark and Jonah's whale! I'm sure I'll get to return the favour at some point...We are also getting stuck in with preparations for the Kinderbond Christmas event, the Sunday School Nativity play and party, and the Christmas party at the GANG (the whole church youth group). Nathan is getting a band together ready for the Kinderbond Christmas special, whilst I have been overseeing rehearsals for a Muppet play. We are certainly expanding our skill base!

We are also beginning to prepare a 6 week course for new Christians, which we have been asked to start in January. It's very exciting for us both, in terms of being able to help lay good foundations in people's lives, and being given the chance to stretch our skills in teaching.

This week was also a difficult week for the whole church, as one of our youth (part of the GANG) was murdered on Friday night, in one of the townships here in Worcester. He had been returning home with 3 friends (who are all in our youth small group, Next Level), and stepped in to try to break up a fight with people he knew. Unfortunately they were carrying knives, and he was stabbed to death. The townships on a Friday night are so dangerous, with so many people drinking through the night, and most people carrying knives. Our lads are routinely out late to avoid the drunkenness and violence that happens in their own homes, waiting untill their parents have fallen asleep before they return home. We are just trying to encourage them to avoid getting involved in any fights. Please pray for their protection, and that they would experience comfort in their grief, and healing from the terrible things that they witnessed.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sabelo and Quinton

These are pictures taken during our first ever computer training session, with two of the lads from our youth group, Quinton (in the red T-shirt) and Sabelo (in the cap). We hope to be joined by another of our youth, Jessica, once she has finished school exams in the next couple of weeks. We had to start with the basics - how to turn the computer on - but by the end of the session the boys were managing some (slow!) typing using both hands. We hope that this will equip them to go onto further education or to be able to apply for jobs that need basic computer skills, rather than the farm work which is so poorly paid and seasonal.

You can also see in the pictures Sabelo's current house and then the new house that the council have nearly finished building. There's a very long waiting list for these houses, but they are built in 2-3 days. The new house will have a sink and a toilet, and the family can hang curtains if they want any internal walls. Sabelo will continue to sleep in the old house, allowing his parents to move out into the new house. Please pray for him that he would be able to complete school and grow as a young leader in the church.

We are really enjoying our new house as well, despite the lack of furniture! But it has its advantages for a quick game of indoor cricket in the lounge. Perhaps we don't need a sofa after all...