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...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Hello! It’s steadily moving into Spring at long last, so we’re enjoying sitting out in the sun a little bit more, and not being freezing cold at night. The Northern Cape of South Africa is famous for its Spring flowers, so last weekend we finally broke out of the Western Cape, and took the long drive North (with friends Anna and Gina) to go and see the flowers. It took 6 hours and we ended up in Springbok, not far from the Namibian border. It was worth it! The flowers were stunning, and we did a 4x4 drive to see the best of them, which was VERY fun (for the driver and for the people hanging off the back of the car!) We chased some ostriches down the road and were very impressed that they were running at 45km/hour, and then enjoyed having a herd of springbok run alongside the car - they are amazing when they leap!

It also feels like a new season for us here. We have agreed with the team to finish our work here on 1st November. This decision has followed quite a difficult period of processing with the team what our length of stay should be, and although in some ways it will be very difficult to leave, we all feel that the right decision has been made. So, we are beginning to make plans to return to Sheffield in December - the next leg of the adventure!

Nathan’s brother Joel will be arriving on 2nd November and we are planning to travel together to see a bit more of the country before returning home. If anyone has been to South Africa and has suggestions for what we have to see before we go, please let us know!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Another week in the Life of Next Level...

We were very pleased to have Jenny (a friend from Sheffield) arrive on Wednesday. She will be spending the month with us here, which we have been so looking forward to!

This last week we have been trying to support a girl in our youth, Suzanne, who was worried she had TB. We were able to pray with her and encourage her, and the good news is that yesterday she was given her results - all clear! We are going to try and find Suzanne some cleaning work with people in the town, so please pray that she will be able to build up her working hours.

On Monday we accompanied a different girl in our youth to court. She is a witness in a case against a man who assaulted her a few months ago. She was very concerned about having to see him again in court but did very well, and as it was, is not required to give evidence until later in the month.

You might remember that a few months ago we had one of the lads, Fidel, doing some work for us in the house and that reluctantly we took the decision to sack him for being late every morning (by 2 and a half hours on the last day!). Well, we gave Fidel a second chance this week and invited him back to do some further work, and he has been half an hour early every day! So we are really pleased that he seems to have learnt from his earlier experience, and hopefully this will help him to hold down any future jobs he may get.

We have also been busy trying to train two ladies in the church to start planning Sunday School. It’s slow progress but they are getting there!

Things we love about this place: Ordering drinks in cafes. When Nathan tried to order a Black Americano the other day the waitress left him alone for quite a while before returning to ask what time he was expected. It turned out the waitress thought Nathan had said he was waiting for a Black American. Brilliant.