Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cape Town

We are in Cape Town!!! It is so beautiful and we love it here, 82F today. After being in Gauteng for 10 days, we felt overwhelmed by the 10 feet high walls and fast pace of Pretoria.

Durbanville, where the Bravenboer's live, is peaceful and almost 1/2 the yards are 'un-walled'. After our Christmas lunch, Martin and I walked to the park with a dam, a few blocks from their house... it felt like a park in the States. People were walking their dogs and having pick nick with their kids. We would love to live down here, if we could.

We are still trying to catch up with old friends, but we miss our Missouri friends very very much!!!

The Internet here is so slow, so forgive the slow blogging.

Have a blessed New Year!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Sunday late morning we left our farm house with my family and my dad’s sister and her husband to go to Pilanesberg. Pilanesberg is a game reserve in the boardering province, North West. We drove almost two hours before we reached the game reserve and after a quick lunch in the parking lot, we were set to go!
After entering the Reserve, we saw a pack of Baboons. Not long after this we saw a beautiful Grey Haring in a dam, and just after that we saw a Hyppopothomus and her baby calf walking out of the water. This was an amazing experience especially with my sister in the car who loves anything small.

We saw white Rhino’s – 3 times! The last time we saw them, they were right next to the road, and they had a very young calf with them. We could still see the mud on their historic looking bodies, from their afternoon mud bath, absolutely amazing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We are HERE

We arrived in the warm South Africa after a VERY long 40 hour transit, on Thursday. We had 4 suitcases that weighed 65 pounds (15pounds over weight). The guy who checked our bags in AR, let us by without paying any penalty, thank you for all your prayers.

The reunion was very sweet!!! My family and best friend was at the Airport.

The last week, we’ve spent time with my family on the farm in Magaliesburg and have had a great time. Martin dug 18 tree holes yesterday with my dad. We’ve spent a lot of time with my 3 year old nephew, Luan. We are currently in Pretoria.

I’ll try to get some pictures on here very soon!

We love all of you

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On their way home

Just wanted everyone to know that Martin & Jani left Joplin this morning just before 9am. They should be on their first flight right now to Denver. In spite of this nasty ice storm, the Lord is good and He has provided them with an amazing amount of strenth to get through all of this...though they might not feel strong...the Lord's hand is heavy on them.

Please pray that they will have continued good travel and that they might be able to sleep on their flights. They will be leaving Denver this evening just after 5:30 and arrive in Germany where they will have a very long layover. They should arrive in South Africa on Thursday!

We miss you already!
Sara Hill

Friday, December 07, 2007

Guitar Hero

Our last small group meeting on Tuesday, was held at the Spurriers house. We had the greatest time! All of us played Guitar Hero, and we were like teenagers! It was a great night of fellowship and saying goodbuy to people we've grown to love deeply.

Martin and Dave rocking the house!

Michael is Martin's 14 year old guitar student. Needles to say, Michael won this game :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Move Update 3

It is Monday December 3rd, and we are very close to being out of our house.

We sold our bed to one of Martin's friends, Josef, no Mike. Josef (Mike) works at ClawPaws in Webb City, the GREATEST pet store in our area. They had to many Mike's working there a while ago, so they started calling him Josef, so that is why we called him Josef. Anyhow, a fun occurrence happened yesterday afternoon, as they came to get the bed.

Bart came with Josef (Mike) and some other guy. Bart was a runaway fox terrier of some kind (he looked like a schnauzer to me). This dog, rules the house, he did not listen to one of the guys, and after taking his sniffles to our house, decided to venture out, towards the neighbors house, for those of you who know, there lives a boarder collie, MOLLIE. She HATES other dogs! Bart did not care and wasn’t bothered by her barking/growling. He ventured to our landlords house, and there's another dog, OREO. She also HATES other dogs!!! Nonchalant, Bart made his mark and trotted to the red van, with the two yelling men! This dog, might not be a runaway anymore, but he still acts like one.

Martin and I enjoyed this 20 min break. We laughed at the stupidity of the dog, and at the frazzled men.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

After 3 days of excruciating packing pains, our moving company came today to pick up our belongings. Terry, our moving guy from NorthAmerican, was surprised with Martin's detailed packing list (with weight and $ value included). It took them 45 min to inventory, pack our belongings and sign the papers.

This is one of the hardest things I have every had to do. Martin had to be the bad guy, I'll explain. He would hold up two items, and I'd have to chose... yeah, this was hard.

Our house is now half empty! We'll try to stay there till after this weekend, and then stay with Jon and Sara until we fly home on Dec 11th.

Vrede (shalom)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving with the HILLS

We love this family! Jon's parents adopted Martin and me, a long time ago (before we got married). Kinney and Meredith drove down to Joplin from Louisville, KY. We cooked some traditional Thanksgiving food, and ate with Patrick and Sam, and Tony Anderson.

Us girls, went shopping on Black Friday - for the South Africans, this day is when EVERY American 'female', go out to shop. This is not the only day you can shop, but you would think it is... Stores open at 4am, yes insane. We did not start till 7:30am... and got home after 4pm. It was GREAT.

Anyhow, we had a great weekend, and we are very Thankful for our adopted family here in the states.

Move Update 2

We sold both our cars this weekend. Our Focus will be 'living' in Mexico after Christmas; our Hispanic Minister's mom bought it... praise the Lord!!!

LeRoy will be in our use until Sunday Dec 9th. He will be the ride of a teenage girl after we leave.

We are hoping to pack everything this week and to have the moving company pick it up this Friday. We will see if this happens. We are unable to move all the furniture, so we have to sell more things... our beautiful kitchen table and chairs, and our bed! (Very sad).

God is still in control!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

no news is good news...

as my dad would say - no news is good news.

we are still moving, to another continent, in 4 weeks...

moving quotes are HIGH HIGH much to HIGH and the Focus, well it is still for sale

short and sweet update

till next week

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Move Update 1

We reached the 6 weeks till moving date ~

1. I trained 2 new CIY employees, Adam and Shawn. I'm so excited about these guys and what they bring to CIY
2. Rudi went to her New Home on Monday. She is going to love her new family - Johnny, Jen and their 3 wonderful boys!
3. We are flying to South Africa on December 11th

2 Big Projects I'm working on this week -
1. Advertising the Focus in the Big Nickle
2. Finding a moving company that can move us across the world for a reasonable price

Our Lord is so faithful! He hears the cry of our hearts... Please continue to pray for a ministry where Martin can serve, using his musical abilities.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Garage Sale

Thanks to Sara and Jon Hill who helped us sell all our belongings, from their yard this weekend. Our garage sale was a huge success and I am very happy to announce that we will be able to buy half a coach when we get to South Africa. (Or we can buy all the electronic things we need and sit on crates)

I almost cried twice –
Once when a Hispanic lady tried to buy our new (we got it a year ago) microwave for $28!!! I said NO and said that $35 is the lowest I can go… She borrowed some money from a friend, and loaded our ‘new’ silver microwave in her all too full minivan.
A second time when someone bought my 12” laptop green sling bag for $9 (I bought it for $80 at a MAC store in Portland).

The first major project before the move is done. We have 2 more months left before the big move (now a smaller move, thanks to the garage sale).

Monday, September 24, 2007

Moving is NO fun

Maybe it would be more fun, if you bought a house and was moving into your own place? I wouldn’t know this has not yet happened to the Bravenboer’s.

Moving because you found a new job, with a bigger pay scale or opportunities, this is definitely more fun. Except if you are moving from South Africa to Arizona, in the States with two full grown Great Danes, like the Holohan’s. I would call this STRESSFUL.

Moving because you have to, this is the part that I clarify as NO FUN. Our plane tickets are booked and Martin and I are flying home to South Africa on December 11th. We will not arrive in South Africa until December 13th… dreadful. You might ask why this is. Well, long story short, our time on our visas is running out, and the filing offices for green card applications are 18 months behind. Therefore, the BIG Dreadful MOVE home.

I would ask you to please pray for us. We are in need of a miracle job, which would distinguish where we are going to live, in Pretoria or in Cape Town. The sooner we know where we are going to work, the sooner we would know where to find a place to rent and where to send our stuff (we are shipping a crate/pod home with some belongings).

Also, we are not moving Rudi to South Africa and are still looking for a good family that will take good care of her. I know she is just a dog, but she is my baby.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before HIM, endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." - Heb 12:2 (NIV)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

CIY Summer Conference Merch

This has been a phenomenal year!!!
Thank you for your support, it might have been moral support, by attending, working at Conference or rolling and counting merchandise.

We do have merchandise left over so please go to our online store and find that special shirt you could not buy at conference.

There are incredible stories of life changing events following CIY Summer Conference 2007.
We praise our Lord, for HE is faithful.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Update on Jaylen's surgery -

The Bellegardes before Jaylen's surgery - go to CaringBridge to read the updates on how the recovery is going.

Please continue to pray for this amazing family and their beautiful baby girl, Jaylen.

Friday, July 06, 2007

i love a bargain

Martin always makes fun of me when I say I'm going to go shopping for ME - for I always come home with a bag of clothes, for HIM.

7pm, the tummies are full and time to find ME something yellow (it is the summer color if you do not know). Target is by far my most favorite store, so I head there first.

One hour later, I'm checking out at counter 4 - $14.97 she says. I look at her with a BIG ??? in my eyes. Are you sure I ask... 2 short sleeve button down shirts (for church) and 2 boxers that was on sale for Martin. Yes, she reassures me. BARGAIN is what I'm saying. Each shirt was supposed to be $14.99 and I got them for $3.75 per shirt. BARGAIN I say again.

9pm, I'm home! Proud of my shopping, I announce - I bought 4 things for $15 and it is all for YOU (nothing for me, just for you).

I get a smile and a head shake from Martin. "Bargain right?, what did YOU get?"


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Use me…

I finished ‘Having a Mary heart in a Martha world’ this morning. At the end of the book you are challenged to pray something like – Lord use me today, challenge my being. Ok nice thinks to pray right? Well I should know better, one time when I prayed that, I woke up in the USA…

My bible study got cancelled this morning (Tuesday), I will work till 3pm, finish my paper work at LifeChoices and head home to cook my sweet man a warm dinner to comfort the hungry stomach - was my day plan.

I left LifeChoices feeling unproductive, and then HE USED ME - she was walking on 4th and Kentucky. She had a one and a half year old baby girl on her hip.
Mary*! I stopped, she recognized me. We’ve met - I gave her a ride once before. I knew her youngest was only a baby – but due to the Hispanic father, her white family did not approve of Lucy*.

I offered her a ride. In her new McDonalds uniform, she gets in. A little pink diaper bag on her back – Where can I take you today Mary? I asked. She is shy and hates to ask for help. She was going to Neosho (a 30min nearby town). Are you meeting someone to take you, I asked. ‘I’m walking, she answered. WALKING, are you kidding me, I wanted to shout. ‘I’ll take you sweet Mary’.

I called a friend to ask directions to Neosho, (I can get there now…) we head South on 71.

Lucy* can hardly sit still, halfway through the ride, we smell why...
She has dark brown, curly hear, dark eyes, white baby teeth and a dark skin. She is beautiful. What a life, I think after Mary announce she has some business to take care off. Her other children are at bible camp she says, I do not believe her.

We turn on High Street.
Left at a church.
Here she says – A shelter I think? What business do you have at a shelter… Thank you, she says. I’ll see you again, I say. She heads to the door of the shelter.

I turned the car around. Speechless I drive. Motionless. He used me…

* Not their real names

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

fab. family

speechless (no words necessary).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sweet Friend

Monte and Amy came over for desert a few weeks ago.
We can't help but LOVE the Hunts -After eating Malva Poeding and 'koeksisters', Amy and I couldn't do anything wrong. We sure are the sweetest of friends... :)

Love you dear FRIEND's

Friday, June 15, 2007


So I got invited by Piet to join Facebook and being 'poked' for a week by other friends, I DID IT. I signed in and now have my own facebook account. Hooray.

I am completely stoked by how fast I saw and connected to faces that I have not seen in years.

It is a clean site - with your face and your friend’s faces… You talk, they talk and everyone can continue to have community over the big net. I love it already.

May 16th -

Breakfast with our good friends at the Undercliff for Martin's Birthday. Just a friendly tip - do not use the websites directions as our friends Monte and Amy discovered... :)

Martin, with Amy & Monte and Sara & Jon on the entrance of this fun 'hole in the wall' restaurant.
"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships." - Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We live in a messed up world…

I recently received a fwd from my best friend, that forwarded a forward to me from a friend I once knew…

He lives in South Africa and on a morning walk with his dog, met a young 14-16 year old girl who was asking for a little money. Who takes money on a walk he asked himself – This got him thinking…His dog just got a new bed, gets food twice a day and sleeps in his house. He fills his car up with gas without even blinking an eye, with the gas prices sky rocketing!!!
He works for a company that spends billions on building new fancy buildings. And then, on the street we have children asking for money…

A reply to this email from another friend I once knew – He lives in London, and two months ago started volunteering on Friday nights at a Christian Charity to the Homeless in London. They provide food, something to drink and someone to talk too. He said he could not believe how many homeless men and women lived behind pillars, under boxes, on sidewalks… Why do we ignore these people, are we expecting the social workers to pick these guys up… I love what Diederick said – I quote “Behind every Big Issue is a person for whom our Farther love and care, and behind every “small change, please” a voice asking for more than just pennies.”

I volunteer at a crises pregnancy center here in Joplin, and have lately realized all the above!!! The world is a messed up place and I think we, as Christ Followers are His plan to ‘fix’ this mess?! I know our home is not here on earth, but while we are here, we do have a ‘life to live’.

Will your neighbors miss you when you move – shared by my co-worker this morning. Just a thought!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pride and JOY

Ilze, my baby sister riding a horse... HUGE DEAL. After Ilze's 3rd riding lesson, her schoolteacher called my mom. "Ilze is writing full sentences for the first time since...”

I asked my mom to send me a picture of her (via cell phone we got the picture posted).

Monday, April 16, 2007


My heart missed a beat, or did it drop to my knees? I’ve never had such a feeling of sadness, sorrow, pain, agony? Anger, frustration, close to hating this mad, messed up world we live in… How could I feel all of this in one missed heartbeat?

6:30am Sunday Morning - I dropped Martin of at church to find someone, who we do not know, wrote, with spray paint, some really offensive words about our God, on our church buildings front entrance!!! (It got cleaned before most people got there.)

Someone, who we do not know, is lost, and is going to HELL and what are we doing about it? We sit in our church and sing beautiful praise songs to our Lord and Savior. We listen to the preacher, and say amen in our hearts, but when the push comes to shove, we keep quiet and walk away.

Someone, who is desperately crying out for help…for love, for recognition felt the need to cry out to God ‘on’ a building. The church building is not HIS church… we ARE - the living breathing feeling human beings that are not from the world. Why is it so hard for us to be His hands and feet?

I know someone, and so do you… if each of us reached out to the ‘someone’ we know, I believe we wouldn’t have offensive spray paint sentences on church buildings.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Jakes & Marie Louise Conradie

Congrats Jakes en Marie, julle twee lyk soos 'n prentjie.

Martin’s best friend in South Africa got married on Saturday. We heard it was a wonderful, warm afternoon wedding. We pray that our Lord will bless your marriage - it is the most fun and ‘joyes’ experience we've ever had!

Quiet Office...

Our first CIY Summer Conference starts today in Florida - yes I know it's not summer but hey, changing names aren’t that easy!

After a pace of 110miles an hour for a couple of months in the office here in Joplin, it is quiet, peaceful and weird. Our entire staff (except for 2 of us), are down in Panama City, FL with a youth group from Kentucky.

The only noise in my wing is the florescent lights in the hallway. My computer, and me, typing away.

Enjoy the beach guys, take lots of pictures and bring home some good stories!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


There is no greater feeling than when you know you are loved in the midst of chaos.

Our week started pretty ‘sucky’ when the Focus broke late Saturday. Monte & Amy let us borrow their little Red car, which broke Monday Morning (it was miner). Anyhow, if it wasn’t for a lot of caring & loving friends - Martin, Rudi & I would have been stranded.

How do you thank friends that lend you their car without expecting anything in return?
How do you thank a friend that will leave her office to come pick you up in the middle of nowhere?
How do you thank a friend that without a doubt drive to your house to let your dog out, to pee?
How do you thank a friend that will pick you up from work? And the list goes on.

I LOVE the family that God surrounds us with! It is a blessing to know that no matter what happens, there will always be someone who will help, that is what I call my family of believers who live Christ like.

We thank each one of you guys from the bottom of our hearts for making the first week of April, a glorious week.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

He is the all of our PRAYER...

I have been motivated to be more spiritualy disciplined through a book, rather a Handbook on Spiritual Disciplines I'm reading.

I was hit in the nose this morning when I read this quote on prayer - In prayer we seek God. We do not seek peace, quiet, tranquility, enlightenment; we do not seek anything for ourselves. We seek to give ourselves... to God. He is the all of our prayer.
- M. Basil Pennington

M.Basil Pennington must have been a real selfless person... and you know what, google did turn out to have a lot to say about
Dom M. Basil (Robert) Pennington, OCSO.

The Daffodils/Affodille are almost all in bloom and I LOVE IT! I praise my Lord!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Welcome home Mr. SUN...

and He heard my cry... I believe God answers our prayers even it if is as simple as praying for a little sunshine! The weather was a real blessing the last couple of days - in the 60's!!!.

Our propane tank got suck down to the 5% mark a few days ago. Martin happened to check the meeter and realized - we were running really low. So we made a call and $299.80 later our propane tank was filled back up to 50% and ready for whatever the weather may bring. (I hope we do not need to use it as much, or at least not until the end of 07, but we'll have to wait and see).

I'm on my way to Cincinnati for a Believe Conference this weekend. They are expecting about 4000 jr high students...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

To My Valentine...

(If you can not read this it is because it is in AFRIKAANS!!!)
(What's up with the hearts? Yes they are really cheesy but hey so is Valentines day, right...)

Daar is min dinge in die lewe wat kan beskryf hoe dit voel om iemand lief te hĂȘ! Vandag eer ek my man as die liefste ding in my lewe!

Jy dra my op jou hande asof ek jou alles is.
Jy maak seker dat ek warm slaap en lekker eet.
Jy maak seker ons rekeninge is betaal en dat ons fone werk.
Jy, my man is die rede vir die glimlag op my gesig en die love song in my hartjie.

Elke dag is soos Valentines Day saam met jou…

Ek het jou lief

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

wrong foot...

Have you ever got up and just felt the world on your shoulders? Wow this day was forever long...

You should think that with a upper 50 degree F forecast smiles would run from ear to ear, not so much, now our yard is a mud pit with real ice as frosting!!! The unpaved driveway is something else - we almost did not make 6:17 tonight for our front wheel drive Focus, would not drive through the mud :( (common knowledge right?!). So here we are, Martin and I trying to get the front wheels unstuck in our 'church' clothes... We stuck some dry wood under the wheels and drove off without looking back!!!

Anyhow this day is almost over and with the Wii as activity tonight, it can only get better!!!

Enjoy your sunny day (if you are in RSA) or enjoy your freezing cold day (if you are in the USA).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Martin's new guitar

After a realy LOOONNGGG search Martin finally found his guitar match...

It is a 2000 Paul Reed Smith Singlecut model before they were sued by Gibson for the patent, which PRS won.

It just proves that eBay is save to buy from!!! Thanks Bob from Connecticut!!

(We took these pictures on the MacBook Pro & uploaded it to blogger. Gotta love Apple!)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

We've got the POWER!!!

I'm praising my Lord right now!!! Our power came back on after 95 hours without this wonderful modern day 'gift'.

This past week felt like one long month of cold, nasty weather but hey, ITS WINTER FOLKS.

It snowed again today, but we are not cancelling church - we will ride this storm all the way to the end.

It is my best friends birthday tomorrow -
Gelukkige verjaarsdag my vriendin.

Iska has been my best friend since high school and I LOVE my friend.

We took this picture over 2 years ago at Martin and my wedding. She was the best & most beautiful Bridesmaid EVER!

She is full of energy, gives 110% in everything she does and the best thing ever is that she serves her LORD even if other people think she shouldn't.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

ice update II

80 Hours without power!!! What more can I say...

Thank you to our great 'Friendly Hunt Hotel' who has been great patient hosts since Sunday Evening.

Maybe tomorrow will be a luckier day...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

ice update

53 hours later and we are still without power, with thousands of others...

Martin's Maple Trees Iced Over...

We went home after work to get more clean clothes and the house was down to 41 F. The fresh and marine fish died... and our water pipes are frozen.

Why we love power -
~ a warm house
~ sitting around a table having fellowship with friends, and you can see their faces!!!
~ taking a warm bath
~ refrigirate your food
~ make hot coffee
~ watch TV
~ check your email
~ cook good warm food
~ washing and drying clothes
~ fish having a good warm ecosystem
~ We can straighten our hair with a CHI
~ Charge our cellphones
~ Read your bible

Finally some SUN

Just look at these two girls sun bathing after 5 days of storm and icy clowds...

Stella and Rudi took a break from playing this morning... its a dogs life!

Monday, January 15, 2007

ice ice and more ice

We have been with out power for over 24hours now. Monte and Amy has been so kind to house Martin, me and Rudi these cold hours. They say we might be without electicity for a couple more days!!! I KNOW, not a few hours?

Martin might have some serious trouble with his marine aquarium. The temperature of the water has to be in the high 70F, and it is in the lower 60 at this point. Our house was 47F at noon today... We are thankful for friends who look out for us.

I'll post an update... For now, most schools and businesses are closed. Roads are iced over and many of our friends are without power.

Flaps & Amanda's new SON

Welcome to the newest C-Kruis Baby.

Riccardo van der Merwe was born to Flaps and Amanda on January 10, 07.

Please join us in rejoicing with them for this perfect little miracle.

We haven't talked to them, just got these beautiful picture and thought you guys might like to see this little man with all his dark hair.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Passoin 2007

God is so faithful and looking at our journey a year ago, that started at Passion 06... We are awaiting the 4 day of worship at Passion 07!

Keith and Lindsey Bell, some of our new church friends came with us... They are a fun and awesome couple to hang out with.

Feeding 22,000 people - I still view this as a miracle!!! Mike & Janese, Keith & Lindsey, Matt & Josh enjoyed the picnic with us.

We've been back for a few days now and I have to say Passion was an awesome experience!