Phelps News - 2013 in Review

2013 started out with many uncertainties. There were significant organisational financial challenges and we were not sure what the year would hold? Was I going to be able to visit fields and help develop training and trainers, or would I have to work primarily from Pretoria via email and Skype? God challenged us in the area of where we find our worth and satisfaction.

February was focussed on local training at our training base in Pretoria and for other organisations in the Gauteng region. Time was also spent on planning and producing training materials. The direction of the year still felt uncertain but there was certainly plenty to turn our hand to. March was concluded with our OM Africa Regional Leaders retreat. What a privilege to spend 5 days in retreat, fellowship and meetings with our regional leaders. This was a key time in communicating training values and philosophy with our country and ministry leaders. It has been gratifying to see changes in alignment and practice in many of our fields.

In April Grietjie and I saw a long-term dream fulfilled as we travelled to Zambia together to do training. We were invited to participate in a Sports ministry specialist school. Colin got to teach Leadership, How to Study the Bible and Designing Training and Grietjie did basic entrepreneurial skills.

Colin then helped a colleague move to Zambia by a truck up with their furniture on it. Three days at the Livingstone border post waiting for customs put a whole new slant on patience development!

May saw us take a camping holiday out at Bela-bela before Colin went off to Belgium for three weeks. Three weeks of great input and interaction at the OM Senior Leaders came at the price of only seeing the sun once or twice! The two week leadership course was followed by an international forum on personal support raising.

In what was a master piece of timing Colin got back from Belgium in time to say goodbye to Grietjie as she went up to Lake Tanganyika to do entrepreneurial training with our team there. She flew to Lusaka and then caught an 18 hour bus to get to Mpulungu where the training was done. The feedback was extremely positive and we are hearing reports of some small businesses that are helping support some of our workers.

June concluded with Colin going down to George to participate in the 3 day orientation conference, the GO Challenge, which prepared the 200 people who were going out on outreach. I did a two hour workshop on ministering cross-culturally and had great fun doing an interactive learning simulation game with all 200 participants.

The Daniel Initiative is a program aimed at helping leaders from the Global South succeed in the global leadership arena. Colin helped design the pilot program and participated in the week long training of 20 international leaders in Pretoria.

Later in July the family headed off on a road trip to Zimbabwe and Zambia. In Zimbabwe Colin spent time with the OM team in Harare and participated in the 2nd annual Siabuwa missions conference. It was encouraging to see the progress in the missions vision of the churches in this remote region of Zimbabwe.

We then drove up to Zambia for our annual Love Africa conference in Kabwe. We also participated in the regional leaders meetings, leadership training and training on ministering in Orality based cultures.

On our way home we got to spend to fantastic nights camping on the banks of Lake Kariba. The man-made lake is a fantastic natural show piece.

In September Colin hosted his international colleagues from the various regions in OM in Pretoria for a five day training consultation.

A unique experience was flying up to Venda in a Cessna Caravan with Flying for Life (an MAF affiliate) to meet with community and church leaders to discuss possible leadership development interventions for the community of Makuya. Time will tell if there is further work to be done here.

One trip, two countries, two fantastic opportunities! Colin attended the Leadersource Leadership Consultation. Two hundred leadership development practitioners from around the world, one hundred of whom were from mainland China gathered to be motivated and challenged to continue making leadership development a priority and to do it effectively.

Colin then went on to Pakistan to join three other trainers in training 20 Pakistani workers in how to be more effective trainers. What a privilege to spend ten days equipping workers who are spreading the Gospel in a country where there are less than 1% evangelical believers.

The Leadership Matters Course in Zimbabwe would have seen Grietjie and the kids accompany Colin to Zimbabwe but circumstances changed and Colin had to go alone. The course went well but a third three week trip in the year was tough being away from the family.

December's highlight were a surprise visit to Cape Town for Colin's Dad's 70 birthday and then a good long break at home. We ended the year rested and refreshed.

Homeschooling has progressed well and Grietjie and the kids are deserving of medals for the hard work they've put in.
Financially we saw God do the miraculous and although our committed regular monthly giving is well short of what we need somehow we ended the year more or less in in budget.
Significant milestones were Caroline's 16th birthday and Colson's 14th!


Colin for the family.