Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More Westfield Woes

Westfield is at it again. They have removed the fountain from the food court and replaced it with an oversized kiosk that sells gelato and crepes. I had no idea the French and Italians had such a union.

Westfield has also found another place to put ads - on the car-shaped push chairs. With their usual look to quality the Lexus stickers are coming off. I'm sure that Lexus USA would love to have this as their corperate image.

Yet another reason to stay out of the malls.

iPod Sweatshop

This is not an iPod sweatshop - this is iPod central at GTY. Ted is pre-loading them with good stuff from John MacArthur.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

It's not too early for fruit cake

It's 6:50pm on Thanksgiving and the people at the front of this line have been there since 4pm yesterday. He hopes to get 50 inch plasma HDTV for 499.00, The store opens at 5am. It's cold tonight - one family has a heater, another brought a projector and movies for the crowd to watch. I can think of 1000 things I'd rather do on Thanksgiving.


A rest after dinner.


A rest after dinner.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Garden view room

This is Graham and Jean's back garden; It is the same one that my room over looked. It is a work in progress, Graham is building a gazebo, and Jean is restructuring where the plants should go.

In build the gazebo Graham had to learn to weld, he has got most of it done, and says it will be finished when he finds some time to work on it.

Where's Squiddy?

When I travel Campbell sends Squiddy with me -- and I take Squiddy's photograph from time-to-time. Squiddy is like flat Stanley, but not flat, and much more squid like. Here Squiddy is taking a look at the view from our chalet into Kruger National Park.

Monday, November 13, 2006

5 of 5 Lions

As we continued our mad dash out of the park, I saw a spotter Hyena, but we did not even slow down for a look, but when we cam upon these two lounging by the road, we stopped to take a few pictures.

4 of 5 Leopards

We were making a dash for the gate (we only had an hour to get out of the park, before they locked the gates for the night), when this car going the other way flagged us down to tell us that there was a leopard feeding down the road. We had seen people who had said that they could see a leopard earlier in about the same spot.

When we rounded the corner, wow, they are hard to see, but to see one this close, and eating -- amazing. We stayed and watched it pull the meat, and listened to it cracking the bones. PETA should come here and see what the animals do to each other.

3 of 5 Rhino

I love rhinos, these two were walking along near the road. Most of the animals were close enough to where we were that I could take the pictures with my canon alone, these were back, so I used my binoculars and focused the camera through the sight.

We came across several pairs of rhino throughout the day.

Did I mention it's hot?

It is hot -- the temp reads 49(that's 120 for US readers)! No wonder the elephants are in the waters, and everything else in the shade.

2 of 5 Buffalo

On the way to the Hippo Pool we can across this herd of more than 150 Buffalo. The were sitting calmly under trees trying to avoid the heat.

1 of 5 Elephant

Just a short way into the park we came onto this elephant. They make quite a ruckus as they break trees, or push them over -- they are also larger than they look at the zoo. I think it has something to do with the fence.

Later in the day we went to the poorly named "Hippo Pool", where we found no hippos, but we did find a group of more than 100 elephants wading in the water!

These Things

Right after we entered the park we came across these things -- lion food. They come in all sizes and colors, and they are everywhere. After a bit, they loose their appeal, and fade into the background.

We were told not to get too fixed on seeing the "Big Five", or we would miss all the other animals and birds; and it is possible to spend several days in the park and neve come across any of the big five.

We all had our field glasses, and were ready to see how many different kinds of birds we could find.

A few k into the park we were to see all we could imagine.

New View

Graham and Jean arranged for us to have some time at the Kruger National Park over the weekend. We had a pleasant drive down, and stopped for tea at her sister's house.

I was not prepared for what were we going to see -- the view from our balcony would have been enough for me; there were all sorts of animals and birds gathered at the river!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Got Gas?

I had no idea that a country could run out of CO2. I hope I’m gone before the great gas crisis of 2006 causes riots in the streets. People will not be happy without their fizzy drinks.

The sign says:
The Coca-Cola Bottling System and related industries are currently experiencing a major shortage of CO2. The major supplier of CO2 in South Africa is encountering production problems. We regret that as a result you may experience some difficulty in purchasing some of our carbonated soft drinks.

We do realise that this is a great inconvenience to you, we are doing our utmost to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.

As a valued consumer, we would like to thank you for your patience and understanding.


Price fixing

I learned something interesting about fuel stations here when I asked Graham why none of the stations had prices posted on the road. I was curious how he could choose a station without knowing the prices. He explained that the price of gas is set nation-wide by the government, new prices change the first Wednesday of the month and are announce the week before. The stations must differentiate themselves by their service, or how clean they are kept. All the stations have uniformed attendants that wash your windows and check your levels. There are no rules or laws preventing you from pumping your own, but to do so would deprive someone of a job and lead to a rise in unemployment. In a country where more than 20% are unemployed, every job helps to keep the economy from tanking.

A day's work

I went with Graham to the post office – he should get a discount with all the work he helps them in posting the packages. The post office is inside a market; post your mail, shop for food – very convenient. Like all post offices I’ve visited around the world, this on moved, but slowly. There must be a gene that makes people who are slow movers aspire to work in post office the world over.

Just like at home

Thursdays are catch up day at the office. It is the day they set aside to take care of everything that has been delayed, and it is also the day that they plan GTY business. I helped make some CDs using the Rimage equipment that we set up at GTY-USA.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


After the book table, Graham and I stopped by the offices of RadioPulpit -- a large broadcaster in Africa. They have had some issues over their FM stations which has caused GTY-RSA to lose some of its coverage in South Africa. At the office we learned that they are not going to be given several smaller AM stations which will actually give RadioPulpit greater coverage than before. This is great news from GTY-RSA.

Fixing a whole where the rain gets in ...

This house is having its roof re-thatched. Notice how you can see right through the rafters into the house. There is nothing on the inside of the house between the thatch and the ceiling -- when you look up you see the thatch.

Thatched homes are seen on two types of houses: the very rich who can afford to maintain them, and the very poor who cannot afford and roofing material other than what they can cut growing in fields.

Jump for Joy

Graham set up a book table in Pretoria for a seminar where Wayne Mack is teaching. So many people were excited to be able to get some John MacArthur books to take home with them. One lady started jumping up and down when her husband said that she could purchase a NASB MacArthur Study Bible! She is just one example why GTY has offices in other countries -- people everywhere are hungry for the truth.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Customer Service

This is the main hub of customer service activity at GTY-RSA. The windows in the background open into the garden. Jean answers most of the phone calls, and is always a source of helpful information.

The phone rings the most as the program finishes -- just like at GTY-USA.

We are preparing the material for a book table that will be at a book table at Joel James Church in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Grace to You - South Africa

This is the exterior of the Grace to You office in South Africa. The office has a staff of four and services all of Africa.

What makes this office somewhat different from our other offices is that it attached to the private home of the director. They likely have the shortest commute of anyone in any of the offices -- it is 3 steps from the breakfast table to the door to the office. While the office is attached to the home it is entirely separate; it has all its own facilities.

Today for lunch Graham and I went to visit a dear friend of GTY-RSA. I was encouraged to hear how God is using GTY-RSA in his life, and for his love for the ministry. He is teaching a group in his church, and he believes that GTY has equipped him for that work.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Danger Abounds

South Africa can be a dangerous place; in the past you could be attacked by roving bands of lions (which could still happen today, but unlikely in an urban setting), and today you could be attacked by a band of thugs.

Every mall and shop that I have seen has a sign similar to the in the picture. The houses all have high walls and fences topped with 10,000 DC volts of electricity, and some add razor wire as well.

Car doors auto lock, and there is an indicator light near the rear view mirror alerting you that the doors are locked.

People here seem to be very alert to their surroundings, but not in a hyper-paranoid way. Keep you possessions out of sight in the car, keep you pockets buttoned, don’t walk alone, close the gate, keep the doors locked, windows up. …

Just to keep things interesting last night at about 2:30am the alarm for the house went off – nothing like the sound of the siren to get your blood going. Turned out to be nothing, likely a spider walked across one of the sensors.

I got back to sleep after about ½ hour.


There are beautiful things everywhere. G&J have a wonderful garden filled with green plants, flowers, and pleasant spaces to sit. Graham is building a gazebo (Graham is always building something), which he works on when time allows.

Growing in the garden are some lovely delphiniums – Kerry, their wall keeps out all the munchers.

The flower in this post is from the gardens at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

A city within a city

These instant cities are everywhere; they start out as small groups of squatters then enlarge over time. The people scavenge building materials from derelict buildings to construct their shelters. They have little or no running water, and only dug facilities. Some of the sights remind me of India – the very poor living near the very rich, with little boundary between.

Often near these cities are stopping places for the unofficial taxi vans that ply the roads stuffed with 16+ passengers.

Where to eat

South Africa is filled with all sorts of food. After church we stopped at this place to have lunch. The sign simply says "The Chicken Pie Restaurant” and that is what they serve; very tasty and filling. We sat by the water and enjoyed out lunch. Note the thatched roof and lightning rod.

Many buildings including private homes have thatched roofs – very cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Graham says that the upkeep on them can be quite a chore.

Welcome to Africa

After 30 hours of travel I arrived in South Africa. Flights and all went well, and I was only semi-dead when I got off my last plane. Graham was waiting for me at the doors to the airport. It took 1 hour to do passport control and another hour to find all my bags and get through customs.

The buck in the picture was taken just outside the Voortrekker monument.