We pray you are all well. Our family continues to feel blessed to be sent to and hosted in South Africa as a missionary family. There are many new developments that have changed both our professional and personal lives. However, one thing remains the same: We remain fulfilled.
Our family resides at Inanda Seminary where there is much cause for celebration. The school received the best results in its long and proud history. One hundred percent of the graduation class passed. One hundred percent of the graduating class received marks sufficiently high enough for them to enter university. There were 190 subject distinctions for just over 70 students! The results are breathtaking given that when our family arrived in 2000, the school verged on closure at the end of every quarter. The school continues to grow and strengthen. As the Chaplain and Development Manager, respectively, Susan and I struggle to keep-up with all the improvements at the school.
In December 2012, Susan underwent significant elective surgery and within the recommend proscribed healing time made a full recovery. She purposefully had the surgery during the Christmas break so that she did not miss any work come the New Year. And the New Year did come, perhaps disappointing many credulous people’s misunderstanding of so-called ancient Mayan calendars.
In 2013, Susan developed and initiated an orientation program for the new students. This program is invaluable. At a boarding school, new students face unexpected trials and tribulations including profound homesickness and Susan’s orientation program provides them the social, spiritual and emotional tools to cope and thrive in their new ‘family’. In addition to leading worship on a regular basis as the spiritual head of the school, Susan teaches Life Orientation. Any spare time she has is spent counseling the over 400 teenage girls. The chapel theme this year is “We Are Family” inspired by Jesus, the Apostle Paul and, of course, Sister Sledge.
In 2013, I am trying to implement many large projects that have been incubating for some years: the installation of a new web based archive accessions software program requiring lots of data entry and the installation of new archival furniture, several thousand dollars’ worth. We have expanded our recycling program on campus as well as erected three worm farms. In the next few months, the Lucy Lindley Interpretive Centre will receive an operational budget from the local government in return for providing public accessibility to the museum and archive. In 2013, we will develop our vacant land, turning it into an environmental servitude that will provide education and recreation opportunities for the Seminary and the surrounding township. In October 2012, I was appointed as an Honorary Lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Department of Religion, Philosophy and Classics).
My ministry at the Thafamasi Congregational Church keeps me ecclesiastically ‘fit’. Home and hospital visitations and regular worship remain my core vocational passions. In September 2012, our small rural church hosted thousands of visitors from all over the region for the annual conference of amaDodona (‘Sons’). The conference was way beyond the means of the church, yet the baskets of fish and bread were full. Also, I am currently serving the regional church by serving on the Bursary and the Public Lecture committees.
A major change has taken place within our family bringing with it many adjustments and new dynamics: Micah began high school and went away to board. Micah attends a historic Christian high school in the Natal midlands. Though our heart aches at not seeing him on daily basis, we do visit him weekly. Micah’s sensitivity, anxiousness and love for his mother made for a difficult first three weeks when communication was severed. Yet, he emerged, having gone through a rather significant and positive rite of passage. We dare say, he is quickly becoming a young man, physically and psychologically. He has begun his year competing often on the swimming and water polo teams. He looks quite dapper in his “number ones” (uniform sports coat and tie).
Madeline continues to thrive socially. She endears herself to everyone at her primary school. She is maturing physically, becoming quite the young woman. Madeline recently competed for a spot on a provincial dance group and was accepted. She is ‘over the moon’. Of course, that means Mom and Dad will remain commuting as much as before, despite no longer commuting Micah. Madeline’s passion is dance we are very happy that she excels in what she loves to do, even if it burns the car engines out and we replace the clutch and brakes every six months.
In December 2013, our third four year appointment as missionaries concludes. We will return to the United States so that we can connect with faith communities that have supported our ministries in South Africa for over thirteen years! We will so enjoy re-connecting with families and churches that have been so affirming of our decision to serve Christ’s church in South Africa. Whether we return to South Africa will depend on the Holy Spirit and the wider churches’ collective discernment of it. It is our prayer that God continues to bless us in 2013 as much as God did in 2012. We pray we will always be faithful to God’s vision for our lives and those whom we serve.
Love always in Christ,
Scott, Susan, Micah and Madeline
Scott Couper serves with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) as a Development Manager of the Inanda Seminary. Susan serves with Inanda Seminary, Durban, South Africa as the chaplain.