by Laurie-Ann Copple
Hi everyone. We were set to leave on April 2nd initially to the UK for a family-rest stopover, and then to Canada on Good Friday. Unfortunately we have had two flights cancel on us for those dates. We are trying for an earlier date on March 31st. We cannot leave earlier due to multiple complications, such as: a broken car being repaired, a loaned car needing to be returned, arranging L-A's colouring book to be sold by others in our stead, preparing our house for the move, having our furniture picked up, sending items to others as gifts, selling other items, freight-forwarding the items that will be sent to Canada, Everything is on fast forward, but nothing in Africa moves at that pace. We are working on it. If you are a praying person, please do keep us in prayer.
Sadly we are also forced to cancel our long-awaited UK rest stopover that would have allowed us to see Tony's sisters, and allow L-A to rest. While the tumour in L-A's breast has disappeared (yes, DISAPPEARED according to four PET and CT scans!), she remains vulnerable to the virus, and Tony is in the age range that also shows vulnerability.
If we are not able to leave South Africa and travel to Canada, we will see if we can arrange to be isolated in a mountain cottage. We will probably not have wifi but we would be safe. L-A's colouring book is now in Olive Tree bookstore in Worcester's Mountain Mill Shopping Centre. We will deposit more colouring books at LeRoux and Fourie Vignerons wine shop on R60 west of Robertson. We are also working for the colouring book to be available on Take Alot (a South African e-commerce site, and Ingram (an international book site).
Apart from our own unsure situation, we are praying for others - those in the townships, who don't have good access to medical care and they are crammed in like lemmings. We pray for government leaders making tough decisions. We pray for first responders, medical people, and police. We pray for those in the aviation industry, transporting people back to their homes, that they may not contract corona virus or anything else in the meantime. We pray for calm and peace in the airports, and not panic. Let everything run well, despite the virus.
L-A still has further cancer treatments, whether in Canada or South Africa. If it is in Canada, mastectomy is likely, and hopefully herceptin injections can be continued under OHIP coverage. These injections are R9,100 each plus facility fees for nursing in South Africa, so we hope we can get to Canada. But no matter what, we know that Jesus is with us. He has not abandoned us in this time. His presence and love can still be shown through small groups of the church. We don't need buildings. We don't even need hugs, although we still love them. We attended a satellite church meeting recently at our cell group location, which is at our friends' guest house in Worcester. We were loved and loved others in return. We knew we weren't alone, and even L-A's new colouring book was celebrated.
And you aren't alone either. Jesus is standing next to you. You aren't forgotten. Whether there is another person there with you, or whether you are on your own. You aren't alone. Don't be afraid. Lord Jesus, we thank you that you are with us, and we ask that you would touch the hearts of those reading this message right now. You are in control. Please keep a lid on this virus so it doesn't spread further. Please begin to dissipate the virus, and help those who can find a cure. We speak life to those who have the virus that they would survive. We speak peace to those who are living in fear. It's like the fear is worse than the virus. We choose life, Lord, we choose you. In Jesus' name, Amen.
by Laurie-Ann Copple
When L-A sees the words of the title of this blog post, she thinks of the 1986 song “The Final Countdown” by Europe. It’s a song that we would post on the white board at Algonquin College’s radio-broadcasting department at the end of the semester. We have been counting the days to return to Canada, and yet also wanting to stay here in Worcester at the same time. Would that we could have another year in South Africa! We have loved our time in Worcester with the children and teens. We got to know so many wonderful friends and colleagues. We loved on inmates, Hospice patients, and those in Homeless Church.
Laurie-Ann’s art has continued to bloom and blossom, both as an art teacher and an artist. We are excited about the first of many colouring books to come. Since South Africa awoke L-A’s sleeping gift of art (during our extended outreach near Robertson), South Africa is the country that gets the opportunity to see L-A as a published author/artist. While the print run is small (due to us leaving not long after publishing), there is more to come for Colouring with Jesus 2.
During March, we will enjoy our last month, but we are busy! L-A is teaching prophetic art at Worcester Christian Church’s Kinderkerk (February 23, March 8), and a workshop with Avian Park kids on March 25 at 9 am (Avian Park library). We were to have other workshops, but they were never confirmed. Since we’re also active in ministry (prison, hospice, teens, school learners, kids clubs) and media (CWCP, Ways to Grow in God, our website and Facebook pages), as well as arranging our exit (moving, moving again, arranging cars, places to stay and travel), it takes time! More time than you can imagine! L-A continues to heal up from the effects of chemo and peripheral neuropathy. These are still big in her life right now. L-A uses a walker, and in one of her activities, the Touching Hearts course, she has to be helped up two series of steep steps to get into my friend’s house. She is thankful for the help, and have made dear friends that have reached out to love me. She loves them in return.
Our last Iris Western Cape family gathering is March 8th in our South African home. As well as hosting, we've been asked to share some things we've learned along the way. Tony is excited about sharing some wisdom. L-A will let him take the show. We will continue with our Legacy Relay learners until the 17th of March, since the following Tuesday is the autumn break between the summer and fall terms (we might be able to come the 31st but that is when we are cleaning out our newly-emptied South African house for inspection). Our good-bye party with the Riverview kids’ club is on March 18th, when they will colour in a drawing that L-A did of Jesus with many of them. Our last board meeting with My Father’s House Worcester is on March 20th (we’re not sure who is taking the minutes, but it will probably be Laurie-Ann). Our last Monday with the Mailbox Club may be March 30, but since we’re moving that day we will see. Our last Saturday with the teen girls will be March 28th.
Our last Hillsong Sunday will be March 15th, where we will see a few friends that we connected with over two years of monthly visits. We hope to again visit CapeGate Oncology Centre for a last goodbye, as well as bring a few copies of the colouring book to share/sell.
L-A’s colouring book launch will be at Worcester Christian Church on March 22, after the 9:15 am service, although we will also sell the book at our good-bye send-off service on March 29th. We are sad to leave but we’ll always be connected.
We’re sad to be saying goodbye, especially when we don’t know when we will return. When/if we can return, we don’t know if it will be for another long-term season, or a 3 month visit (Likely the visit). We will see how Holy Spirit leads. First we have to re-settle, re-group financially (since the cancer treatments took a LOT out of us, as well as other things), and be re-planted in Ottawa.
We won’t move back into our Ottawa condo immediately. We are being taken in first by friends that we got to know through the Alpha Course. Then we move to a new friend’s farm in Beckwith Township, near Carleton Place, Ontario. We hope to be back in the condo for early Fall. By Christmas 2020, we should be settled in our condo again, with L-A’s old library-office made into a studio as well as an office.
We will continue running this website, even though we won’t be Copples in Western Cape anymore. We’ll be Copples in West Ottawa, but our hearts will remain in the beautiful Western Cape. We fly out April 2nd towards the UK, where we will see Tony’s sisters in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Then we arrive Easter Weekend in Ottawa.
So that’s our “final” countdown. Rather than looking at the ticking clock or the calendar, we are focused on getting things done, one by one. We also have the last of L-A’s cancer treatments, the PET scan on March 11th, the oncologist visit on March 19th. But it’s all good. We will treasure the moments with the friends who have become family.
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal
TONY'S POST MISSION JOURNAL