We have been here for almost 10 months. We ran through our savings about 6 months ago, yet we are still living in Africa. We have been blessed by the generosity of family and friends who have been willing to step up and fill in the gaps for us. These are people who know our hearts and understand why we love this country and why we are so determined to stay out here for as long as it makes sense. It may not make sense to anyone else, but it does to us!
We received a decent sized tax return this year, thanks in part to our house selling for less than what we bought it for in 2005. If our house had sold for more, that money would all be invested in our petrol station. Instead, we have the money in hand and have been able to use it to meet our daily needs.
We bought a computer for the kids to use for movies and computer games. It was an older computer to begin with and there have been many days when we thought the thing was as good as dead, but somehow it just keeps starting up again. This may seem like a small thing, but for us it has been huge.
We bought our car in September after renting one for almost 3 months. This car was the only one in our price range and in buying it; we were also able to help some missionaries who were preparing to return to the states. We’ve never owned a hatchback before, but this car, affectionately dubbed “Mr. Potato Head” by the former owners, has been great for hauling extra kids and extra stuff to various places. It has also done great on the dirt roads and potholes that are a part of our daily life out here. We found it by reading blogs and have seen how God has been faithful in the purchase and use of our car.
I can drive stick shift! This was something that I wasn’t sure would be possible, but I did learn to drive and if I was better with directions, I am sure I could drive from here to Johannesburg!
None of us have been seriously ill or needed medical attention. This is somewhat surprising, especially for Tyson who has had stitches in his chin and tongue, dislocated his elbow, and has had a couple x-rays and an MRI in his short life. Tyson has had a few injuries since being out here, but they were nothing a bit of super glue couldn’t fix! We are often around sick people, at the orphanages and at cell group and church, but other than a few colds we haven’t caught anything contagious, not even the stomach flu. We are so thankful for good health, especially as we don’t have health insurance at this time.
We are surviving home schooling. I had always said I would NEVER home school our kids, but God has done a work in my heart and in the kids as well. I am not the most consistent teacher and I still am not certain that my kids are keeping up with their peers, but we are all learning new things each day. We are so blessed to be in an environment that is just full of things to experience and learn about without needing to open a school book. I have been learning a lot about my own strengths and weaknesses and have had many opportunities to experience God’s grace and mercy each day. It was not in our plans to still be home schooling at this point, but God has a different plan for us and we are trusting him to carry us through. I have really loved being able to spend so much time with the kids and see them in action each day. They both have such unique and quirky personalities and I love watching them learn and grow.
Soon after we moved here, we started looking at houses to buy. We planned to be here for the long haul and we assumed we’d be making money and thought it would be stewardly to not just throw our money away in rental payments. We looked at one housing development in particular and were getting very close to making an offer on a house there. One day we went to take a final peek at the outside of the house and the yard and I felt led to hop out of our car and talk to a woman who was watering her flowers near by. I asked her how she liked living in this particular development and she invited me into her house and showed me walls that were literally falling apart due to a problem with the ground the houses had been built on. This problem was not something we had been made aware of by the man trying to sell us a property (duh) but this home owner was more than happy to direct us away from buying a house in this development. Thank God for His care and protection! We’ve been here for 10 months and still have no income, so I can’t imagine the stress of dealing with house payments or trying to sell a house that was falling down around our ears.
Instead, we live in a game reserve. We are surrounded by so many wonders that God has made. We sit in our yard and watch herds of zebra, impala, blesbok and more drinking at the watering hole. We see dung beetles in action, and they are truly amazing. There are more flowers in our yard than I can count and they all have a unique look and scent. We hop in our car for a short drive and can see giraffe, rhino, jackals and more. It’s like being on holiday every day! Really, it is a unique living experience and we feel so blessed that things worked out for us to live in such an amazing place.
We are doing what we came here to do. No, we aren’t running a petrol station, but that was mostly going to be a means to an end, and not an end in itself. We came here to get involved with some children’s homes and to invest in people’s lives. We get to go across the road and hang out with some of the most fun little kids in South Africa. We get to cuddle with the most precious babies, play ball with the goofy toddlers and see some pretty sweet little preschoolers grow and learn. We also get to spend time with Mama Cathrine at Tshwaraganang. We get to interact with the kids in her care and have been able to connect her with other people who are able to help get the center in order. We’ve also been able to help Amos, our gardener, turn his tuck shop into a general dealer thanks to some of our generous friends!
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion”, says my soul, “Therefore I will hope in Him.” Lamentations 3: 22-24