Friday, November 9, 2012

A very sad goodbye and a big change for our family

Last Friday morning Mark Harding, who founded Tshepo ya Bana (or as we usually refer to it, across the road) with his wife Chris, passed away. We are mourning the loss of this wonderful, godly, gentle, compassionate, generous man. I don’t even know if I could find the words to adequately describe just who Mark was and what his death means for so many people, so I’m not even going to try. Just please pray for the Harding family and the greater Tshepo ya Bana family as they grieve and process this great loss.

A few weeks back, Darin and I sat down with Mark and Chris and had a discussion about the possibility of our family coming on board at TYB as house parents. The couple who was living in the main house for the past several months had found different employment and the Hardings knew that we had a heart for the little ones over here, which is why they approached us. With our recent financial struggles, this  opportunity made a lot of sense, as we would be volunteering, but receiving free room and board. We had recently decided to start a trial period at the end of November, but with Mark’s passing, our move in date was pushed up a few weeks. We hauled a couple car loads of stuff across the road on Saturday and have been here ever since. It has definitely been a big transition for our family, especially since it happened so suddenly. It helped that we were planning to come here anyway and had already started talking to Tyson and Jori about the changes that were coming.

Right now, we are in sink or swim mode. We are so thankful for the two volunteers that are here from Holland and the staff as well. We are learning the schedule, making big dinners, and getting used to sharing a house with 9 children instead of the 3 we had just a week ago. Tyson and Jori are learning to share their parents and trying to be quiet in the morning when the rest of the house is still asleep. It has been difficult for them, but we know as the weeks go on we will find a new rhythm. Darin has been spending a lot of time in the car; bringing kids to school, bringing staff back to the house, picking kids up from school, bringing staff back home and running out when we realize we don’t have bread or milk or the right ingredients for dinner. I have turned into a morning person, more by necessity than choice, but it hasn't been so bad.

So, that is our past week in a nutshell. We covet your prayers as we adjust to this very different life. We’ll try to get on here again soon to fill in the gaps, but if you have a specific question, leave it in the comments and we’ll address it! 


Jo Rome said...

Hi Jona,

I know what a big change this will be for you all, but what a joy there is in serving the Lord there and the massive blessings he pours out in that place and the people there. I will be praying SO hard for you all in your new role, I remember when I was there in 2008 and you were visiting with them how me and Roseanne talked about how great it would be of you two were the new Chris and Mark one day, and I guess u two have been on my heart over the years as I've been prancing for them. So EVERY BLESSING. I'd like to private message u about something shortly if that's ok?

Jo Rome

Robin said...

So are you guys living in that front cottage? or in the back or actually in the house? Wow - I didn't know that was in the plan, I'm so happy to know that you guys were there and willing to step in to help Chris. that is so great, what a good thing you are doing. So you have two volunteers there from Holland now it sounds like, that's not a lot at all...I think we had 4 or more when I was there, and we still felt shorthanded from time to time. I will be praying for you everyday now, I know you will do great, you are just amazing! Do you need a few season's of Grey's? haha!! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Jonna... you guys are amazing! I never would've thought you would be where you are now even when you first moved to SA. God is certainly using your family in a big way! We will be praying for you all as you adjust to your new life, and pray that the Lord will bless each of you as you take care of all those little ones. Love you my friend. Tami

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