Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another long overdue update (what other kind of updates do I ever write??)

My mom has been wondering why I haven’t been posting on the blog lately, and I really don’t have a good answer. I’ve been busy, but aren’t we all? I’ve also had a full head and a full heart and that often causes me to turn inwards instead of outwards, which might also explain why I haven’t been as open lately.

I thought today, while it’s just me, Retha and 2 kids watching the Jungle Book, I’d take some time to write. It is Sunday morning, close to 10:30. Darin, Tyson, Jori, Koki and Kamo are at our church. Anja, Ann Sofie and Uncle Dennis are at Temba Baptist.  Mama Joye, Violinda and DD are at their church and the Harding crew and Fetsi are across the road worshipping with Mark, Lorna and family.

We have had a lot of extra people around lately and it has been good. On Tuesday nights, we are working through a Bible study that our church put out. It’s a 40 day journey “Better Together”. I think we’d all agree that the study is applicable to our group here at Tshepo ya Bana. We aren’t a church, per se, but we are a body of believers with different backgrounds, views and personalities that has been brought together by God to work with the orphaned and vulnerable. We need each other in so many ways and being open and vulnerable in such close quarters can be difficult, but growing in trust and building relationships is so valuable for us here in our little corner of the world.

Uncle Hans and Auntie Gerrie were here visiting from the Netherlands. This time, they brought a friend, Uncle Arie. Hans and Arie worked HARD on the addition at the volunteer cottage. Uncle Dennis, from England, is now here finishing the project. We so enjoyed having Hans and Gerrie here. We first met them when we arrived in 2011 and now count them among our dear friends. We so appreciate their encouragement, wisdom, and the love of Christ they displayed to all of us here at Plot 94. Gerrie was such a help with the children of TYB and also did special things with Tyson and Jori. Tyson also helped Hans and Arie with some of the building and this brought such joy to him. They are traveling in the Blyde River area right now and will be leaving next week for home. We hope and pray that they will return to South Africa soon!

It has been windy, as August tends to be in this area. We haven’t lost power yet, but there have been a few days where I’ve planned a supper to be cooked on the gas burners and not in the oven because the wind has been so strong. I’ve been trying some new meals and so far they have been successful. I still have big plans to post a bunch of recipes, if for no other reason than to give proof that I can now cook for a crowd and I don’t need prepackaged items to do it J Most days I don’t mind cooking, but being in the kitchen so often has taken away my desire to bake, which is probably a good thing, but my kids miss having muffins and bars in their school lunches, so I’m going to have to dig deep this week and find the time to make them something nice. I have been using loads of cabbage and butternut, two items I rarely if ever, used back in the US. I was missing out!

Speaking of food and the US, I have been seeing pictures on facebook of people canning Michigan peaches and those pictures literally make my mouth water! I barely made it through the pics of blueberries and strawberries by the box that people were enjoying and now it’s peaches! I am planning our trip home around fresh produce, oh yes, I am. Or I’ll beg someone to hang on to this year’s canned goods so I can enjoy them at a later date.

Yes, we are starting to plan a trip back to the states. We hope, hope, HOPE that we will be able to fly back to visit with family and friends during the summer of 2014. The US summer that is. We plan to travel once our kids finish their 2nd term and will be gone over their winter break and a few weeks into the new quarter. We are already talking about heading to Oregon to see my side of the family, Minnesota to catch up with the Feys and then Michigan, which was home to us for so many years to visit our lovely friends who are like family. Please be praying for us as we start planning this trip.

Tyson and Jori are currently in their 3rd quarter of school. They have a break coming up in September and then school will be over for the year early in December. I can’t believe we’ll have a 3rd and 4th grader next year! Those two are something else. A few nights ago, they introduced us to a game they like to call “satan ball”. They wanted the aunties, Darin and me to join them for this exciting game. You too can play this at home. All you need is a ball and a desire to hurt someone. The kids took turns rolling a ball at our legs while we sat in chairs. The ball represented satan. If the ball touched you, you were then “tempted beyond control” to hurt someone. Darin and the Aunties chose to poke and prod Tyson and Jori, but I decided this was a good time to cause my hubby some pain without fear of retribution (his turn was already over). It was fun. I did suggest that they could add another step to their game and if someone was hit by the ball, they could call out to Jesus to keep them from temptation. They did not seem too keen to add this element to the game, but we all agreed that in the face of real temptation we should pray to Jesus and not give in to satan and his evil schemes.

Darin has been keeping busy with his water filtration and solar energy work. I am so proud of him for all the time and effort he puts into providing for our family. Things continue to move slowly with the “big” orders that have been placed, but TIA (this is Africa) and we have learned to be patient. We know that God is our provider and that He cares for us, and we continue to rest in this knowledge. Ok, so we don’t always rest in this knowledge, but we are learning and not getting worried as quickly as we used to!

I am just keeping busy. Sometimes I look back on a day and am not really sure what I did that has made me so tired. I spend a lot of time on the phone trying to reach social workers and other service providers. I make supper, grocery lists, and after school snacks. I try to keep on top of homework, keep our room cleaned, figure out if the spots and dots which always seem to crop up on the kids are something to worry about or not, and spend time playing with all the kids while also providing structure and discipline. It’s a balance for sure. We are raising our family, loving on a group of little ones, keeping a house running, handing out hugs and kisses, bringing kids to the naughty chair and spending time with them explaining why they have been brought there, sorting through clothes, going to meetings, meeting new people in the community and visitors here at TYB. Most days kind of run into each other and then a whole week has passed and I feel like my head is going to explode. I write things down on scraps of paper, and if I don’t transfer those notes to my calendar or handy dandy pink notebook, the info can end up lost for a week or two.

There has been a lot going on here at TYB and a lot still to come. A new auntie is arriving from Illinois next Monday! We are all looking forward to meeting Gabby and having her serve along side of us.  If you want to know more about what our days look like here, please like our facebook page here.

I am thankful we are part of a community. A community that extends past our fence, past the Dinokeng gates, past the borders of this country and even makes its way into almost every continent (I’m still waiting on Antarctica). Thank you for the many ways you all bless us and encourage us. Thank you for praying, for writing emails, sending letters and packages, supporting us financially and more. We could have never guessed that we would leave our homes, travel far from our families and all that we held dear and end up being part of a community that has left us feeling full to overflowing with love. Thank you!! 


mom said...

Yeah Jonna
Great and interesting blog. I am so proud of you caring for those dear little ones and your own precious two as well. God has given you an awesome task and you have stepped up to do your best. Keep writing as well as I and many others are blessed because of the telling.
Spread the love and know grace covers it all.
Love from your mom

Anonymous said...

I love to read your updates - and "hear" your voice. I loved getting to know you through the egm community and remember when you asked us to pray for you and donate bottles of "Pepto" for you! You make me smile and am so blessed to hear about your work. I pray often for each of you and that you will continue to feel blessed.
Stacey said...

Love a big update! And SO excited for the possibility of a trip home - getting to hug you in person will be the best ever! Keep up with the updates - even the day to day details are interesting and welcome! And you need to patent "satan ball"

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