Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Last Day

Tomorrow is our last day in the states. As a person who does not enjoy goodbyes and struggles with change, even when the change involves returning to the familiar, this is pretty sad. I must say that I am pretty proud of myself for not worrying and fretting and crying about our last day until now, our second to last day, and really, I haven’t cried yet and am not overly worried. It’s just that I am starting to feel those butterflies in my stomach, the ones that come before a big upheaval. I know there is going to be a lot of sad feelings when leaving here and there is also going to be a lot of adjusting once we are back in South Africa and these are things we’ll all just have to deal with. I would gladly deal with all the feelings and emotions and packing and unpacking in exchange for all of the wonderful experiences we’ve had over the past 6 weeks.

Being in Michigan and visiting familiar faces and places was amazing. Seeing Tyson and Jori playing with their friends again, watching them ride bikes around the neighborhood, listening to all the giggles and other noises of childhood was just fun. I tucked away a lot of pictures in my mind, images that will surely bring this mama’s heart a lot of happiness over the next few years. Catching up with friends from church and college and work and other areas of our old life was a real blessing as well. We left Michigan feeling loved and realized that we are not forgotten!

Spending time in Minnesota with Darin’s family and catching up with friends from high school and college was also a lot of fun. Our kids went on more motorized vehicles in 2 weeks than they’ve ever been on; boats, motorbikes, 4 wheelers, jet skis, gators, go-karts and more. They loved it and will probably forever equate the Midwest with 2, 4 and no wheeled fun! Biking to the city pool, library and grocery store with Grandma Karen were also fun adventures for our kids. We all enjoyed catching up with cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and great-grandparents!

Now we are enjoying some time in sunny Oregon! Yes, the usually rainy state has welcomed us with a lot of hot weather. Before arriving in Oregon, we spent a lot of time with my family in South Dakota at a family reunion and then a lot of time driving back with them over three days to Oregon. We’ve enjoyed a lot of family dinners, loads of ice cream and time together talking and just hanging out. It’s crazy that I now have a niece and several nephews who are way taller than I am and that I also met 2 nieces and a sister-in-law for the first time ever!

Yes, we are tired and a bit worn and the whole living out of a suitcase way of life has gotten a bit old, but the four of us have truly enjoyed our travels and the time spent with family and friends.

In other news, we are happy to report that we have our visas!!! We know without a doubt that something that seemed impossible, namely receiving our visas in less than 4 weeks, was made possible by the prayers of so many people to our Great God!! Thank you all for praying, not only for our visas, but also for safety and health during our travels. We have been so encouraged over this past month and a half through talking face to face with so many of you and being able to share with you the story of God’s faithfulness in our lives. We are excited to see what He has in store for us when we return to South Africa and know that no matter what, He will be there with us!

Monday, July 7, 2014


Just a quick note to let you know we are still alive and kicking! We are having a great time in Minnesota, but are definitely feeling tired again. We have been squeezing in a ton of time with family and managing to fit in visits with local friends as well. Unfortunately, there is just not enough time to do it all! We have been celebrating birthdays, getting ears pierced, taking in a Twins game, riding on all sorts of motorized recreational vehicles, celebrating the 4th, eating good food, laughing and talking and just enjoying a whole lot of togetherness.

We will be heading to the Black Hills for a family reunion (Brouwer/Willie side) on Thursday. During the time we have left here we need to get 5 cavities filled, pick up new eye glasses, meet with friends for lunch, get a haircut, sleepover in Sioux Center, pack and eat at the Pizza Ranch. So much to do, so little time! After the 3 day reunion, we’ll be driving to Oregon. Lots of time to be together in a confined space, which I am sure will be good for family bonding!

We do have one prayer request. One of the big things we needed to accomplish during our time in the states is updating and renewing our visas. We are finding this to be a bit more difficult due to some recent regulation changes and some less than helpful consulate workers. The process is supposed to take at least 4 weeks and we now have less than 3 weeks time remaining, which, even for a girl who almost failed Math 100, is a bit of a problem. Please pray that our forms will land on the desk of the most industrious and helpful person at the consulate and that the process will go forward in even faster than normal time. We are trusting that God has everything under His control and trying not to stress about the “what ifs”!

Build Them a Home Progress Report #3

Wow, wow, wow!!! We are only $50 away from reaching our goal!! Thank you to everyone who gave over the past week. The house is really taki...