There is only 1 week left in 2014, which means it is time to write up our yearly re-cap, also known as the annual Christmas letter. This is my 3rd attempt at writing this year’s note and I am not sure it will go much better than the first two tries. I am struggling to come up with anything new to write as most of you have seen our yearly highlights on Facebook or have read about them in our blog!
Our littlest, Jori, is not so little anymore. She will be heading to Grade 4 in January, which is considered to be one of the upper grades in their school. Jori still loves helping out at the main house and loves being a little mother to Amo, who often sleeps over by us on the weekends. Jori is happy whether she is running around playing Star Wars on the Wii with her brother or putting on make-up and high heels to head out for a family pizza night. We love her spirit and spunk and find it hard to keep ourselves from smiling at the stuff that comes out of her mouth.
Tyson just wrapped up Grade 5, and had his first experience with end of year exams. He continues to be intrigued by all things related to reptiles, insects, robots and machines. Sometimes he can be a bit too intrigued, which leads to events such as getting bitten by a rat on his finger, but some hydrogen peroxide and a few squirts of antiseptic spray and he is good to go again. Tyson also loves being with the little kids but his favorite thing to do is help Darin, whether it’s cutting down tree branches, heading out to help with food donations or just riding along to keep Darin company, Tyson loves being with his dad!
Darin continues to juggle many different roles and most of the time he manages to get it all done, even when he is spread thin. He continues to play “taxi” driver for Tshepo ya Bana as well as being Mr. Fix-it. He also continues to pursue his product consultant business as a means to bring needed solar power and water filtration products to southern Africa and provide additional income for our family. This year Darin has taken on a bigger role within Take Action Ministry, managing food donations and distribution from 2 different grocery stores to 7 centers that work with vulnerable children in their communities. Darin also continues to be a wonderful father and husband, getting our kids up and out the door for school each morning (oh yes he does!), having movie nights with Tyson and wearing an earring to “match” Jori, and letting us know in so many ways that he loves us. He truly is one of the best!
As for me, I often feel like my days are on repeat with slight variations. I work with volunteers, take kids to the doctor, sit at the hospital pharmacy to pick up prescriptions, get groceries, try to come up with meals for our family, do laundry, respond to my kids when they call “Mo-om” and the littles at the main with their cries of “Auntie Jonna look!”. I still feel like this role was created just for me, which is usually a good thing, but tends to make me extra impatient when things don’t move along as quickly as I would like.
We have enjoyed being in our own cottage down at the bottom of the farm this past year. It is wonderful to be close enough to hear the little kids at the main house laughing, but far enough away that when the screaming begins we can just turn the music up a bit louder and have a break from the madness. Having space for our family has really been a blessing and we have seen the positive impact it has had on all of us.
We were blessed to spend 6 weeks back in the US this summer, driving from Michigan to Oregon while visiting many family and friends along the way. We were privileged to be able to speak at three different churches, sharing about the ministries of both Tshepo ya Bana and Take Action. We ate loads of delicious food, took part in too many good conversations to count, met nieces and nephews who were born and a sister-in-law who’d joined the family since we've been living abroad, drove many, many hours in vehicles that were so generously loaned to us during our stay, and just enjoyed being with so many loved ones.
2014 has been a good year for us, a year where we have once again experienced the goodness of God and seen how He has been faithfully leading us. For everyone who has been supporting us financially, through prayer and by words of encouragement, we thank you. We hope that you will remain a part of our 2015 as well!