Sunday, August 23, 2015

New Pictures are up!

We are having amazingly fast internet for some reason. We aren't sure why, but we are thankful! Fast internet means I can finally post all the pictures from my sister Kristi's visit in July!

Check them out here.

Wrapping up

Today the last week of August is starting and our time with Tshepo ya Bana is “officially” coming to a close. I have so many mixed emotions right now. I know that it is time for us to move on from here, it is just something God has made clear, but that doesn’t mean that leaving is easy. We moved into Tshepo ya Bana 2 ¾ years ago. We spent a year in the main house, which was probably one of the best experiences of my life. It was definitely the best “job” I have ever had! For the last year and ¾ we’ve been down in our little cottage, being actively involved in the daily running of the main house for quite some time and now, in the last 9 months slowly weaning back from the things we were doing, as we began preparing for something new. God has been so good to us and we will forever be changed from the time we have lived at Plot 94.

Since I last wrote, I have an update on our 2nd car situation! We (Lord Willing) will soon be the owners of a Honda Odyssey minivan, straight from the US! Yes, that means the steering wheel is on the left side of the car, which is the “wrong” side here in South Africa, but it is totally legal to own and drive as it entered the country before 2004! As with all things, getting this car is going to take time! The owner is in the US right now and we are pretty sure that we cannot take ownership until she is back in South Africa to sign some documents. We could take temporary ownership, with a letter from her husband, but he is a very busy man and time is a precious commodity for him, so we are just trying to sort that out.

Our only payment for this vehicle is something you all can help with. We have been asked to pray for family members of the owner who are dealing with sickness, including cancer and a stroke, and who are also unbelievers. This is the hearts cry of the owner, that her sister, brother-in-law and nephew will be brought to wholeness, not only in their health, but most importantly, that they will take hold of the hope offered in Christ and will come to know Him as their Savior. Will you please join us in praying for them?

As for housing…so far, we are hitting some dead ends, but I am trying to not go into panic mode and instead trust that God has the perfect place for us and it will be available in His timing. This is super hard for me as I want to know NOW!!! My dad will be in South Africa in September, and I would love to be able to show him our new place and have him around to help with the cleaning and moving that will need to happen J However, my timing and the Lords may or may not be in sync and deep down I know it is far better to wait for the Lord, but my humanness is crying “God, I want to move when my dad is here!!”

There is one house that I really love and Darin is kind of ho-hum about, but there is no electricity. This isn’t a simple fix as the transformer was stolen many times and getting it made right involves dealing with the power company and that takes a lot of time and finding someone willing to listen and help. We have heard that renting a transformer can cost anywhere from R1000-R6000 a month, which is a huge cost range and, while the low end is possible for us the high end is more than we hope to pay for renting a whole house, not just a transformer for electricity!! This may not even be the house God wants for us, but I just get so want-y (open plan living area, big bedrooms and an office/space for all of Amo’s stuff!) that I forget that He has a plan.

There are still a couple call-backs we are waiting on for houses in the area we prefer and then then there are some houses that are a bit farther out location wise, but are still possibilities. Please pray that Darin and I will both be patient and discerning, and that God will keep working and we will keep trusting while He works! We do believe that He has a place for us, but the waiting and not knowing can get stressful if we allow ourselves to lose our focus on Him!

So, a second car is in the pipeline, just a few paperwork issues that need to be sorted. Finding housing is not as easy as we thought it would be, but we are thankful Chris isn’t rushing us off of the property, but is instead warmly inviting us to stay for now and also praying with us that we will be led to the right place. God is so good and when we look back at all He has done for us over these past 4 years, we know that we can trust Him with all of this and more! He is faithful and unchanging, Jehovah Jireh, our provider.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Looking back, Looking ahead

We have been living in South Africa now for over 4 years. Sometimes I find that hard to believe as I can still picture my kids running around our cul-de-sac in Hudsonville, but it is the truth. These 4 years have been filled with a lot of laughter, a lot of tears, adventure and excitement as well as deep pits of depression. There are days where our eyes open and we feel energized and excited about the day ahead and days where we want to turn it all in, turn over and go back to sleep. This up and down and in between life is the same for most of us, no matter where we live!

From our vantage point, we are able to look back and see how God has been moving, sometimes with quiet gentleness, sometimes with a hard jolt, but always moving us towards Him and what He has in store for us. We can see how He has used so many different opportunities, both the ones we’ve grabbed on to and the ones we’ve missed, to get us to this point and we are excited to see how He will continue to move and shape us.

Over the last few months, we have been preparing to move on, both literally and figuratively, from where we are at currently. We have been in South Africa 4+ years, at Tshepo ya Bana for over 2 ½ years, and working alongside Take Action Ministry for over 3 years. In September we will be moving on from Tshepo ya Bana and working full time with Take Action. This wasn’t a quick decision or an easy one, but it is something we have prayed about, sought advice for, and most importantly we see how God has been moving and preparing us and believe He is ready to use us for something else. Not something better or more, but something different.

Our time here at Tshepo ya Bana has been part of that preparation, as we have met people and come into contact with organizations that have taught us a lot about this area where we live, the need, the culture, and the different ways that things can be accomplished. We are so thankful for the many people we have met here, both local people and those from around the world! God has used those interactions and meetings in such powerful ways. We can say with certainty that while it was never our plan to live and work at Tshepo ya Bana, we know that this was right where God wanted us to be. We are thankful for his guidance, for the gentle way he said “no” to one thing and led us into something more than we would have ever imagined for ourselves.

It is with this same faith, a faith that has grown by being exercised in many hard and often uncomfortable situations, that we will now step back from our work here and step into something new. We are excited about what is already happening with and through Take Action Ministry and are looking forward to being able to devote more time and energy to this work. We do plan to stay in the Hammanskraal area and are currently seeking out places to live. We are also looking for a second car as we learned early on that having one vehicle is not so great for our marriage or my mental health! We know that God will meet needs as we move away from the Tshepo ya Bana community, which has been providing our room and board and extra wheels when needed. We have recently received a few unexpected financial donations and we know we can move forward with courage instead of fear, trusting that God will provide.

I will be writing (soon!) about our work with Take Action, but if you would like to know more now, feel free to email us at or check out to see what is going on!

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...