Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Wrap Up

2017 has been a different sort of year for us. In all of our years here in South Africa, we have either moved house or changed position in our work, but this year we stayed put. Having roots is a good thing and our family has benefited from having a place of our own. The lack of movement and change has made our life here in South Africa feel almost normal, similar to the lives of our peers back in the US. This isn't a bad thing, but it is different.

One of the biggest changes for us this year was having Tyson home. He wrapped up his school years at Jabulane Christian Academy in December 2016 and we made the decision to home school him. It was a challenging year for us, but also a beautiful year. Darin and I both feel like we know Tyson more and have a better understanding of who he is and what he struggles with. Our plan for the 2017 school year is for Tyson to attend Batho Pele High School at Vastfontein Community Transformation. Please be praying for him as he makes this transition!

Tyson (13) is a giver and a server. He will wash dishes without being asked, makes my coffee, and makes homemade gifts for everyone he knows. He still loves to play and is very much a kid, yet he is also growing up, asking deeper questions, and turning into a fine young man.

Jori (11) will be starting Grade 7 in January. Our girl definitely marches to the beat of her own drum. She knows what she likes and where she is comfortable. She leans on her brother in new situations and he always takes care of her, which I remind her of when she is telling me how annoying he is! Jori makes us all laugh daily. She is fun and funny and we are thankful for the joy she brings. There has also been a bit more eye-rolling and pouting from our girl this year, but we are thankful that we haven't felt the full onslaught of teenage drama yet. 

Darin has been busier than ever. Whether it is work for Take Action Ministry, Busetsa Wood or Business Connect, he is always doing something; phone calls, emails, deliveries, painting, traveling and more. We are so thankful that God has opened doors for Darin to use his gifts and provide for our family. We are also thankful that a year and a half after experiencing a brain bleed, Darin suffers no ill-effects. 

I have also been staying busy. My work with Take Action focuses mostly on working with day care centres. I am known as "ma'am Joan", "mama Joanna", and "legowa", which means white person. I will answer to all names, except for legowa :) Thankfully children are fast learners. I also handle much of the social media and communications, which I continue to enjoy. 

Our family enjoyed a 6 week trip to the US this summer. Seeing family and friends was such a blessing. Tyson and Jori bring up memories from this trip almost daily. While living away from familiar faces and places is a challenge, we are thankful that most days South Africa feels like home. We have carved out a life here, much different from the life we envisioned when we moved here in 2011, but God has been faithful and has given us more than we ever thought possible. 

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