The year that was and the year that is to come.

As we prepare to enter a new year in less than a week, we look back with gratitude for the faithfulness of God throughout 2018, and with hope for His new mercies for the year ahead.

Tyson completed Grade 8 at Batho Pele Christian High School. It was a different kind of year for all of us. He made some friends, then lost them, then made them again. Socializing continues to be a battle for our boy and we are proud of the way he endured a lot of not so fun stuff this year and came out stronger on the other side. Tyson did well in school this year; he had a lot of projects that he really excelled in and a lot of tests and homework that he didn't do quite so well in. Tyson continues to love Nerf guns, Christian Rap, dancing, and having fun with his sister or his friends. He continues to love doing stuff with his hands, showing a lot more creativity than his parents and making a bit of a mess along the way.
Kids swimming in our pond...I mean pool.
Jori wrapped up her last year at Jabulane Christian Academy earlier this month. Jori had a good year in school, excelling in all of her classes and coming out of her shell a bit more in Grade 7. Jori loves listening to music, drawing, reading and also has developed a love of Christian Rap. She still depends on her brother a lot in new situations, but has been better about stepping out of her comfort zone. She is definitely living the preteen life of gabbing with her friends, painting her nails and worrying about what to wear.

Darin had another packed year with his work for Take Action Ministry, Busetsa Wood and Business Connect. Busetsa continues to grow, which means Darin continues to be busy delivering products, picking up supplies, managing payments and more. His role at Take Action was much the same as in years past, but he has passed on most of the day to day running of the Distribution Centre to other team members. His work with Business Connect, distributing water filters, really took off. Most days find him busy getting shipments ready, meeting with potential distributors, sending emails, returning messages and taking part in conference calls with people around the globe. This year Darin was privileged to travel to Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Zambia and 3 trips to Kenya and he already has a trip to Burundi planned for January.

Glass of Pepsi Max, Yearly Planner, Phone, Laptop, Headphones and a Big Smile!
Jonna: My 2018 was also busy. I continued to work with Take Action Ministry heading up the work with day care centres. I really loved getting to know the women who manage and work at the day care centres this year. The time and energy they put into caring for children every day is really amazing. They are not in it for the money, I can tell you that for sure. I loved stopping in at the different centres and being greeted by so many smiley little faces. It really was a joy to walk beside the centres and the women running them and see how much growth they experienced this year. Having Darin involved in so many things and traveling around Africa meant that I was also busier at home. Cooking, keeping our schedules in order and helping with homework (just not math!) rounded out my days.
Of course we still see this little lady and her family a lot too!
Visitors: In January, Grandma Karen came out with 3 ladies from Edgerton to see a bit of our lives here in South Africa. Papa John and Grandma Willie came in September and stayed for 5 weeks. They brought my niece, Kelsey along and she stayed on for another 7 weeks after they left. My sister Laurie joined her for the last 12 days here. It was a great experience having Kelsey here, for me and Darin, but especially for Tyson and Jori. They went from hardly knowing their cousin to being best friends.

As we wrap up 2018, we are looking ahead to a 2019 that will be quite different. At the end of this month, I will finish up my work with Take Action Ministry after being a part of the organization for 4+ years and start 2019 as a home schooling mama of 2 high school students!! Can you feel the excitement!! Honestly, I am eager and I find myself thinking about what I want the kids to learn and how to best go about teaching them, but it is also overwhelming. When I decided to move on from Take Action, it was not originally to become a home schooling mama, but to dive more fully into exploring options of care for children with disabilities in the Hammanskraal area. However, as the school year progressed and Tyson had more issues with bullying and some of the educational aspects of school didn't quite mesh with our family, we started to look into other available options. They were either too far away or too expensive, and so we decided to give homeschooling a try, only this time with a dedicated, stay at home parent - me. The disability stuff is going on the back burner for a time until the kids and I have a bit of a rhythm worked out, and I am feeling mostly ok about this. It will just be a big change.

Speaking of big changes, Darin recently accepted a new position as the Global Director for Business Connect. He started out as a local distributor, then took on the role of South Africa director, quickly moved on to Director of Southern and Eastern Africa, recently stepped into the role of Africa director and now has been given a new opportunity to work with small business owners worldwide, helping them develop their own water filter distribution businesses. This change will mean a bit more traveling and a few more conference calls, but if anyone can handle such a big responsibility, it's Darin.

We look forward to sharing more about these changes in the new year. Blessings to you all in this festive season!


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