How to MacGyver a Pedal

As we waited our turn to practice before the service yesterday, I saw something under the keyboard that caught my attention. It took a few seconds for my mind to grasp what I was seeing:

Yep, that’s a sustain pedal made from an old stapler! The chapel we rent for church services has a BYOP policy: Bring Your Own Pedal. However, since the last time I played, someone has come up with this back-up plan! I have to admit I was a little afraid of getting shocked by it, so I used the more traditional pedal. But really, this is genius! As Moses, the worship leader, said with a shrug: “TIA!” Yes, This Is Africa. And I love it!

A Joyful Noise

Yesterday I had the tremendous opportunity to make some beautiful music with my friends Bryanne and Brianne. We played during offertory, so they sang By Faith (by Getty and Townend) and played guitar, and I accompanied on the piano. Bryanne Jones has been learning guitar, and I’m newly back to piano, so we started pursuing this opportunity because we want to use any skills we have developed as a means of drawing others to worship the Lord. Brianne Kopp is very familiar with singing and playing in a church setting (though she has been lying low and this was her first time at IBF!) so she got roped in to help us figure out how to do this! And because I don’t sing. At least not well!

These ladies have amazing voices. Let’s be honest, I just got to come along for the ride! But anytime they sing, I want to be there! And they make me want to become a better accompanist, a better pianist. I love playing classical music. Playing improv, music directed by chords, as part of a band – that’s really hard for me. But I loved it! And I want to get better at it. I’m looking forward to our next opportunity to draw attention and worship to our Lord and Savior with a joyful and beautiful noise!


We love Sundays around this house! They are non-stop from 8:30am to 7:30pm, but they are filled with our favorite things!

Here’s what a Sunday can hold for us…

We usually leave the house between 8:30 and 8:45, getting to church in time to clean a classroom. Rachel is currently teaching the 4-5 year old Sunday school class, and enjoys a full house of 8-10 imaginative and fun kids!

Matt is on rotation helping teach the adult class on Evangelism, and this week and next he is teaching on the difference between the prosperity gospel and the true gospel of Scripture.

Main service is next, a time to enjoy worshipping the Lord and hearing the teaching of God’s Word with our friends.

We have a few minutes after church to chat with people, then we rush home for Care Group, which begins at our house at 12 noon!

We eat lunch with our Care Group (I feel them peanut butter sandwiches and they keep coming back!), and we really love this group! We have somehow become the “young singles group,” and more often than not we have to draw up a few extra chairs to our 10-seater table!

During lunch we catch each other up on what God is doing in our lives. Afterwards we explore the practical applications of the morning’s sermon and take time to pray for one another. This group cares for one another well and loves to laugh! We are so thankful to the Lord for them, and have been so encouraged seeing them grow in Christlikeness!

After Care Group, either Matt or I or both of us have have meetings for discipleship or counseling. It’s fun to end the afternoon with both of us saying: “God is at work here!”

By this point it’s getting to the late afternoon and we have a Skype appointment each Sunday with Matt’s parents. It’s a fun catch-up time, usually involving some sort of show-and-tell by the girls.

Either before or after dinner, it’s family fun night! It’s our one night of the week to do something special as a family, whether that’s play dominoes, ride bikes, watch a movie, go out to eat, or throw a blanket on the lawn and star-gaze!

By the end of Sundays, we are all tired-happy. These days seem to embody what we love: worship of the Lord and instruction in the Word, ministry and relationships within the church, and sweet family time. We love Sundays!

End of the Season

We are in what may be the last series of rainy days for this season. It was not nearly as much rain as everyone had hoped for this year, but at least the maize is up in most parts of the country.

The intensity of these late storms has surprised us a bit. Usually it’s the earlier rains that put on a big show, but on Tuesday it poured!

Take a closer look at those white streaks….

Yep, we got hail!

We’ve seen hail a couple times in all the years we’ve lived here in Malawi, but it’s definitely rare. The girls hadn’t seen it before, so it was fun to share that first with them. And just in case you’re wondering, yes, we do live in the tropics… hail in the tropics – who knew?!

Ready, Set Bone

Considering the events of yesterday, we had a surprisingly good night. Matt was up to give Abi Tylenol about 11:30pm, and I was up to do the same at 3:30am. Then the girls slept until 7:01 – a Floreen girl record for sleeping in late!

Right after breakfast the girls and I jumped in the car and headed back to the orthopedic doctor. They had told us to come back in the morning, so we got there about 8:30. No doctor. He wouldn’t be in until 2pm. So ended our first clinic visit of the day.

Back in the car, we drove all the way across town to Partners in Hope. Dr Barrett Jones (fondly known in our house as “Judson’s Dad”) had been consulting with us since the accident the afternoon before. We knew he wanted to see the X-ray anyway, and we like the X-ray tech there, so we walked into our second clinic of the day about 9am.

All checked in and reading Tintin comics while we wait!

Abi is apparently an X-ray pro now. She knew exactly what to do. Oye, I’m sure it’s not a good thing that she’s so good at doing X-rays, or that we have a favorite X-ray tech… but I’m thankful for competent medical staff here in Malawi!

Naomi came along for moral support. In the whole event of “Aslan” jumping off the ottoman that started all this, Naomi was playing Peter, brave and faithful. She continued in the brave and faithful role for today’s encore of clinic visits.

Yep, looks like there’s a problem in there…

The rest of the world is probably totally used to this, but we still think digital X-rays are fascinating! The buckle fracture is just below the mouse arrow, with evidence of the buckle on both sides.

Once diagnosis was confirmed, we just needed to wait for the orthopedic guy to recheck the X-rays at 2pm and decide if we needed a cast or not. As we already had plans to meet our dear friend Rene for lunch, we kept that appointment while we waited for 2pm! Such a sweet time with a great friend!

Just after 2pm found us at our third clinic visit for the day, back to see the orthopedic guy!

And this time we got to see him! Dr Manda said the break would heal quickly and likely not even leave any trace of having been broken. Since it was so straightforward, he recommended a brace as opposed to a cast. He also highly discouraged playing lions or any animals for the duration of the brace. Smiles all around!

The brace should be with us for the next 4 weeks, with no playing animals, running, jumping, or carrying heavy objects. Our hearts are all lighter from the relief of just knowing what had happened to the bone and of having the wrist and arm stabilized. We are so thankful to the Lord for his protection of Abigail and his sustaining grace over the last 24 hours! Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers!

After Hours Broken Bones

Late this afternoon, Abigail and Naomi were playing “Narnia.” Abigail was Aslan, and made a flying leap off the ottoman, to land on her hands on the hard tile floor. “It felt like my bone bent,” she said. Amidst much screaming.

Our doctor recommended the orthopedic doctor at the Seventh Day Adventist Clinic, so we headed there. We got there just before 5pm.

Abi was a champ. Her arm hurt about an inch above her wrist, and there was no big bump or obvious break, so I wasn’t too worried about displacement of the bone. We checked in at the clinic and waited.

Back in another part of town, Matt dropped Naomi off at the Kopps house, and told them Abi wouldn’t be joining them tonight. They were both supposed to hang out with the Kopp family tonight while Matt and I went on a date. We had called in an order for our favorite Indian food and we were going to take it home and watch a movie. Instead, he picked up our food and met Abigail and I at the clinic, where she got to join us for our dinner date!

A little after 6pm, I started asking questions. Where was the Dr? Could we just go ahead and get an X-ray while we waited? Not many answers were forthcoming. Someone tried to call the orthopedic doctor, but he didn’t answer. Finally, another doctor told us the orthopedic guy had gone home for the night about 45 minutes ago, and besides, their radiology department closed at 4:30pm.

Hmmm. That would have been nice to know when we arrived just before 5pm. The doctor told us that at this time of evening there was almost no place in town to get an X-ray that was not considered an emergency. He was very kind though, and gave us a reference to a diagnostic clinic in another part of town (Area 6) that could do the X-ray. We headed to the car, and had a frank discussion with Abigail. We knew even if we got the X-rays, no one would be able to treat her arm until the morning. In the end, we all agreed to go home, gently splint her arm, and try again in the morning.

So she’s in bed now, with her arm wrapped in an ace bandage and strapped gently to a foam cushion. Poor kid! Please pray for her tonight. Pray she can sleep well and that we’ll be able to get this taken care of quickly in the morning!


And we’re back! The WordPress app wasn’t working for several weeks, so I lost my easy way to post! But most of it’s fixed and we’re back now!

In the intervening weeks both Matt and I celebrated our birthdays! I had a big birthday last year (that may have had to do with the #4…), so didn’t want to make a fuss about it this year. But when it came to Matt’s birthday, I realized we’d never done anything big for his birthday before. And growing up, his birthday was always in the same week with his mom’s, his brother’s, and Valentine’s Day, so it was never made too much of then either. But I wanted to do something a little special, a little different for him this year.

I can’t even begin to express how much I love and enjoy this guy! He is a faithful friend, a faithful husband, and a faithful follower of Christ. He loves deeply and enjoys whole-heartedly. He is adventurous, curious, and courageous. When he sees his sin, he is quick to deal with it diligently. When he sees my sin, he is slow to react and careful to lovingly point it out. He loves and trains our girls with patience and clear thinking. He is artistic and witty and makes me laugh every day! He has blessed me and our family in so many ways. As I said the day I first knew I loved him: I would rather go through the worst things in life with him than the best things in life with anyone else.


Well, now that you know how much I love this guy, let’s get to his birthday party!

We invited lots of Matt’s friends over from 4-5pm, and made a valiant effort to ruin everyone’s dinner with…

Cheesecake! Matt requested cookies and cream cheesecakes, so I made 2 of them, with ridiculously expensive cream cheese. 😳 Oye! But it’s his birthday, and he is worth it!

These guys made the party special. It’s not every day you’re surrounded by so many friends.

I’m so glad we were able to celebrate Matt on this day, and so thankful that the girls and I get to enjoy life with him! We are so blessed by this man every day!

Termites and Rain Frogs

It’s finally raining! We’ve had days of grey and stormy skies, and finally last night it started to rain a nice, slow, sweet rain. 14 hours later, it’s still lightly raining. Ahhhh!

It has rained enough to bring out the second wave of termites – the little ones. So of course they must be caught:

Rain frog and termites - 2

The big termites are better for eating, so these we were just catching for fun. Until… we found something that did want to eat them!

Rain frog and termites - 3

Sorry it’s blurry, this little rain frog was really going places!

The girls watched him catch a few termites himself, then they decided to “help” him.

Rain frog and termites - 1

Here froggy! Have a termite!

You Know You Live in Africa When…

You know you live in Africa when in your 3-5 year old Sunday School class there are more kids who HAVE eaten grasshoppers than have not. Sorry John the Baptist, your food choices are no big deal with this crowd!