First Visitors

The prize for First Visitors goes to the Vieira family!

Amanda sent me a message on Saturday night to let us know they had decided on the spur of the moment to spend the end of their holiday time in Johannesburg and they would be coming to church with us the next morning! They joined us for church and then for the church picnic, and it was so wonderful to see these friends from Malawi. The girls loved being able to play with Cici again! We are thankful for friends old and new, and so glad we go to spend time with these dear ones again!

Signed a Lease!

We don’t have a house quite yet, but we signed a lease today!

The owners move out in the next couple weeks, and Lord willing we get to move in about mid-August. It’s a great size for us and a great location! We will be 7 minutes from the church!

To celebrate, we went out for Mexican food.

And wow… after 10 years of making our own Mexican food in Malawi, this was so good!

Smiles all around!

We Got Wheels!

Not so long ago, and not so far away, we had a gold Toyota Fortuner.

It was a great car. It was big and safe, it could hold 7 people, it had traction control so could do muddy roads, and it had a great manual transmission with some serious get-up-and-go. It was, for our family, the perfect African vehicle.

We were sad to sell it, but the Lord had good plans for it. A pastor friend wanted to buy it, and a church in the States that knows both him and our family helped us all out by making sure that the pastor could get the car and that we could sell it before we left Malawi. Win-win, everyone is happy! Just a little sadness at leaving behind such a great car…

Fast-forward a couple months, and look at what we got:

A silver Toyota Fortuner! It’s one year newer than our Malawi version and it’s silver, but otherwise it’s exactly the same car! Same interior, same 7 seats, same traction control, same perfect-for-our-family African vehicle.

And similar to the Malawi side of the story, the Lord had good plans on this side as well. This Fortuner belonged to a family who are emigrating to New Zealand on Sunday, and the Lord not only provided us with a car, but also provided a way for this family to sell their vehicle before they move!

One funny difference between Fortuners in Malawi and Fortuners in South Africa is how the name is pronounced. In Malawi it is pronounced FORTUNE-er. Here in South Africa many people say for-TUNE-er. For the life of me, I can’t help but hear “I went fishin today an caught me for-TUNE-er fish!” 🤣

Tears of a TCK

“Mom, moving is too hard for me!” she says through sobs and tears, late into a night of jet lag. I know, my girl, it’s hard for me too.

“Mom, we can go ICE SKATING any time we want to!” I know, my girl, isn’t that great?

“I don’t think I can be fancy like the people here.” I know, my girl, me neither.

“This place is so beautiful!” I know, my girl, it’s amazing!

“I just want to go home, but we don’t have a home.” I know, my girl, I want a home too.

Raising a third-culture kid (TCK) is wonderfully difficult. And yet, aren’t we all to some degree TCKs? We live here, somewhere in this world, but it is not our home – not truly the home of anyone who has had their heart captured by heaven and the sweet Savior who is preparing such a true home for us. I pray for my girls as they experience all these transitions early in life that it will be one of the things that draws their hearts in faith to the Savior and his heavenly home.

For more thoughts on TCKs, I highly recommend a blog post by my dear friend Lisa La George. And yes, I’m pretty sure some of her examples are taken right out of the experiences of our last couple months!

Winter

We are having a cold spell here in the Southern Hemisphere. I’m from Kansas originally, so I know cold, but the last 10 years in the tropics have really thinned my blood. It’s cold, and I’m looking forward to Tuesday!

We had to do a little shopping to stop the shivering… jeans, socks, sweatshirts, and leopard pajamas.

Yes, leopard pajamas. We have a couple of cool cats now!

The House Search

House hunting is hard!

We are still looking, but hope to find a great new home by the end of the week. Please pray with us for a house for our family to make a home in, a place where we could welcome many church friends and family!

First Things

As the jet lag lifts, we are starting to explore our new home: Johannesburg! Here are some highlights from our first few days.

We started setting up our new life right away: phones, banks, cars, houses… there’s a lot to organize in the first few days! We were told that setting up a bank account could take days – and the right connections – but First National Bank came through right away! Yay FNB!

Getting phones and banks organized the first day wore us all out, so we slept well that first night. Naomi gets the Sleeping Beauty prize – we’ve had to wake her up each morning so far. Jet lag’s got nothing on this girl!

It hasn’t been all work though. The girls and I got to run around with our hosts, the Russells, yesterday, to tennis lessons, a shopping centre, ballet class, and a library! A library! Living in a big city might not be so bad! 😉

Lots of new things, but also some good old friends! It wouldn’t be our first choice to see Kellen and Becca in a hospital, but we were SO excited to see these dear friends from Malawi, to catch up with them and to pray with them as they trust the Lord day by day. Please be praying for Kellen as the doctors and his body fight against East African sleeping sickness.

In the last couple months we went from autumn weather in Malawi, to summer weather in California, to now the dead of winter in South Africa. It’s cold here!!! It’s 65 degrees now, but it got down to 42 last night! We are definitely not in the tropics now! But we are starting to figure out how to live here.

Moving

If you haven’t kept up on our newsletters lately, you really should catch up!

We are moving to South Africa! Like, right now! We checked in at LAX, and flying to SA over the next couple days. 😏

While we fly, you can catch up with us here:

March 2019 Newsletter

May 2019 Newsletter

June 2019 Newsletter

23 July: Haha! We’re upside down! Well, that is how it feels moving your family from one country to another, changing 10 time zones… so I’ll leave it! 

Local Favorites #3

I’ve never considered myself to be a collector, but I noticed recently that I collect unique earrings! And so, I present: my earring collection!

For Christmas the girls (with the help of a handy elf named “Dad”) made an earring frame for me. It’s a simple frame made of Mulanje cedar that holds a piece of window screen. It is perfect!

My earring collection, both as unique pairs and especially as a whole, leave no doubt where I live. Elephants, baobab trees, crocodiles, and the shape of the African continent are shapes related to Malawi, but the materials are all local and unique as well: teak wood, ebony seeds, crocodile teeth, porcupine quills, bone, and coconut shell are some of my favorites.

The only problem now is picking which pair to wear!

Construction

While Shelbi was teaching at the conference, the 6 men of the GCC team went to work. On Monday Shelbi, Abigail, Naomi, and I went to check out the progress on the church property.

The guys had been hard at work with surveying equipment, so there were lines all over the ground representing future buildings.

To get a look at the rest of it, Shelbi’s husband, Sean, took us on a tour.

They’ve been charting out and digging septic lines.

Digging the septic pit and leach field, as well as a cistern to collect and store run-off from our heavy Malawi rains.

They’re also making an awning for our current storeroom, which I believe will eventually be the maintenance area. Sean, Edgar, and Christopher are busy, but not too busy to strike a pose for a picture or two!

And they’re just about ready to lay pipes for the septic system. Abi and Omi were giving it a go to see if they were any good at construction. They are significantly better at wearing pink tutus and posing for cute shots than they are at construction, but they had a great time pretending!

It was fun to see progress on the land! I’m sure we have many, many months of construction ahead, but I’m looking forward to the day when both the church and CAPA can move onto this property!