There seem to be a lot of important numbers floating around these days! Here are some significant numbers for the Floreen family…


There are 1,187 cases of covid-19 as of Sunday, March 29th. Only 1 death, and already 31 recovered. We are thankful that the cases here seem to mostly be mild, but we have watched the numbers climb consistently over the last week.


The government of SA has mandated a 21-day lockdown for the entire country. We can still get food and medicines, but no jogging or walking your dog or any such activities. We have heard that the military is out assisting local police in keeping people at home, but we have not been out ourselves since the lockdown began at midnight on Thursday.


While usually there are just 4 Floreens in our home, we now have 2 Smiths joining us for the lockdown! After multiple flight cancellations, my parents surrendered willingly to a little more time with the grandkids. They had planned to stay three weeks with us, but it looks like it will be at least 6 weeks now. We are enjoying this time with them, and before the stores closed we made sure Mom had a pile of yarn to knit into sweaters and Dad had enough sandpaper and sealant to refinish our sun porch table! So besides card games and board games and school and stories with the kids, we are keeping them plenty busy!

Not all of us are playing around as much as that last paragraph would imply. Matt and I are continuing to counsel via Skype and WhatsApp, and Matt will be preaching live from our living room for Antioch’s evening service tonight. He’s been especially busy with the other church staff setting up things on WhatsApp and the church website and YouTube pages to keep the believers of Antioch Bible Church connected and feasting on God’s Word. You can follow along with our services here: at the Antioch Bible Church website.


For fun and fitness, the number 34 is very significant for our family right now. We have decided that during this 21-day lockdown, we will be running a marathon. That’s 2km per day, totally 42.2 km by the end of lockdown. Since we can’t go outside our property, we can only run around our house – 34 times every day. That’s right, 34 laps around our house everyday. Dad is walking it, and the Floreens are all running it. Well, Naomi runs some and walks some with her Papa. 😊 Mom is our statistician, tallying our laps as we all go at different paces. It’s a bit of chaos, but we are all really enjoying it!

Untold Numbers

We are thankful for so many, many blessings we are enjoying these days: grandparents, consistently available food supplies, sweet times in the Word and prayer, and so many opportunities to love and care for others – albeit in new and digital ways! Thank you for your prayers for us during these strange days!

Butterfly Migration

We are not getting much official school accomplished today. We are a little distracted by the brown-veined white butterfly migration!

The butterflies are small, so I marked them on the pics, but it truly is a non-stop parade today! From what we have read, the butterflies start in Namibia in November and fly across South Africa through February, heading for Madagascar!

If you want to see more of this fascinating migration, there are some good videos online.

Unexpected Pets

It was very hard to leave Simba and Samson, our two Great Danes, back in Malawi. Ever since then, we have been talking as a family about whether or not we will get another pet, and if so what kind? Bird? Fish?

And then one day I got a call from Matt while he was working at the church. The gardener at church had caught a mother and baby sparrow, and would we like to take them home and release them later? I confirmed that the baby could fly, and agreed to our first temporary pets. We only had them for about an hour, and then let them fly off. The baby was very docile, and a little confused when it ran into a glass door, so Abi held it for a little while.

Soon it was doing fine, and joined its mother in a nearby tree.

A few days later, Matt came home with another box, another temporary pet: a tiny, scared bunny, that was quickly named Charcoal and given a temporary home in a tall planter. Very temporary: in less than an hour Charcoal had escaped and hidden either under the low decking or under the wooden storage building in the yard. “Temporary” quickly became “we can’t catch her!”

And so: we now have a pet rabbit living in our back yard. We didn’t choose her, but I guess she chose us!

She eats leaves (like in this picture), but prefers red hibiscus flowers. She has been with us more than a week, and if we ever do catch her, I’m not sure if we would take her back to the church property or if we would keep her. I’m guessing she would stay! So much for temporary!

Week 1 in Our House

We are in!

There were a LOT of boxes!

And a lot of things to fix and rewire.

We took a few breaks along the way.

And we made some great progress – enough that we’ve been back to school for 3 days already!

Some parts of our house are looking better than others. These bookshelves look pretty impressive until you look closely and realize that the books are not sorted at all! That will come. Still lots of unboxing and sorting to do, but this place is starting to feel like home!

Container on the Move

Last we heard – Friday morning – our container was supposedly crossing the boarder into Zimbabwe (orange circle in the pic below). We are told to expect it at our new house sometime the middle of next week!

Container travel to Joburg

There’s still a lot of geography between our container and our home, but we are glad to hear it’s on the move!

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!

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!

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!