Remembering a Life Well Lived

We were able to get home for my dad’s funeral and memorial service and spend some extra time after the events with my family.  Sadness mixed with joy throughout our visit. It was good to be able to be home.

My dad finished well.
I’m thankful that his battle with cancer is over.
I’m proud of how he allowed the Lord to lead him.
I’m glad that I can look forward to being reunited with him someday.
I will never cease to be grateful that he and my mom are followers of Jesus and that they guided me also towards a relationship with Jesus.

To see more from the last three years of my dad’s life, visit the blog we kept about him: http://trustthelordandtakeheart.blogspot.com/

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There and back again

We spent a good portion of January and February this year back in our home areas in the US.  It was time spent reconnecting with family and friends, time to connect with some work colleagues based in the US, some time for connecting with ministry partners…and some time to reconnect some of our favorite American foods…and to do some shopping…

It was a whirlwind that took us from the west coast, to several places in the mid-west and concluding on the east coast before we returned to our home in South Africa. Here are a few highlights from our trip:

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On January 23 we spoke at Orcutt Christian Church in Santa Maria, California.  Shortly before the service started, Jeff looked into the congregation and saw a couple of familiar faces from his past–two people who he knew from youth group at his home church. Marcy was a youth leader when he was in youth group, and Liz was in youth group with him.  It was great for me to get to know them both, and Jeff enjoyed reconnecting with them.

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We shared a little bit of South Africa with our families and friends by making a typical South African meal for them–bobotie and yellow rice (served with spicy chili chutney).  We also shared some of our favorite boxed cookies from here.  Food and fellowship are a good combination :).  It was a new meal for everyone, but they all seemed to enjoy it.  It’s something we enjoy, too, so we didn’t mind having it a few times while we were home.

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Jeff spent several days helping his dad dig out and dispose of rocks from their back yard.  It was a huge project that between the two of them they were able to complete quickly.

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I brought my sister to New York City.  It was her first time there.  We visited with one of my friends, and she was able to see a good portion of the city in our short time there.

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We were also able to be with my dad on his 69th birthday for a celebration with our immediately family and for another celebration with friends.

It was wonderful to be home and to see and visit with everyone.  It was the longest we’ve been in the US since we left for Africa more than two years ago.   Skype, facebook and other tools of technology have keep us up-to-date with everyone, but none of those replaces face to face time…even if it’s compact!

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Dressing African

100_0257aI spoke at my home church on Sunday, despite being sick and having laryngitis! Somehow, I had enough of a hoarse voice to get through it. I wore the African outfit made for me in Benin, and my brother’s three kids came to church in outfits I bought for them in Ethiopia. They served as examples when I shared about Ethiopia. They are so cute! (but…I’m biased!)

IMG_5685aWhen we were on our speaking tours while we were raising support, so much of what we shared was what we hoped to do. Now, I had stories about what we’ve actually done, people we’ve met, things we’ve seen, etc. I put together a powerpoint with photos and videos. What I enjoyed most was exposing everyone to aspects of Africa that they may not have known about before. There are a few African families in the church, which made it even more neat to share–they got to see a little taste of home.

I am looking forward to being reunited with Jeff soon. This has been a good, but long trip. We were really thinking that my father wasn’t going to live long. I thought that I was going to be coming out for a funeral, and we anticipated that Jeff would come out here after me for that event. However, God had a different plan in mind, and my time with my family has gone quite differently than we had expected. I had considered leaving for Africa early, but I guess God wants me here because he’s let me be sick with the flu and bronchitis for almost 3 weeks. I don’t think I’d be allowed to fly with these illnesses, but I should be well by my scheduled departure date.

We know many of you are praying for us, We are so thankful!

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