Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This time last year...

...we were in South Africa with my parents, while Bied was on his way to attend the Shepherds' Conference in LA. He would have loved to have gone again this year, but because we will be on furlough in LA, Lord willing in October, he decided no to. He will also join the kids and me (JUNE 09) down in SA just before our baby is born. All the travel time adds up and he felt it wasn't good to be away from the church evenmore than we are already planning.
Anyway, all that to say I MISS MY SISTER! Last year I had the surprise of a lifetime. My dad flew my sister and her kids out from the UK to South Africa and I had no idea about it. Before I got on the plane with all three kiddos Bied said to me, "I think you're going to have a better time than you could ever imagine."
We did have a fabulous time and it was great to have the cousins play. It's sad to have our family split up like it is, but at the same time we know that God has us where we are, for His purposes and glory.
Cousin Ethan, Ami and Bradley at my aunt's house on the trampoline.

Benjamin and his cousin, cute Julia in Opa's sandbox. Benjamin is so big now!

Almost bedtime for Bradley and Julia at Nanny's house. We all stayed at my folks and so many times it was crazy fun. Benjamin wears those pjs now. Time flying again.

Kaalvoet is so lekker! Ethan, Ami, Bradley and poor smothered BD (Brown Dog).


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Time flies...

Growing up it always seemed forever for Christmas to come and forever before we were done with school. I remember thinking that I would never actually graduate because school just seemed like an eternity.
This week it hit me. Time has flown. Ami will be six this year and baby no. 4 is almost 25 weeks along. Our lives are so busy here that time just seems to fly by. Sometimes I do wish we could just stop a bit, catch up on lost sleep and enjoy life. Before we know it, our children won't want to sit on our laps and cuddle with us anymore. Glorifying Christ, enjoying Him and living each day to the fullest is what counts, but it seems there isn't always time to do that... Wish you could see the huge pile of laundry I have waiting to be sorted out.
Perhaps it's just the stage of life we're at. Ministry, young kids and babies, foreign country and the list goes on.
Praise God! He is in control and has been since ALL OF TIME.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Church Ladies' Tea

We held our first "get-to-know one another better" tea this Saturday. We had almost 30 ladies attend which was great, especially since it was only announced for two weeks. Ladies from the USA, RSA, Zimbabwe, UK, Germany, Malawi and Australia were in attendance.
It was a blessed time and the Lord answered our prayers for good weather. We served sandwiches, sausage rolls, shortbread, cake, muffins, choc fridge bars, tea, coffee and a delicious fruit punch. The ladies who attend the morning Bible Study that we have at our house agreed to help out and they did a great job! A number of ladies asked when we were going to do it again. They really seemed to enjoy spending time chatting to each other. There was no teaching time, we prayed and read from Scripture, but other than that it was very informal. In the future, we hope to have a breakfast or a lunch and then have a speaker with an evangelistic approach so that more ladies in the community will be aware that there is a Bible preaching church in Lilongwe.
The food table. In South Africa when we had church functions, we usually ordered food already made which was delivered on platters. Here in Malawi, everything is made from scratch!

A couple of ladies brought their china tea cups from home which was so nice. It looked lovely. We stuck with white.

Ladies from USA and RSA

Ladies from Malawi, Australia and Zimbabwe.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My thoughtful guy!

Bied arrived on Monday of this week with four bunches of magnificent long-stemmed red roses. After my enquiring, his response was, "Hope they will last until Saturday!"
Ever since we've been married he's always done something 'bouquetish' for Valentine's Day and he also does it the week before so that he doesn't have to pay a ridiculous price! Clever huh :)

I have to write about this though. In the February before we got married (we had only known each for a couple of months), I gently reminded Brian about Valentine's Day and that I thought it would be great to go to dinner or something. He responded, "What is Valentine's Day? Is that a British holiday or something?" Growing up in South Africa, I had no idea whether Americans celebrated Valentine's day or not. I had just assumed that everyone around the world celebrated it. When it appeared that he didn't know what it was, I was hesitant to explain. I mean, what was I supposed to say...."Valentine's Day is where you buy me flowers, take me out to dinner, and write me a romantic love letter?" So I changed the subject.

As it turned out, Bied was just pulling my leg (imagine that?) and knew exactly what Valentine's Day was. He later surprised me with dinner and a gorgeous bouquet that had 40 red roses (which, with the South African Rand/Dollar exchange rate meant that it cost him $15 U.S.).

He still sometimes jokes that he should have just kept playing dumb, and it would have taken me years to figure out that Americans really do know what Valentine's Day is. Of course, since flowers in Africa are much cheaper than in the U.S., he still feels like he is getting off pretty easy. The 48 long-stem red roses that he bought me this year in Malawi cost the U.S. equivalent of $23.25. I love my "Big-spending," sweet-hearted, always joking, husband.

Toenail update...

Okay so... I said I would give you the toenail update a while back. Here goes. There is improvement. See for yourself. And if you're not convinced check out the previous toenail blog entitled 'Fungus'

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Keeping up with the Joneses...

Our neighbours the Jones' family, who live here on campus have a tree house in their backyard. Our kiddos were over there playing the other day and decided they would like a tree house in their yard too. Brian built one for them. They just love it and will hopefully have many hours of fun playing in it. I overheard them this morning and Ami who was Wendy called out, "Oh Peter, get my hat, please!" Bradley who was obviously Peter replied, "Sure Wendy, are we still in Neverland, Ami?"

Sitting still...

This is where I found the boys the other day and I was just delighted. Both of them were reading instead of fighting, screaming and shoving. I had to take a picture!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Green on this side too.

The rainy season usually ends around March here in Lilongwe and everything is just a gorgeous green. Guess what? You get to see pics of our grass's been exciting for us going from dirt to large patches of green to almost completely green. The maize that is usually planted by the Malawians just after the first rains has grown really well. Soon it will be time to harvest. Hopefully the price of the maize will drop some. It is very expensive for the locals and this is their staple food.
Still a few muddy spots in the backyard, but green for the most part. Bradley was covered from head to toe in mud.

This is our banana tree. Our first bunch of bananas!

The back yard has very little shade. We really need to plant some trees.

Benjamin in the front yard, where it's beautiful and shady. The grass is doing well.

That's our wall and what is over it. Row upon row of hand planted maize.

Monday, February 2, 2009

DMV Worldwide?

Brian almost always gets to visit the governmental buildings and offices to sort out employment visas, the church application, vehicle permits and the like. It's a good way for him to practise patience and humility. In fact, it's probably places like these I should visit more so that I can do some practising too!
He took a couple of pictures (with his phone-not great ones, but you'll get the idea) while patiently attempting to get our vehicle's new registration discs. Seems like in countries all over the world the Department of Motor Vehicles is one of the craziest places to be, no matter how early you get there. I remember standing in a line at the DMV in Long Beach and although people seemed to respect your personal space there a bit more, the crowds were probably the same.

This is the sign for the main entrance, but we're not allowed in?!

This is the line for vehicle inspection. The tiny figures deep in the picture show where the line begins.

This is the parking lot and the green-roofed building is where the cashier is at.

No lines, but everyone very eager to make their payments.

So after two days of getting this done at least we can legally drive these cuties around!