Saturday, August 31, 2013

Uncle Martin's Birthday

 Having scones and tea at Irene on possibly the coldest JHB winter day of the year:)
Today is uncle Martin's birthday and although we weren't planning to be here to celebrate with him, we are glad we can.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Almost twenty years

Next year will be twenty years that we have been out of high school! These are friends of mine that I still see when I'm in SA.

Indoors at the Taits

Pastor Virl and his wife, Nike have been such an encouragement to us. Nike invited Benjamin to come and play with the kids while she put on a wonderful tea spread for us.  The kids had all these great fun indoor things for Ben to do. He was very tempted to jump outside on the trampoline, but we quickly diverted them inside. Nathan is one day younger than Benjamin and has loaned Ben a whole bunch of clothes. When I packed for the medi-evac flight I had no idea how long we'd be staying or how cold it was down in JHB. I was in a bit of a state and packed slippers, some shorts and t-shirts, but no shoes:( Thanks Nathan for sharing your winter clothes, DVDs, books and games with Ben. We really appreciate it.

What are the chances?

 Of a now resident Malawian meeting up with a now resident Kiwi in a Germiston Makro?
 I went to RA University with Elke. She and her husband live in New Zealand and I haven't seen her in years! We have managed to stay in contact somewhat, via email and it was fun for me to actually meet Brad, her husband and her children, Katie and David in person. She had read about Benjamin's accident and so she was glad to meet him too.  The white patch on my face is...I had a mole removed:)
Delighted to have seen your wonderful family, Elke. You are beautiful, inside and out! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Loose tooth

His tooth is out and the South African mouse gave him a little more than the Malawian mouse would've:)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More friends

 Aunty Eunice took us out to lunch and then later we saw Uncle Jeff.  Benjamin enjoyed listening to Aunty Eunice tell a story or two about when I was little.
Thanks Aunty Eunie for a delightful day and a testimony of God's grace in your life.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Today my aunt and my cousin's oldest boy came to visit Benjamin. Thanks for the yummy muffins Aunty Dof. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thank You For Praying!

Benjamin has been out of the hospital now for four days and has been doing well.
We just wanted to send out another update on Benjamin to let you know that he continues to do well.  He was released from the ICU last Thursday evening and he still in South Africa with Anita and her parents.  Brian is still up in Malawi with our other three kids and our entire family is well.  No brain surgery was necessary for Benjamin and for that we are truly grateful.

Benjamin has not thrown up since he was in the hospital and all outward signs point towards a full recover from his fall which happened last week,
 Monday.  He is enjoying time at his grandparent's house in Johannesburg and they are glad to be there for him.

On Sunday, Brian preached a sermon at our church in Malawi in which he shared the story about Benjamin to our church family and shared a special pastoral message about what the Lord has been teaching us through this trial.  If you would like to listen to that sermon, you can go to the following website and download it.  The message was preached on the 25th of August and is on Ephesians
 3:20.  Here is the website:

We are truly grateful for all that the Lord has brought us through these past eight days with an abundance of blessings.  We are also grateful for all the prayers to our Father and words of encouragement we received this past week from so many of you.

To Him who is able - be the glory!

With Love,

Brian and Anita


 Benjamin had some visitors today. They brought him some indoor activities to play with since he isn't allowed to do physical activity where he can bump his head, for six months.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


So thankful today to be able to share with these dear folks who have been praying for Benjamin. So good to see so many friends who have been a part of our lives.
 Sunday morning at Grace Christian Church in Primrose.
 Dearest Tassie, Aunty Judy and Adri!
 Having a delicious braai and ordered in ribs especially for Benjamin. Thanks Uncle Kev and Aunty Judy.
 Such a blessed family with gracious hospitality.
Benjamin loves ribs, especially when they are shared with aunty Judy!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

God's grace

 This is the wall Benjamin fell off and the gentleman in the picture is a teacher's assistant in Allison's class. He heard Benja and carried him home. He is standing in the spot where he found Benjamin.

This is the scan taken in Malawi at the ABC Clinic.  It's a new CT scanner and had this happened a year ago, there wouldn't have been one at the clinic. We are so thankful to have been able to have this done.   That crack is quite something, isn't it?

Sitting snuggly in front of the kaggel at Opa and Nanny's house.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Here and there

 I put these fruit and chocolate prizes together for my dad's first aid competition which was held today.
 I enjoyed putting them together and thought back to the days when I worked at the Bubble Shop:)
 In Malawi, the other three Biedebach kids were at the clinic getting their teeth checked by a visiting US dentist. Watching a movie with their friends, while waiting their turn.
What's up doc? Bradley needed two cavities filled and Ami and Allison were good to go:)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Big Praise - Update 2 on Benja

I was sad not to see Allison go to big school for the first time.

Dear friends,

We have been so encouraged by all the people praying for Benjamin and we are so thankful for you.  Words cannot express how grateful we are to God for answering our prayers so completely.  I just got off the phone with Anita (it's Thursday afternoon 8/22) and we have really good news - BENJAMIN IS SCHEDULED TO BE DISCHARGED TODAY!  We feel so undeserving and yet so blessed by Him.  But there is still much to pray for, so please do not stop praying.

Yesterday, the neurosurgeon met Anita and Benjamin first thing in the morning in the Pediatric ICU.  He said he was very pleased with Benjamin’s progress.  He asked Benjamin about pain and Benjamin said that his head does not hurt anymore – with the size of the fracture on his head, we are all amazed by this. The doctor told the nurses that they could remove Benjamin’s IV tube since he was able to eat and drink himself.  This was really a true praise.

In spite of the progress, He agreed that another CT scan was necessary to make sure that the bleeding under Benja’s skull fracture had indeed stopped.  Anita didn’t see the surgeon again on Wednesday but he did call the ICU after he received the CT scan report and said that nurses could remove the neck brace (another big praise).

Last night, Benja was not hungry so he didn't eat his dinner and this morning (Thursday) he ate breakfast but vomited it up shortly afterwards (apparent vomiting is common with head injuries).  ONE OF OUR BIGGEST PRAISES TODAY IS THAT THE BLEEDING UNDERNEATH THE SKULL FRACTURE HAS STOPPED AND THE "ACUTE SUBDURAL HAEMATOMA" (THE BLOOD SPOT) THAT WAS THERE -- IS NO LONGER THERE! We are so overjoyed by God's gracious answer to that prayer.

The Neurosurgeon has approved Benjamin's release today but he would like him to stay in South Africa (with Anita at her parent's place) and the surgeon would like to see Benja again in two weeks.

Please pray that Benjamin can keep his food down.  Please also pray for continued progress over the next six months (which is the expected recovery time).  We are not sure what challenges lie ahead for Benjamin but would ask that you continue to pray for a full recovery.   Considering the severity of his fracture, we could not be more pleased with these recent developments.

Back in Malawi, the first day of school went well.  Our other three children wanted to hold a picture of Benja during their “first day” photo this year so that he would know they were thinking of him.  They really, really miss him and can’t imagine life without him.  This trial has produced numerous conversations with our children about God’s grace and an eternal perspective on life.  We are thankful for that.

I have learned so much this week as well.  Last Sunday, I cut off my sermon before my third point (because I spent more time on my first two points than I had planned).  I still had two and a half pages of prepared notes to go but looked at the clock and figured I would probably rush through the notes and lose the attention of our flock.  My third point was that when believers are strengthened inwardly, God is glorified.  And the text for that last point Paul’s famous doxology – “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,  to Him
 be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).  This is the passage I plan to preach on this Sunday and it  has been my primary passage of meditation this week.

I know that many of the people who are praying for Benjamin are receiving updates through Facebook.  I don't usually post directly on facebook but I send out these emails to our mailing list.  The service I use to do that is mailchimp and mailchimp automatically posts my updates on facebook.  I imagine that my updates on Benjamin will be less frequent as he improves. If you would like to sign up for the email updates directly, you can do so at:

This is the same mailing list that we use 3 or 4 times a year to give bulletin updates for the work in Malawi.  All praying friends are welcome to join that list and you can unsubscribe or update your details at anytime.

Thank you again for praying.  Please continue to praise God with us and pray for Benja's recovery.

Grateful to our Lord,

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Update 1 on Benjamin Biedebach

 Nanny and aunty Judy at the hospital first thing on Tuesday morning. Unfortunately, they were not allowed in to see Benjamin, but I took these pictures so that I could show him who had come by to check on him:)

 Pastor Virl came to visit with a bag of super books for Benjamin to read.
 Benjamin doing so well.
 Uncle Martin came to visit too.
Aunty Paula (my best friend from school days) came by to visit too.

Greetings Praying Friends,
God has answered so many prayers and we have so much to be thankful for.  I just got off the phone with one of the nurses in the pediatric ICU unit that Benjamin is in and he has just woken up from a good night’s sleep.  Yesterday, we received the official diagnosis from his CT scan.  Benjamin has “a depressed skull fracture with associated left subdural haematoma and underlying contusion.”  This means that there was (and maybe still is) some bleeding under his fracture.
However, his external vital signs are still good and outwardly he is showing signs that he is improving rapidly.  He has been sleeping a lot (which is normal with this type of injury) but yesterday he was alert, talking, and even able to read some with his mother and apparently sit up and do some coloring in a coloring book.  This is exactly what we have been praying for.
Today (Wednesday, Aug. 21), Benjamin is supposed to get another CT scan and then we will know a lot more about what is happening on the inside.  Our prayer is that the bleeding had stopped and that any previous bleeding has already dissipated.  If the bleeding has not stopped, the surgeon may decide to drill a hole in his skull to relieve the pressure but from his outward stability we are hopeful that this will not be necessary.  However, we are grateful that Benja is in a hospital now where surgery can be performed if necessary.
One disappointment yesterday was that Anita was not able to speak to the neurosurgeon herself.  She had met Benjamin’s primary doctor early Tuesday morning when he saw Benjamin but she was in another room sleeping when the neurosurgeon came to examine him.  She had left instructions to be woken up when he arrived but for some reason this did not happen.  She is the only one from our family that is permitted to be with him in the ICU and she just cannot be there all of the time.
Anita’s parents and many of our friends and relatives from South Africa have been such an encouragement and help to her.  Here in Malawi we have received so many encouraging texts and emails from so many of you that I am not sure when we will be able to respond to them all.  But THANK YOU all for praying and please continue to pray (especially for the results from today’s CT scan).
Today is the first day of school for our other 3 kids here in Malawi and I am up early to help get them ready and take pictures as we normally do.  It is Allison’s first day of preschool and though she misses her mom she is glad that God’s mercy and grace is being displayed in big ways on her brother, Benjamin, and that her mom can be down in SA with him.
I will try to send out another update tonight.
In Him,

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Please pray for our Benjamin

Dear praying friends,

Please pray for our son Benjamin.  The short story is that he fell here in Malawi, he has a fracture on his skull, he seems to be doing well under the circumstances but he and Anita were airlifted down to South Africa to receive better medical care.  Here are more details:

Yesterday afternoon (August 19, about 2:00 PM), our six year-old son, Benjamin, was climbing on top of a six-foot brick wall (something he was not supposed to be doing) with our other son Bradley and two other boys.  Benjamin fell off the wall and landed on his head on a concrete slab.  He was crying a lot and appeared to have a concussion because he wasn’t sure where he was or what had happened.  We took him to the ABC clinic here in Malawi (just down the road from our home) and he was able to have a CT scan there.  The scan showed that he has a fracture on the top of his head.  Basically, there is a fracture that runs from one ear, over the top of his head, and down towards his other ear.

The clinical officer told us that if possible, Benjamin should get down to South Africa as soon as possible.  We called our medical insurance company and within an hour or two they had commissioned an air-ambulance plane to leave from South Africa to pick up Benjamin.  Anita and I decided that it would be best for her to fly down with Benjamin and I would stay here with our other three kids.  The plane arrived here at 7:45 PM but there was a mix-up at the airport and no ambulance was there to bring them to us.  After arranging to get the air-ambulance personnel here and then arranging another ambulance to get them all back to the airport Anita and Benjamin finally got to the airport and their plane took off at about 11:00 PM.  They landed in Johannesburg at about 2:00 AM and were admitted into the hospital at about 3:00 AM.

We have lots of praises.  The doctors who saw the CT scan said that there though there is some bleeding under the fracture it is a small amount.  This is good.  Also, the fracture is serious but the overlap of skull fragments appears to be minimal.  Benjamin is conscious and talking and, although he can’t remember falling, he remembers quite a bit leading up to the fall.  His vital signs seem to be normal though he is very sleepy and has vomited once.  God has provided lots of people around us from our church and community who are praying for us and supporting us during this time.  The hospital he is going to in South Africa has a pediatric trauma ward.  Anita’s parents and brother are in South Africa and I am sure they will be a big encouragement and help to Anita.

Please pray for Benjamin – the concern is that the bleeding under the fracture will expand and that he will need brain surgery.  I spoke to Anita this morning and though he has been seen by a doctor there in South Africa, they are waiting for a neurosurgeon to see him and then they want to do some more scans.  Please pray for wisdom for the doctors.  Also please pray for wisdom for our family as we make decisions over the next couple of days.  Please pray that the next couple of days go well for Benjamin – that there would be not be excessive bleeding under the fracture and that they would not need to do surgery.  Ultimately, please pray for God’s will and God’s glory.  Also, please pray for Anita – she didn’t get much sleep last night.

In Sunday’s sermon, I was speaking at our church about spiritual strengthening (from Ephesians 3:14-21) and I made the statement that we should welcome any trial the Lord allows if it means that we could grow spiritually.  Anita and I are both grateful to God for His sovereignty and for this trial.  Though we would not have written today’s script as it has turned out, we trust the One who wrote it this way and desire to glorify Him in each and every circumstance.  We do believe that God answers prayer and we do ask you to call upon His name today on behalf of our Benja.

Thank you for praying,

Brian for the Biedebachs

Monday, August 19, 2013

Flying again

Just before taking Nan to the the airport we took some pictures with her!  We are so thankful to have had her spend so much time with us and for Opa who graciously pays for her to come and visit.  She has helped us unpack and get things sorted in our house after having been away for seven months. We love you, Nan!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Nan's last Saturday

 We went with Miss Roberta and Nanny to the tea garden. That way things are quiet for Brian at home while he studies. Nanny is leaving on Monday!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Not done on purpose at all, but when I saw them in orange I had to take a picture and ask if they were Holland fans:)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


While Brian has been out helping our friend to find a car, he came across some roadwork signs made out of wood and well painted. He decided to use them and had help setting up a great BMX course.  Ami invited all the campus families to come and try out the course. 

 Although these pictures don't show it, the course is kind of tough.  There are old maize furrows that you have to ride over and a ramp at the end. We have had several falls:( Serious stuff ;)

We even had a few of the parents show up. Mr. Carlisle who is the headmaster at the Academy used to race BMX bikes when he was younger. He took first place in the adult race, quite nicely on a beach cruiser. Bied came in second:) Bradley came first in the younger kid division and Ami took second. Levi came first in the big kid division. It was fun! Thanks to you all for coming out.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tea-an African thing!

 My mom, the kids and I went out to the tea garden this morning with Rachel. Her second baby is due at the beginning of November.
 Benja decided he wanted to be a mud cupcake, which is sometimes served with tea.
Everyone helped packing him in the tub with lots and lots of sand.
 Four Biedebachs and one Floreen
The end product! Anyone want a bite? 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting pooped on.

Brian is trying to help a friend of ours import a car to Malawi.  Last week he was told that his friend would have to pay 190% of the value of the car in taxes and duties. That means a $10,000 car would cost $29,000 in Malawi if you imported it legally. Sometimes cars are held at the customs office until you can pay the duty. Brian saw this one with more bird poop than he'd ever seen on any car before. I think our friend will look for a car that has already been imported and that has already had the bird poop cleaned off of it!