Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Well I should start this post by wishing everyone a Happy New Year. It is 11:20 pm here and we just got home from the church braai and service. Brit has a few friends over for a movie and we are told that in a few minutes we will see lots of fireworks from the neighborhood. I can't believe it has been over a month since my last post. So I thought I would highlight the month of December with lots of pictures. This month has flown by for us. We have been so busy still trying to get this house in order. Why does it take so long to unpack and get organized? Can I just say too much stuff! Today we finished removing the last of the building rubble that has been sitting in our yard for the past 4 months. We still have a lot of the garden to trim and cut back and haul that to the dump but we are making great progress.

Now onto the pictures ...
The end of November Steve Mickler and his daughter Adrienne came to visit. We were very excited to meet them and welcome them as our first official guests from the States. Steve is working on his dissertation and wanted to visit all of the villages in Mozambique that PaulAnn Baptist Church has ministered to in the past. This was a very important part of his research for his paper. A few days before they arrived Mozambique had received a lot of rain and it delayed their trip a few days so we enjoyed getting to know them while they waited for the river to go down some.

Steve is interviewing some of the mission staff for his paper.

Mark and the Land Rover - this is what it looked like after his trip into Mozambique with Steve a few days after all of the rain.

Yes it is December and yes that is Mark mowing the yard on a hot summer day!

The kids got an early Christmas Present this year... Meet Tex!

Christmas Eve dinner - we had several families join us for a Mexican Food Dinner to celebrate Christmas Eve. It was a typical HOT summer day here and before everyone came I had to go a take a COLD shower to cool off. (Cold showers are becoming our friend!)

Our tree

Christmas day we got up early and enjoyed opening presents and having our traditional Christmas breakfast consisting of eggs, bacon, homemade waffles and strawberries. Then we went to church for a Christmas morning service. We spent the rest of the days at the Beakley's swimming and visiting. There were 2 American families, one South African family, one man from Kenya and one man from Zambia and one family from Zimbabwe. We had a leg of lamb and then lots of different side dishes.

Mark helping carve the leg of lamb

Luke having fun!

kids hanging in the pool on Christmas day! So strange but fun!

We had lots of help this past week loading and hauling off lots of rubble (trash!!!)

Guys taking a break from all the hard work. (We were blessed by our parents and grandparents and got a great pool table for Christmas. I am looking forward to all of the fun and fellowship that will take place with it.)

On Monday after working all day hauling off all the rubble Mark cooked some American hamburgers for everyone! He really likes his new Braai apron he got for Christmas!

The man you see here is a guy that works for us a few days a week helping us get the yard under control and odd projects. His name is Jankie and we enjoy having him around. We pay him a daily amount and provide 2 meals. We eat most meals with him and enjoy that time of getting to know him. He is not a Christian but we have had several opportunities to share the love of Christ with him. In fact this past Monday we had 4 of the Seminary guys here helping us and they were witnessing to him. It was great seeing Africa reaching Africa and it was happening on our lapa. Please pray for him that his eyes will be open to the truth. We look forward to seeing what God wants to do in his life.

Jankie and Brit playing pool after a long day of removing rubble.

The finishing touches today! I think we are all sore!

We finally got it all out!

The trees behind the lapa are going to be next. They are so overgrown we can't even walk behind the lapa. So this is next weeks project!

Hanging out at church tonight.

Mark and Mike cooking the meat.

This was the view looking down our street tonight. I love the fact that I can see the moon as it is coming up from my kitchen window. It is always so beautiful.

Well it is now 12:30 and I guess I can officially tell you from South Africa "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" We took a break and went outside to watch the fireworks. They were being shot off from all directions, you could hear people yelling and laughing, horns blowing and music coming from all over.

We want to thank everyone for all of your prayers and support. We love you and miss you all so much. We would love to hear from you!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More Pictures

Here are more pictures to go with the November newsletter we emailed out. If you didn't get the email let us know and we will send it out. I am having trouble attaching it to the blog today. I hope that everyone has had a great Thanksgiving!

Luke thought these were so cool!

Mark is getting the scoop on the lioness.

We were comparing the size of an elephant ear to Luke.

Talking to the bird.

Brit hanging out

Our church

Roman's Pizza pretty yummy!


The Mall - This is where I go to the grocery store. Pick n Pay is in the middle of the mall.

Luke getting ready to go to school.

Luke's school. His room is at the back of this picture behind the trees.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Here's the latest

Mark went to a village here in South Africa last weekend called Mashushu. Paul and Mable are full time Samaria Missionaries and live in Mashushu ministering to the people in that village.

Mark, William and Wally joined a group of men from a church in Tzaneen to help the local church in Mashushu start the foundation for their new church. Mark also worked on a retaining wall made of rocks. He said several of the local kids helped him build the wall.

retaining wall Mark built

The kids are doing good. Luke loves school and has made several friends. He is even on the swim team and has competed in two swimming Galas. He swam in 3 races in the 1st Gala and got 3rd place in one and 2nd place in the other 2 races. Even though it was cloudy and cold he had a great time. Yesterday he got to ride the bus to another school and compete there. He was in 3 races ... he got 3rd in the free style, 4th in the breast stroke and his team got 1st in the free style relay.

Luke's relay team after winning 1st place

Brit is settling into home school. She is involved in working with the junior youth (Elementary age) on Friday afternoons as well as attending youth on Friday nights. At junior youth she is on the team that helps with games. She is also going to start volunteering in the Creche'(nursery)at church. She is practicing her guitar daily and improving daily. Today she was invited to join the band for practice on Wednesdays just to help her get more practice.

Brit is helping give the instructions for the game at junior youth.

Luke listening to instructions for the game they are going to play at junior youth.

Mark is busy preparing for the Annual Pastor's Conference that will be held later this month in Mozambique. They will teach on the attribute of God and Mark will teach ... God is Truth. Please pray for him as he prepares his lesson. He is also in charge of updating the website for Samaria Mission.

I am still working on unpacking and getting our house organized, helping Brit with school and Luke with home work when he gets home, I attend Monday meetings with the mission staff and help the mission with anything that comes up.

One of our mission families that serve with the Seminary is heading back to the States for 15 months.Monday night we had the staff and their families over for a "Bring and Share" (Potluck Dinner). We sure did enjoy using the house.

We do miss everyone and we enjoy getting comments and emails from you. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Four of the Big Five

This past weekend we were able to get away and go to Kruger National Park and camp for 2 days. It was a much needed break and we all had a GREAT time. We joined 3 other families from our church here in Polokwane. We arrived Friday late afternoon and had to get our tents set up before it got too dark so we didn't go out on a drive with the others. Later as we were having a Braii (BBQ) we found out that they saw 3 leopards in one area and then another one on it's own. Needless to say we were a little (ok ALOT) disappointed we missed that sight. Pastor Nicki and his family had their site right against the fence. During our Braii both Friday and Saturday nights a couple of hyenas kept passing by the fence. On Saturday night you could hear the lions.

Saturday we woke up at 4:30 and left the camp at 5:30 to begin a 12 hour drive through Kruger. We saw SO much game. It was amazing. We were able to see four of the Big 5. The only one we didn't see was the leopard :( We saw 5 different sightings of lions. They are amazing animals.

Sunday we got up at 4:30 again and headed out for about 3 hours. We didn't see near as many animals but we did come across an area that had 2 different groups of lions - total of 11 with 3 of them being cubs.

We headed back to camp to pack up and say goodbye to everyone and then we left. We decided to drive in the park up to Letaba and then head to the gate and on home. The kids actually went to Letaba Camp in 2006 when we brought them so they were excited to return there and go see the elephant museum again. I was amazed at how much they remembered from that trip 3 years ago. Sunday we ended up driving in the Park about 7.5 hours. It was SO hot and we did not see as much but we had a great time. We left the park at 5:45 (15 minutes before the gates closed and headed home.

We love the fact that we live just a few hours from the park. We had a great time. Here are a few of the pictures from our weekend.

Here are the 4 of the Big 5 we saw ...

More pictures from our 2 days in the Park...