Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March Madness and Blessings

Time keeps flying by!  Christian has already gone and returned from Cape Town again!  He received some compensation for leading staff and students on a short term vision trip, and was blessed in every way upon his return to South Africa.  The flight hasn't gotten any shorter, but absence has made his heart grow even fonder.  Christian was encouraged as he sat with the student men he discipled in Cape Town, and heard they are walking with the Lord and sharing the gospel with others.  He was blessed by so many reunions...our church small group, the orphanage, all of our friends, Lily's school friend (Therese), and even random waiters and store clerks that recognized he'd been gone for awhile!  The many ways the Lord provided and blessed our year in Cape Town were magnified again, and he said he just kept praising God at every turn.  What a gift.
The two weeks that Christian was away felt long, but God sustained us!  For spring break the girls and I went to Estes Park with my Mom and younger sister (Jocelyn) for a few nights.  It was a special and fun time away with them!  And then we went from Estes back to Goodland, Kansas (my hometown) where my older sister (Cortney) and her family joined us for the rest of the week.  The girls were so excited to spend time with their cousins!  We celebrated my Mom's 65th birthday, and had some March madness of our own, as Goodland got 15 inches of snow the day we were all supposed to leave!  It was a beautiful snow, but it messed up our travel plans!:)  Christian got in Sunday at 2am, and we made it home Sunday afternoon.  It gave him time to sleep anyway.
Another highlight that happened before spring break, was that Lily had her first ever soccer practice.  If I would have blogged before she had practice, it would have been a prayer request!  I never had the opportunity to play soccer growing up, so I had to ask friends for help on soccer gear.  It's quite an investment for a sport that Lily was...let's just say NOT excited to try.  She usually gets scared in new situations and worried about trying new things, so we've really been praying about it and encouraging her to try.  Skiing was a huge confidence builder in this area, as she wanted to give up after the morning, but ended up enjoying the afternoon and now can't wait to go again! (next year:)).  I've been nervous about if she would even participate at all this season of soccer.  And here she had her first practice (first step of faith) while Christian was gone!  The day of practice I had her try on her shin guards and cleats and we practiced in the back yard.  She can really kick!  She decided to keep them on until practice.  When we pulled up to the park for practice she got scared.  I told her all she had to do was kick the ball and say hi when spoken to.  She knew how to do those two things.  After the parent meeting, they were starting with some ball drills.  She wanted to sit out and watch, which was fine.  I told her to just engage with the introductions first.  So she did!  And then she did the next thing.  And the next drill.  And before I knew it, she had a red jersey on and was scrimmaging!  And then she ran to  the middle of the pack and kicked the ball!!  And after practice she ran to me and jumped in my arms and said "I did it, Mommy!  And I like it!!"  I swung her around and told her how proud I am of her and what a great job she did.  I don't know who was more excited, me or Lily...but it was a huge answer to prayer and relief!  She keeps asking when her next practice is and is already wanting to enroll for next year!  I've just seen her confidence grow in trying new things over the past month.  Skiing, swimming lessons, and soccer.  Yesterday she started going to school for the full day instead of half without a freak out moment!  And last night she asked if she could try my red onion!  It makes my heart so full of joy to see her live more out of freedom and confidence than paralyzed by fear.  Praise God!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Hearts

It's February!  February is not only full of hearts, but also birthdays and celebrations!  Both of Christian's parents and Anya celebrate their birthdays, Grandpa and Grandma Stricker have their anniversary, and my grandparents would have celebrated their anniversary as well.  I've always enjoyed Valentine's Day as well...love and gifts speak my language!:)
Anya will be turning 4 on President's Day (the 18th)!  She requested a "heart" birthday (ok, maybe she went with my suggestion), as I have so much fun in the clearance section after Valentine's day! It's hard to believe she is already 4!  She is still our sweet little comedian!  She makes me smile with her smile and funny comments daily!
We've been getting more into a routine and into the swing of things.  We've been able to avoid the flu...until yesterday!  Lily is down with a fever, runny nose and cough, and actually fainted today in the bathroom.  She was light headed all day, poor thing!  Praying in faith for a quick recovery (and protection for the rest of us!), but know that this virus has taken everyone 5 or more days to get over! Lily said "You know what I think it is, Mom?...Everyone has to get it."  I hope not!
I had a great conference with Lily's kindergarten teacher today.   Good report on all accounts!  She seems to be enjoying school, and is learning a lot!  We'll be enrolling Anya in preschool this week for next year.  She is SUPER excited to finally get to go to school!
Other highlights of the month have been Christian taking each of the girls to the Father/daughter dance...they each reacted very differently!  Lily was a little overwhelmed and didn't feel comfortable dancing, whereas Anya danced the whole time!  It was a special date each in their own way.
We've enjoyed having a yard and a grill, biking as a family to the park nearby, and getting up into the mountains again (Estes, snow, sledding, and celebrating Paul's birthday).
It's been a fun month of connecting with old friends, and making some new ones.  Still so many of you to reconnect with!  We're getting there!:)  Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


One of my most cherished material possessions broke on Saturday.  It was a lamp.  Strange, I know...how can a lamp be so meaningful?  It was a mosaic "Tiffany" type lamp that Christian and I bought at a little antique boutique on our honeymoon...our first "big" purchase together.  In my mind I thought it would last forever.  That it would be handed down for generations.  A lamp.  The dream lasted for 10 years...and then it happened.  I heard the crash from our bedroom down the hall.  Silence.  Then as I ran into the living room I saw Lily and Anya (scared and crying), and the glass mosaic lampshade shattered on the floor.  I cried.  I saw that the girls were ok, and then I sobbed.  I shook my head and cried out that it is "irreplaceable".   Lily came over and hugged me and held me and said "I'm so sorry, Mom".  Then she went into the office and made a "book" for me out of paper on which she drew flowers on the front, lines to write on in the middle, and a picture of my lamp on the back.  Warms my heart:)  As it turns out, Anya was reaching for one of her magnetic blocks on the end table and couldn't reach it, held onto the table to get to it and pulled the whole thing down.  I'm glad they were ok!  But I was/am really sad that our lamp is broken...shattered.  After I swept it up and regrouped, I went to Anya, who was still crying.  I held her and told her I love her more than I loved that lamp or any other thing, that I will always love her, and that I forgive her.  It was an accident, with a little bit of disobedience (she was told not to be playing under that table)...but I know she understood it made me sad, and was sorry and sad about it too.
Since then, God is helping me put the pieces together between my head, heart, and hands.  He is bringing brokenness where I have held on to so much pride.  I pride myself on being able to multitask.  On being able to juggle a lot of roles and responsibilities.  I pride myself on completing tasks and being driven to get through the next 10 before I even celebrate the accomplishment of the first one.  I pride myself on still being involved in "ministry" on campus while being a mom.  I pride myself on a lot of things and I have a lot of pride.  Pride and self focus seem to go together (big surprise), and is the opposite of brokenness and humility.  Tonight I finally realized what I've been feeling and what's been happening since we've been home, and that is...I can't do it all.  I just can't get on the ball.  I'm not on top of everything.  In fact, I feel like I keep trying to get it together, get caught up and get back to "normal" (being in control and balancing everything nicely), and just can't seem to get there.  I've unpacked and settled the home for closure.  I've gotten my 2013 calendar and written important events in it for the entire year to feel a sense of control.  I've balanced the checkbook.  I've sorted, organized, purged material possessions, gotten together with friends, caught up on this blog, and tried to make every day a productive day.  But I haven't felt peace, rest, satisfaction or fulfillment.  Instead, I've felt overwhelmed, burdened, tired, like a failure, guilty, and critical of others.  Of course I feel all of those things...because I am living out of my own power and under my own standard.  I'm making it all about me!  And I am writing to admit I DO NOT HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER, AND NEVER WILL.  My name is Mia, and I WILL let you down.  Praise God that He sent Jesus...and we don't have to do it all perfectly.  He knows I don't have it all together, and definitely sees where I fall short...but loves me and steps in to forgive and carry the burden.  The "default" lie I believe is "if I don't do it, it won't get done".  Really what I'm believing is "If i don't do it, it won't get done the way I want it done (pride=my way is the best way), or when i want it done.  Pride!  Yuck!  I'm disgusted at myself!  But praise God that He won't let me continue on that road.  He has brought brokenness.  In brokenness, there is repentance, rest, a lightened load, peace, a sense of security, and freedom from guilt.  Just as my lamp broke, He is bringing brokenness in the areas I once felt "on top" of.  I don't have the capacity.  I can't do it all.  And I'm not in control.  God does, can, and Is.

The night of the broken lamp incident, Christian's parents were with the girls while we were at a wedding.  Anya looked up at Nana and said "I broke Mommy's lamp."  Nana said "I know, Sweetie".  Anya: "Does God still love me?"  Nana: "Yes!  He will always love you, no matter what!  He loves you very much."  I feel much like I'm in Anya's shoes, crawling up into my Heavenly Father's lap saying "I am prideful and trying to do it all on my own."  God:  "I know, Sweetie"  Me: "I'm so sorry, will you please forgive me?"  God "I already did.  I love you no matter what you do.  You will always be my daughter.  Mia, you are irreplaceable."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Getting back in the swing of life in America

We are finally unpacked and feeling more settled!  The word I used most often in December to answer the question "How are you?" was overwhelmed.  We were packing, unpacking, repacking, living out of our suitcases, unpacking, and repacking again most of the time.  We moved into the house we are renting on December 13th.  I think the main thing that overwhelmed me was the sheer volume of all of our "stuff".  Coming from the context of our little apartment and exposure to such extreme poverty and need in the townships, to trying to figure out where to put what felt like massive piles of boxes, toys and furniture was almost paralyzing.  I literally wanted to cry.  It was kind of unexpected culture shock.  I thought it would be fun and exciting to see all of our stuff after having it in storage for almost 2 years!  But instead, it felt burdensome.  And since we didn't have time to fully unpack before the Christmas celebrations and travels began, being at "home" was not yet restful.  Although it was overwhelming, we were so blessed by friends and family who helped us move, unpack, get us connected to Lily's school, and feel welcomed.  The love and grace in the phone calls and help were overwhelming in themselves (in a good way!).  And we are so blessed to have a house to rent.  It's been a perfect fit!  The kids enjoy riding their bikes outside on the back patio, we have plenty of space, and we are a 10 minute walk to Lily's school.  Huge praise!
The weekend we moved into our house, we had an early Christmas celebration with the Rainbolts, which was fun!  The girls especially enjoyed playing with Bobby and Alexandra's dog. Oakley!

We made it to Nebraska for a quick turn around visit with Christian's Grandpa and Grandma Stricker, and celebrated Grandma's belated 85th birthday.  And then we had a few days to continue to unpack, do some Christmas shopping, wrap presents, and repack, and then we headed to Kansas City for a week to meet my new niece (yay!) and celebrate Christmas (and Christian's birthday) with my immediate and extended Lucas family.  After the 48 hours of travel home from South Africa, the 10 hour drive through Kansas didn't seem too bad.  The DVD player helped:).  We had a nice visit with my Grandpa VanKooten (92) in Concordia, KS over Christmas, and after stopping through my parents house in Goodland we made it home.  By the last few hours of the trip, Anya started crying and saying "I can't sit here anymore!".  It has felt like a lot of sitting and traveling!  But such a blessing to be home with our wonderful families!

The Lucas Family
My sister, Cortney, and niece, Camille Bryn (born Oct 26, 2012)
Ouma and Grandpa Jack with the grandkids

We returned home December 26th, did laundry, repacked and moved into the hotel in Denver for Denver Christmas Conference (9 days).  We had our Stint debrief conference at the same time as DCC, which was really good.  The girls enjoyed time with their Cru friends, and the fun things about living in a hotel:).  The debrief conference gave us time to stop the craziness and process our year and emotions.  We each "mapped" out our year in Cape Town and had 15 minutes to share it with our team.  Then there was time for others to reflect back any patterns seen or thoughts they had about what we shared.  One facilitator said a word picture of a gift came to mind when I shared.  A gift that as you keep unwrapping it, contains other gifts inside.  It really is a great picture of the year.  It was a gift within a gift, and as time goes on, it will continue to be that in our lives...in the many ways the Lord blessed and impacted our lives through South Africa.  The debrief conference gave us a sense of closure with our team, and with our year.  And I am entering 2013 with the gift that will keep on giving...the dear friends we made in Cape Town, and the experiences that molded and changed us into the people and family we are today.
We went to visit Lily's school in December when the kids were in class...but she DID NOT want to go in.  We made it to the entryway of the school, and she was pretty upset.  But when I stopped to think about why, it made sense.  I was asking her to walk into a class room of kids who will all turn their attention to her, the "new girl coming from a year in South Africa", and being singled out with attention is pretty much her worse nightmare!  So, we decided it was best to come back to see the classroom on the teacher workday the day before school started in Jan.  Lily has a great teacher, Mrs Lamb, and two friends in her class, which made all the difference!  Lily was fine when we got to school the first day...until the bell rang.  Then fear won out and she clung to me for dear life and cried.  The school counselor gently pulled her off of me and closed the door.  We prayed for her all morning, and when I picked her up, she was all smiles!  She liked it!  That night we were sharing our "Happys" for the day, and Lily said hers was school!  This was significant, not only because she was so worried and fearful about school, but because she also had gotten a new bike that day, and school won!  Praise God!  Ever since then I just drop her off, and she is comfortable and fine.  She's really enjoying school!
After Lily's first day of Kindergarten with her new bike.
I think the "honeymoon" stage of being home has worn off a bit though.  The other night at dinner I told Lily and Anya some friends were coming over to play, and Lily burst into tears and said "I thought you were going to say Therese was coming over!"  Therese is her best friend from school in South Africa, and she has really missed her.  She cried for a good 20 minutes.  I realized then that she hadn't really "mourned" leaving until that point.  She didn't cry when we left.  But now it is beginning to sink in that we aren't going back.  Just that day Anya said, randomly, in the car "Mom, I miss Africa."  I asked her what she misses, and she said "Everything".  :)  I think many of Anya's first memories will be  in South Africa.   So, we've watched videos and looked at pictures and reminisced.  They bounce back quickly from their sad moments, but can see that they are in transition.
I'm glad to be feeling more like myself again.  After feeling overwhelmed and a step behind throughout December, January has brought time to unpack and catch up with friends and the looming "to do" list.  My dear friend and discipler from college, Leigh Ann, came for a visit last week, which was fun!  And we're gearing up for the start of the semester Tuesday.  Fort Collins and our staff team feel like "home" and we feel welcome and blessed by so many here.  I've almost been taken off guard by the intentional care, prayers, and love we've received by our family and friends...so grateful!  I want to be that kind of friend...and I am starting to feel like I am getting out of survival mode and can start thinking of others again!:)  Whew!

Monday, December 10, 2012


After a week more of "lasts" and farewells and 36 hours of travel, we are back home in Colorado!  The Lord showered us with his traveling mercies, as all eight of our suit cases arrived on time and without blemish, and all the flights and transitions went smoothly.  Lily and Anya were SUPER excited to be on the plane at first.  They could hardly contain their excitement about eating, sleeping and watching shows on the plane!  But by the final 5 hours of the flight, they were making vows that they will never fly again!  Lily said "I'm not flying again for 101 days!".  But they did a great job.
It was so good to see Paul, Kathy, Bobby and Alexandra, and to be home!  We happily allowed Paul and Kathy to drive us home- back on the right side of the road, and stopped off at Wendy's to satisfy our Wendy's cheeseburger craving...and it lived up to our idealistic expectation!  So good to have fast food again! (a true American :))  We got home to Paul and Kathy's house in Greeley, and it was an exciting reunion for Lily and Anya with all of their toys!  They have been loving the rediscovery of all of their long lost toys, and have been enjoying the luxury of TV again!
The girls have been waking up at 2am or various hours throughout the night.  Thankfully Kathy had Thursday and Friday off, and took the "night shift" the first night and has been so helpful and accommodating throughout the days. Last night everyone slept through until 5:30am!  Woo hoo! We are all tired and adjusting, but slowly starting to feel more and more back to ourselves.  It was a happy reunion with my parents this weekend, and we enjoyed Chick-fil-a, BBQ, and seeing the house we're going to live in.
So we're back!  Back to... pumping our own petrol, easy returns at stores, free plastic bags (though it's still a good habit to bring my own to the stores), vast variety and selection of goods,  delicious Mexican food, kids meals with a fruit option, more affordable kids clothing, reality of providing our own supervision in the play places, consumerism, commercialism, confusing our "needs" with "wants", driving on the right side of the road, having cruise control, freezing temperatures, short days (sun down by 5pm), Pandora, Dr. Pepper, free refills, unlimited data and airtime on our cell phones, Starbucks, Cheetos, aisles full of cereal options, houses covered in Christmas lights, coupons, internet customer service (no more Telkom!), Hulu, and so much more!  We are adapting and enjoying life back at home,  but we have left a piece of our hearts in South Africa...a piece that no American convenience will replace.  We're proud to be Americans, but thankful God called us to South Africa, and for who our experience there has helped us to become.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Whew!  What am I doing writing when I should be packing?  I just don't want to forget ANY of these last days and experiences!  We fly out a week from today.  ONE WEEK!  We've been soaking up all of our "last" moments.  We've had our last team time, our last time at the orphanage (sad goodbye), our final braai with our Western Cape team, our last trip in the cable car up Table Mountain (only to encounter the FREEZING and fierce wind, have a coffee in the cafe, and come back down), our last time in our car (it sold on Sunday, praise God!), my last time running out of petrol on the way home (oops...I mean the first and last time!  Borrowing a friend's car, and there was no final indicator!  Luckily we were only a block away from home and a kind man stopped and pushed our car to the shoulder.  Christian was there within minutes), our last holiday in South Africa (we LOVE Hermanus!), Lily's last play date with her best friend from school, Therese, our last date night (enjoyed watching the sun set over Table mountain) and quite possibly our last blog from Cape Town (crazy!).  We just keep giving thanks.  How timely Thanksgiving was this year! It was actually full of firsts!  First time cooking a turkey (make that 2), gravy and pecan pies.  First time celebrating Thanksgiving with a pool party!  Thanksgiving day we were hosted by my good friend, Lauren, who had looked up and recreated decoration and celebration ideas on pinterest, and made delicious new recipes from Southern Living that will now be incorporated in future Thanksgivings!  Both days of Thanksgiving were such a special celebration with friends.
Lily and Anya have been processing leaving in their own little ways.  Anya keeps things positive with all the things she has waiting for her at home (family and Christmas make the top of the list).  Lily has shed some tears and talks about how she's going to miss Therese.  She keeps taking "pictures in her mind" to remember each place we go.  It's been so sweet.  Our holiday in Hermanus was such a special time together as a family, full of cherished memories.  We got to see whales breeching, and enjoyed beautiful warm days on the beach.  We ate out for dinner one night and had a good chuckle at Anya.  Often times at restaurants in Cape Town, they will bring mints or candy when they bring the bill.  So in the middle of our meal Anya always asks "Can I please have some of the bill?"  That night she asked "Mommy, can I please eat the bill?" She really thinks the candy is called "bill"!  Lol!  And she is so sad when the bill doesn't have candy.  One time at Woolworths, the waitress saw how sad she was and she went and BOUGHT candy in the grocery section just for Anya!  Now that's service! :)
Lily cried when we left Hermanus and went to each room of the house we stayed in and "took pictures in her mind".  She said she was really going to miss that place.  I think it was the first of the "lasts", and has helped her to begin to process leaving.  So sweet.  The other day when we were leaving Thanksgiving dinner, Lily excitedly told me "Mom, someday I'm going to meet my prince, and he is going to love God, love me, and he is going to be beautiful...I mean handsome!"  Sounds good! :)
My head is so full of details and things that need to happen that I don't always know what I'm feeling each moment.  But I do know that I am overwhelmed with gratitude.  The Lord is so good, faithful, loving, attentive, personal, sustaining, persistent, gentle, and kind.  This year has been more than I could have ever imagined it would be. We're grateful to have shared it with you! I'll have to post the pictures later...need to get some sleep!

Our Apartment: bedroom
Living Room

Girls' room
Last time at the orphanage
Pastor J and Mama Irene
Last vacation~ Hermanus

Sold the car!
Last walk around the lake to the "benches" by our apartments 
Last team time
Last date night

Last date night...an amazing sunset over Table Mountain just for us!

Last movie night for the kids

Last time at our beloved small group

Lily's last day of Grade R at Welgemoed (with Teacher Trudi and Dinah)

Last day of school with Lily's best friend Therese

Last time with Therese's family~ James, Carolyn, Therese and James

First and last Thanksgiving pool party! (Lacy, Steph, Anya and Lily)
A special American Thanksgiving hosted by my dear SA friend, Lauren.
Last braai and time with Louise, Guy, Ariella and Gabriel (First time in their new house!)

Last time with Ariella and Gabriel

Last walk through a vineyard
Last time with Western Cape team

Last time as neighbors at Cascades (Shannon, Lacy, Katelyn and Tyler Williams)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Halloween and other adventures

We have 27 days left in Cape Town, and so much to do! The last few weeks on campus were full...full of encouraging leaders with "vision plans"(a written encouragement of strengths and suggestions for growth), of prayer, details and "lasts".  A couple of students were experiencing some intense spiritual warfare, but after much powerful prayer and posting and claiming scripture, it has subsided.  In fact Halloween was a sort of "dark" time here.  It is WAY different in South Africa than at home.  Mostly because it is an actual spiritual holiday, and therefore is not recognized or celebrated by Christians here.  There are many forms of witchcraft and Satanic worship that are practiced in Cape Town, but between October 22-Nov 1st, it is more intense.  So needless to say, we not only saw some out workings of  the darkness of those days, but also experienced some tension between "tradition" of how we usually celebrate Halloween, and the culture and reality here of Halloween.  We ended up fighting the spiritual battle through prayer and the Word, and continued to rest in the power of Jesus and security of knowing our King reigns.  And we did a little American "dress up and trick or treat" time to our apartment, the Williams apt., and to the apartment of the girls on our team.  We didn't make it a big deal.  Lily came in to our room that morning before school and said "Mom, I've decided not to dress up like a ballerina...instead, I'm going to be the Tooth Fairy.  I'm going to dress all in white, like a tooth, and carry a purse that I can take on and off that will have a tooth on it"  I was so surprised! Not only did my daughter (who normally doesn't like costumes or dressing up...or the thought of the tooth fairy coming into her room at night for that matter) want to dress up, but she also thought of her whole costume! I was so impressed!   That afternoon the girls were anxiously anticipating their opportunity for  getting candy, and Shannon was decorating their apartment to make it more festive.  Lily came back from their apartment and said "Mom, Shannon is decorating.  We need to do something.  Why won't you help me decorate?  Let's make some pumpkins to hang up or something."  Another sign that Lily is my daughter...first thinking about what to wear, and now decorating!  So we did.  We "carved" pumpkins out of paper and stuck them on her bedroom door.  It was really a fun and special time with Lily.  I know she was confused as to why we weren't totally into celebrating Halloween all of a sudden.  She asked me why I didn't like it anymore.  I was just wrestling so much in my mind with the difference between "commercialized" Halloween in the States, and "spiritual" Halloween in South Africa.  We didn't always know what to say or not to say about it.  We prayed.  We asked the Holy Spirit to help us discern.  In the end, Lily and Anya's innocence and excitement in the day made it fun.  But honestly, I was just glad when Halloween was over!
Lily, Noel, Lacy, Nala, Katelyn and Anya

All year we've driven by this place down the street from us called "Cool Runnings".  It's a toboggan track and it said it's fun for the whole family...but we didn't really know what to expect.  Our staff team decided to check it out a couple of weeks ago.  We prepared ourselves by watching the movie "Cool Runnings" the night before:).  It ended up being a blast!  Lily and Anya rode with us, and they squealed and laughed the entire time!  They each rode down at least 10 times!  So glad we didn't leave Cape Town without experiencing Cool Runnings.  In fact, we might have to go again before we leave!

Last weekend our friends, Catherine and Ernst, invited us to come to their parent's beach house in Kleinmond for the weekend. We first met Catherine and Ernst in the hospitality room of our church (Common Ground) the very first time we came, back in January!  Catherine and I both felt like we'd met each other before...it was the strangest thing!  We quickly became friends and joined the small group they lead.  They have two children, Arden (3) and Nina (almost 1), and we had an awesome weekend with them!  The weather was a little cool and windy, so we didn't get to play on the beach like we'd hoped, but it was a relaxing weekend away.  They made us a lamb "potjie", which is kind of like a stew made in an cast iron pot over the fire.  It is an art form.:) Though we were too hungry to let it simmer for the full 3 hours, it was still delicious!

This week we have been meeting to evaluate and debrief our Stint year.  Praising God in remembering all He has done and will continue to do! We have excited spirit-filled students in place to lead on all three of the campuses we've been working on.  Praise God!  We also found out that over the course of the year, we (our team, students, and summer project) have presented the gospel over 900 times and seen 85 students accept Christ.  I'm so grateful for the many ways the Lord brings people to himself.

These last few weeks Lily will continue to go to school, and we will start packing, tying up loose ends, sell our car, saying goodbyes and visiting the orphanage for the last time.  Please pray for time management; that we would leave well and prepare physically, spiritually and emotionally for home!

The Tooth Fairy

Tinker Bell
Anya's first hair cut! 

At first she was ok

Then she was a little scared!
But she did it!

Lily got a trim as well,
but wasn't too thrilled.
The bribe of stickers did the
trick! :)

Anya and I on after our toboggan run

This is a screen shot of the video we took of Lily's first ride.  Beyond excited!
Our first meal at the beach house "cabin"

There was a fun tree to climb out front

You can't see them, but there are flamingos just behind us out of the picture!

Catherine, Arden, Ernst and Nina

Anya and Arden could be twins!  

A walk on the beach
Lamb Potjie