Before traveling to Texas we celebrated Christmas at home. Joshua really got into it! We made snickerdoodles to leave for Santa and Joshua wrote a letter to Santa asking for only one thing - knight legos! Then we spent the whole day building his legos! It was fun, though.
As many of you know, we are volunteers with Youth With A Mission. That means that we receive no salary but live on financial donations. Our desire is that donors would not just be someone sending money but people that we can be in partnership with to reach people for Jesus. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation please make your check out to YWAM and send to:
P.O. Box 3000
Garden Valley, TX 75771
Please don't put our name anywhere on the check (for tax reasons) but include a separate note designating it for us.
We arrived back from all of our travels early November. It was like Christmas for the kids - coming home to all the toys they hadn't seen for so long. We've been busy ever since coming home getting ready for the holidays as well as preparing for 2 YWAM teams to go to Zambia for outreach.
We did manage to get a Christmas tree up and decorate a gingerbread house. Joshua loves the holidays so it's fun to do all the festivities. We'll be in Texas for Christmas visiting family and connecting with friends.
After spending time in London we traveled on to Norway to also share in churches and re-connect with some relationships we had there. We took a YWAM outreach team there in 2001 and developed a lot of great relationships. It was a very special time with all of our Norwegian friends and sharing in a youth group there.
After spending 6 weeks in S. Africa we made the journey home stopping off in London to speak in a church about the ministry. It was a great time of sharing and meeting new people that are now a part of the Ten Thousand Homes network. It's amazing how God is tugging on the hearts of people for Africa. We truly believe it's Africa's time!
These siblings lost their parents to AIDS. A few months ago they lost their oldest brother in a fire that burned down their home. It's a tragic story but hope came to them in the form of a team of people building them a new home. In October we had the privilege of starting the work on their new home. We made furniture, planted a garden of vegetables, and supplied basic necessities for them. It's awesome to bring hope to these children in the midst of such tragedy. Please pray for them and the millions of other children who are left orphaned everyday.
About 12 million children living in sub Sahara Africa have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic. These are the faces of children without parents...
The place where we stay in Africa is right on the edge of Kruger National Park. The closest gate is actually only 20 minutes away! We usually wake up at 5:00 and spend the entire day there until 6:00 PM. It's amazing to see the animals in their natural habitat. For a 4 year old boy it's the coolest thing ever!
Africa is one of the most beautiful places we've ever traveled! We always go see the sights at least once while we are there. The Lone Creek Waterfall in Sabie is one of our favorite sights. It also makes for a good family photo!
The other place we like to go to is a beautiful lookout called God's Window. The pictures really don't give it justice.
We celebrated Jeremy and Emma Grace's birthdays while we were in Africa. They share their birthdays on September 29th. We actually celebrated a couple of times. They had fun!
Mid September we headed to S. Africa for 6 weeks. It was a great trip. We hosted several different teams while we were there plugging in with the Hands At Work ministry. The kids did awesome. Emma Grace's favorite part was the babies! We babysat one Saturday for a Young Mother's gathering. She was in heaven holding the babies (with mommy's help, of course).
This trip was really special for Joshua and Jen. Jen worked mostly at the care centers and Joshua tagged along as well. He actually really loved it. The first couple of times he didn't engage much with the kids but the more we went, the more he started engaging. The most special time was one tea time. I started serving the kids their tea. Joshua usually kept playing by himself on the playground but this particular day he came over and started helping serve the tea as well. I looked over and almost got emotional as I realized that he was doing what he could to serve Jesus! We're so glad that he's exposed to things much bigger than himself at such a young age.
In August we made a long trek to Traverse City, MI to speak in churches about Ten Thousand Homes. We celebrated Jen's birthday there and did a few fun things like visiting the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and swimming in one of the many lakes. It was special for Jen to visit there because some of her family is originally from there.
On our way home from Michigan we stopped at Niagara Falls for a few hours. The view was great from the Canadian side. Just a tip...bring an umbrella!
July was a busy month of travel for us. We started out by visiting Jeremy's grandparents in New Mexico. It was a blast just relaxing, eating, playing games, and sliding down the dunes at White Sands. The Sands were a little bright and hot for our fragile Emma Grace but Joshua had a blast.
July 15th Joshua was in his first wedding as a ring bearer! The shoes ended up not fitting him, so he walked down the aisle shoeless, but he did awesome and was the most handsome ring bearer I've ever seen! By the end of the ceremony he was a little tired. It's hard work!