Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Home Away From Home

In December, Chico’s Bidwell Presbyterian Church invited us to be part of their special Christmas Eve offering. As long-time supporters of New Life Children’s Homes, they wanted to financially invest in a project that would strengthen the capacity of the mission to care for orphaned children in Swaziland. Since the farm is in a very remote location, housing for missionaries has been an ongoing challenge. Bidwell Presbyterian Church decided to meet this need by funding the construction of two adjoining one-bedroom flats. The first flat is complete, and Tommy and I moved in last month. 

We are extremely thankful for the generosity of Bidwell Presbyterian Church. Living “on the farm” allows us to have a constant presence in the lives of the children here. In the evenings we’re able to give homework help, play soccer, and lead evening devotionals. On the weekends we can take the kids to the swimming hole, show movies, and host game nights. We really feel like we’re part of the farm family. 

Additionally, it is so nice to have the comfort of “our own” place here. The construction team—led by local construction guru, Bomber Sibandze—did a fantastic job, and thanks to the craftsmanship of our colleague Rob Taylor, we have beautiful tile in our bathroom and kitchen. It’s much more than we expected, and we feel very blessed! Each morning we are treated to an incredible African sunrise as we sip our coffee (Mandi) and tea (Tommy). 

Prayer Update: We give all PRAISE to Jesus for the healthy arrival of nephews John Joseph Tinsley (March 16) and Cardon Henry Quinn (April 25). We are just so delighted by them! 

Please pray for the teens we are taking on a youth retreat this weekend. We pray that they would be encouraged and challenged in their faith and that some would make a commitment to follow Christ.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

An Adoption

It’s hard to believe we were only here a few months when we found the perfect kid to adopt! Tommy and I recognize our potential to be somewhat negligent parents, so we made our choice carefully. This kid needed to be pretty self-sufficient: able to feed itself, already beyond those troublesome first years, and able to play unattended for long hours. Meet Sidwaba (she’s the one in the middle!). 

Her name (sids-dwa-ba) means nothing to you at home, but Swazi’s recognize it as the traditional goat skin apron that women wear. Some of the workers and moms here have gotten a big kick out of it!

Sidwaba has a purpose here on the farm. We have an incredible amount of grass here. The cattle graze in the pasture, but this grass is too close to vegetable fields to allow the cattle to roam freely. Sidwaba is on a long tether, which allows here to graze and browse while keeping the vegetables out of reach. We’ve quickly realized that one goat is not enough to handle the abundant amount of grass here on the farm. And it turns out when we bought her, we got scored with a two (or three?) for one deal. We recently learned Sidwaba is pregnant! So, there are even more kids on the horizon for us.

Additionally, Sidwaba is a meat goat. We plan to eventually sell her, and make a little extra cash. Goats are a relatively small investment, so she makes a great model for the kids and the workers on the farm. We are considering the possibility of helping some of the kids raise their own goats—they would manage them and keep any profits from their project. The children here, especially the girls, seem quite keen on the idea. 

We are so grateful for the love and support we feel from you all. We will hit our three month mark tomorrow. Although we are feeling more and more settled, we realize we are also entering a season where many new missionaries begin to feel discouraged by their new culture and really feel the sorrow of missing family and friends. Please continue to pray for the relational aspect of our ministry here. It is easy to work, but it is much harder to develop and maintain relationships. 

P.S. Check out the spitting cobra we found a few steps from our veranda! 1.2 meters!