We have been meaning to write an update for a while, but things have been a bit crazy. Sorry for the delay!
Travel/Fundraising: We continue to be blessed with opportunities to travel and share about our heart for outreach and development in Kenya. We have driven over 1,800 miles over the last 2 months, speaking to 10 different churches/groups. We are grateful to the Pastors and congregations of Baywood Church (Fayetteville, NC), Springs Church (Franklin Springs, GA), Clinton Community Church (Clinton, NC), A Call to Life Worship Center (Lamar, SC), Hope Mills P.H. (Hope Mills, NC), Living Waters Christian Community (Durham, NC), Socastee Family Worship Center (Socastee, SC), and Living Wells Celebration Center (Orangeburg, SC) for opening their doors to us. Jamie has also had the opportunity to speak to the youth group at Culbreth Memorial a couple of times, and Jess was invited to share at the N.C. Retired Ministers Christmas Luncheon. We are always blown away by the generosity and love poured out on us when we visit. Thanks to all of the above for being so good to us!
We are now booking services for 2014. We would love to visit your church, small group, or home, to tell you more about our vision and plans for work in Kenya. Let us know if you are interested.
Jamie and Jess: The last several weeks have been extremely hectic for us. In addition to the ministry travel and normal business, Jessica has had a much more tedious work schedule at Falcon Children’s Home. Between Harvest Train (huge fund raising event) in November, and Christmas activities and events to organize in December, she has stayed extremely busy. My tutoring sessions at the Children’s Home were cancelled for the last two weeks of November, but I was asked to work with some of the boys that were acting in their Harvest Train program during that time. It was awesome to see how much they progressed over 2 weeks, and I was blown away by their incredible performance in front of 2,500 people! I am still enjoying being home with the Sophie and Ethan. I have found a good routine of balancing time with the kids, keeping the house in order (sort of), as well as keeping our travel schedule, correspondence, and reports up to date. I have also been able to work with my Dad on most Saturdays, which has been awesome to spend that time with him. We are very excited about being home for the Christmas Season, and even though the added parties and events have made things much busier, we are so thankful to be here for it all.
In October we were able to go back to Franklin Springs, GA, and Emmanuel College for the 1st time in 5 years. It was surreal to walk around the campus with Sophie and Ethan and to show them where we went to school and met and worked and lived for our first 3 years of marriage. We were blown away to see how much transition has taken place at the school and in the community. It was only a quick day trip, so we were unable to see many friends, but hopefully we will be back in that area again soon.
Sophie and Ethan: The kids have had an eventful couple of months. Between Halloween festivities and being with family for Thanksgiving, it has been a wonderful couple of months. They are both very excited about Christmas! We have an Advent tradition that we started last year that involves prayers, songs, readings, and a calendar that all point towards Christ’s coming. The kids (especially Sophie) have really enjoyed this nightly tradition, and they amaze us with their understanding of the real meaning of Christmas. Sophie is really excited about Santa coming and getting presents, but we are proud that she is equally excited about giving gifts to others. She is (hopefully) learning that Santa is cool and a lot of fun…but that he represents the importance of being generous, loving and reminding people of the gift of Christ.
Sophie is continuing to amaze us with her intelligence and maturity. She can now recognize the majority of her letters, knows the corresponding sounds, and can identify words that begin with each letter. She has also been working on counting and is counting to 29 by herself and to 100 if she is reminded of each 10. She is such a great big sister and is always teaching and looking out for Ethan. Her maturity impresses us the most. She is so compassionate and giving…it makes us so proud.
Ethan is really growing into his own personality….silly, mischievous, daring, fearless, strong, tough and a bit of a jokester. He has no fear, which is a trait that makes us proud and exhausts us at the same time. He loves to make people laugh and is actually quite good at it. He loves his big sister and follows her around, imitating her every word and action. When she is in trouble and sent to timeout, he will always go to her and do whatever he can to make her laugh or cheer her up. It is really cute and sweet…kind of defeats the point of her punishment, but to see how much he enjoys making her happy is worth it. His vocabulary has really taken off. He is using two and three word phrases and he can communicate pretty much everything….as long as you understand his pronunciation. We also realized that he has been paying attention to Sophie during “pre-school.” He has picked up the sounds for 10-15 letters just from listening to Sophie practice them.
Thanksgiving: We were grateful to be home to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families for the first time in 6 years. The Dunning family has started a tradition that last few years of all staying together at a place in Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving. Which seemed a bit odd at first to go to the beach for Thanksgiving, but it ended up being perfect. We had a nice place to relax, play games, and spend time together. It was also an added bonus for us that the Benton family lives in that area, so we were able to spend time with both families. We are excited to get back to Kenya, but we are also enjoying every moment with family and friends while we are home.
Well, that is what is pretty much all that is new with us. We are blessed and exhausted, but full of joy. We hope that you all have an amazing and blessed Christmas! Thanks for stopping by…
Thanks for your update–God Bless and give you peace and added strength.
Merry Christmas and a prosperous Happy New Year!!