The last several weeks….

We have been meaning to write an update for a while (I think all of our updates start this way). Sorry for the delay!

Travel/Fundraising: In the last month we have seen drastic extremes in regards to our travel schedule. Due to Christmas and the New Year, the last couple of weeks in December and 1st couple of weeks of January were relatively slow for us, as this isn’t necessarily a prime time in the calendar year to visit churches. However, the last several weeks have really picked up. In the last 3 weeks we have driven 1,300 miles and visited several awesome churches. We were thankful to have the opportunity to speak at Tarboro 1st (Tarboro, NC), Jones Grove (Mt. Olive, NC), Holland’s Chapel (Roseboro, NC), and Glad Tidings Church (Morehead City, NC). We also had the opportunity to return Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, GA, as a part of SEND Week. We were able to speak to the entire student body in Convocation, as well as address several classes, about the importance of being globally-minded and sharing the love of Christ wherever we find ourselves. The next couple of months will be busy for us as we will be attending several Great Commission Meals in NC and SC, but we do still have a few open Sunday (mornings and nights), as well as Wednesday nights, if you would like for us to visit your church and share about our vision for work in Kenya. We would also love to share with your small group or home group if you are interested. We are starting to make progress towards meeting our budget, but we still have a ways to go. We know that God will provide, and we are extremely thankful for those of you that He is using to do so. Thank you for partnering with us!

Christmas: We had an extremely special Christmas this year. It was great to be home with family for the entire Christmas Season, as opposed to arriving just a few days before Christmas. The kids are both at fun and exciting ages and the wonder of Christmas was very much alive for them. They enjoyed the lights, decorations, time with family, and of course presents. The most special moments of our Christmas Season took place during our nightly family Advent prayers, reading, songs, and calendar. It is a tradition we started last year and it was by far the highlight our our holiday.
This was our first year where the kids really got into the “Santa” thing, so we had to figure out exactly what approach we were going to take as a family. We have friends on both sides of the Santa argument. Some of our friends do not do Santa at all. Other friends use Elf-on-the-Shelf and have interactive naughty-nice lists on their i-phones. We decided that we would be somewhere in the middle. We try to focus on the value of giving and how Saint Nicholas embodies that. We don’t use the idea of Santa as a behavior modifier, and we try to answer every question honestly by either referring to the real Saint Nicholas or answering for ourselves (since we are Santa Claus after all). At the same time there is something magical about Santa that we didn’t want our kids to miss out on. So we had our picture made with Santa at the mall, we made hot cocoa and cookies (Santa enjoyed them very much), and read “The Night Before Christmas.” When Jess and I crawled into bed at 3 a.m. Christmas morning (after 3 hours of putting Ethan’s wooden train table together) we definitely felt like we had gone through a parenting right of passage.

Snow Days: One thing we were hoping for during our time in the States was for the kids to be able to see snow. They had never seen snow, and since they will be spending the majority of their childhoods in Kenya, odds are they won’t see very much in the future. Even Jess and I hadn’t see any snow in 7 years (other than a snowstorm I encountered at the peak of Mt. Kenya that lasted 20 minutes or so….pretty cool to be one of the few people that have been in a snowstorm on the equator!). Well, needless to say, we got our wish. Two weeks ago we had around 4″ of snow that stayed around for several days. This week we had another storm that gave us 7″ of snow in our backyard! The kids have had a blast watching it fall and playing in it. The 1st morning Sophie ran outside, immediately fell into it and shouted “It IS delightful!” Ethan, meanwhile, walked around kicking it while saying, “Funny…Funny….It Funny.” We went sledding (there are always good people in Falcon willing to pull the kids around with 4-wheelers), built a snowman (Olaf from “Frozen”), made snow angles, ate snow cream, and had epic snow ball battles. It has been awesome to see snow for the 1st time through the eyes of Sophie and Ethan.

Well….that is what is new with us. Thanks for checking in!

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