Having a sabbatical is a new experience for us. We’ve been pushing and striving for so long that we’ve forgotten how to rest. In Eswatini, we had multiple visitors daily, 7 days a week, often in large groups. While we had delegated many tasks and trained replacements, our work schedules were wrought with interruptions, pivots, and emergency planning meetings. Building a leadership-development-school/permaculture-farm/skills-training-venue in your spare time is not an easy project.
We tend to always say this, but it has been an interesting season. Looking at last year, a lot has changed. The country lost its veneer of peace.
Hi friends! We’ve been a bit sleep-deprived for the last six weeks since Levi was born, but we starting to settle in as parents of three little ones. Zach and Isa were excited to meet Levi when we brought him home from the hospital (photo below). Zach has been helpful in fetching us things when we are immobilized by a sleeping baby in our arms. Isa exclaims “baby!” every time she sees Levi and keeps offering to pick him up, though she’s not quite strong enough yet.
Merry Christmas from Eswatini! We’ve had an absolute whirlwind year, again! It’s hard to even remember what all has happened week to week, never mind month to month. It’s been great to have our Umdoni Vlogs to help us look back and see what all God has been accomplishing here. We’ve become so accustomed to going with the flow, walking into roles, helping with needs, and pouring ourselves into work and our staff --it’s hard to rest, it’s hard to reserve space to connect with God.
Hi friends and family, We are doing ok on the farm. We struggled with fuel shortages for a week or so, but the situation has normalized again. It was a bit of a scary time because no fuel means no grocery shopping, no security services, no hospital visits, etc. We were grateful to accept the help of a fellow parent who carpooled Zach to school for a few days. It’s been a lot more peaceful the last two weeks, though we hear there are still small clashes and marches protesting the arrests of some previous protesters and also no resolution to original demands.
We drove back to Eswatini today. Thankfully, we were able to get my (Brandon’s) mom on a plane back to the states safely a few days ago. Thank you to all who have been praying for our family, we are grateful for each of you! Picking up from our last update We left the unrest in Eswatini on July 2nd to travel to Nelspruit. We arrived without event and were thankful to be able to access internet for more than an hour a day.
We are safe- thank you from the depths of our hearts for all your prayers! Since Friday, June 25, protests in Eswatini have been building, but we didn’t know about it since we left for Johannesburg the day before. We crossed back into Eswatini on Tuesday having successfully picked up Brandon’s mom, Sue, from the airport for a visit. On arriving into Eswatini after a long day’s drive caravaning with both our cars, the border agents told us about some chaos and warned about protesters blocking the highway a few miles from the border.
2020, what can we even say about you? This year saw us seriously considering pulling our family off the mission field to keep safe from the pandemic (There were only 20 ventilators in all of Eswatini in March!). We wrestled with the decision for several weeks before we felt a clear answer from the Lord. We had wondered amid quarantine, “Is our family going to be safe here? How do we do ministry like this?
It’s been a challenging season for us in many ways, but it has also highlighted and helped us appreciate our many blessings. We are grateful for our health, our family unity, this beautiful farm to live on, and people like you who support us in friendship, prayers, and giving. In fact, your faithfulness in giving has helped us work and live in Eswatini for five years now, FIVE YEARS! Thank you!
Hi friends, here’s a brief video update on how we’re doing! The farm we’re living on is now starting to be in full swing. Check out our Umdoni Project Vlog videos for an update on how Melinda’s been keeping busy as she transitions away from HR at our office. If you don’t have experience walking with Jesus, please know that he wants to journey alongside you. He is good, gracious, and completely worth it.