Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March Update - Home in Missouri

Dear Friends and Family -

I am writing to let all of you know that I am back in Missouri and settling into American life. It is good to be home among my family and my friends. As I look back into the chain of events at the end of my stay in Africa, I am more and more convinced that all was the correct timing of the Lord. I have peace and confirmation that all fell together as originally intended. And, just as a reminder, the Oceans of Mercy Orphanage in Port Elizabeth was closed and the children relocated with Mama on the north side of town. My kids, among the rest of the Oceans' children, now attend public schools. Oceans', obviously, was then in no need of a preschool teacher. Before I had heard that news, my personal experience in South Africa had become too intense for my own wellbeing. I was contemplating coming home early due to the lack of personal safety and lack of community. As I see now, the timing of the closing of the orphanage and my unsettlement was perfect in the end. As difficult as it was in those final days to hug my children and tell them goodbye, I must and still trust that the Lord loves them and cares for them more than I ever could.

Thank you all so, so, so much for your prayers and packages and letters and emails during my 6 months in Africa. I treasure them all. I was quite blessed financially during my stay in South Africa. The excess money that was in my account I used towards Casa de Barnabe in Guatemala City, Guatemala. I spent 10 days at the place that nearly 165 orphans call home. It was a blessing to see an establishment that was successfully growing up healthy children. Casa de Barnabe is a large plot of land that holds a 12 room school, two soccer fields, a basketball court, a gigantic two story commons building (which in itself includes offices, the mass kitchen, the laundry, the Toddler house, the church, and four rooms for accommodating 40+ guests), 10 houses (in each there are a set of married houseparents and 10 same age, same sex orphans), a baby house (where over 20 little ones, under the age of two are loved), a woodshop, a tortilla shop, and numerous jungle gyms and swing sets. Seeing Casa de Barnabe was wonderful; a sweet taste to experience Guatemalan people loving their own orphans and showing hope to so many.

Again I am reminded of God's timing and his faithfulness; as of the last night in Guatemala City, I am engaged to be married the end of August! For those of you wanting more sappy details of the proposal, I will be happy to answer any questions :)

May God bless you all and your willing hearts to support each other in the Body. Thank you all for experiencing this journey together from the bottom of my heart.


Ps... A few included photos:

1. The day before I left I took my class to Kragga Kamma Lion Park
2. The Baby House at Casa De Barnabe
3. Outside the Miami Airport, looking at the ring for the first time in the sun