I put Frank on the small plane out of Maseru, yesterday afternoon, (heading for meetings in the U.S.) just ahead of an amazing storm front that billowed in from the mountains. I left him at the airport, and went back into town to begin collecting the children from school. Amazingly thick gray clouds and an eerie orange tinge to the light, followed me. I collected the younger two, and we waited in the parking lot for Andrew. A tremendous wind gust practically blew him into the car and the rain poured down just as he slammed the door closed. Whew. We crept home in the semi-dark of the mid-afternoon, lights on, windshield wipers going full blast. It turned to hail and pounded a few hapless school kids walking home. Then it was gone – moving into the Free State across the border in South Africa.
It was weather like this that opened my eyes, at the tender age of 16, to the awesome power and presence of God. A tropical rainstorm lashed the mango and palm trees outside my dorm room window in the capital city of the Congo, when I was in the 10th grade. As I watched the lightning flash and heard the thunder crash, very close to home, I recognized and acknowledged God. I had heard about Him all my life, but it was in this grand display of His power that I personally recognized Him for the first time. And in that recognition, all of my jumbled bits of knowledge and understanding about life seemed to shift and sift into an “ah-ha” moment of enlightenment. The awesome Creator God of the universe, the Almighty, also knew me and loved me and was calling me to a life of love and purpose. Through the majesty of His creation, He gave me the incredible gift of faith
I’m sitting on our front porch in a camp chair, basking in the sunshine, typing on my lap. It’s a lot warmer out here than in the house, but, hey, no complaints. We are MOVED IN! Carpets cleaned, tiling done, screens and curtains cleaned, beds repaired, new mattresses purchased and four happy kids set up in their own space! Frank is busy organizing (alphabetically 🙂 ) his tools, hardware and electrical supplies in the front closet, and will finish his office next. There is still the family room to clean and sort out, and other bits and pieces, but mainly we are just thrilled to be settled once again.
We actually moved in time to celebrate my (Nancy’s) birthday last Wednesday. Alifa experimented with a carrot cake recipe, and the family put eleven candles on it in a “flying V” formation. Our seven-year old, Jackson, explained that they represented 5 tens and 6 units! I think it was planned flame reduction. 56 “units” would have been a conflagration! 🙂
Our Jesse has a new blogspot at jessedimmock.com. She left for a 6-week adventure in Malawi on Saturday, with Marion Medical Mission. Nathan and Leah are counting down the weeks to baby Isaiah’s arrival (end October). Moses and Katie continue to love their respective jobs with vulnerable kids and youth in NC and FL respectively. We miss them, but are so proud of each one.
Today is Wednesday (Sept. 5), the day we had hoped to move back into our house. Alas, I am standing up typing off of a filing cabinet in the middle of our living room. Drop cloths are covering piles of stuff in stacks on the floor. Deep cracks were found in three bedroom walls, and needed repair with cement. And the re-plastering and repainting are taking longer than anticipated. But, we are making progress and are hopeful that we’ll move by this weekend. . .
However, the kids were moved on Saturday, as planned, and they are so excited with their new place. Go to the Ministry of Hope Lesotho Facebook page for that update, including some great pictures of the kids “helping” with the move! The inside of the house is completely functional, but the outside remains a construction zone. They are paving a front verandah and putting the gate into the fence. And they are just beginning to work on the yard.
Frank and I took a load of things that belong to MoHL to their new house yesterday, and were just in time to help receive a new arrival. A nurse from the Baylor Clinic (specializing in pediatric AIDS), and a Social Worker brought a malnourished three and a half year old girl. MoHL will provide great care and feeding, and she’ll be catching up on her milestones in no time. What a privilege to be a part of these kids’ lives.
We’ll write again next week –hopefully having moved in and gotten relatively settled. We’ll let you know. Thank you for your many thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement!
A couple of very busy weeks have passed since I last wrote. Frank arrived home, late, the night I was writing about his hauling fencing. The fence is up now! And the electricity is connected and the water! Curtains are almost finished and I started hanging them today. A little room has been built onto the house outside the kitchen door to house the hot water heater and the washing machine. Both have been purchased and are being installed. They are laying the foundation for a front porch and will put a sky light roof over it. And we are getting 8 truckloads of dirt from the new mall construction site, for the yard and garden. One of the fence welders is also a landscaper, and has offered to help plant grass and plan the layout of trees, shrubs, flowers and a vegetable garden. Things are going so well that the house should be functional by THIS weekend – and we plan to move the children on Saturday!
Our own kids, are eager for the Ministry of Hope move to happen so that we can move back into our house. This guesthouse has been a blessing, but we are all ready for our own space. After some deep cleaning and repainting, we should be able to move in by next Wednesday – as a belated birthday present for Frank! 🙂
School started back this week – Andrew on Monday, Alifa on Tuesday, and Isaac and Jackson this morning (Thursday). They are all renewing friendships and getting their brains back in gear after the long summer break. We are working to figure out schedules and timing. Andrew gets up early and leaves by 7:00 a.m. to walk to school. It takes him about 10 minutes from the guesthouse. It will take him about 20 minutes from our house, if he chooses to continue walking. He is supposed to be at school by 7:30. The little boys are at school by 7:45 and Alifa by 8:00, so we’ll drive a circuit with the three of them.
Mamonyane’s (MoHL director) son, Neo, planted peas, carrots and spinach in our garden yesterday. What a gift! Trees are greening and the peach blossoms are blooming. Spring is definitely in the air.
I’m sitting in our guesthouse bedroom, with the sun, once again, streaming through the windows, cheering and warming us up! I believe winter is waning here in the “lowlands” as tiny buds are appearing on the fruit trees. The nights and early mornings are still very cold, but throughout the day it is almost pleasant. We did go snow hunting last weekend, and found enough for Isaac and Jackson to have a snowball fight!
Meanwhile, we have been getting the kids sorted out in their various schools. Andrew was particularly thrilled when he was told that he was already signed up for S4 (9th grade equivalent) as a returning student and did not have to take the entrance exam this coming Saturday! The little boys will be returning to their international primary school, Maseru Prep, and they are very pleased about that, since all is familiar there. Only Alifa will be making a big change, going into 8th grade at the American School. We hope that she will make friends quickly and will like her teachers and benefit from the small class size.
Progress is being made on the Ministry of Hope Lesotho house. Frank left early this morning to purchase and haul back the fencing for the property! The best price was found in Bloemfontein, South Africa, which is about 65 miles away. He has rented a big trailer for 24 hours, so he is under pressure to get the fencing bought, loaded, hauled back and unloaded in time to return the trailer by 4 pm today. I am currently praying very hard for “smooth sailing”, as it is far from a sure thing in this part of the world. Anything can happen to slow down the process, including potholes and flat tires and frustrating immigration officials at the border.
The kids and I will head over to “our” house shortly. Isaac and Jackson will play with the MoHL kids, I’ll continue working on curtains for the new MoHL house, and Alifa will help finish the scrapbooks for the four kids leaving with their new parents this weekend. Talk to you later!
Whew! More than a week has passed since I last wrote. We had an amazing snowfall on Tuesday, which blanketed the whole region, but fell especially heavily in the higher mountains of Lesotho. In the ‘lowlands’ of Maseru, it was a grey day of flurries and wind. Since then the sun has come out, but the air temperatures remain low. We wear our heavy coats inside and outside, because there is no central heating anywhere.
Last Friday was a special day, when three families from Holland came to collect their newly adopted children. There was such a sense of joy for everyone involved. Alifa made two apple cakes for “tea time” for the families and all of the children at Ministry of Hope Lesotho. The parents had time to visit and ask lots of questions, and play with all the children. They have now had their own children for a week out of the two weeks required for bonding and follow up by the Department of Social Welfare. I ran into one mom in the grocery store yesterday and she was absolutely delighting in her new daughter. It was great to see.
Progress is being made on the new MoHL house. Progress is being made on our paperwork for work and residency permits. We are grateful for God’s grace and mercy!
We plan to drive up into the higher mountains today (Saturday, Aug. 11) in search of the snow. I might have some pictures to share later!
. I’ve just come in from watching the sun set behind the saddle of two flat-topped mountains. The air is crisp and clean and about 10 degrees colder than Johannesburg. There is a sprinkling of snow remaining on the northern mountains. We heard that the winter was severe (with three heavy snowfalls) and came early, but seems to be warming up now.
We are staying in a lovely guesthouse (Haven of Peace) belonging to a dear friend of ours, Mrs. Borotho. She prayed us a welcome – thanking God for our safe return home and asking His blessings on our various ministries in Lesotho. One feels like when she prays, God listens! We are looking forward to all that God has in store.
We went by “our” house on the way in from the border, and got lots of hugs and news. The adoptive parents of four of the children will arrive tomorrow (Thursday) and will come to the house to collect their children on Friday. Tomorrow, we plan to get cell phone and internet connection, and reopen our local bank account, and play with the children. If so, I’ll be able to post this tomorrow night. (It’s Thursday night, and we were successful in getting a data modem for the computer. It’s sloooooww, but it works!) All is well.