Monday, June 30, 2008

Art Therapy

After going into the community every other Saturday for a couple of months now, we're learning what's working and what the kids like. We're also getting more organized! This past Saturday we set up stations. In March we had a volunteer come and donate lots of Stampin Up supplies (thanks Susan!) so we had one station of rubber stamping, one of building blocks, and one of songs. It worked so well and the kids had a blast. We ended our time by everyone singing together and playing games before serving lunch. Here's a video of the stations we did:


video

We're also seeing the need to do more art therapy with the kids. What is art therapy? It's using the arts such as music, painting, crafts, etc. to allow the children to express themselves knowing that the creative process brings about healing that many so often need after dealing with such trauma as losing their parents due to HIV/AIDS. We are hoping to explore this further as we build more relationship with the children.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Jeremy Comments On The Kombi Breakdown In Malawi...

Some of you might have heard the story...when Jeremy was in Malawi the engine in the kombi (van) just fell out while they were driving! Here's Jeremy's take on the situation...
(By the way, $1 equals 142 Malawi Kwachas. Check exchange rates here.)


video

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sudoku...The New Bathroom Pastime!


I know books or magazines are a traditional item to put in the bathroom for those "take longer than normal" moments. We've found a new bathroom pastime. Sudoku! You know...the puzzle in which "several numbers are to be filled into a 9x9 grid of squares so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 through 9" (thanks Webster). Even our overnight guests have enjoyed a few puzzles. The only downside when people get caught up in a puzzle? We only have one bathroom!

You can buy sudoku books at just about any store. To play sudoku online, visit www.websudoku.com.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mashed Potato Pizza...You Gotta Try It!


Okay, I know it sounds like carb overload, but you can't knock it until you try it! We experimented with it a few weeks ago and it was a hit! If you want to experiment with something new tonight, here's all you need:


Mashed Potato Pizza

Mashed Potatoes
7 large or 15 small potatoes
48 oz. or 1200 ml chicken broth
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes and garlic in chicken broth. Add water, if necessary, to cover potatoes. Boil 20-30 minutes. Drain. Add butter, cream, salt, and pepper. Mash or whip till creamy.

Spread over rolled pizza dough (I don't make my own because I can get it fresh at the local bakery). Top with cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives. Bake at 450F for 20-30 minutes.

I guarantee it will be a hit! Let me know how it goes!

(And the great thing about pizza...there's a job for everyone!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Love Story Time!

For many reasons...
  • The kids absolutely love it! They each get to pick out a book.
  • It gives us quality time with them.
  • It settles them down for bed.
  • It helps them to enjoy reading.
  • It means that it's getting close to the start of a relaxing, quiet evening.
Emma Grace's favorite is Arthur's New Baby Book. Joshua's favorite, Lion King. Jeremy's favorite, Green Eggs and Ham. Jen's favorite, Jellyfish Jam.











Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ingredients To The Perfect Laundry Day...

Since we don't own a dryer at the moment, I rely on the sun to dry my laundry. I feel I've become an expert at spotting the perfect laundry day. Here are a few key ingredients.


1. A washer with a timer! I love my washer! I can put my clothes in the night before, set the timer, and they are ready by the time I wake up. It's a novel invention and one I feel I can't live without at this season.

2. A good clothes line. This stand alone holds a whole load of laundry!

3. Mother Nature's cure for the rainy day blues - sunshine!

4. A couple of little helpers! They may be small but their help is valued!

So if any of you were the least bit curious at spotting the perfect laundry day, I hope that I have been of some assistance! :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's On The Menu...Ratatouille!

Cooking has become a fun event in our house. It's been a season of trying new recipes - not just on our family but our friends, too! One of our friends, David Song, works with us here in South Africa. He returned to Africa in May and stayed at our house until this week. (He is now house sitting across the street.) To help chip in and carry the load, he decided he would cook one night a week. He's also tried out some new recipes on us. Like last night...the menu was Ratatouille (no, it's not just a movie!)


Hospitality and community are such a huge part of who we are so it's been fun to be creative with the dinner palate. One of the local restaurants here has this quote in their menu.

"Make yourself at home, unwind and settle down since, if the Creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony." Fernand Point

Is that great?! I think that about sums it up. As we invite people into our home, whether it be for an evening or a month, our desire is that they would be able to truly feel at home.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How Does This Happen!?



I'm always amazed at how quickly my kids can manage to take every single toy out of its proper place and string it around the room. I've racked my brain at how I can get them to pitch in and keep it clean. It's quite difficult for a 6 year old and 3 year old to manage that. Joshua gets really overwhelmed at just the sight of it and Emma Grace, well, she has better things to do. These are a few tips I have found that works:

1. Give them one specific thing to do like pick up all the legos. This gives them an end in sight!

2. Have them do that specific thing together. This makes them feel like someone is helping and it gets the job done faster.


3. After they have picked up that one specific thing, give them another job.

4. Remember to tell them thank you and they will feel appreciated and like they've done a good job! And hopefully you will get this:


I still feel like I pick up most of the toys but for me the goal is not necessarily that they pick up everything but that they are pitching in and helping. These are a few things I have done. If you have other ideas, please share them with me!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Village Scholarship Fund

Young people who originate from some of the most destitute communities in the world, have a daily battle to feed themselves and their siblings much less afford tuition for school. The Village Scholarship Fund offers a work-study program through University Village, so that they are able to earn tuition, room, and board, for R20,000($2500)per year or R1670($208) per month at University Village.

We are looking for people to sponsor these students and any donation big or small goes a long way toward a brighter future. If you are interested and would like more information, please email info@tenthousandhomes.org.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Father's Day!



Father's Day was fun this year. Since Jeremy was away in Malawi the week before, the kids and I had a chance to plan some special things for him without him knowing. Each of them picked a special gift and had special "Daddy dates" that were personal to them. Joshua picked a lego set to give. So Friday after school Jeremy picked Joshua up and they went for ice cream and built the lego set together. And Joshua tells me that it's not his lego set but Jeremy's. Emma Grace, on the other hand, picked out a nice shirt for her daddy. What girl doesn't enjoy clothes!? And she treated him to a Saturday morning brunch. I loved that the kids were able to make it so personal.

Jeremy looking good in his new shirt.


On Sunday we enjoyed a day together as a family. We enjoyed the Botanical Gardens so much on Mother's Day that we went back for Father's Day! There wasn't as many people this time which was really nice. The kids played, Jeremy played his guitar, and I looked at magazines. So nice. I hope all of you fathers also had an incredible Father's Day.

Emma Grace showing some love.


The boys reading together?


"Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad."

Autumn: Making New Memories

As our northern hemisphere friends are entering summertime, us here in the southern hemisphere are in Fall going into Winter. When we lived in Connecticut, fall was our favorite time of the year. The leaves were turning beautiful colors of golds, reds, yellows, and oranges. It was amazing! It was also apple picking season and we loved it! We made such awesome memories apple picking with our friends and then going home and making delicious apple pie. We loved the crisp, cool air and the changing of the seasons.

Now living in the southern hemisphere, we're making new Fall memories. Like hearing Joshua say, "Autumn" in his little Afrikaans accent. Or instead of the season for apples, it's the season for oranges and lemons. We can pick up a bag of oranges for just over $1. It's the season where, instead of making delicious apple pie from our freshly picked apples, we're making freshly squeezed orange juice and homemade lemonade. It's also the best time to go into the park and see the animals. The cool air makes them roam around and not hide in the shade of the trees and the grass is shorter so you can see the ones that blend in.

Of course we still have the same duty of raking all those leaves that fall from the trees! And even though we miss our northern hemisphere memories, we're enjoying making new ones in this season of our lives and thankful that God has given us this awesome opportunity to do what we're doing!

Xenophobia


Many have heard, I am sure, of the xenophobic attacks here in South Africa. We have been safe! Thanks for all the emails! Unfortunately, many other African foreigners here in SA have not been ok. These attacks are HORRIFIC! I have found no one who knows how they started, but they have spread to townships and shantytowns of every major city in South Africa.

South Africa is a country with many foreigners. Swazis, Mozambicans, Malawians, Zambians, and due to the current political situation over 3 million Zimbabweans, as well as, many other African nations. Many of these people come to South Africa in pursuit of jobs and a better life. An escape from poverty.

The attacks were started by those threatened by foreigners taking their jobs. It is all about intimidation and fear. The stories are terrible and many are homeless, scared, and without hope. Please pray!
I am more confident now than ever for the need of what we are doing here in SA.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

University Village: Kruger Park

University Village: Kruger Park

After two years of creating “HOME” for young orphans and vulnerable children in southern Africa, we have noticed a great need among the older orphans. There are many organizations focusing on small children here in Africa, as there is funding and programs available for the young and most vulnerable, which is good and right! But what we have noticed is that once these young people matriculate, become 18 yrs of age, they are orphaned for a second time. They no longer qualify for funding and programs, and they no longer belong in the one place they have found security. There are very few, if any, opportunities for employment or further education and with no real knowledge of how to survive on their own, many wander the streets and eventually become involved in crime and drugs. And these are good kids, with great hearts.

At University Village, our heart is to provide a second “HOME” for many of these children. A place to learn, a place to find a hope and a future. A campus to call “HOME.”

As a part of the Youth With A Mission/University of the Nations, University Village: Kruger Park will offer a Christian discipleship course (DTS), a Biblical Worldview course (BSN), Basic Construction Technology, Business Administration, English Language Studies, Computer literacy, Leadership Training, Community Development School, and much more. By providing a foundation of Christian values and practical, marketable skills, the students will be much better prepared to be successful in a demanding world.

This vision is incredible and finds us more excited than ever for the future of Africa. University Village is a relevant response to the needs in Africa. As many know, Africa has been evangelized many times! The Hope and Future is in discipleship and training! To support and empower a generation to transform a continent!

University Village is not a complicated task, but it will not be easy! It will take much sacrifice! We are truly overjoyed by such an opportunity! And know that now is the TIME! Now is the TIME for Africa!

Would you Help? Would you be a part of the destiny of Africa! As I said, University Village is a simple idea that requires more than just a few people to make it possible. As Ten Thousand Homes we are part of a movement. A move of God toward the fatherless and the abandoned. This is not our idea, but Jesus', started 2000 years ago. We need people that would join with us and make a sacrifice. Money, time, and relationships are all needed! People willing to give time in prayer! give money! and to tell others about this! true advocates!

Will you join us? I am asking you to do all of the above! Please pray and move as the Father moves you! But please consider all! Please pray. Please give financially. And Please tell your friends! You can give online at www.TenThousandHOMES.org and there will be more to come soon with ideas for advocacy!

The world will not be the same!

Available 2 NEIGHBORHOOD

I have always had problems with the context of the word “Missionary!” Just ask my wife! Over the last ten years we have had many exhausting debates over how we describe our vocation. She has been consistent and confident! I have been troubled and out right confused on how to communicate this frustration with the Missionary Vocation. I am a missionary! But to say that that is my vocation does not accurately represent God’s desire for all His people.

Scriptures like “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” Mt. 28:19
“… the fields are white unto harvest, but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37,38
“As the Father has sent me, I also send you.”(Jn 20:21)
are NOT just in Vocational Missionaries' Bibles! They are for all of us who walk with Jesus! I truly do not believe missions is a vocation, but a way of life. There are those who are Vocational Fundraisers. There are those called to leave home. There are those who spend 40 hours a week in Bible teaching and discipleship. And that is all Good! But ALL who claim the name of Jesus are called to be the incarnation of Jesus. To make Jesus available in Judea, Jeruselem, and the ends of the earth. Jesus was a simple carpenter. He used his hands to provide for his family. He was involved in the culture around him. And yet Jesus was God incarnate!

Floyd McClung says, “He (Jesus) was fully divine. Yet He did not allow his divine rights or prerogatives to overwhelm how He related to ordinary human beings. He did life. He sanctified the ordinary. He did not live from one spiritual high to the next. He suffered. Experienced frustration, endured hardship. And waited for the right way and the right time to fulfill the will of his Father in heaven. He lived purposefully but in the context of ordinary work and family and fun. He lived life intentionally. He validated ordinary life to sanctify ordinary life for the rest of us and He lived an integrated type of spirituality…. He made God available in his neighborhood.”

Whether a plumber, teacher, banker, artist, janitor, or even an IRS employee, you have an audience, a crowd, they are called colleagues and neighbors. Identify, engage, and serve the people around you and we will see neighborhoods, towns, cities, and nations changed. We will see God bring relevant answers to the issues we are facing. We will see a shift in the war against AIDS, crime, drugs, rape, murder, divorce, depression, poverty, disease, corruption! Orphans will find a HOME! Lost will be found!

It is not hard! It is simple! When we lived in New Haven we started a weekly meal that we started inviting people from our neighborhood to. With in a month our house had 30 people eating together every Thursday night. Simply sharing a meal turned into times of prayer and encouragement. We were doing life and it brought HOPE. There was one man who started coming and then began to ask regulary if he could help me paint my garage. I politely said “No, you don’t have to do that.” He was persistent, so one weekend we went to it. 45 minutes into the job he began to tell me that the real reason he wanted to help was he wanted to have some one on one time to share what was going on in is marriage. I thought to myself, "I am not qualified to help with this," but God spoke to me and said “you are qualified to listen.”

We must simply DO the Kingdom! Do what Jesus taught His disciples to do, pray to see how God sees, go to the people and enter their world, listen to their story, serve them, bless them, heal the sickness of people’s heart, and share the good news and hope of Jesus!

“As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” - Jesus
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