Wednesday, March 13, 2019

8 Months in Malawi

Wow, we have lived here for 8 months now! I'd intended to do a post at the 6 month mark, but... life. So much has happened since we moved here, that it's hard to even know where to start. It's been an exhausting and good 8 months.

We have added 3 kittens to our family! We got Neville and Luna from the SPCA in Blantyre. Josh agreed to get ONE cat, and he really wanted an orange one. Well when we got there, there were only these two little babies. The vet told us that they were turned in together after the rest of their litter had been killed. I just couldn't separate them, so we walked out with 2!

 The very next week tiny, dirty, malnourished Ginny found us on a walk to get Abe from preschool. Seriously, I turned around and she was following JJ down the dirt road! There was no way I could leave her there. I grew up with outside cats, and to me life just feels complete with a soft, purring kitty (or 3) in my lap. The kids all love them, and Rey loves them even more. A bit too much, really. They are all 3 so sweet and chill and tolerant of all of the love.

We survived our first hot and dry season (September, October, November), and it wasn't too bad, though I'm told that it was more mild than usual. We beat the heat at swim lessons once a week with a lot of our homeschool friends, and the kids have gotten to be such good swimmers in a short time. We're now at the end of rainy season, and the rains are coming less and less lately. The rains have brought cooler temperatures and lower humidity, too, which have been lovely. Everything is so green and lush, and we have loved rainy season so much!

This time of year, the weather is just perfect. Highs are usually somewhere in the 70's, sometimes in the lower 80's and warm, and sometimes only in the upper 60's and quite chilly. And on that note, lots of people roll their eyes and laugh when I say that it's in the 60's and we are freezing, but think of it this way: We have no heat in our house. If it got down to the mid-50's at night and only the upper 60's in the day time inside your house, you'd be cold too!

Speaking of seasons, birthday season is winding down around here. Taylah turned 9 in December, Haylee turned 11 and I turned 35 in January, Jude turned 10 in February, JJ turned 7 at the beginning of this month, and next month Abe will be 3 and Josh will be 33. Phew!

We're in our second semester of homeschooling, and it's going really well. Last semester we mostly stuck to the 3 R's, so this semester we felt ready to add a few other subjects: history, science, and literature. For those of you who are interested, for language arts, handwriting, history, and science we are using The Good and The Beautiful, and we all really like it a lot. The kids are all doing math online, the girls using Teaching Textbooks and the boys using Mathseeds, and let me tell you that online math has been the single most life-changing thing we've ever done for our homeschooling. No more meltdowns! They are actually excited to do math now! It's amazing! We got literature kits from Veritas Press, which is basically just a bunch of books and comprehension guides. It's a great thing for H, T, and JJ because they are all above-average readers, but this is helping their comprehension and critical thinking instead of being able to just blow through books without really thinking about them. We are also loving Keyboarding Without Tears.

In ministry, God has been so faithful to us. It's obvious that Satan is anxious about all of the amazing things God is doing here, because he's really been fighting, but God has been so good. I'm reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." We are exhausted, but encouraged. God is doing big things here, and sustaining us with his grace. Please continue to pray for our family, team, mission, and church here as much as you can. We can really feel the effects of your prayers.

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