Thursday, January 15, 2015

January and The Promises of a New Year

The hot, dry January winds have begun. Brown is the grass and brittle the maize stalks, all fuel for the scattered fires cropping up here and there. Gardens are threatened, some of them have already incurred destruction, and in the dryness we make a concentrated effort to avoid being parched while the dust plumes rise. However, this is only the physical description of our environment and should not be equated with the spiritual fervor with which we approach this first month of the new year.

The annual calendar turn to January brings staff and children back to New Hope who have been away visiting family and friends over the Christmas holidays. Their return heightens our hope for the new year ahead: a fresh school year, assorted new staff members joining the team, another class of eager students in our Institute of Childcare and Family, promise of God’s Kingdom advancing in our hearts and changing the tenor of the community, and the encouraging and empowering five days of our Envisioning meetings which bring us together as we seek to glorify God in this place.

It is a time of fullness and abundance, propelling us with hope and anticipation as we desire to be a faithful part of God’s plans. And yes, as we focus on Him and His word, His Kingdom and His love this time is also an effort to prepare ourselves for the tasks ahead--that we may not become spiritually parched. We spend this time of “Envisioning” each January that we may live from a place of rest in Him, to recognize that all we do must come from a state of being in Him. May the dust plumes which result from a deficiency of the “water” of the Word not be allowed to gather and swirl, but may the wellspring of true life fill us, bringing spiritual health and abundance to those to whom God sends us.

The holidays were restful and a blessing. Now we turn our gaze to all that the new year and our God holds for the future.

Amidst welcoming back those who’ve been away and spending the bulk of the past few days in our Envisioning meetings, we managed to snap a few photos of some other activities that have been a part of our days. 

The TikTak Academy started school last Monday (our homeschool), a new meeting structure is being erected in the back of our compound, Geoff leaves the office each day sometime between 5 and 6, but continues to meet people up to and often after supper, the kids are cooling off with frequent water fights, and longtime friends are returning for visits.  
L to R Little Mary, Kate, Me and Alison Fletcher. Alison worked at a physiotherapist at Kiwoko hospital for  about 8 years and is visiting this week! We enjoyed catching up and sharing some cold juice together in this HOT weather!

Sunday afternoons bring many to our humble abode. This past Sunday blessed us with a couple of the McFarland kids as their parents were off to the airport to pick up new Institute students; Nabukeera and Sam ate lunch with us, and Perez--seen here in the red shirt--came to touch base with Geoff and to say good-bye as he left for university.
Uncle Shylock measures wood for the roof of our new meeting structure.
Geoff sent one of our boys down to cut a eucalyptus tree for the center support of our structure. But, he ran into trouble trying to bring it up from the valley on a bicycle. Geoff finally took the van and the boys to the tree which they tied onto the bumper and slowly dragged up the hill and into our compound.

Shylock explains to Geoff how the roof will fit on the center support pole.

Edongu gathers, ties and cuts the grass for the thatched roof.

It may not look like much, but it took him two days to finish preparing the grass bundles.

The Tik Tak Academy opened its doors again last Monday after having closed up well before Thanksgiving 2014. The kids and I are enjoying being together again as we take a massive sweep through world history and take on a critical, scientific comparison of evolution and creation. New to our curriculum this year is French, Bonjour!
Kevin focuses on his reading comprehension selection.

Toby chooses his answers carefully.

Acacia may not look like she's enjoying her reading selection, but the McCall-Crabbs reading comprehension exercise seems to be one of her favorite things each day.

Our school day begins at 7:30 and ends around 4 or 4:30 p.m. So, a break mid-morning and lunch are very welcomed. Here, the boys visit with Toby's best friend Abraham when he stopped by to pump up his bike tire.

Aunt Ketty is doing very well. ( I REALLY NEED TO POST AN UPDATE!!--Please be patient and I'll get it done soon!)  I found her, mask intact, directing the kids in preparing the maize for milling. 

And yesterday, the heat just got to be too much so water fights filled the afternoon!

After a good dousing, these girls cooled off on the tire swing.

And after Envisioning finished around 5 p.m., in another corner of the compound, Geoff had one of the many meetings that filled his early evening.

Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us! Bless you all and we'll "see" you here again soon!

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