Wow, 2015 was a challenging year. It started with the church burnings which sent us reeling and was difficult to recover from emotionally. There were also some work-related challenges as we walked through some difficulties with others. But there were many blessings as well. So I thought I'd give you a review of 2015 using one picture for each month to touch on some of the highlights.
January -- As I mentioned, the destruction by fire of many churches sent us into crises mode and was a truly difficult time. The reconstruction is still going on. You can read more here and here.
February -- We attended a Sharpening Your Interpersonal Skills workshop which was a great training. John continued with his doctoral studies which included doing case studies at different churches. We have really enjoyed getting to know different pastors and in worshiping with them.
March -- One of the memorable things we did in March was to go, as a mission family, to the homes of the three families who are adopting children here in Niger to pray for them. At that point none of the adoptions were finalized....as I write this, all three are fully adopted now! One of the families has received their immigration visa for their child and the other two are still in that process. So it's exciting to see how God has answered.
April -- This was another eventful month with Easter, John leaving for the UK for his study period, hot season kicking in with daily temperatures over 105 degrees, and giving meningitis vaccines to all our employees' children during a meningitis epidemic. But the picture I've chosen is significant because our church commissioned a missions' pastor. This is so exciting for us to be part of a church that is crossing boundaries to reach those who are living and dying without hearing the gospel of Jesus.
May -- Each day was an effort to get through with the heat and the humidity increasing! I got to go to the airport with the SIMAIR families to see the new plane arrive. John came back from the UK after six weeks apart.
June -- Every day we prayed for rain, but the rainy season was late getting started. Thankfully by the end of June, it started. We said good-bye to friends we'd known for a long time and a student at Sahel died suddenly, just days before graduation. And we took two weeks of stay-cation and just vegged in our room with the AC on or beside the pool.
July -- This was one of my busiest months, work-wise. There was a lot of preparation work for all of our new arrivals: setting up houses, washing linens and curtains, providing meals, putting together welcome packs, etc. The to-do list seemed endless!
August -- We attended our grandbaby's birthday by Skype. Skype is wonderful for keeping in touch!
We also celebrated our anniversary, enjoyed regular rains, and started a mentoring group for all the new arrivals.
September-- We had the second half of our staycation, settled back into a routine, and said goodbye to very good friends we probably won't see for a long time.
October -- The big event for me was that I got to go to Kenya for a conference (photo is not mine). It was a great time of networking. John had to stay here, though, and he and Crystal did a great job of putting together the Newcomers' Retreat.
November -- In November we had a work day at one of the churches that had been burned and got to help them do some clean-up work, I got to fly SIMAIR to Galmi, and we did something a little different for Thanksgiving. Usually we get together with other Americans, which we enjoy VERY much. But we thought it would be fun to share Thanksgiving with some non-Americans as well as some Americans. So we invited a Nigerian family and two American gals over for a traditional American feast. There was also an American visitor who got to eat with us....he's taking the picture.
December -- December is a fun, but busy month with Christmas and Christmas parties. This year our church was involved in several big weddings, but we didn't attend any of them as we had previous commitments. One of the things we've been involved in since 2012 is a Bible study with students from a near-by university. This week we got to attend the graduation of two of the guys.
And that's a wrap for 2015!