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Highlights of 2013

Suzanne did a post on the Highlights of 2013, so I thought I'd do the same....before we get too much further into 2014.

January 2013.....The highlight of January is almost always our Spiritual Life Conference in which all the SIM missionaries in our country of service come together for four days of spiritual feeding, fellowship, and fun together.  It's like a big family reunion.  Last year we couldn't meet at our usual location since it had been flooded so we met in three different adjoining campuses owned by sister missions.
 I was involved in planning conference and John organized the music.

February 2013....We traveled to a location in the center of the country and had a two-day orientation with new missionaries.

March 2013....John went to Oxford, England for his annual six-week doctoral studies visit but I couldn't go along.  Flood clean-up got under way with the first of numerous teams coming to work hard to restore our two campuses.

April 2013...My turn to travel.  I went on to the USA, staying first with Daniel and Kelly in Virginia.  We got to visit Arlington Cemetery together.

 Then I drove to Ohio to be with Suz and Theo.  I helped Suz and Theo move house and was present when they joined their church.

May 2013...John arrived from England just in time to attend Suz's graduation with high honors from Cedarville University.
She worked hard and finished well.

June 2013...Our three months in the US were home assignment, so almost every Sunday found John in the pulpit of one of our supporting churches and/or teaching a Sunday school class.
I believe we spoke 12 out of 15 Sundays.  That also represented a lot of miles on the road.  I also got to fly to Florida to visit my parents and we spent time with John's mom in Connecticut.

July 2013...We returned to Africa.  We're so glad our kids are married to wonderful people and that makes the good-byes a little easier.  But it's still hard to leave.  We drove from Pennsylvania, where we had spent most of the summer, to Ohio, where we returned our leased car and said good-bye to Suz and Theo.

Then we rented a car and drove down to Washington DC and said good-bye to Daniel and Kelly before boarding a Turkish Air flight bound for Africa.

August 2013...I'm so thankful for Crystal and Sandy who covered for me.  July and August are our busiest months for new arrivals and I was so glad they did most of the work!  Here is some of the paperwork from a group of new arrivals who came soon after our return.  The first thing to do is to give them a brief orientation and make sure their paperwork is in order.

September 2013...John, Eliane, and I led a workshop for mentors.
We are trying to make sure each new arrival has a mentor to help them through the adjustment.

October 2013...And it's time for another orientation, this time held in Niamey.  This may have been our largest orientation group ever.
This picture shows missionaries from Canada, USA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Switzerland, France, Australia, Malaysia, Liberia, and Nigeria.  I love the international-ness of our mission!
Also in October we got to go to a Mamar Kassey concert.  
Mamar Kassey is a group that combines traditional instruments with modern ones for a unique sound.

November 2013...The highlight for November has to be that I got to go to Kenya for a personnel consultation.  What a beautiful country!  I can see why when people think of Africa, they think of Kenya.

I didn't actually see much other than our conference center, which was, in and of itself a beautiful place, but we did walk out one day through the tea plantation.  The hills and the greenness were amazing.

The other highlight of November was finding out we are going to be grandparents, but that deserves its own blog post (coming soon!).

December 2013...of course the highlight is the celebration of our Lord's birth.  We spent most of Christmas Day at church and then opened our gifts on the 26th.
 How do you like this creche set that John got me?  It's made locally out of soapstone.  I think it's beautiful.  But I also feel like something (or someone) is missing.  What do you think?

And that was 2013.  Happy New Year and may God do a mighty work in 2014.
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