We had a hectic January. On December 31 we went to town to do some final preparations for a movie night for the Umumbe church. While we were driving our 2003 VW Jetta, it started making a lot of noise and wasn’t starting properly. We decided to head straight to the VW garage to have it checked. About a mile from there, the engine died and would not restart so we had to be towed to VW. After several days they told us the engine was finished and presented us with a quote for parts and labor that was about double the value of the car. They said they would try to find a used engine, but they are rare. We decided to offer it for sale – as is – and had a few queries and finally a concrete offer. We decided to accept the offer and say “good-bye” to a car we had enjoyed for many years. The buyer collected it from VW on the 30th of January and on the 7th of February we met him and he was driving it. He had managed to find an engine and he and a friend installed it!
Meantime we were car-shopping. All of our children drive Toyotas and encouraged us to follow suit. We approached the local dealer (where John used to work) and it didn’t take us long to find a new (to us) car. They had a 2018 Toyota Corolla Quest that was demo model which would meet our needs. We were able to take possession of it on February 7.
We did go to the Umzumbe church on New Years’ Eve and showed a movie to a very small crowd. We had a movie that was aimed at adults and the people who came were mostly children. We had made popcorn so the children loved that. We will choose a children’s movie next time!! The evening ended with a time of prayer and we were home shortly after midnight.
Schools reopened on January 9. Since Dawn is a teacher she had to be at school a couple of days early so we had her girls (Chayah and Seanna) for two days. Dina’s daughter, Erin, also hadn’t started school so we decided to have her join us so we had a lot of fun with the three of them. They stayed overnight one night!
We have been attending the Umzumbe church since we got back. We were very disappointed the first couple of times as so few people were there, but it seems it was just because it was December and many people were away with family. The past few weeks the attendance has been between 20 and 30. Interestingly, many of those who come are children from the community whose parents do not come. One of the ladies teaches a short Sunday School lesson for them. Pray with us that the children continue to come and that they make commitments to the Lord!
I am sure most of you know that my step-Mom, who was my Mom for over 50 years, passed away on February 1st. We knew the time was very near and had debated whether I should return to the US for the funeral. In the end, in consultation with my sister and step-sister, I decided not to go. As you know the weather in Minnesota has been brutal and even some of the near-by family were not able to be at the funeral so I am sure my decision was right. One of my step-nephews was able to have the entire service videoed and I received it the day after the funeral. I am so thankful for the times I had been able to visit Mom over the past two years when we were in the US. She was a joyful, lovely lady!
The day care center has reopened and we are struggling with teachers this year. Our main teacher from last year has enrolled in a training program for teachers so isn’t able to be there every day. The other teachers have no formal training. Also the parents are sending younger children who need more full-time care so we may have to hire more care-givers for them. Michael and Malu, who assists us with the day care center, will meet with the parents and make some decisions.