Sunday, April 28, 2013

Week 25

Week 25

Lasts and Reflections

I am all about recognizing the lasts. Even the smallest lasts like the last time I will take a shower in this shower, the last time I will make a bottle for Baby S, the last time I will put on my green flip flops and walk out the front door kind of lasts. So this blog post will cover many of my lasts and will also be a place of reflection and a breakdown of numbers from this trip. More than likely it will be the last post I make in South Africa as well. My flight leaves at 6:55pm on April 29th and I will arrive home at 10:30am in Chicago on April 30 after a short 3-hour layover in Germany.

The Glen- One Last Time

On Monday Cassie and I both had off. We decided to walk to The Glen one more time and got a ride back with Brady. We had lunch at a small café in the bookstore and then got our last groceries and checked out a few stores for the last time. We also had to stop at Mugg and Bean and get one more Caribbean Mocha together. The manager stopped by to say hi and that he had missed us. It has been almost a month and a half since I had been there! We also were able to say goodbye to him and the rest of the wait staff. It has been great to have The Glen so close by that we only need a ride back with groceries and can walk there. We continue to praise the Lord that we have been safe every time we have walked there and the few times that we have walked back. We are reminded often on dangerous the greater Joburg area is and with this knowledge, being aware of our surroundings and offering up prayers as we walk, we have been kept safe!

Toddler A gets her Forever Family

This Monday Toddler A left us for her forever family. She was one of the first babies in big babies to capture my heart. She is small in size but huge in personality and lets everyone know that she is boss. She would climb on the other kids and just yell when she wanted a toy from someone. She was a stinker but so darn cute! Her determination reminded me so much of Andrea and I always believed that they would have been great buddies if they ever met. She will be missed around here but we are so glad that she is with her forever family now getting all the love and attention that she deserves.

Big Baby Z becomes Toddler Z

One of the big babies moved to toddlers this past Monday after Toddler A was adopted. We had an extra bed and she is one year old so downstairs she went. She is not enjoying herself down there at all. She cries for a good part of the day. She didn’t realize how good she had it in big babies!

Tiny Baby L

One of our new little babies is very sick. He has been taken to another home to be better cared for and will come back to Door of Hope when he gets better. We continue to keep him in our prayers. We know that God is able to heal him and pray that his will continues to be done in little L’s life.


This past Wednesday we went to Mimmos with Jason and Lisa. Katy, Cassie and I joined Jason and Lisa and Nicole and two of her friends also came. Nicole used to work for Door of Hope and now she is at another baby house as the manager. It was great to see everyone again. I have loved meeting these people and I will really miss them! I am also going to miss going and getting Panzookie with them at Mimmos!

Last Shift

I had my last shift on Sunday in small babies. It was a good day and it was hard to believe that it was my last time working with the babies. After finishing in small babies I went to spend some time the toddlers. I just love those kids and have to get my last snuggles in with them.

The Numbers

6 months…175 days…252,000 minutes…15,120,000 seconds… how long I was gone
100 days of working for 12 hours
1,200 diapers changed
2,400 bottles made
3,000 meals of baby cereal or baby food served
44 babies that forever changed my life
10 girls from all over the world that shared this experience with me
15 aunties that have loved and supported us
7 individuals that for this season all South Africa their home and journeyed with us
7 adoptions
5 moved to other homes
1 reunited with family
1 death

The Change

It was expected that this trip would change me. I believe that it has but I can’t see and understand all the change that has happened so far. Some of it might not show up in my life until many years down the road. There has been one thing that I have noticed already though. Before I left I had a big passion and heart for the orphans of the world. Much of this I believe came from my upbringing and circumstances at home. I have two brothers because of the orphan. I love them more than words can say and am so proud of the young men that they are becoming. It is no secret that my mom loves and the orphans of the world. I have new passion for them though because of this trip. There are over 163 million orphans in the world today. 44 of them have faces and names and stories now. 44 of them hold a piece of my heart. 44 of them have forever changed my life and may never know it. 44 of them will be lifted up in prayer daily. I am changed because this number holds so much more meaning to me now.

What I have Learned

-       6 months is a really long time no matter what anyone says
-       skype is one of the single best inventions of the last century
-       babies will not break
-       internet sticks are worth every penny
-       I will learn how to drive a stick shift when I get home
-       I have the BEST family and friends ever
-       Life happens in Africa, I was invited to a wedding and attended a funeral while here
-       I am not done traveling, just done traveling alone for a long period of time
-       God will ALWAYS be there no matter what
-       I can’t wait to continue to process this trip and the impact that it had on me and what I have learned along the way.

I love you and will miss you more than you will ever know kiddos! Thank you for allowing me into your lives and loving me in every way that you know how. There are not words to say how much you have impacted me. Know that you are prayed for daily. I love you K, L, S, H, J, N, X, L, T, S, L, S, C, Z, T, T, A, P, A, N, O, A, L, T, M, A, J, D, D, J, D, L, Z, B, M, A, L, L, M, M, L, L, and M!

I cannot thank you all enough at home for the prayers and support and encouragement through this experience. It would not have been possible without you. I would like to extend and invitation to all of you to come and see pictures of the kids (finally!) and hear more about my time here in South Africa on Saturday, May 11 from 5pm-6pm in the Rosendahl family backyard or house depending on the weather. Otherwise I will be carrying pictures of the kids when I get home if I happen to run into you somewhere!

Love from South Africa one last time!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Prayers for Baby L

Please keep one of our little babies in your prayers. Tiny baby L is not doing very well. He is one sick little boy. We know that God is the ultimate healer and pray that He works a miracle in little L's life.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week 24

Week 24

A Full Sunday

Cassie and I both had off this past Sunday for the last time. We went to Berea with Margie and the three hands on inters at the IMB. Berea is a more traditional African church. Church starts at 9am but we were 6 of about 20 people in the building when the service started. By the end of the service the building was full with about 100 or so people. The service starts out with lots of worship. One lesson we learned quickly the first time we went to Berea is that you don’t stand still when you worship. Worship usually lasts about 45 minutes. Then we have the greeting. First anyone who is at the church for the first time is asked to stand up and be acknowledged. Then we have our greeting time. No one stays in their seats; you all move around and greet everyone. You know it is time to return to your seats when the music for the next song starts. The next song is always ‘The Love of Jesus is So Wonderful’. The entire congregation gets into the song and does the motions. One of the younger guys in the church always gets up front and dances during this song. This is followed by announcements and at the end of announcements all the birthdays for the upcoming week are acknowledged. We do sing happy birthday. Then we have offering time. Whoever is leading the offering time gets up front and says offering time and the congregation responds blessing time. Then the leader says blessing time and we respond with offering time. During the offering a song is played and you go up front to put your offering in the basket. Don’t walk up front though; you must dance! The service ends with the scripture and message. There is so much that I have learned about true worship by going to Berea. This Sunday after church we went to Bruma Market. This is an outdoor market and I was able to get my last few gifts for people at home. It was a fun filled day!

Baby A’s Adoption

On Monday this week one of our big babies left for adoption. Baby A was the entertainment upstairs and we were sad to see him leave but so happy that he was going to meet his forever family. The hand off went very well we were told. We continue to pray for A and his new family. So blessed to have met this little guy!

Apple Pie Party

When I first got here there was a volunteer here from the Netherlands and she made a really good Dutch Apple Pie. We got lessons and the recipe from her before she left and wanted to try it out ourselves. Lisa came over to the flat and Cassie, Katy, Lisa and I tried our hand at the pie. It was a night full of laughs to say the least! Our pie looked nothing like the one we remembered. In fact our pie was not baked in a pie pan because we did not have one big enough. Instead we baked it in a 4-inch high casserole dish! It tasted pretty good but not really like pie. Despite our fail we did have a good time together.

Elephant Sanctuary

On Wednesday morning Margie took some of us to the Elephant Sanctuary about an hour and a half away. We spent an hour and a half up close with the elephants there. We groomed them, took them for a walk, got to feel different parts of them such as their ears, trunk, and tail, fed them and got a big kiss from them! We were also going to pay to ride them but unfortunately some of them were being temperamental and we were not able to do that for safety reasons. It was so neat to be so close to these big creatures. When we walked them we had to put our right hand out and they put their trunk right in your hand. It was a crazy slobbery feeling. I have to say that getting a kiss was my favorite part. They put their trunk right on your check and blow a little air out it at you. It is muddy and messy and tickles so much! Not many can say that they have been kissed by an elephant though.

Goodbye Party

When volunteers leave the management sets up a goodbye party usually during teatime at 10am or during lunch at 2pm. This week we had a goodbye party for Cassie, Margie and me. It is a time to celebrate what happened while we were here and we also get thanked with a small gift. Food is always involved as well. This week we had cheese curls, a party staple around here, lemon pie and milk tart. All was delicious and we were given our send off so to speak. Crazy to think that 6 months is almost up!

Welcome 3 New Small Babies

We got a few new babies this week. On Thursday afternoon Baby L was picked up from the hospital at just 2 days old. Jo, one of the new volunteers, had the honor of giving this little guy his name. He is a healthy baby and I am excited to get to know him a little better in my last few days of work in Small Babies. On Friday two more small babies were picked up. I have not heard names for both of them yet. I work up there again on Tuesday and I am excited to meet them then! So many babies are moving in!

Baby D’s Memorial

Friday at 10am we had a memorial service for Baby D who passed away on Sunday evening. We held it upstairs in the house and not in the memorial garden as it was raining outside. The service started with Pastor Cheryl opening with scripture and a word of prayer. Then Nadane read scripture and a poem. The poem was all about why children have to die and the conclusion was to make heaven a little more beautiful. We moved into singing two songs, Stronger and Amazing Grace Our Chains are Gone. Baby D’s verse was read, Psalm 139:14 and we closed in prayer. It was a 30-minute service. Baby D was a little peanut and capture the hearts of many who came to visit the Baby House. Many tears have been shed but we must continue to remember that she is home and in her Daddy’s arms. We have been incredibly blessed to have been part of her short life here on earth and we rejoice in the day that we will meet again in heaven. You will always be loved and missed Baby D.

Boma Restaurant

On Friday Margie took Cassie, Katy and I and some of the girls from her office to dinner at the Boma. The Boma is a buffet that has lots of different varieties of food and they are also known for having a few game meats as well. They did not have game meat for us that night. It is getting too expensive they told us. It was a pretty cheap buffet at only R115 or about $12ish. The food was all great and it was nice to have a night out as well. We also took this opportunity to say goodbye to Margie as she leaves this Monday. There will never be a way to thank her and express how much she has meant to us while we were here. She is just an incredible woman of the Lord and willing to help out anyone in need. She will be dearly missed!

Odds and Ends

-       This week Cassie and I have started to watch the full series of Anne of Green Gables. We are about half way through it and plan to finish it up this coming week. It has been a perfect ending to our nights this week.
-       Our sticky note calendar gets smaller by the day and Cassie and I get a little more anxious to be home with each piece of paper that we pull down!
-       I have realized that one of the things that I am really going to miss here is teatime. I have grown to LOVE teatime. South Africa loves teatime. It is so important here to take time out of your morning and enjoy a cup of tea. While I have not grown a liking to tea just yet, I do enjoy the break each morning that is more or less required of you. So if I happen to stop everything that I am doing for a few minutes around 10am at home you know I am just taking my tea!
-       Wednesday and Thursday next week I start packing and Friday, Saturday and Sunday mark my last days of work. Monday will be one more day to sleep in and say goodbye before heading to catch that air-o-plane at 6:55pm!

Well I have ONE week left in South Africa. I can’t believe that 6 months have passed in a way. At other times it feels like I have been gone for closer to 6 years. I am getting very anxious to come home and see everyone again. Wednesday and Thursday are my last days off so that is when my suitcases will come out and I will start packing. It won’t be long after that and I will be on the plane home. I am looking forward to making my last week of memories here and loving the babies with millions of hugs and kisses.

See you in a week!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Baby D

Our Baby girl D went to be with Jesus tonight. We are rejoicing that she is with her Father and being held tonight. Please be praying for all of us at Door of Hope this week as we celebrate the short little life of this precious girl. Many tears have been shed and many more are to come. I love you Baby D. I am so blessed to have been able to hold you and cuddle you and kiss you while you were here on Earth. I can't wait to be reunited in heaven one day!

Week 23

Week 23

Days Off

The first three days of this week I had off. I still don’t do much on my days off. With Internet at the baby house now I will spend a little bit of time online. I also try and set up skype dates with people at home. I was able to skype with some great friends and family on those days and did some blog reading. I also spent time reading and just doing nothing while itunes played. When the toddlers were outside I went to visit with them for a little while because they are just too darn cute not to. Also Toddler K just yells my name when he sees me walk past the window and I can’t say no. I have also started to go through my pictures and put them in different folders to print off right when I get home. This has been really overwhelming to say the least! I have so many pictures and love so many of them. Needless to say when you see me I will have loads of pictures on me to show off of my kiddos. Lazy days off are the best!

Small Babies

This week I spent the week working in small babies. Right now small babies is a pretty easy schedule. Babies are either fed every three hours or every four hours. Right now all of the babies are on the four-hour schedule except for my baby M, he is a three-hour baby. This makes for a pretty easy day with most of it spent by the babies sleeping. There can be lots of down time but when they are up, everyone is up. It has been funny because when I have been skyping with friends I say how easy it is to take care of 10 newborn to 4 month olds. Wonder if this will ever come back to bite me in the butt one day! One of the small babies was born without an anus (an opening for his poo to come out of). He has had surgery to form an anus that exits near his stomach right now and to form an anus in the proper spot. Soon all of that will be joined together and he will be a normal baby with a normal bum! For right now all of his poo collects in a bag off of his stomach. This week one of the aunties taught me how to clean and change his bag. I am practically a nurse after this lesson! The day after my poo bag lesson I got my first chance to clean the bag. Baby L is a great baby and for that I am thankful, there are some not so pleasant parts of this whole procedure for him but he is a champ and just goes with it. I was successful and he was good to go for the morning! This week I also dressed the babies is some cute outfits for a little photo shot. I thought that this would help our day along and I wanted some nicer photos of these little ones. Needless to say they turned out adorable and many of them will be on my walls at home very soon!

Birthday Parties

This week we celebrated 4 of our big babies 1st birthdays! 4 of them turn one year old this month. One of them, baby A, is going to be adopted soon so we had to have the party at the beginning of the month so he could be part of it. It was a fun celebration of these four little lives. We sang happy birthday and ate some sweet treats. It is always so funny to watch the baby’s reactions when they try cake for the first time. Many of them pull a face but usually end up liking it at least a little bit. We also had the typical party foods of marshmallows and cheese curls and juice. I am really going to miss birthday parties here when I am at home. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for them in this next year.

Two New Volunteers

We got two new volunteers this week. Both of them have been here before. They came together both times. They will be staying for 6 weeks. They are from the England. It will be fun to get to know them the next two weeks.

Family Pictures

On Saturday Cassie and I both had off and decided to take some family pictures. Our family pictures include us and our favorite babies. Cassie and I both dressed up and put the kids in nicer clothes to take pictures. I had my favorite babies S, S and M in my pictures. Cassie had her favorites L, T, S, L and A. We were able to get some really nice pictures of each other and our babies. It was lots of fun and really crazy trying to get so many kids to look at the camera and smile. Most of my favorites are the candid shots that we got during the process. Love having the opportunity to get some nicer pictures with my favorites.

The Countdown!

 I am so excited to say that in two weeks I will be boarding an air-o-plane as the kids here would say! I have LOVED my time here but I am getting pumped to be at home again. I just miss too many people! I have to believe that I will return to Africa one day. Maybe back to South Africa and maybe a different country. (I would like to travel with someone this next time though!) I just don’t feel done with this beautiful continent. The most asked question of what will I be doing when I get home has still to be answered yet. I know that God has it worked out and things will fall into place. For at least the first two weeks I will be trying to readjust to the time change and a different schedule and living in a house without 30 babies. One of the other volunteers, Cassie, is leaving on May 2. It has been great to process going home together. We are roommates and this week we made a sticky note calendar for our countdown. Each night before we go to bed we take another sticky note off the cabinets. It is an exciting time of the day. We really look forward to going to bed because of this and I am ashamed to say that sometimes we find ourselves curled up in bed at 8:00pm. To our defense we always read in bed and never get in bed before 8 because that would just be crazy. Please continue to pray for the rest of my time here and for the transition back in just two short weeks!

Prayer Request
I have mentioned before that one of our babies is in the hospital to have surgery. He is still in the hospital and this will be going on 3 weeks I think. We pray that he gets better fast and is home soon. We miss his smiley face and precious giggle. I pray that he is back before I leave so that I am able to say goodbye to him and get a few more pictures of his sweet face. We miss you S and pray that you get better fast and come home. We love you so much baby!

A Few More Rambling Thoughts

This week as I was getting excited to start packing and get back on that airplane and it felt like time had stopped and I would never be doing either of those activities, I flashed back to my first week here. I spent that week in bed not feeling well (bad combination of jet lag and altitude sickness) and thinking that I was completely nuts that I was going to be here for 6 months. I looked through the 30 or so printed pictures that I brought of friends and family at home and cried. I read every page in the calendar of daily encouragement that so many of you helped to make and cried. I sustained myself on a diet of bread, apples and water and cried. And finally I turned to scripture because that was the only thing left to do. I read through Genesis and Exodus in about 3 days. I cursed the devil and mankind while reading Genesis for causing this world to fall and that I was sitting I a strange bed half way around the world from everyone and everything that I loved. It was during reading Exodus that I realized my life was not so bad. I was only going to be ‘wandering’ for 6 months and not 40 years. I could do this. And I have! This week as time stood still and all I wanted to do was get on that airplane I remembered those same Israelites and the same 40 years they wandered and I also remembered to when I got here. I had 3 weeks left! I had survived 5 months and these people survived 40 years. Surely I can make the next 3 weeks and be just fine. And guess what, we are now at 2 weeks! We are going to make it. This week I also started to reread the same book that I read when I first got here, Redeeming Love. It is an incredible story and one that I recommend. This will be my 3rd or 4th time reading the book. I learn something new each time and I am excited to see what I learn this time through and what I can take home with me from the story. So I am kinda reliving my first few weeks here and I hated those weeks! What a strange thing time can do to us.

Just two weeks now!

P.S. URGENT PRAYER REQUEST- Please be in prayer for one of our small babies. She has not been doing well this week and went downhill fast today (Sunday). Two of the volunteers ended up doing CPR on her while waiting for the ambulance to come. I was not upstairs for any of this but it has been scary to hear about it from them. We don’t know anything else right now. We love you baby D. Get better fast and come home. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 22

Week 22

Toddler K

This little guy has found his way into my heart big time recently. I love this little guy. Toddler K is the oldest here at the baby home. He is three years old and the big brother to all the other kids. He can be trouble but most of the time he is just cute and looking for a little love and attention. Whenever the door to the flat is open he finds his way inside. This past week Monday I had the day off and K walked into the flat. The first thing he saw was my computer. He walked right over to it and started to wave and say hi. This boy has been on skype just a few times! After I explained that there was no one there right now we put on some Disney songs and had a dance party just the two of us. We ended our music session with a little sing along to God is so Good and this boy has the halleluiahs down! I always feel like a celebrity when K is around because he just loves to say my name over and over again when he sees me. Even if he does not see me I can hear him yelling my name from outside sometimes. The way that his faces lights up when you say hi back is priceless. He really is a special kid. We continue to pray that the right home opens up for this little guy. He is one I am going to miss a lot when I leave.

Small Babies

This month I am working in small babies some. I have really enjoyed the days I have had up there already. There is not much entertainment like with the toddlers but sometimes that change is nice. I have also loved getting to hang out with and hold my boy M so much! I am giving him all the love that I can in the next few weeks before I leave.

Baby M’s Verse

All of the babies when they come in have a verse that is picked to be their verse. It is posted above their bed with their name and picture. I love to read the verses each day as I wake the babies up and many of us use it as our prayer for the baby each day. My baby M just had his sign put up above his bed with his verse on it and I could not believe the verse that was picked for him…Ephesians 5:1-2! That was the theme verse at Geneva last year. I first began to apply to come to Door of Hope in March 2012. I never sent in my application then for several different reasons. I am so glad that I was home last year because I would never have met K and the Wallington family and I would not have worked at Geneva again either. I loved my summer at camp last year and sharing it with Andrea was just incredible. I was able to learn so much and be stretched out of my comfort zone. When I came to Door of Hope for this time it felt right. This verse has been one that has played in my head many times every day, especially the dearly loved children part of it. This has now become my prayer for M every day. When I wake him up I get to say dearly loved child, Jesus loves you so much. To spend the summer being reminded that I am a dearly loved child and to get to pray that over the baby that I was able to name is only God. He does have it all worked out because I am his dearly loved child and so are each one of you.

The Kiddos

I thought that I should share some stories or tidbits about these little hooligans that I get to spend all my time with here. J
-       Toddler T is terrified and hates Toddler A with a passion. Toddler A is small in size but loud and not afraid to wrestle for the toy that she wants. She just has to let out her yell one time and Toddler T is on the floor crying. He has been beat up a few times because Toddler A knows that he does not like her and takes advantage of it. It is really funny to watch.
-       Toddler S knows that she is my favorite and it is bad when I am down there right now. She has to be in my arms and on my lap all the time. I don’t mind but the other kids do. Just this week I was sitting at the table writing on their charts after lunch and she just came and put her head down on the cabinet/gate and just looked at me with her big puppy dog eyes and whined just a little bit. You can be sure that I finished those charts quick and scooped her up for some loving.
-       This past Thursday when I was in toddlers it was really cold outside. We had to spend the whole day inside because it was just wet and cold. We got out some books to read and at one point I think I had about 7 kids on my lap reading stories. SO much fun!
-       Since the weather has been colder the footie pajamas have come out. There is nothing better than ending the day with snuggles from kiddos in footie pajamas.
-       When we watch Barney movies the kids love to sing the I love you song at the end of the movie and give each other hugs. It is so sweet to watch. They really do become family to each other.
-       Big Baby N does not like to eat. She just cries and cries when it is cereal or baby food time. Her latest trick though is so clever. She pretends to sleep! You can be feeding her and she is crying and all of the sudden she will stop, throw her head back and close her eyes letting all the food drip from her mouth. She is a stinker that one.
-       A few of the big babies have started to take on the name literally. All of the kids get weighed each Monday and last week Baby boy N tipped the scales at a whopping 25+ pounds at 11 months old. He is a big baby!

This and That

-       Wednesday all three of us left had the day off. We planned a ride back from The Glen to do some grocery shopping and also decided that we would grab lunch there. Lisa ended up at the baby house and we got a ride to The Glen as well as lunch with her. It turned out great. We made it back just before the rain started to get heavy and the hail started to fall. I would also like to note for those of you who know my picky eating tendencies that I had a wrap that had caramelized onions in it and I ate them. Just another one of those times that things in Africa don’t seem to scare me as much!
-       There was an article in the newspaper here about baby M being found and coming to the baby house. My baby is already famous!
-       Mango anything is my favorite right now. I cannot seem to get enough mango.
-       Pray for Toddler S as he is in the hospital right now. We miss his smiling face around here and want him to get back to us as quickly as possible.

I came across this quote the other day when I was getting up to date with some of my blog reading.
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. - Mother Teresa
I just love this. Seems to just fit some many areas of my life right now. One of the questions that everyone wants to know is what will you be doing when you get back. I still do not know the answer to this. My plan is to apply for teaching position again for this coming school year and hopefully find a nanny position or something fun like that for the summer. I have to remind myself daily that it is all in God’s hands, that I am his dearly loved child.

Well we are down to just three weeks now. Ready to come home but I will be enjoying the next few weeks of lasts here in South Africa.

Three Weeks,

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 21

Week 21

Baby A, Baby T and Baby T turn 1 year old

Three of the babies turned 1 year old this past week. They all have birthdays within a week of each other. We had a party this past Wednesday for them and that was lots of fun. I was working in big babies and the party was downstairs in toddlers but we all took turns going down to the party. The kids love birthday parties as they get sweets like cupcakes, candy and chips as well as juice that is not watered down. This time the party took place over lunch and the sweets were lunch instead of just food. They really liked this. It is lots of fun to celebrate birthdays here and in April we have four birthdays to celebrate!

My Baby, Baby M

Volunteers that are at Door of Hope for 6 months or longer usually get the opportunity to name a baby. I have been waiting for my turn and this week Monday I was able to name our newest little guy. He is baby M and one of the most beautiful babies I have seen. I am not allowed to post his name on the blog for privacy reasons. I am so in love with this little one and visit him almost daily to give him some snuggles. He has quickly made the way into the top three on my favorites list. I can’t wait to love him more this month and see how big he grows! I will have many pictures of him to show off when I get home.

Toddler X and Baby M Leave

Two of our girls left us this past week to go to another children’s home. There was some legal stuff that was still happening with the parents and this place will be able to work better with that. It is a very nice home that they went to. We miss them greatly here and are getting use to the new dynamics with two of our babies gone. We continue to pray for their situations and rely on God for the plans that He has for their lives.

Pizza at the Farrs

Brady and Candy and their family had a friend come visit and stay with them this past week. Candy really wanted her to be able to meet us and some of the young adults from their church so she put together a pizza party and game night. It was a lot of fun to play games with 20 or so of us there. We also had some great homemade pizza thanks to Candy. A nice night out of the baby house and meeting some pretty fun people.

Gold Reef City

This past Thursday I was able to go with the Farrs to Gold Reef City. Gold Reef City is an amusement park here in Joburg less than 15 minutes form Door of Hope. I am not a huge fan of big rides so I was not sure about going but decided to take them up on the offer and at least I was out of the baby house. I ended up having a lot of fun and even surprised myself with some of the rides that I agreed to go on. We started off easy with some of the family friendly rides and then went on some of the roller coaster. The park has a fear factor rating that goes from 1 through 10. The first coaster we went on was the Runaway Train, which was rated a 7. It was not bad at all. We ended up riding it twice because there was not line and a smooth ride. Then nearby was the Anaconda, which is rated a 9. There are hills and upside loops and sideways loops and speed. I had watched it go a few times knowing that a few of them were going and was thinking about it. I ended up in the small group that decided to go. The ride ended up being fine. I never got super super nervous about it either. The rest of the day everything was very tame compared to that ride as well. The only other big ride that we went on was the Jozi Express, which is rated 7. We also watched one of the shows. It was a fun day and I surprised myself with what I was willing to try. For some reason things like this and zip lining which I would be terrified to do at home just are not as scary in Africa. Who would have ever guessed!?!

Easter Sunday

Another holiday to celebrate in Africa…Easter! I had a great day here in South Africa celebrating our risen Savior. I was able to go to church At Berea Baptist Mission Church since I had the day off. Then I went to Rosebank market and spent way too much money! Travis and Eric you better appreciate your African gifts because I spent way too much money on you! Andrea I need to get you a little more because of this problem! At the market we first got lunch in a food court area. I went to a Mexican vendor and got a burrito. An Easter burrito! Then we walked around the big market and starting our spending. By the end of our time I was basically out of money but I did get some good deals and got a few more gifts for people back at home. When I got back to the baby house we had an Easter egg hunt for the toddlers. This is something that the volunteers decided to do for them. We got 50 small chocolate eggs to hide all over the yard. The kids were getting their diapers changed when we went to hide everything. We then showed them what they were looking for and sent them out. We put a bucket in the middle of the yard for them to put the eggs in when they found them. The bigger ones caught on right away. The little ones it took more time. Once all the eggs were found, or so we think, we sat the kids down and they each got some of the chocolate eggs. They loved them and were a big mess. My Sunday clothes might never look the same again because of those little hands and lips all over them. It was so much fun to celebrate with them through the egg hunt and reading the Easter story. I have loved celebrating holidays over here but I am getting really anxious to be home and celebrate with family again!

New Schedule (Last one!)

I got my last schedule for the month of April. I will be working in Small Babies and Toddlers. Toddlers is my favorite department so I am glad about that and I have my Baby M in Small Babies that I am able to love on this way as well. I could not have made a better schedule for me! I now know how many days I have to work yet while I am here and how many days I have off.

31           Off
1               Off
2  Small Babies
3                   Off
4         Toddlers
5   Small Babies
6   Small Babies
7   Small Babies
8              Off
9              Off
10             Off
11  Small Babies
12  Small Babies
13           Off
14           Off
15      Toddlers
16      Toddlers
17              Off
18   Small Babies
19           Off
20     Toddlers
21        Toddlers
22            Off
23   Small Babies
24            Off
25          Off
26   Toddlers
27  Small Babies
28  Small Babies
29 Plane leaves @ 6:55pm
30                HOME!!

Please pray for one of the volunteers, Candice, who had to leave unexpectedly for medical reasons. She has been sick for most of the three months that she has been here and is only getting worse. Her best option is to be home to get everything figured out and have family by her side as she does. We are all going to miss her so much and the rest of my stay will not be the same without her. We do know that she will be better off at home though. Pray that the doctors can get everything figured out and that she can find some relief along the way. We love you girl and are going to miss you something awful.

Less than a month!