Tuesday, January 10, 2012

retreat 2011-2012

Not much blogging occurred over the past seven months while we were in the states.  But now that we're back in South Africa--and away from most of the people who read our posts--it's time to become a bit more regular.

The boys passed the layovers in the airports on our return journey by filling up their NFL sticker books.

Jesse and Levi checking out one of the three planes that would take us from Chicago to Durban.

We arrived back safely in the country on 28 December.  Our colleagues, Karen and Andrew Suderman and their daughter, Samantha, picked us up at the King Shaka International Airport in Durban.  After only one day at their home in Pietermaritzburg, we all traveled together to our usual spot over New Year's, Skogheim Christian Retreat Centre, near the coastal town of Port Shepstone.  By "we all" I mean our family and the Sudermans, Melanie Quinn, Mennonite Mission Network's "woman in Botswana", and two young women, Hannah Sauder and Joanna Epp, serving for one year in South Africa through Mission Network's Radical Journey program.  Absent this year--for the first time since we began our South African sojourn--was the Lindell Detweiler family; we felt the loss (as they have relocated in North America).

Ringing in the New Year with grapetiser (sparkling grape juice), our South African favorite

We had a great Mennonite worker retreat.  This year we shared the input among the team.  We each told our own personal stories of coming to faith, our spiritual pilgrimages, and read stories of people embarking on journeys in the Bible.  Hannah and Joanna were wonderful additions to our team; their insights, participation in all activities, and attention to the children were special blessings for us this year.

worship time

Below is a list of some other highlights of retreat 2011-2012.

  • the pool
  • the beach at Mtentweni
  • playing Settlers of Catan (Isaac and Moses now love this game)
  • the "first ever MMiSA [Mennonite Ministries in South Africa] heptathlon", including competitions in Dutch Blitz, broom jumping, diving, swimming, and bananagrams
  • eating a potjkie [POY-key] , a South African meat stew cooked in a three-legged pot, cooked by the Baptist church group which also stays at Skogheim every year over New Year's

Settlers of Catan

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