Dear Praying Friends,
If we could sum up this year in one word, it would undoubtedly be “change.” Very little in life is the same as it was at the beginning of this year. We have experienced numerous changes: a new ministry, a new place to live, a new culture, new day-to-day experiences, new schools, new foods, a new church family, new co-workers, and much, much more. All of these changes are a manifestation of what we believe God has led us to do. They are all the result of His gracious leading and blessing in our lives. As we see 2017 come to a close, we are thankful for God’s love, His power, His care for us, and His day-by-day sustaining grace. We’re also thankful for our friends and family, those that have to one degree or another taken a particular interest in what God has called us to do in Knysna.
The vast majority of the changes we’ve experienced have been great! We could not have asked for a better transition to our new home and ministry. Not that’s it’s always been easy, but, due in large part to our wonderful teammates here, we have felt very much at home in a short time. The cultural change has not been nearly as pronounced as it would have been in other places. South Africa is a wonderful place, with many advantages that we experienced back in the States: and we’re privileged to be here! Many of you have prayed specifically for us in this area, that our adjustment to life here would be smooth – thank you for that!
There is one change that came with more difficulty than expected – the new Christmas experience. We knew that we would miss our family and friends during this special time of year; but we were also looking forward to being on the beach for a Christmas lunch picnic (remember, it’s summer here, and very warm!). However, when Christmas Day came, none of us were interested in this picnic we’d been planning for two years. To be honest, it just didn’t feel like Christmas, and we didn’t feel like going out. For us, Christmas has always meant big family get-togethers, cold weather, holiday spirit all around, Christmas cards, and many more traditions. It was hard leaving behind the traditions we know. We missed them (and you!) more than expected. But we do thank those of you who communicated with us over this past week. It was good to have some communication from “back home.”
This past year has reminded us time and again how God desires each of us to live in dependence on Him. Whether we were raising support, going through the visa process, planning the big move, or adjusting to life in a new place,each moment brought opportunities to depend on God and not ourselves. We are thankful for the role each of you have played in praying for us, supporting us, and helping us in countless other ways. As we look ahead to 2018, we want you to know that we think of you often and hope and pray you all are well. Please pray for new opportunities for ministry that are coming along in 2018 – we will be writing soon to describe some of these. And finally, please pray that, through all the changes we’ve experienced, we will stay faithful to being who God has called us to be and doing what God has called us to do.
George, Amy, George David, Ashley, and Alyssa