Not long ago we noticed the chill in the air of winter was gone and replaced by a bit warmer breeze. It was a very long winter with the cold starting while I, Amy, was in the US to visit Alyssa in May. The locals said it was the coldest and longest winter they remember in a very long time. We are thankful for an electric underblanket to warm the bed before getting in and heavy blankets to keep us warm through the cold winter nights. Just this week we were able to remove the heated blanket and extra blankets and switch back to our rest of the year covering of sheet and quilt. Just as we have begun to feel like spring is here, we are preparing for a 3-month furlough trip to the US and will experience some fall weather before heading into another winter. We are not very good planners to avoid the cold and snow! We will be very thankful to have heat in the places we stay unlike here where homes are not insulated or heated.
It has been a busy few weeks for us as we have been trying to get things organized for while we are away. My computer classes finished the end of August; I have printed and distributed Sunday school material to the teachers for October through January; and we have chosen and sent the music to the musicians for the Sunday worship service for the next sixteen weeks. And then we have the “we want to have you over before you leave” visits. We enjoy them, but it adds some busyness to the days. There isn’t much left for us to do on this side except create a new video to show at churches and pack our bags. No, I have not started the packing yet, but I have a whole week still. We are very thankful to Herb for his help in making a video because it is not something I’ve mastered yet.
While we have had several trips to the US throughout our six years in SA, they have always been for family events – weddings, moving children back to the US, etc. This time our purpose is to visit most of our supporting churches as well as a few new churches in hopes of raising some additional support. As you know, the costs of everything has gone up in the US, and SA is no different. Since we have no children living at home now, some of our expenses have decreased. However, the cost of living has increased at a huge rate. Electricity has risen 60% and the cost of petrol has doubled since we arrived in 2017, and these are just two examples. We have also lost a couple supporters due to death or change in financial ability to support us.
We would love to see as many people as possible during our furlough so please reach out to Amy to schedule a time for a visit when we are in your area. We look forward to seeing you soon!