Can you believe we’ve been in South Africa for a year?!
We spent a lovely evening out to dinner as a family to celebrate our one year anniversary (early March). It has caused us to think back on our first year here in Cape Town and we realized that a proper family update is in order! So, here it goes!
Doug and Josiah on a recent hike
Most of Doug’s time is spent at Living Hope where he is busy with several things. The first thing Doug established when he began at Living Hope was a prayer walk around the main campus. He stops at several specific places to pray for each of the ministries of the organization and their satellite campuses. One of Doug’s main roles is to help with the devotional life of the health care workers in the different communities. There are multiple campuses and three days a week each campus works through the same series of devotions in the mornings. He spends each day going to the different communities and leading or helping to lead devotions. Each community is on a specific day of the week so that routine is consistent from week to week. It’s been exciting to be a part of what God is doing in each of the communities (each in very different ways) and how He answers prayer. Typically after devotions are finished he will head back to the main campus where he will continue working on devotions for another day to come. Another of his roles is keeping track and updating prayer needs and praises from each of the communities. It’s amazing to watch God answer prayer as the days and weeks go by. Another element of Doug’s role is the staff newsletter that has been started since we’ve been here. This is to keep staff aware of upcoming training days, visiting teams, staff birthdays and any other information that might be helpful and important to the staff on all the campuses. These things as well as building relationships and talking and praying with staff members are what keep Doug busy on a typical day.
Doug has also enjoyed connecting with a fellow missionary. They have been keeping each other accountable and praying for one another through each week. They schedule biweekly times to pray for each other and what’s on their hearts.
Doug has also enjoyed getting back into running. After many months of injury prior to moving to South Africa, he has since joined a running club and trained and run several races. After running a hilly ten mile race in September (on his birthday), he started looking into more races and decided to train for “The world’s most beautiful marathon”: The Two Oceans (Ultra) Marathon (56K). Training included running two additional marathons, which happened to be right here in our neighborhood! Finally, along with 11,000 other runners, on Easter Saturday he ran the Two Oceans Marathon. It was a great race and he is wondering what is the next adventure. Meanwhile, he enjoys meeting up with his running club on Thursday mornings at the beach and Saturdays at our local park run. This is a great time to get to know other runners in our community.
Ellen and Josiah above the clouds
Ellen is keeping busy with the two boys! Nathaniel started preschool (more on that later), so she is enjoying more personal time with Josiah in the mornings. It’s been so fun to watch his personality grow and flourish. The boys have allowed Ellen to be a part of several extracurricular activities. Almost every Tuesday morning mom’s from all over our community gather together to “do life” together. It’s a wonderful time to connect with each other, allow our children to play and interact together, and have adult conversation! Ellen has made some great connections there and is really enjoying the friendships that she’s building. Additionally, she has enjoyed scheduling several extra play dates with these friends and she and the boys have truly enjoyed the time they’ve been able to spend together.
Several weeks ago, through our church, Ellen joined a ladies Bible Study and is working her way through the ten week study. It’s been such a joy to gather with other women and study God’s Word together, growing closer as women in the process. It has also been a wonderful way to meet new people in the church.
Ellen continues to work every Wednesday at Living Hope. She completes weekly patient chart audits. This task used to take an entire day or two at the end of the month (with 30+ charts), but now, with weekly auditing, she only has about 5-10 charts at a time. This has not only allowed more time for other things, but has also enabled her to interact more with staff and patients, which she has enjoyed. The rest of Ellen’s time at Living Hope can be spent doing any number of things, but recently it has involved reviewing and updating policies and procedures which is a large task, but one that has been rewarding and mentally stimulating. Mid way through the year, Ellen and the health care centre manager sat down and talked about implementing inservice training for staff on a weekly basis. With that in mind, and training days to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays (to cover both shifts), Ellen started working half days on Tuesday afternoons as well as all day Wednesday. This has worked out well with Doug’s schedule, so that he can be home with the boys in the afternoons. Trainings are going fairly well (it’s taken a few months to work out the kinks) and we recently welcomed another volunteer to our team, who is helping us with the training materials!
At the beach!
Nathaniel turned FIVE in February! He loves to run and play any kind of sport! Several months ago we joined our community’s Saturday park run. This is a free community event, happening every Saturday morning, with a measured and timed 5k (and 2k) route. This has been such a joy for Nathaniel. He loves to run the 2k and improve upon his time. As a family, we’ve really enjoyed meeting other families in our community and getting exercise! In addition to the weekly park runs, Nathaniel has run two official 5k races (one being 5.6k!). He loves the challenge and is proud that he has run the entire way (as are we!). He is only five, but he is already starting his collection of finisher medals!
Nathaniel started preschool in January (schools run year round here, beginning in January). He has loved the routine and making new friends. It has also been a great way to meet other families in our area and coming this second term, we are looking forward to having friends over.
Both boys have been taking swimming lessons this year and they are loving it! Nathaniel learned how to swim in just 4 sessions and hasn’t looked back. He loves diving for things on the bottom of the pool and jumping into the deep end. He can even swim from one side of the pool to the other without taking a breath (must be his runner’s lungs!).
Being silly in a homemade boat!
Josiah adores his older brother and copies everything Nathaniel does. It has been so fun to watch the relationship between these two boys grow stronger. They are starting to have lots (maybe too much) fun together! Josiah turned TWO in November and has a vibrant personality! He loves to do silly things and always has an opinion. He also has a tender heart towards others and will often share toys and food with friends.
Recently Josiah has started swimming on his own (for short times) during his lessons and absolutely loves the water! His favorite part of swim lessons is jumping off the side into the water. He is always sad when his lesson is over.
Some of his favorite activities are reading (especially finding Goldbug in Richard Scarry books), eating snacks, visiting the penguins, jumping, building blocks, stickers, and the beach! This past week he started potty training too!
The day before the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon – Ellen, Josiah and Nathaniel ran fun runs!
We are looking forward to this next year ahead to see what God will teach us and how He will use us! We are glad you are on this journey with us. We’d love to hear your family updates too!