I just looked at the date of my last blog post.  It has been 5+ weeks!!!! Gulp.  Swallow.  Gulp.  Biggest apologies to my lovely family and friends who read my updates.  Lots of GREAT stuff has been happening (hence the lack of blog writing time) and lots of super stuff is about to happen!  Read on to see!! The scarves were a huge hit at the women’s retreat!  Not many went the way of the fringe, but the creativity of the ladies was astounding!  And our Dance in the Rain Women’s Retreat was a raving success (with a few minor hiccups here and there.)

Two days after we returned from the women’s retreat, a team arrived from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada to volunteer with us at SOH.  We LOVE having teams, however they do add to our daily workload.  But what an extraordinary joy this team was!  They were so incredibly flexible, honest, open, and realistic with their expectations and goals for their time with us.  Even though they were here for only 10 days, they left something very special with us!

Our Sarnia, Canada team

Our Sarnia, Canada team

Their first day at SOH was a Heritage Day celebration in which SOH hosted the community for a talent show and a meal together.  It is also called National Braai (Barbecue) day, so the braai’ers were out in full force!  (I brought a little veggie patty to put on the braai – much to the chagrin of our meat loving men running the braai!) The Heritage Day celebration was focused on celebrating ALL cultures!  So we had such an amazing array of talent from all aspects of South African life (and some Canadian thrown in too!)

Some of our beautiful SOH staff

Some of our beautiful SOH staff


My girls and their little dance troop.  :-)

My girls and their little dance troop. :-)


The beautiful faces of children

The beautiful faces of children


Seed of Hope “does” mission teams a little differently than most mission organisations.  We encourage our teams to come to learn – not to come in and run programs, etc.  Our local staff runs all of our programs.  We use the incredibly valuable time of our visiting teams to expose them to the expertise of the people in our communities – to encourage them to learn as much as they can about the culture and the issues these communities face.  Our local staff is supported by teams, but teams do not “take over” the programs while they are here.  They watch, learn and support our local staff.  The benefit we have seen of this type of approach has been phenomenal!  It has improved the morale and confidence of our staff, and helps our visiting teams appreciate the work they do on a day-in/day-out basis.

With this as the focus of mission teams, Carl does a lot of teaching while they are here about this type of development and works through various emotions, challenges, and joys with the team that come up throughout the visit. Our goal is to have long term relationships with the people who come on teams – that they will love, support and pray for Seed of Hope and our beautiful staff for many years to come.

While Carl was busy with the team and his assorted other tasks, I was preparing for the next training we had planned – a 2 day LifeWise HIV course at the end of September that was geared specifically for pastors and those in pastoral/counselling roles.  It was the first time we had geared it for pastors and we received great feedback.  Our province has 35% of its population that is HIV+.  All local pastors need to have thorough training to deal with this in both physical and spiritual components.  We were very happy to have 12 attendees at this first one, and hope the next one will attract even more.

And then…..  the kids had a school break for one week – in between 3rd and 4th term.  I took most of the week off of work to be with them.  One would think I would have had plenty of time to blog, but alas, the week flew by without so much as a word placed in a blog… :-)

And so, here we are.  Kids are well into their second week back to school.  They have started the last term of the school year.  They only have 5 weeks left and then we FLY!! (We are leaving 3 weeks before school is actually over though.)  Our much anticipated trip (that was postponed in June because of our visa problems) is approaching quickly!!!!  We are all sooo thrilled!  It is hard for any of us to stay focused on school or work.  The kids haven’t seen their grandparents for 3 years, so they are beside themselves with excitement!

So, in a nutshell, here are our plans for the next little while.

Now until November 22 – work, eat, sleep, and dream about Taco Bell

November 23 – get on a plane! (to Taco Bell…. oh and to the grandparents!) hehe

November 24 – December 26 – Chattanooga, TN with my parents, with a few fun side trips here and there (like to see my aunt in Mississippi, etc)

December 26 – January 14 – Alberta, Canada.  Mostly in St. Albert, but also in Calgary

January 15-18 – Back to Chattanooga for a few days before flying home to SA on January 19.

This trip is an incredibly short trip as we have to fit it in around the kids’ schooling.  We only have 3 weeks in Canada, so we apologise in advance if we don’t make it to see you personally.  We are going to have a “catch up with the Waldrons” type of event in both Edmonton and in Calgary, for those who would like to see us and our ginormous children.   It will be an informal, come and go type of event.  Watch for more details about that as we get closer to the time.

Carl is going to Canada on a work/fundraising trip that was booked long ago – back when we thought we were having our family trip in June/July.  So he will be on the other side of the ocean for about 2 1/2 weeks starting October 25.  He will be meeting with donors and supporting churches, etc.  Also scheduled are two coffee/information evenings that he will be sharing some of the exciting things happening at Seed of Hope now. Hope you can make one of the two evenings if you live in Alberta. :-)

Edmonton – 7pm, Monday, November 3 , 2014 – Red Willow Community Church

Calgary –  7 pm, Friday, November 7, 2014 – Rocky Mountain College

Gulp.  So you can see things have been a little crazy around here.  And I didn’t even get into all the stuff that the kids have been doing!  Like MAJOR school projects (which require parental time and support!), swimming competitions, soccer games and prize givings, (which Nate won soccer play of the year) #proudmom. :-)  And soooo much more! If there are still any of you reading after this LONG post….  (sorry for the long-windedness).  Making up for 5 weeks with no blogs. :-)  Hope your days are full - not of too much busy-ness but rather lots of love and kindness and joy and peace!

And just one last request.  Please pray that the US does not close its borders to us.  Our flights go through a country that has had Ebola outbreak, so we are praying that this trip does not again get cancelled or postponed.  I think I might lose my crackers if it did…

6 Responses to Gulp.
  1. Rachel Reply

    I LOVE reading your blogs, long or short!
    You and all at SOH continue to be in my heart (although it’s been over 4 years?!?) and I pray for you and the community regularly. Please send my LOVE!
    Finally, I am praying for you in your upcoming travels.
    Huge love & hugs to all the Waldrons!

    • Michelle Reply

      Can’t believe it has been 4 years already! Crazy! Thanks for your continued prayers! Sure would love to see you again here someday soon!!

  2. lee Reply

    Looking forward to seeing Carl and then the rest of you in December, Praying that the you all make it to Canada, Love you all Auntie Lee

    • Michelle Reply

      Thanks Aunt Lee. Trusting for that!

  3. Gerry & Donna Reply

    Hi Michelle, Carl & Kids – great to receive some catch-up news from your part of the world. We are pleased to see that amidst all the business of ministry and life you guys are doing well health wise – looking forward to seeing Carl in November and sending our wishes for safe journeys for all of you during your impending travels. Hard to believe it has been 3 years since the kids have been back – excited for your family members as you all get to reconnect! God bless!

    • Michelle Reply

      So nice to hear from you guys! We are counting days now until we get to come home! We will hope to connect with you when we are home in December. Miss you both and are so grateful to have you in our lives!!

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