New Years Greeting 2014

I am fully aware that it is now almost February! ;-)  But we sent this out via e-mail in early January. Just thought I should maybe post it on here in case any one did not receive it via e-mail.  

We send out this Waldron World with lots of love for each and every one of you. We love hearing updates on all your comings and goings! The yearly family photos are great too since we are so far away. It’s fun to see how everyone has changed! Some are bigger, some are smaller, ALL are older, and all are full of happiness!

Our 2013 was an extremely full and rewarding year! Michelle stopped homeschooling after 4 years. All of our children went to school in January for the first time. Elise was in grade R (kindergarten), Nate was in Grade 2, and Marae entered her second year at school in Grade 5. The adjustment to school was relatively pain-free for Elise and Nate and they both had fantastic years at school. All three kids were all in the top of their classes academically – so very proud of them!

The joys of having the kids in school means they get to be a part of choirs, concerts, sports, chess clubs, art clubs, etc. The extra curricular activities at the school have been amazing, and we are blessed to have the children at Amanzimtoti Primary School. It is a public school with a high quality of education and character development curriculum. All 3 children will attend there this January, when the next school year starts.

So with the kids in school, it meant Michelle could go back to (near) full-time work at Seed of Hope. She has slowly worked into the role of Health Team Leader and is thoroughly enjoying it. The SOH health team is a vibrant team of 3 amazing women who work diligently on behalf of those in our community. Michelle’s role is to help train and equip our local Zulu staff to better understand HIV/ Aids and the other diseases/infections that are rampant in our township, and to build and develop our systems to keep track of our patient load and care provided. She has also developed a couple of training courses and helped the staff develop an HIV training course entirely in Zulu. Michelle is also teaching an HIV training course in one of the local universities to engineering students. She tries to keep up with all the children’s school activities and volunteers a lot of time within our local church.

Carl’s role at Seed of Hope expanded this year to include the day to day runnings of the centre when our centre manager, Dan Wiens stepped into a new community-focused farming and business development role. Carl’s life has been incredibly busy balancing CEO and management roles, but he has enjoyed the change immensely. He has also spent a lot of valuable time with our former student leadership group, the Live Out Loud guys (now known by the name Leaders Act). Carl has been mentoring them, doing swimming training with them, and guiding them as a father figure in their lives. About 9 of the boys gave their lives to Jesus earlier this year and Carl was in the pool with them when they were baptised. It was a definite highlight for all of us!

Carl sprained his ankle really badly this year – so badly that he hasn’t played basketball since July! If any of you know Carl, you know how painful that is for him. He is hoping that with some therapy, he will be able to get back to basketball again, but for now he is keeping active by swimming for our triathlon training and a bit of ultimate frisbee (with an ankle brace).

The whole family is now training for the triathlons that we will participate in during 2014. It’s a great activity we can do together as a family.

We were blessed by visits of two of our dear friends from home this last year. Zaak Robichaud and Greg Gillespie each spent a while with our family. It’s a huge highlight for to get visitors from the homeland! Zaak and Greg were so much fun to have around – our kids still think of them often. They both play guitar and sang to our kids, which in our “under-musicked” house, is a huge hit!

Seed of Hope was also blessed with some AWESOME teams in 2013. Those are also big highlights for us and for our staff. We had some great volunteers this last year and we give a big shout out to all of them for all their help and support for SOH. The biggest undertaking at SOH this year was our 10th anniversary celebration. It was an amazing day – that took a LOT of work to put together. Thankfully we had visitors from both Canada and the United States that helped our local staff and volunteers to make the day a huge success!

Many of you may know of the 40 Project that Michelle has been doing for her 40th year of life. She is now well into her 41st year, but she is still working on her list. One of the items on her list was to snow ski on the continent of Africa. So mid-winter (July) we went to the only ski resort within driving distance of us…in Lesotho. We skied for one day and had an awesome time! The kids remembered quite well and were conquering the one-run slope at the resort! :-) It was a great day and we made lots of fun memories!

Michelle’s father retired the beginning of September and about 3 weeks later was diagnosed with colon cancer. He required a colon resection, which is a major surgery and with his heart condition, Michelle felt it necessary to go home to be with her parents. Carl ended up having to cancel his HopeShares fundraising trip to Canada during October-November for her to be able to go. We are incredibly grateful to HopeShares for being fully understanding and supporting us in this decision. Michelle spent about 3 weeks home with her parents, while Carl stayed at home cooking, cleaning, driving children everywhere, and still trying to work… not a small feat, but he did great! Michelle’s dad did quite well with the surgery, but has been back in hospital for a week since then. He was discharged again, and her parents were able to spend Christmas with Michelle’s two brothers in Tennessee and Georgia.

Our Christmas holidays have been warm and fun. God has blessed us with a house that feels a bit like a resort, so we don’t feel the need to go away to have a rest. We are staying home and enjoying being with family and friends. We do miss our extended family dearly, especially at this time of year. God bless each of you and thank you for being a part of our lives.

May 2014 be a year of beauty for each of you. With our prayers,

Carl, Michelle, Marae, Nate and Elise

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