Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fun Times with Grandpa and Grandma...

We are so thankful that we were able to spend the past month with my mom and dad here. They also brought along another couple, who I have known since I was little, and they now attend Blythefield. Originally, we had planned to do a marriage conference in Lilongwe, Malawi, but last minute it was cancelled. We had already arranged for my parents and the other couple to fly into Lilongwe, so we went there to pick them up. We stayed a few days on Zomba Mountain and then we headed back to Mozambique. When we arrived at the border, they wouldn't let us through because the visas were dated for the 31st of January, because of our original plans for the conference, and it was only the 28th. We went back to Malawi and they wouldn't let us back into Malawi because we didn't have exit stamps from Mozambique. We explained that we never went back into Mozambique because they wouldn't let us, so we couldn't get exit stamps. We were stuck between borders in No Man's land. We told the guy that we would then be sleeping right there for the next three nights because we couldn't go into either country. Finally, after making us wait for an hour or so(he really just wanted us to pay a bribe), he cancelled our exit stamps from Malawi and let us back in. Now we had to figure out where to stay. Here it isn't that easy to stop at the first hotel you see and stay for a few days. The nearest place was a couple hours away and there are no fast food places to stop at. We hadn't eaten since breakfast that morning and it was now about 3:00 in the afternoon. We finally made it to a resort on Lake Malawi. It was very nice, a little pricey, but our options were very limited. We ended up enjoying two days there and the kids had so much fun. On the 31st we headed back to the border and as soon as we walked into the Mozambican side, they told us that a new requirement was made 2 days ago and we needed to have a paper stating that we are taking responsibility for these visitors and it needed to be stamped by immigration in Lichinga. Of course we didn't have these papers, so they told us to turn around and go back to Malawi. We explained that we could not have known about this new requirement since we were in Malawi 2 days ago and there is no way we can get a paper stamped by immigration in Lichinga, if they won't let us cross the border. Finally, after again making us wait awhile, they called the director of immigration in Lichinga, who said we could cross. We just needed to present our visitors to her at the immigration office as soon as we arrived in Lichinga. Finally, we entered Mozambique. For the next 2 weeks, we worked non stop on different projects around our house and the SIM guesthouse. We paved our driveway, broke out a wall between our living room and dining room, we painted 7 different rooms, sanded and stained a table we had built, replaced a toilet, and various other little things. We accomplished a lot thanks to the hard work of the Tilburts and my parents. The last week, we just tried to soak in all the moments left with grandma and grandpa and enjoyed a walk in the woods, a trip to the lake, market shopping, visiting
a village, and just playing games. Here are a BUNCH of pictures from the past month with them.

 
Our first stop in Lilongwe, for a bite to eat, after picking them up from the airport.

This is our view from the cottage on top of Zomba mountain. This cottage only cost about $50 per night for 10 of us. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, a full kitchen and living room and this is the veranda.
 Waterfalls in Zomba

 
Horseback riding on Zomba Mountain. 

 
Wading in the waterfalls in Zomba.

This guy was on our roof one morning making a lot of racket. Monkeys and baboons are everywhere in Zomba. They are even known to take things out of open windows or doors, so you have to watch your things closely.

The horse stables.

 
Karis riding Zara.

Kallen riding River Cat.

Traeger riding Montego.

Kallen and Jurnee feeding Wolf.

For Karis' birthday she got to ride for an hour with grandma over the dam and up into the woods.


 
Karis and Zara.
 
 
Kallen found a chameleon, one of our favorite creatures in Africa.
 
 
My good friend, Bronwyn, sitting directly in front, threw me a birthday party when we got home from Malawi.
 
 One of the ladies made me this amazing cake.
 
 Our first church service with the visitors and we had a huge group of kids come to help us celebrate children's day. There were about 50 of them and they all piled into our tiny little church.
 
Here we are all packed out.

After church, was a little dance party. They kicked up so much dust from the dancing, the picture is hazy.  

We celebrated a late Christmas with my parents. This was "Christmas Eve" and the kids are sleeping under the tree.

Waiting to open presents "Christmas Morning".
 
Jurnee did manage to open a few early.

One of the best things I brought out here was my Christmas tree. It looks so real, we feel at home.
 
 Karis 8 years old


Kallen, 5 years


Jurnee, 2 years
 


Traeger, 9 years
 

 
The whole gang. Tilburts, grandma and grandpa, and us.
 
 
Petting camels in Malawi (sorry this is a little out of order). These camels loved Jurnee.

She was a little shy of the many kisses the camels wanted to give her.
 

They also got to experience rainy season in Lichinga. It rained for almost 2 weeks straight.
 

 
The girls of course take advantage of the rain and take mud baths.


Jurnee LOVES mud!
 

Here are what some of our streets look like during rainy season.
 
Our first project knocking out a wall between our living room and dining room. This is the "before" picture.
 
The "after" picture. With a new coat of paint and all. It really opens it all up.
 
Our newly sanded and oiled table we had made here.


Working on my home school room. This is "before".
 

 
This is "after". I have doubled the size of my school room to fit all 4 kids. It was getting a bit cramped. This is one side of the room.

 
 This is the other side. This is the part that we have always done school in, but we opened up a doorway and added the other room.
This is from the outside of the school room. We added that little veranda on to keep out mud and water. This is the back of our house. We have to walk outside and around the house to get to it.
 
This was our biggest project--paving the drive. Here is the "before" picture.
 
 
The cement was all mixed by hand. Rock and Sand were brought in to mix with it and we had 6 guys working 7 days in a row all day from 6am to 3 or 4 pm to finish it.

 The first section finished.

Aragorn, our dog, decided to walk around in it, so we had to fix it and re-trowel the whole thing.
 
Working on getting the second section ready for cement.

The finished product. We still have a bunch of dirt and rock to move out on the side.
 
Jurnee turned 2 on February 2nd.




Karis turned 8 on February 15th.


Celebrating with Karis.
 


She had a sleep over with her good friend, Zoe. They slept in a tent on our porch, because of the rain.
Karis and Zoe.

 
Taking a walk by Lichinga dam and the woods.




This is an old Portuguese house that was built for the first president of Mozambique. It was never finished because he died. It would have been incredible. I tried to talk mom and dad into trying to buy the land and retiring here:)
 

 
Inside one of the rooms.


And here would be the master bedroom.
 


We saw tons of ladies that would walk all the way out to these woods, cut firewood and carry it back on their heads into town.
 

Enjoying the waterfalls of Meponda and Lake Malawi on the Mozambican side.
 







 
 
We took everyone out to Ngongoti to visit our guard Bonarmar's family.
 

These are Bonarmar's parents.
Dad talking with some kids.

Eating dinner on our veranda.


Wrestling with Papa.
 



Playing cards with papa.
 
 
Reading with Grandma.
 
 
Reading with Papa.

And every night we would end with a sunset like this off our back veranda!

 
We had such a great time and made so many great memories. Thank you Jon and Carolyn for coming and serving us and thank you mom and dad for all the many sacrifices you have made to invest in the ministry in Mozambique and our lives. We love you so much and can't thank God enough for you!
 
 

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