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Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Winds of Change - Following God's Direction

God has been speaking to us quite a lot since our return to South Africa 4 months ago. And while we don't always understand His direction, we do trust in His mighty plan. 
We returned to our home in South Africa in January excited and glad to be back. Our furlough was a wonderful time to catch up with friends and family, and to promote The Fold. But we missed our 15 Fold kiddos, Paul and Micky, our apartment, and just our life here in general, plus adjusting to America again was hard.
About a month after our return here I began to hear God whispering that our chapter here was done. That He has another plan. We've experienced this before several years ago on our journey to the mission field and it is confusing. We have plans for The Fold, hopes and dreams. Yet God continued to assure me that change was coming. About a month later, we were in Durban. Trying to refresh after a very busy furlough and get back into the groove of African life. One day while sitting on the beach, God spoke to me as I watched my family play in the sand and waves. He told me this was our only family trip in Africa and to make most of it. Again, utter confusion. I began to pray fervently, very much believing this could be Satan at work.
A couple of weeks later, just as our situation several years ago, I sat down with Adam for dinner while Ethan and Caeley were at youth group and found that we had been having the same promptings from the Lord. What could they mean? This chapter finished? We had no desire to return to life as it was, and no desire to leave here. But that night, God said trust me, and He gave us peace. A peace we have only experienced 2 other times in our lives. When He redirected our missions path several years ago, and when he sent us here to The Fold. We had no direction, no timing, no comprehension of what God had in store. Maybe a change in our roles here? Maybe a different ministry focus in this area? Maybe we wouldn't know for years. So we waited and we prayed and we went to scripture. But we kept living life as normal.
The last few months we have had quite a bit of crime in our area. Text messages warning us about axe murderers on our road. Rapists that could be headed our direction on our road. Lots of trespassers on our property at night. And the people, strangers, in the nearby towns are even looking at us differently than ever before. Looks that seem say they want us dead. An American friend and I were together last Saturday, and she began to describe this happening with her family. They are here 6 months a year and just returned in December. They have never dealt with this in the past. Neither had we.
We were scared. The crimes that are being committed are urged by the government. Things were holding together better when Nelson Mandela was alive, but as soon as He died, some of the people were glad to no longer honor him with his wishes for harmony. Many do not want white people here, owning their land, effecting the economy they think they would like to have. We are considered farmers, because we live on a farm (large parcel of land in the bush). The crimes that are happening are hate crimes against farmers. Horrendous acts meant to hurt, destroy, dehumanize, and kill white people.
What does this mean for us? Certainly God calls people to live in and serve Him in dangerous places. But does this match up with God's promptings for us the past couple of months? Adam has had the most stress of his life as he has been dealing with his responsibility of protecting us, his family. He has spent a lot of time in prayer and reading scripture. God began to give him direction that moving us back to the states was His way of protecting us at this time.
Adam was still unsure, and continued to seek God's divine wisdom and direction. And God continued to confirm His direction for us. We sat down with our kids and began to share with them everything that God had put on our hearts. We found out that they both had been feeling like God was preparing them to return to the states the last couple of months. They didn't understand it, and hadn't talked to us about it, but had confided in one another. Ethan shared with me that God told him in Durban that our time there would be our only trip like that here. The same thing He told me. We all four prayed and continued to seek God. He gave Adam Proverbs 2:1-11. And that same day, as I began a study of Making Wise Choices and Following God's Direction, He gave me the exact same scripture:
1 My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within
2 turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden
5 then you will understand the fear of the
    and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and
7 He holds success in store for the
    he is a shield to those whose walk is
8 for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful
9 Then you will understand what is right
    and just
    and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to
    your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
     and understanding will guard you.
We have been consulting with a couple of our friends/mentors through this process and I just now received this verse from one of them:
God is to us a God of deliverances; And to God the Lord belongs escape from death.
Psalm 68:20
God has given us an urgency to obey Him now. To use the wisdom and discernment to honor Him in closing this chapter at this time and returning to the states. We don't know why exactly, or what His purpose was for our time here - how He's going to use it (although it has been incredibly impactful, and we have been drawn so close to him through this experience, and we are so grateful for this time we have had to shine the LIGHT and share so much love with these children), or at all what is next. But we know that we serve an Almighty God, a Father that knows so much better than us. So we trust him.
We place it all in His hands, as our utmost desire is serve Him and be walking in His will, whether that is in South Africa or Indiana, or who knows where. Thankfully our Father does!
While safety can be an issue here, it is not our reason for leaving, our reason for leaving is obedience to God's direction, and He is telling us that this is how He is choosing to protect us amidst the violence. Does that mean that people should not be missionaries in South Africa? Absolutely not. We believe that God calls people to live and minister in places all over the world that aren't "safe", but we also believe that the safest place to be is in God's will!
Paul and Micky will be continuing on. And we are praying for the people God calls to work with them. It is a wonderful ministry and we trust and know that God is even more in love with it than we are, and He will provide.
If you have questions for us, please ask. We are a bit in shock with this veer off the path we were on, but we are at peace.
We will be leaving South Africa this coming Friday, arriving in the states on Saturday, May 9th.
There is a fully furnished apartment in Greencastle that has been graciously offered to us for the next 3 months, and Adam has a job interview in 2 weeks. But beyond that....we are unsure. We trust that God knows what is best and that He will provide for us as we resettle in the US at this time. Resettling will be quite a task as we sold most of our belongings, all of our furniture, and our vehicles before we moved. If you are interested in helping us financially as we "get back on our feet," CTEN will continue to handle donations for us for the next 3 months, which should be through August. You can find our CTEN page at www.cten.org/adamhayes.
Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn the closing of this chapter, and as we step into what God has in store for us next.
With big thanks in advance for your prayers,
Adam, Jennifer, Ethan, and Caeley Hayes

Friday, April 3, 2015

Blasts from the Past - Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas - 2013!

The children enjoyed several Christmas parties throughout the month of December by companies in our area! We love having the local people involved in the ministry of The Fold!

Junior opening a Christmas gift from visitors!

We became parents of a teenager! Yikes!

Ethan turned 13 on December 20th!

We gave him a bow for his birthday. He had done a ton of research and knew exactly what he was interested in. It was fun to give him something that he can keep and use for a long time.

We celebrated with The Fold, enjoying chocolate cake and ice cream!

We celebrated as a family with German Chocolate Cake and Taco Night! 

Our first tacos in South Africa and Ethan's favorite!

We are friends with some students from ECHO, a school in Florida doing research at a farm here in South Africa. Here we are with Chris and Arun. They brought us 50-60 moringa trees to plant in our garden!

If you aren't familiar with Moringa Trees, please take a few minutes to check them out. The vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that they nourish your body with are amazing, not to mention the protein content! The internet is full of info and Organic Moringa can be purchased many places in the states, including Amazon.com.

Another Christmas celebration! This time with OK Grocers. They had an "angel tree" for the kids set up in their Lephahale store location.

Sweet little Junior!

Caeley, the mamas, and a couple of the kids making Caeley's Grandma Lynne's Christmas Shortbread Cookies! They were so yummy!

Reading the kids the Christmas Story on Christmas Eve! It was an interactive felt book, and the kids enjoyed each having a piece and coming up to help with the story.

We do Bible Story Time every night, but we especially enjoyed it throughout this month of December. We did advent lessons every night and the kids decorated a new ornament each evening for their Jesse Tree, which followed the lineage of Jesus through the Old Testament.

Caeley and I made Christmas sugar cookies!

The Christmas tree in Ruth House
with round one of gifts!

The girls with some of their new gifts.

L - R

Gadibo, Anna, Mpho, Jessica & Maria

 The boys with some of their new gifts!

Ronnie, O'Neill, Kamo, Shimane, Teyani, Pete, Tebogo Sello &

The kids loved their new Fold shirts that Micky had embroidered for each of them!

Our home - Christmas Morning!

Caeley with the painting supplies that we bought her with money from her Grandma Lynne and Grandma Carol. The grandmas love to paint together, so we thought this would be a fun gift with the money they sent. She loves it all and has used it a lot!

Ethan with the knife and leather case that Adam and I got for him.

A new doll set with a baby, stroller and crib.

Adam with the grilling set that Caeley bought for him!

On Christmas morning our windows were open, fan was blowing and we were hot hot hot! We had to wipe sweat off of our faces for pictures!

New doll house for her room. We were so happy to find this for a decent price!


The Bow family joined us on Christmas day and spent the night. Meda and Randy brought their bows along and Ethan enjoyed trying out some of the new bow accessories that we gave him.

We had a braai for Christmas dinner! 

Steak and boer voers on the grill!

Jennifer and the girls brought homemade cookies in the shape of stables and lots of sweets to put on top! The children loved decorating stables with Baby Jesus and animals on Christmas night!

We ended the evening with just us and the Bows relaxing together and watching Elf, one of our holiday favorites! And again thanking the Lord for providing this sweet family of five to be our family here in SA where traditions are different and the warm holiday weather just makes things seem weird.... :)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Blasts from the Past - Thanksgiving 2013

 I am going to catch up as quick as I can...

We spent Thanksgiving 2013 with our friends, The Bow Family! We were so excited to find a choice of 4 turkeys at our local grocery store - imported from North Carolina! Can you believe it? We couldn't either! Jennifer and I worked hard to create an American celebration. The food was not exactly the same, but was so very yummy and filled with so much love! Everything had to be made from scratch, including the french fried onions for the green bean casserole, the "Stove Top" stuffing, and the pumpkin pies, which involved me up in the middle of the night squeezing fresh cooked pumpkin through cheese cloth.

The beautiful table settings that Jennifer, Meda, and Mabry organized were so beautiful and helped me to forget about Adam dropping one of my pumpkin pies on the kitchen floor that morning, pumpkin puree, shards of glass, and my sweat and tears....everywhere. Oops. Back to the tables, aren't they absolutely beautiful?!

We were so blessed to be able to spend our first big holiday with this sweet family! We were missing our families, and special traditions so much, and this day of celebration with the Bows was a joy and a comfort.

American Thanksgiving food -

                                        South African Style

Ethan, Evan, Mabry, and Caeley, I think Meda was in the kitchen. They are enjoying Ginger Beer with their dinner. It is like ginger ale, but kind of reaches in and grabs your throat. I don't like it, but Ethan sure does!

You've probably noticed by now that we are eating outside. November here is summer time, with some of the hottest weather right around the corner...

Caeley capped off the day swimming with Mabry in the main lodge's pool at the farm that the Bows stay at. It was a beautiful place to relax and visit with full bellies!

I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 7:17

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blogging and Website!

If you haven't been to our new website, please visit! It is filled with all kinds of information and pictures, as well as multiple ways for you to be in contact with us over this great distance!


I have been working to try to upkeep our blog for over a year now and our internet has been too poor. I think I may finally be able to work on it AND get it to publish! That's a big deal to me after many many hours spent composing blogs, only to have them delete in the process of publishing over a period of 6 or more hours...Eish!

If you would like updates to be delivered straight to you inbox, please fill out the email box in the top of the right hand column on this page. It is a great encouragement to have subscribers (then I know that my time spent blogging is not wasted) and we would love to hear from you as well! It gets lonely in the bush!

:) Jen

P.S. Feel free to share with me what YOU would like to hear about!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Marakele National Park

   November was a busy month. A time of adjustments... Paul and Micky were gone on furlough, settling in was still happening, some big stresses here at The Fold, trying to balance ministry time and family time (which is hard when you live in your ministry!).... But our everfaithful God truly blessed us this month, in big ways, just at the times that we needed it the most!
   On Saturday the 13th, we got away for the day as a family. We drove to Marakele National Park, a little over an hour away and spent the day driving around admiring God's creation! It was a day of rest and refreshment and we needed it so badly. There are 2 areas of the park, a general animal area and a big 5 area. The Big 5 animals are: lions, elephants, leopards, rhino and cape buffalo. While we saw many beautiful and amazing animals, the rhinos were the only Big 5 animals that we saw throughout our whole day there at the park. We saw TONS of elephant poop, but no elephants, and by the end of the day began to jokingly suspect that they truck the poop in just to get visitors to return in search of these huge animals! The landscape was breathtaking though as we drove up the tallest mountain in the whole Waterberg area! The road was as narrow as it could be, one lane only with few spots to get around another car. I was in the passenger seat looking out my window as our car steadily pulled us around to the top, my only view down a straight sharp drop, with our tires hugging the edge of the pavement! Adam couldn't understand why I was nervous, until we drove down and he was treated to that same view!!! We took a picnic lunch and ate on a huge rock at the top with birds flying around us as we admired the magnificent view of mountain after mountain.

We loved watching the dung beetles! Caeley spotted them when we were walking towards the zebra to get good photos!

Caeley and Ethan at the top!

Pride Rock :)
Pretty similar hey?
We sat in a blind and watched this giraffe drink for quite awhile!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On Our Own...

   I am planning to reformat the way that I blog... I will be shooting for shorter posts much much more often! I have been so bad at updating as I let the events pile up and then my list to post about grows to an overwhelming length. I have been throwing around some different ideas, and if you have any to share, I would love to hear them!

   Last Thursday was the day we have been preparing for since we arrived in July! Adam drove Paul and Micky to the airport so they could head off on their 2 1/2 month furlough in the states. We have been busy busy busy since we arrived, getting settled in, practicing our driving, learning our new roles and just generally adapting to a new culture! The time has gone quickly, yet Paul and Micky did a fantastic job of preparing us to step into their roles here. Adam and I are trading off doing the school run depending on what the day's schedule looks like. It's a rather boring day in town once we drop the kids off at their schools then just wait for them to get out so we can head home. Because of the cost of diesel and the wear and tear on the bus, we don't drive home during the day. On Monday's Micky and I always take the school run as we have physio appointments and just make it a girls day, taking the opportunity to enjoy lunch together at The Bush Stop Cafe. On Thursdays, Paul and Adam always take the school run as they have a men's Bible Study breakfast that they go to. Adam and I will continue that schedule while Micky and Paul are gone. I am thankful for the homeschool curriculum that we have which allows Ethan and Caeley to work independently as needed. I'm not sure that we will continue that format next year, but for now it is working very well as we adjust to life here and different schedules!
Besides adjusting to new schedules, we are  adjusting to the scenery and wildlife here! This was just down the road from The Fold on the way home one afternoon. There was a group of 5 giraffe and I unfortunately only had my cell phone as a camera. Can you see the baby? It was so very adorable and by far the smallest giraffe we have seen so far!

Caeley at The Bush Stop Cafe :)

   Thank you to all of you who are supporting us through prayer or finances! We couldn't be here without you. While some days are more trying than others and we are each processing this adjustment differently, we know we are exactly where God wants us. He literally reminds me each and every day as I continually see ways that he has been preparing us for this. In a nut shell, we are healthy and happy - although we greatly miss you all! We are enjoying stepping into our roles here and and are working to figure out our family dynamics on the field. We would greatly appreciate your continued prayers as Paul and Micky are gone until January 3rd.

Adam and Sam working on the water tanks.
   Adam has been very busy working on all kinds of things around The Fold's property! Plumbing, electrical, welding, you name it, he's probably done it! He has also been hard at work getting our apartment all fixed up. Our apartment was 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and 1 large room that serves as the kitchen, dining room and living room. Thankfully one of the bedrooms was large enough that we could divide it into 2, so he has been busy building a wall, building 2 closets, and cutting a doorway through a thick, plastered brick wall. He has also painted our bedrooms, built lofts for both of the kids' beds - as the bedrooms are quite small, and installed kitchen cabinets as we were using a card table and a diaper changing dresser when we arrived.
Paul and Adam hard at work!
Caeley really enjoyed helping Adam paint her room!
Adam and Junior

  I have taken over the training meetings with the housemoms for Micky, and the devotional time with them, and the Bible story time with the kids while Paul is gone. During one of the trainings with the housemoms I showed the moms the curriculum I brought to teach the kids about Character Qualities and they really liked it. We discussed what order to study the first 5 or 6 in and started with Obedience. So during Bible time each night with the kids, I read part of Leading Little Hearts to God and we talk about a character quality. I introduced the concept of character to the kids and they were having a hard time understanding. Thankfully several weeks ago at a book store I saw Karen Kingsbury's book : The Brave Knight. I didn't have a plan for it, but it was on sale and I couldn't pass it up. It ended up being perfect for this! We started last week with obedience and have read many Bible stories that are great examples as well as a few other books. The kids have been enjoying memorizing Colossians 3:20 - "Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord". We do it with motions every evening and the night that Paul and Micky were on the plane to the US the kids tried their best to say it loud enough for them to hear!

Enjoying an activity with a parachute during Bible Story time to reinforce our lessons on Obedience and Generosity!
   The kids each have their own chart and are working to earn a sticker each day. If they get 5 or more stickers out of 7 days then they will get a treat! They seem to be enjoying it and the older ones are doing well! We have 3 preschool boys who tend to be naughty though! I'm guessing they're going to be pretty disappointed when they don't get a treat tonight, so we'll see how that goes...

Ethan and Caeley making pizza
for their Health and Nutrition Class.
  Ethan and Caeley are doing well! They are wonderful with the kids here and I love watching them all laugh and play together! Ethan likes to ride his bike and play soccer and basketball. He is dreadfully missing Taco Bell though! Caeley likes to spend time with the kids, whether they are playing outside, jumping rope, watching a movie or braiding her hair! She has also been helping me a lot in the kitchen as we cook everything from scratch and it takes awhile, and she loves to snuggle! We all miss family, friends and familiarity, but we are getting more and more used to life here.
A funny sign at one of the places we stayed!
   Last month we headed to Johannesburg on an overnight shopping trip. We needed some things that we just couldn't get in our area. Because it is so expensive to make the drive to Joburg, we reserved a night at a hotel to be sure we had ample shopping time. Well shopping took much longer than we anticipated! Nothing is quick in Africa! So, we quickly decided that we would stay a 2nd night. It was quite an event as hardly any hotels here have rooms for a family of 4. Even Holiday Inn only has 1 single bed or 1 double bed per room! We finally found a very reasonable b & b place and reserved it online. That night, we arrived there exhausted and in the dark only to find out that the unit was double booked, the lady had lost our phone number and we had nowhere to stay! We didn't know what we were going to do as LOTS of tourists were visiting and ALL of the hotels were booked. The lady at the b & b took us to the house of a friend of hers. He had a similar set up and had an opening. However, we got there and wanted to leave as soon as possible. It was one of the scariest feeling places we have ever been. The man kept disappearing and reappearing, even scaring the lady that brought us there. Ethan and Caeley would have been sleeping on a separate floor, the bed for Adam and I to sleep in was decorated with chains hanging over it from the ceiling... It was all just dark and scary and weird. So even though we weren't sure where we could find to stay, we knew we couldn't stay there. We ended up in a gas station parking lot on our cell phones for over 2 hours before we finally found a place. It was a bit more than we wanted to spend, but much much much cheaper than it ever would have been in the states! We ended up at Villa Simonne with a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment that was decorated as if in Italy and had 2 huge balconies overlooking their amazing property. We had a fun night there learning to play snooker on a real snooker table which was about 4 or 5 times the size of a regulation pool table! We hated that we got there so late as there were so many beautiful areas of the hotel that we could have enjoyed, especially when we saw the in ground trampoline the next morning!
Ethan with the Snooker Table!
Ethan and I were barely able to break up this bar fight!

This a Strelitzia or Bird Of Paradise Flower. It is indigenous to South Africa where it is also known as the Crane Flower. Villa Simonne was just beautiful and had amazing flowers all over their property!

   We were having a decent amount of success with our shopping, finding: pots and pans, baking sheets, sharp knives, a tv, a little bit of clothing, tea tree oil toiletries, some bed sheets and random houseware items. We could find a lot of these items close by, but the quality would not have been too good. We found that out quite quickly! We spent a couple of hours the second day at the Rosebank Craft Market. I got to go there last year when we visited, but Adam and the kids didn't. It was so much fun! It is booth after booth of African items and souvenirs and you have to bargain with each person at each booth where you want to buy something. Ethan and Caeley surprised us and jumped right in to the bargaining! They did a fantastic job, got great deals, and had a wonderful time! We also squeezed in some time to car shop and ended up finding a vehicle that we really liked. We were searching for a 7 seater SUV. We needed to be up off the ground due to the road conditions here and we wanted to be able to pick up people at the airport and drive places with Paul and Micky or kids from The Fold. Adam found a Ford Territory that had low miles and was a good price. (The Ford Territory is well known in Australia especially.) We test drove it, liked it and it fit exactly what we were looking for, however we found out that it had to go through a road worthy inspection the next day before it could be sold, so now 2 nights in Joburg turned into 3. It was much cheaper to stay there another night than to drive home and back to pick it up. So, back to the cell phone, LOTS of phone calls, and we finally found a 3rd place to stay at a really good price. We had a fun night playing games and pool, got up the next morning to wrap up our shopping and picked the vehicle up at around 4:30, when it was ready. Normally the drive home would have taken us 3 1/2 hours, but we did not realize we were making a mistake until it was too late. We were heading north from Joburg, on the Friday night before the schools here have a one week holiday. Oops! Everybody and their brother and uncle and cousin...were headed north on vacation! It was a traffic madhouse and it ended up taking us over 6 hours to get home! We were exhausted by the time we returned but look forward to someday heading to Joburg to spend the night just for fun! We enjoyed our family time, but didn't have much time to rest, relax or do any of the fun stuff that Joburg has to offer besides the craft mall.

Ethan and Caeley with our new vehicle: a Ford Territory. Perfect for picking up people from the airport. HINT HINT!

We went out for a 30 minute drive one afternoon to try out our new car and ended up being gone for 2 hours! The road we traveled had very rough terrain with groups of rocks and areas of water. It was quite a fun adventure! Here Ethan and Adam are walking up the hill ahead to be sure that we can clear all of the rocks!

Here is just a glimpse of the amazing view we were blessed with on our way home that day! It doesn't begin to do it justice... South Africa is just breath-taking!

The Sunday before Paul and Micky left, some new friends down the road invited the 6 of us over for a visit. They are property managers at a private game reserve just minutes from us here at The Fold. We enjoyed a relaxing and refreshing day of visiting on their beautiful thatched roof veranda, swimming, touring the property and then going for a game drive. The property has a bounty of animals: zebra, giraffe, elephant, rhino, crocodile, leopard, lion, hippo, lots of antelope type game as well as all of things we have here on The Fold's property. We had a wonderful time riding around the bush, watching for these magnificent adrenaline-inducing creatures! Unfortunately, we didn't see anything too unusual in our eyes, namely the elephant, rhino, crocodile, leopard, lion or hippo, but we were there at the hottest part of the day so that worked to our disadvantage. We look forward to going back and visiting with David and Anita and seeing more of the property. It is currently owned by a man who is enjoying it himself for now, but will eventually allow overnight guests. It is a 5 star lodge and the most current price for staying there, including meals and a game drive, was $700 US dollars per person, per night! Wow! We are thankful for the opportunity to enjoy this property, but also thankful for new friends! It was so nice to just visit, laugh, relax and pray with new Godly friends!

Elephant tracks! They were on many of the paths that we traveled!

Elephant tracks and poop!

So absolutely stunningly beautiful! Don't miss the wart hogs to the right side of the picture! A mama with her babies.

Kudu close up!
   We drove the bus 2 1/2 hours away one day to get the tires aligned. Even though there are tons of buses this size on the roads here, this was the closest place we could find to get the job done! It was a very scenic drive with mountain after mountain after mountain... We look forward to venturing back that way someday! Here are Ethan and Caeley on the way to Polokwane.

   Lucky needed an eye check up last month at the hospital about 1 1/2 hours away so all 4 of us took him. His eye check up went very well, although the visit to the hospital was quite lengthy as we had to wait over an hour to just get his file and check in for his appointment, but as I had been there with other kids before I was expecting it. After his appointment we went to a couple of shops and then to this awesome coffee shop that the 4 of us had stopped at once before. It is a coffee shop with a playground in a huge sandbox, lots of beautiful plants and flowers for sale, and cage after cage of really neat birds! Lucky had a great time and Ethan and Caeley had a lot of fun showing him the birds and playing with him on the playground while Adam and I had a cup of coffee.

   One of the really popular restaurants here in South Africa is Spur. It is a sit-down restaurant with a big menu of burgers, chicken, steak, etc... Each location is named after and decorated for a different American Indian Tribe. The Spur in Lephalale, about 45 minutes away is a wonderful supporter of The Fold. They have donated many things to us and feature us on the advertising in their bathrooms. Earlier this month they treated 23 of us to lunch! Spur always has a great play area for the kids with climbing equipment, trampolines and video games. It was a nice treat to go out all together! Everyone had a great time!

Shimane showing off some school work!
The kids here have about 5 weeks left of school and then they are off for almost 7 weeks for Christmas holiday. We are looking forward to not having school runs, but even more to having the kids home!!! We are anxious to have more time to spend with them and have been brainstorming special things to do together over the holidays! Micky bought most of the food for our Christmas Day meal before she left and while most of you will be wearing sweaters and eating turkey or ham around your dinner table, we will be outside in shorts having a braai - steak, boervoers, potato salad, watermelon and we might even get in some swimming somewhere!

As you can see, we are staying quite busy and are working to balance our time as we get acclimated. It has been nice to have extra family time in spurts as we can manage it since we are all still processing all of the changes in our lives.

Thanks for hanging in this long! Next time it will be MUCH shorter. I promise!

Love, Jen  
                   or as they say here in South Africa - CHEERS!