Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Family Newsletter

Wishing you and your loved ones a year full of joy, love and inspiration.
There are more people than a heart could ever hold, More places than you could ever see
The scrolling list of needs just grows and goes, 24 hours, 7 days a week
‘Cause we think about so much, And do nothing at all, Afraid that what we have to give is so small

You don’t have to save the world, All that hero talk is only superficial stuff
If you want to change the world, What you’ve got to do is show up, show up, just show up

We’re so used to an immediate response, So used to giving up when things don’t work
We know the long obedience is hard, No shortcuts will make it easier
‘Cause the journey is so long, But the difference is made, By the million small steps along the way

You don’t have to save the world, All that hero talk is only superficial stuff
If you want to change the world, What you’ve got to do is show up, show up, just show up

No great things have I done, No great things have I done
Only small things with great love, And love makes a world of difference, You don’t have to save it

You don’t have to save the world, All that hero talk is only superficial stuff
If you want to change the world, What you’ve got to do is show up, show up, just show up

Jill Phillips, Show Up

Nathanael. Our 2 1/2 year old little boy is gentle, pure and strong. He loves life and has a smile and a hello for everyone. He spends most mornings with our house-helper, while Jennifer homeschools Lian, and as a result is our first bilingual child and understands everything in Kinyarwandan and English. He loves to talk, but we are still waiting for when we can understand him. He loves his Nanna and Poppa and is always asking to Skype with them. This boy can dance and loves to play the piano and drums. He is a wonderful brother and wakes up in the morning calling for Anna. As he is very social, we’ve decided to enroll him in Anna’s French preschool in January. He may understand three languages before he can speak one. He is a little fish in the water and loves the shores of Kivu as well as Shadow Lake in Vermont. He will truly melt your hearts when you meet him, as he has ours.

Anna. Our 5 year old is a creative spirit! It is so fun to see each of our children develop their own loves and talents this year. Anna’s highlight of the year was performing in Ballet Rwanda’s Nutcracker with her friends. She practiced every night and was poised and beautiful in the performance. We changed preschools on her again and she loves her new school, Le Petit Callines. In three months, she is already reciting poems in French. We also found a Chinese tutor, so the girls go twice a week to meet Lao Shi in this tiny apartment in a downtown alley where their teacher makes and sells tofu and soy milk. Jennifer has to speak in Kinyarwandan to the Chinese husband in order to communicate with his wife. Anna has also started playing soccer on a new international kids’ league. She was the only girl and the smallest player at first and we were so proud of how she overcame her fears. Her new best friend is Marcel Urquhart, who was adopted into our partners’ family this year. They are like two peas in a pod.

Lian. Lian has also really come into her own this year. A friend coaches the National Rwandan Tae Kwon Do team and offered to give Lian private lessons. Every morning she practices with her dad and in six months she has earned her yellow belt and blue stripe. She is now inspired to train for a competition next year. She attends 3rd grade homeschool with Mommy and has loved learning about Ancient History this year. Another new hobby this year is horseback riding. It has been another great joy to see her overcoming fears and learning to ride. As there is not much entertainment and we don’t own a TV, Lian is the queen of creativity and loves making up games, art projects and stories with her sister. Our house is usually a disaster as a result, but we love watching them bond.

Highlights for Dano and Jennifer.
Seeing Karisimbi Partners grow and highlighted by the Daedalus Experiment and New Times.

Taking the family on vacation in Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Legoland this summer, before spending time with Jen’s family in Vermont.

Annual Gordon reunion with Jennifer’s friends and their families.

Leading an orphan care training together in Kaziba, Democratic Republic of Congo for 32 caregivers.

Jen learning a new job as Communications Specialist for a USAID agriculture project.

Hosting Easter camp for 45 kids and then Christmas camp for 130 kids in our house and watching them all respond to the good news of Jesus.

Starting a sewing school for 11 moms in the neighborhood and working with Noonday Collection to purchase their products upon completion of their training.

Welcoming friends Mary-Catherine Lader, Melanie and Marissa Usakokol, Santiago Sedaca, Steve Beck, Peb Jackson and housemates Celine and Dar to Rwanda.

Facilitating adoptions for two Rwandan children.

Weekly Sunday worship and fellowship times at our home.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful New Year!

1 comment:

Fresh Start said...

Thank you for sharing your life with me. It is an honor to know you and Dano and watch as you raise your children to know Jesus... and bring Jesus everywhere you go. Blessed are the feet of him who brings good news. Love, Andrea