Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Thoughts on 2014 going into 2015


But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; 
I will tell of all your deeds. {Psalm 73:28} 

At the start of the year, this post card was given to us by the International fellowship group we're a part of. On it is printed the Jahreslosung for 2014. I read over it and gave it a little thought back then, and then the year took off. 

It's been a crazy year - I got a job, two in fact. We made more friends and were knitted tighter into our church body. Malcolm was busy with moving buildings at university while trying to discover amazing things in the lab. We travelled to Berlin, Limburg, Karlsminde, Kassel, Heidelberg, and Cologne, as well as Vienna. We made our little home ours and made friends with people in our building. Malcolm turned 26 (his first birthday in Germany) and I turned 25. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary. We celebrated being in Germany for a year. We prayed for sick parents and grandparents. We were visited by my parents. We were able to come home and visit South Africa and see our families again. We experienced God's mercy and goodness over and over. 

I guess one of the biggest things to happen, simply because of it's far-reaching effects, is the fire in our building in June. With a fire directly under our apartment and damaging all the wiring and coming close to the gas-system, we're aware of how fortunate we are that nothing exploded. The smoke that rose and filled the 12 story building and trapped many people on their balconies, could easily have killed people who were asleep at 4:30 am. But the situation was redeemed, God protected us and his mercy was so evident. Despite not being able to go back home, we were so well looked after as friends and their families and people from our church who we'd never met, took us in and looked after us. We were then fortunate to get a temporary apartment from student housing until we could go back. We now know that next year we need to move, so we prayed and asked God that he'd keep us in Richtsberg, and He answered. Things are looking good for us to be moving in February, though you can pray with us that the contract is okay and that the process goes smoothly since we haven't been around to sign the contract yet. 

I often went back to our apartment to fetch bits and pieces out of it, and this postcard was stuck on the front door, always the last thing I'd see before locking up behind me. It reminded me that what really mattered was that God was with us; it is good to be near Him. He has been our refuge this last year, and His deeds are unbelievably good. He brought us back to see our families now over Christmas, and has never once forsaken us this last year. 

Looking forward to 2015, the verse is 



I'm excited about his verse. I'm excited about the people that God is preparing for us to welcome. I'm excited to see what "welcome" means and how it'll bring glory to God in 2015. 

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 in pictures


Cut my own hair // nailed stuff into our walls // snow // love from home


rainbows over Richtsberg // flowers through the thawed out ground // a walk to Moischt


Planted our potplants // tulips at the market // celebrating our first wedding anniversary // coffee on our balcony


Travelling with mum and dad // Malcolm's Birthday // exploring Marburg with mum and dad // wheels! 



Spring flowers // a new job // surprises left by mum // celebrating a year in Germany // exploring on bikes



A trip to Berlin with friends // the start of the world cup soccer (GERMANY!) // a decorated bedroom // the building on fire 



our building's fire making headlines // reunions with fellow residents // a trip to Wiesbaden // a looser definition of home 


Kinderferienwoche // a rather large collection of keys // the view over Marburg // a Summer holiday at the Baltic sea (with jackets on...?) 


A welcome to a new temporary home // my piece of Africa // sunflower picking for my birthday // the start of autumn // Petra visiting 


An inspiring conference // a trip to Heidelberg // visiting Vienna // Praying for Richtsberg 24/7


Cath and Wes' visit // the start of teaching English // blue skies in November?? // Advent 


Celebrating Christmas with friends // the lights of Marburg // my wedding dress still fits! // Jesus' birth // Sunny South Africa

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas x2

Just like in 2012, we celebrated Christmas twice this year - Christmas eve in eshowe and Christmas day in Durban. 

The day before and the day of Christmas eve we prepared things slowly for the evening - an exciting menu with Gammon, chicken Mandalay, Capreze salad, and Butternut-Cranberry-Feta salad, with Dessert of Cranberry-nut-marmalade-cake. Veronique also taught us how to play Skip-Bo, a game I've been wanting to learn to play since Bailie posted about it on her Instagram account - it's a new favourite!

In the evening, when all was ready, we went to church and celebrated Jesus. We came home, had supper together, and then sang carols, read the account of Jesus' birth, and then unwrapped gifts. It was such a special, relaxed, and loving Christmas eve.



On Christmas morning we drove to Durban (provided with left over Gammon rolls for breakfast on the road!) and were just in time to meet family at church. It was a really great time at church and Jesus was glorified... what a King to celebrate!
After church we came home and got changed into something cooler since the Temperatures in Durban were soaring definitely over 35 degrees C. The Turkey was cooked on the rotisserie on the braai and despite the heat, we had a delicious lunch with roast potatoes and the works. The afternoon was spent staying cool and trying not to move too much, and then we went to Gran and Grandpa for dessert.




All in all, it was great to have a sunny and warm Christmas again, full of family and food and the good news that Immanuel, God is with us. 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Pietermaritzburg

Last weekend, we headed to PMB. I spent my first 5 years of life in the city before moving to eShowe, and then returned there for university, where Malcolm and I met. We both really love the city, and have missed it's old red brick architecture and grand old houses.
It was so good to go back and see how things have changed and to see people we've missed.






We started our visit with dinner with friends at Quincy's (a restuarant where we often went for dessert, and where our parents met each other for the first time). On Sunday we went to church, NCF North Site, where we had the chance to catch up with a few old aquaintances and reflect on how far God has brought us since we were last there. 
That afternoon we drove out to the Midlands, to Piggly Wiggly and enjoyed the sunshine and country feeling.






From there, we went in search of World's View. As is somewhat of a tradition, we missed the turnoff and did some offroading before getting to it. It was a little hazy, but the view over PMB is quite impressive and one realises just how expansive the city really is.




We went for coffee at the mall with a friend and then to the evening service at NCF South Site where we again got to catch up with old friends.

Monday we were well tanked up with coffee as we dropped in on a few people. I got to see the DVD of the ballet concert this year where girls I had taught danced in, and it was SO amazing to see how they've progressed and grown so much!

Finally, after saying goodbye to Chon, with whom we'd been staying, we headed back to Durban.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Durban, South Africa

We've had a wonderful time in Durban visiting our family.

Besides being at home and doing every day things, we've also enjoyed the city a bit.
We visited the Durban beach front, strolled along the Promenade, admired the old architecture, had breakfast at the harbour, explored the Essenwood market, and walked along the Umhlanga beach front.

DURBAN






DURBAN HARBOUR


DURBAN BEACH FRONT





ESSENWOOD MARKET







UMHLANGA BEACH