My parents have come up from Malawi, my sister Brenda and her husband Ben are here from Mali, and my sister Beth is back from a brief visit to US. My kids are eating up the extra attention. Yesterday, it was home-made, potato-stamped wrapping paper and a Christmas tree piñata (courtesy of their uncle Ben). Today it was Christmas cookies; tomorrow, it will be ginger bread houses. Christi’s happy for the people to help create a festive atmosphere too. I’m afraid I’m not very good at helping create festivity. Tomorrow it will be ginerI’d like to think that I’m more of an infrastructure and logistics kind of a guy – focused on taking care of kids in the middle of the night, airport runs, Band-Aids, comforting crying kids, tracking down recipes on the internet, taking kids jogging, outings, etc.
This morning two of my parents former students from the African Bible College stopped by – Alpheus from Malawi and Thomas from Liberia – both at NEGST now. They enjoyed comparing their experiences at both places, and Thomas regaled us all with Liberian folk tales.
One kind of sad (for us) family announcement is that Joy won’t be returning to us next January. Her parents have decided to send her to the boarding school after all. The school was founded by their mission and has extremely high academic standards. Patrick’s sister is now running the home where the kids stay, and all the kids are learning to do things like wash their own clothes and develop many of the skills their missionary parents have. It will help Joy get the kind of character, education, and skills she would get if she was living with them.
It makes a lot of sense, but we will miss Joy. Ultimately, I think we helped each other through some transitions.Before Joy lived with us, she would just glow about living at NEGST and the thought of staying with us. She clearly enjoyed herself, but I think the last six months have helped her realize that no place is the same without her parents and sister, and there is a lot to be said for her own Kenyan way of life – attractive as a Western lifestyle looks from the outside. We think she will be a lot more open to boarding school now than she would have been six months ago.
Before Joy lived with us, our kids seemed more agitated. Leila, especially, seemed to be suffering middle child syndrome – often angry (especially at her older sister.) Joy was a great friend to all three of our kids. I believe she helped them all learn how to play better together; she brought peace. I know there are lots of other factors (Leila prayed hard for contentment), but I’m sure she played a big part in helping them become more happy and content children.
We will look forward to having Joy stay with us during some of the school vacations when her parents are in Mozambique.
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Anyway, the next couple of weeks, I’m going to focus on enjoying family for Christmas. I’ll see you next year. 😉
Enjoy a good family Christmas.