The night before Thanksgiving, Brandon mentioned how he was craving a cinnamon roll. I don’t know how familiar you are with Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), but we do not have an abundance of cinnamon rolls here, and I’m not the best baker. Brandon quickly realized the mistake of voicing a craving out loud that can’t be satisfied, so we tried our best not to think about the doughy, sweet goodness we missed so much. A few hours later, a fellow missionary texted an invite for a ladies’ Thanksgiving morning coffee with homemade cinnamon rolls. It goes without saying that I went and of course, I brought back a roll for Brandon.
Isn’t this who God is? While he doesn’t always give us exactly what we want, sometimes He surprises us by answering un-prayed prayers. Even small ones, just to show He’s with us.
The last few months have been difficult- in October, we uncovered a hidden betrayal by some local staff members. It was a shock and we’ve been dealing with the fallout ever since. This is our first update in a while because we’ve been struggling with how much work has fallen to us now that those staff are gone. Immediately after this news, we had a staff member unexpectedly pass away and a handful of others decided they will not return to their roles next year- adding additional pressure.
However, God, in all His goodness, has made this into an opportunity for positive change and renewal. AIM restructured a bit, and Brandon is now the head of a new department- Partner Relations. This means he is still over IT & Marketing, but also now Child Record Administration. We’ve felt a fresh air come into the department and the office in general, and we are now even looking forward to what next year will bring.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
Romans 8:26-28 (The Message)
I’m so thankful that this is who God is: working all things (even the bad) into something that can be called good. I think our trust and gratefulness have only increased in this season! Granted, we are still physically and emotionally tired, but our long Christmas break has already brought some respite.
This week the office has been closed, and we were able to drive down to the beach with our intern, Sarah, for a few days. The roads were a little crazy, but everything went well and we got to see some hippos!
Next week, we will fly to Cape Town for a family vacation/baby-moon.
Yes, you heard right, our last big trip before we are a family of four! I’m due in May and plan on giving birth in South Africa. We are almost halfway through the pregnancy and so thankful everything is going well.
We would appreciate your prayers for the pregnancy, a restful holiday, and our mission work to start well in 2019.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support- we couldn’t have made it through this year without all of you! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
See some of Brandon’s video work here: https://give.adventures.org/buildingswaziland
Melinda helped lead Riverwood's December team at Enaleni CarePoint.
Brandon helped our staff with Christmas homestead visits, bringing food to families that would struggle otherwise. Photo used with permission.
Can you spot Brandon? He was helping get a good shot so a partner see that their money was spent well.
Zach and Brandon building a sand fort at the beach in St. Lucia, South Africa.
Hippo Boat Tour
Zach showing how he eats like a hippo. River boat tour in St. Lucia, South Africa.