Monday, December 21, 2009

Pictures

Here's the house where we stayed while on vacation.

The mountains around Clarens, South Africa are beautiful. I enjoyed watching this big anvil shaped thunderhead form at sunset. The mountains in the background are in Lesotho.

Thabiso loves driving his "taxi." Kaitlyn enjoys going along for the ride.
Maybe we'll put some more pix up soon, but we've been busy.

Miracles, Blessings, & Providence

Over the last several weeks it seems like we've been especially blessed by God. Here's a few things that we want to praise the Lord for:

Recently we've had to go to South Africa quite a bit. November and December are busy months at the border of Lesotho. It's not unusual for the lines to get your passport stamped to be an hour long this time of year. Several times recently when we had deadlines to meet, God providentially arranged for us to get through the border quickly.

One Friday afternoon when I was hurry to get back to Lesotho for the Bible School, there was a very long line. I took all our passports and was planning to call Steph and the girls when I got near the front of the line. I had only waited a few minutes when a police man came to the man about 5 people in front of me and told everyone from that man back to follow him in a line. He led us down to another office quite a ways from where we were parked. I knew Steph would not be able to find us there, but the immigration official kindly stamped all four passports saying she had seen us many times at the border. We got through the border in about 10 minutes instead of 60!

The first week of December we had a meeting in Ladybrand, doctors' appointments in Bloemfontein, then we took a little vacation. We were planning to be in South Africa nine days, but we can only get a 7 day visa for South Africa. On our way from Bloem to our vacation, we intended to go back into Lesotho and then stamp back into South Africa to get another seven days. That day I wasn't feeling well, and we completely forgot to stop by Lesotho on the way. I didn't think of it again until I was standing in the line to stamp out of South Africa having overstayed our visas by two days. As I stood in the line I prayed for God to work some kind of a miracle. Normally at best the police will open a file which takes a long time and often they fine people as much as $100 per day. There were two immigration officials on duty. I could see the first one and knew that I didn't want to go to her. I got in the line for the other window without knowing who was working there. Miraculously, it was one of the border post managers whose wife attends the church in Mauersnek and serves on the school board. He normally works in an office somewhere and almost never stamps passports. I doesn't attend church, but is very friendly and helpful to us missionaries. I told him what happened and he just said "No problem." It was clearly a miracle that he was stamping passports at the window I "happened" to choose!

Last Thursday when we were in Ladybrand we took some plates of Christmas goodies to a few friends there. I went to a place of business to arrange with one of the owners to visit her after work and give her the plate. When I walked in she greeted me and before I could arrange with her she said she was so glad were in town; she had something at her home she wanted to give us. I told her I had come because we also had something for her. In the evening we visited for a bit, gave her the plate of goodies, and she proceeded to fill our cool box with about 25 pounds of beef--steaks, ground beef, sausage, soup bones, etc. We are SO blessed!

So you can see that God is at work in our lives. We are humbled and very grateful for His providence, miracles, and blessings. We are experiencing the wonder of Immanuel!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's been a LONG time since we've put anything on our blog. That should be some indication that it's been a busy few weeks. Here's a little idea of what we've been up to.
The big event this month was Kaitlyn's fourth birthday. She chose to go to the zoo in Bloemfontein. Her favorite animals were not the monkeys and lions but the snakes and eagles! We invited Aunt Muriel Louw (the lady we stayed with when Steph and Kristell were in the hospital) to go along with us. Uncle Attie was away teaching agriculture. We had a lot of fun!
Kristell is growing and getting more fun every day. She weighs more than 11lbs now. She doesn't like to lay on her tummy which is good motivation for her to turn over. She's succeeded several times now. Steph is almost sure she was trying to laugh last night. This morning she tried again, but she just can't seem to get the sound out. It's cute to watch!


Of course Steph's main thing in life is being Mommy to two girls. Kristell is a bit more fussy than Kaitlyn was, so Steph is always busy. Somehow she managed to do this butterfly birthday cake for Kaitlyn between everything else. It turned out very nice.

The big project in my life lately has been working on the tabernacle at Ha Matala. There was a group of six volunteers that helped on the project, so I mostly had to coordinate things and make sure materials were there. We had several really hard days of work together, and the project is on hold for the moment waiting for more money. We hope to finish up at least one side before Christmas. Being field director also comes with its challenges and responsibilities. Life is never dull for sure!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Week In Review

It's not often that I (Glenn) have free Saturdays. Usually there's either a meeting or a funeral to attend. Last week was an exception, though. So we all worked in the garden. Steph's mom left money to buy flowers for a flower bed along the sunny side of the house. We put in marigolds, petunias, moss rose, alysum, snap dragons and a couple others. A lot of them will either reseed themselves or survive the mild winters here. It looks nice. Thanks, Mom!


My major focus right now is the tabernacle at Ha Matala. Between money that came in through Hope International Missions and money raised by the church in Lesotho, we have enough to build most of one side. I think as people see progress they will be encouraged to give more. We poured the foundation on Friday and hope to start laying the blocks Wednesday next week.


Kaitlyn will turn four next week. Her big interest is still reading and writing. The other day I coasted through a stop sign on a back road in Ladybrand. She read the sign and made sure I was aware of my mistake! It seems like she's grown up so much in the last 4 months. Sometimes she acts so mature, like an 8-year-old, then a few minutes later she has dissolved into tears like a two-year-old.


Kristell is almost 15 weeks old now. She picked up a cold a little over a week ago. It seemed to just hang on and we were afraid it was going to settle into her lungs, and she would get worse. The doctor prescribed antibiotics, and she's mostly over it now. She's getting more alert and putting on a lot of weight. She started out almost off the bottom of the growth charts, but now she's around the 30th percentile. Thanks for all your prayers!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Summer Time

This is the first year that Steph's roses have really bloomed well. We've been enjoying them a lot!

Our Girls

Kristell's smiles are coming easier. She's more fussy than Kaitlyn was, but she's slowly getting into a routine, so things are going better.

Kaitlyn has really grown a lot over the last few months. It's hard to believe that our little girl has gotten so big! Her main interest is reading right now. She tries to read the cereal boxes, books, signs, and everything. She gets really frustrated most of the time, but every once in a while she'll figure out another word.

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Team Meetings

This last week Mr and Mrs. Howard were here for their annual Regional Director's visit to the field. We really enjoyed being with them and want to thank God for His presence and help in the different meetings we held.

All of the missionaries were together for a team meeting at the house where Philip and Amrie live. We had a good time together and made some important decisions. We also enjoyed a DELICIOUS meal of pork ribs provided by S.W. van der Merwe. He slaughtered some pigs he had been raising, and we were blessed to enjoy some of the meat.

In Lesotho Mr. Howard spoke at a pastors' seminar on the topic of marriage and the home. His practical advice and solid use of Scripture were a blessing to the pastors during a time when Satan is especially attacking the home and people's marriages.

Thanks to all of you who prayed for us during this important time. We really appreciate your support!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smile!


Kristell is starting to smile a lot more, but they're hard to catch with a camera. Here's the tail end of one.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rainy Day

A lot has happened since I last updated our blog! I'm not sure where to start and what to leave out.

A big thing right now is that the rainy season has begun. Saturday night and Sunday during the day we got 7/8 of an inch of rain. During last night (Sunday night) we got 2 inches. I wouldn't be surprised if it has rained another 1 1/2 during the day today. It's a soggy world out there!

As you can see from the pictures, Kristell is growing and doing well. She still sleeps a lot and she still thinks that night is the best time to be awake to socialize. Last night she gave me a couple really good smiles. Steph has gotten a few, too. Fortunately when the lights go off, she settles down pretty quick and sleeps again. I know Steph will be really glad when November comes so that she can let her sleep longer than four hours between feedings. The doctor said we must religiously wake her every three hours in the day and every four hours at night to feed her for the first three months. Murphy's law says that by then she will be so used to eating every 3 hours that she'll wake us up instead of us waking her, but at least she's healthy!

Another big thing is that Steph's mom is here with us. She has been a HUGE help with getting adjusted to another child. We've really enjoyed being with her, and all the food she's cooked has been delicious! I don't know how we would have made it with out her! She leaves a week from today. I'm sure Dad will be glad to have her back, but we're going to miss her a lot!

Kaitlyn will miss her a lot, too! Today the two of them baked peanut butter cookies. Grandma has also been helping Kaitlyn about every day with some kind of preschool activity. Today they painted with water colors.

I don't have any ministry-related pictures to add right now, but I've been busy. One of the things that I'm enjoying at the moment is teach a hermeneutics class (proper Bible interpretation) at the weekend Bible School. It is very challenging because of the vast difference in educational experience of the students. Some are in college, others only went to school for a few years. Also there are virtually no Bible reference materials in Sesotho, not even a concordance.

We have been holding prayer meetings every night here at Matukeng in preparation for tent meetings and evangelism in the surrounding villages. God has been working in all of our lives, and it's exciting to see the congregation growing spiritually. As a result of the focused prayer meetings, several back sliders have come back to the Lord.

Last week we took Mom to the Pilanesberg Game Preserve up towards Pretoria and Rustenburg. We had a really nice time and saw lots of incredible animals. We were especially blessed to see a large male lion, but he was so far away that we couldn't see much more than an outline even with binoculars. From the game preserve we went over to Pretoria and Johannesburg to take care of some mission-related business there.
Here is Kristell's two-month-old picture.

These black-backed jackals are scavenging a rhino or elephant carcass.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Praise Report

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On Monday the eye doctor gave us a good report on Kristell's eyes. The doctor said it's not unusual for babies who were on ventilators to have some unusual blood vessels and problems with the optic nerve, especially when they had some brain bleeds. We praise God for this miracle!Kaitlyn loves her little sister, and they are enjoying playing together. Kristell often will stop crying when Kaitlyn sings to her.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Besides caring for Kristell and Kaitlyn, we've been busy trying to get caught up with life in general. Our house is gradually getting back to normal. Getting all the mission-related things caught up will take a bit longer, but we're making progress.

Yesterday (the 15th of December) was the day Steph's doctor had tentatively scheduled the c-section for Kristell. It's hard to believe that Kristell was already seven weeks and a day old!

Last week on Thursday Kristell had her 6 week check up. The doctor gave us a very positive, encouraging report. She has gained on average 43 grams a day since she got out of the hospital. At her appointment she weighed 2.9 kg. (approx 6lbs 6 oz.). All of her reactions and reflexes were normal and, best of all, the doctor said he didn't see even subtle signs of any brain damage. We are SO grateful! The pediatrician wants to see her again at three months after she has another brain MRI.
Kristell is filling out well, and even has the beginnings of a double chin. She's kind of in between newborn size clothes and the preemie size. We are so thankful she is doing well! Thank you for praying for us!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Uncle Joe left on Friday. We really miss him!

Kristell was six weeks old on Monday.
She's gaining weight well!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Home Sweet Home

We're finally back to Lesotho after almost two months away! It feels good to be home, but I think we're experiencing a little culture shock after living in an upscale retirement community in a big city for a while. We miss the electricity and especially the washing machine!


We're really going to miss Grandpa and Grandma Louw. They were SO good to us!

Sorry that it's been a while since we've put anything on our blog. Here's a few "one month old" pictures.
Kristell is doing so well and really putting on weight. You can see how much her legs have fattened up below. The doctor said she should gain an average of 20-30 grams a day. On average, she's been putting on a little more than that since she got home from the hospital. On Monday she weighed 2260 grams. I think that's almost exactly five pounds.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Addicted?

When Kristell was still in the hospital, we noticed that one of her daily medicines was caffeine--and lots of it, too, every morning! I was curious and looked into it on the internet today. This article provides a good summary of what I learned.

So go ahead and enjoy your coffee. Kristell had the equivalent of 6 cups every morning!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Home at Last


When Kristell was first born one of the nurses told us we would need lots of patience and lots of prayer while she was in the hospital. She also said that we should count it a miracle if she gets out of the hospital before her due date (September 24.) Thank you so much for lots of prayer. We have seen a miracle!The doctor was satisfied with her progress and discharged her even though she hasn't gained back to her birth weight of 2000 grams. (I think she weighed 1940 grams this morning.)


Shhhhh, baby. Don't cry!


The NICU and pediatric high care unit were all painted up with these wall murals. It was a cute place, but we are SO glad to be home with Kristell! We plan to spend a week or two with still here in Bloemfontein with the Louws.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Progress

Kristell gained 50 grams yesterday, and the doctor is pleased with her progress. Unless something changes, he plans to discharge her tomorrow. We can't wait to have our little girl home! Thanks for praying for us!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kaitlyn's Favorite Day

Sunday is the only day Kaitlyn can go into the high care unit at the hospital, so of course they are her favorite days. Today she really enjoyed getting to hold her little sister for the first time.
Kristell is doing well. The doctor said she is "thriving" now. All she needs now is to gain weight. She weights 1870 grams and has to weight 2000 grams before she can get out of the hospital. On average the doctor expects her to gain 20 grams a day, so we're guessing that it will be around a week before she gets out of the hospital. Yesterday she ended up getting two baths, so she didn't gain any weight. (A bath uses up a lot of a preemie's energy just to stay warm.)

Thanks SO MUCH for your prayers!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kristell's First Bath

Kristell did NOT enjoy her first bath! She didn't mind having her hair washed quite so much.
Even though she didn't like the water very well, she was so content and alert when it was all over. A good scrub lightened her hair color quite a bit and brought out the reddish tinge in it more.
Thanks so much for your prayers! God is answering. Kristell is growing stronger and doing better every day. We hope that she might get to go home sometime next week, but she still needs to gain some weight.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

MRI Results

The doctor told Steph this morning that the MRI showed two very small bleeds in Kristell's brain. He is 95% sure she won't have noticeable brain damage. If there is any problem it will likely be with her fine motor skills. We are praising the Lord that nothing too negative turned up. Thanks for praying!

A few people have asked how a newborn baby drinks from a cup. Here's one of the nurses helping Kristell drink.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This morning Kristell went for a brain MRI to determine what and if there is brain damage from the asphyxia she suffered at birth. We haven't heard what the results are yet. Yesterday morning she pulled her own feeding tube out, so she's only getting nutrition from nursing and from a cup the times when Steph can't be at the hospital. She gained 10 grams today. Thanks for your prayers!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Stretch

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Somebody wanted a picture of Kristell with something in it to give a better idea of how big she is. Here's a couple. The Leatherman is about 4 1/2 inches long.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spotlight on Kaitlyn

Today we took Kaitlyn to a park not too far from the hospital. It's an old park and it has a HUGE slide in it. Kaitlyn loved it! (So did Daddy and Mama!)
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Clothes at Last!

Yesterday Kristell was moved from the NICU to a neonatal high care unit. Now she gets to wear clothes! We looked in several stores in Bloemfontein trying to find clothes for preemies. There's not too much available, but we found a few cute things. This stage should only last a couple months, so she doesn't need much.Please pray that she will master the hard work of nursing. I think the stress of the move set her back a little, but also her sucking reflex hasn't developed yet, so she's still not quite sure what to do to get her nutrition. She has a feeding tube in again just to make sure she doesn't loose weight.