December 11, 2009


Okay, if there is such an award...I think I would win the category for Most Absent Blogger of 2009. I think I have posted some 4 or 5 blogs this whole year. Yikes!

Everyone knows that transitioning from one kid to two brings a lot of changes. I was using this reasoning as my excuse for not blogging more. However, we were blessed with a relatively easy transition and Miesha really loves her little brother. She is always trying to help me by giving me his pacifier/dummy or patting his back when he is crying.

I told myself that I would get back into the habit of blogging once baby Titus started sleeping through the night. He started sleeping through the night around 1.5 months which is SO AWESOME! Now, I use another excuse for not getting my blogging current. I go back and forth between these excuses: a month ago we transitioned from the USA back to Africa and we are tired from the LONG (40 hr) journey and still have jet lag...or we are having yet another lightening storm and I am going to turn off my computer so it doesn't get fried by lightening...or we are still living out of suitcases (8 months now!) while housesitting for friends and I'll become a better blogger once we are settled into our own space again in early January.

Anyway - lots has been going on, so I thought I would catch you all up in one fell swoop again.

Since I blogged last - the very most important event was the arrival of our new baby boy - Titus Glen. He was born via c-section on August 24th and is the sweetest little boy ever. He was average weight (7 lbs) at birth, but proceeded to quickly grow into his strong name by almost doubling in weight his first month. He was 12 lbs at month one and 14 lbs month 2. He is a very happy little eater. As I mentioned before, he is a fantastic sleeper and already sleeps 8-9 hrs a night for me which is SO WONDERFUL! He is good natured, laughs hysterically at his parents when they make funny faces at him, tolerates his sister, has a bit of a snore, and sometimes even laughs in his sleep.

We had some wonderful memory making with family and friends in the States during our final two months after Titus was born. Here are a few picures:

When we arrived, we spent some quality time looking for a rental house. Through friend connections, we found an amazing house, for an amazing price and we will be moving in in early January. We are praising God for his provision. Also, the place we are housesitting for is available to us to use until January 9, so the timing is perfect!

On November 29th, we participated in the church service for World AIDS Day in Ennerdale with a very special group of friends. Pastor Wessie and his Compassion Team gave a heart wrenching overview of AIDS statistics in South Africa, complete with personal testimonies from the congregation and a powerpoint presentation showing all the projects where people are being served a helped by their church and ministry partners. OC Africa was recognized as a ministry partner as there are 3 missionary families from our team who all contribute to serving in Ennerdale and Finetown. (Finetown is the impoverished community next to Ennerdale where there is 80% HIV infection rate and where the majority of the Compassionate Care Team’s efforts are focused) In 2008 we took our short term team to Finetown for a week of service doing work in a pre-school, assisting at an orphanage, doing house visits to encourage and give food parcels, doing grief conferences, teaching first aid, and more. It was a blessing to participate! The few pictures we took turned out blurry, sorry.

On Friday we sponsored a Christmas party for the AIDS group I have been involved with in the past. This group is our “test group” for the Bible study lessons I have been writing. I haven’t seen the group since last year’s party since early last year we were preparing for furlough, packing up our rental house, my pregnancy with Titus made me exhausted, and we were in the states for 6+ months. I was so excited to see everyone again! In the past the party was at the church, but this year the venue changed since Pastor Bhembe left the senior pastor position at the church to attend Bible School full time. We arrived at the party destination an hour in advance to set everything up and then waited and waited and WAITED. Dan went with Pastor B to pick up a few people who needed a ride and then we waited and WAITED some more. About four hours later the party finally started, but the 25 people that I had planned the party for still had not arrived. Then we were told the lady who is in charge of the program, who I have worked very closely with in the past, was in the hospital. The van who went to pick up all my sick friends from the church didn’t come while we were there. After about an hour of singing with the local kids and a few grandmothers, Dan and I had to leave to pick up Miesha and Titus from a friend’s house who was babysitting them. The food packets that we made and the feast of a lunch we prepared were still on the agenda, but we were not able to stay any longer. We got a text message later the next day saying my friends from the HIV support group finally did arrive after we left and that everything was a big blessing to them. I have to be honest and say I was a bit disappointed since I wanted to see everyone and to celebrate with them, but obviously God knows best. I hope to get to see them in the New Year. Please pray for THELMA who is my friend who is in the hospital. They don’t know what is wrong with her yet, but she has been unable to keep food down for a week now.

Last Saturday was our Thanksgiving Feast/End of Year Party with our church. We celebrated how God has worked in our church, the growth of our members (we have gone from 80 people to over 300 in the two years Dan and I have been attending!) and there was a beautiful presence of thankfulness. We took a picture of the “small" group that we co-led the six months we were here and I have attached the photo here. About a third of the group wasn’t there for the photo, so you’ll only see about 30 of the 50 of us.

Tomorrow is Miesha's 2nd birthday! She is an amazing little girl and we love her so much. We are grateful to God for the gift of her presence in our family. Here are a few of the many faces of Miesha:

Thank you for your love and prayers for our family.

I hope to be blogging more in the New Year...I'll make it my New Year's Resolution!


August 21, 2009

my version of nesting

Our baby boy is due to arrive in 3 days and I am doing my version of nesting...catching up on Facebook, blogging, missionary correspondence, emails, scheduling stuff, etc. Nesting is very different when you are living in other people's spaces!

We had a GREAT time at the beach and for those of you who are my FB friends, pop over there to see some super pics. Here are some highlights:

This is Miesha seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time and sticking her feet in the frigid water. Such a cutie!

At Long Beach...checking out the International Kite Festival. It was far less cheesy than I thought it would be. Some of those kites were AMAZING and HUGE. Miesha's kite was neither amazing, nor huge, but we made it and it cost $2 - who can beat that? BTW, the Nemo kite in the background behind them - we saw it for sale in a store for $600 and in the air there, it is one of the "medium ish" ones. Yikes!

Miesha at the bubble booth
Stay tuned for some super cute baby boy Hartley pics early next week! Yippee!!!

quick update

Hello all,
We are counting down the days and hours now until our baby boy appears! At dinner with some supporters Friday evening they asked how we knew exactly when he was coming and we were teasing them saying that we were so busy we told the Lord it would be helpful if He could fit him into our schedule on a Monday evening and God said that worked for Him too (smile) …the reality is we actually have a scheduled c-section on Aug 24th. So close now!!! This is the part of every pregnancy where the mom wants to fit a fast forward button to skip this uncomfortable final phase and get to the part where you can hold the baby. We have plans to take Miesha with us to the coast for a few days to celebrate our 9th anniversary this coming week and we are hoping he’ll wait to make his appearance until our scheduled date. Dan and I were chuckling as we realized tonight that in the three and a half months that we have been in the USA, we have constantly been living with people/family with the exception of one night when we arrived a day before our hosts came home. We are really looking forward to having just the 3 of us in a beach house for a couple days. We also think it is important to have some quality time with Miesha before baby #2 comes and turns her world upside down.

Miesha has caught yet another flu bug and when I took her to the Dr to check things out, he said she has a combination of clogged tear ducts, a sinus infection, a nasty cough, and it seems her 2 year molars are coming in early…all of which are making her pretty miserable! Please pray that she’ll fight these bugs off soon and that she’ll be well by the time baby arrives.
Dan is enjoying a few days break from working on the house and is requesting prayer for his back. Now that he has slowed down a bit, he realizes that the project is causing an old back injury to throb a bit more than is comfortable.

I am doing good generally, with only the usual aches and pains from the final weeks of pregnancy to complain about.

Dan keeps telling us about the fun he had coaching at the kid’s evangelism soccer camp and he did a great job preaching last week (on a very challenging assigned passage – Gen 29-30!) – thanks for your prayers.


July 29, 2009

It has been a LONG.......time

I can't believe that it has been 4 months since I have written on my blog. I must confess that in the past, I have often copied and pasted other missionary letters I have written for the mission here since the news was practically the same. It seems that even that has been too much work!

Here is the last 4 months in a nutshell:

Africa to USA: we packed up our rental house and flew to the states the last week of April. It was a relatively uneventful flight and Miesha was a good little traveler.

Pregnancy update: we now have one month left till baby boy Hartley arrives. We have mostly agreed on a name, but we are taking our top three choices to the hospital and we'll see what he looks like when he arrives. He will come via c-section and it will be at Providence Portland near my parent's home in Portland, OR. I am still TIRED a lot, but most days I can usually sneak in an afternoon nap. Thanks mom!

Furlough travel: We have visited our WONDERFUL sponsoring churches and have put 14,000 miles on the car that was so graciously loaned to us. I deliberately have not counted how many beds we've slept in, but most of them have been really comfortable. We are mostly traveling back and forth between Seattle and Portland now, although we have a trip to the coast, a trip to ID, and a trip to Canada on the schedule before we fly back to Africa. Miesha now gets fussy when she sees me pulling out the duffle bags. I totally understand how she feels!

Building project: Part of the reason we chose to come back to the USA in summer was so that Dan could help his brother do a house remodel. They are working crazy hours and almost have the 3rd story framed.

Things we love about USA: times with our families, family pictures, chatting IN PERSON with so many friends, connecting with friends at our churches here, helping with camps/VBS, summertime heat (except for this week; sheesh... 105F!!!), ice cream, Mexican food, root beer, and more.

Things we miss about Africa: our church, our community group, my mom's group, our friends and missionary teammates, our pets, having our own space and privacy, cheap movies and meals out (date nights!), getting to do short term teams, our ministry partners, and more!

Hard to believe that our time here is already half over!

If you are lucky, I may add pictures in the next couple months. lol!

April 19, 2009

April update

We are still recovering from the 7 days that we invested into our church’s youth conference and family camp. On Monday, it took about 6 hours of driving to get there since all of us in our convoy were pulling ridiculously heavy trailers with sound equipment, freezers, camp stoves, portable showers and more. The place is actually a farm that God told a family in our denomination to purchase and convert into a conference center. Last year for the youth camp, it was in the middle of construction and kids slept on cement floors in the converted stable. (not ideal!) This year, it was much improved, but they weren’t quite ready to handle the 600 people that descended on them for Easter weekend. We had to bring in loads and loads of supplies to make the venue workable.

On Tuesday, they put Dan in charge and by the end of the day, the open field on the farm did resemble a proper campsite complete with the portable showers and makeshift toilets, electrical outlets, lights on poles, and generators to service the 230 campers. (We stayed at a nearby B&B since we vividly remembered how challenging it was the year before and frankly, at 5 months pregnant, anything that isn’t my own bed feels like roughing it!)

Dan worked approximately 14 hr days all week to get the campsites ready, the sound system up and running (in two different places), playing drums on the worship team, and then trouble shooting all the problems that cropped up all week. J He was highly commended for his contribution and our pastor told me that there was no way they could’ve pulled off this high level of an event without Dan’s help. Our assistant pastor said that all the men are happy Dan is going home to the states for six months so that their wives will stop placing such unrealistic expectations on them based on what they saw Dan doing!

At the youth camp, there were approximately 150 students ranging in age from 13-30 and they met with the Lord in a powerful way! Many committed their lives to Christian service and all were challenged to live out their faith in a way that would practically impact their communities for Christ. This is an applicable message for people all over the world, but especially here in Africa.

At the family camp 450 more people joined the students till we had 597 people walking around the property! We didn’t fit into the gorgeous conference hall where the students had met, so the church hired a tent that could seat 500 people underneath and we all enjoyed the Lord’s presence outside! There were two sessions a day and most lasted somewhere between 3-4 hours. The worship would last for 1.5-2 hrs and then the teaching was after that! We are used to this length of service now, having been here over 3 years, but I am telling you – the time seemed to fly by! It is incredibly liberating not to have to worry about time and just enjoy God’s presence together. We were challenged and encouraged and loved the extra time with church friends as we are transitioning out for a season.

I am SO sorry that I don’t have pictures to show you in this letter, but Dan is out of town and took the camera with my camp pics with him. I’ll post some on facebook when I get a chance.

Dan is in the Eastern Cape this weekend with his friend Rob on a hunting trip. Rob’s relative is a professional hunter and was happy to let Dan come for a couple days to go exploring and hunting with them for free. It was Dan’s birthday on the 18th and he is having a fabulous time. He text messaged me around 9am on his birthday and he had already shot a springbok. (see pic)

Talk about incredible birthday memories! (it isn’t too late to send him birthday wishes – ) Although as he was leaving he was stressing about all the things we still need to finish here around the house, this trip away will be restful and rejuvenating and just what he needs!

We get on a plane soon and we have been very blessed by all the friends surrounding us to help us pack and move things out of the house we have been renting. We can’t wait to rest with our families and to see all our friends!

Please pray for Miesha – our poor girl has been pretty sick since we’ve been home from camp. She was running a slight fever for two days, but I thought it was because she is in process of cutting 4 more teeth. On Thursday, about halfway through the day she broke out into a horrible rash on her torso and face. I took her to the Dr and they confirmed it was an unknown viral infection and that I should just try to make her comfortable until the virus runs its course. She was up lots of times during the night and this morning she vomited after her breakfast. I am hoping the Dr knows what she is talking about and it isn’t anything more serious. Please pray with us that Miesha will be restored to complete health again right away. It is challenging to pack with a sick little gal who needs to be held all the time.

Please pray that we’ll be able to find a family who will be willing to take care of our cats while we are gone.

We are in Swaziland Monday and Tuesday this week with Jasmine and with the Chomba family. Please pray we have an incredible time encouraging them.

Lastly and of most importance – please pray for South Africa this WEDNESDAY during the presidential elections. There is a ton of tension and there is always the potential for violence. Please pray for PEACE throughout the whole process.

Thank you! We can’t wait to see you all again soon.

Janell for us 3.5

PS. We had another ultrasound this last week and our baby is still a boy!

March 13, 2009

cat update

Okay, I haven't killed the cat yet...I gave him "grace" which was basically a one night extension before we held his execution trial. Last night after new flea powder and the familiar (more expensive) food, he actually was quiet all night long. No scratching on the door endlessly. No yowling.

Today I actually remembered why I used to like him so much. It is amazing what a good night's sleep will do for your perspective on life.

A good night's sleep...what a great idea. Even though it is only 8:46pm I think I am going to go to bed. It has already felt like a long day and I can always clean the house tomorrow. (except I say that every day...) lol.

March 12, 2009

I am famous...sorta

The other day I realized that a picture of me is on the home page of our mission agency's webpage.

Check it out! I am labeled "long term missions".

I couldn't possibly be wearing a more "missionary" outfit in that photo! We didn't want to offend the local chief that we were visiting for the first time, so I went ultra conservative.

I realize that I may be a bit behind the times fashion wise living over here for 3 years now, but I promise that isn't a true representation of my current closet. hee hee!

I hate my cat

I must preface this posting by saying I really do enjoy felines. With the exception of the years I was in college, I have always had a cat/cats in my life and I really do like them. I like their soft fur, playing games with them, having them sleep on me while I am watching movies or having a quiet time. They bring lots of joy into my life...until recently.

We own two cats here in Africa and their names are Pepsi and Cheeto. We named them after food we miss from the states, but lucky for us Pepsi (the soft drink) is now really easy to find. We still miss cheetos, esp the crunchy ones. They have the puffy cheetos here, but I swear to you when you open a bag, the smell is way too similar to a litter box smell. I promise, it is true. It isn't just my pregnancy nose. Dan totally agrees. GROSS.

All day today I have been comforting myself with all the different ways I could creatively kill my cat, Pepsi. Until this week, he has been my favorite cat I have ever owned in my life, but not anymore. He picked the wrong week to pick on me.

As most of you know, this pregnancy has been rough on me. I have been sick off and on and REALLY REALLY tired. Dan mentioned that he doesn't understand how someone can sleep so much and still be tired. Even though I am solidly in my 2nd trimester now, it still hasn't eased up much and I have to have at least one (if not two!) naps or serious caffine in order to make it through the day. I also sleep anywhere between 10-11 hrs a night. Making this little grapefruit sized person is wearing me out. I think part of it is my interrupted sleep: Miesha still gets up once a night for a bottle. (we are working on that going away soon!) Because of that, I still have "mommy ears" and wake up pretty easily with little noises, especially if it is her.

This week, the cats officially have fleas. It is bad, but we Frontlined them and they aren't scratching as much. We know they are uncomfortable, but we seriously have done all we can to help them there and they just have to tough it out now. Also, they have made it abundantly clear that they don't like the current (cheaper) food we have been buying for them by barely eating it and by taking every opportunity to regurgitate hairballs on my bath mats.

The icing on the cake is that Pepsi has started yowling and scratching on our bathroom door off and on throughout the night all week. Last night that blasted cat's scratching woke me up 7x. When my alarm went off this morning, I felt already that I was overdue for a nap.

If he is lucky, I won't kill him, but I might lock him outside for a few weeks or I might drop him off 6 weeks early to the family's house who is watching him while we are in the states. I might give him a swimming lesson in the deep end of our bath tub. I might drug him. hee!

Any other ideas?? (we don't have any guns here...)

Here is a photo of the two flea transporters sleeping (where they shouldn't be) on Miesha's changing table.

And here is a pic of the little cutie who I don't mind waking up at night for.

February 24, 2009

SO Tired

I think that if you looked up the definition of "Exhausted" in the dictionary today, you'd find my name under the definition. I seriously have never been this tired in my entire life. My first trimester is totally kicking my butt. Dan said that he has never seen someone sleep so much and still be so tired! That is why I have been ignoring my blog and only posting stuff that I wrote already for something else. Hee!

Poor guy. He has really stepped up to help around the house, with Miesha, basically with everything I usually do. He might actually write the prayer letter for me this month! Lol.

I have a Dr's appointment tomorrow. It is too soon yet to tell the sex, but we definitely will want to know as soon as we can. I am betting this one is a boy! Only a boy could wear me down this much and just be the size of a lime.

We will probably have another ultrasound tomorrow and I love seeing the little person grow and hearing the heartbeat.

If you are a praying friend of mine, please ask the Lord to give me an extra dose of energy in these next couple days. I really need it. There are a zillion things we need to do before we fly back to the states in less than 2 months.

I read somewhere that lions sleep 20 hours a day...that sounds pretty good right now!

February 23, 2009

a normal week...

Hey everyone, hope you are all well. I have made this week a quick easy read for you!

Dan was gone traveling 4 days this past week and Miesha and I are happy to have him back with us now. He was in Bloemfountein all day Mon helping to prepare for a youth conference we are assisting with in another month. Then, he was in Swaziland at Hope House Orphanage from Thursday-Saturday laying carpet and installing tile. The boys are SO pleased! I’ll have some pictures up here someday.

This week we anticipate things being a little slower and will catch up with some office things and pack a few more boxes.

For our teammates – John and Jay are once again heading up to Zimbabwe to provide some much needed water purification tablets and food to the pastors we partner with and to do some planning for the year. Please pray for safety for their travels and that they will be a blessing and encouragement to the people they meet with up there. Most of all, they’d really like an easy, straightforward border crossing. The last couple times at the border it has taken them 3-5 hours to get through and the customs officials keep changing the laws and trying to get bribes. It is always a really frustrating experience. (One time John was in line for 4 hours in 106F temp and had to stand so close to other people that they were actually dripping sweat onto his feet! And, if you think the dripping sweat is bad, imagine the smell! How is that for a cultural experience??) Please also remember their families as they are often hit with unexpected challenges while the husbands/dads are away. The border crossing will be our Tuesday morning, your Monday night if you’d like to pray at the exact time they’ll be at the Beitbridge Border.

The best news of this week:

Miesha officially started walking! Before now she would take up to 5 steps if we forced her, but now it is her own idea and she is all over the place. It will be a fun new season for us!

February 8, 2009

this week's adventures

This week we had fun being missionaries and for those of you who read our weekly prayer updates, you are aware that a week away was just what we needed! Our time traveling with the Canadian short term team this week was certainly full of adventure.

Our power kept going out as we were preparing to leave our house to begin the journey so we left a little later than we wanted to. Dan actually had to start our generator to get the garage doors to close securely! Then we traveled approx 5 hours to the Bulembu border crossing. The last hour of the drive was an extremely rugged dirt road with a lot of cows, hairpin turns, and sharp shale on it. It is one of the prettiest roads in South Africa with incredible views of the mountains and waterfalls. Our trailer was full of tiles and carpet for the orphan home and Dan estimated we were pulling around 2,000 lbs at a pretty fast clip since we were trying to get to the border before they closed. Our truck can handle it, but apparently our tires couldn’t and we popped two tires 2 minutes before we reached the border post. One had 3 small holes in it, and the other had a slash and almost came completely off the rim by the time we made it to the border. Also, Miesha’s little tummy had trouble with the bumps and turns and we had some eruptive vomit about 10 minutes before the border. We couldn’t stop because we were so pressed for time. Poor little girl - she was pretty miserable. We made it fine through the South African side, but we were two minutes late reaching the Swaziland side and Dan and Craig actually had to wander around the buildings looking for someone to help us. At first they told us we’d have to sleep in no man’s land, but then finally agreed to help us when a beautiful Canadian calendar, a first aid kit, and some stickers appeared. We hate bribing, but I feel much more comfortable bribing with stickers than with money! We were quite the sorry group of travelers: Miesha and Heather were covered in vomit (pink vomit no less!) and Dan had donated his shirt to help clean up the mess in the back seat so he was wearing Heather’s sweatshirt rather than go shirtless to customs… We finally made it through the Swazi border and then changed the destroyed tire by the side of the road.

We limped down the hill into Bulembu around supper time, happy to have finally arrived! We spent the evening with Jasmine (the American teacher we took up to Bulembu in early January) and had a lot of fun catching up with her and encouraging her. What a day!

The next morning we patched up the other tire then visited Jasmine’s school, met the kids she is teaching, and Principle Skinner showed us around. It is amazing! The school where she is teaching is the same school our short term team cleaned out 18 months ago. At that time the school had been abandoned for quite some time and everywhere you went there was approx 2 feet of paper, books, sawdust, or cow poop.

Now it is sparkling white, they have carpet and desks, and it actually looks like a proper school.

The transformation is absolutely unbelievable! About half the 150 children at the school are orphaned children who are in Christian foster homes in Bulembu, and the others are Bulembu Ministry Staff kids or from the community. Jasmine has 12 kids in her class and they range from age 6-11. Her goal is to teach them all to read in the next six months. Since some of the kids have never been to school and some struggle with English, this is going to be a challenge for her. She does have an assistant who is fluent in SiSwati which will help her a great deal in communicating early on.

We then went down the mountain into Motjane, Swaziland and had tea with the Chomba family. It was wonderful to see them again and we enjoyed meeting the newest member to the family – Takazane. He is approximately 15 years old and is now the 35th child this family supports!

We also spent time with Pastor Solomon and Grace Fasamati who run Christian school in the same area. Our visit was timely since their son is in the hospital in extreme pain and Grace hadn’t slept in 2 days trying to care for him. (Based on the symptoms, it sure sounded like a kidney stone to us. Hopefully the Drs will be able to sort it out soon and help him.) It was good to spend time with them and encourage them. There are so few people building into the lives of those who are in leadership here.

The next day, the Canadian guys taught on coaching, transitions, and church health to the Swazi pastors at a conference and several enjoyed it so much that they are now coming to the longer conference this coming week in Johannesburg to learn more. Dan wanted to try to finish the rooms in the orphan house while the other guys were training, but it just didn’t work out. The weather was rainy and it was super muddy. We are also going to have to do something about the ants before the carpet is laid. He decided to leave the supplies and head up again in a week or two to finish everything.

We then took the guys to Kruger Park for a day and a half, saw some incredible wildlife up close, then headed back to Johannesburg last night.

So finally, after 35 hours of driving, 2 flat tires, pink baby vomit, cranky border guards, fun with Jasmine, encouraging Chombas, Fasamatis, and 40 Swazi pastors, seeing animals in their natural habitat and way more meals on the road then we wanted (imagine ground beef with mushroom pancakes - blech!) we are now VERY happily at home!

For those of you who were praying for my morning sickness – it worked!! I didn’t feel sick the whole week and this morning (Sunday) it is back. I certainly don’t mind battling this in my home, but having a reprieve on the road was wonderful. Thank you for all your prayers for us.

This coming week, Dan and I will begin co-leading a new Community Group for our local church. We are looking forward to impacting the lives of more Africans on a weekly basis. This starts Wed. The Canadian team is doing another conference from Tues – Friday this week. Please pray for great attendance, open hearts, clear communication and for the info to be relevant to impact African churches for eternity!


January 31, 2009

A Challenging Season

Dan had a conversation with a friend the other day just after his house had been robbed. He was saying that it was so hard to be sold out for God because it immediately makes you a target and he was getting tired of all these hard things that kept happening to him and his family. He thought it would be easier to live a mediocre life because there was still a bit of blessing, but then you were left alone because you were not a threat to the enemy. It got me thinking…he certainly has a point. These last couple months and weeks have been super challenging for us Hartleys and our missionary teammates. We feel like we are living with targets on our backs currently!

We are in need of prayer support more than ever.

Here are a few of the things that have happened recently:

As you know, we Hartleys took a couple of health hits a couple months ago with chicken pox, a kidney stone, an infected appendix getting cut out, and recently I had a severe allergic reaction to 2 shrimp I ate and was itchy and had a unsightly rash for 2 days. Currently my “morning/afternoon/all day” sickness from the pregnancy is making life really challenging right now. The nausea is awful and so far the prescription I have isn’t helping much. I know it is just for a season, but ugh! One of my sisters had a miscarriage a couple weeks ago and as you can imagine, there is nothing that makes you want to jump on a plane more than family who is hurting. I wish we were able to be there in person to support them.

Our teammates, the Siakis, have been planting a church and they have had some really challenging issues because their worship leader is sleeping with his girlfriend and his parents (who are in leadership at the church also) didn’t have any issues with it and invited her to live in their home. She moved right into the worship leader’s bedroom! The whole church found out about it and took sides – pastor vs. worship leader. (In Africa, it is common in many cultures for the future wife to prove she is fertile by getting pregnant before they get engaged. NOT good for believers!) Obviously this has been super stressful for the Siakis! Then, shortly after this came to light, the assistant pastor dropped dead with no warning. It was a huge loss for their church as well as personally as Pastor Keith had helped with counseling the wayward couple and the family as well as firmly supported Paul Siaki in his stance against sex before marriage.

The Witherow family had a really close call last weekend. They were invited to the Allen’s house (another American missionary family – she is in my Beth Moore study) for lunch and while they were ringing the gate bell to be let in, the Allens were actually in process of being robbed at gunpoint. The robbers had jumped the fence, came in through the sliding glass doors, tied the family up, beat the dad on the head and took a bunch of their stuff. The Witherows were still in the driveway trying to figure out what was going on when the Joe Allan ran out of the house all bloody and asked them to call the cops. John Witherow sent his wife and kids home and stayed to help. The Allens ended up moving in with the Witherows this week until they can sort out increased security and/or a new place to live. Then after listening and listening and listening to the Allen family process their trauma, on Thursday night, Witherows took another hit. Heather’s mom called to say that her sister (Heather’s Aunt) had been found dead and the initial reports indicate that it may have been suicide. Talk about a tough week!

Two close friends from church were also robbed recently. One family was robbed while on a mission trip and the other family was robbed during the day when the house was locked. They broke through a window and locked the nanny in the closet while they took things. Their 18mo old daughter was standing in her crib watching the robbers run through the house. Wow.

A good friend of mine had her purse stolen at knife point and it happened just a few weeks after she miscarried. I had the privilege of processing the events with her.

I don’t write these things to scare you or to glamorize what we face over here, but it has been a challenging, stressful, difficult season for us and people close to us and we really need your prayers. More than ever, we need God’s protection over our homes and families; we need peace and trust in God so that we won’t live in fear. God has been doing some amazing things and we obviously are threats for the enemy!

On Sunday evening, a small short term team from Canada is arriving to do some training at some conferences here for two weeks. This team is lead by our former teammates Craig and Heather Kraft who moved back to Canada last May. Dan and I aren’t in charge of this one, but we will be assisting on multiple levels. Craig and Heather will be staying at our house for two weeks and we are really looking forward to time with them. We’ll be driving to Swaziland with the team from Tues – Friday to help them with a conference and Dan will install carpet and tile at the Chomba’s Hope House Orphanage. This will be the final touch on the room and the orphan guys will be able to begin using it! This is a major milestone and we are really excited about it! I’ll send pictures next week.

Will you take a moment to pray for us as you read this?

- Pray for PEACE and COMFORT for the Allen family who are all pretty traumatized by the armed robbery

- Pray for Heather Witherow for REST and for COMFORT for her, her parents, her Aunt’s son, and that they will be able to connect with family through the time zones to encourage and support each other.

- Pray for the Siakis, that God will soften their worship leader’s heart to receive correction and to be turned back to the Lord. Pray that God will bring a wonderful, godly man to come alongside them to support them to replace their asst pastor.

- Pray for the Days, Janse Van Vuurens, and the Robberts who were burglarized recently – for PEACE and the ability to SLEEP WITHOUT FEAR.

- It seems almost silly for me to ask you to pray about my nausea after the severity of the above requests, but our upcoming week is filled with company and travel and it would be wonderful to have a respite from feeling so sick in order to do ministry.

- Pray for the Canadians as they do ministry in Swaziland this week for a successful conference and be an encouragement and blessing to the Swazis.

We couldn’t do all God has called us to do here without your prayers and support of us.


Janell for us 4

PS. Just for fun, I have attached a picture of the security measures of a house that is right across the street from our church. They have the highest level of security we have seen here so far! They have 28 electrified wires, spotlight sensors, video monitoring, and razor wire fencing on their fence and gate. While most houses aren’t quite that extreme, the majority in our neighborhood have electric wire and/or razor wire around their property. As far as we know, it isn’t anybody famous. This is just part of life here. I bet these owners added another layer of electric fencing after they saw me taking a bunch of pictures of their fence!

January 27, 2009

Inappropriate New Years Resolutions

For all you ladies whose New Years Resolutions had something to do with decreasing your weight this picture is for you!

You know how all the diet plans have you cutting this out and adding that in to try to get skinny...well this one is a no brainer to cut out:

Yup, right there between the sausages and hot dogs, here in Africa for the low, low price of R5.02 ($.50) you too can own your own bag of FAT. No thanks!

Since I think that selling fat is inappropriate, I thought I might as well add another photo which is slightly inappropriate, but oh SO funny!

Sometimes when English is your second language...

Pregnant Again!

Thank you for your prayers for us last week. We are all doing well and Miesha’s spots disappeared before we went to the Dr which is a huge praise. We still don’t know what it was, but are thankful it passed so quickly.

We have a fun announcement this week – we are PREGNANT again! Baby Hartley #2 is due in early September. The kids will be 21 months apart. We are approx 8 weeks along and only have 225 days left till our due date. We are excited that this one will be born in the States and we’ll be near family for this delivery. We had our first Dr appt a week ago Thursday and everything seems to be going great. We already have our first picture of this little one who is currently the size of a small kidney bean!

The fact that Miesha is holding her Daddy's NRA (National Rifle Assoc) junkmail article has NOTHING to do with how she feels about being a big sister...I hope!

January 11, 2009

Hartley happenings in the New Year

Hello everyone – hope the New Year is treating you well!

I am sitting in front of my computer on Sunday morning with a steaming cup of American coffee (thanks Hartleys for the Christmas box!!) and I am trying to think of what to write about. The last couple weeks have been a bit of a blur!

Here is a short summary:

We had a lot of fun helping Jasmine acclimate back to life in Africa, we threw her a big party and then we drove her to Bulembu, Swaziland where she started her teacher training. (it was only supposed to be a 5 hr drive, but Dan and I realized we forgot our passports an hour into the trip and that added 2 more hours…sigh!) From Bulembu, we headed back to Motjane, Swaziland and stayed with our dear friends the Chombas for a couple days. Dan did more work on the building for the orphan boys and then we gave Maggie Chomba’s sister Edna a ride back to Johannesburg so that she could catch the bus from here to go back to Zambia. Dan and Edna woke up at 4:30 am and they drove to the bus station to try to book a ticket for a bus leaving that day. It certainly was an adventure trying to sort out what bus, what time, waiting on standby, and then finally her making it aboard 4 hours later. Whew! The next possible bus was three days later, so she got really lucky. That same afternoon, we also did an airport run to welcome back our team leader’s wife Jenny Teichert and their daughter Ann from furlough. (Karl and their sons are returning in another week) We’ve had several big rain storms and a neighbor’s tree fell onto the Teichert’s electric fence, so Dan also sorted that out for them before they came home.

So…airport runs, shopping for teaching supplies, throwing parties, repairing electric fences, giving rides, fixing the floor on the building for the orphan boys, fixing laptops, helping a teammate build a coffee table, writing articles for ministry, fixing a water heater, bus station runs, chauffeuring Jasmine to Swaziland, international border crossings, beginning to pack up our house (we are not keeping this rental house while we are in the states), having ministry partners over for meals and more are all in a week’s work for these missionaries. There certainly isn’t much of a routine these days which works fine for us. Dan thinks that working normal office hours is boring!

(Dan is fixing the water heater in the Chomba’s roof!)

In the upcoming weeks, Dan may go up to Zimbabwe to help deliver water purification supplies (the cholera epidemic there is steadily worsening – you can find more info online on news websites) and we are likely to return to Swaziland for a few days so Dan can lay tile and carpet in the orphan boy’s living room and kitchen area. Once that is finished, they can officially move in and start using the completely renovated space. Dan made a table for them and some missionary friends who moved back to Canada gave us some chairs that we will take up to them to use.

We hope to find a tremendous deal on international tickets this week. We are home for furlough from approx late April to late Oct in 09. Yeah!!

And lastly, Miesha and I are “bunking” from church this morning. (“bunking” is what they call playing hookie here) As I was dressing her for church I noticed that both of her legs are covered in red bumps. It is possible that a tribe of mosquitoes snacked on her legs all night, but it is likely to be something more interesting for us to deal with. We will take her into the Dr tomorrow morning to get it checked out.

Prayer points:

- wisdom for Dan as he sorts out the dates for the international trips

- LOW LOW price on USA tickets for us

- that Miesha’s spots will be accurately diagnosed, she won’t be too uncomfortable and that whatever it is will go away quickly!!

Thank you for your love and prayers for us! My coffee is finished now and I am off to cuddle with a spotty little girl.

Janell for us 3

Here are Miesha and Joshua Chomba – they were born on the same day, 15 minutes apart from each other.

Nokwanda is holding Miesha. She is one of the orphans that the Chombas have adopted. She is such a sweetie and has the best "morning hair" ever!!