Whew, what a year this has been! I would definitely have to say this this been my craziest year ever, with ups and downs and twists and turns. There have been some pretty rough times, but there have been some good ones too and I’m thankful for that.
I haven’t devoted as much time to blogging as I did last year, mainly because my life has been so insane! Still, I managed to crank out 24 posts. I’m hoping that number will be a little higher in 2015!
My four children are doing absolutely great, and I am so thankful! I have been blessed so much by their letters.
I was excited to hear that Mbula, my oldest, is aiming for a university-level education; I am so proud of him! He is up to his ears in soccer stuff, as always… he’s really been enjoying playing an attacking mid-fielder position. I also got an updated photo of him this year.
Shakira is also excelling academically… she’s #1 in every class! I got to send her a package of stuff last month and she loved it. She also wrote her first letter to me in English this year, and did so well at it! I have lots of photos of her from the Shelter Them Mission trip.
I was a little concerned about Isimbi this year, as she’s not been as chatty as she usually is. So I was really happy to hear that her favorite memory is when my friends visited her back in 2012. She calls me her best friend and always wants to know when I will visit her again! I also received a lovely updated photo of her this year
Ada has also been a little quiet this year, and she’s been struggling a lot in school… she’s a little trooper though, and tries so very hard! Her last letter said that she was happy to know that she was part my family. She also said that my “accepting to sponsor” her reminds me of how Jesus loves her and “accepted to sponsor” her. What a beautiful metaphor!
This year, I have sent a total of 40 letters to my children.
This year, I have received a total of 22 letters from my children. Here is the breakdown on that:
Isimbi: 4 letters
Ada: 3 letters
Mbula: 6 letters
Shakira: 9 letters
We also celebrated Shakira’s 16th birthday, Mbula’s 19th birthday, and Isimbi’s and Ada’s 11th birthdays (born a month apart)!
I got a chance to meet Shane Claiborne, founder of The Simple Way and author of The Irresistible Revolution and Jesus, Bombs, and Ice Cream (among others) when he spoke at MUN in St. John’s. It was pretty exciting to hear his stories of ministering alongside Mother Teresa in the leper colonies of India, advocating for the homeless in Philadelphia, and with a peacekeeping team in Iraq right after 9/11. And it was such an honor to get a picture with this humble brother.
This stands out as the year that we released our first album! Titled “I Wanna Be Free”, it features 8 songs including originals and covers. We sold out of our first run of 100 copies and are waiting on our second run.
This has been a strange year for me… I got a job, moved communities and got an apartment, left that apartment and moved to another one, left that job, got another one, and ended up having to leave that one; meaning it’s been a bit of a stressful year, to say the least!
We also got the news in early December that my dear grandmother, or as we say in French, Mémère, passed away. It was quite sudden, but thankfully my father was able to be with her up until a few hours before she passed. She slipped away to Heaven shortly after he left to fly home. I believe it’s better that way… his last memories of her will be of her alive and awake, and she will live on in all our hearts.
I had several “firsts” this year… my first time attending the symphony, my first time signing an autograph, my first 1,000 km solo road trip, and my first time packing a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.
The past year or so has been a difficult one for me, I’ll admit. I’ve struggled with depression a lot in the past year, although this hasn’t been my worst year for that, thank God. I’ve gone through some rather extreme personal attacks in the past month as well and at times it has been a struggle just to keep my head above water. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face when you don’t know who’s falsely accusing you behind your back. I’ve had to hold on to Jesus tighter than ever before; and when I slipped, I’m thankful for precious people who carried me to Him.
Although I lost much of my joy in 2014, I’m still in the fight. I’m battered, bruised, and bleeding… but I’m not broken. I have much to be thankful for and I believe 2015 will be a different and hopefully better year!