December was the month of visitors. First off, Danny’s brother David was here for a brief visit. He helped immensely around the house, especially getting the kitchen cabinets installed.
Next, our team hosted 9 ICA church leaders from Luanda. They called an extraordinary meeting here in Huambo to give special attention to our team. We had four of them staying in our home, and the team women also cooked all the meals here. Although the women were a bit apprehensive about cultural differences, everything went very smoothly and we feel quite the superwomen – Jordan chopped up our butchered sheep with a machete, Teague gutted fish, and I managed the supplies. We couldn’t have done it without our friend Helena who took a day off work to help us. The men feel very good about strengthening relationships with a broad number of ICA leaders and navigating the murky waters of cross-cultural leadership.
Stephen Kapaipi, a good friend from Luena (eastern Angola), came to visit during his Christmas break. He was a refugee in Zambia during the war, and has been struggling to plant a church in Angola since his return. The men had several good problem-solving sessions and Bible studies.
Danny’s parents arrived just before Christmas, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit with MomMom and Papa. Our team took a week off around Christmas to drive to southern Angola and do some sight-seeing, inspired by John Reese’s love of photography. It was a good time to rest and prepare for the New Year.
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Since the end of October, our family and team has been beset with all of the difficulties of moving to a new country. Quite simply, it feels like we have been under attack. Yet we can see God working powerfully in providing for us.
In one area, we have had many difficulties with our house. The plumbing is so poor that we have decided to start over again, running the pipes along the outside and inside walls. Thankfully, our landlord is paying for and organizing the process. Our generator flooded in the first hard rain and we spent 2 days without electricity while Danny fixed it.
We have also had many thefts. Our brand new puppy was stolen out of our yard after less than a week with us. Amazingly, our teammate Teague spotted him at the vet and he was returned to us, only to be deathly ill for 3 weeks. Our old computer, printer, and scanner were stolen out of our vehicle in Luanda, then our main computer was taken from our home by some boys that climbed through a small window. The boys returned the next day and Katie chased them to their homes and the computer was returned. God has been at work in the midst of our discouragement.
Lastly, our car has needed two major repairs in the last two months. Thankfully, the car was never completely out of commission with either problem and we have been able to use it when we needed it.
It has felt as though we haven’t even recovered from one setback before another hits. And yet each time God has provided – Danny’s brother David came for a visit and was able to bring the replacement electronics; as we were pondering a trip to Namibia to get the delicate car job done Danny “ran into” a local mechanic who described the problem exactly and was able to fix it.
We are learning to rely daily on God’s provision. We have only to look at our puppy or computer to marvel at God’s miracles.
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In October, our family traveled to Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Swaziland – a truly cross-continental trip. We had several purposes for going and accomplished most of them. First, we visited a new church plant in southern Angola which is led by an outstanding young preacher. In Namibia Danny shopped for spare car parts and equipment. Then we spent two days camping in Etosha National Park with the Meyers. Check out Katie’s facebook for some great animal pictures.
In South Africa, Danny arranged for three important upgrades to the vehicle: a heavy-duty roof rack (remember the sheep on top of the car?), a long-range fuel tank, and a suspension upgrade (my back is very thankful!). We have already seen the usefulness of all of these for our work and life here. We were also able to visit many of Danny’s old friends in Kempton Park where he grew up and buy some household items that are difficult to find in Angola.
Our last stop was to Swaziland, where we visited African Christian College and some of our mentors, Fielden and Janet Allison. One thing we’ve learned from our parents and mentors is that life as a missionary is draining and it is important to schedule breaks and support time before you need them. We got some good TLC from the Allisons and enjoyed another night in a game park on our return trip with our teammate Jordan.
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The last half of September was very eventful for the Reese family. Danny took a trip along with Robert, Nathan, and a dozen ICA (Churches of Christ in Angola) church leaders to the far north of Angola to visit churches in the Uige province. It was an incredible opportunity to get an inside look at how the ICA leadership functions. They were blessed with safe travel and abundant hospitality – including being given a sheep.
While the men were traveling, I (Katie) had the opportunity to drive around Huambo for myself, getting used to the roads and traffic. I also took the time to visit our neighbors. I am making a list of all the people I meet nearby and try to go back and visit them. I also had the blessing to meet and encourage/be encouraged by several other missionaries in our area.
Eliana began her first school with Mommy as teacher! Teague and I are teaching the three older kids together – putting together our own preschool curriculum for now, until our container arrives. The kids have enjoyed so much the time together and the fun activities. Eliana loves to learn her letters, play games, color, and write. We usually meet during Sophia’s naps, and she cooperates pretty well. When she’s not asleep, Sophia is busy chasing after the other children with her new found walking skills.
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