An overseas trip, UNISA studies, tonsillectomy for Sarah, appendicectomy for me (Deb), church activities, and school and nursery school events and functions, have all made their contribution to an interesting, full, but mostly enjoyable year. (Perhaps it was the fact that 1996 was a leap year that has made time feel as though it has been passing in leaps and bounds!)
Rod and I got involved in starting a 'Young Explorers' group for the primary school children at church. We organised many fun events, and combined bible study with numerous walks and outings of interest to the children. We were also involved in organising the registration for the Vineyard church conference held in Johannesburg in March. We hosted several delegates from Zambia and one from the Eastern Cape, and, while we worked hard, we really enjoyed being a part of the team, and enjoyed hearing John Wimber speak with the wisdom that comes from years of ministry and his fair share of hard times.
We escaped this year's harsh winter by spending most of it in the USA. We went over to England for a week and then on to the USA for six and a half weeks, and to Montreal (Canada) for the last ten days (for Rod to attend a conference and make some visits). We were gone for nine weeks in all, and had a wonderful time. Rod worked as a Visiting Professor at the University of Missouri-Rolla, and we stayed in a home belonging to a professor in the same department who was away on sabbatical leave in Australia. Rod gave a couple of lectures (on pyrometallurgy), but spent most of his time developing simulation software. We were looked after very well indeed during our stay in Rolla.
We enjoyed many new experiences, including Missouri's favourite pastime, 'floating' or canoeing down river, and enjoyed the novelty of the county fair, where we saw genuine cowboys, heard real "yeeha's" as we watched some serious horse-riding skills and lassoing. Needless to say, David and Sarah really enjoyed all of this stuff. We also got to spend a few days at Disney World in Florida and had fun doing all that stuff too. Another highlight was seeing some family and friends that we have not seen for a while.
Sarah needed to have her tonsils taken out in January, which she found to be a rather painful experience, but gave her much understanding and compassion with me in the past week or so, as I have hobbled around, or moaned and groaned in bed, after an appendicectomy. We are all well, and besides these unexpected surprises, have enjoyed good health through the year.
The children have both done well at school this year, and David (8) goes to Standard 1 next year and Sarah (5) will begin at Rhema Christian School in Grade 1 prep. next year. She seems to be looking forward to this change, although she will miss many of her friends from nursery school. From our perspective, it will be wonderful having both children in the same school, just a short walk down the road from home.
I have successfully completed English I and two out of three modules of Psychology III at UNISA this year. The third module will be written as a January examination, as there was a bit of a clash with all my examination dates in October this year. I am looking forward to studying English II next year.
Please write and let us know how well you weathered 1996, and what your plans are for next year.
Rodney, Debbie, David, and Sarah