January 18 marks our one year anniversary of life in Africa.  It was a year of NEWNESS and challenge.  Let us take you on a photo journey of some of our transitions and changes.

NEW faces, new languages and new rules challenged us daily.  Samuel led the way in making friends and joining the crowd.

NEW creatures great and small are a highlight for Hannah – we have pictures of her holding tree frogs, geckos, praying mantis, chameleons, bullfrogs, and even a bird that she rescued from our living room.

NEW tasks are a big one for all of us, but are especially challenging in running the home.  We are so thankful for a washing machine from the Bedford church!

The NEW chores of hanging out the laundry, taking it down, folding it and putting it away are such fun for the girls!

NEW people, expectations and culture can be overwhelming but we are thankful this gets easier over time.  Josiah is usually singled out as not many white children are seen upcountry and the Burundians love to hear him say, “Nitwa Josiah” which means, “My name is Josiah.”

NEW DOCTORS!  This is the most exciting of all.  It was such a pleasure to work with this group of seventh year students that have now graduated.

But along with that comes NEW challenges for Joel of working in the hospitals in french and learning how to fulfill his new role as Director of Clinical Education.

Learning to live, eat, and grade papers by candlelight was a NEW joy and reminds us to be thankful for electricity!

Adventuring into NEW waters (where crocs and hippos live) was a stretch for us all, but one we can enjoy with caution (and vigilant parents).

New expectations and responsibilities have pushed us to NEW roles as we connect with the Free Methodist Church of Burundi .

New schools, new friends, new teachers, and new homework makes this the most challenging part for the kids…and that it is all in French.

But NEW stress relieving techniques – such as their favorite, playing in the rain- makes Africa a place of joy and delight for these four.

And Joel’s days look different now that the NEW Van Norman Clinic is filled with medical students that are eager to learn.

With all this NEWNESS behind us, we are looking forward to an OLD, familiar year – with familiar colleagues speaking familiar tongues (ok, Kirundi is not a familiar tongue yet, but french is getting there!)

OLD and familiar ways to interact with the curious stares of new friends.  (Hannah has found that drawing pictures allows her to connect in spite of the language barrier.)

OLD and familiar friends with whom we can defend the universe…

And our same OLD familiar family to spend our days with.  Yes, we are looking forward to an OLD year ahead and thankful that the NEW year is done!